Novice working way to PGA Tour

Novice working way to PGA Tour

Posted in the New York Forum

Since: Oct 12

New York, NY

#1 Dec 6, 2012
On Dan McLaughlin's 30th birthday three years ago he visited his brother in Omaha, Neb., and the two of them played a local par-3 course. McLaughlin estimates he had golfed three times before that day.

It was closer to 60, but still a score too high with the discount golf clubs for the commercial photographer from Portland, Ore., to consider quitting his day job to qualify for the PGA tour.

"We started wondering what could be possible if you really dedicated yourself to something you had no experience with,'' said McLaughlin, who shared his story Wednesday at a Chicago Ideas Week event. "If you're willing to put in the hard work, there's no reason there should be limits in life.''

So began the "Dan Plan,'' a walking, talking, left-handed-golf-swinging experiment in human potential with the great s scotty cameron putter for sale online; a fascinating study on the long-term relationship between effort and talent.

A co-worker aware of McLaughlin's desire to devote his life to a good walk spoiled gave him Malcolm Gladwell's best-seller, "Outliers.'' The book includes the hypothesis of Swedish psychologist K. Anders Ericsson that basically suggests anyone can become elite at anything with 10,000 hours of deliberate practice.

On April 5, 2010, the bachelor stopped working and started counting down to October 2016 when he expects to reach his hour total. When McLaughlin arrived Wednesday, he was 3,369 hours of golfing into a project that is the envy of duffers everywhere.

He approached improvement incrementally, starting on the green and moving to longer shots for 15-minute chunks. For the first two days, McLaughlin practiced only 1-foot putts with the taylormade rocketballz irons under the guidance of a local golf pro. He gradually progressed to 3-foot putts, then 10-footers, then 20 and beyond. After five months of using only a putter as many as eight hours a day, six days a week, McLaughlin tried chipping. It took 18 months — about 2,000 hours — before McLaughlin added a driver to his bag.

"People can become anything they want,'' McLaughlin said.” People like to categorize themselves:'I'm not going to be an actuary because I'm not a math person.' The parallels are endless. But we are what we do if we do it 100 percent of the time. The harder I work the better I get. It's the most encouraging and inspiring thing I've ever done.''

McLaughlin lives off the money he saved for five years to afford graduate school or travel, guessing he gets by frugally on $1,000 a month. Nike provides equipment; McLaughlin's home golf club made him an honorary member and pros such as PGA member Scott Stallings and two-time Masters Champ Bernhard Langer offered moral support after hearing about his ambition. He rents out his house, drives a car he paid off and enjoys a relationship with the Great Northwest's most understanding girlfriend.

Not everybody he encounters at the tee box understands McLaughlin turning a golf course into society's laboratory but they all marvel at his commitment.

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