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Ingredient 1: Overconfidence in Action Mode

For this purpose, the professional golf league (PGA) in the USA once looked at all of the approximately 11,000 putts (shots from short distance) in a year that were played from a distance of about 2 metres. Most pros assumed that at least 70% of these shots would be sunk. The facts, however, spoke a different language, because only about half of all putts were actually sunk. This shows that the pros are more confident here than the numbers indicated. Objectively wrong, psychologically right – because a high dose of self-confidence boosts one’s own performance.

Ingredient 2: Active Focus in Action Mode

How does the club feel, how stable is my stance, how strong do I perceive the wind at one specific moment? All relevant sensory impressions stream in sharply, all irrelevant impressions (spectator noise, cameras, commentators…) are blurred. Getting into this mindset is purely a matter of practice. A player has arrived here when he acts “as if by himself”, thinks no thoughts and is “in the flow”. From a neurological point of view, the Direct Experience Network (DEN) is active here. Our autopilot, the so-called Default Network (DN), which tends to evaluate and interpret, is on pause.

Ingredient 3: Emotionless Analysis in Thinking Mode

After the shot has been made and the ball has taken up a new position on the green, the pro knows that it is now time for a mindset change. It is no longer about delivering the best shot in the here-and-now, but about analysing what has just happened and what it means for the next shot in a neutral way. What trajectory did the ball have, where did it land, what is the condition of the ground there, how far is the distance to the target, what is the difference in altitude, what are the wind conditions, which club is the most suitable, have I had a sip of water …?


Golf is a mental game, they say. And a mental game is usually won by the player who has the best control over their nerves. With clear instructions on what is important in the action mode and what is important in the thinking mode and the active change during the game, the game can be mastered. And not only on the golf course, but everywhere where mindset changes increase overall performance.

Learn more about this by reading the next article on mindset in investment decisions.

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