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Pain-free Gulbis ready for LPGA start

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ORLANDO, Fla. – Good news for Natalie Gulbis fans.

She was ripping drives pain free with her new TaylorMade White driver on an indoor range at the PGA Merchandise Show Thursday at the Orange County Convention Center.

A year ago, she pulled out of the show after undergoing minor back surgery. This was after withdrawing from the final two events of ’09 with back pain. The last time anyone saw her at a tournament in 2010, she was also dealing with back pain. She withdrew from the season-ending LPGA Tour Championship last month because of back trouble.

“This is the healthiest I’ve felt in the last four or five years,” Gulbis said in a quiet moment at the show. “I haven’t felt this good since 2005 and 2006. My back’s felt really good, and I’ve had a great off season.”

Gulbis said she’s been working the past month with Butch Harmon, her swing coach.

“It’s one of the first off seasons where I’ve gotten some good time with Butch to work on my swing instead of just re-habbing my back,” Gulbis said.

Gulbis was dressed in white shoes, white pants and a white top while hitting shots with the white driver for a large crowd in a clinic at the TaylorMade range. She was using a White Bubble Burner 2.0 with white Winn grips.

'My manager said I look like I should be playing tennis,' Gulbis said.

She plans to play the season-opening Honda HP Thailand and HSBS Women’s Champions in Singapore in February and the three opening American events at the RR Donnelley Founders Cup in Phoenix, Kia Classic outside Los Angeles and the Kraft Nabisco Championship in Palm Springs.

'I'm planning to play a full schedule,' she said.

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