Golf Betting - Odds, Lines and Sportsbooks

Betting on golf is a current trend in the US. Top oddsmakers and sportsbooks are aware of this movement and are making an effort to keep up with the demand.

If you find an online sportsbook offering the chance to sign up, there are no state or federal laws to stop you. Although there are laws against online gambling in Washington state, the other 49 states do permit it.

Currently, state-regulated gambling options are available in:

These include a mixture of online sports betting, online poker and online casinos. Virginia only presents online casinos.

Gambling in the US is regulated by three primary federal laws, which are the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), the Federal Wire Act and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).

Why is betting on golf different than other sports?

First of all, (and we’ll touch on this later) golf tournaments generally have big fields.

Next, think about the strange events that sometimes occur out on the course, like a player getting stuck in a bunker or the water.

Over 18 holes, fortunes can sometimes change rapidly. Depending on the time of year, both the weather and field conditions can also affect an outcome over four days of competition.

As it’s not an exact science, given the best players don’t always win, it can be a challenge to win consistently. Golf bettors must study the form and current pointers.

Get it right, though, and there are rewards to be made. It’s not unusual for a player carrying longer odds to come out on top.

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What do we mean by odds?

Explained simply, when you see a golfer carrying odds of 16:1 in a tournament, it means given 17 possible outcomes, it is likely, on 16 occasions, the result will be the same or the player won’t win the event. On the 17th, he or she might just defy the odds and win.

Odds are a prediction of how an event will end.

So, when wagering on a favorite, bettors are given a disadvantage in the fact the returns will be smaller if that golfer wins. When betting on someone carrying odds of 16:1, if the player comes up first, you’ll win back 16 times your original stake, plus your original stake.

How to bet on golf

If you’re serious about becoming a regular golf bettor, it’s best to set aside a sum of money you can afford to lose, but enough to create a betting bank. You only use the money to wager from your bank and not from the cash you use to pay bills, etc.

Next, you’ll need a staking plan, which involves how much money you will use on each bet you make.

Level staking is the best place to start, so you always stake the same amount on each bet.

This disciplined approach helps you stay within your gambling budget even if you find yourself on a losing run. Using this method means you can slowly build up your winnings and increase the size of your bank over time.

It’s important to use a reputable sportsbook to place your bets. There are some very good online sports betting options these days.

Notably, you should make sure any money you keep in your sportsbook account is secure and you can withdraw any winnings at any time without problems.

Obviously, a sportsbook that covers golf is essential as it’ll offer a range of general and in-play bets.

Many have exclusive sign-up offers, which include providing free bets if you deposit a certain amount of cash or a bonus whereby you could deposit, e.g., $50 and get another bonus $50 for betting.

A sportsbook offering a mobile app is a good idea so you can bet and manage your account wherever you are.

When you bet, start sensible and slowly, perhaps stick to one type of bet and not a combination.

What different types of bets are possible on golf?

There are various bets you can place on the golf.

These include a straight win for a selected player before a tournament begins or even during the event as odds fluctuate.

There are individual bets available so you can bet on a certain player winning or finishing in a top 10 spot.

From these basic bets, you can wager head to head in various competitions, e.g., how many strokes a player will take to get a round within a certain numerical range.

Further examples of bets might include numbers of majors or tournaments a player might win in a season:

Will anyone land a hole-in-one?

Will a single event go to a playoff?

Could the winner be younger, older or a certain age?

On some betting sites, you’ll see golfers being grouped in a field depending on which country they are from, or by current rank, with offers of bets against the rest of the field.

In fact, there are lots of different bets available, which means you don’t need to pick the winner of a championship to get a decent return. Again, it’s best to study current form and decide on what your best wager could be.

What are the best bets in golf?

There is no single best bet, nowadays.

Your best bet will be based on what you hope to win and the chances of landing a return on your stake, and also what market you enjoy betting on the most.

What is live betting in golf and how does it work?

