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

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My understanding was that Barkley was a decent golfer before he hit a fan and developed the mental hitch. There are a lot athletes (Matt Ryan, Tony Romo, John Smoltz,...) who are low single digits and you have to imagine most of them are not spending 10+ hours a week practicing. Golf might not require you to be 7' or 8% body fat but it does require you to be able generate a 110mph clubhead speed and to be able to reproduce that motion very consistanty.  The first is easy to measure. The second is much harder.  You might think it is only the amount of practice but I am not convinced. I think some people just have much better motor control than others and no amount of training can get you beyond a certain point.

As far as the pros, most of them that take up the game later in life (Larry Nelson is the prime example) or as teenagers (Greg Norman started at 16) are at scratch within a year.  If you take up the game much before 16 there are physical maturity issues so it might take longer. Do some guys take more time? I am sure but Dan is also a long way from scratch.

And who ever said just making it through q school makes it more reasonable, not really. Anyone who makes to close to the pros is super talented even if they don't stick. The competition at the top is really tough. We don't get a feel of  how good the bottom guys are because they are competing with guys better than they are.

Quote:

I'd agree that golf compared to some other sports isn't as dependant on genetics from a physical standpoint but you're also forgetting the mental aspect.  Charles Barkley had the genetics to play as a top NBA pro for many years but the guy can't play golf no matter how hard he tries.  Golf doesn't require you be 7' tall or 8% bodyfat, but to become a pro you have to have pretty good genetics and a strong mind.





Originally Posted by Golfingdad

I totally agree with everything you said.  It's absolutely a longshot, but I certainly am not going to jump from longshot directly to "100% absolutely cannot be done."  I think those here that are doing so are either basing it on the fact that he never played golf before, or that he's only at an 8.6 after 2,600 hours.  I've never played cricket, jai alai, or squash before, but I might be good at them.  Until I attempt it, how would I know?  And regarding the 8.6 HDCP, do we know what all pros were after they practiced 2,600 hours?  Based on my lame assumptions earlier - assuming starting to take it seriously at age 14 - , that would basically be somewhere around the time they graduated high school.  Certainly, most pros were probably much closer to scratch by that time, so this argument might have some merit.  Then again, who knows, there could easily be some guys who started slower, no?



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You might think it is only the amount of practice but I am not convinced. I think some people just have much better motor control than others and no amount of training can get you beyond a certain point.

But don't you see that is a circle?  You are *assuming* that the pro athletes you know have that motor control.  Your assumption proves your point.  You are basically saying "look at these pros.  they are really good.  look at joe.  he is pretty good, but not a tour pro.  they play about the same amount of time, so therefore there must be some "secret motor control" joe doesn't have."  No, it could be any number of variables.  You can't use the assumption that pros have better motor control to prove the argument that pros have better motor control!

Read "life is not a game of perfect" by bob rotella.  It discusses this exact point.

Quote:
And who ever said just making it through q school makes it more reasonable, not really.

Of course it does.  Its a matter of statistical fact.  If he isn't good enough to be a pro, his only chance is a one-tournament-take-all approach.  Over time and with number of rounds increasing, the scores will tend to revert more and more back to average / normal.  The Q school gives him the chance of hitting an up outlier in score right on that tournament.  The only way it would make it not more reasonable is if you thought his game was up to to tour standards - then you would want as many chances as possible.  Put it this way: You are a basketball team playing a playoff game.  The other team is better.  Would you rather play one game to decided it or best out of 7?

Quote:
Anyone who makes to close to the pros is super talented even if they don't stick.

See, again, I totally disagree.  Work hard, smart, etc... is just as much a factor.  Go watch Tom Kite do anything.  He is not an athlete.  But he can hit a driver straight and has worked an incredible number of hours to hit a wedge a very specific distance.  He was the all time leading money winner.

