How to Bet on Golf

It’s time to learn how to bet on golf.

Key Points

– Sports bettors should learn how to bet on golf since markets are much softer than other sports.

– There are multiple golf bets that offer the average bettor extreme value.

How to Bet on Golf

Each week, there are numerous opportunities for bettors to uncover value in golf.

With tournaments almost every week of the year, there is the opportunity to be patient and wait for a few strong positions to attack. The large number of options allows bettors to pick their spots wisely. 

It helps to have some background knowledge of the sport and how the professional golf circuit works. For years, there was the PGA and the LPGA. In 2022, LIV Golf burst onto the scene offering bettors something new. 

Let’s take a look at each organization before diving into the different kinds of bets you may make on golf. Knowing the different golf tours are necessary when learning how to bet on golf.

The PGA Tour

The roots of the modern PGA Tour stretch back to April 10, 1916, when the Professional Golfers’ Association of America was formed. The PGA Tour was formed as a separate entity, but wins from the PGAA era are recognized by the tour. 

By 1916, several prestigious golf tournaments offering prize money to the winner had been established in America, including the North and South Open, the Metropolitan Open, the Shawnee Open, the Western Open and the national championship, the U.S. Open. 

These tournaments formed the initial schedule of what came to be known much later as the PGA Tour. The PGA Tour usually consists of 40 to 45 different tournaments each season. The PGA Championship, the Open Championship in the U.K. (the oldest of all golf tournaments), the Masters, and the U.S. Open make up golf’s four major tournaments. These events can make or break a golfer’s career. They can also make or break a golf bettor’s season.

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, various state open tournaments began, many organized by sections of the PGA. The tour, then known informally as “The Circuit” for professional golfers in the PGA, became more formalized in 1929. A tournament committee was formed and worked to formalize a year-round schedule of tournaments.

The PGA and the PGA Tour remain separate entities after having gone through years of feuding. The PGA Tour is made up of professional golfers and is the largest such organization in the world. 

The LPGA Tour

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) is a group for female professional golfers in the United States. The LPGA Tour, a series of weekly golf competitions for top female professional golfers from across the world, is the organization’s most well-known project. Its headquarters are at the LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Florida.

The LGPA was formed in 1954 after the WPGA (Women’s Professional Golf Association) ceased operations in 1949. The WPGA lasted just five years before a group of 13 women came together to start the LPGA. 

The most famous of the thirteen was Babe Zaharias, an Olympic track and field gold medalist who had turned to professional golf. Patty Berg was also one of the thirteen and she became the LPGA’s first president.

The LPGA has had a season-ending championship tournament every year since 2006.

LIV Golf

In 2019, a new golf league was being formed to compete with the PGA Tour. The Premier Golf League was being put together to give golfers more than just the PGA option. In response, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said that golfers who select to compete in a new league will be excluded from PGA Tour competitions.

The Premier Golf League and Saudi investors discussed a financial collaboration. Instead of going ahead with the Premier Golf League, Golf Saudi (a branch of the Public Investment Fund) sponsored a new organization in 2020 that had its own ambition for creating a world-wide professional league. This new “super golf league” was established in October 2021.

The company officially began operations as LIV Golf Investments, with Greg Norman serving as CEO. LIV Golf has frequently been compared to the dormant breakaway soccer league known as the European Super League. The tour has been generally characterized as an effort by the corrupt and human rights violating Saudi monarchy to improve its public image through “sportswashing.”

The “LIV” in the new league’s name comes from the number 54 written in Roman numerals. All LIV Tour events will play 54 holes instead of the PGA standard of 72. The very first LIV competition was held at the Centurion Club outside of London, England on June 9, 2022. 

In 2023, the Invitational Series will change its name to the LIV Golf League.

How to Bet on Golf – The Basics

With some background on the professional organizations, we can now dive into betting on golf events. You should first familiarize yourself with how golf odds operate. Knowing odds is a MUST when knowing how to bet on golf.

As an example, if Tiger Woods is listed at +800 (also written as 8-1) to win a competition, it means that if you bet on Tiger to win and he succeeds, you would receive an eight-fold return on your stake. 

To put it even simpler, American odds reveal a payout in reference to units of 100. With positive odds such as +800, if a bettor wagers $100 on Woods and he wins the tournament, the bettor gets his stake back plus a payout of $800. 

