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Dr. Sport: Become a Putting Engineer

by Bob Phillips, Ph.D.

Did you know that the single biggest difference between people who are creative and people who are not creative is that the people who are creative believe that they are creative, while the noncreative people think that they are not creative. Remember the Henry Ford quote, "If you think you can or if you think you can not, you are probably right."

A putting engineer is a golfer who has studied how to make putts. He or she has practiced the craft of putting and reading greens. They are creative, focused, goal oriented, well grounded in statistics (I will make only a percentage of these), not banking on luck, and ready to sink the thing and get on to the next hole. As with most engineers they are pragmatic and structured. They do not think of the next project (the next hole), nor do they think about the thing falling apart in the middle. When they miss they are somewhat surprised and immediately begin planning a better putt.

While engineers are as human as the next guy, they do not throw up material (strokes) and expect something good to come of it. They know that hoping it works is not the same as planning it to work. They take things in the right order and expect to test things before they put them all together. The golfing engineer does the same things. He or she will not just hit a ball at the green or hole, they will plan the shot, use historically successful blueprints (memories) to guide their plans and allow for changes in the current situation. Above all they expect the process to work. They are confident that given the right stuff and using the right plan they can accomplish the task at hand. These putting engineers usually make the grade and the shot.

Be a putting engineer and not a golfer who only pushes ahead and hopes to get close. Use all of your resources to their maximum and do things in order. Understand the math and be flexible. Above all, expect to be successful.

Bob Phillips, Ph.D.
Clinical and Golf Psychologist
Personal Coach
The Sport Psychology Training Center

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