See, here is my point.  You could have easily said:

"Anyone who makes to close to the pros is a super hard worker even if they don't stick."

or

"Anyone who makes it close to the pros is a guy with a really, really great sense of what to do in practice, even if they don't stick."

or

"Anyone who makes to close to the pros has a great mental game and always is in a positive frame of mind, even if they don't stick."

etc..

Why did you choose "talented", the one thing we can't measure?

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Originally Posted by iacas

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"?


Talent is grown not born. The talent code by daniel coyle

Its been shown again and again, that with quality practice you can become an expert or in this case even a PGA tour caliber player.
I would change around a few things for him, but overall you cant beat practice and time as golf as any requries time to master the shotmaking skill.

10.000hours been shown in a particular context that is the time people normally spend to gather the needed expertise or experience and variation from chess to golf. Can you do it faster or slower? yea. If you know the common position sin chess and memorize those which takes around 50 hours, you be playing pretty good chess.
Having a good learning strategy is highly recomended if one tries that.

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I agree with you, I believe it takes superior genetics to become a pro golfer.  My point was that the type of genetics aren't the same as what a NBA basketball player or NFL running back would need so they're not as obvious.  A low percentage of golfers are able to play scratch golf, and even a lower percentage of those scratch golfers will ever make it onto a Pro Tour.  Practice can only take someone so far.

Originally Posted by x129

My understanding was that Barkley was a decent golfer before he hit a fan and developed the mental hitch. There are a lot athletes (Matt Ryan, Tony Romo, John Smoltz,...) who are low single digits and you have to imagine most of them are not spending 10+ hours a week practicing. Golf might not require you to be 7' or 8% body fat but it does require you to be able generate a 110mph clubhead speed and to be able to reproduce that motion very consistanty.  The first is easy to measure. The second is much harder.  You might think it is only the amount of practice but I am not convinced. I think some people just have much better motor control than others and no amount of training can get you beyond a certain point.

As far as the pros, most of them that take up the game later in life (Larry Nelson is the prime example) or as teenagers (Greg Norman started at 16) are at scratch within a year.  If you take up the game much before 16 there are physical maturity issues so it might take longer. Do some guys take more time? I am sure but Dan is also a long way from scratch.

And who ever said just making it through q school makes it more reasonable, not really. Anyone who makes to close to the pros is super talented even if they don't stick. The competition at the top is really tough. We don't get a feel of  how good the bottom guys are because they are competing with guys better than they are.

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Originally Posted by newtogolf

A low percentage of golfers are able to play scratch golf, and even a lower percentage of those scratch golfers will ever make it onto a Pro Tour.

Certainly the current percentage of all golfers that actually do play at scratch is miniscule.  But I don't thinkthey are the only ones who are ABLE.

The real question to ask would be what percentage of all golfers who have put in 10,000 hours of "perfect practice" are scratch golfers.  If someone did that study, I would put my money on the number being pretty high.

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Originally Posted by Golfingdad

Certainly the current percentage of all golfers that actually do play at scratch is miniscule.  But I don't thinkthey are the only ones who are ABLE.

The real question to ask would be what percentage of all golfers who have put in 10,000 hours of "perfect practice" are scratch golfers.  If someone did that study, I would put my money on the number being pretty high.

Kind of a skewed question but I'm willing to bet almost 100% of scratch golfers have put in *insert huge number of practice hours* to become that good.  Golf is a really tough game to be that good at.  Any sport is. But that does not guarantee *everyone* who puts in the same amount of practice time will be just as good.  Also, being a scratch golfer is different than being a professional golfer, which is what this guy is going for.  Getting to scratch is probably the easiest part of his journey to get to yet still pretty tough.  Going from scratch to pro is another huge jump in skill level.  Not saying it can't be done, but his odds are very very very very slim.

