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Gear & Equipment

Ecco's latest: BIOM golf shoes

Ecco Golf continues to garner publicity for its Street collection, which began when Fred Couples was identified wearing them in the Masters a year ago. Then there was recent video posted by Graeme McDowell on Twitter of Jack Nicklaus wearing them in a charity event at PGA National.

The Danish shoemaker recently introduced a new line of shoes, BIOM Golf, that have been worn on the PGA Tour, by Vijay Singh, among others.

Ecco BIOM.jpg

The BIOM features what Ecco calls Natural Motion technology that was designed to work with the natural abilities of the foot to absorb impact by landing more toward the mid-foot than the heel. The company says it provides stability when swinging a club, but also is better for the foot and for foot health when walking. The company has researched extensively foot biomechanics (hence BIOM) that led first to a BIOM running shoe in 2009, followed by a BIOM walking shoe and now the BIOM golf shoe.

The shoes are said to put the golfer's feet closer to the ground as well. Then there's the leather used: Tibetan yak, "three times stronger than ordinary leathers," the company said.

The MSRP: $220.

-- John Strege

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News & Tours

LPGA: This is one happy Gal

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- A year ago, one might have surmised that Sandra Gal had stolen an identity to describe herself in her Twitter bio. Crazy girl, artist, nature lover, adventurer -- that suggests one who embraces life and is capable of discovering fun even in its darkest crevasses. It suggests someone who is happy.

It did not suggest Gal. She was miserable, wrist and back injuries generally contributing to her malaise, poor golf specifically responsible for it. "A low point in my career," she said.

Sandra Gal.jpg

(Photo by Darren Carroll)

Today Gal, 25, is all smiles, as anyone would be in the wake of their inaugural professional victory and the 67 that followed on Thursday in the first round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship here. The quality of her golf is less responsible for her happiness, than her happiness is for the finest golf of her young career.

"I knew I wasn't happy," she said following her round on a desert day hot enough to erase the smiles of all but the most contented. "I decided to take a totally different approach and re-thought why I'm doing all this. Why am I playing golf? I just decided I'd better enjoy it. It's my job. It's my life."

Her joy was evident even before out-dueling Jiyai Shin on the last hole to win the Kia Classic in the City of Industry 90 miles north of here the Sunday before. Through the weekend and especially the final round she lit up otherwise dark and damp days with her incessant smile that has been there since her self diagnosis and prescribed attitude adjustment.

She shared her new attitude via her website,, at the outset of the year. "I'm excited about 2011, my fourth year on tour now!" she wrote. "Plans are to be in contention often, enjoy it, get even fitter and see the good in everyone. Lets see how I'll fare!"

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News & Tours

This Week's Syllabus: March 31-April 6

My look at the top five teams in the country right now

Thumbnail image for Oklahoma-state-logo-latest.jpg1. Oklahoma State (Last week: 1)
One more event without Peter Uihlein in the line-up for OSU. Heard he gave Mike McGraw some lame excuse about playing in another  tournament in Augusta instead … rhymes with Pasters. Considering the Cowboys record without the U.S. Amateur champion, I'm not sure he'll be missed (said with sarcasm).
Next event: Insperity Augusta State Invitational, Forest Hills GC, Augusta, Ga., April 2-3 ... Read
News & Tours

Podcast: Dustin Johnson and the Masters

The Masters Preview issue is among our staff's favorite to plan and work on each year. This year's edition features a mix of compelling stories that hopefully will hold you over until the competition begins at Augusta National GC.

dustin_johnson_470.jpg(Photograph by Nathaniel Welch)

As a companion to the issue, take a listen to our Masters Preview podcast, which highlights what you'll find in the magazine as well as offering an interview with Jim Moriarty, who wrote our main profile piece on Dustin Johnson. Moriarty discusses what he learned about Johnson during the reporting for the story as well as explains why he feels this year's Masters might be one of the most fascinating  in recent memory.

Listen to the podcast

--Ryan Herrington

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News & Tours

Photo of the Day: The Prairie Club's Dunes Course

The par-5 fifteenth hole at The Prairie Club's Dunes Course in Valentine, Nebraska. The Dunes Course was Golf Digest's "Overnight Destination of the Year." Click the image to enlarge.

Photograph by Stephen Szurlej

-- Christian Iooss, Director of Photography

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Courses & Travel

Video: "This is Cabot Links"

"This site--in Nova Scotia--this could be the next Bandon Dunes," says Mike Keiser.

