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ECCO strides ahead with the BIOM Hybrid 2

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A shoe design ought to begin with the foot in mind. Sounds obvious, right? ECCO’s founder didn’t think it was obvious to shoemakers in the 1960s. In the golf sphere, too, form seemed be trumping function in the late 2000s when ECCO decided to take golf shoes in a totally new direction, offering golfers spikeless, comfortable shoes that could be worn on the course, in the clubhouse and on the street.

Karl Toosbuy founded ECCO in 1963, and the company has been pushing innovation in footwear in general, and golf footwear in particular, ever since. Toosbuy, an accomplished shoemaker, was driven to own and operate his own business. He left a manager position at a shoe factory in Copenhagen to start his own outfit guided by a unique philosophy.

The idea that the shoes should be designed primarily with the foot in mind led to the creation of shoes that were supremely comfortable and functional. A commitment to quality, comfort and innovation lie at the heart of Toosbuy’s dream, and those principles are foundational to ECCO’s newest golf shoe: the BIOM Hybrid 2.

The Danish company produced its first pair of golf shoes in 1996. Since then, ECCO has signed the likes of Thomas Bjorn, Fred Couples, and Graeme McDowell. Perhaps most notably, the company pioneered the spikeless golf shoe revolution (ECCO calls them “hybrids”) with the launch of the original Golf Street shoe Fred Couples wore at the 2010 Masters.

FC5B2221
Above: Shoes in the ECCO BIOM series feature a completely anatomical last developed by scanning the feet of 2,500 athletes.

ECCO launched BIOM Golf in 2011 and produced the first golf shoe to utilize the company’s revolutionary Natural Motion technology. They followed up a year later with the BIOM Hybrid and then the Tour Hybrid in 2013, which features a high-performance outer and classic-looking upper.

Continuing the evolution of the BIOM technology in the golf shoe, ECCO is introducing the BIOM Hybrid 2 this season. It’s lighter and thinner than the existing BIOM Hybrid, which is presently one of the most popular golf shoes on the market.

I had a chance to speak with David Helter, ECCO USA’s Specialty Sales Director about the ECCO BIOM Hybrid 2, some of its component technology and the ECCO brand in general.

Check out the Q&A below.

BA: What about ECCO technology in shoe construction makes it different from its competitors?

DH: ECCO is one of the only major shoe manufacturers that own the entire production process. Producing our leathers and golf footwear exclusively in ECCO owned and operated factories allows for complete oversight of design and quality control.

ECCO Tannery 1
Above: One of ECCO’s tanneries, which are located in Europe, Southeast Asia and the Far East. 

Since its founding in 1963, ECCO has dedicated itself to the study of the human foot and has developed several unique technologies, most notably being our Direct Inject Process (DIP). Rather than using cement, like many manufacturers, each ECCO upper is placed in a mold where the polyurethane (PU) midsole is shot around it in liquid form creating a chemical bond. Not only does this process create an unbreakable, water-tight seal, it also reduces the overall weight of the shoe. As an alternative to the common EVA foam of other brands, PU is also highly flexible and resists breakdown for out-of-the-box comfort that lasts season after season.

Additional innovations include the ECCO Dynamic Traction System (E-DTS) outsole on our hybrid shoes that provides more than 800 traction angles and our HYDROMAX weatherproofing treatment to our leathers.

BA: Tell me about the leathers that ECCO uses in its shoes. What makes them so special?

DH: ECCO is the fifth-largest tannery in the world. In addition to producing all of our own, we provide leathers to many of the world’s leading luxury brands. More than 200 pairs of hands touch each piece of leather before it leaves our facilities, so ECCO customers can rest assured they are wearing only the best. Our vertical integration allows us to develop many specialty leathers for our golf collection, including highly-durable Yak and Camel along with traditional cowhide. In addition to world-class quality, all ECCO Golf leathers are treated with HYDROMAX for superb protection from the elements.

BA: Fred Couples and ECCO launched the spikeless shoe craze in 2010. What made the company’s spikeless shoes so popular?

DH: Couples brought hybrid golf footwear to global attention when he climbed the leaderboard in ECCO Golf Street at the 2010 Masters. Prior to that, no Tour players were competing in hybrid shoes, primarily because the materials couldn’t perform at that level. The ECCO E-DTS outsole – made from the same durable material as luggage wheels – changed that by offering more than 800 points of traction. It resists off-course wear and prevents on-course slippage despite Tour-level swing speeds. Golfers can travel seamlessly from car to course to other activities without changing shoes and enjoy a stylish, street-inspired aesthetic.

FC5B2219
Above: The mold for ECCO’s patented E-DTS hybrid outsole has approximately 100 molded traction bars offering 800 traction angles.

