15 Golf Club Counterfeiters Convicted, Sentenced To 42 Years In Prison

Less than a year after the largest raid in history confiscated more than 120,000 pieces of counterfeit golf equipment that knocked off the likes of Titleist, TaylorMade, PXG, PING, Callaway, and Srixon/Cleveland Golf, 15 counterfeiters were found guilty in a Chinese court, according to the U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group.

The U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group is made up of six of the largest golf manufacturers in the world, including Acushnet (the parent of Titleist and FootJoy), Callaway (including Odyssey), SRI (Cleveland, Srixon and XXIO), Ping, PXG and TaylorMade. 

The raid, which was carried out by 100 Shanghai police officers as well as local police in both the Guangdong and Fujian Provinces in China, took place at 10 locations at the same time.

According to a release from the Working Group, “the entire network, from the manufacturer of the club heads, shaft and grip suppliers, to owners of assembling workshops, shipping center and online chatting rooms, was rooted out completely.”

Thirteen people were convicted for the crime of counterfeiting registered trademark and two defendants were convicted for the crime of selling counterfeit products, according to the report. All in all, the 15 defendants were sentenced to prison terms totalling 42 years and criminal fines of $574,461.

The total case value is $1,848,136, including $1,518,477 for sold counterfeits and $329,659 for seized products.

“We are very pleased with the outcome in this case, and we hope it serves as a strong message to any potential counterfeiters and sellers of counterfeit golf products in China or elsewhere that this behavior will not be tolerated,” said Jud Hawken, Associate General Counsel for PING. “We will continue to work closely with law enforcement across the globe to take down these counterfeiters, eliminate the selling of these fake products, and protect golfers everywhere.”

“We are thrilled that Chinese police were willing to take serious action against online counterfeits even during the pandemic,” Kristin Strojan, Legal Counsel Trademark and Brand Protection at TaylorMade Golf said last August. “Counterfeiters have been taking advantage of the current situation and counterfeit listings have become more rampant on the internet. We never stopped watching them even during these challenging times and continue to work with authorities worldwide to target online counterfeit sellers aggressively.

“This raid action sends a very strong message to the market that the Golf Group has zero-tolerance for counterfeit products and will continue to monitor the marketplace, both online and offline, to maintain the integrity of the game.”

The Working Group reports that more than two million golf counterfeits are produced each year.