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Golf Betting

In this extensive and comprehensive golf betting article we cover the following subjects:

Golf is one of the most fascinating sports there is; intriguing to watch and devilishly difficult to master. Give that most tournaments on the PGA Tour or European Tour last for four days, golf is also a great sport on which to have a bet while you sit back and enjoy watching the action unfold.

We also give details of the latest golf tournament previews and golf betting offers to help you pick your bets and promotions wisely.


Types of Golf Betting Offers

Golf Betting Offers Explained, from Free Bets to Enhanced Odds and Money Back Offers to Improved Each Way Terms…

We work with the best golf betting sites there are to bring you the best offers, odds and range of markets whether you want to bet on a run of the mill European Tour event or whether you’re having your annual US Masters bet.

These top golf bookies not only offer new customers great free bets and welcome bonuses but they also offer existing customers a huge variety of different betting promotions, from one-off competitions and bonuses to ongoing offers and freebies. Here we take a look at the main types of golf betting offers you’re likely to see cropping up throughout the season.

Free Bets

Free bets are the most common type of offer a bookie gives new customers and there are various different types of free bets and welcome offers. Some golf bookies offer simple free bets that effectively work like “buy one get one free” deals, whilst others have more complex stake returned free bets that can work out more profitable but may require extra betting before a withdrawal can be made.

Enhanced Odds Offers

Enhanced odds offers are usually offered as an alternative to free bets when customers first join a new online bookmaker. For example, some bookies may well bring out such offers for the Open or the US Open, offering one of the favourites at odds treble the standard odds or perhaps even higher.

As well as these offers for new customers some golf betting sites will also offer enhanced odds to existing customers. These price boosts won’t be as dramatic as those for new punters but can still up your winnings by a point or two.

Enhanced Each Way Terms

With a huge field and regular long odds winners and contenders, golf is perfect for each way betting and the best golf bookies around regularly offer enhanced each way terms (to new and existing customers) for the majors and certain other big events. This means that each way bets will be paid as winner not just for a top four or five finish, but for a top six, seven or maybe even eight! This gives you a great chance to cover a few outsiders and should one actually go on to win you could be looking at a huge profit, or a decent sum even if just one makes the top eight.

Money Back Golf Offers

When it comes to golf there is a wide variety of money back offers which will give you losing stakes back (usually as a free bet but occasionally as cash) under certain circumstances. This might be if a certain player wins, if your player is second, if there is a hole in one or any number of other eventualities.

They don’t always pay out but they still offer that extra little shade of value and over the course of a regular season of betting on golf you might just bag a few extra free bets that could make the difference between a good season and a great one for your bank balance.

Acca Insurance

Acca insurance is, effectively, a money back offer specific to accumulators. This is a more common offer on football betting but is also offered on golf three- and four-ball accumulators. If you place an acca with a minimum number of selections (that varies from bookie to bookie) and just one leg lets you down you may get your stake refunded, again, usually as a free bet not cash.

BOGOF Golf Bets

As said, many welcome offers are free bets that work similar to BOGOF deals but occasionally you may also see a BOGOF offer for existing customers. The terms are usually specific, meaning you have to place a certain type of bet, perhaps an outright winner wager or a four-ball acca in order to gain a specific type of free bet, perhaps an in-play wager or a free bet to use on a different tournament.

Prize Draws and Competitions

Occasionally bookies may give away prizes such as tickets to the Open Championship or some other golf event or tournament. These are usually free to enter, although you may need to place a bet on a given tournament or place a certain value of wagers in a given period in order to qualify.

Occasionally if a bookie is sponsoring an event you may even just be able to get free tickets simply by contacting the bookie (with limited availability of course) so it’s always worth keeping an eye on this page as right here is where we’ll detail such great offers, along with all the other types of promotion and freebie we’ve detailed above.

Best Markets for Golf Betting

Betting on golf is one of the best ways to come up with some long odds winners at the bookies. With huge fields full of high quality players, many of whom are capable of winning every year, there are huge profits to be made at all levels of the game. However, the fun does not have to stop at the outright winner market. All the best golf betting sites offer plenty of different opportunities for your betting with the key markets explained below.

Outright Market

This is where the majority of the betting action happens. Not only can you bet on the player or players that you think will win the tournament, you can also place each-way bets where you will be paid out if the player you’ve backed finishes in the top four or five depending on the bookies’ rules. Often times the bookies will pay out more places for major tournaments such as the USPGA, so keep an eye for these and other free bets/offers.

