Multiple states have legalized sports betting in the last couple of years, which now means even more opportunities to put money on your favorite matches and players. 

While many events have been canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic, September will hopefully bring back top events like PGA Tour and the US Open as the next tournaments to dominate the sports and gambling world. To help you get prepared, we’ve outlined the basics for how to bet on golf, along with some top golf betting tips to help you maximize your chances of seeing returns throughout the season. 

What are the Best Golf Bets to Make?

Betting preferences ultimately come down to the gambler in golf: If you’re looking to place wagers for a bit of fun, but aren’t taking winning too seriously, the best bet would probably be something basic like a win or round leader bet. If, however, you’re in it to win it and want the best chance of a maximum payout, you’ll want to explore bets like parlays, head-to-heads, and betting markets that carry the least likely odds. Just remember that there can be greater risks with these types of bets. 

Here are the most common options for betting on golf:

  • Winner Bet – Just like betting on a winner in any other sport, this is where you bet on one golfer to win a particular tournament. It’s one of the easiest and most straightforward wagers you can place in golf, and the longer the odds are, the stronger the payout potential will be with this bet. 
  • Each-Way – Depending on the bookmaker, this is usually a twin bet that allows you to place money on one golfer to either win or finish in the top 5. It can be a highly profitable bet to place if the golfer faces slim odds but still manages to finish in both places.
  • First Round Leader – This is another simple bet which lets you place a wager on which golfer you think will take the lead in the tournament after the first day. The odds are always posted for each golfer before the day begins, then reposted for the 2nd, 3rd, and last round leaders at the end of each day.
  • Match Play – Match Play bets are standard moneyline wagers where you place a bet on two golfers in a head-to-head game. One will be listed as the negative and the other will be listed as the positive. Bets can either be placed as parlays or single wagers.
  • Top 5/10/20 – If you’ve got a particular favorite and want an easy way to win, you can bet on a golfer to finish in the top 5, 10, or 20. Although you’re highly likely to win with these odds, the payouts are pretty weak in comparison to the other betting markets. 
  • Futures – The futures bet is the same with other sports and involves betting on tournaments months in advance of them starting. This can be a great bet if your predictions are correct, but it can also be a risky one as the season’s momentum is constantly changing. 
  • Hole-in-One – This one does what it says on the tin, and involves placing a bet on a golfer to score a hole-in-one. As simple as it may seem, it’s not the most common scenario to occur in golf. It also tends to have low odds, which means the payouts can be exceptionally high. 

Live Betting on Golf

Live betting can be extremely worthwhile and works in the same way as betting on other live sports. Instead of only wagering at the beginning of a tournament, you can place bets on a golfer’s performance (birdie, bogey, eagle, etc.) for an upcoming hole. The odds are also continuously updated so you can place more bets. 

Tips for Gambling on Golf

  • Do Your Research – If you don’t know much about golf in general, the best way to make sure your bets are more successful is to ensure you understand how the game works and its terminology. Look at the different strokes, odds for each outcome, as well as the individual history of each golfer to give yourself a better idea of how they’ll perform this season. 
  • Check the Odds – While you can earn big payouts with certain golf bets, remember that the odds may not always be the most favorable for some of them. Again, this is why it’s worth doing your research of the games, players, and different scenarios beforehand to make sure you’re able to calculate your betting options easier. 
  • Keep Track – It’s highly important to keep track of the scores and progress of each tournament in golf, but what’s equally important is keeping track of your bankroll during this time. It’s never worth wagering any more than you can afford to lose in gambling, whether it’s on golf or any other sport. 

The Bottom Line

Gambling on golf requires a degree of knowledge and patience, but it can be a lot of fun and highly profitable if you’re placing your bets strategically. Do note, that like all other sporting events due to take place in 2020, the world’s current state of affairs surrounding the Coronavirus means that the future is uncertain as to whether most golf tournaments will still be taking place this year. If most of them end up canceled, use this extra year to get more familiar with all these different betting options and adequately research the golfer’s forms, performance history, and the odds of them winning specific matches. 

Frank West is a bit of an itinerant gambler. An avid traveler and freelance writer with a penchant for games of chance, Frank has hit the tables in casinos the world over and picked up a copious volume of knowledge along the way. Frank enjoys passing on what he’s learned in blog and magazine articles about gambling and teaching people how to beat the house. He also covets his privacy, authoring his articles only under the pen name Frank West.