According to Golf Datatech statistics, in 2014, hybrid footwear now represents more than 45 percent of all golf footwear sales and ECCO leads the premium market in this category. ECCO remains at the forefront of the hybrid concept, now offering a diverse selection of hybrid product styles for golfers of all tastes.

BA: How has the BIOM Hybrid been received?

DH: BIOM Hybrid is a perfect example of how ECCO incorporates its extensive research into the human foot. It is built on the BIOM anatomical last which was created using data gathered after scanning more than 2,500 pairs of feet. It encourages the foot’s natural motion and brings it closer to the ground for increased feel while offering extreme flexibility and torsion. The result is BIOM Hybrid becoming the leading premium hybrid style in the golf market.

BA: So what’s next?

DH: In addition to BIOM Hybrid 2, ECCO will be launching several other new products this year including new Tour Hybrid and Street EVO One models that incorporate even more exotic leathers and lifestyle-driven aesthetics. There might be a few surprises as well. We are always looking for ways to incorporate fashion-forward upper designs with our E-DTS outsole to marry everyday style and superb on-course performance.

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  1. Stu

    Nov 6, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Please make a wide version.

  2. Tanner

    Nov 6, 2014 at 7:54 am

    Will they ever create an anti sway shoe?

  3. Desmond

    Nov 5, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    I bought two pairs of the Biom w spikes — they fit better on my feet than the Hybrid. A little more money, but oh, so comfy with better leather and more stability.

    After reading the article, I am looking forward to the Tour Hybrid …. not in love with the Yak leather in the Hybrid.

  4. mike

    Nov 4, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Bought my first pair this year at the recommendation of my club professional, and I have to say these are the best golf shoes I have ever worn. The comfort level is unreal. Try the biom zero – you are in for a nice surprise.

  5. Tony

    Nov 4, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    For $200 they better lower my score by 5 strokes.

  6. Don

    Nov 4, 2014 at 10:45 am

    I live in Vancouver. Where it is wet and I do not see too many people with spikeless shoes. How do these perform in sloppy conditions?

    • adam

      Nov 4, 2014 at 1:33 pm

      If they’re anything like the hybrid shoe from last season they are not very good in the muck. Every other condition they are great, however.

    • kev

      Nov 4, 2014 at 9:23 pm

      try looking for adidas climawarm golf shoes. you’ll thank me later. one of the best buys i ever made for sloppy wet cold golf condition golf shoes. i feel like superman golfing in northwest weather during cold wet days.

    • mike

      Nov 5, 2014 at 4:55 pm

      I live in Vancouver as well, I wear the hybrid biom spikeless all year and never slip even in a downpour, they aren’t great at keeping the feet super dry, but still the most comfortable shoes around, plus I would never go back to spikes after the comfort level these shoes bring. Like I said too, even in downpour I haven’t slipped while swinging

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19th Hole

GolfWRX Spotlight: Evalu18 – ‘Evaluating golf architecturally’

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When it comes to course directories with an emphasis on past and present architects, Evalu18 is likely to be one of the most in-depth—for UK and Ireland golf courses—you’re ever likely to see—highlighted by the site’s wealth of information and user-friendly navigation.

Jasper Miners, a Canadian now living in London, is the brains behind Evalu18. He explained to me how the concept began as a map with courses that he wanted to play based on his extensive research, which was then added to based on the recommendations of others. Frustrated by the lack of an easy way to access the information in a modern format – he created Evalu18.

“After some time I shared a map with a good friend, an American from New York whom I worked with who was a very keen golfer. The map and my notes allowed him to find great golf wherever he was and to plan a trip easily. 

Everyone has heard of the Open rota courses and perhaps some of the courses which are intimately linked to the history and origins of the game. However, for every well-known course, there are 10-20 that may be just as good that we and even locals may never have even heard of. Evalu18 exists for those – sound golf is the criteria for being listed.” – Jasper Miners, founder of Evalu18

Beginning with the site’s interactive map the depth of research and information available is striking. The filter option, which has been crafted down to the minutest detail, puts the directory in a league of its own and allows golfers to plan for the perfect day out or golfing trip.

Whether you are looking for a particular golf course from a specific architect or consultant, to whether the track is dog-friendly. or is suited to trolleys or buggies, Evalu18 has you covered. The directory allows you to filter courses based on the level of difficulty their walkability is, what is available practice facility wise or if you’re looking for a course which has ever hosted a specific event as well as much more.

Another cool feature of Evalu18 is its “Collections” element. With taste and preference regarding golf courses being so vast amongst golfers, the site doesn’t separate courses by ranking but lets you home in on that ideal course in a simple fashion.

The Collection section showcases courses that are grouped according to identifiable characteristics. Featured in this area of the site are nine-hole courses, truly unique courses, bunker-less courses, hidden gems, bang-for-your-buck courses as well as so many more cool categories.