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Originally Posted by RichWW2

Kind of a skewed question but I'm willing to bet almost 100% of scratch golfers have put in *insert huge number of practice hours* to become that good.  Golf is a really tough game to be that good at.  Any sport is. But that does not guarantee *everyone* who puts in the same amount of practice time will be just as good.  Also, being a scratch golfer is different than being a professional golfer, which is what this guy is going for.  Getting to scratch is probably the easiest part of his journey to get to yet still pretty tough.  Going from scratch to pro is another huge jump in skill level.  Not saying it can't be done, but his odds are very very very very slim.



difference is deep practice which all who makes it does. The talent code book is a good read about that.
IMHO Dan is not doing enough deep practice.

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Originally Posted by soon_tourpro

Talent is grown not born. The talent code by daniel coil


And yet, you can teach someone as long as you like, and they might never be able to jump as high as Michael Jordan or swing as fast as a PGA Tour player.

I think it's all a mix of both: natural born "stuff" and the proper training to bring that out and make the most of it.

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Originally Posted by RichWW2

Kind of a skewed question but I'm willing to bet almost 100% of scratch golfers have put in *insert huge number of practice hours* to become that good.  Golf is a really tough game to be that good at.  Any sport is. But that does not guarantee *everyone* who puts in the same amount of practice time will be just as good.  Also, being a scratch golfer is different than being a professional golfer, which is what this guy is going for.  Getting to scratch is probably the easiest part of his journey to get to yet still pretty tough.  Going from scratch to pro is another huge jump in skill level.  Not saying it can't be done, but his odds are very very very very slim.



Of course, all who are scratch golfers practice a lot, but I was more trying to make the point that most who practice a lot (read: 10k hours) are probably scratch golfers.  And obviously, not everybody is equally as good with equal practice.  And don't think that I am equating scratch with pro, either.  What are pros, +10's??

But ... it just dawned on me why my question is a bit skewed (although not sure if this is what you were going for):  It's a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy because people (except perhaps Dan) who aren't getting good enough are mostly going to quit long before they reach the 10k hour plateau.

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He's left handed. That will make it even harder. Not nearly as many left handed scratch players. ;-)

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Originally Posted by Golfingdad

But ... it just dawned on me why my question is a bit skewed (although not sure if this is what you were going for):  It's a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy because people (except perhaps Dan) who aren't getting good enough are mostly going to quit long before they reach the 10k hour plateau.



I was just trying to make the point that it is kind of a leading as it only implies one result.  Golf might be a little different but look at it this way.  All professional football players played college football, but not all college football players play professional football.

Not sure about the posting link rules on these boards so I won't.  But everyone should google Scratch vs Pro golfer to find out what it really takes to be that good. On another site i found a person that mentions Tom Coyne's book 'Paper Tiger' and the pyramid of golfers.

"Consider the golf-greatness pyramid's base, a wide mass of good players, great players, best ball strikers you have ever witnessed firsthand, the only ace you have ever been accidentally, terrifyingly, matched up with--we'll call him or her The Best Player You Know. Maybe he's your club champion, maybe your neighbor's sixteen-year-old, perhaps it's your boss who has the scorecard from Pebble Beach on the wall and tells all the clients, "Shot 73, couldn't make a damn putt." The real sticks, guys who talk about what they might have done in golf if they steered their life a little differently, if only they took their shot. A two-, three-handicap--maybe even a scratch player. If you watched them hit balls you would weep inside.

And here's the news about The Best Players You Know: They're s***. Scratch is s***. The Best Players You Know simply cannot play. They are the mere masses, golf's faceless proletariat, utterly forgettable. They are little than the wide sprawling base of wannabes on which the pyramid is planted."

The "Best Player You Know" is the bottom of 10 levels of good golf players:

  • The Best Players You Know
  • Club Pros
  • Stud Amateur
  • Attached Club Pro
  • Mini-Tour Philanthropist
  • Mini-Tour Grinder
  • Nationwide Earner
  • PGA Tour Six-Figure Survivor
  • PGA Tour Player
  • PGA Tour Superstar

Odds of Dan making it to even Nationwide Earner are incredibly slim.

