Golf is the second biggest sport for betting after football, and with relatively large odds on offer in the lead up to each tournament and each way places often up to 5th or sometimes 6th place then the rewards can be really decent.
It can also be a bit of a lottery; you can choose a winning bet by doing hours of research, and you can also swear and rip up your betting slip when that carefully selected player blows up in the first round.
Researching Your Golf Bets
You do need to know quite a bit about the individual golfers and their strengths and weaknesses to enjoy anything akin to consistent success with golf betting. Sure, you might get lucky once in a while when your 50/1 shot plays out of his skin and places, or even wins, but that lucky lightning usually doesn’t strike twice. So, get reading up.
We’ve shared some useful links to the right of this page, and most of the information you would need to get a head start against the bookies is available here. Do also consider a small investment in a daily or weekly publication that carries tips and write ups from golf betting expert Jeremy Chapman; he usually has a column each week in Racing & Football Outlook (out on Tuesdays) as well as the Racing Post. He also wrote an excellent guide to golf betting for Racing Post’s The Definitive Guide to Betting on Sport book. His strike record for picking winners or placers is outstanding, and it is because he puts the time and effort in to try and know more about the form of each player than the bookmaker does. We’d never recommend following anyone’s tips blindly, but there is some satisfaction to be had when you do your research, make a choice and THEN see you’ve picked someone he fancies also.
There are plenty of markets available for a golf competition; it isn’t just about looking for the tournament winner and backing them each way. At the time of writing we are in the build up to the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, and the screenshot below from Paddy Power shows the range of bets available:
Some of them are self explanatory, such as betting on the top placed player from a particular country. For example, you can bet on Gregory Bourdy at 9/2 to be the top placed French golfer – he doesn’t need to win the tournament for your bet to win, he just has to place higher than the likes of Romain Wattel or Victor Debuisson. Finishing in Top 10 or 20 obviously give your chosen golfer(s) a better chance of winning you some money, but as you would expect the odds are vastly reduced. Simon Dyson is 28/1 with Paddy Power to win this tournament, but only 6/5 to finish in the top 20. He’s 5/2 to finish in the Top 10, and 13/2 to place by finishing in the top 5. If you think a player is bang on form and has a very strong chance of winning then you should usually opt for backing him to win each way, but these smaller odds markets are worth looking at if you have a cluster of players that you think can perform well.
Betting before the tournament has started is usually very appealing as the odds can often be relatively high for players who have a very good chance of winning on any given day if they play to the top of their form. The coupon image below from Stan James shows the prices available:
No player is less than 18/1, and there really is no other sport like golf where so many likely winners start at such high odds. If you have done your research and put the time in then backing a few players each way can work well. How you budget is down to your own preference; if you allow yourself £10 then you can either stick that on the nose of the one player you are convinced will win (£5 each way) or you could pick 5 players and back them all at £1 each way (£10 total bet).
Experienced golf punters that we have spoken to always recommend ignoring these high odds and waiting until the tournament is a couple of days old, as it removes the risk of one or two bad holes on the first day killing off your selection’s chances of getting anywhere near the leaderboard. Naturally, the odds drop as the tournament gets shorter. If one of those 100/1 players has led for the first two days then the odds will hurtle downwards to less than 10/1; it will depend on how close other players are to him as to what the final figure is, but 100/1 will be a long, long way away. That said, if you know the game and are able to watch some of it on television then you might get a feel for a player who is hitting form at the right time, or you might spot a leader starting to crumble under the pressure. Justin Rose won the US Open in 2013, and you could still back him at 14/1 on the morning of the final round!
A change in the weather conditions can also have an impact – if a leader is in the clubhouse after finishing his sunny round just as the storm clouds kick in then the weather could guarantee him the victory as the chasing players would have to finish their round in rain and wind.
If you are going to bet part way through a tournament then make sure you have read up on what has happened on the previous days; remember that the odds will have shrunk so there is no point betting ‘blind’, you need a feel for the tournament and the players’ performances so far before you can enter the market.
This is only a quick introduction to golf betting and I can recommend that you explore the excellent indie Golf Betting Form website for some deeper research into players and forthcoming tournaments.
Best of luck with your future golfing bets…