Golf Betting

Introduction

Golf is a popular betting sport but more as a niche and without the mass appeal of football and the attractions of tennis to the new breed of bettor. A golf bet can take up to four days to be resolved due to the nature of the professional sport. Tournaments are generally played over four full days and usually from Thursday until Sunday.

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Golf Betting To Win

An outright bet can be in contention from the first shot of the opening round until the last shot of the fourth and final round. Bookmakers have tried to make the sport more attractive to a younger audience by offering match bets on individual holes but even this type of bets takes at least 10 minutes for expiry. There is no scope for spot betting in golf so a typical golf bettor is from the traditional group of gamblers. The schedule is organised into tours which feature regular tournaments, world championship events and major championships.

Conversely the very nature of the sport appeals to gamblers who like backing big priced outsiders. Combining two or more golfers in multiples provides the opportunity to win a life-changing amount for a relatively small stake. Very few players are priced at single figure odds in the tournament outright market. Each way betting allows for a decent return even if a player does not win a tournament but is placed in the payout places. Golf is a global sport and players from many countries appear in the major tournaments. Bookmakers can make markets for the leading player from specific nationalities. Golf scoring is all about numbers so there is scope to bet on winning, scores, margins of victory and head-to-head scores over 18 and 72 holes. Team tournaments like the Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup and Solheim Cup provide a different element to golf betting. Golf is part of the Olympics programme for the first time since 1904 at the 2016 Rio Games. 

Golf has been described as a good walk spoiled or a white speck against a blue or grey sky. As a spectating and television viewing sport it is not very appealing. However, that is offset by the drama and personalities associated with a golf tournament. The best commentators not only describe what’s happening but tell stories which have a climax and denouement. Golf coverage has dropped on terrestrial television but dedicated sports channels have the time and infrastructure to create engaging coverage which promotes betting on the sport. Betting on golf is more measured and long term than quick and regular as it is with football, tennis and other sports. Its uniqueness is the time involved and having a live bet for up to four days.  

 

Nassau Golf Bet

Bettors place wagers on professional tournaments but private golf betting is also popular. One of the most widespread private golf bets is the Nassau bet which gets its name from the Nassau Country Club on Long Island in the United States. The private wager was invented in the 1930’s and is also called the Nines bet or 2-2-2. The Nassau is a easy to follow and monitor bet and can run from the first to 18th holes. It is popular in pairs, three ball and four ball matches at private clubs.

The Nassau is three bets involving the first nine holes, second nine holes and full round of golf. Players gamble based on an agreed stake on the winner of each nine and the full 18 holes. The winner of a hole receives points based on an agreed format but if a hole is tied by two or more players no points are earned. Points are not rolled over and winning one hole earns the same number of points regardless if previous holes were tied.   

A further element of the Nassau bet is the press which is a secondary bet offered by a losing player to maintain some interest over the latter part of a round. The press bet runs over the holes left on each nine and the full match. Further press bets can be offered and accepted if the first press bet is about to expire. Golf professionals play for huge sums but in practice and when a group of players are out of contention they could introduce a Nassau bet to add some financial interest to proceedings.

Tips

There are many sources of sports betting tips including golf bets tips online and in the print media. Tournaments have an established structure and outright odds are published each Tuesday before events start on Thursdays. Outright odds are updated in running and after each round. Services that provide tips suggest outright winners and the best golf bets for 72 hole, 18 hole and group match bets. The Racing Post’s golf tipster is called Steve Palmer who also writes a Sunday column for the paper describing his betting travails and general lifestyle. He took over from Jeremy Chapman who had a great reputation in the sports tips business. Keith Elliott wrote a Golf Form Book for a number of years but the title was discontinued when he went into retirement. He introduced new concepts such as the nappy factor, improved form after a landmark birthday and inspiration by comparison, theories all demonstrated with historical results.

The Holy Grail of golf bets tips is the Transatlantic Double. This involves predicting the winner in the events of the two main tours described below in a multiple. Time differences on both sides of the Atlantic mean a golf punter can have an exciting double for a small stake for the best part of four days. Golf tipsters around the world strive to achieve this double but it is a rare occurrence. However, the nature of the outright winner market in a golf tournament means a significant return for a small outlay. Assuming both favourites win at 10/1 the double pays 120/1 (10 + 1 x 10 +1 -1) and even the each-way element at one quarter the odds pays over 11/1 (2.5 + 1 x 2.5 + 1 -1). Some bookmakers pay out on the first six places but most offer five places at one quarter the odds. 

