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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..


The Tournament of champions

Written by Charlie Epps on 01 March 2011.

One of the missions of this magazine is to improve your golf game. We do that, in large part, by improving your "Golf IQ."

If you believe—as I do—that all physical action is rooted in the mind, then we must develop the proper thoughts about what actually moves the club in order to improve our physical performance.

Bobby Jones said, "Competitive golf is played mainly on a five-and-half inch course—the distance between your ears." That is true for all levels of golf. For the most part, the game played in our minds.

Visualization is one of the keys to improving your golf swings. So there's no better place to improve your swing than attending the Shell Houston Open. Hopefully, your main reason for attending the tournament is to get an up-close and personal view of the best players in the world, as they play the game. You can learn so much by watching these world-class players.

Just how good are the players you get to watch at Redstone? Since 1946, 23 winners of the SHO have won major championships. That list includes Byron Nelson, Jackie Burke Jr., Gary Player and Arnold Palmer. More contemporary SHO champs with majors are Vijay Singh, David Duval and Fred Couples. Also, the past two Masters champions—Phil Mickelson and Angel Cabrera—have played in the past two SHOs and will be in the field this month as well.

Paying close attention to how these champions go about their business can help your game immensely.

My first tip is to come with a pair of binoculars and go to the driving range. Find a good spot and watch. And learn. Use your binoculars to get up-close and focused views of these players as the practice their swings. How can anyone attend a PGA Tour event without a pair of binoculars?

If you're truly devoted in improving game, then investing in a good pair of binoculars will pay for itself. While at the driving range, take notice of the players' posture during their set up and swing. Secondly, watch where the aim and the direction their ball goes. You'll notice their backswing is slower than their downswing.

Also pay close attention to what the body does. See how the upper body turns going back, and how the lower body turns through the ball on the downswing.

After you spend some time watching your favorite players on the driving range, go to the putting and chipping green. You'll notice all kind of things there. The players' backstroke is much shorter than the follow through on the green. You'll see the deliberate pace and tempo these professionals have around the green. They're never in a hurry, yet none of them play slowly.

There's so much to learn at the SHO, and I hope you're excited to spend some time at Redstone at the end of the month.

And, oh by the way, with those handy binoculars, you can get in some great bird-watching between all the birdies and eagles the players make on the course. There are hawks, eagles and all kinds of beautiful birds patrolling the grounds at Redstone.

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