What are Clone Golf Clubs?
Well, they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and in golf there is no exception. A lot of companies put a lot of work into making something that works and that the market wants and can often make a lot of money through being first to market with that product. But what usually follows is that other companies will try to imitate that successful concept as closely as they can without it being totally illegal.
Clone golf clubs look like more famous clubs, and are in fact copies of as much as possible of the original. There will be copies of shape, colour, names, graphic designs, the style of lettering, score line patterns and markings. You must be careful though. Clones are borderline legal, but are also unlikely to be as good a club as those that they copy. You are not dealing with a product of the same quality and the saving in cost may not make up for that.
Clone golf clubs tend to originate mostly from the Far East . The reason for this is that people in the Far East look differently upon intellectual property rights than we do here in the West. Imitation of successful products is more acceptable there, and do not meet with such disapproval. While designers in the West will try to deny the influence of other designers on their work, designers in the East will actually talk overtly about how industry greats have influenced their work.
Because of this, many Western companies will try to ban the production and then sale of clones that are blatantly derivative. This has been successful over the past ten years in changing the features of the clone golf clubs industry. Many companies who produce clones will check with the major manufacturers' legal departments before they produce their clones. You will find some counterfeit makers who operate illegally, but in the main you should go for legal look-alikes.
One type of clone is the Popular Style club, which is "inspired by" a famous club. The producers try to impose their own identity on the product. An example of this is the Scotty Cameron putters by Titliest, which were inspired by Ping putters, and Ping ended up being inspired by Scotty Cameron!
Another type of clone is a Look-Alike - which is "similar to" a famous club. The designer actually wants the buyer to be actively reminded of the similarity.
The Knocks-offs and the Copy cats are "just like the" famous club. They mimic everything, even names. But they are rarely of the same high quality.
Finally, Counterfeits and illegal imitations will have some tiny changes to the originals but should be avoided at all costs.