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Knock Off and/or Clone Irons


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#1 H-Blade

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 10:38 PM

Just courious, does anybody here play with Knock-Off and/or Clone irons???  Will anybody admit it..

Ping G20 Driver: 9.5 Degree
Ping G20 3 Wood
Ping G15 Hybrids: 20 & 23
Ping G5 Irons: 5-9, PW, UW
Ping Karsten Putter: Anser
Ping Eye 2 XG SW, LW

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#2 Hunyacka

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 10:42 PM

I used to up until last season.  I was playing clubs from Gigagolf.com and to be honest, they were fine.  Gigagolf also had pretty good customer service.

#3 Kyle_Bourgeois

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 10:45 PM

Gigagolf is more of the same look- just different name and color scheme right?

#4 paulkwada

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 10:45 PM

I was watching the golf channel a long time ago. They were talking to a professional musician that was using clones and he wanted tips on how to improve. The person asked him what kind of guitar he played, he responded with a fender strat. When asked if he'd ever play a knock off guitar he said no way, at this point he got the message and said he'd change clubs.  I have played them before once and found they are not all that bad, but with buying last years model at such a deep discount, I just prefer the real deal.

#5 shorrrno

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 10:47 PM

i played a knock off callaway ft-i when id only been playing for about a year. seemed to go pretty well but the cheapnes shone through when the shaft snapped at the hosel after a few months


#6 hsu.mitch

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 10:49 PM

I grew up playing Ping clones from Golfsmith. Of course once I started making money (ie..summer jobs and "gulp" a grown main job, I've never played them again, nor would I.

#7 Herky

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 09:14 AM

Not only would I admit it. I'm proud of it.
I've been playing for about 25 years and used to buy oem exclusively -- Callaway, Cleveland, TaylorMade, Wilson, MacGregor, Titleist.
Then a few years ago, I started experimenting with component clubs, including some I consider "clones" because their design is so similar to oem models.
I soon discovered that I  enjoyed building clubs as much as I liked playing them. It just gave me more control over shaft selection, loft/lie and the other aspects of customization.
So when someone asks will a "clone" of a game-improvment iron play as well as the oem model its patterned after, I answer that depends.
The iron head is only one element of the golf club, the grip and --most importantly -- the shaft are the other two.
If you're playing the correct shaft you'll get good results with a "clone" head. If you're playing the wrong shaft you'll get less than optimal results no matter what cluibhead you're using.
With the exception of some high-end player's irons, it's pretty easy to produce a perfectly functional copy of a cast iron head.
In many cases, the same factories in China that manufacture oem heads also produce clone heads.
This is not rocket science. It's metallurgy. Very low tech.
Think about how easy it is to determine the specs and metal composition of an iron head, especially game-improvement and super game-improvement models.
Sole width, cavity depth, blade length, perimeter weighting, hosel offset, 431 or softer 304 steel. These basics are not proprietary. It's a hunk of metal being cast into a conventional shape. Nothing exotic.
Often the main difference between some (not all) clones and game-improvement irons is cosmetic, not functional. Usually, oems put more emphasis on cosmetics and adornments, elements that do not affect performance.
OEM users don't like to here this. How could a "clone" possibly play as well or better than a set that costs twice as much?
The reality is, with the right shaft and proper lie adjsustments, a quality clone head will indeed perform just as well as an oem stick.
And it has for me.

Edited by Herky, 01 March 2010 - 09:22 AM.


#8 kgstewar

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 09:57 AM

I have been thinking about buying a set from Gigagolf and in the course of my research I have run across many threads discussing clone/knockoffs in this and other golf forums. Most people use the terms clone and knockoff interchangeably, but I think there is an important distinction. There are Chinese internet sites that are selling counterfeit clubs, i.e. cosmetically look like Ping's etc, but are pieces of junk. Then there are component sellers like Golfsmith, Hireko, Gigagolf, etc. whose designs may be inspired (to varying degrees) by existing clubs, but are reasonable quality, can be fitted with high-quality, name-brand shafts, etc. I have had a hard time sifting through many of these threads because I feel that many of the negative comments are directed (rightly so) at the counterfeit clubs whereas the OP was probably referring to Hireko, etc., which could be called clones. Perhaps we need to change our terminology so that we are all on the same page. Counterfeit clubs we can all agree are bad; clones maybe ok?

