A beginner’s guide to golf betting in the UK
Golf bets are among the most popular for those sports fans in the UK who enjoy a gamble.
With four major tournaments a year, in addition to less regular but global events such as the Ryder Cup, it is easy to see why golf betting holds such a strong appeal to its faithful following.
With tournaments stretching across the whole weekend, there is plenty of chance to sink back into the sofa and soak up the action – and how better to enjoy golf than by having a bet on it too?
But for those in the UK who have never tried gambling on golf before, it can be tough to know where to start. With so many different types of tournaments, such as stroke play and match play, it can be very confusing, especially when terms like ‘fourballs’ and ‘foursomes’ are thrown into the mix.
Read on for a simple guide and you’ll be ready to win big bucks in no time at all.
Let’s take Masters an example, to run through the basics of golf betting in the UK.
The Masters is arguably the biggest tournament of the year, with Augusta National’s green fairways the setting for some of the most dramatic moments in all-time sporting history.
Tiger Woods was previously the master of the Masters – winning the championships four times, in 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2005 – but the American golf legend has been struggling with injuries for some time now and, in recent years, a lot of talented new blood has come along to take his place.
Big name golfers such as Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy would likely be among the favourites to win the Masters and collect the famous green jacket at the end of the tournament.
McIlroy may well start the event as the favourite, perhaps, at odds of around 10/1. For those who are completely new to sports betting, this means that for every £1 you stake on McIlroy, you will win £10 if he wins the tournament – plus your original bet back. Therefore, a £10 bet would result in winnings of £110, including your original bet.
Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson are among the current players to have won the Masters more than once, so they will always be worth considering for any golf betting enthusiasts in this event.
Each-way betting on golf
While there can be big money to be made on golf in the UK by backing winners, golf tournaments often have extremely large fields and this can make it very hard to pick a victor.
Imagine a horse race where there are 100 horses lining up at the start line – it would be chaos. Yet, in betting terms, this is exactly what happens at the start of every golf tournament.
Each-way betting is therefore a very popular tactic in order to improve your chances of winning and this is probably the most common type of golf bets, especially when globally popular and truly iconic tournaments like the Masters come around every year.
The major bookmakers might well offer place money for the top six or seven golfers at the end of a tournament, so the man you back can end up being a long way from winning the competition, but still perform well enough over their four rounds to make sure you get paid a profit.
In terms of Masters betting – let’s say you want to bet on Lee Westwood, but you are not confident enough that the Englishman will win the event. He might be priced up at around the 100/1 mark, suggesting the bookmakers have little faith that he is going to be competitive.
But each-way golf bets on Westwood might just give you a run for your money over the course of the Masters weekend. Typically, a bookmaker will offer 1/4 of the odds for a top-five finish and anything better than that is likely to be a special offer.
In this situation, a £1 each way golf bet on Westwood would see you take £25 profit if he was to finish in the top five places at the end of the Masters. And, if he won, the profit would be £125. It just goes to show that each-way betting can be very profitable if you can find the value.
Types of golf tournament
The majority of golf tournaments are stroke play, which means the lowest score at the end of play wins – it is that simple. The majority of tournaments run for four days, starting on Thursday and coming to an end on Sunday, so watching golf is a great way to spend a long, lazy weekend.
Match play is the other main type of golf tournament. This sees players face off against each other in a cup draw system. The lowest score on a hole wins and whoever wins the most holes in a round goes through.
Team tournaments such as the Ryder Cup, which takes place every two years and sees the United States take on Europe, are entirely match play, but with a mix of singles, foursomes and fourballs. The Ryder Cup is massively popular in the UK, with huge numbers of golf bets placed on the event.
Singles are one vs one, so for example McIlroy might take on Spieth. Foursomes – which is sometimes known as alternate shot, is two teams of two using one ball, with players taking turns to play. Fourballs is two teams of two, but each player has their own ball – the lowest score wins.
How live betting works in golf
After you have placed your golf bet on a tournament, whether you have backed a winner or, instead, elected to place an each-way wager, you will want to keep a close eye on the action.
This is where live golf betting can make a competition even more exciting to be watching, with most of the top bookmakers these days offering you the opportunity to have an in-play bet.
Golf is particularly well-suited to betting in-play as it is more slow-moving than other sports, such as tennis and football, so for beginners it is the perfect place to start with live wagers.
The latest golf betting odds will be available to peruse throughout a tournament and with momentum shifting quickly in this sport, it can be a good way to find a great betting angle.
Wagers themselves work in exactly the same way as at the start of the tournament, with each-way bets and bets to win both likely to be on offer in live betting.
How to win while betting on golf
Having system can be a great way to be profitable on golf bets in the UK.
Many golf tipsters will post their selections on the internet, which is a good way to find out which golfers might be worth backing for any particular tournament.
Take time to research which tipsters tend to be the most profitable before you decide whether or not to follow their picks, however, as there cannot be any guarantees that they will be right, take care with who you’re willing to put your trust in.
Free golf betting tips are available all over the internet, but it is worth taking time to carry out your own research to see which golfers are in form, which players have a good record on a particular course, and which youngsters might just be the stars of the future.
Finding the tournament winners of tomorrow is a great way to make money from golf betting in the UK, but it is easier said than done. If it was that simple, then everyone would be doing it!
Due to the fact that most people who do not spent a lot of time checking out the form book will elect to back the names they know – the likes of McIlroy, Spieth, Day and even Woods – it means there can be a lot of value found a lot lower down the odds, with around the 100/1 mark often a good place to find players who are worth considering.
No golf betting system is perfect, no matter how much time you put into your research, and there are always risks in betting on any sport, so it is absolutely vital that you never wager more than you can afford to lose, which needless to say is also true for any type of gambling.
Big tournaments for golf bets
You should be all set to start betting on golf now – but which tournaments are you going to select to have a wager on?
Much like tennis, the golf world is centred around four major competitions that are spaced throughout the year.
The first of them is the Masters, which takes place at Augusta National each April. Masters golf betting is a great place to start with placing golf bets as only the best players can survive there and it is very rare that a totally unknown player will triumph.
Next up is the US Open, which is held in June and is toured around various courses in the United States, before the action switches to Europe in July for The Open Championship, which is arguably the most famous tournament in the sport and is held in the UK.
Like the US Open, the PGA Championship takes place at a wide range of courses across the United States and this is the final major of the year, taking place in August.
In addition, betting on events such as the biennial Ryder Cup is very popular, while the Accenture Match Play, the Cadillac Championship and the Bridgestone Invitational are also extremely big in the world of golf bets too.
Whichever tournament you choose to start your golf career on – good luck!