You do not have to wager $100. You could bet $10 and receive $80 as a payout. With odds of +800, a bettor will receive $8 for every $1 that he bets.

What is great about betting on golf tournament winners is that the favorite is typically given odds between +600 and +1300. That makes for some outstanding payouts. Of course, the trade off is that picking the right golfer to win a tournament is pretty hard. 

Many bettors will wager on a few different golfers to win banking that one of them does. While losing a few bets, the bettor still walks away with a profit. At least that is the idea.

You will find odds that are considerably more in line with other sports when you know how to bet on golf matchups. These bets, which we will get into in detail later, are ones where you choose one golfer to finish with a better score than the other.

Regardless, you have to understand golf odds. In the case where odds are negative, golf bettors must realize they are betting on a favorite. If Woods is listed at -125 to finish better than Dustin Johnson, a bettor would have to wager $125 to win $100. Again, you don’t have to bet $100, but you will win $1.00 for every $1.25 that is wagered.

Champion Bets

We mentioned this already. The most popular golf bet is on a golfer to win a tournament. The overall champion bet offers some of the best longshot opportunities of all sports. 

Typically, bettors will be able to find a favorite listed around +500. It is not uncommon for the overall betting favorite in a golf tournament to be given odds near or even over +1000. 

Betting on a golfer to win a tournament isn’t easy, but the payouts make it worth trying. Plus, there is great opportunity to cash in big on contenders and longshots. In 2019, Matthew Wolff had just won the NCAA Golf Championship. A month later, he turned pro.

Wolff won the 3M Open becoming just the third golfer to win an NCAA title and a PGA Tour event in the same year ( Ben Crenshaw and Tiger Woods were the others). Wolff was a +12500 longshot to win. Just placing a simple $5 bet on Wolff would have netted $625.

Finishing Position or Place Bets

A finishing position or place bet allows bettors to wager on where a player might finish. Instead of betting on the overall winner, you bet on a golfer to finish in the top 5, 10, or 20. 

Obviously, the payouts are much lower here, but bettors have a greater chance of winning. These bets can be used to build up the golf bankroll.

Winning a tournament often includes a bit of luck. A golfer can have four outstanding rounds but still lose to another golfer who had the tournament of his life. If a golfer shoots four great rounds and doesn’t win, he still could end up in the top 10 or maybe even the top 5.

Finishing position bets allow a bettor some flexibility. You can bet on a golfer to finish in the top 10 knowing that he is definitely one of the best in the tournament and plays well on that course. You trade off better odds on the overall winner in exchange for a better chance of winning the bet. 

Many golf finishing position bets can be found at even money, which again allows bettors to build up their bankrolls. One thing to keep in mind with these types of bets is how a sportsbook treats dead-heat situations.

If you bet on a golfer to finish in the top 20 and he ties for 20th, what happens? At some sportsbooks, you will win only ⅕ of your wager. Make sure you know going in before you place a finishing bet. How to bet on golf has many important aspects.

Matchup Golf Bets – How to Bet on Golf

Golf is more of an individual sport, for the most part. Every golfer is competing against every other golfer. Bettors, however, can bet on matchups between golfers. 

For example, a sportsbook may have odds for a Collin Morikawa vs. Dustin Johnson matchup. Typically, you’ll see odds fairly close to -110 because most of the players have fairly similar outright odds. A Jim Furyk vs. Dustin Johnson matchup would never be published. Matchups are usually between golfers of similar skills and world ranking.

When going up against golfers who have been playing better, these bets are excellent places to attack players who haven’t been playing well and fade them. Additionally, certain courses will favor a particular style of player. You might have a golfer who smashes it far off the tee, has a good approach game, or has a great short game.

Matchup bets are great too because you can bet on the entire tournament or you can bet on a single round of the tournament. The golfer with the better score wins.

Bet on Golf Props

Golf has some very interesting prop bets. One of the more popular prop bets focuses on golfer’s nationalities. You can wager on the top American, top English golfer, top Spaniard, etc. 

The golf majors like the Masters usually offer bets on the Top Amateur, Top Senior, and Top Lefty. They are great bets because bettors get moneyline odds on a number of golfers just as they do when betting on an overall golf tournament champion.

Bettors can find some advantages with golf prop bets. Picking a tournament winner is difficult, but when you can eliminate a large number of golfers based on nationality, for example, you have a greater chance of pulling a victory. That makes golf props both fun and, ultimately, rewarding.