He would know. Here's a link to an introduction video, narrated by Donald Sutherland, an Officer of the Order of Canada (which is to say, he's VERY Canadian). Sutherland was born in Saint John, New Brunswick and grew up in Hampton, which is roughly 45 minutes from the site of Cabot Links.

Ten holes of Cabot Links opens for play on July 1.

For a previous post of Keiser's latest creation, click here.

--Matty G.

(I'm wrapping up a trip to Kiawah today, and I'm playing the new Pinehurst No. 2 on Friday. You can follow my round on Twitter: @Matt_Ginella.)

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Gear & Equipment

Miura Golf introducing new irons

Miura Golf, a Japanese company renowned for the quality of its forged irons, will introduce a new line of forged cavity-back irons, the Passing Point 9003 (or PP-9003), on Friday.

Miura PP-9003.jpg
The name Passing Point is meant to reflect the moment in a golfer's development that his clubs pass the point of being a set of instruments that in his hands may or may not function in the manner they were intended to where "they become friends in their own right," the company states.

These are irons that were designed to be friendly, given their wider sole and offset, though neither apparently was done in a way that suggests that their users require all the help they can get. This from its news release:

"The sole takes an elegant shape that doesn't look oversized. Likewise the offset is designed to flow naturally into the clubhead to preserve a confident look at address, but still benefit players who need some help squaring the clubface at impact."

The PP-9003 irons are quintessentially Miura, too, which is to say they're an aesthetic success.

The MSRP is $225 per iron and they're available in 4-iron through gap wedge.

-- John Strege

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Sandra Gal: How to stiff an 80-yard pitch

Sandra Gal fired a 67 Thursday to tie for the lead at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Last weekend, she finished off her 16-under-par performance with an 80-yard pitch shot that spun back to within two feet on the final hole. She beat Jiyai Shin by a single stroke to capture the Kia Classic for her first win on the LPGA Tour. For many of you, this less-than-full pitch is one of the hardest shots in golf. Because you're not making a full swing, solid contact and predictable distance is seemingly impossible. More often than not, you hit the ball fat or thin.

sandra_gal_300.jpgBack in the late '80s, I was struggling with the short wedge shot that Sandra performs so well. But I had the good fortune to spend an afternoon with the great teacher Davis Love Jr., just a few days before he was lost in the tragic small-plane crash flying from Sea Island to Jacksonville. He had given me a tip for the part-wedge shots (from 80 yards and closer) that I still use today. Davis showed me how to make a
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News & Tours

New No. 1 in women's D-I poll

For the first time since the preseason poll was released in late August, USC has claimed the No. 1 spot in the Golf World/NGCA women's coaches' poll. The Trojans victory at the Allstate Sugar Bowl, where they outpaced previous No. 1 Alabama, as well as their runner-up finish at the Battle at Rancho Bernardo Inn helped propel the squad to the top.

Here is the poll overall:

Women's D-I poll 4:4 issue.jpg
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Gear & Equipment

The Masters iPad app: $1.99 well spent

Tradition is important to Augusta National Golf Club, as CBS' Jim Nantz perennially reminds us ("the Masters, a tradition like no other"), but it has embraced technology, too, to wit: On Tuesday, it released a Masters app for the Apple iPad ($1.99 in the App Store).

It's basically a scaled-down version of its website,, with one notable exception: The iPad app will feature the ESPN (Thursday and Friday) and CBS (Saturday and Sunday) telecasts. We think. The app itself shows in its Live Channels lineup "TV Broadcast" each day of the tournament. The App Store says "Saturday and Sunday's live CBS simulcast," and does not mention the Thursday and Friday broadcasts on ESPN.

Other live channels available on the iPad app (as well as will be Masters on the Range (Monday through Wednesday), interviews (everyday), the Par 3 Contest on Wednesday, and, on each day of the tournament, Featured Group 1 and Featured Group 2, Hole Nos. 15 and 16, Amen Corner and Masters In-Depth.

Masters iPad App.jpg

A nice feature is the Personalize page. Check the box next to the names of players in which you are specifically interested and you'll get "real-time alerts on their tournament performance," the app promises. The same names will also appear atop the leaderboard.

Its "Highlights & Features" section has a wide array of on-demand video features in "HD-quality," it advertises. The quality of the video indeed is impressive on the iPad screen.

Provided it all works according to plan come tournament time, it would be hard to argue that it isn't worth the $1.99 investment.

-- John Strege

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