One Man’s Plan to Get on the PGA Tour: One Year Later

Scott Keeler / ZUMA Press / Corbis

It’s been about a year since we checked in with Dan McLaughlin, the man who, at age 30, decided that despite never having played a round of golf in his life, he would put in 10,000 hours of work on his golf game and see if he could compete at the highest level of the sport. So how’s it going for him now, after three years and 4,200 hours of practice?

“I hit a plateau around 3,800 hours,” McLaughlin says. “But the last couple of months, I’ve changed coaches, made some shifts in my fundamentals, doing things that are going to take me to the next level.” One big change: He’s spending more time in the gym, getting in shape so he has more strength and speed in his swing. He’s been steadily shaving down his handicap, from astronomical (when he started), to 13 (the first time he calculated it, a year and a half ago), to about 5.5 now. He’s also been entering tournaments, trying to shoot 80 and to learn how to stay relaxed in the heat of competition.

McLaughlin’s still looking for a sponsor, but he’s even more excited now about his quixotic experiment than when he started. He’s now dating a woman who’s opening a pie restaurant (proving that he lives in Portland, Oregon), but his focus has only intensified, he says: “The project has changed every fiber of who I am.”

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