Golf Handicaps of Venture Capitalists

Who is the best venture capitalist golfer in the U.S.? To answer that question I wrote a little program to extract data from Forbes’ Midas List and match it against the USGA’s GHIN handicap lookup service.

The answer, interestingly enough, is that relatively few VCs golf (or if they do, they don’t maintain handicaps). Of those that do, here are some results — and for you non-golfers, keep in mind that lower is better:

  • Larry Sonsini (VC lawyer): 13.4. As of September 1st, he had been out nine times this year. In case you’re curious, none of those dates coincided with key milestones in the current HP board scandal.
  • David Marquardt (August Capital): 9.1. He has been out 19 times this year, and has been golfing mostly at Misquamicut in Rhode Island.
  • Jay Hoag (TCV): 20.8. Jay wins the “most honest golfer award”, with him having been out 15 times this year, and still recording rounds as high as 114 at his home Stanford golf course.
  • William Younger (Sutter Hill): 21.5. Another honest golfer, Younger plays out of Menlo Country Club and has been out eight times this year, more than any previous year, and shoots around 100.
  • Peter Wagner (Accel): 18.5. Peter has been out seven times this year.
  • Jim Breyer (Accel): 8.0. Breyer is the best of the bunch, right up there with David Marquardt of August. Playing only four rounds for handicap this year, he is shooting fairly consistently in the low 80s.
  • Dixon Doll (DCM): 12.6. I’m not positive this is the right Dixon, as some of the courses listed are in Michigan and elsewhere, but assuming it is then he shoots a solid game.

So there you have it, a quick list of some of the best golfers at the top of Forbes’ Midas List. Accel seenms to be the golfingest venture fund, and Jim Breyer and Dave Marquardt would play a close game. When I have some time, if I ever do, I’ll put up more results, but I thought these were fun to get started.

As an aside, while I have known about GHIN for some time, it was a recent story in Dealbook about bankers that golf that got me thinking about checking VCs’ golf handicaps.

Related posts:

  1. Golf, Technology, and Unanticipated Consequences
  2. The Hot Hand Phenomenon in Golf
  3. Sales 101 for Venture Capitalists (& their Investees)
  4. Golf and the Swinging Executive
  5. Paying for Top Venture Capitalists

Comments

  1. Richard says:

    Paul,
    I don’t know which is scarier: the fact that this information is gettable or the fact that you took time to write a program to match up the data…
    Freaking out a little,
    Richard

  2. Richard: Good questions. I’m a recovering hacker, and I have lots of Perl scripts around for doing that kind of simple stuff, so it didn’t take _that_ much time :-)
    Then again, as you say, maybe the more unnerving part is simply that the information is available. I wouldn’t want anyone to see my yo-yo-ing golf scores …

  3. John K says:

    Disappointing that you don’t even have a handicap.
    C’mon Paul! Walk the walk. You can’t manage what you don’t measure.

  4. Ouch, that’s true. Sadly, as a non-USGA member they don’t let me post scores. And if they ever saw me play, I’m guessing they’d deny me membership.

  5. Brent Holliday says:

    Without a large enough sample this would be tough, but I wouldn’t put it past you to now correlate VC golf handicap (or some mix of handicap and times played per year) against fund performance.
    For instance, here’s my data point: You can’t look up RCGA handicap factors, but if you did you would see me at 9.1. Let’s just say that my fund performance would correlate somewhat opposite to Jim Breyer. But I’ll play him straight up for some portion of his management fee!