When learning how to bet on golf, you must be very proficient in props.

Golf Metrics – How to Bet on Golf

The PGA Tour has access to a wealth of data since it can plot and sort every piece of information from each shot, including the start and landing locations as well as the height, speed, and a plethora of other factors.

Strokes Gained has been the largest development in golf betting and stats during the past ten years. It evaluates performance in relation to the rest of the field and the whole PGA TOUR for each shot.

Consider a player that holes out from 210 yards in the rough in two shots, beating the TOUR average of 3.2. On the field, he’s improved by 1.2 strokes.

Four categories—off the tee, approach, around the green, and putting—make up Strokes Gained.

Because putting is variable and non-sticky week to week, we choose to wager on top ball strikers who can place their second shots close to the pin. While there are some better putters than others, the best golfers in the world often have the best iron and off-the-tee game.

Golf has always been a well-liked sport for wagering, particularly in the UK and other regions of Europe. However, it is currently one of the North American betting markets with the quickest growth. The PGA Tour has embraced gambling and is collaborating with bookmakers. As a result, odds are now included in television broadcasts, and additional betting markets are now available on betting websites.

Read on to find out more about how to wager on golf, whether you’re just getting started or hoping to better your game.

The PGA Tour

Golf is a year-round sport since professional circuits like the PGA Tour offer odds practically every week. The main PGA tournaments and team competitions like the Ryder Cup are the largest events in golf betting. 

More bettors are now wagering on golf and bookies have opened up the betting options. The variety of golf bets has multiplied as more individuals place wagers on the sport. 

Additionally, given that tournaments run four days, sportsbooks are fast to alter their golf betting odds and provide possibilities other than who will finish first on the scoreboard. 

There is a golf tournament virtually every week of the year somewhere in the world. Bettors simply have to find them. Some of the more obscure tournaments will not receive as much focus from bookies as the bigger tournaments. That leaves bettors the opportunity to find value.

Similar to major team sports, there are numerous ways to wager on golf. Picking the tournament’s overall winner is the most popular market, but there are many others available, including head-to-head competitions and a variety of props.

How to Bet on Golf – Each-Way Odds

We’ve discussed the tournament winner bet, which is the most popular in golf. Each-way odds let you wager on a player to win the competition as well as place among a specified group, such as the Top 3 or Top 8. Technically, an each-way wager consists of two bets with two distinct payouts. A player would win both sides of the each-way bet if the golfer won the competition. Only the Top-3 side of the each-way bet would triumph if the golfer did not win but placed third.

What is interesting in golf betting is that bettors have the opportunity to wager on an event as it is being played. If you place a bet on the overall winner or even an each-way bet, the wager is graded after the four rounds have been played. 

Bettors can also wager on the individual rounds. You could wager on a golfer to win Round 2 for example or place an each-way wager on a player to win and finish in the Top 3 but just for Round 2.

Matchup & Three-Way Odds

As we have seen, golf bettors can choose from a variety of matchup bets on the board. Each golfer is given odds and bettors wager on which golfer they think will finish higher. Matchup bets are available for entire tournaments as well as individual rounds.

Golf also has a three-way market where a third golfer is introduced into the mix. The bettor wagers on which of the three golfers he believes will finish the highest. Again, the bet could be for the entire tournament or for a specific round. 

Three-way golf odds are similar to Matchup Odds. In a given tournament, you might have Jon Rahm as the overall betting favorite to win at +700. Rory McIlroy is listed at +900 to win and Dustin Johnson checks in at +1100.

All three are great golfers and any one of the three could win it all. Now, if you put all of them together in the three-way market, the odds would be very different. Rahm might be the favorite at -120. McIroy is listed at -110 and Johnson’s odds are +105. Where the golfers finish does not matter. If you bet $120 on Rahm and he finishes third while McIroy and Johnson finish fourth or worse, then you win $100.

Four More Betting Options

If you didn’t know, golf bettors actually have a wide range of betting opportunities. While betting on a tournament champ is the most popular, round betting is another option that is available at most golf sportsbooks.

A golfer is given a total for a given round. Bettors wager on whether the golfer’s actual score for the round will go Over or Under the posted total.

For example, Tiger Woods is given a first round total of 69.5. If you like Woods to shoot 69 or less, you bet the Under. Otherwise, you wager on the Over. Like most totals markets in other sports, you’ll find standard odds of -110 on both sides of this bet. If you wager $110 on Woods to go Over 69.5 and he shoots 71, you win $100.

