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FMU Psychology Professor Collaborates with Hartsville Engineer for a Book titled "Putting Machine" ; Also Earns International Award

FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion University psychology professor Tom Dorsel, who  recently co-authored a book titled “Putting Machine,” has been named a recipient of the “Outstanding Achievement Award” presented by the International Network of Golf (ING) at that organization’s 2002 Media Awards.  This is the third consecutive year Dorsel has been selected to receive this award.

Dorsel earned the award in the Instruction Writing category. He was recognized for his instructional features covering the mental aspect of golf, which have appeared in Golf Illustrated for the past five years.  The announcement was made at ING’s 12th-annual spring conference at the Mid Pines Inn & Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C.

Dorsel co-authored “Putting Machine” with the late David Whitehead of Hartsville.

The book details a scientific system developed by Whitehead that uses a numerical calculation for determining the length of backstroke for producing putts of varying distances.

Whitehead introduced Dorsel to the system about 10 years ago, and the two worked on it over the years.  Whitehead, a retired engineer, died three years ago.  He is survived by his wife, Louise, and two sons.

The book is available in limited distribution for $29.95 at Serious Sports (843-662-3414) or at

“Until now, determining the force required to roll a putt 20, 40, or 60 feet was a matter of guesswork,” Dorsel explained.  “The golfer had to go through the time-consuming process of developing a feel for the greens, which still was not foolproof.  The next day at another course, or under changed weather conditions, the response of the greens to your feel might be entirely different.”

“With this system, you simply step off the putt and do a quick calculation in your head or with the help of a small card carried in your pocket.  Then you address the ball knowing precisely how many inches to draw the putter back to roll the ball the required distance to the hole.  No more feel, no more guesswork, just a quick numerical calculation.”

Whitehead earned the B.A. degree in mechanical engineering from North Carolina State University.  He began research for this system during the winters of 1977 and 1978, spent on Jekyll Island and in Florida respectively.

Widely recognized as an expert in the field of sport psychology, Dorsel was recently granted membership in the prestigious Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA).  In addition to his writing, Dorsel has appeared on both local and national golf television programs. 

Dorsel joined the FMU faculty in 1986, after teaching for 12 years at Western Carolina University.  He earned degrees from the Universities of Notre Dame, Kentucky, and New Mexico, and completed a post-doctoral internship in clinical psychology at the University of California at Davis Medical Center.  He is a past president of the South Carolina Psychological Association.


Last Published: February 10, 2006 11:25 AM
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