NLU Podcast, Episode 135: Mark Broadie


I sincerely enjoyed this podcast and found myself wanting to take notes while Professor Broadie dropped knowledge.

What were others takeaways from the interview? I was really intrigued by his assertion that amateurs would be better served to practice from 110-150 yards vs. the standard line about putting.


I really liked the Broadie interview.
I thought the approach thing was interesting too but thinking about the guys I play with and the percentage as a group we hit the green from those distances is a lot lower than it should be.

It’s funny to think about how many times someone pipes a drive and then blades an approach or chunks one and then has to scramble to make par/bogey or even worse the 290 drive down the middle and writing down 6 after the hole


I found myself listening to it thinking, “yeah, duh, everybody knows that” And then really thinking about what he said, and going “Wow, I never really thought about it like that” The perfect example is the putts inside 10 feet made stat. He alluded to the fact that when you hear it, everyone thinks, ‘this guy is great from 9-10 feet’ which I always do, when in reality, the guy could be knocking in putts from 3 feet all day long.


I remember reading in his book a while back about the average number of putts over 21 feet a tour pro makes in a 4 round tournament. 1.4 putts. That stat still blows my mind. I don’t know if it’s the TV coverage, or just my imagination, but I would have guessed that number to be at least 3 or 4. The fact that winners only average 2.4 putts over 21 feet is crazy too. Just goes to show the importance of approach shots, and how well some of these pros can hit their irons/wedges.


It is the TV coverage…they’re only showing the best shots because missing by three feet on the low side from 18 feet is boring.

The other thing you have to remember is that about half of the field doesn’t play well (i.e., cut). Anything +2 and you were cut during last week’s Valero Open. And of those that made the cut, only 50 golfers scored better than par for the tournament. Pretty crazy.


Mark Broadie is the reason why I went to grad school for Data Science. Can’t wait to listen to this after class!


His book is really good. Also Hunt Golf Analytics does similar analysis on the tour players every year. Pretty interesting to see who is among the leaders in certain categories and how their performance stacked up.

My main takeaway from his research is to really practice the long game as that’s where the most gains can be made. I don’t really practice putting or chipping that much, other than to get a quick feel for speed, and it drives people crazy because they think I’m just pounding drivers and irons all day at the range, but the results speak for themselves. My misses are so much better around the green that I don’t need a heroic shot to get up and down anymore, and scores have dropped overall.

Unfortunately, these findings still aren’t fully embraced by many in the golf world, even though it’s slowly getting better. “Drive for show, putt for dough” is a term that can’t go away soon enough.


Has anyone come up with a proxy strokes gained metric for non-tournament play? I.E. playing on your home course when there isn’t a “field” per se to compare yourself to? I tried game golf a few years ago and it really only excelled at tracking traditional metrics like G.I.R., fairways, number of putts and sand saves.


Agree his book is excellent. A lot of great analysis/graphs. But, for me, to not practice putting or chipping that much would really hinder my game. It’s title is Every Shot Counts, which means every shot counts. Yes, the importance of the long game and approach shots contribute more to the overall shots gained or lost more that many people thought, but putting and chipping is still really important too. Especially for amateurs, although Broadie’s analysis doesn’t really say that but I tend to disagree there. You should spend the appropriate amount of time on a certain aspect of the game until you feel confident with it. If you feel confident after a few putts on the practice green then that’s great. I’m just the opposite. I hit maybe 15 balls on the range before a round and feel pretty good with every club, but spend 30 minutes on the practice green cause it takes me forever to feel good over a putt. Whatever practice it takes to make you think ‘I can do this’ to any shot is the key.