With a new tournament starting every Thursday on the PGA, DP World, LIV Golf, LPGA and scores of other tours, golf is the ideal sport to bet on if volume wagering is your cup of tea.
Many newcomers to golf betting aren’t aware that there are dozens of different markets to explore too – you don’t simply have to pick out the tournament winner, which can be a thankless task given how many quality players there are in world golf right now.
From the four majors and the Ryder Cup to the humdrum of tour life, you can bet on hundreds of golf events each year with any licensed bookmaker that tickles your fancy.
So here’s your beginner’s guide to betting on golf:
How to Bet on Golf
Fire up your favourite betting site/app and head to the golf section to find odds for all of the upcoming tournaments taking place around the globe. You’ll also likely see ante post prices for the four majors: The Masters, US Open, PGA Championship and the Open Championship, which take place between April and July each year.
You can find a guide to the different golf bet types on this very site, but as a quick guide you can wager on who you think will win the tournament (on the nose or each way), top 10/20/40 finishes, to make/miss the cut, 2-balls, 3-balls and match-ups, top nationalities, handicaps, forecasts and more besides.
It’s worth noting that the place terms for golf betting can vary from one bookmaker to the next, which in turn is reflected in wildly diverging odds that you can back, e.g. a firm paying only five places might be 80/1 about a player that a bookie offering eight places is only 66/1 about. One of the keys to betting successfully on golf is to take the biggest price – but only when the place terms suit.
So rule number one of golf betting? Make sure you shop around to get the best odds, and consider opening accounts with various bookmakers to ensure you get the best price – remember, the difference between a 66/1 payout and an 80/1 win is stark.
As for rule number two, keep reading for our ‘studying the form’ guide.
Each Way or On the Nose?
To offer some context of how hard golf betting can be, world number one Scottie Scheffler had – at the time of writing – won just two of his last 30 tournaments entered, at an average price of 10/1.
So, with flat staking, betting on the best player in the world to win each event he enters on the nose would be a losing strategy for punters.
But of those 30, Scheffler – assuming six places as the average – would have secured an each way return for backers on 16 occasions….a handsomely profitable exercise.
To calculate an each way payout in golf, you effectively divide the odds taken by the fractional odds offered on the place. So, if a bookie is offering six places at 1/5 odds and you take a 50/1 shot, you will be paid at around 10/1 – that’s in a perfect scenario where there aren’t any extra players tied with your selection. In the case of a tie, your payout will be revised accordingly.
The moral of the story is that betting on golf each way and targeting place money – rather than trying to win outright each week – is the savvy way to go, especially when you consider that the best player in the world (Scheffler) has only been winning around 7% of the tournaments he enters.
Of course, there’s always the chance that a 100/1 chance will win and you will regret not backing them on the nose – but it’s better to regret the winners you’ve had each way than the placers you’ve backed to win only.
As a general rule, the number of places tends to stretch from five with some betting sites to eight with others – this can be extended to ten or even 12 places for the majors.
Studying the Form
If you’ve had a bet before on football, horse racing, tennis or pretty much any other sport, there’s a chance you will have ‘studied the form’ to try and pick out value bets, i.e. those selections that you believe should be shorter odds than they are.
The same practice can be employed in golf betting, where there’s typically two form lines to consider: a player’s current form and their record at that particular course – assuming an event has been held there before.
Golf is also one of the most stat-heavy sports, with data that covers every single aspect of a player’s game. You can use the stats hub on the PGA Tour website to plan your bets after analysing the skillset required at the course in question – does it favour longer hitters or more accurate types? Does it test approach play or is it a venue where having a reliable short game is key? Is it wind affected or tree heavy? How penal is it to errant shots?
And so on. In short, all of the information you need to use to help pick winning golf bets is freely available online. How you use that data will determine how successful your bets are.
Can You Bet on Golf In Play?
Yes you can, with the bookmakers updating their odds after every hole and, in many cases, after every shot of the main market protagonists.
Not only can you bet on who you think will win the tournament in-running, but you can also wager on top finishes, match-ups and 2-balls and 3-balls up to and including the final round.
Betting in-play on golf can be a smart strategy, as it allows you to gather the stats on how each player is performing – sometimes, as is the case in many sports, the scoreboard doesn’t always reflect how well (or badly) somebody is playing.
Golf Betting Promotions & Features
Unlike sports like football and horse racing, the bookies don’t really go to town with their golf betting promotions.
As mentioned, you will likely enjoy enhanced places for the majors, while many mainstream bookies will ‘boost’ the odds of a selected player or two in the days leading up to a tournament.
No UK licensed bookmaker offers live streaming for golf – not at the time of writing, anyway, however a few firms are now delivering unique visuals and data in play so you can track your bets ball-by-ball, following your selection’s progress to see if they’re finding the fairway or hacking out of the rough.
Ante Post Golf Betting Odds
One of the great things about golf betting is that you can lock in a price on a player months in advance of the majors.
So, if you think a specific individual is going to break out in the next few tournaments, you can back them ante post for the majors knowing that their price will likely fall – securing you closing line value or perhaps even a cash out offer if you prefer.
Another interesting move is to back proven performers who are currently out of form. Golf tends to be a sport of peaks and troughs in form, but class is permanent as they say so don’t be afraid to take longer odds than you might expect about classy operators going through a rough patch.
Remember, there’s golf to bet on pretty much all-year round – be it week to week or via the ante post majors. Whatever you decide to do you’ll never be short of options.