Carolina Life: Club maker driven to help customers

06/16/2008 12:01 AM

06/15/2008 11:45 PM

In 1984, Earl Addy decided to trade in his $600 set of brand- name golf clubs for a new custom-made set.

“I had a shoulder injury and wasn’t satisfied with the results I was getting, so I decided to try to build a set myself,” he said. “In the process, I found out I was a pretty good club maker.”

Fast-forward 24 years to a nondescript ranch house on West Columbia’s Leaphart Road. There, the 73-year-old Addy continues to build clubs.

Earl’s Custom Golf Clubs is not only the best custom-fitting shop in the area, according to its loyal customers, but it’s also a walk through a history of club making. Room after room is filled with irons, some dating back to the early ’20s.

Boxes are stacked to the ceiling, each filled with a variety of metal heads. Shafts line the walls along the main hallway. Remnants of replaced grips are everywhere. Kevin Addy, Earl’s son and a skillful club maker himself, estimates that he and his father have built more than 6,000 custom sets for customers over 18 years.

“This old house gets about a hundred visitors a day,” says another voice. “It’s like the Wal-Mart of golf clubs.”

Mark Goudelock is hoping to spend about $300 to outfit himself with a full set of clubs and bag. “I’m just starting to pick up golf again,” he says. “A friend told me about Earl.”

After about 20 minutes of searching through each room, Earl Addy finds a set of irons, putter, driver and bag.

“This should suit you fine,” Addy says. “You come back, now, if you have any problems.”

Total price: $320.

“I treat people like I want to be treated,” says Addy. “We make sure everyone gets something they can play better golf with.”

_— Gerry Melendez,

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