With so much time in between actions to think about your last shot or worry about your next one, the mental pressure of playing golf is something that every athlete grapples with from time to time.
Standing over a putt on the 18th hole with the round on the line is as much a mental challenge as a physical one. The increased anxiety to perform well may lead skilled golfers to focus too much of their conscious attention on the task - much like they would do if they were a novice at the task. Consequently, this added attention breaks down the movement pattern that has been automated and practiced over and over.
In a competitive setting, this can be counterproductive since, to perform at your best, we want to execute the skills quickly, smoothly, and automatically.
Annika Sorenstam, one of the top female golfers in the history of golf, said during an interview that - before hitting the ball, she would be in her thinking box to prepare for the strike. After stepping out of the thinking box, she would enter the play box and make the hit.
That is an authentic example of how an athlete can place their thoughts into one box and their actions into another, resulting in better and consistent golf performance under high pressure.