The Atlantic

The Average Guy Who Spent 6,003 Hours Trying to Be a Professional Golfer

Dan McLaughlin got famous for valuing hard practice over talent. Then he didn’t reach his goal.
Source: Christian Petersen / Getty

Dan McLaughlin reckons he’s sat down to compose the farewell post to the Dan Plan a hundred times. “I just don’t know what to write,” he says.

Sitting in his spartan home in Portland, Oregon, McLaughlin is self-effacing and soft-spoken. He recently launched an artisanal soft-drink venture. Discussing the Dan Plan is like reaching back into another life: Seven-plus years ago, aged 30 and unsure even of which hand to grip a golf club in, McLaughlin quit his job as a commercial photographer, took in lodgers to cover the mortgage, husbanded his savings for green fees, and set out to make the PGA Tour, home to the world’s elite golfers.

He created a to document his quest, and in short order the Dan Plan commanded magazines and TV . Along the way, it drew an avid community of followers riveted by the spectacle of a regular Joe living out an everyman fantasy. No less captivated: a salon of leading figures from the science of learning and

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