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I think coordination has a genetic (or something that is developed early in life) component that can't be trained beyond a certain extend. I could be wrong about that.  You say Tom Kite isn't an athlete but that depends on your definition of athlete.  He might not be able to run a blistering mile, jump 40", and so on but for golf his skill set might be a perfect match. Golf is deceptive in that most of us have hit 90% of ht shots a pro does (holing a 30 ft putt, holing a 30 yard chip, leaving yourself a 3 footer from 200 yards,... . ) on occasion. The delusion is with x more hours of practice you will be able to do it as often as the pros. None of us think that we are just 9900 hours from running a 9.9 100, throwing a 95 mph fastball, having the ball handling and quickness of a spud webb, and so on. But there is a good chunk that thinks in an alternative life they could have been a pro golfer. I don't think that is true.

Q School is not a 6 round tournament for Dan. It is 4 rounds of prequalifing, 4 rounds of the first stage, 4 rounds of the second stage, and then final 6 rounds. Thats a lot of good golf. But lets say making it through q school is much easier than winning on the pga tour (there are almost always more PGA winners than q school qualifiers in a year for a random thought). It is like saying that winning the state lottery is easier than winning the powerball. Its true but it doesn't matter in the absolute sense. You can play either for a couple of lifetimes without winning.

I didn't say your other stuff because I don't think they are true.  I don't think an average guy (whatever that means) comes close to sniffing the pros no matter how hard they work and mentally tough they are.  I agree talking about talent sucks because there is no real way to quantify it. If you are good at something it is because you work hard. If I am good at something it is because of natural talent or luck. Obviously neither of those is 100% true.

At the end of the day you can go a long way with hard work. After 10k hours will Dan be in the top 1% of golfers? I think that is possible. Is he likely to be in the .0001%  (approximately) who are PGA pros? Very unlikely

Originally Posted by johnclayton1982

But don't you see that is a circle?  You are *assuming* that the pro athletes you know have that motor control.  Your assumption proves your point.  You are basically saying "look at these pros.  they are really good.  look at joe.  he is pretty good, but not a tour pro.  they play about the same amount of time, so therefore there must be some "secret motor control" joe doesn't have."  No, it could be any number of variables.  You can't use the assumption that pros have better motor control to prove the argument that pros have better motor control!

Read "life is not a game of perfect" by bob rotella.  It discusses this exact point.

Of course it does.  Its a matter of statistical fact.  If he isn't good enough to be a pro, his only chance is a one-tournament-take-all approach.  Over time and with number of rounds increasing, the scores will tend to revert more and more back to average / normal.  The Q school gives him the chance of hitting an up outlier in score right on that tournament.  The only way it would make it not more reasonable is if you thought his game was up to to tour standards - then you would want as many chances as possible.  Put it this way: You are a basketball team playing a playoff game.  The other team is better.  Would you rather play one game to decided it or best out of 7?

See, again, I totally disagree.  Work hard, smart, etc... is just as much a factor.  Go watch Tom Kite do anything.  He is not an athlete.  But he can hit a driver straight and has worked an incredible number of hours to hit a wedge a very specific distance.  He was the all time leading money winner.

See, here is my point.  You could have easily said:

"Anyone who makes to close to the pros is a super hard worker even if they don't stick."

or

"Anyone who makes it close to the pros is a guy with a really, really great sense of what to do in practice, even if they don't stick."

or

"Anyone who makes to close to the pros has a great mental game and always is in a positive frame of mind, even if they don't stick."

etc..

Why did you choose "talented", the one thing we can't measure?



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Originally Posted by Tiger Spuds

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.



I agree. I think it is very impossible.

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The absolute best chance Dan has at playing in a professional tournament is playing in the US Open.  Getting his handicap to a 1.4 is probably something that could actually be obtained. After that he *only* has to get through a regional and a sectional qualifier and boom, he's in the US Open.  Probably the easiest way to make a PGA tournament.