And as far as the Fender Stratocaster analogy, Fernandes makes an excellent Strat clone played by BJ Armstrong, Kirk Hammett, Mark Knopfler, the Edge, Joe Walsh, etc. There ARE excellent clones out there! Maybe the case for golf clubs, too?

#9 Brettasaurus

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 12:12 PM

View Postkgstewar, on 01 March 2010 - 09:57 AM, said:

I have been thinking about buying a set from Gigagolf and in the course of my research I have run across many threads discussing clone/knockoffs in this and other golf forums. Most people use the terms clone and knockoff interchangeably, but I think there is an important distinction. There are Chinese internet sites that are selling counterfeit clubs, i.e. cosmetically look like Ping's etc, but are pieces of junk. Then there are component sellers like Golfsmith, Hireko, Gigagolf, etc. whose designs may be inspired (to varying degrees) by existing clubs, but are reasonable quality, can be fitted with high-quality, name-brand shafts, etc. I have had a hard time sifting through many of these threads because I feel that many of the negative comments are directed (rightly so) at the counterfeit clubs whereas the OP was probably referring to Hireko, etc., which could be called clones. Perhaps we need to change our terminology so that we are all on the same page. Counterfeit clubs we can all agree are bad; clones maybe ok?

And as far as the Fender Stratocaster analogy, Fernandes makes an excellent Strat clone played by BJ Armstrong, Kirk Hammett, Mark Knopfler, the Edge, Joe Walsh, etc. There ARE excellent clones out there! Maybe the case for golf clubs, too?

I agree that component makers have come a long way in recent years with regards to design and quality. Some of The Golfworks/Hireko/Golfsmith products are quite good and reasonably priced. The problem I have is that there are so many good deals on the BST here and elsewhere that it just makes even a component set seem like a lesser bargain. I was able to get a brand new set of Nickent 4DX CBs with the 3 and 4 hybrids for $109 BNIB and a 4DX Evolver w/CYG and 2 shafts for $90. They may be defunct but I love the 4DX line and for less than a Hireko or Golfworks set.

#10 Herky

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 01:50 PM

Yes, kgstewar, you make a good point.

Clones are NOT knockoffs, which are unauthorized, and in many cases, illegal products.  Counterfeit clubs are a separate issue, and a problem that seems to be increasing. Unfortunately, many golfers lump all non-oem components together.

"Clones" are clubheads that are similar in overall design to OEM products. Some of Hireko's products fall into this category because they look like Callaway and Taylormade models. However, Hireko also offers many original designs. Many component makers, like SVG, also produce high-quality heads that are very similar to major oem heads. Heck, SVG has already "cloned" the new Diablo iron head.
In contrast, Golfworks and Golfsmith offer original designs. Their clubs cannot be classified as clones, not even close.

In addition, there are several upscale component companies offering original designs.

While it's generally true that you can save at least a few bucks by buying a clone, the real advantage is that if your building (or ordering) your own equipment you can customize it to your game. And you can purchase a single iron and assemble it, then play with it for a couple of weeks to determine if it's the right the club for you.

You can buy discounted, outdated  and discontinued oem models fairly cheap. For some, they're an attractive alternative to high-priced newer models. The problem is if you want to customize them the costs will quickly add up and they lose their price advantage.

In the end, some people like the security and recognition of brand names, while others really don't care what name is on the club as long as it performs well.

Play what works for you and what you're comfortable with.




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#11 fretbored

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 03:40 PM

I'll admit it.  My current bag is actually 100% GigaGolf:

TRX Ti Driver
TRX Ti Fairway 3, 5
GX922 Irons 4 - PW
SGS Wedges 52, 56, 62
Center Cut Mod. 19 Putter

I was given a GigaGolf gift certificate as a "going away" present by some friends a couple years ago when I was moving to Texas, so for me it was an inexpensive excuse to get back into the game after a 12 year hiatus.  The quality is impressive for the cost - especially the wedges at only $20 a pop.

I'll probably move to OEM over time as my game improves.  Those SGS wedges are going to be in my bag for a while, though...

#12 mojo_13

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 06:18 PM

I actually got into clubmaking last year and this winter built a whole bag of component clubs to go along with my OEM bag. To me buying  a component company is WAY different than buying from one of those Chinese knockoff sites that claims it to be the real thing. I know that this was not part of the original question but there are some very good component companies out there that Ashton, Geek, Smt, Alpha just to name a few, but the offereings from Hireko and Golfsmith are getting very good and play very well. For me I look into both the OEM and component to make up my bag doesn't matter to me what it says on the bottom as long as it helps me play better.

