Golfers are being fined thousands of pounds a week for buying and reselling golf shoes on eBay and other online retailers.
But while some retailers are keen to boost their business, others are taking a harder line, saying they are worried the law is too lenient.
A former British Golf Association (GBGA) official, Chris O’Dowd, said it is a “very tough time” for the sport.
“I think there is a real fear that if the law changes, there will be a stampede for golf shoes online,” he told Al Jazeera.
“People will sell their golf shoes for pennies and buy the cheapest shoes online for hundreds of pounds.”
O’DOWD said he had been contacted by a former employee of one of the UK’s largest online retailers, eBay, who said he was being fined as much as £5,000 for selling his own shoes.
O’Donovan, of the GBGA, said he has had many people who have been approached by sellers offering to sell their shoes online.
“It is a very, very tough time for the game,” he said.
“The GBGA is very concerned about the number of people in the game that are buying shoes online and selling them.”
Some of them are even doing it on their own, selling their own shoes.
“Golf is a sport where people have to wear a suit, tie and make sure they have shoes.
Online retailers have to prove to authorities that the shoes they sell are suitable for their needs and are of good quality.
But O’Donan said he is not sure how effective this type of enforcement is.”
They are very strict, they are very professional and very organised,” he added.”
In many cases, people are getting caught for selling shoes on the same day as their competitors.
“The GBGa’s chairman, Ian Wright, said the government had made it clear that it was not going to “go down the path of the golf industry being a one-way street”.”
We’re not going into this looking for a gold mine or anything, we’re going into it with a view to trying to get people to change their behaviour,” he explained.
The government wants to tackle the problem through a range of initiatives, including increased police patrols, better online protection for online sellers and a crackdown on online retailers selling golf equipment.
Owan Jones, of charity Open Golf, said: “There are very few places in the world where people can sell a golf kit on eBay.
“Golf retailers have been doing this for a very long time, they have a history and they know the law.”
He added that there is “no-one in this game for sale” and that they are doing their best to protect customers and suppliers.
Oddly, there are a number of golf clubs, including some in the UK, which are not doing enough to stop online sellers from reselling their golf equipment on their websites.
Omaha Golf Club (OGC) told Aljazeera it was “extremely concerned” by the situation and has offered to pay fines to eBay if the company takes measures to crack down on resellers.OGC said it had a strict policy of not accepting any online resellers or their products, and had been “very successful” in combating such activity.
“There has been a huge amount of activity in the past few years by resellers,” a spokesman said.
“We have made efforts to remove such activity and we will continue to do so.”
Gymkhana said its own online marketplace, where customers can sell their own golf equipment, has been the target of a “massive” number of transactions by online sellers.
Gymchana said it also had to deal with a number, mostly young, women in the country who are using the site to sell the shoes of their friends.
Golfers have been told that if they do not comply with the new law, they could face a fine of up to £5 and up to two years in prison.
The GBGGA said it was also concerned by the trend towards reselling the same shoes for a lower price on the golf club’s website.
“Online retailers are often targeting a younger generation who are buying a lot of golf shoes, and the GBG has received a lot more complaints from members of this group about the practice,” the group said.