First Round Leader

Sometimes you will find a bet for the golfer who ticks all the right boxes but who just struggles to get over the line. An inability to finish tournaments strongly is something that affects many of the best players in the world but you can still make a profit by betting on the first round leader market.

Top Five/10/20 Finish

Sometimes there are players in the field who have a great record at a certain course or who have their family living close by who will turn it on for a certain week. They may not quite have what it takes to win a tournament outright so the option to bet on a player to finish in the top five, 10 or 20 of the leaderboard is a welcome option offered by the best bookies and a great alternative to an each way bet if you think they will go close but that a win is highly unlikely.

Top Player from a Certain Nation

You don’t always have to back golfers against the entire field. On the biggest tournaments like the four majors and World Golf Championship events, you can bet on the top American, European, South African or any other nationality in the field.

Winning Margin

If there is a player in the field who you think is going to run away with things you can have a bet on a big winning margin with the best golf betting sites. Alternatively you can profit from close victories or even tournaments which are decided by a playoff.

Hole in One?

If a certain course has some easy par threes or a hole that has seen a high number of holes in one previously having a bet on there being a hole in one during the entire tournament could well be prudent.

Winner Without

Looking to bet on a tournament but there is a clear favourite? Why not look to the winner without markets that effectively give you the chance to bet on which player you think will end up runner up to the man or woman at the top of the outright market.

Ante Post Markets

There are often great odds available from the ante post markets for the majors which run all year long. Pick a player you think is going to have a good lead up to the tournament months before and you can pick up some great value.

How to Choose Your Golf Bets

Of all the sports that you can bet on golf is one of the most interesting and potentially lucrative. It is a real battle between bookie and punter. The bookies’ job is to make sure that they turn a profit at the end of each and every tournament no matter the result while the punters are looking to sniff out that great value bet which the bookies are offering big odds on. For people who have only ever had an occasional dabble or perhaps those who have never bet on golf it can be a confusing prospect. That’s where this article comes in.

The main market when it comes to betting on golf is the outright winner market. This is where you bet on the player you think will win the tournament. All the best golf betting sites also offer the option for each-way bets on their outright winner market.

The each-way places change depending on the size of the field and bookie to bookie while there are often great golf betting offers on the biggest event. Take betting on the Open Championship for example, the bookies all have offers and promotions for the major championships which often include more each-way places but can also include free bets and money back deals.

You should keep an eye out for the latest golf betting offers but what about picking a winner week by week? The following is what you should be examining before placing a bet.

General Player Form

Golfers are precious creatures. Anyone who has played the game knows that the toughest shot in golf is the shot after a shank, well the same applies for tournament golf – it’s tough to get up for the week after a poor showing. Some of the best players in the world have gone through horrible spells – think Luke Donald or Martin Kaymer – but on the flip side, when things go well they tend to keep going well. Rory McIlroy’s incredible summer of 2014 is a great example of a player hitting top form and blowing away all-comers. If you can get on a player as they’re coming into form but before everyone else has cottoned on, you could get some great value odds.

Course Form

As well as recent form, some players just love playing on certain courses. Jimmy Walker at Waialae Country Club, Ryan Moore at the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club and Jordan Spieth at TPC Deere Run are just three examples. For whatever reason, those players just get it around those courses in low scores, with certain courses favouring certain types of player. It might be down to distance, familiarity with the local conditions or the shape of the player’s ball, or even just confidence, but the fact is, taking note of course form is a key aspect when it comes to picking winning golf bets.

Location Form

As well as individual courses, the location of the tournament can play a part in a player’s chances of winning. Is it close to their home? Perhaps they went to university in the town. Or maybe they just love visiting. It’s certainly something to keep an eye out for, with, as alluded to above, local knowledge potentially a big factor.

Style of Course

The style of the course is one of the most important factors to consider, think links golf for example. With generally hard fairways and greens, blustery conditions and multiple bunkers, to win at a links course you need to be able to keep the ball low out of the wind and have a great imagination around the greens. Wider courses favour players who can smash the ball miles while tricky, narrow, tree-lined tracks are perfect for accurate players who plot their way around.

