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The Dan Plan - 10,000 Hours to Become a Pro Golfer (Dan McLaughlin)

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Don't know if anyone has seen this yet but it's a pretty interesting journey this guy is taking.  10,000 hours of practice (6 hours a day, 6 days a week for 6 years) starting from the hole backwards, working his way to become a "professional" golfer. http://www.thedanplan.com/index.php

I saw a write up about it the other day and he's just over 1 year in right now.  He started literally just putting from 1 foot for a month or something.  Then moved to 3 feet, then to all over the green and after a year he's now I think around 75-100 yards away from the hole so he's never swung a driver or long iron before.

Obviously to all of us this is an absolute dream, as he mentions many times on his site, but just the experiment part of it is pretty impressive too.  If you read any of the backstory on the "10,000" hour theory, it pretty much states that with a predetermined athletic prerequisite, pure talent (that which a lot of people state professional athletes have an us mere mortals don't) is actually much more rare than we think and many things can be achieved by extremely dedicated practice.  Here is the essay on deliberate practice if you really want a long read http://projects.ict.usc.edu/itw/gel/EricssonDeliberatePracticePR93.pdf

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This has been making the rounds. I read the original article in a Tampa Bay paper and was in Hacker News and other golf blogs. Seems to have hit a nerve. http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2438300

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Originally Posted by nevets88

This has been making the rounds. I read the original article in a Tampa Bay paper and was in Hacker News and other golf blogs. Seems to have hit a nerve.

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2438300



The guy who wrote that article seems like a jealous ass.  I guarantee that in that guys 19 years of playing golf, he wouldn't have come close to 10000 hours of playing, and if he's practicing properly, he will have seen most of the typical scenarios you might find yourself in on the golf course.  Part of the mental aspect of the game is knowing you've practiced and can pull of that shot, which a lot of weekend players don't have because they don't practice nearly enough.  Who is this guy to say that he doesn't have enough of the mental aspect.  I'm not saying this guy will or won't make it, but I respect him for putting that type of commitment into anything.

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Fair play to him if he's willing to dedicate that much time and effort to the game. I absolutely love golf, but I don't think I could dedicate 6 hours a day to it. That said, I'm not sure I'd hold much stock in that 10,000 hours theory. I'm sure he'll be a very proficient player after it, but a pro level golfer? I highly doubt it.

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A thought:  how much time did Tom Coyne put in during his experiment?

Then again, Coyne was a 9 handicap (or so) before starting the experiment... which means he had a start, and some ideas, but also had to unlearn some things.

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Originally Posted by walk18

I would not have the patience to putt 1 footers for 6 hrs a day for a month.



Hard to imagine being that obsessive/compulsive.   The workers on the course probably nicknamed him "Rainman".

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Originally Posted by Clambake

Hard to imagine being that obsessive/compulsive.   The workers on the course probably nicknamed him "Rainman".


He probably wore a groove in the green.

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Quote:
pure talent (that which a lot of people state professional athletes have an us mere mortals don't) is actually much more rare than we think and many things can be achieved by extremely dedicated practice.

yeah, i'm not too sure great things can be achieved by someone who doesn't have the physical talent. i think there are many people who do have the physical attributes, but not very many who have the right mindset and support from their family, friends, etc.

golf doesn't take athletic prowess like basketball, track, soccer, etc. golf is more about flexibility and the ability to control your body than anything. if you have these two things, i think most can get themselves into good enough physical condition to play good golf.

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Originally Posted by Shindig

A thought:  how much time did Tom Coyne put in during his experiment?



I don't recall that it was very long. After a few months of dedicated coaching, diet, exercise, and practice in Florida, he got sick and went back up North where he kind of hacked around at mini tournaments and drafted his book. This 10000 hour deal is far different.

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This is awesome! This guy will fail miserably but what a cool experiment. I bet after all of this he might be a single digit handicap and that's a big might. Seriously watch the videos of his chipping and putting, he looks terrible. I think 10000 hours of just chipping and he might be able to chip at a near scratch level ability.

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Define "expert" at something? If his full-time job is effectively to practice golf for six years, and he has a little talent, he could get to a + handicap if he gets decent to good information. That's top 1% of golfers in the world. Is that "expert" at something?

Also, didn't the book say "those with some talent to start with can put in 10,000 hours"? What if he's not starting with some "talent"?

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Very cool.  I wish him well and hope he sees it through.  Not sure if he'll make it to the pro ranks, but it's a very interesting experiment.

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' Trappers were discussing "10,000 hours" back when I first joined this blog. 10K hours comes from some psychology studies which estimate it takes about 10,000 hours of focused activity to really become good at a complex activity. Becoming pro golfer, concert violinist, or heart surgeon all fall into this area.

But, "really good" has different criteria depending on the activity.

One drawback of 10K theory: We like to tell little kids that "you can be anything you want to be if you really try hard."  But, does the person have the minimum level of intelligence / athletic ability / neural predisposition to eventually do well in the chosen activity?

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I wish I had the money or someone would want to sponsor me and do it. I have the athletic background. First team all state in football, baseball and wrestling in HS. Went to University of Virginia to wrestle. Played golf maybe a few rounds in 2 years and now this year I am trying to start playing competitively now that school is over. I practice everyday, hit at least 300 balls, putt and chip. Anyone want to be a taker and help ha ha. This is a neat article though, wish him luck.

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In his book The Complete Golfer, Harry Vardon recommends the exact opposite.  He says to start with the driver and work your way in.

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