Live betting is a type of wager that happens after the start of a sporting or golfing event. So, depending on situations developing in a tournament, the odds will continuously fluctuate, and offer up chances to get a return on your stake.

There will be numerous bets available from head to heads, to numbers of strokes taken, etc. When a site offers live betting, aka in-play betting, you’ll see all the odds and information in front of you as it comes available.

Magnificent golf majors to bet on

These are the tournaments all professional golfers want to win.

Some will lift several such events in their career, others just one or two. A few will get close and the majority of playing professionals will make do with merely qualifying or playing well in any of the majors.

There are four in total:

The Masters

Played each spring at breathtaking Augusta, GA, the Masters is the first major of the year and one coveted by the top professionals especially.

The great Bobby Jones founded it in 1934, and since then it’s become a golf legend in terms of excitement, color and wonderful stories. Players dream of being able to don the special green jacket awarded to the winner, which players must return at the end of each year.

In terms of the PGA, European and Japanese tours, this is an official money tournament, played over four days in April. Players need to be officially invited by the Augusta National Golf Club, and as such it has a smaller field than any other major. It’s a standard 72par event and involves some of the biggest stars in the sport and some lesser-known ones as well.

A champions’ dinner precedes each year’s event open to board members of the club and past title holders. Jack Nicklaus has won the title a total of six times with Tiger Woods securing five wins in his career.

The US Open

The US Open is America’s annual national championship, and part of the European and PGA tours played each June.

Organized by the United States Golf Association and hosted at alternating venues, a field of 156 strong is the result of various qualifying tournaments played around the world.

Half the field is given special exemption and, of course, It’s a 72-hole, stroke-play challenge, and has been since its inception in the late-19th century. This year’s event at the Pebble Beach Course carries a largest -ever cash prize of $12.5 million.

The British Open

It may be played across the pond but this magical championship, the British Open, is coveted by American and international golfers alike.

Supervised by the Royal and Ancient, this event is the senior of all four majors. The first tournament was played as far back as 1860 at Scotland’s Prestwick Golf Course.

In many ways, it can be the toughest challenge played on a variety of courses in the UK, where conditions in summer can have a significant impact on the result. It can often throw up the best links golf played anywhere in the world.

The PGA now refers back to the event without “British” in the title. Played in mid-July, the 2019 tournament will return to the Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951.

PGA Championship

Taking place over the weekend before Memorial Day in May, the PGA Championship is organized by the Professional Golfers Association Of America. Held at various venues, some not so well known, but mainly in the Eastern US, this is the only major not to guarantee entry to those golfers in the top 50 Official World Golf Rankings.

Golf tours to bet on

There are three challenging tours in the sport of golf. Let’s take a closer look:

PGA Tour

When we talk about the PGA Tour, we speak about the organization responsible for putting together primarily, those events for male players in both North America and the United States. It’s a nonprofit body headquartered in Florida.

From the Valspar Championship to the Charles Schwab Challenge, from the Desert Classic to the Wells Fargo Championship, the tournaments are all both testing and varied. It isn’t responsible for any of the four majors.

The PGA Tour also runs six tours. Half are played in the US with the other three classed as international development tours involving various regions or countries.

PGA Tour Champions

The senior golfing circuit is thriving and for a very good reason, with some of the most talented exponents able to play well into their later years. PGA Tour Champions is the new name given to those seniors competing in their events.

Looking back, The Senior PGA Championship was launched in 1937. It had a long successful run as the only tournament available to players older than 50. When “the Legends Of Golf” was initiated in 1978 involving teams made up of two members and including some of the days biggest names, it was suggested that a seniors tour was the way forward.

It duly came into being two years later as the Senior PGA. The named was changed in 2002 to the Champions Tour before today’s name was formally adopted at the end of the 2015 season.


The Ladies Professional Golf Association, or LPGA, emerged in 1950 as a body looking after the interests of female professional golfers. As the LPGA Tour, this nonprofit organization works to set up weekly tournaments for some of the best women golfers in the world.