Course Compatibility

When it comes to weighing up a player’s chances on a given course there are a few statistics to bear in mind. Driving distance is massively important on long courses while driving accuracy is vital on courses with narrow fairways or long, punishing rough. Players who have high greens in regulation stats excel on the toughest courses where scrambling (the ability to make par after missing a green) is also key. Courses with tough greens are good for players with the lowest putting average and those who hit their approach shots close to the hole. Putting stats are also important on the easiest courses as these often come down to which player takes most of their chances.

Results on Similar Courses

Each golf course is unique but there are comparisons to be drawn between some which can be a vital tool in your betting armoury. There may be nothing quite like Augusta National, home of the Masters, but previous performance on long, tree-lined courses can point towards a good player to bet on. These sort of comparisons can be made between a large amount of the tournaments on both the PGA and European Tours and often lead to exciting, long odds betting opportunities, with strong performance at one tournament a great clue to how a player may perform at a different tournament.

Value Betting in Golf: What is Value Betting and How can we Find Value bets in Golf?

“Drive for show, putt for dough” is a well-known saying in golf but in betting we could just as well say, “winners for show, value for dough” and, counter-intuitive as that may seem, the savvy golf punter is looking for value, not winners.

Of course, you need winners to, well, win, but the winners aren’t decided until Sunday afternoon, whilst the value can be gauged on a Wednesday night. The point is, nobody can KNOW who will win until the crucial putt has dropped (probably holed from 25 feet by Jordan Spieth!), but we can and must seek value from day one.

What is Value?

A value bet is, quite simply, one where the odds are too high. That is to say, the probability of the outcome happening is higher than the probability the odds imply. So, if we take a coin toss, this has a 50% chance of landing on tails. Odds of 5/4 imply a probability of 44% but the real probability is 50% and so the “true” odds should be evens, or 1/1, rather than the bigger price of 5/4. If you’re getting 5/4 you’re winning, that’s for sure, and should take those bets all day long.

Value in Golf Betting

The problem with betting on golf, as opposed to the toss of a coin, is that we can never know the TRUE probability. A coin is a 50/50 outcome but there is no certain way of calculating the probability that, say, Tiger Woods will ever win another major. If you’re betting on the British Open, you might calculate that Rickie Fowler has a 10% probability of winning, which would make odds of 20/1 amazing value, but your 10% can only ever be an opinion, an estimate, and never a fact.

Finding value is all about doing your research, looking at course form, current form, the weather, assessing a player’s confidence and how their game will suit a given course. Of course, our golf betting tips will essentially do this for you but picking your own value bets is very much part of the fun of betting on golf.

Of course, the easiest way to tip the value in your favour is to use free bets – and we’ve got loads of those! Free bets and enhanced odds offers create value regardless of what you bet on and so we highly recommend cashing in the generosity of the various betting sites by trying them out with their welcome bonuses. In addition this is a great way to give them a trial run and see which you personally think is the best golf betting site.

Value versus Winners

Many self-proclaimed betting experts still insist that winners trump value and if you ask us on Sunday did we want our value bet on Rory Sabbatini or your winning bet on Spieth, of course we want Spieth. But that’s being wise after the event and taking the value is the only way to go to make long term profits betting on golf.

Perhaps the simplest way to illustrate this point is to take things to extremes. Say you like to bet on the Masters every year and this year you think Rory McIlroy is the man to bet on. You think Bubba Watson has a chance but McIlroy’s your man. Okay, let’s say that Rory is 10/1 and Bubba is 25/1. At those odds you might be happy with Rory but what if Rory was 8/1, or 6/1, or 4/1? And what if Bubba was not 25s but 100/1. Is the better bet Rory at 4/1 or Bubba at 100/1?

Whatever the odds, in this scenario Rory is the more likely winner but, at the extremes given, he isn’t the best bet. You can back Rory and he might win but 4/1 means you would expect him to win 20% of the time, whilst 100/1 for Watson means you expect him to win less than 1% of the time. Bubba already has two Masters to his name so it’s safe to say we can probably expect him to have a better than 1% chance of success!

In the short term winners might pay off if you happen to get a few of them, but in the long term value will always win, simply because nobody can know who is going to win and so after 10 bets or 20 bets or maybe 100 bets, the better value odds the savvy punter has been taking will pay off.

Staking Plans for Golf Betting

Whatever you are betting on, from the British Open to the Ryder Cup, or a game of football to a hand of blackjack, if you’re serious about your punting you should probably be using a staking plan of some form to manage your bankroll and try to maximise your winnings.

