Everything You Need To Know About Betting On Golf

Golf is an ancient game, tracing its origins back into the Middle Ages, or even before. It’s a very simple sport to understand. The objective is simple: golfers hitting their ball around a course with various clubs. The objective is to get the ball in the hole with the smallest number of hits or ‘strokes’. The standard professional tournament is played on an 18-hole course.

The majority of online bookmakers will offer golf betting on golf competitions. These offerings include the most prestigious top four majors in men’s professional golf: The Open Championship (Britain), The Masters (USA), the PGA Championship (USA), and the U.S. Open. There are also plenty of available markets in women’s professional golf, as well as smaller competitions for both women and men from around the world.  

To take advantage of the many golf betting markets, we want you to be completely comfortable when forming a golf betting strategy. That’s why we’ve produced this comprehensive how to bet on golf guide for beginners. We’re going to tell you all about the game, take you through a list of the most popular types of golf bets, share some great tips, and even point you in the direction of the best online bookmaker for all of your golf betting. Just read on for more!



Golf: The Ancient Game Of Hitting A Small Ball Into A Hole With A Stick!

Golf as we know it has been around for over 500 years, and in one form or another, the basic idea of a game involving hitting a small ball into a hole has entertained people for centuries before that. Some say it began with the Roman game of Paganica, where players hit a stuffed leather ball with a bent stick. Others point to the ancient Chinese game of Chuiwan (literally translates as “striking small ball”) played from the eighth Century. By the Middle Ages, forms of club and ball games were played across Europe and Asia, including English cambuca, French chambot, the Netherlands’ kolven, and the Persian chaugán.

The Modern Game Of Golf: Invented In Scotland, Exported Around The World

What we recognise as the modern sport of golf began in Scotland. The sports’ first recorded mention in the history books occurred when King James II banned the sport in 1457, claiming it interfered with learning archery. Nearly 50 years later, James IV removed the ban in 1502 when he took up the game himself. Scotland is definitely the home of modern golf, and the Old Course at St. Andrews is one of the oldest courses, dating from before 1574. Scotland also held the very first British Open Championship, better known as simply The Open Championship, in 1860.

It was even Scotsmen who exported the sport to America. John Reid and Robert Lockhart first demonstrated the game with one hole in an orchard, with Reid founding the first US golf course: Saint Andrew’s Golf Club in Yonkers, New York in 1888.

Playing The Game

Each golf course is unique. Players navigate the standard 18-holes, each one beginning with a tee and ending with the hole (or ‘cup’) on the putting green. Each hole will also contain such things as the fairway, rough (longer grass), sand bunkers, and water hazards. These are all designed to make progression through the course more difficult for the golfers.

The two main forms of professional, competitive golf are stroke play and match play. In stroke play, the winner is the golfer with the lowest number of strokes across 18-holes. Match play is played between two players (or teams) with each hole a separate contest. The winner in match play is the golfer, or team, with the most wins.

Now, read on to find out just how to bet on golf with our betting.org in-depth guide, with everything you need to know about golf betting explained!

Different Types Of Golf Bets

When you’re looking through online bookmakers who offer golf betting, you’ll soon discover that there are a huge number of different types of golf bets to choose from. To make the most of your golf bets, it’s important to have some understanding of the main ones. So, if you’re not sure about the differences between winning market bets, versus the field, and head-to-head bets, read on to see all your golf betting explained!

Winner Market / To Win Bet

The “to win” bet is the simplest and most popular form of golfing bet. In either stroke play or match play, a winner market bet is a bet on one golfer (or team) to win a particular golfing event or championship. These winner market bets are known as match bets in other sports.  As is fairly standard for this kind of bet, each bookmaker will offer set odds or a player (or team). The golfer they deem most likely to win is made the favourite, with the lowest odds. As you go further down the list of players ranked by the bookie, the odds offered will increase. Some bookmakers don’t list the entire field of players for bets; instead, they group low ranked golfers as ‘the field’. If you place a bet on this and any golfer from the ‘field’ wins, you win.

Winner market bets are a great golf betting option, with even the favourites usually paying out at above even money (1/1 or 2.00). In fact, adopting a betting strategy of backing several golfers can be beneficial, even though only one of them can win.

