Beginners Guide to Golf Betting

In recent years, golf betting has shed its status as an afterthought, becoming an essential part of every punter's game plan. So, now seems like the ideal moment to register at an online bookie and milk those sweet strokes for as many wins as possible. But where do you start? What should you look out for? How do you win at golf betting?

These questions are the same ones that plagued us when we first started taking punts on golf tournaments. And that’s precisely what drove us to write this guide. We want you to have as easy a transition as possible. We’ve included everything you need to know about the sport. From the basic rules to the most popular tournaments, we covered a lot of ground. Now, let’s take a swing at golf betting, starting with the rulebook.

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Understanding the Rules

golf field play
  • Golf is a club-and-ball sport. This means that you need a club and a ball to complete the game’s objective (more on that in a bit). There’s also the tee – a small round platform on which the ball is placed for the golfer to hit them. The platform is connected to what’s basically a nail, which is stuck into the ground for added stability. Of course, these are your basic necessities, but you can use other things to make your gameplay much easier.
  • For instance, you can have a caddy. He’s the person that carries your equipment and advises you on what to do. Since golf courses are big, it can be tedious to walk from hole to hole the whole day. That’s where golf carts come in handy. These are small, open vehicles used to traverse the area you would otherwise have to walk. Again, caddies and golf carts aren’t mandatory, but you’ll see most pros using them at tournaments.
  • A golf course designed for competitive play has 18 holes. The objective of the sport is to hit the ball with the club and place it within each hole, one after another. Usually, tournaments are played in stroke play mode. What this means is basically — the golfer with the least amount of swings wins. There’s also match play, where the guy or gal with the most holes and the lowest score wins. Almost all the big tournaments are based on the stroke play approach.
  • Once a golfer is at the teeing ground, they try to place the ball in the hole with as few strokes as possible. If they do it with a single swing, that’s a hole in one. If they don’t succeed, they have to hit the ball from exactly the same spot where it landed. Any sort of interference or movement of the ball results in a penalty. Penalties can come in the form of added strokes to the player’s score (one or two, usually) or disqualification (for more serious offences). Lost holes can also be applied as punishment. Fixed obstacles, such as fences, cannot be moved or altered. A golfer is, however, allowed to move non-fixed obstacles, such as stones.
  • In stroke play tournaments, lots of players are on the course at the same time. To instil order, the rules state that the ball that’s the farthest from the hole has priority. Also, the player with the lowest score (the least amount of strokes) gets to tee off on the next one first.
  • Perhaps the most unique aspect of golf betting is that there is no standardized golf course. In fact, it’s highly unlikely that two courses in the world are the same. What they all have in common are the teeing ground and the putting green. The teeing ground is an obstacle-less area where you place the tee and hit the ball. The putting green is also devoid of obstacles and contains the hole, an 11cm-wide cup, with a flag placed right beside it so that it can be seen from a distance.
  • Since all golf courses are different, golf bettors need to be familiar with all the obstacles. They can be bunkers, which are basically sand-filled holes, and they make it impossible for the ball to bounce. Water hazards come in the form of man-made lakes and streams. If the ball is stuck there, it’s a lost ball. Then, the golfer receives a penalty stroke (along with the failed one, which counts), and they must play another ball from the location of the previous stroke. As for other obstacles, they can be rocks, trees, grass, and other stuff.
  • In golf, holes have different levels of difficulty. They are measured by what’s called a par score. It’s basically a predetermined number of strokes that are believed to be needed by a skilled golfer. Holes can be par 3, 4, or 5. The main factor in measuring the difficulty is the distance between the tee and the green. Other things that might influence the par are obstacles, bends in the ground, altitude changes. There are par-6 and par-7 holes, but they almost never appear in official tournaments.
  • The par score also determines a golfer’s score in a competition. This works by comparing the par score of the hole to the number of swings it took to reach it. If let’s say, a certain hole is a par-5, and a player manages to hit it with two strokes under par, the player gets a -2 score. Don’t be fooled by the negative numbers. In golf betting, the lower the score a person has, the better.

Basic Terms

One of the main obstacles bettors face when playing at golf betting sites is the abundance of unique terms. To help you get a proper head start, we’ve decided to explain the most important ones. Don’t worry, we won’t go on and on about ’em. We kept it short and simple. Learn them all, and you’ll have no problem nailing the best golf betting odds.