#13 accufitgolf

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 06:35 PM

I have been at this for more years then I like to think. What I see here is some hair splitting, semantic issues, and some defending things.

Counterfeits...we all know what they are. They are not to be considered anything else other then what they are so we can quickly forget them.

Copies, clones, and knockoff components.....I consider them all to be in the same boat. Now some are more blatant then others, but basically they all took a unique design and copied it. Look for:

1. Minor changes and gave it a unique name. They are not blatant copiers but they are still copiers.

2. Minor changes with similar naming such as Big Bursar for Big Bertha. They are the more blatant copiers.

3. Very similar look alikes of unigue paint colors and color schemes. Like a yellow swoosh design. They are blatant copiers even if a unigue name and more blatant if a similar name.

4. Sellers specifically saying their so and so is similar to Major OEM so and so.

Unique design component suppliers......I will not mention names for fear of slighting some, but they have done none of the above. Their designs are not minor changes, they are unique designs and easily seen as such. Yes it can be difficult to do a 460cc, black color driver that does not look like all other 460cc black color drivers so look past that. Take a closer look at iron/hybrid designs where their unigueness will be obvious.

If it looks like a Duck, smells like a Duck, walks like a Duck, and quacks like a Duck then it is a Duck even if it calls itself a Zebra.

#14 justhackin

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 07:13 PM

Quote

Then there are component sellers like Golfsmith, Hireko, Gigagolf, etc. whose designs may be inspired (to varying degrees) by existing clubs, but are reasonable quality, can be fitted with high-quality, name-brand shafts, etc.

I laugh when I see someone talk about component folks "borrowing" designs from OEM clubs.  More than once I have seen a good component company come out with a design and a year later an OEM comes out with a head that looks a lot like the component club. So who is "borrowing" from who??

Hackin

Edited by justhackin, 02 March 2010 - 07:17 PM.


#15 accufitgolf

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 09:13 PM

View Postjusthackin, on 02 March 2010 - 07:13 PM, said:

Quote

Then there are component sellers like Golfsmith, Hireko, Gigagolf, etc. whose designs may be inspired (to varying degrees) by existing clubs, but are reasonable quality, can be fitted with high-quality, name-brand shafts, etc.

I laugh when I see someone talk about component folks "borrowing" designs from OEM clubs.  More than once I have seen a good component company come out with a design and a year later an OEM comes out with a head that looks a lot like the component club. So who is "borrowing" from who??

Hackin

Hackin

I can tell a story with names changed to protect the innocent and the guilty.

A & B both worked hand in hand for the same major OEM club company. They were asked to come up with a design to compete with an other major OEM company's recently introduced hot selling product. They did. The design was rejected.

Years later A went to work for a major, top line component company. B went to work for a major OEM company. They both had the power and ability to design and release what they wanted to release. They did.

Thus Golfsmith Snake Eyes and Adams both released a set of irons with a similar design within a few weeks of each other. These designs were variations of the ones that A & B had designed together years before at Wilson Golf in answer to the Spalding Cannon line.

Now with that story told, I ask you to list designs that major OEM's came out with based on component ideas as I do not think there are many unless they share a common heritage as I mentioned above.

Thanks


#16 shorrrno

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 09:27 PM

View PostBrettasaurus, on 01 March 2010 - 12:12 PM, said:


I agree that component makers have come a long way in recent years with regards to design and quality. Some of The Golfworks/Hireko/Golfsmith products are quite good and reasonably priced. The problem I have is that there are so many good deals on the BST here and elsewhere that it just makes even a component set seem like a lesser bargain. I was able to get a brand new set of Nickent 4DX CBs with the 3 and 4 hybrids for $109 BNIB and a 4DX Evolver w/CYG and 2 shafts for $90. They may be defunct but I love the 4DX line and for less than a Hireko or Golfworks set.

i got the same set. the best buy i have ever made

#17 takafam

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 09:31 PM

View Postaccufitgolf, on 02 March 2010 - 09:13 PM, said:

View Postjusthackin, on 02 March 2010 - 07:13 PM, said:

Quote

Then there are component sellers like Golfsmith, Hireko, Gigagolf, etc. whose designs may be inspired (to varying degrees) by existing clubs, but are reasonable quality, can be fitted with high-quality, name-brand shafts, etc.

