Cleveland Golf takes a swing at Guangzhou's pirates
Andrew K. Collier in Beijing
The next time you take a trip to the golf course, take a good, hard look at your club - it could be a fake.
American golf-club maker Cleveland Golf recently conducted raids on factories in Guangzhou and discovered thousands of pieces of fake equipment.
Counterfeit copies of clubs, balls and other paraphernalia bearing the names of the world's best-known golf companies, including Taylor Made, Titleist, Cobra, Ping, Callaway and Nike were seized from several locations.
The seizures were prompted by the discovery by Cleveland Golf of fake versions of its products in China earlier this year.
With the help of China's Technical Supervision Bureau and law firm Baker & McKenzie, Cleveland made simultaneous raids at several locations, exposing warehouses and plants manufacturing pirated golf equipment.
'The recovery and destruction of these counterfeit products is a significant step in our counterfeit enforcement activities,' Cleveland president Greg Hopkins said.
The authorities said they would continue to hunt and destroy imitators of the great names of golf equipment.
Experts estimate that there are now one million golfers in China, with membership of the China Golf Association's Beijing branch climbing 25 per cent in the past year alone.
Beijing Sports University even offers a two-year course, costing more than 5,000 yuan, to prepare students for the rigours of becoming a golf pro.
The burgeoning interest in the sport makes it a fertile hunting ground for China's counterfeiting groups.