  • Bogie – A score of one stroke over the par score.
  • Double Bogey – A golfer scores two strokes more than par on a hole.
  • Triple Bogey – Three strokes over the par rating a hole has.
  • Birdie – When a golfer manages to hit the ball into the hole with one stroke under par.
  • Eagle – Two strokes under par.
  • Double Eagle/Albatross – Three strokes under par. This is very rare and has been accomplished only 18 times in official tournaments.
  • Condor – Four strokes under par. Quite possibly the rarest shot of all and has never been done in a competition. It can only occur on par-5 and par-6 holes.
  • Ace – A hole in one.
  • Beach – A sand bunker/trap.
  • Hazard – Basically, any obstacle on the golf course might affect a golfer’s number of strokes.
  • Fairway – Short, neatly cut grass that spans between the green and the tee.
  • Rough – Longer, unkempt grass that acts as a border for the fairway.
  • Duff – A bad shot.
  • The turn – A slang term for the halfway point in a golf round.
  • Away – The ball is the farthest from the hole.
  • Drive – The first stroke from the tee.

Where to Find Golf Betting Websites?

Rating: 5.0/5
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Rating: 4.9/5
  • Trusted & Secure Online Betting Site
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New customers only. This offer is valid for 7 days from your new account being registered. Min Deposit: £10. Free Bet awarded: £10. 1 x £10 must be wagered at odds of 1.75+ to unlock Free Bet. Debit Card deposits only (exclusions apply). Free bet will expire 7 days after the 1st deposit. 18+. BeGambleAware.org. Bet The Responsible Way. Full Terms apply | gamstop.co.uk
Rating: 4.6/5
  • Fantastic bonuses
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Rating: 4.2/5
  • An amazing sportsbook
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Rating: 4.6/5
  • Extensive sports library
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Rating: 4.9/5
  • Trusted online betting site
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Rating: 4.3/5
  • Generous welcome pack + Free Spins
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Rating: 4.4/5
  • Great Sports Betting Coverage
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New reg only. Claim by placing a min deposit £10 via ‘My Offers’ page within 30 days. 7 days to stake max £10 in-play, min odds 1/1 (2.0). Max. extra winnings £100. Once claimed, 30-day expiry. Cashed out, System & EW bets do not qualify. Other Promotional Play Restrictions Apply. T&Cs apply | 18+ begambleaware.org | gamstop.co.uk | LeoSafePlay
Rating: 4.4/5
  • Trusted & Licensed UK Brand
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18+. UK Customers (Excluding NI) only. Cash stakes only. Min £10 stake required for initial £5 free bet. Min odds ½. Max £25 in free bets. Subsequent free bets equal 50% average of each 3 £5 max qualifying bets. 13 settled bets required to receive full £25 free bet. Qualifying bets must be placed on sportsbook within 30 days of opening account. Cashed out bets will not qualify towards your average stake. One free bet offer per customer, household or IP address only. Free bet expires after 7 days. Payment method restrictions apply. 18+. T&Cs apply. | begambleaware.org | gamstop.co.uk
Rating: 4.6/5
  • Good looking website
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18+ Eligible UK+IRE players. Paypal & some deposit & bet types excl. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. No cashout, restrictions + T&Cs apply. | begambleaware.org | gamstop.co.uk
Rating: 4.7/5
  • Trusted Betting Site
  • Great Range of Daily Sports Betting Markets
  • Live Streaming & Other Features are Available
  • Mobile App for Android and iOS
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Rating: 4.6/5
  • Huge amount of promotions
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  • Attractive Odds
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  • Reliable & professional brand
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  • Good payment methods
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So, how does one find the best golf bookmakers? Well, if you’re looking to take punts on golf online, the most important thing is to know what you want. For instance, William Hill might be someone’s ideal betting site, but another person just might not be feeling it.

To find a golf bookie with lots of lines and games, you should first take a piece of paper. Write down everything you want and everything you want to avoid. With such written references, you can easily judge a site in just a few minutes.

However, embarking on your own journey can oftentimes be a hassle. Why bother when you have NostraBet’s guide on the top-rated bookmakers for golf betting? That’s right, our team invested hundreds of hours of research into this, just so you don’t have to visit every single site that seems interesting. Check out our list and take your pick!


How to Place a Bet on Golf?

Here’s how to bet on golf:

  • Pick a legal betting operator in your country. Our team of professionals has analyzed all top-tier bookies and provided you with a list of the best for golf.
  • Sign up by completing the registration process. Every betting operator has its specifics, but our team has a step-by-step guide that goes through everything.
  • Complete the verification procedure and make a deposit. Each site has a minimum requirement you have to follow.
  • Go to the separate gold subsection inside the sportsbook and check the available betting markets.
  • Select something you like (keep in mind that some gold tournaments will not have as many options as others).
  • After making your choice, the market will be in your betslip, meaning you have to choose how much you want to wager and place a bet.

Do not be surprised if there are not that many markets for betting on golf. Albeit an interesting sport, golf has yet to be that big in online betting. That’s why our team needed a lot of time to analyze all of the top-tier platforms before suggesting a few options that stand out.


