What is The Dan Plan?


It’s a project in transformation. An experiment in potential and possibilities. Through 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice,” Dan, who currently has minimal golf experience, plans on becoming a professional golfer. But the plan isn’t really about golf: through this process, Dan hopes to prove to himself and others that it’s never too late to start a new pursuit in life.  For a detailed description of the project, please read this blog post: http://thedanplan.com/blog/?p=1090


Dan is an average man by most standards. When The Dan Plan began, he was a 30-year-old commercial photographer with no previous experience as a competitive athlete, nor was he in particularly good physical condition. Dan is slightly under average height and weight, had never played a full 18 holes of golf, and had only been to a driving range a handful of times. He was not even sure if he was a left-or right-handed golfer. Dan currently resides in Portland, Oregon.


Through his journey Dan hopes to inspire others to start exploring the possibilities life affords them. Though his isn’t an easy endeavor and is quite possibly impossible, if it inspires even one person to quit their day job and find happiness in their own plan, then the Dan Plan is a success.


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.  Since then it has been off to the races.

Logging in 30-plus hours a week he will hit the 10,000 hour milestone by December 2016. During this time, Dan plans to develop his skills through deliberate practice, eventually winning amateur events and obtaining his PGA Tour card through a successful appearance in the PGA Tour’s Qualifying School, or “Q-School”.


Talent has little to do with success. According to research conducted by Dr. K. Anders Ericsson, Professor of Psychology at Florida State University, “Elite performers engage in ‘deliberate practice’–an effortful activity designed to improve target performance.” Dr. Ericsson’s studies, made popular through Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers and Geoff Colvin’s Talent is Overrated, have found that in order to excel in a field, roughly 10,000 hours of “stretching yourself beyond what you can currently do” is required. “I think you’re the right astronaut for this mission,” Dr. Ericsson said about The Dan Plan.


Every step of Dan’s journey from novice to professional golfer will be documented. He will rely on a support network created through social media sites (Facebook, Twitter) and his website at thedanplan.com. Supporters can watch video footage, check out photos, offer advice and view The Dan Plan stopwatch as it counts down his 10,000 hours of training.

The Team:
Dan McLaughlin, Golfer in Training | Bruce Furman, PGA, Golf Instruction | Shawn Dailey, Strength Trainer | Seth Alley, Chiropractor | Stuart Hamilton, Goal Guru

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