When betting on golf, there are a number of different markets to choose from – both in-play and pre-match.
To learn about overall golf betting strategy, be sure to read our guide on how to bet on golf. But below is our list of the main types of selections available when betting on golf, which can help you differentiate between the many different markets offered by bookmakers.
The most simple, and appealing, way to bet on golf is to back a tournament winner. Across the PGA, European and other tours, golf tournaments will boast over 100 players to start with. That’s where the skill and fun of golf betting holds its biggest draw.
Picking a winner from a huge field is challenging but rewarding. Due to the high number of players, the odds of each player winning will be far higher. A £1 bet can yield great returns as eventual winners can be priced at 50/1 (51.0) or even 100/1 (101.0) pre-tournament.
Tournament favourites like Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy often start at the shortest odds, in the range of 5/1-10/1 (6.0-11.0). This means betting on even the lowest-priced favourite for a golf tournament can offer a lucrative reward.
Just like in horse racing, you can also offer yourself an insurance policy by doubling your stake for an each way bet in golf. In each way betting, you are rewarded if your selection doesn’t win but still finishes highly.
For instance, a £5 bet on John Rahm to win a tournament would lose if he finished second. However, a £5 each way bet would reward you at lower odds if he finished runner up. This reduces the chance of one missed birdie over the course of a four-day event ruining your whole bet.
How it works: A £5 each way bet on John Rahm to win the Masters at 1/3 odds, paying up to 5 places. If the original odds of Rahm winning were 15/1 (16.0) and he finished fifth, your £5 win bet would not be successful.
However, with each way betting you double your stake and end up betting £10. With a fifth-place finish, your each way bet would win at 1/3 of the original odds (5/1, 6.0). So, having bet £10, you would win £30 – with your £5 each way stake returned and £25 each way winnings. Each way fractions and the amount of extra places vary depending on the bookmaker and tournament.
Another type of tournament betting in golf is to pick a player who will finish in the top 10 or top 20. Here, you are not selecting the outright winner but ensuring you choose a player who finishes highly within the field.
In golf, several players can finish tied for one place, so you could end up with more than 10 players actually finishing inside the top 10. But your bet will still win if a player finishes tied for 10th (or 20th for top 20 bets).
A key component of four-day golf events is the two-day cut off point, called the cut. Based on the leading players’ scores during a tournament, a score is determined that forms the cut – anyone who finishes below that score at the end of the second day misses the cut and is eliminated from the tournament.
If you are confident a player is in form, betting on them to make the cut is a safer option than betting on them to win the whole tournament. At the same time, if you think the bookies have priced a player lower than they should to win the tournament, you can bet on them to miss the cut if you think they will suffer a particularly bad event.
Every golf event, especially a major, will offer some kind of player or event specials, which vary tournament to tournament. However, there are some common specials that are regularly offered:
Margin of victory: Here, you can bet on how many shots the eventual winner will triumph by.
First round leader: In a four-day golf tournament, some players will start better than others, while some players have a habit of surging into the lead, often not winning the tournament by the end of the fourth day. Betting on the first round leader rewards you if your pick is top at the end of the first day.
Top amateur: Many majors or high-profile tournaments will invite amateur players as well as professionals. Betting sites can therefore offer markets on the amateur player who finishes highest out of the field. Your pick does not have to win the tournament to win this bet, just finish above all their fellow amateurs.
Top nationality: Bookmakers often apply the same categorising to different nationalities. Quite frequently, sportsbooks will also offer markets on the top US player or top European player, due to the existence of the PGA Tour (US) and European Tour, as well as the fact the two groups regularly compete at the Ryder Cup.
Play off: If the leading players are tied at the end of a tournament, a play-off is used to determine the eventual winner out. So, when betting on golf, you can choose whether you think a certain tournament will have a play off or not; this offers a simple 50-50 option with just two possible outcomes.
Hole in one betting: Considered more of a fun special, you can also bet on whether there will be a hole in one during an event. Hole in ones are like nine-darters in darts or 147s in snooker: they are the ultimate achievement within the sport. While rare, they do occur from time to time and you can often get a very reasonable price on backing there to be a hole in one during a tournament.
To find out what important golf tournaments are coming up, be sure to read our guide on the biggest golf events of 2020.