Versus The Field Bets

This is a great bet to consider during a tournament or championship. Instead of betting on one player to win, a versus the field bet lets you back every golfer in the field except for one or a number of golfers currently topping the leaderboard. It’s a bet that bookmakers offer only in the later rounds of a tournament or championship, usually when one or more golfers have pulled away from the field.

The bookmaker will give you one or more golfers to bet against, with your bet going on every other player still in the competition. If any one of these other golfers ends up winning, so do you! It might seem that it’s something of a losing bet from the off, but the game of golf can be wickedly unpredictable. All too often, the leading golfers going into the final stages will have a terrible few holes, or a golfer who was having an awful first round may suddenly find his or her form and burst forth from the field to win.

Head-to-head / Matchup Bets

Before a major golfing event or championship, certain bookmakers, more usually the US sportsbooks, will publish lists of “matchups” between pairs of players. Golfers featured in matchup bets are usually the very biggest players in the game at the time. To make a golf betting matchup, you will be betting on one of the players in your chosen matchup to score a better round than the other. You can take a head-to-head bet before the tournament or during the tournament if the bookmaker offers it.

It doesn’t matter in a head-to-head bet how well the golfer does, just whether or not he or she finishes better than the other golfer in the head-to-head. This is a particularly great form of golf bet that can be a lot of fun. It lets you use your knowledge of the golfers’ form, both coming into the tournament, and during the tournament. If you think golfer A is showing signs of having a great final round after a terrible tournament and they’re going to do far better than player B, a matchup bet can help you make the most of your keen insight.

Futures Bets

In other sports, futures betting is putting money down on who will win a certain match or tournament. These bets are usually placed ahead of the match or tournament commencing. However, due to the nature of golf competition, what other sports class as futures bets is what golf calls “to win” bets. As a result of this, future bets in golf are concerned, not with individual tournament play, but with long-term play. By far the most popular golf futures bet is one on the winner of the prestigious PGA Championship, the major US professional men’s tour; or the LPGA Tour, the most important women’s’ professional golfing tour. Unlike tournament betting, where the result can be affected by one-off moments of brilliance or a particularly bad day at the office, the long-term structure of the PGA and LPGA makes it more of a skilful betting market, with the season-long performance ironing out the ups and downs of individual tournament betting. Of course, the futures market is open to you before the start of the season. Alternatively, you can make bets once the tour has started, but the odds will certainly be better the earlier you make your bet.

Prop Bets

There are so many different golf bets available at major bookmakers that there’s no way to really cover them all without this golf betting explained guide becoming huge! However, the four above cover the main four types for those of you wanting to learn how to bet on golf. In addition to those main bets, there are many variations, but a lot of the rest can simply be grouped into the market of prop bets. These are all those types of bets that seek to judge the outcome or result of a tournament. Instead, prop bets focus on the individual events during the tournament itself.

Some of the most popular prop bets are the sort of bets that are beloved by occasional bettors; fun, one-off bets that a casual fan can enjoy. Examples of common prop bets include: how many holes in one will there be in the tournament, will the tournament go to a playoff, or will the winner be over or under 30?


Best Bookmaker For Golf Betting

Golf is a popular worldwide sport, and that means it’s a popular betting choice for all of the major online bookmakers out there. Now that you’re becoming more clued in on how to bet on golf, you’ll be looking for the best bookmaker for your golf betting. At Betting.org, we’ve already put together comprehensive reviews of the biggest online bookmakers, and you can be sure that the bookies that perform well in our reviews are reliable, safe and trustworthy. However, our reviews look at the general safety and operation of the site, not specifically golf betting. The great news is that most of the top 10 bookies offer a great selection of golfing tournament betting. Most cover the majors and the PGA tour, but Betway are particularly impressive in the options available.

Additionally, if you’re after a really extensive golfing bookie, you’re you may want to consider bookies that focus on the US market. Bovada.com offer a massive number of betting lines. These include tournament winners, head-to-head bets, 3-ball, and prop bets, often with some top-notch odds. So Betway is our best-recommended overall bookie for golf betting, but Bovada.com also deserves a place on the radar of any golf bettor.


