Swinging for Success: Unlocking the Mysteries of Golf Betting

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Unlocking the Mysteries of Golf Betting. Golf betting explained - give yourself the best chance to win and beat the bookies.
Posted on
August 30, 2023
Andy Newmarch in ,
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

As sports betting becomes legal across the U.S., newcomers are exploring various options, including golf. Golf's year-round nature makes it attractive for betting. Unlike other sports with shorter seasons, golf tournaments happen every week worldwide.

This article explores the basics of golf betting, terminology, diverse markets, and strategic insights.


Understanding Golf Odds

Understanding golf odds is crucial for betting. In tournaments with 150+ golfers, odds differ significantly between favourites and long shots. Pre-tournament favourites like Rory McIlroy have +700 to +1200 odds (7/1 to 12/1), while outsiders might be at 500/1, mainly for major tournaments.

A positive (+) symbol indicates player odds and reflects the potential winnings on a $100 wager. In Rory McIlroy's odds of +700 (equivalent to 7-1), a $10 bet on McIlroy would result in a $70 win for the bettor.


Type of Golf Bets

Tournament Winner
As the name implies, this bet, which involves picking the tournament winner, is a popular and straightforward choice. The odds for certain golfers can be very high in this bet type. While small margins separate top and bottom players, golfers at 50/1 or higher often win.

Though unlikely for favourites, long shots like Scottie Scheffler or Collin Morikawa win on the PGA Tour.

Finishing Position Markets

This type of bet allows bettors to predict the top 5, 10, or 20. While the odds are lower, it offers a better win chance, making it suitable for prudent bettors. Bettors should be aware of dead-heat rules in this type of bet.

Dead heats occur when multiple players share the available finishing positions. Various sportsbooks employ distinct regulations involving this scenario. In most cases, your odds or bets are adjusted.

Each-Way Betting

In golf, "each-way" betting means a divided wager. Here, 50% of your bet is directed toward a golfer's potential victory in the tournament, while the remaining fifty percent is placed on them finishing top-5. This approach allows you to have a stake in a golfer you favour without requiring them to clinch the tournament victory.

Although not universally available across all sportsbooks, replicating each-way bets is relatively straightforward. You simply place two distinct wagers – one on the possibility of an outright triumph and the other on the likelihood of a top-5 finish.

Head-to-Head Matchups

Sportsbooks draft head-to-head matchups by pitting golfers of similar skill against each other. Unlike football or basketball, which employ point spreads, golf relies on maintaining a balance in these matchups.

Head-to-head matchups are presented in two distinct categories. You can place bets on complete tournament matchups, where golfers' performances across the tournament are considered, or single-round matchups, focusing solely on their performance within a specific round.

Live Betting Golf

Mobile betting apps offer diverse options, with live betting being a rapidly growing segment. Golf embraces live betting, adjusting odds as the rounds progress. A slow start by a favourite can yield better odds, while strong play with reasonable prices can emerge from a leader board of favourites.

Bettors can live-bet hole scores, choosing Birdie, Par, or Bogey. Brilliant bettors can pinpoint struggling golfers and wager on them making bogeys or support a golfer on a hot streak to score consecutive birdies.

Biggest Golf Tournaments to Bet on

Throughout the year, golf hosts many tournaments, varying in scale and significance. The major golf tournaments that stand out as prime choices for betting enthusiasts are;

PGA Tour

The PGA Tour is the premier US tour featuring top global players. Weekly tournaments, including elevated events with larger prizes, attract elite participants. Notable events include;

ISPS HANDA World Invitational Men 2023 R4
(Adam Davy/PA Wire)

● The Memorial Tournament
● Phoenix Open
● WGC Matchplay
● BMW Championship
● Genesis Invitational
● Tour Championship
● RBC Heritage
● St. Jude Classic
● Arnold Palmer Invitational
● Wells Fargo Championship
● The Players Championship
● Travelers Championship

The Masters

The Masters, the initial major of four, starts the year. Uniquely at Augusta National Golf Club, Georgia, it's the sole major with a consistent venue. Though not the official season opener, it's prestigious and symbolically launches the season for many.

DP World Tour

The DP World Tour, formerly the European Tour, features events year-round like the PGA. Global locations draw top players. Key attractions are the Rolex Series events, including;

● Dubai Desert Classic
● PGA Championship
● Genesis Scottish Open
● DP World Tour Championship

US Open

The US Open is the only American major welcoming both amateurs and pros. Qualification spans months prior, embracing diverse skill levels and challenging renowned courses. Betting on it is demanding due to harsh conditions and challenging courses, leading to low scores.

PGA Championship

The PGA Championship, distinct from the PGA Tour, is organized by the PGA of America. Uniquely, it includes PGA teaching pros in the field. Held in the US, like the US Open, it presents a challenging test due to demanding courses.

The Open

Occasionally wrongly called the British Open, the Open occurs in the UK and Ireland. Like the US Open, it's open to pros and amateurs qualifying beforehand. As the oldest major, it began in 1860 at Prestwick Golf Club, Scotland.

Official World Golf Ranking 31/2023

The Road Hole, St. Andrews - © Matthew Harris / TGPL the golf picture library


Golf Betting Strategy

Like all sports, to be successful at golf betting, you need a decent strategy in place. Below, we’ve outlined areas you can attack and implement to become more profitable with your bets.

Strokes Gained

Strokes gained is a valuable golf betting stat. It gauges a player's performance by comparing it to the field. This metric reveals strengths and weaknesses by evaluating specific shots against the field average.

Current Form

Golf form can be inconsistent, with players going from missed cuts to wins in a week. Form matters, but its application is crucial. Linking a player's current form with the Strokes Gained metric helps identify weak areas for improvement. Often, a golfer struggles in specific aspects rather than their entire game.

Course Form

Certain players thrive on specific courses while struggling on others. A player might claim a course doesn't suit them due to various factors. Conversely, players might favour specific courses due to length, grass type, green speed, layout, proximity to home, and even local amenities.


Weather significantly impacts golf, especially wind and rain. Severe weather makes ball control and morale difficult for most players. However, some excel in adverse conditions. European players, especially from the UK and Ireland, are accustomed to harsh conditions, gaining an advantage in challenging weather.


FedEx Cup Standings 49/2023
(Paul Battaglia/AP)
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About Andy Newmarch

Being one of the original owners of the ‘Top 100 Golf Courses’ website enabled Andy to travel far and wide playing and rating courses, with the numbers somewhere around 1200 courses in 40 countries. Although now away from the day-to-day grind of course ranking, having a keen eye on course developments is still high on the agenda. Currently hanging on to a handicap index of 9.9 he is probably as competitive on the course than ever but more often than not will compliment this by relaxing at the 19th hole to make up for the hard work!

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