Tours

Professional golf is organised into Tours which are categorised by location, gender and age group. Before the start of each year a schedule is published which lists the dates, name, course, country and prize money associated with each tournament. Some events are co-sanctioned such as the WGC tournaments and majors which means they offer prize money and ranking points for more than one Tour. Each tour has a money list and a relatively new development is end of season finals series and a deciding tournament. This event generally holds the biggest prize fund of the season and decides the champion player of the year.  

European Tour

The European Tour runs from November of the previous year to November and culminates in the Tour finals and the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. The money list has been rebranded at the Race to Dubai and features 46 tournaments in 26 countries worldwide. Even though the tour is called the European Tour it is more akin to a global Tour bar the tournaments in North America. The calendar includes swings in South Africa, Asia and South America. Prize money and prestige cannot compare with that available in the United States but many players have learnt their trade in Europe before making a name for themselves in the United States. Points are awarded in the Race to Dubai based on Euros won and former winners include Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson. The top 15 players share a lucrative bonus. 

PGA Tour

The USPGA Tour mainly features tournaments in the United States but the schedule also includes the Canadian Open and British Open. The schedule spans from October of the previous year until September. The FedEx Cup is the post-season run of four lucrative tournaments which culminates with the Tour Championship. The winner of the FedEx Cup receives a £10 million pound bonus and former winners include Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk and Jordan Spieth. Henrik Stenson is the only player to win the season ending champion player award on both the USPGA and European Tours. The PGA schedule is more fixed than its European counterparts and more of the same courses are visited from year to year.

Other Tours

There are several other less prestigious tours and here are the main ones:

  • US Seniors Tour
  • European Seniors Tour
  • Ladies US Tour
  • Ladies European Tour
  • Asian Tour
  • South African Tour
  • Australasian Tour
  • Web.com Tour (Feeder tour in the United States)
  • Challenge Tour (Feeder tour in Europe)

A typical tournament on all tours is a 72 hole stroke play event with a cut after the first 36 holes and a playoff deciding the outcome if two or more players are tied after four rounds. At least 36 holes have to be completed for betting purposes and the awarding of ranking points and exemptions. Bookmakers have different rules regarding the participation of players and whether bets stand or are void. The stronger the overall quality of the field in a tournament the bigger the prize fund and number of ranking points on offer.

The Majors

Golf’s four major championships are the pinnacle of the sport and attract by far the most sport betting interest. They bring together the best players in the world on the toughest courses. The better players plan their seasons around the majors and a golfer’s true standing in the game is measured by the number of majors won. Only five players have achieved the career Grand Slam which involves winning each of the four biggest prizes in the game at least once. Of the current generation Rory McIlroy needs the US Masters to complete the set and Phil Mickelson needs the US Open to join that elite club of which Tiger Woods is the latest member to join.

Bookmakers offer odds on the four majors well in advance and ante post markets are popular with golf bettors. Prices fluctuate as players find form or drop down the rankings due to injury or lack of form. Favourites have a poor record in recent major championships and there are now about 50 potential winners. The same players are prominent in all lists but there are some variations due to the unique elements of each championship which are described below: 

US Masters

The US Masters is the only major played on the same course every year, Augusta National in Georgia. The tournament is all about tradition and the honour of receiving the Green Jacket. Augusta’s main defences are the lightening fast greens and pressure of contending for a major in such a rarefied environment.  

US Open

The second major of the season is the toughest mentally and physically. The US Open is always played on tight course with penal rough and fast greens. Par is seen as a good score and the winner must perform at his best in the most demanding conditions in professional golf. 

Open Championship

The Open is always played on one of the classic links courses in England or Scotland. Links golf is the finest form of the game as it demands competence in every aspect of golf. The winner of the Open Championship is declared the champion golfer of the year and the Claret Jug is the most prestigious trophy in the sport.

USPGA Championship

The USPGA Championship is the fourth and final major of the season and the least valued and does not have the uniqueness of the other three. It seems like a regular US tournament with some invited guests from overseas. However, the quality of the field means it is rightly a major championship and sought after by the leading players.