Also, it oversees a qualifying school run annually, which is close in format to the PGA Tour version. Players finish in a qualifying tournament will determine whether or not they receive partial or complete playing privileges on tour.

Though the majority of events are played out in the US, there are also tournaments in Australia, Thailand, Singapore, France, England, Scotland, Canada, China, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

These are scheduled from January through late fall. Players completing the season in the top 10 places will earn points, which double in the major championships.

So far in 2019, South Korea is leading the way in overall prize money.

The top 5 players in US golfing history

Make no mistake; the US can boast a list of amazing golfers, but who are arguably classed as the top five of all time. Let’s take a look:

5. Arnold Palmer

The enigmatic Arnold Palmer lifted seven major titles in a long and illustrious career with a “let’s go for it” playing style, which even managed to re-invent the famous British Open in terms of popularity. A winner 62 times on the PGA Tour, pundits believe him to be the best putter in history, and second to none as an entertainer on the circuit.

4. Bobby Jones

Bobby Jones was the founder of the Masters, but also a winner of all four majors in his era early in the 20th century. These consisted of both the US and British Open Championships and both corresponding Amateur Championships. In fact, he won all four together on 13 occasions. For this reason, he has to go on our list.

3. Ben Hogan

With a total of 62 career victories and nine major championships to his name, Ben Hogan became a true legend. Not least because it took him an age to break through completely, and a bad car accident both disrupted and eventually ended his career. Who knows what he might have achieved if that had not have been the case?

2. Jack Nicklaus

Put it this way, “the Golden Bear” Jack Nicklaus won the highest number of major titles reaching a staggering 18. But he also became the runner-up in 19 more. He was an outstanding all-around player, a true gentleman and much loved on the circuit that he dominated for more than 25 years.

1. Tiger Woods

How did you guess? In fairness, Tiger Woods is adjudged to be the No. 1 ahead of Nicklaus simply because he has dominated in an era of multi-talented players. At his peak, he dominated the sport completely breaking many records along the way. He was once No. 1 in the world for the most consecutive weeks and made PGA Player of the Year on a record-setting 11 occasions.

Meet the five highest-paid golfers in the world

You have to be good to get into the top-earning bracket, standing or falling by your efforts. So, who are the current top five earners?

5. Justin Thomas

Justin Thomas, from the US, sits happily in a fifth spot having secured $26 million, so far, in his career. This includes a mere $4 million in endorsements.

4. Rory McIlroy

The hugely popular Rory McIlroy is next on our list of high earners, having pocketed $37.7 million. It’s interesting to note the Northern Irishman includes endorsements of $34 million, proving how players promote themselves is priceless these days.

3. Jordan Spieth

Charismatic Jordan Spieth comes next with $11.2 million in winnings, but this is boosted dramatically by endorsements of an astounding $30 million. This American hero is undoubtedly sitting pretty.

2. Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson is another home-grown star carrying out the American dream to its full potential with earnings of $41.3 million, and $37 million of that comes in endorsements.

1. Tiger Woods

We’ve already given you an early clue in the piece, so no surprises for revealing the highest-earning golfer in the world is one Tiger Woods.

Rejuvenated and with a staggering comeback behind him, this US genius has earnings of $43.3 million. You’ve seen what endorsements can do, so given that Woods has extensive contracts with corporations including Bridgestone and Nike, it can’t be a shock to learn he banked $42 million in endorsements.

In fact, Woods has made a total of $1.5 billion across his professional career, but amazingly, winnings amount to only 10% of that.

Who is the highest paid golfer of all time?

It’s no surprise to see the man largely responsible for promoting the sport of golf to the American masses is Tiger Woods. He’s also our highest all-time earner, bringing in a cool $122.5 million. Woods has an incredible 120 wins to his name.

What is an each-way bet?

When you wager each way on a player, you are actually placing two separate bets.

The first bet is on the player to win, with the second for your chosen golfer to complete the tournament in one of the leading places offered. A top five or top 10 finish is generally the norm.

