Chances are, the sparkling "matched set" of golf clubs you treasure is not really matched at all, Bill Lowry claims.
Lowry, a clubmaker and owner of "bell Golf Company in Arlington, has an interesting offer: He will measure and test your set free and give you $1,000 if it indeed is a matched set.
"We've stood behind the offer and people have watched us while we've checked this," said Lowry, former head golf professional at Brandywine Country Club in Upper Marlboro, now so engrossed in clubmaking he rarely has time for the game.
"It's just a crime that people are paying top dollar for inferior quality. We've seen sets of woods where the driver would be two degrees open, the three-wood three degres closed, and the four-wood square. You might not believe this, but the closest we've come to a matched set was bought at sears. I think the man said he paid $89.95 for the set."
That might alarm golfers who shell out $375 to $600 for a set of sticks from the pro shop. Clubs with titanium metal shafts go for $1,800 to $2,000.
Lowry who manufactures and fits custom-made clubs in his unique building, carefully measures club swing weight graduated length, degree of loft, lie, face angle, total weight, grip size and shaft flex to see if they are manufactured to specifications.
"We've checked close to 150 sets for people who thought they had a matched set and 90 percent of those clubs we have checked don't even get past the swing weight scale," he said.
On the second floor of Lowry's plant [formery Of Course and Court] Lowry, his wife Lynda and assistants make woods, irons and putters. The iron heads are forged at the foundry but the remainder of the clubmaking is done at the building in arlington.
Downstairs, in another large room, there is an indoor sand trap where you can blast onto an elevated four-hole putting green, four tees with nets allowing the golfer to hit any club in his bag and a computer which indicates how far a certain shot would go according to clubhead speed.
"Golfers are sort of dumbfounded; that's the initial reaction when they see the place," he said. "They just can't believe you can have that much of a facility in a downtown location."
Downstairs, golfers can hit all the shots they want in half an hour for $2.
Lowry said he will conduct free tours twice a week in August for those interested in seeing how golf clubs are manufactured.
Incidentally. Lowry's shop sells season tickets which entitle spectators to view practice rounds and the three days of the LPGA Greater Baltimore Golf Classic July 19-22.
Hotsy Alberstein, Maryland boxing hall of famer and newly confirmed 1979-80 president of the University of Maryland Terrapin Club, won high gross trophy for the 22nd consecutive year at the annual M Club outing at the University course recently. Darn near broke 200 for 18-hole round . . . Qualifying medalist George Andre of International, Pete Van Pelt of Army Navy, Chip Heyl of Reston, Greg Chapman of Reston South and Richard Lion of Springfield are locals entered in the Virginia Amateur starting today at Cascades in Hot Springs. Neff McClary, last area player to win, in 1977 is not in the field.
For the 19th straight year, the Hyattsville Optimist Club will sponsor its boys and girls junior program at the University of Maryland driving range. Lessons will start July 11 and continue each Wednesday through August 8. Ages 12-16 are accepted and the entire program, including banquet, costs $10. Applications can be made at the Maryyland pro shop . . . Johnny Miller's $9,100 payday in last week's Canadian Open pushed him to $17,351 for the year, finally putting him back on the PGA tour money list: No. 100 . . An estimated 1,000 attended the 10th anniversary bash of Twin Shields last Sunday. Proprietors Ray and Roy Shields, who also operate Glenn Dale [the working man's country clubs] "know how to throw a party; they don't run out of anything," said one enthusiastic patron.