Although the internet has brought with it both the good and bad as far as the progression of humanity is concerned, when it comes to sports betting it has undoubtedly been a game-changer.
From the initial proliferation of betting sites to the all-singing, all-dancing apps of today, bookies are now able to offer punters a better ‘product’ than ever before – including some tools that add genuine value to your wagering.
One of the particular areas that has really benefitted is golf betting, a sport where data – be it how a course is playing or the strengths and weaknesses of a player – really is king.
There are so many tools available for free online that can help to improve your golf betting – whether you want to wager on the outright winner market, first round leader, match-ups, top 10/20/30/40 finishes and so on.
And once a tournament is live, there’s a raft of stats and visuals you can use that will again help you to gain a tremendous level of insight – for this, you might not even have to navigate away from your favourite betting app to prosper.
Here’s the really great thing: you don’t need to even like golf to be successful at golf betting. As long as you have a reasonable grasp of numbers – and where to find the most important ones – you can do well without even watching a single shot hit.
How to Bet on Golf – Pre-Tournament
It doesn’t matter which sport you bet on – from football and horse racing to tennis and cricket, one of the most important attributes you want your team/player/horse to have is current form.
Golf is no different, because it’s a very rare day indeed when a tournament is won by a player that has shown absolutely no form of late – especially at the elite level on the PGA Tour.
So when you begin to compile your shortlist of players to back, current form is a key component – as can be course form, which details how well they have fared at that venue before. On the PGA Tour, in the vast majority of cases the same tournaments are played at the same courses every season, which builds up a bank of data that can be very useful for punters indeed.
It might sound like a lot of legwork to research the current/course form of the players, but the good news is that some kind souls have done the hard yards for you – head to Twitter and you will find that the likes of Mike Miller and Paul Williams are producing cheat sheets – free of charge, it should be said – that display the form lines of all players involved in each tournament.
That’s a fantastic jumping-off point for your golf bets, but there are a few more things to consider too.
As you become more familiar with each tournament on the PGA Tour (or whichever tour you prefer to follow), you will start to build a knowledge base of what it takes to win a particular event. For example, The Masters is played at an Augusta National course that is famed for its extreme length – therefore, players that hit the ball a long way have a distinct advantage.
Once you have built your profile of a potential winner, you can check out the key stat categories on the PGA TOUR website – Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, for instance, is an ideal foundation for The Masters.
To use an analogy from football, we can judge a team in an attacking sense in two ways: their ability to create goalscoring chances and also their ability to finish them by putting the ball in the back of the net.
There a similar phenomenon in golf – a player’s ball-striking (Strokes Gained: Tee to Green) sets up birdie opportunities while their putting finishes them off. But most judges would agree that it’s the tee-to-green form that is most important, because without that a player is swimming against the tide.
You can track the tee-to-green performances of players at DataGolf, where there’s a stack of statistical and interactive models produced both pre-tournament and in-play.
While putting together all of the elements does not guarantee success in golf betting, they almost certainly increase your chances of picking the right kind of player for each event.
How to Bet on Golf – In-Play
As if to emphasise the importance of Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, here’s a look at the season-long player rankings (which run for the best part of a year) for that stat heading into the Open Championship in 2023:
Can you guess the bookies’ favourites to win the event? That’s right: Scheffler, McIlroy and Rahm. Morikawa, meanwhile, won the 2021 Open Championship.
A useful tool for betting in-play on golf is provided by DataGolf, who collate the Strokes Gained: Tee to Green data for each tournament in-running. So, after each round you can see which players are thriving in this department – useful for betting on the outright winner market and 2-balls, 3-balls and head-to-heads even after the event is underway.
Some of the UK’s leading bookmakers, including bet365, have implemented a fantastic Shot Tracker visualiser into their in-play golf betting offering – you can access this via their website or app.
This shows models of each hole at an event, while the shot tracker itself delivers real-time updates as to where each player is at:
The section highlighted in red is of great importance to punters. It shows shot-by-shot detail of each 3-ball pairing, and in the example above we note that Corey Conners found the fairway with his tee shot on the Par 4 hole while Billy Horschel and Alex Noren were in the rough.
As per the PGA Tour’s website, here’s how each of the trio fares (on average) from the approach distances they have left:
- Conners (116 yards from the fairway) – 19.5 feet to the hole
- Noren (134 yards from the rough) – 40ft to the hole
- Horschel (149 yards from the rough) – 44ft feet to the hole
As you can see, Conners becomes a warm favourite to win the hole – in the screenshot above, you’ll see he’s available at odds of 6/4 to do exactly that.
Again, it’s not an exact science and there’s no promises that Conners will sink his putt and win the hole, but you can see how data in golf betting can be manipulated to help find value positions for every tournament and, if you have the time, for every hole too.
All of the tools are free and readily accessible online, so there are plenty of reasons why you should give golf betting a look if you haven’t already.