Can 10,000 hours of practice turn you into a successful, professional golfer?
Dan had barely picked up a golf club in his life before he came up with a ridiculous idea. The plan (of Dan’s) was to invest 10,000 hours of deliberate golf practice and see if he could become a professional golfer and (in his words from the his website);
“…eventually winning amateur events and obtaining his PGA Tour card through a successful appearance in the PGA Tour’s Qualifying School, or “Q-School””
The ‘10,000 hour’ aspect of the plan comes from the rule that Malcolm Gladwell proposed in his booked “The Outliers” where he claims the secret to success is practising a specific task for around this length of time.
Anyway, I can’t believe Dan is still going. It’s a huge investment in one’s time but despite practising for over 5,000 hours now, I’m still somewhat surprised at the progress he has made.
His journey began modestly enough, focussing on putting for the first five months before focussing on chipping and eventually the full swing:
On April 5th, 2010, Dan quit his day job as a commercial photographer and began The Dan Plan. Having never played 18 holes of golf in his life, Dan started the 10,000 hour journey with just a putter. After five months of putting, he received his second club, a pitching wedge. Just before the first anniversary of The Dan Plan, Dan took his first full-swing lesson. After 18 months he swung a driver for the first time. On December 28, 2011 he played his first full round with a full set of clubs.
So where is he at now? Dan is now playing off a handicap of 3, broke par last month with a 2-under 70 and has a pretty sweet looking golf swing. He posted a great video of his first day of practise in April 2010 in his halfway blog post.
He should reach the 10,000 hour mark sometime around April 2018. Stay tuned or follow Dan’s progress over at The Dan Plan.