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AUTHOR : CHARLIE EPPS

author-charlie eppsKnown as "The Golf Doctor," Charlie Epps has been one of Houston's most respected PGA professionals for 30 years. He is the Director of Golf at Redstone Golf Club, home of the PGA Tour's Shell Houston Open.

Epps teaches two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and second-year Tour player Bobby Gates. Listen to Epps 9-10 a.m. Saturday mornings on Yahoo! Sports Radio on 1560 AM in Houston, channel 127 pm Sirius satellite and 242 XM.

He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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How to Enjoy the Dog Days of Summer

Written by Charlie Epps on 01 August 2010.

I've always said that golf is a seasonal sport. Down here in Texas, where we can play year-round, a lot of people forget that. Now that we're in the dog days of summer—usually it's too hot to play mid-day—I thought I'd help you find ways to enjoy our great game without overdoing it.

Most people don't realize that the first golf courses were only six holes long. Some were eight holes, some were 14...these days, everyone gets wrapped up in having to play an 18-hole round. It doesn't have to be that way.

Sometimes a nine-hole round of golf in the afternoon is fun. That is especially true in the heat of the summer. Try teeing off around 5 p.m. and getting in nine holes as dusk settles in. It's a great time of day to be on a golf course, and you might be surprised at how much you enjoy the nine-hole round. You finish with more energy. You have more time to devote to other things, and the heat won't affect you as much.

As everyone who reads this magazine knows, the Redstone Companies are heavily involved in the game of golf. We definitely know that golf is not as popular as it once was. One reason is the expense/cost for a round of golf has gotten out of hand. Also, golf courses actually are too difficult for average and beginning golfers. Lastly, it's a time-consuming game.

So here are some suggestions as to how to enjoy golf in the dead of summer.

• Play nine holes of golf. You get home earlier, but you still keep your hand in the game. You still can work on your swing, your touch around the green, etc. Don't knock the nine-hole round until you try it.

• Play nine holes and go fishing...or go to the pool or beach. Sometimes it's good to get away from the game a little bit. It's a seasonal game, and we have to get away from it to appreciate it more. Mix in just a little taste of golf with other activities.

• Challenge yourself and play with only half of your clubs. One day, go out with your 3-wood, 5-wood, 5-iron, 7-iron, wedge and putter and see what you shoot. The next time, use the driver, 4-wood, 4-iron, 8-iron, sand wedge and putter. See what you shoot.

Not only will this exercise be a different experience, but it will bring the three-quarter-swing 7-iron shot back into play. When you don't have 14 clubs from which to chose, you're forced to use your imagination and create different shots. You can really learn what you can do when your club options are limited. You'll probably even surprise yourself.

• Get out of the way of your ego and play from different sets of tees—even the women's tees. The definition of "game" is to entertain yourself and have fun. You might think playing from your club's "up tees" is not manly, but I promise you that you'll see the course in a different way and hit different shots. It will help your game, I promise.

As a young man of 65 years, I'm enjoying playing from different tees (the super-

senior tees!). Every once in a while, you should try it, too. The heat of the summer is a perfect time.

• To all the grandparents, all your grandchildren have gone through golf camps in June and July. Now is a great time to take the little ones out for a three-hole round.

Stick a fishing pole in the bag, too, for the lakes. If your grandkid (or son/daughter) wants to stop and fish, just let other groups play through, stay on the side and enjoy a nice distraction.

There are all kinds of ways to enjoy golf. Strapping up for 18 holes in the heat of

the day isn't the only way. Use this time of year to experiment with shorter trips to the course and non-traditional games while you're there.

And don't fret, October will be here before you know it, and you can get back to playing 36 holes on Saturday.

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