All sports have unique betting aspects and golf is no exception. Tournaments last four days, every course is different and championship tours can span many countries.

What’s more, there are few sports in which so many variable factors can come into play. As a result, successful golf betting requires a good knowledge of the game.

If you want to become an ace golf bettor, here are just a few things you should learn before getting started.


Tours And Events

The top golfers in the world play on the US PGA Tour or the European Tour. During the tour season, players compete on a different course every week in different states or countries.

For example, the European Tour may visit Africa, Asia or Australia during its schedule, while the US Tour is held in states all over the USA but may also include dates in Mexico or Asia.

The tours form one of the most gruelling schedules in sport, with players getting just a short break over the Christmas period.

Players that qualify may sometimes switch from one main tour to another. This can help to develop their game and make them more competitive at Major events.

The highest-ranked players take part in the World Golf Championship, a series of events held at various point throughout the year. However, the biggest events of all are the Majors.


The Four Major Golf Events

The biggest events in the sport are known as the Majors. These represent the pinnacle of the sport and the great players are judged on the number of Majors they have one. In that respect, they can be compared to the Grand Slam events in tennis.

The Major golf events are:

  1. The Masters: Held in April at the Augusta National Golf Course, Augusta, Georgia, USA.
  2. US Open:  Held in June at various venues in the United States
  3. The Open Championship: Held in July at various venues in the United Kingdom
  4. US PGA Championships: Held in August at various venues in the United States


Tournament Structure

Most tournaments are played over four rounds of 18 holes in a stroke play format. This means, the player with lowest combined score after four days is the winner.

The lowest scoring players are eliminated after the second day in what is known as the cut. There are a few variations on this format such as match play golf, where a point is awarded for each hole that is won, or half a point if it is drawn.


International Team Tournaments

Despite being predominantly an individual sport, there are team events on the golfing calendar. The most famous of these is the Ryder Cup.

The Ryder Cup is contested every two years by teams from Europe and the United States. The venue switches between the regions and is considered the biggest event outside of the Majors.

The Ryder Cup utilises a combination of stroke and match play golf.


How To Bet On Golf

The outright winner market is very popular with novices. For this bet, you just need to predict who will win an event. However, with up to 150 entrants, this is not as easy as it sounds.

So, knowledge of which players are suited to which courses is important. You can learn this by watching as many tournaments as possible and getting to know the game of each players.

Many punters prefer to bet on the Top 4, Top 5 or Top 10 markets. These markets give you a better chance of winning while still offering good prices. You just need to predict if a player will finish within your chosen margin.

As golf is a sport that can produce long-priced winners, backing the favourite as an outright winner is not always a good strategy.

However, in form players can often land in the top places and that is where these markets come into play. So look for players who are competing at the top on a regular basis and are suited to the course.  


Learn About The Players

All players have different strengths and weaknesses. Some are big hitters, some hit it short but accurate, while others may excel on the greens.

The more you study golf, the more you will learn to identify the key aspects of each player’s game. By identifying a player’s strongest attributes, you can start to predict which tournaments will suit them best.


Some Key Golf Statistics

  • Fairways hit: How often the fairway is hit from the tee. Poor drivers might suffer on tighter courses.
  • Distance: Accuracy is far more important when combined with good distance.
  • Greens in regulation (GIR): A player who reaches the green in the regulation number of shots is showing good form in their long-game.
  • Putting: Strong putters can compensate for weaknesses in other areas but they can also provide betting opportunities. You can back a player to make the fewest puts in a round or tournament.


About The Courses

There are two main types of goal course: the links course and the parkland course.

Links golf courses are located on the strip of land that links the coast and farmland. This type of golf course first appeared in Scotland and are known for their fast fairways, firm greens, difficult rough and lots of bunkers.

Frequent strong sea winds can add another challenge. These course rarely have trees and suit players who can hit the ball low with accuracy.

Parkland golf courses are located inland and typically feature green areas and woodland. They are carefully constructed and often lack many of the natural bumps and dips of a links course.

Much of the US PGA Tour is played on parkland-style courses. The courses suit players who can hit the ball high and long with slice or draw to navigate around the trees.


Some Popular Golf Bets

Knowing the courses and players will help you to make more accurate selections. Here are some popular markets that you might want to explore:

  • Outright winner: The prices might look great but it’s not as easy as it sounds.
  • Top 4, Top 5 and Top 10: The golfing equivalent of an each-way bet, these are great for applying your statistical knowledge.
  • Three-ball winners: Golfers are grouped into three on the Thursday or Friday. You can bet who will perform best out a threesome.
  • Two-ball winners: Like above but picking the low scorer from a weekend pairing.
  • Margin of victory: Predicting the margin of victory.
  • Top nationality: You can predict who will be the best player from a particular country.
  • To make or miss the cut: You can back whether a player will make it to the weekend or not.
  • Mythical 2 or 3 ball winners: In this bet, you can back the winner from a selection of three players who are not in the same group or pairing.


Other Factors To Consider When Betting On Golf:

  • Weather: Bad weather can hand the advantage to those who have already completed their rounds.
  • Mentality: Some players perform better than other under pressure. Judging a player’s mental strength can be hard but their track record should give you some clues.
  • Injury problems: Always check for injury news. If your player is carrying even the slightest strain it could knock a few strokes off their score.


*Credit for the main photo belongs to Mark Humphrey / AP Photo*

FIRST PUBLISHED: 3rd August 2020

About the Author

The 888sport blog, based at 888 Towers in the heart of London, employs an army of betting and tipping experts for your daily punting pleasure, as well as an irreverent, and occasionally opinionated, look at the absolute madness that is the world of sport.