Non-Golfer Will Practice 6 Years, Try to Turn Pro

All to test 10,000-hour theory of greatness
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2011 12:09 PM CDT
Practice makes perfect, or so Dan McLaughlin hopes.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell popularized the notion that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become great at something. Portland's Dan McLaughlin is testing the theory in a remarkable way: The 31-year-old quit his job in June 2009 and devoted himself to practicing golf six hours a day, six days a week, for six years, reports the St. Petersburg Times. McLaughlin had never golfed before the experiment began, but his goal is to turn pro at the end of the Dan Plan.

McLaughlin, now 1,400 hours in, got Nike to supply clubs and convinced an expert coach to take him on. The Times explains the strategy: "He couldn't putt from 3 feet until he was good enough at putting from 1 foot. He couldn't putt from 5 feet until he was good enough putting from 3 feet. He's working away from the hole. He didn't get off the green for five months," writes Michael Kruse. "Everybody asks him what he shoots for a round. He has no idea. His next drive will be his first." If he finishes the 10,000 hours and doesn't make the PGA cut, McLaughlin sounds like he'll be OK: "I don't think it can fail, because it's not really about me or what ultimately happens with me. It's about blazing a new path and kind of trying to change the way people see life's possibilities."

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