Each course on the site contains information that a typical guest would want to know, with plenty also featuring full reviews written to enhance the experience.

Additionally, a “discover” section of the site allows golf-enthusiasts to explore golf course architecture books, magazines and pertinent works with the company confidently claiming to have “the most thorough collection of GCA book reviews anywhere online.”

 

As for what’s next for Evalu18, international growth along with a unique travel guide, says Jasper

“We are working on improvements to the site and a unique travel section that will have substantial guides. Every course can also have included recommended accommodation, food and drink venues and tourist sites. We engage with the clubs and have them help us tell their story – what makes them unique and worth your time, attention and $.”

Whether you are already in the UK and Ireland or planning that dream golfing trip abroad, Evalu18 is a site that is a must for any golfer to check out. Once you do, it will likely place you on your ideal course—which before you may not have even known existed.

Check out Evalu18 here.

 

 

 

 

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Today from the Forums: “New LA Golf Shafts at the 2020 Honda Classic”

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Today from the Forums shines the spotlight on new LA Golf Shafts featured at this week’s Honda Classic. The new shafts have gone down well with our members, who are excited about what the company has in store for 2020.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • QuigleyDU: “Nice! The mentioned during the discussion they did here that new stuff was coming. I have heard the TRONO is straight up rebar stout.”
  • AdamStoutjesdyk: “I am so intrigued by the Trono since I saw it on one of TXG’s Videos.”
  • bfizzy: “I like how they are taking their time to bring out new products to retail and consumer-oriented channels. Will be cool to see what they come out with!”

Entire Thread: “New LA Golf Shafts at the 2020 Honda Classic”

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Top 5 modern glued-hosel drivers

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Modern adjustable drivers are a marvel of engineering and something we now take for granted—considering every OEM utilizes some type of adjustable system to assist with fitting and dialing in launch conditions.

However, as every WRXer knows, before we had these tools to our disposal, we had to rely on the good old-fashion glued-in shaft drivers.

These five models are among the best from the recent past.

TaylorMade Burner SuperFast TP

Released in the fall of 2010, the Burner SuperFast TP was the undisputed king of ball speed for a very long time. Many will default to thinking the R510 TP was one of TaylorMade’s best, but for both the average golfer and for tour pros, this 460cc driver offered a lot more forgiveness than the R510 thanks to its size and aerodynamics. For those who had one, it stayed in the bag for a long time if you got the shaft right.

Adams Insight Tech a4 Prototype 9015D

Adams. Really?

It was a question a lot of people asked when these started showing up in golfer’s bags.

The 9015D was the brother to the original Adams 9016D, which was specifically built for the long drive circuit when Adams Golf was the official sponsor. It had a high toe profile and sat open at address—something that was often hard to come by in the glued hosel era of driver design.

One fun thing to consider when looking back at this driver is the protruding mass towards the back of the head to lower the center of gravity—vaguely similar to the TaylorMade SIM’s Inertia Generator and Cobra’s SpeedBack—minus the multi-material construction. Those Adams engineers were onto something!

Titleist 905R

Titleist’s very first 460cc driver was introduced not long after the 400cc 905S and the 905T (made famous by the notorious old-club using Steve Stricker) hit the scene.

The 905R stayed in some player’s bag for an extended period of time, including the bag of Adam Scott, who didn’t switch until the 910 came along. Many golfers referred to the 905R as a big version of the famous 975J, and from address it’s hard to argue.

Callaway FT Tour

One of Callaway’s first “tour” style drivers. The original version of the FT Tour was called the FT-9 Tour Authentic and was Callaway’s attempt to compete with the popular Tour Preferred line from TaylorMade. The price tag was high but so was the performance.

The FT Tour was a workable low spin driver and the grandchild of the FT-5 TH—a tour only driver that offered Callaway’s very first traditional-style hosel and got them away from the S2H2 designs that built the brand in the 90s. At 460cc’s, it still looks small by today’s standards, but if you can find one give it a hit.

Bridgestone J33R 460

The J33R 460 will go down as one of the all-time best drivers of its era. Its popularity even made trying to find one more difficult than it should have been at the time because Bridgestone struggled to find brick and mortar stores to carry their hard goods (beyond golf balls) at a time when big-box was the king of golf retail. The J33R was the third generation of the J33 driver line that included the J33P (375cc) and the original J33R (420cc).

Stuart Appleby famously hit a 426-yard tee shot at the 2006 Mercedes Championships (Tournament of Champions in Hawaii) that nearly went over the green of the par-4 12th hole with the J33P—now imagine the punch of the 460 version!

What do you think of these selections, WRXers? Any drivers you’d add?

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