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Specialty golf store Golfsmith opening in Timonium

Specialty golf store Golfsmith, opening Friday morning in Lutherville Station in Timonium, is promising "a golfer's paradise" --  with a mission.

At what will be the largest golf store in the Baltimore area at 22,000 square feet, golf enthusiasts can take a swing on an indoor putting green, try out a hitting simulator, take a video recorded golf lesson, get fitted for golf clubs, or maybe even buy a club or two.

"Our goal is to help golfers of all skill levels play better and find the best solutions for their game," Golfsmith's CEO, Marty Hanaka, said in a press release announcing the opening.

Toward that end, customers can be custom fit for clubs through a "computerized swing and ball analysis system." Those who fail to see an immediate improvement in their game can exchange their clubs for store credit within 30 days.

Managers of the first Golfsmith in Maryland -- one of 10 new locations planned for this year, are also urging golfers to spend – and help the retailer buck a golf retail trend in which nearly half the golf stores in the U.S. closed in the past decade, according to the National Golf Foundation. Golfsmith says it is the largest specialty golf retailer in the nation, with 83 stores.

To lure customers as soon as the doors open at 8 a.m. Friday and Saturday, the store says it will give the first 500 customers in line either a $20 Golfsmith card or a two-pack of golf balls. Other giveaways in drawings over the weekend include $10,000 worth of drivers, iron sets, bags, balls and apparel.

Or, you can enter what could be the Mega Millions of the golf world – a contest where the winner and three friends get to play nine holes with Tiger Woods.

But hurry in – store representatives were expecting dozens to line up Friday morning.

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