We mentioned prop bets already, but golf bettors tend to wager more on props at the bigger tournaments. The majors like the US Open and even the Ryder Cup will include a wide range of props.

Two of the more popular props at major tournaments are on the hole-in-one and making the cut. Bettors can wager on if there will be a hole-in-one by any golfer in the entire tournament. The other popular prop is the bet on whether or not a golfer will make the cut.

Futures bets are extremely popular in golf. The major tournaments will have futures odds out well in advance of a tournament. Some of the less popular tournaments will not release futures odds until a week or so before the tournament begins. Major events will draw a lot of action long before a tournament starts.

The latest craze in all sports betting is wagering on live action. As a tournament progresses, the majority of online sportsbooks will provide live golf odds that are regularly updated to reflect the outcomes on the course. Live golf betting is becoming more and more popular with a wide range of live bets. 

Golf Betting Tips – How to Bet on Golf

Before placing your wagers on golf, there are a few things bettors can take into account to help them become more successful. One of the biggest indicators of how a golfer will perform is simply his recent form.

This is where oddsmakers will start when they begin setting their lines. It only makes sense that bettors start there too. A golfer going through a bad streak, for example, might continue to play poorly or maybe he is due to break out of his slump for other reasons. 

Golfers that have consistently been placing in the Top10, for example, could be counted on to do it again. Pay attention to streaks like this and try to figure out why they are occurring. Sometimes, it’s an improvement in performance. Other times, it could be due to a tournament with a field full of inferior players.

It’s the same with a cold streak. A golfer misses the cut at a few tournaments in a row. What is it that is causing the golfer to do so poorly? It might be driving accuracy or subpar putting. It could be an injury. Whatever it is, the golf bettor needs to analyze golfers before making any betting decisions. 

The course that a tournament is played on is also a huge factor in how a golfer performs. Certain golfers might do well on certain courses because the player’s strengths allow him to do well. 

Some golf courses are better suited to players who carry a significant average distance per drive. With longer drives, they are able to quickly get on the green and have greater success. 

The course might have wider fairways and a longer average length per hole. On the other hand, players who are more accurate with their drives are rewarded on courses with constrained fairways and hazards off the tee.

Finding players with a precise approach and good scrambling metrics is key due to the abundance of water and sand bunkers, as well as the hard pin placement. Unpredictable undulating greens can quickly give those exceptional putters the edge on the leaderboard.

Courses & Golfers

Golfers frequently favor certain courses because they fit their skill set. It might also be previous success with a certain course. Golfers become comfortable with playing a certain course. The opposite is also true. A golfer may have difficulties playing on a certain course because of its features. 

Golf bettors should always examine a player’s prior performance on a particular course. Check out a golfer’s round-by-round consistency and how the current tournament’s layout compares to earlier editions. The familiarity of the area should also be taken into account, as local golfers are likely to have played these courses outside of professional competitions.

The Weather Factor When Learning How to Bet on Golf

Strong winds that force golfers to shorten their drives and rely on accuracy can alter how a golfer plays a course. Rain that soaks the fairways and greens and slows down the pace of play is another example of how the weather can drastically alter how a course plays. Always take a look at the extended forecast for a full tournament as well as the in-depth daily forecasts before placing a wager on the golf futures, head-to-head markets, or prop odds.

From there, you may assess how much a player’s skill level and the weather can assist or damage them. You can also determine which players are accustomed to competing in less-than-ideal conditions based on where they are from. Some golfers may actually do well in rainy, wet conditions.

Golfers may experience varied levels of weather during the day depending on start times. Early morning players could encounter a softer and slower course than late afternoon players after the sun has dried out the fairways and greens and made them play faster. This is just another tip for the golf bettor.

About the Author
Joe Berra
Joe Berra
Sports Writer
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Joe takes care of the bits and pieces that sometimes slip through the cracks of the sports world. Efficiency and consistency is what makes different. JB helps keep Sports Hub’s content fresh and exciting, managing its many authors. From the New York area, Joe knew he had a knack for sports betting when his uncle was always asking him which side he was on as a young boy. His meticulous approach to the numbers formed his career path as a professional handicapper. Joe is sometimes called Jimmy Bagpipes, JB or Mr. B.