The second bet is usually placed at a quarter the odds given. So, in effect, your stake is being doubled; even if the player doesn’t win but still finishes in the top places, you’ll get money back. Hence, the each-way title.

When should you hedge a bet?

The beauty of golf is that some odds on players in tournaments are actually far too long in truth, making this sport perfect for hedging a bet later on in an event.

Explained simply, this could work well if you are placing a stake on a player to win before the tournament begins.

It’s possible that your selection’s odds could have lengthened considerably by the end of the second day, even if he or she makes any cut.

The golfer could still win, of course, and you could leave things to fate. But should the player be one or two shots in front of the field at the halfway point, in order to make sure you get money back at the end of the event, this is when you should consider hedging your bet.

You’d do this by placing money on a player or players very close behind. It’s important to work out how much you could win by doing this and balance any wager against the odds of it all falling into place.

Are there any golf betting systems that work?

The simple truth is while there are many golf tipsters out there, unlike, e.g., horse racing, it’s much more of a challenge to wager with a system in golf for many reasons.

The field is always large in golf, of course, and the weather and conditions can play a part alongside a player’s form. And, it’s a fact, things can go wrong on the course itself.

OK, so some players play better at specific courses, but, in many events, the favorites rarely win.

You could, in theory, follow the highest earners who do well in the majors, but the best way to approach golf betting is to study as much form as possible and follow the game for trending clues, like strokes gained and strong iron and driving performances.

What's the difference between match bets and rounds?

Explained simply, match bets will involve, e.g., wagers positioned on who might shoot the highest score in a three-ball grouping, or the lowest score in a two-ball grouping.

A matched bet might also involve a virtual head to head of two golfers playing the same tournament but in different groupings.

In other words, forget about winning the championship. It’s a case of one golfer having a better card than the other. If the player you choose finishes better than the other, you’ll win your bet.

When it comes to betting on rounds, individuals will bet on which player they think will perform best in that particular round. It could be the first right through to the fourth in a 72-par event, of course. This can be a great way of making a profit without necessarily getting the winner of the championship.

First-round betting is becoming very popular and ideal in following players who can start well in tournaments, but might find the pressure on final round day too much when in a good position.

What does handicapping mean in golf?

You’ll hear the term frequently; you may even know friends who play the game often boasting about their handicap.

It’s a numerical gauge of just how good a player is over a single round of golf. This is all done across recent play and demonstrates the number of strokes a player should be able to take either below or above par.

When we talk about stroke play, a golfer’s handicap is utilized to provide a net score from the total of strokes played across a tournament or competition. This means golfers of differing skill levels can perform against one another on a level playing field.

male golfer’s handicap will go up to a maximum of 36Female players have a maximum handicap of 40.


There are hundreds of golf terms, some even the professional sometimes forget. Here are just a few of the basic terms you might hear. There are many sites online offering the full index.

  • Birdie: When golfers achieve one stroke under par on a particular hole, for example, making a two on a par three hole is a birdie.
  • Par: Players who meet the listed number of strokes for a hole make par.
  • Bogey: If par for a hole is four and the player takes five strokes, this would be a bogey.
  • Double bogey: Making two extra strokes above the listed par is a double bogey, something that can be fatal to a golfer’s card.
  • Ace: Hitting a hole in one is known as an ace.
  • Dogleg: A dogleg is a hole with a direct fairway, but then veering to the right or left.
  • Sand trap: This is a green-side bunker or a fairway full of sand instead of grass.
  • Approach shot: This is the term for a golfer aiming to land the ball on the green. The average measure is between 150 to 180 yards to the target.
  • Follow through: Describes that part of the golfer’s swing that occurs after the club has connected with the ball.
  • Flagstick: The flagstick is the tall pole indicating where the hole is on the green.
  • Heading in: A term used when a player is heading toward the back nine and the clubhouse.
  • Line: This is the line a golfer expects the ball to take as heads toward the hole.
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