Mark Broadie: The Secrets of Golf

Mark Broadie: The Secrets of Golf

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My guest today is Mark Broadie, a Golf Statistician and Professor at Columbia Business School. I first found Mark through his book Every Shot Counts, which transformed golf statistics and analytics forever. Marcus worked with many of the world's best golfers, including Francesco Molinari, and Justin Rose, who became the world's number one golfer as a result of their work together. In this episode, we explore the nooks and crannies of golf statistics, we talked about how different kinds of grasses influence players, why approach shots play the biggest role in success for top golfers. We discussed the math behind the drive for show and putt for dough theory, and dive into the reasons why Tiger Woods was so dominant for so many years. Now I live for conversations like this. I love them. And spending an afternoon with Mark talking about strategy, statistics, and golf, the so called greatest game ever played is about as good as it gets for me. And we begin the conversation talking about the strokes gained measurement system which Mark invented, and which dispelled many of the myths and misconceptions about the game of Golf. I hope you enjoy this episode.

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SHOW TOPICS

LINKS:

Find Mark online:

People mentioned:

  • Tiger Woods

  • Francesco Molinari

  • Justin Rose

  • Phil Mickelson

  • Tommy Fleetwood

  • Rory McIlroy

  • Steve Stricker

Other mentioned:

SHOW TOPICS

1:45 Why drive for show, putt for dough is not really true, an elevator pitch of Mark’s strokes gained statistic, and which information on shots would Mark want access to that he doesn’t already have

10:25 Surprising conclusion about player performance around straight vs. dogleg holes, how does perception line up with statistic when it comes to player reputations, and correlations between birdies, bogeys, and driving distance

19:01 Is closer to the hole always better and what the exceptions to the rule, how the NBA changed it’s mind about three pointers, how Mark thinks about introducing changes to the way things are done in a sport, and the effect that different courses have on player psychology

32:12 The effect of different species of grass on the green on player performance, how some variants of grass are better for worse players, the horses for courses effect, and Mark’s counter-intuitive idea of which are the key holes on a course

40:51 How game theory affects driving decisions in 1:1 situations, what really separates the best players from the just good ones on a particular day among the pros, the TV highlight reel effect for long putts

53:54 How different golf course architects effect how players change their game, how ridiculously good Tiger Woods’ approach shot game was in his prime, and diving deeper into spin rates

1:05:00 How has being a golf statistician changed Mark’s own game, what the biggest mistakes that amateurs make, the most rewarding experiences that have come out of his work, and David and Mark piece together a story about the 2013 US Open

1:15:19 The next phase of Mark’s research that he is excited about

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