In this section we take a look at how a staking plan should fit in with your golf betting strategies and take a look at some different staking plans you might want to use when betting on golf.

What is a Staking Plan?

A staking plan is a system for organising the amount you place on each bet, with a range of factors impacting how much you decide to wager. Many occasional bettors will just alter their stake size willy-nilly, although more than likely there is some logic applied, even if it may often be on a subconscious level.

However, the more serious golf bettor, hoping to make a profit rather than just having their annual punt on, say, the Masters, should use a considered staking plan in order to maximise their profits, limit their losses and protect their bankroll.

What Affects How Much You Bet?

Various factors have an effect on how much one bets on golf or other sports, whether these factors are considered subconsciously, with a certain degree of thought, or as the criteria that form a staking plan. These are:

  • Betting Odds– in general one will be staking smaller amounts at longer odds and bigger amounts at shorter odds.
  • Value– the value of a bet is determined by the size of the odds in relation to what you perceive to be the true probability of that outcome and the more value you perceive, the more likely you are to bet; in simple, subjective terms, this is how much you like the bet.
  • Bankroll– how much cash you have has to determine how much you bet. If you have £500 for a season of golf betting then staking £200 on the first tournament is clearly too much. Similarly, when you are winning you may decide to bet more as you have more to play with, or you may opt for smaller stakes to protect your profit.
  • Goals– how much you wager should depend on your goals. If you simply want a bit of fun then small stakes are fine, whilst if you have a certain target then larger bets may be needed.
  • Confidence– related to bankroll, confidence is a massive factor in determining the size of your golf bets. When your form and confidence are high, betting bigger could be wise but equally you may simply have been lucky before and luck won’t last forever.

Different Staking Plans

There are an almost infinite number of staking plans across the world of betting and all of these can be applied to betting on golf. Here we take a look at some of the most simple and most well-known.

Flat Stakes

With a flat stake staking plan you decide on an amount and that is how much you will bet on every bet you place, regardless of odds, value or your current profit/loss. This should usually be determined alongside your bankroll, so, for example, if you have £1,000 and decide there are 50 tournaments you will be betting on, staking £20 on each bet might be an idea, guaranteeing you have enough for every tournament.

Kelly Criterion

Perhaps the most famous staking system around, the Kelly Criterion, was designed in 1956 and uses a formula based on the odds and the perceived probability of winning/losing to recommend a stake based on the size of a player’s bankroll. If we take the toss of a coin, which has a 50/50 chance of landing heads or tails, but you find someone willing to pay you at 6/5, not evens, Kelly determines you should bet 8.33% of your bank.

The issue with Kelly is that whilst the exact probabilities can be known for a coin toss, in the world of golf betting it can only ever be a considered estimate. Moreover, the Kelly Criterion is very aggressive and where there is considerable perceived value, especially at lower odds (and so a higher chance of the bet actually winning) it can lead to very high stakes in relation to your bankroll.

For example, with Kelly, if you were betting in-play at the US Open and Rory McIlroy is being offered at evens on the final day but you perceive his true chances of winning are not 50% but 75% then Kelly would recommend a 50% stake. Even if your probabilities were right you still have a 25% chance of losing half your money!

Modified Kelly

In our opinion, the Kelly Criterion is absolutely right in taking into account the odds, the chance of winning, the value and the size of a player’s bank (which it does because stake is always expressed as a percentage of the bankroll). However, here at GBO, we feel it is simply too aggressive and so using a modified version of Kelly is, in our opinion, a great option.

Betting half the amount recommended by the Kelly Criterion is a great compromise, not least because, whilst it reduces volatility by half, it only reduces growth by a quarter. In other words your losses will be greatly limited with less impact on your overall probability, assuming “average” luck.

Negative Progression

A negative progression staking system is one which increases the stake after a negative outcome, meaning a lost bet. The most famous example of this is the Martingale System which is commonly used for roulette but can also be used to bet on sports, including of course golf.

Never use the Martingale System!

We strongly advise against the Martingale or other negative progression systems. It is a FACT that for roulette they are doomed to fail and whilst some argument can be made for using them in sport, where you theoretically at least could have found a value bet, we advise against negative progression systems for the following reasons.

  • Chasing losses– effectively they are chasing losses and we strongly advise against this
  • Confidence– after a loss your confidence may be low and thinking unclear – now is not the time to up the bets
  • Bankroll – after a loss you have less money, so betting more means you’re betting a disproportionate amount of your remaining funds