I didn’t realize it at the time, but a few days ago I officially passed the 4,000 hour mark of The Dan Plan. I suppose hitting a number like that can either be seen as a milestone or just a step along the way. 5,000 will most definitely have large implications, but crossing 4k was just another day working in the right direction. Nothing overly special about it.
Even so, large round numbers provide a good opportunity to reflect on where we’ve come and what lies ahead. This number just happened to almost exactly land on the 3-year anniversary of the project, too. It was three years ago that I left a cozy little work place and started standing in the rain for hours at a time attempting to roll a small ball into a 4.25 inch hole. Here is a video of me from day one, absolutely the farthest (or is it furthest?) thing from an experienced golfer on this planet:
From there to here in roughly 4k hours:
Not exactly PGA Tour level, but you can definitely see a difference between those two videos. I went from some random guy in blue jeans and a yellow rubber raincoat who literally didn’t know the difference between a gap wedge and a 6-iron to a golfer who can hold his own from the fairway or deep trouble. I’m proud of that transformation and super excited to see what the next 4k brings.
Rather than reflecting too much on the past, I’d like to keep the eyes looking forward.
The immediate goal is to improve tee shots as that is by far the weakest link in my game at the moment. The plan of attack is to build a feel for that stick by using a device my coach, Adrian, created in the swing lab and then head to the range to test out the feel with an actual driver (interleaving that club so I am not hitting the driver more than once in a row and use a random second club to simulate how you would hit on an actual course).
Basically, the device is a lowered baseball tee with a wiffle ball on it and a wooden baseball bat that has been cut in half. The point is to figure out what your arms and hands need to do to get the ball to come off the tee left, straight, right, high, low, etc. Since the bat is cut in half and you hit with the flat side you can see how the extension of the arms affects the ball flight. Instead of learning with a driver in your hand you can improve your hand action and arm extension in a completely different context.
Some people call this thinking outside the box. It’s Adrian creating new teaching methods to help demonstrate a concept in the game that I, and some of his other students, are struggling with and it is one of the reasons why I am working with him.
I will be grinding away in all aspects of the game and slowly but surely improving my driving game. I will not stop working on it until it is one of my strengths and when that day comes it will be time to reevaluate my game and find the next weakness to focus on.
In other news, there is an article in the April 15th edition of Time Magazine about The Dan Plan that is very well written. It’s a little bit about the science of practice and a little about my journey to date. The photographer did a great job too and created a very fun photograph. Here is a sneak peak of the story online now: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2140225,00.html
Also, the official Dan Plan store launches this week. I’m very excited to have partnered up with a few great companies to finally bring some Dan Plan merchandise to the site. The store is located here: http://thedanplan.com/dan-plan-store/ So far just the Jones golf bag and the Seamus head covers are available, but the Criquet shirts, Dagwood gloves and a few other items are coming soon. It’s awesome to team up with some great companies to provide this gear! Please email me if you have any questions. All purchases provide funds for The Dan Plan to keep moving forward.
6,000 hours to go and it all starts right now.