Popular Golf Betting Terms

There’s one piece of advice we can’t stress enough: get as much knowledge as you can before making your golf bets! We’ve already given you a great headstart for how to bet on golf, but it’s a really useful idea to have all of the major golf betting terms to hand… so here’s a handy list of those as well!

  • Winner market/ To Win bet — Pick the winning golfer in any tournament.
  • Futures bet — Pick the final winning player of a future tournament or golf tour.
  • Versus the field — Bet to back every golfer in the field except for one or a few golfers topping the leaderboard.
  • Head-to-head/ matchup bet — Bet on one player to do better than another in a tournament.
  • Two-ball/ three-ball bets — Bet on which player in a group of two or three playing each hole together does best.
  • Prop bets — All other bets not specifically connected with winning tournaments. For example, number of hole in ones.
  • Group bet — Bet on the winner of a specific group in tournament. For example, best American finisher.
  • Parlay bet — Accumulator bet on two plus markets, combined on one betting slip.
  • Nassau bet — Type of accumulator, you bet on best match play score on front nine (holes 1-9), back nine (holes 10-18), and total 18 holes.
  • Press — A second golf bet that begins during a round, running at the same time as the first bet.

Top Tips For Betting On Golf

We want you to get the very best from your golf bets, which is why we’ve put together our top five tips for betting on golf. Don’t make the rookie mistakes that cost you cash; read our simple tips to really put your golf betting game above par every time!

Get The Best Golfing Odds Every Time

This one always makes it onto our top tips, no matter what the sport. Getting the best odds for your bet is the simplest, most effective way to make your betting, golf or otherwise, really pay well. The odds in golf can be highly variable, and it isn’t uncommon to find a golfer backed at 3/1 (4.00) at one bookie to win but at 5/1 (6.00) at another. Obviously, you always want the best, highest odds, but how can you find them?

Betting.org’s Odds Comparison Tool is your best friend in finding those best odds. It’s totally free and completely easy to use. Within moments you’ll be looking at a list of the bookies offering the best odds, so definitely give it a try!

Look At The Course Conditions!

Golf is unlike most major sports in that the playing surface changes every tournament. That’s what makes it such an exciting and fascinating sport. When the courses and conditions of play vary so much, it’s well worth looking at each course and the potential conditions to discover which player will do well and who might crash and burn. There are golfers who love long, long fairways and beautiful, simple greens. Some golfers have a spectacular short game where tight, twisty holes are perfect. Conversely, there are golfers who thrive in the more difficult, unusual courses. Finding out which is which and researching who benefit from each course can really enhance your golf betting experience.

Think About 3-ball and Head-to-head Betting Over Tournament Winner

With so much that could go wrong in an 18-hole tournament, it’s difficult to consistently pick a winner in an outright bet. Your golfer could be having a bad day on the greens, or a new wonder-kid could suddenly come from nowhere and ruin your to-win tournament bet. As a result of this variance, it’s well worth your while looking instead at three-ball and head-to-head bets. In three-ball you’re betting on the three golfers playing the round together. In head-to-head, you’re simply betting on which golfer in a bookie’s chosen pair will perform better. Gone is the need to predict winners; you’re dealing with fewer random factors and your golf betting is simplified as a result.

If You’re Going To bet USA, Be Aware Of The Vig!

With bookmakers all over the world, it’s more and more likely that you might find yourself at a bookie with a US sportsbook style. This is especially true if you’re looking for the broadest choice of golf bets. US sportsbooks offer bets slightly differently to standard UK options, and will take a cut from your bet; this cut is known as the vig. So always make sure you know what the amount charged as the vig will be. Shop around, too: some US style bookies feature much higher vigs than others. This is especially true on prop bets. As a lot of prop bets are taken by casual, less knowledgeable punters, so the bookie charges more.

Know Your Golfers!

Knowledge is essential in sports betting, and golf is absolutely no exception. You need to be up to date with the comings and goings in the golfing world to make a clever bet. Sure, the golfing world might be dominated by a new superstar who just can’t lose and has blown away the competition all year, but what if his private life just self-destructed? Or what if he was recently in a small fender-bender that might have slightly hurt his back? Every little bit of knowledge on a golfer is important and can help you make far better golfing bets.


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