I had to re wite this guide under a normal heading because ebay condons fake/replica sales of golf clubs-why? Because I worte a guide under key words as "fake" "clone""counterfeit" and so on-then all of a sudden you were not able to read this guide because it does not show up unless you google "spotting fake cgb irons"-go ahead and try-you will see the original guide. Now why does ebay do this? Just think of the millions they make on these fake sales-now imagine if every fake item (incl purses, watches and so on) were to be deleted off ebay-millions of lost revenue!! I have reported many fake items to ebay authorites with no action taken on their behalf-so it goes to show where they (ebay) stand on fake sales. I do this because , just like anybody else, I don't like to get ripped off. So good luck-hope you read this guide before "they" discover it.
I am writing this because of the extensive research I have done from other peoples reviews and my own research and because there is really no clear guide on TM CGB fakes. Also because I can't believe the number of fakes people are bidding on right now which could easily be seen if they simply read this guide. Keep in mind-this is ONLY for the 2008-09 CGB iron model set and does not apply for previous model years. First of all-not all clubs on ebay are fake- I have bought many clubs that are authentic but it takes reseach such as reading guides like this and carefully comparing pictures the seller provides and from the manufacturers website-do not trust a seller just because they have 1 million positive feedback-sometime they don't know they have fakes. Lets get started. If the price for a "brand new still in plastic" is to good to be true-then it is-this is your first clue-I don't care how many positve feedbacks the seller has TM does not sell these clubs to retailers for less than $900 (at the time of this writting). Before you receive the clubs, look at the actual picture (provided there is one) for things like the "TaylorMade" name on the hossle-it should be in clear/white lettering-if its in black then its FAKE-no exceptions!-sometimes, actually most of the time, there will be a little dot to the left of the "T"-this is normal and have personally seen this on the real ones. Next look at the "CGB max" printed on the black part - the word "max" should be in yellow-any other color is a fake. Next look at the black beauty ring at the hossel (not sure what it is really called)- it should have two white-silver evenly spaced rings-if it has one ring it "most" likely is a fake-I say "most likely" because if the person changed the shaft then this part gets changed out and they may have put on a different one but if its all original-it should absoulutely have two rings. Next, this may be hard to see in a picture but, the black part of the back of the club should be pebbled/textured and dull luster-if it looks too shinney or smooth then it is fake. Now the famous serial number-we all know that this can be unreliable-anyone can goto a shop, write down a number and put it on the club- but its worth checking-just call up TM 1-866-530-8624-they will give you set make up, shaft type and flex. The serial number is on the 7 iron and should be laser etched and skinney font lettering (about as wide as a human hair )-barely visable-if its thick lettering or engraved and very easy to see-its a fake. Now hopefully you all read this guide before buying but if you did buy, then here is what to look for after receiving the clubs.First of all the best way is to take it to a local TM retailer and do a side by side comparison, if you don't have one close by then follow these guidelines. The grips are the first givaway-if they are wrapped in plastic-they are most likely fakes (I've never seen authentic TM clubs wrapped in plastic-but this may be something new)-now remove the plastic and if you get a strong unbareable recycled rubber smell-they are definate FAKES-no matter how good the club head looks-this smell does not go away!. The colors (red and yellow) on the club head or shaft should not be very vibrant and the color of the shaft should be a little off black not deep black-almost like there is a touch of grey in it..The lettering on the shaft should be like it is part of the shaft and not a decal-a decal you can see the outline just beyond the lettering (looks shinier than the rest of the club). The top line of the club will be thicker on a fake-this will be hard to tell unless you have a real one to compare-so you can always take it to a authorized TM dealer to compare them. Now back to the black label on the club head-there should be definate texture/pebbleing-you can feel this by running your fingernail through it (or even see it)-if it smooth-definate fake because its a simple texture look sticker they put on-also if you tap the R7 logo (on the club head) it will sound hollow because of the cheap stick on label they applied. The "TaylorMade" lettering on the hossel should look even and well groved-meaning all the letters should look the same height and width-and thats all that should be written on the hossel. Now what is actually written on the shaft is a little difficult because of all the different combinations/custom shafts TM has to offer but from what I've seen, the fakes seem to have "Superfast CGB max" in yellow-after the RE AX, otherwise the real ones have just "Superfast" on the graphite shafts and "Superfast Black Steel" for the steel shaft. Also on the fakes the word "Graphite" or the number "55" are missing in the graphite shaft of the mens clubs. Lately they have been pretty good at cloning the shafts but what I've noticed are the fakes that do have all the correct lettering/words on the shaft will have the word "Graphite" in italics.UPDATE: I've also noticed shafts with Mitsubishi Rayon 45 or 55-I would give this a red flag to being a fake as I can not find anywhere that Mitsubishi makes this shaft for the irons- they are ONLY on the drivers/woods/hybrids. Also don't be fooled by the "packaged in original TaylorMade box/wraping" -anyone can easily print a box/plastic to look real. This is all I know from what I've researched, if anyone has anything to add please do so cause I hate being scammed just as much as the next guy. I hope this guide helps unsuspecting victims-just remember that this is a guide to look out for the obvious fakes-some are soo good that you can only tell after you remove the shaft or the grip. I know this is a long winded guide but some guides on this subject are a little too vague on details and because fakes are getting soo good, its these details that make the difference on spotting one.Update: Also don't be fooled by the TM sticker on the club-like I said anyone can easily print out a sticker to look real.BTW there should be only one sticker on one set of clubs (usually the 7 iron)-stickers on all of the clubs is a red flag for FAKES. There was one auction the seller proudly displayed his authentic sticker that said "3PW GRAPR" meaning the set was 3-PW with R Graphite shafts-the then when you look at his pictures they were steel shaft-at auction end, some unfortunate soul paid over $600 for these fakes-the other giveaway was the hossle ring-only one silver ring on it. Keep in mind -not all these signs need to be present, sometimes its a combination or only one. Good Luck!