To better understand what are clone golf clubs, let’s put the following example: If you ever heard the term “after-market” in the automotive industry, you’ll know that there is a community of auto part manufacturers mostly in Asia, that make the parts for the big car companies like Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Ford and Chevrolet just to name a few.
Most of the parts and accessories sold by the actual big car company dealers are in fact made by the same manufacturers as the aftermarket, and many car savvy people in the car repair industry, actually buy from this after-market at lower prices at the exchange of shorter warranties that do not come from the brand company of the car.
one industry, which uses this term very often and recognized by the consumer is the computer industry… I’m sure you’ve heard phrases like “are you going to buy an HP, a Dell or a clone PC?”
This applies to many industries like mobile phones, audio and video appliances, electronics, clothing and footwear among others. In fact one industry, which uses this term very often and recognized by the consumer is the computer industry… I’m sure you’ve heard phrases like “are you going to buy an HP, a Dell or a clone PC?”
Well the golf industry is no different. Most of the best brand golf clubs are manufactured overseas and then distributed to the US and other countries to be sold by their corresponding golf brand companies.
So a “clone product” is in essence the same product (or very close to it with a slight design variation) as the name brand product. And the main difference between the two relies in the use of the brand. Where the brand name product is selling at higher rates than of the clone product because it’s also selling something the clone product does not have or has it at a lower level… and that is, “prestige” because of its popularity and acceptance from the consumer due to massive media exposure.
If they’re basically the same why are they cheaper?
It is common that the immediate idea in many people when they hear clone golf clubs, they think “cheap golf clubs”. And though that holds true in most cases that is not always the rule. Another thing you should not even consider is that clones are cheaper because they’re low quality equipment, but on the contrary they meet the same technology specs and perform just as any top-of-the-line golf brand.
Popular golf name brands spend millions of dollars in collateral overhead in order to improve in golf technology and position their brand in the consumer’s mind such as:
- Advertising campaigns (mostly TV, magazines and on-site)
- Branding strategies
- Graphic design
- Sponsorships (top players and golf events mostly)
- Company payroll
- Research and development
- Engineering and Prototyping
- Trademark and Intellectual Property Protection
- Legal Counseling
Just to name a few, and adding to that are the money spent in logistics of distribution and the reseller profit margins. That is, every entity involved in the business transaction besides the actual golf company itself takes a piece of the pie, commonly in the following way (but not always):
- The manufacturer
- The golf brand
- The large wholesaler
- The local distributor
- The retailer
Meaning that if a golf club’s actual manufacturing cost is, let’s say $50 USD for a driver, the end consumer will end up paying anywhere from $300 to $500 covering the overhead plus the profit of the middle men. That’s 600% to 1000% can you believe that?? Well actually you have to believe it because that’s just how capitalism normally works on most products.
So clone golf companies actually buy most of their parts (legally) directly from the manufacturers with the consent of the big golf companies without of course using the actual big brand logos or the model name as both are copyright reserved and trademark property.
And these clone golf companies do not spend much in advertising, sponsorship and the entire collateral overhead described before, meaning… clone golf companies can provide quality golf equipment at a lower cost, and in many cases providing the same golf technology as big brand golf companies do.
Do clone golf clubs look the same as name brand clubs?
In many cases you can’t tell the difference, as you’ll notice the only thing different is in the logo sticker and maybe minor color variations but the technology is frequently the same or with slight part variations such as different shaft or grip, head cover, etc.
But the performance of the clone golf would be almost the same if not exact.
Also there are some companies who have been so well accepted by golf consumers that they even have their own designs and brands. And these kind of golf companies are better seen as a custom golf company, rather than a clone golf company. That is because they build and custom fit golf equipment using technology already developed by the top golf companies, rather than develop and market new golf technologies.
Clones and Knockoffs aren’t the same
Clone golf clubs are manufactured or assembled by well-established and respected companies that offer guarantees and customer support. They have good business practices and are legally approved.
Knockoff clubs are golf clubs made or assembled by a black-market with practices opposite to what I’ve just mentioned. They are blatant copycats of name brand golf clubs and their models may incur in illegal piracy practices.
Can’t say that they’re not good but some of them represent a quality risk in performance and durability. Frequently these clubs were either a) discarded in the brand name manufacturing process because they didn’t meet the required quality control standards and may have defects; or b) are from batches produced illegally under ground and unsupervised with lower quality materials.
“…some of them represent a quality risk in performance and durability. Frequently these clubs were either a) discarded in the brand name manufacturing process because they didn’t meet the required quality control standards and may have defects…”
Be wary of shady brands and sneaky bargains for golf clones or even name brand clubs, because they can be knockoffs.
Hints that can help you tell if they’re knock offs are some of the following:
Ad titles that can be misleading like:
- “Plays like Ping driver” (plays like??)
- “Calloway Irons” (very similar name playing with just one or two letter changes, in this case Calloway brand replaced with an “o” instead of Callaway)
- “Heater Taylormade Style” (alluding to a model name in this case “Burner” when “Heater” is not a Taylormade model.)
- Ads that have correct description but in their image they use a sexy woman…pf! really, I’ve seen this
- Newly listed ads that offer ridiculously low price for a new brand name golf club that you know is like 5 times higher. Well sometimes these are not knockoffs, these are just ads from rip-off artists.
Bottom line, are clones worth it?
Yes. If you want to save money anywhere from 30% to 60% sometimes more.
Yes. If you want quality and golf technology at lower prices.
Yes. If you’re a beginner on a test budget.
No. If you care to show off the brand of the club because you’re cool and like the trendy hype.
No. If you could be rejected from your peers at your country club because of cheapness practice suspicions.
Popular Clone Golf Companies
Now, the above companies focus their sales approach to customers that are looking to buy golf equipment based on how they look like more than how they perform. For that they commonly promote model comparison against the name brand model.
On the other hand, we have golf companies that like to think of them selves as custom golf, or custom-fitted golf companies. In my opinion they’re both the same and sell similar products as clone companies but the custom golf ones focus more on selling equipment for their performance and thus, they do not compare to popular brands but instead they try to promote their own golf brand products that uses top-notch technology as if it was their own.
And two good examples of well known custom golf companies are:
So think twice the next time you consider buying golf clubs for beginners because now you know there is a great money-saving alternative in golf clones.