Has your brain picked your putter before you even know it? Psychologist Stephen Smith discusses the personality traits that influence which putter you choose

What putter is right for you? We all know that feeling when we see a new putter and we just fall in love with it – or, indeed, it inspires an equal degree of loathing and disgust. These are extremely powerful sensations which don’t seem to change no matter what the stats are or which pros we’ve seen using them. We all know deep down when we see The One.

Outside of golf this is a well known principle. In the military, spacecraft design, or in any area where the equipment user must have complete confidence in the kit, a huge amount of research goes into how it looks, sounds, and feels. The designers recognise that there are millions of circuits in our brains that kick into action whenever we see a new object, design, or even a person. 

Historically these circuits ensured our safety so have lingered on when they really have no place in a 21st century world. They drive our subconscious brain in much more powerful ways than most of us realise. 

Psychologists call this the Anticipated Level of Confidence (ALC ). When it is high, users will be drawn to that design and will utilise it to its full potential.

A recent study found that the putter was one of the few clubs that created a high level of confidence in golfers. This may not surprise you as we hit far more shots with the putter than any other club. Technically putting is also the easiest of the swing movements required, so gives the average player much more opportunity for success.

When looking at the relationship players had with their putter in detail, a complex picture began to emerge. Putter choice actually depended on personality type.

Putter personality types

1.  Sensor Thinkers (ST)

The more traditional types who will prefer classic designs and colour patterns. An engineer’s dream as they love the hard data. Will be much more comfortable with the traditional brands and tend to be very loyal customers.

what putter is right for you

2. Sensor Feeling (SF)

Much less traditional than STs. They are particularly drawn to harmonious colour designs. No flashy colours, logos, decals please as these golfers do not like a lot of ‘fuss’. Prefer positive brands that have a conscientious approach to customers and environment.

what putter is right for you

3. Intuitive Thinkers (NT)

Love novelty and creativity. They will be looking for the next design that is vastly different to what came before. They prefer brands that show ingenuity and are outspoken but will want to see the claims backed up by the facts and figures.

what putter is right for you

4. Intuitive Feelers (NF)

For these guys novelty and creativity in the design alone is not enough. These are the real visionaries and they want to be involved in a design that really changes the way we view putters forever. They love symbols so the design must be highly visual with ‘meanings’ attached to specific logos or designs.

what putter is right for you

Which personality type are you?

Give each of the eight statements below a score from 1-5 depending on how strongly you agree, or disagree, with the statement.

1. Strongly disagree
2. Disagree
3. Neither agree nor disagree
4. Agree
5. Strongly agree

Statement 1: I prefer to work with the details.

Statement 2: I make decisions based on hard evidence and facts.

Statement 3: I like new and creative ideas.

Statement 4: Peoples’ feelings are more important than cold truths.

Statement 5: I prefer to stand back and see the big picture.

Statement 6: I make decisions based on what feels right.

Statement 7: I like the tried and tested ways.

Statement 8: I will stick to the hard facts even if it upsets some people.

To work out which personality type you are – and ultimately guide you towards what putter is right for you – follow these steps:

Step 1: Add your scores for Statement 1 and Statement 7.

Step 2: Add your scores for Statement 3 and Statement 5.

Step 3: Subtract the total score for Step 2 from Step 1.

Result: If your final score is 0 to 8 you are a Sensor (S). If your final score is -8 to -1, you are an Intuitive (N).

Step 4: Add your scores for Statement 2 and Statement 8.

Step 5: Add the scores for Statement 4 and Statement 6.

Step 3: Subtract the total score for Step 5 from Step 4.

Result: If your final score is 0 to 8 you are a Thinker (T). If your final score is -8 to -1, you are an Feeler (F).

I asked NCG’s equipment expert Hannah Holden to take the test. “I came out as an NT which isn’t surprising,” she said. “I am very creative and if you’ve seen my putter reviews before you know I like something a bit different but won’t use anything without some hard evidence!”

So take the test and let us know if you’re came out as expected or way off.

About Stephen Smith

Stephen is one of only four psychologists in the UK fully qualified as both a business and a sport psychologist and can be contacted by email, via his website, or on Twitter.

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