How to Bet on Golf

How to Bet on Golf

Professional golf has emerged as perhaps the most popular individual sport in the world. Millions of fans tune in each week to watch their favorite players tear up the links, with the biggest audiences reserved for final round action, typically on Sunday afternoons.

While many fans tune in to watch in awe as the pros effortlessly sink the shots they have never been able to make in countless mornings at their local public golf course, many are also adding to the excitement by getting in on the golf betting action.

Whether it is wagering on the winners of upcoming major golf tournaments, taking advantage of rapidly changing odds on who will win this weekend, or taking a flyer on the golf prop betting options that are growing in number and popularity, you are certain to find a wager and odds that will stoke your interest in the next PGA Tour event.

Here’s a quick overview of some of the ways you can get in on the fun and thrills of golf betting action all season long.

Golf Season Overview

With the PGA now running a variety of tours around the world, it has become easier than ever to find golf action year round. The most popular include the PGA Tour, which primarily operates in North America, and the PGA European Tour, while the PGA Champions Tour features pro golfers over the age of 50.

The PGA Tour season typically begins in October and features a number of overseas events before moving stateside in January, when the biggest names in golf begin their year in earnest.

The first of golf’s four major tournaments kicks off in the first full week of April, when the eyes of the golf world turn to Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia and the battle for the coveted green jacket at the Masters.

The winner of the annual national golf championship in the United States is decided in mid-June when the United States Golf Association hosts the US Open, and the action shifts to the British Isles in mid-July for The Open Championship (aka the British Open). The PGA Championship, the season’s other major, shifts from August to May starting in  2019.

Along with the major tournaments, the PGA Tour’s season also sees golfers vying for bragging rights and big money in the chase for the FedExCup, with the winner determined by a multi-tournament playoff, capped by the TOUR Championship. The World Golf Championships events scattered throughout the season also draw plenty of interest.

Betting on Golf Tournaments

Tournament odds are available on tour events throughout the year. Dynamic odds are typically published in the week prior to the start of the opening round of a tournament and enable you to bet on the golfer who you think will emerge as the winner that weekend. Tour events are typically comprised of four rounds, which means odds are updated on a daily basis to reflect the action on the course as the tournament progresses.

Betting on Golf Props

While wagering on which pro golfer will emerge as the winner of a tour event is the easiest and most popular form of golf betting, golf props allow you to bet on all aspects of a tournament.

Props bets are most widely available ahead of major tournaments, and the simplest prop bets include wagers on whether any golfer will shoot a hole-in-one during a tournament, what the margin of victory will be, and whether or not the tournament will be decided by a playoff.

Yes -115
No -115

The example above illustrates a typical prop bet on whether any golfer will shoot a hole-in-one at a tournament. A bet on either the YES or the NO sports -115 odds. This means that you must wager $115 to win $100 on a successful bet.

Golf prop bets also enable wagering on how two or more golfers will perform head-to-head, or versus the field.

The Masters
Dustin Johnson R2 -130
Rory McIlroy R2 +110

The example above illustrates a prop bet pitting two golfers against each other head-to-head. The name of the tournament (The Masters) is listed, along with the name of each golfer, and the odds of each coming out with the better score in the round indicated (R2 = Round 2).

In this example, you would need to bet $130 to win $100 on a successful wager on Dustin Johnson to have the better score in the second round, while a successful $100 wager on Rory McIlroy will win you $110.

While this example has two golfers going head-to-head, prop bets on pitting three golfers against each other are often available. These are typically called “3 Balls” prop bets since they feature three golfers going head-to-head, and are usually only available during the first two rounds of a tournament before those players missing the cut are eliminated from contention.

“Six Shooter” props bets are gaining in popularity, expanding the head-to-head group to six golfers, and may be settled based on the results of an individual round or an entire tournament.

Johnson and McIlroy +650
The Field -1200

Another example of a prop bet is illustrated above, in which you can bet on whether one of a small group of golfers will emerge as the winner of a tournament versus the field, which includes all the other golfers participating at the event. This type of prop bet is known as an “Odds versus the Field” wager.

In this example, a tournament victory by either Dustin Johnson or Rory McIlroy would garner you $650 in winnings on a $100 bet, while wagering on the field means you would have to bet a hefty $1200 just to win $100.

As with the earlier example, prop bets pitting a group of golfers against the field can include as few as one golfer or as many as three or four. These groupings are often decided by grouping past champions together, or in the case of major tournaments, golfers who hail from the same country.

Justin Rose +150
Paul Casey +400
Tommy Fleetwood +400
Ian Poulter +900

Prop bets also enable you to wager on the top performer at a tournament from a small group of players. In the above example, Justin Rose is listed as a +150 favorite to be the top Englishman at the tournament, meaning a $100 wager wins you $150. This does not mean he has to win the tournament, just finish ahead of the other players grouped in that prop bet.

In addition to Odds by Nationality prop bets, other such group prop bets can also group together past winners of a tournament, or all amateurs playing in a tournament.

Betting on Golf Futures

While most golf betting action takes place in the days leading up to a tournament, as well as on a daily basis during a tournament, it is also possible to wager on the winners of future major tournaments through golf futures betting.

Futures betting odds typically become available on an upcoming tournament shortly after the conclusion of the current year’s edition of that event, which means you can bet on the winner of the Masters next year just days after this year’s winner receives his green jacket.

Since it is not possible to know the entire field of a tournament that may not take place for another 51 weeks, the list of players available to wager on typically includes the top-ranked players in the world and past tournament champions.

The layout for futures bets will mirror the look and feel of the odds published for a tournament coming up next week, and are subject to change as the golf season progresses, and depending on the performance and health of players.

Golf futures wagering is also available on major international team tournaments including the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup.

Played in even-numbered years, the Ryder Cup features the best golfers from the United States and Europe facing off in a team format, with the winner determined by a points system, while the Presidents Cup is played in odd-numbered years and features a team from the United States taking on an International team comprised of players that come from countries located outside the USA and Europe.

Since the points system used makes it possible for these international tournaments to end in a tie, this is reflected on the golf futures.

Ryder Cup
Europe +110
USA -110
Draw +1000

The futures betting example above illustrates a three-way bet, in which you can wager on one of the teams to win, or on a Draw, which would win you $1000 on a successful $100 bet.

Ryder Cup – To Lift the Trophy
Europe +110
USA -150

Alternatively, a two-way futures bet may also be available for the event, as illustrated in the example above which excludes the Draw. This enables you to simply pick a tournament winner. In the event of a draw, where no winner is crowned, you would get your money back.