I laugh when I see someone talk about component folks "borrowing" designs from OEM clubs. More than once I have seen a good component company come out with a design and a year later an OEM comes out with a head that looks a lot like the component club. So who is "borrowing" from who??

Hackin

Hackin

I can tell a story with names changed to protect the innocent and the guilty.

A & B both worked hand in hand for the same major OEM club company. They were asked to come up with a design to compete with an other major OEM company's recently introduced hot selling product. They did. The design was rejected.

Years later A went to work for a major, top line component company. B went to work for a major OEM company. They both had the power and ability to design and release what they wanted to release. They did.

Thus Golfsmith Snake Eyes and Adams both released a set of irons with a similar design within a few weeks of each other. These designs were variations of the ones that A & B had designed together years before at Wilson Golf in answer to the Spalding Cannon line.

Now with that story told, I ask you to list designs that major OEM's came out with based on component ideas as I do not think there are many unless they share a common heritage as I mentioned above.

Thanks

Could be hard to do as a lot of club designs have been done before which some might not remember or even know of. One example I think of was Golfworks UC wedges and Cleveland coming out with one a couple years later and getting a whole bunch of praise for it. I know I've seen older versions of this wedge though so it wasn't a completely new concept. However Golfworks had a lot of success with those wedges & then Cleveland gave it a try as far as I'm concerned.

#18 TotalRandom

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 02:30 AM

i shot my best game of golf with a set of clones!
i used to game a set of precept blades with 5.5 rifles. fantastic clubs they were set up buy a really good club fitter lie angle, length, type of shaft the whole bit for a good price. If you get them set up they are much better than buying a standard set of clubs that are not!. my dad on the same day was fitted and also brought a set of clones called T320's with 5.0 rifles, copies of the Taylor made 320 cavity irons. later on he upgraded to a callaway set of irons and i had some bad luck with a tree root while getting my 3 iron shaft replaced i used his T320 iron. I liked it so much i took his entire set in to get extended to my length. i shot my best game of 2 under at a course i played while i was on holiday's with those T320's. well as the story goes i came across another tree root and misplaced a 5 iron never to be found again.

now i play Pings!

#19 mozgolf

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 04:34 AM

I really dont mind clones at all. The only issue I have with them these days is that they are not the value they used to be. Some of the OEMs are putting out very good new clubs at about $400 to $500 for a set of irons (Adams/ Cobra/ Wilson spring to mind) and often you can buy last years model on clearance for about $250, or less.

I am sure it still works out a lot cheaper if you buy components and assemble them yourself. Someone had made up a set of Dynacraft Prophets from Hireko on the boards the other day and they looked just sick and I am sure cost peanuts.

But if you're not making them up yourself, from what I have seen of Gigas and Pinemeadows sites, if you make even a modest upgrade to the grip and shafts you will be at about the price of a new OEM set. Case in point I paid $415 for my a7s which includes two decent hybrids that normally retail for about $150 each anyway. With only an upgrade to the grips to a basic Lampkin or Tour Velvet at Pinemeadows, you're only getting about $100 saving, (varies a bit with model), if you do the shafts they will cost more than the OEM.

A set with two hybrids cost about $220-250 with their stock shafts and grips from Pinemeadows.
A quick scan online turns up

Nickent 3DX with 2 hybrids $249 or 5-PW for $80
Ci6 Graphite $229
Ci7$249
Pi7 $299
Cobra SZ $299
Cobra FP $299
Nike Slingshot incl 3 hybrids $299
Adams a2OS $229, 4 hybrids
Cleveland Cg Reds $299
Tour Edge Exotics EX1 $299
Hogan BH5 $149

No matter what level you are playing at there is something you could game at about or even under clone prices.....

Edited by mozgolf, 03 March 2010 - 04:46 AM.


#20 mojo_13

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 06:01 AM

View Postaccufitgolf, on 02 March 2010 - 09:13 PM, said:


Now with that story told, I ask you to list designs that major OEM's came out with based on component ideas as I do not think there are many unless they share a common heritage as I mentioned above.

Thanks

I believe that the Integra Quadratic was the first of the square drivers/fw's and that right after that callaway and nike came out with their version of the square type clubs.


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