Which Are the Most Popular Competitions?

golf stick ball

Currently, there are around 38,000 golf courses in the world. Everyone and their dog play golf nowadays, and that’s the beauty of this sport. However, you shouldn’t just pounce on the first competition you see.

Instead, you need to focus on the best and most popular tournaments. Not only are there more tips for these events, but you can also apply any golf betting system more easily. More markers, more things to work with, right? Now, let’s take a look at the big four you need to pay attention to:

PGA Championship

The big daddy. This competition is held every year (with a rotated group of venues), the weekend before Memorial Day. It’s the second major and usually has a purse of around $10-11 million. Since it’s the most popular event, you’ll find lots of PGA odds for it. Golfers who win the PGA Championship get a lifetime invitation and are automatically included in the PGA Tour for 5 seasons and the Euro tour for seven seasons. They also get an invite to the three other competitions on this list.

US Open

The US Golf Association (USGA) organised the US Open is the third big tournament in a calendar year. It has the most lucrative purse out of all professional golf tournaments, clocking in at a cool $12.5 million. It’s also known as the most difficult, as courses frequently change. That makes US Open golf betting one of the most exciting endeavours one can take up. It involves 72 total holes of stroke play.

The Open Championship

Traditionally held at various courses throughout the UK, it’s under the patronage of the R&A, the world’s oldest golfing association. Interestingly, it was the first competition to be open to amateur golfers. Many other tournaments around the world followed suit, opening up the game of golf to everyone. It takes place every year, and it begins on the third Tuesday in July.

Masters

The Masters Tournament is the only one of the four majors that’s always held at the same course — the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. Interestingly, it’s also an invitation-only event, which means there’s always a small group of golfers competing. It’s the best choice for beginners, as it’s easier to bet when there’s a smaller pool of competitors.


Short History and Facts

While modern golf traces its form back to 15th century Scotland, there are two theories about its ancient origins. The first one cites the old Roman game ‘paganica’ as golf’s predecessor. It involved a club and a leather ball to hit the ball in a hole. Some historians believe it spread to the British Isles when the Romans came and conquered them.

The other theory involves chuiwan, a popular game in ancient China from the 8th to the 14th century. It also included a club, a small ball, and a course filled with holes. Because of a lack of concrete evidence, both of these theories are at least semi-plausible.

As for the best player in the history of the game, many believe that Tiger Woods. He has 82 PGA Tour wins, 15 majors titles and is the only golfer in history to win four consecutive majors. Woods is solely credited for making golf a global phenomenon, which resulted in him becoming the first-ever billionaire athlete.


Final Thoughts

The beauty of golf is that anything can happen. There are so many factors – the weather, course, time of day, temperature, draw, and so much more. That’s why golf betting online is a hobby that is tailor-made for all your passionate punters. We hope this guide provided you with a proper introduction and that you’re ready to conquer all the markets. Stay smart, strategize, and the hard work will pay off. Oh, of course, there’s a bit of luck sprinkled there, too!


FAQ

How to properly use the golf futures market?

The best way to deal with futures golf betting is to thoroughly analyze every player who will participate in the tournament you’re punting on. Inform yourself about the course and follow the news. Pick odds that aren’t lower than the teens but aren’t higher than 100. 50/1 is good enough.

What is a match-up bet in golf?

Matchup golf betting is when you have the choice between two golfers. You have to pick one that’s going to have a lower score. It’s a great way to reduce distractions and focus on a select number of factors.

Is it a good idea to bet on who will win the tournament?

If there’s an overwhelming favourite, then no. If the golfer pool is more diluted, you can find good odds for everyone who might realistically take the crown.

Should I use golf betting systems?

No system of strategy is guaranteed to yield returns. You can try a system for a few rounds and see if it can positively affect your bankroll. The best way to bet is to switch it up every now and then.

What does ‘value bet’ mean in golf betting?

A value bet isn’t a specific type of market. It’s simply any bet that has a good risk/reward ratio. You don’t need a miracle to win, and the winnings are good.

Can I use golf betting tips when preparing my bets?

Only use tips when you’re done with your research. Don’t use them as the primary reference. Think of golf betting tips as a second opinion.

Are there any golf betting apps?

Many sites on our list of the top-rated golf betting bookmakers have their own apps. There, you can do the same things you do on the PC. It’s a no-brainer if you like betting on the go.

Author
Kristiyan Kyulyunkov
Kristiyan KyulyunkovKristiyan Kyulyunkov specializes in bookmakers’ analyses. He has years of experience betting online and always keeps an eye on the different operators. His tasks in Nostrabet include writing, editing and publishing expert reviews.