Clones can be a good thing. Just ask the Galactic Republic. On second thought…
Maybe in this instance, they aren’t so great. At least, not if your job title is “Jedi”.
Since this is a golf blog about Common Sense and helping everyday people that don’t want to (or can’t) spend an arm and a leg on their gear- but still want stuff that works for them- I think a discussion about clone golf club heads is a good idea.
What is a clone golf club head?
This is one of the better descriptive articles I’ve read, from Pinemeadow Golf:
In the SUV market we have the Ford Explorer, Jeep Cherokee, Toyota 4Runner, GMC Envoy, Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Aviator, Buick Rainier, Lexus GX, and on and on. Each of these companies takes from each other and “clones” or “borrows” each others’ design concepts. They all do this legally, ethically and with great vigor. It is a game of leap frog.
While we sometimes find it hard to distinguish one SUV from another, we know they are not exact copies of each other and that these companies are not trying to confuse the consumer into thinking so. But we also know the SUV makers copy the same features, performance characteristics, and customer benefits from each other in a marketplace of continuing innovation. We do too, but we do it in golf.
The most popular name brand companies in golf today are Callaway, Ping, Titleist, TaylorMade and Nike, with several others typically coming in and out of favor. These companies (and us) are just like the auto makers — leap frogging each other with innovative new product concepts, materials and fashion statements. When talking generically about golf clubs, most consumers describe products in terms of general product families, just like when auto consumers say that Hyunda. has a “Mercedes look”, or that Mercedes “looks like a Land Rover.” Well, it is the same thing in golf.
What is a Golf Clone. Well it used to be a club that was made to look as close to the name brand but legal. Clones have been popular in many industries, computers come to mind as do software programs. Over the years as branded clubs steadily changed, so have the “Clone Clubs”. Clone clubs are simply clubs that have a similar look to the branded product (the emphasis is mine, here).
Clones are not to be confused with the branded products they may seek to flatter. However, they are made from essentially the same materials and design principles, use many of the same shaft and grip suppliers, and perform similar to (or often better than) the name brands.
The important point is we buy our heads, shafts, and grips from the same small community of golf manufacturing suppliers. We provide performance but offer you a better value. To prove it, see what our other customers say about us.
Are Some Golf Clones Illegal?
Illegal knockoffs and counterfeits have been a significant problem in the golf industry. The name brands talk about illegal clubs ripping them off, but counterfeiters also rip us off and you, the consumer. No one should buy products from an illegal counterfeiter. An illegal knockoff and/or counterfeit is a product that violates the legal trade dress rights, trademarks, patents or copyrights of another company.
An illegal knockoff rips off the violated company because it confuses the consumer and in some cases seeks to fool the consumer into thinking their product is actually the Name Brand Company’s product. It rips us off because we play by the rules and lose business to shady operators who fool consumers into thinking they are buying a legitimate product. It rips you off if you buy their products because you have then violated the law and are holding illegal goods. That could very well negatively affect your game — and, we at Pinemeadow Golf do not want that to happen.
Pinemeadowgolf.com is very careful to not violate the valid rights of other companies. However, we do examine carefully the claims of companies and work hard to get into your hands the best products at the best price.
So there you have it, in a nutshell.
The thing about clone golf club heads is, they’ll hit a golf ball the same as a “name brand” golf club.
Especially for those of you that have swing speeds less than 100mph. There are some instances, for those with exceptionally fast swing speeds, they might not be a good idea… but honestly, we could say the same for the $300+ drivers, as well.
Personal usage is a big deal to me, and I have experience with clone golf clubs.
I’ve used Pinemeadow gear in the past, and I’ll stand by the belief that they do make very good products. So does Diamond Tour Golf (another I have personal experience with). GigaGolf is another reputable clone brand, though I don’t have experience with them.
I’ve reviewed one of DTG’s putters. You can check it out here if you’d like.
As an aside, none of the links to the clone companies I’ve referenced here are affiliate links. I have a disclosure that appears in the sidebar, which is kind of a CYA thing, but I want to let you know that with these companies, I’m adding their links because I believe in their products.
You’ll get the club snobs (much like beer snobs, car snobs, computer snobs… I’ve learned to just roll with it) that only believe in the brands you see the pros play, or the more “exclusive” Japanese brands.
That’s fine for them, but is it for you? Remember, we’re trying to enjoy this great game without breaking into our kid’s college savings account. I’ll say this probably every time I write a post, but the most important thing is to be fitted. Do that and you’ll get more from your equipment than worrying about how much you spent.
For some of you, maybe looking into alternate routes for gear, like component heads, is a good idea. Clone club heads may be a good place to start looking, as well. It’s not about what you play- it’s if you play!