Team Events

Golf is predominantly an individual sport in which professionals are self-employed. If a player does not make the cut he is not paid but the expenses for travel and a caddy must still be covered. One man’s feast is another man’s famine and it really is a dog eat dog world. There does appear to be some camaraderie but ultimately professional golf is a competitive environment. However, from time to time players are brought together in team golf to represent their continent or country. Profesional golf attracts full-time sports bettors who make a living betting on sport. 

Here are the main team events in the professional and amateur game:

Ryder Cup

The Ryder Cup is the biggest event in golf and generates massive betting interest. The match is played every two years, alternating between Europe and the United States. Each side consists of 12 players who compete for 28 points over three days in four-balls, foursomes and singles in match play format. Well advance of the event bookmakers offer odds on who will captain the sides. During the qualifying process there are markets for players to make the team and the outright winner. Customers can bet on the overall top point’s scorer and the leading scorer for both teams. During play each individual matches can be bet on and in-play turnover is huge. In recent years there have been massive swings in fortunes but generally Europe have had the better of things.  

Presidents Cup

The Presidents Cup is similar to the Ryder Cup but is a match between the United States and rest of the world other than Europe. It is played in years when there is no Ryder Cup and alternates between courses in each part of the world. The playing schedule is different in that the contest is over four days while the Ryder Cup is a three day event. Teams of 12 players compete for 30 points in foursomes, four-balls and 12 singles on the final day. Despite live TV coverage betting interest is nothing like the level generated by the Ryder Cup.

Solheim Cup

The Solheim Cup is the women’s equivalent of the Ryder Cup as it brings together the best female golfers from Europe and the United States. The event alternates with the Ryder Cup and is now played in odd years following the postponement of the 2001 Ryder Cup due to 9/11. The Solheim Cup is played over three days and 28 matches made up of eight foursomes, eight four-balls and 12 singles. Live TV coverage creates betting turnover but the number of bets is well below that on the Ryder Cup.

Walker Cup

The Walker Cup is the men’s amateur equivalent of the Ryder Cup but is still contested by teams from the United States and Great Britain and Ireland. The match comprises of 24 individual head-to-heads in foursomes and singles but not four-balls. The match has been played in odds years since 1947 which now means in non-Ryder Cup years but is not a big event for betting.  

Olympics

Golf returned to the Olympics at the Rio Games in 2016 after being absent since 1904. The event will be played in a team format and players will be representing their country over 72 holes of stroke play golf. With so many other sports competing for coverage it’s difficult to assess the amount of betting on the event.  

Leading Players

The Official Golf World Rankings measure player’s results and ranks them according to money and ranking points won. These players will usually go in to the major events amongst the favourites so are well worth consideration when using your golf free bets. Below are some of the names that have recently featured on the list 

Dustin Johnson

Dustin Johnson had a golden spell in June 2016 when he won the US Open and a WGC event. He was by far the standout performer on the tour in 2016 and was duly named as the PGA Palyer of the Year.

Jason Day

Jason Day has been in contention for several majors and finally won one of the four most prestigious prizes in the sport at the 2015 USPGA Championship.

Jordan Spieth

Despite his tender age, Jordan Spieth already has two major titles to his name with success in the 2015 Masters and US Open tournaments. He's also finished second twice at Augusta, so his pedigree on the big stage is undeniable.

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy has long been amongst the leading pkayers in the game and has won three of the four majors. He now just needs to win the Green Jacket at Augusta in the US Masters to complete the set.

Hideki Matsuyama

2016 was a breakthrough year for the Japanese star as he won his first World Golf Championship event. In reaching fourth in the rankings, he has established himself as the highest ever placing of any Japanese player and looks set to remain high in the standings in the years to come.

Henrik Stenson

Henrik Stenson excels on courses that put a premium on accuracy over distance but has an all-round game that sees him as a leading contender. He is the only player to win the end of season series on the USPGA and European Tours in the same season and ended his wait for a Masters title with victory at the 2016 Open.

 

 

 

Golf Bets Explained

Bookmakers offer a wide range of tournaments bets and there are many golf bets tips services associated with these markets. www.monsterbet.co.uk highlights the best bets and free bets. Most are on offer for the four majors and below are the most common golf bets explained:

Win

A win bet in the outright market involves backing a player to win a tournament after 72 holes or a playoff.