Note: I use the term "easiest" as the shortest most time saving way to make any tournament. I'm sure these qualifiers are damn tough to win/advance.

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Don't they still have Monday qualifing for some events? I am guessing that is the easiest route for a PGA event (technically any minitour is a pro event. You just need cash to enter) as you need to play 1 good round for prequal and then 1 great round.  A quick google shows that a -4 would have qualified you for the Sony Open in 2012. Now that doesn't sound so hard does it?

For a major I might vote for  winning the U.S Mid-Amateur or the US amateur public links. The fields at the open qualifiers are stacked with nationwide, PGA, and top college players but you don't need to win. The Mid and Public links doesn't have the depth of field but you have to win the event. I think it is probably pretty close.

And finally Dan might have the sponsor exemption route. He seems to have an in with Nike so maybe if he gets real close they can pull some strings and some tournament will decide that it would be some good press to get him in.

Originally Posted by RichWW2

The absolute best chance Dan has at playing in a professional tournament is playing in the US Open.  Getting his handicap to a 1.4 is probably something that could actually be obtained. After that he *only* has to get through a regional and a sectional qualifier and boom, he's in the US Open.  Probably the easiest way to make a PGA tournament.

Note: I use the term "easiest" as the shortest most time saving way to make any tournament. I'm sure these qualifiers are damn tough to win/advance.



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Originally Posted by iacas

And yet, you can teach someone as long as you like, and they might never be able to jump as high as Michael Jordan or swing as fast as a PGA Tour player.

I think it's all a mix of both: natural born "stuff" and the proper training to bring that out and make the most of it.



Bubba watson is long, so is john Daly so is dustin johnson.

None is world nr1.

None of those long hitting hit it long with swing speed is nr1.

Your logic is flawed that swing speed makes a PGA nr1 in the world player.

If that was the criteria, corey pavin never would have won US Open.

Golf is a game from tee to green, and Luke Donald does it best.
What is his talent? hitting it short?

People mimic Ben Hogans swing and his secret when it was his mind all along not swing talent.

Originally Posted by kathybhylton

I agree. I think it is very impossible.


That is why you wont even try.

and even if you did your heart wouldnt be in it.

Talent is overrated.

Proper dedicated deep practice isnt.

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Originally Posted by soon_tourpro

Bubba watson is long, so is john Daly so is dustin johnson.

None is world nr1.

None of those long hitting hit it long with swing speed is nr1.

Your logic is flawed that swing speed makes a PGA nr1 in the world player.

If that was the criteria, corey pavin never would have won US Open.

Golf is a game from tee to green, and Luke Donald does it best.

What is his talent? hitting it short?

People mimic Ben Hogans swing and his secret when it was his mind all along not swing talent.

That is why you wont even try.

and even if you did your heart wouldnt be in it.

Talent is overrated.

Proper dedicated deep practice isnt.



Are you serious?  Some people can do things better no matter how hard you work at it.  This guy has been playing 2 years non stop and still can't break 80.  I broke 80 end of my first year and played once a week. Some people are just born with better abilities than others the world isn't fair.

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Originally Posted by soon_tourpro

Bubba watson is long, so is john Daly so is dustin johnson.

None is world nr1.

None of those long hitting hit it long with swing speed is nr1.

Your logic is flawed that swing speed makes a PGA nr1 in the world player.

Your ability to comprehend the written word is flawed. At what point did I say anything about being the #1 player in the world?

My point stands, even if you completely missed it. :)

Oh, and Luke Donald does not "hit it short."

Originally Posted by soon_tourpro

Talent is overrated.

Proper dedicated deep practice isnt.


Uh, or not.

It may very well be over-rated, but it's not completely unimportant. I'd put it as somewhere between 25-60% of the importance. John Daly got by for a long time on very little dedicated deep practice.

A player needs both to truly excel. Simple as that.

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