Each Way

Bookmakers offer place terms of one quarter the odds for the first four places to one quarter the odds the first seven places for the biggest events. Terms of one fifth the odds for three players are common after the second round.

Accumulator

A popular golf bet is combining players in two or more tournaments in accumulator bets whereby the odds are accumulated which means a significant win is possible for a relatively small stake.

Straight Forecast

Golf bettors can place a bet on golfers to finish first and second in a tournament in the correct order.

Dual Forecast

A variation on the straight forecast is backing two players to finish in the first two in any order. In both cases dead heat rules apply for any ties.

Markets

Outright

Bookmakers offer odds on players to win a tournament several days before the first round. These odds attract gamblers who have the mindset of professional punters. Odds are updated in running and fluctuate due to scores and relative positions on the leaderboard. Outright odds are available for European Tour golf bets and US PGA golf bets.

Top 5 Finish

This is the place element of an each way bet and variations include top 6, 7 and sometimes even 10. Place terms vary based on the number of golfers in the payout places.

Top Player from Nationality

Golf is a global game and especially in the majors players compete from many countries from around the world. Customers can bet on the leading player from one area or country and the most popular bets are top US, European and rest of the world player.

To Make The Cut

Players with the highest scores are eliminated after 36 holes while the rest of the field make the cut and play over the final two rounds and earn prize money.

Winning Margin

Bookmakers offer odds on by how many shots a player wins a tournament and the options include after a playoff which takes place if ties are scored after 72 holes.

Winning Score

Players generally have to break par to win a tournament and betting on the winning score in relation to par is a popular golf betting market.

Match Bets

Match bets bring together players in pairs and groups with the lowest score of each player involved winning the bet.

18 Holes

Over the first two rounds players compete in groups of three so it is possible to bet on which player records the lowest score over one round and dead heat rules apply. Generally odds are quoted for pairs over the third and fourth rounds and it is possible to bet on the tie.  

72 Holes

Tournament match bets involve two players closely matched in the outright betting and this market includes the tie. Even if both players miss the cut these bets are settled on lowest score.

72 Hole Groups

Five evenly matched players are grouped for betting over four rounds and in the case of tied scores dead heat rules apply. Missed cuts count for the bet and the lowest score over 72 holes counts.

Special Bets

Depending on the importance of a tournament there will be odds for golf special bets and markets including the following:

  • Top 10 finish
  • Top 20 finish
  • Enhanced win
  • Playoff?
  • Top amateur
  • Top left hander
  • Top senior
  • Betting without leading players
  • Big guns v the field
  • Insurebet
  • Winning region

Bookmaker Free Bets

Bookmakers offer free bets and promotions for the bigger events and particularly the major championships. Enhanced place terms are popular but there is an adjustment in the outright odds to compensate. Prices are boosted for some players and there are refunds in the form of free bets.

Statistics

Statistics are available online for key aspects of the game and these are the most relevant:

  • Sand saves
  • Average putts
  • Putts per greens in regulation
  • Greens in regulation
  • Scrambles
  • Average one putts per round
  • Stroke average
  • Driving distance
  • Driving accuracy

How To Make Money

The key factors in identifying potential winners of golf tournaments adopted by keen golf and sports bettors are current form, course form and each player’s skills profile. Some players excel when there is a premium on accuracy over distance and others are longer hitters and less accurate in finding fairways and greens. A player who combines solid current and course form and is a top 50 player for the skills required for good scoring is one to consider in the outright winner market. Location and time of the year are others ways of identifying potential tournament winners in any one week.

Confidence is key in golf and a player in control of his game will contend while players out of form will struggle. Golfers who have had a landmark birthday, have positive mental associations with a course or tournament or have become a father are worth following as they often outperform their price. Some players are comfortable in a winning position but others are not at their best if the finishing line is getting closer. Statistics are useful but small mental details can be the difference between winning and not winning a tournament.

Free Bets On Golf

Here at www.monsterbet.co.uk we don't only guide you through the biggest betting markets in all the major sports. We also provide you with information on how to get your hands on all the free bets on offer from online bookmakers. Placing a free bet through MonsterBet is easy and all you really have to do is follow one of the banners or links to one of our recommended bookmakers. Using our guides, tournament previews and tips, we give you all the ammunitition you need to get a free bet on Golf right away.