Betting on Golf – The Complete Guide

There are plenty of things that make golf such an attractive sport for many people. There are a few reasons for it, but the unforgettable personalities of the participants are surely one of the biggest reasons. So, as the popularity of golf increased over time, it was only natural that online sports betting sites created a more comprehensive list of golf betting options.

There are tons of tournaments and matchups that you can bet on throughout the year, so the fun never stops if you decide to wager on golf. However, if you are completely new to the online betting world, don’t make the mistake of just blindly placing wagers on golf. There are several things that you need to know first, and that is where we at come in. Keep reading to learn all the essentials of golf betting.

Brief History of Golf

Golf is a sport that has a very long history. We can even trace the game back to the 13th century, when the Dutch played a game that had simple rules – you would need to hit a leather ball, and it had to reach a target. The winner would be the player who reached it with fewer shots. However, golf, which originates in Scotland, has one distinction – it has a hole. So, the modern golf game that has 18 holes originated in the 15th century in Scotland.

Golf was first mentioned in an Act of the Scottish Parliament back in 1467, but the country wanted to ban it alongside football. King James II thought that it was a distraction from military training, but these restrictions were lifted with the Treaty of Glasgow in 1502.

Fast forward to 1744, when the oldest recorded rules for golf appeared. The Honourable Company of Edinburgh introduced the Articles and Laws for Playing Golf. Over time, soldiers and immigrants in Scotland played a key role in developing golf as we know it today. The game started enjoying international presence and popularity in the 19th century, when it spread to other parts of the world, such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and Singapore.

In England, the rise of golf’s popularity was tremendous. The country had 10 golf courses in 1880, but that number increased to 1,000 by 1914. As for the USA, there is evidence that golf was enjoyed in the 18th century, but it wasn’t until 1894 that the US Golf Association was formed.

Golf Rules and Gameplay

Now, let’s take a closer look at the general rules of golf, which are essential if you want to place successful wagers on the sport. A player will begin from a starting position that is called a tee, and they need to hit the ball towards a hole. There are several golf clubs that you can choose from:

  • Irons
  •  Woods
  • Drivers
  • Wedges
  • Chippers
  • Putters

You can only pick up to 14 clubs in a bag at the start of a round. There are penalty strokes in place if you don’t comply with this. You can change clubs after the end of the current round. 

Moving on, players don’t carry their bags themselves in competitive events. Instead, there are caddies that do that for them. 

Players need to keep track of their ball all the time; if they hit the wrong one, they can get a two-stroke penalty. When making the first stroke, players can elevate the ball slightly with the help of a small peg, also known as a tee. This rule does not apply to the following shots.

Of course, players cannot change their environment to improve their chances of playing in any way during a game of golf. If they cannot salvage a ball, they will get a new one to resume play.

If the ball goes into a water hazard with a shot, a player can choose to play without taking a penalty, but in most cases, this is impossible. They will need to take a distance and stroke penalty before resuming play with a new ball.

Moreover, if the player loses the ball, they have three minutes to find it. If they can’t, they will get a penalty. 

When it comes to the scoring itself, most golf events have a stroke play format. The number of shots the player takes before putting the ball in the holes determines the outcome.

However, the shots are not just numbered, as there is a system in play. There is always a par for every hole on a course.

Pars are the average number of shots a player would need to take to complete the given hole. There can be par-four holes, par-three, and par-five. Most golf events have a mixture of them all.

Golf in the USA & Around the World

Well, to determine where golf is most popular, we can briefly take a look at where golf courses are located. You might think that American football is the only highly-popular sport in the US, but you are mistaken. The vast majority of golf courses are in the USA, with over 16,700 located in the country.

Besides the US, there are nine more countries that cover 78% of the world’s golf courses:

  • Japan
  • Canada
  • Sweden
  • England
  • Germany
  • Australia
  • France
  • Korea
  • Scotland

Golf Odds

Overall, depending on which gold betting site you wager on, there are three types of betting odds you can encounter:

  • Fractional
  • Decimal
  • Moneyline

All three are just different ways to present the same thing: favorites and underdogs in a golf game, and there is no difference in terms of payouts. If you want a bit of help calculating the odds, you can always use betting calculators.

Popular Golf Betting Types

Now, we can get a bit more into the fun part of betting on golf. Once you know how golf rules work exactly, you can start thinking about placing a wager on the sport. Let’s take a look at the most popular golf betting types you will find at all reputable betting sites.

Matchup Winner

We start with the simplest bet type of them all – the matchup winner. Here, you simply need to determine which player will win the game of golf. As mentioned above, each game has a favorite and an underdog.

Tournament Winner

Just as is the case with all other sports, you can wager on which player you think will win the entire tournament in golf. There are plenty of players you can choose from, so you need good research if you are to place a bet like this.

Round Leaders

Apart from wagering on who will win a tournament, you can also bet on who you think will be the leader after every round ends. Odds for this bet are available after the day of play is over, and this is one of the bets in golf that is hard to get right.

Nationality of the Golfer

This is a very interesting bet type, as you will be able to bet on a player from a specific country you think will win.

Parlay Bets

With a parlay bet, you will need to place a bet on several outcomes on a single bet slip. Of course, you need to get them all right to secure a win. This makes them risky bets, but the odds and potential payouts are always better.

Prop Bets

Reputable sports betting sites offer you the chance to place additional or prop bets on outcomes in tournaments or player vs. player matchups. You can wager on the win margin, total number of rounds, etc.—you can wager on just about anything.

Live Betting

Lastly, we have live golf betting, which is gaining popularity in the online betting community. Of course, you can wager on an event as it is happening, with the odds being dynamic and changing as the action takes place.

Top Golf Leagues

Golf is a widespread sport, so you won’t have a problem finding a tournament to place any of the above-mentioned bet types and implement a certain betting strategy. So, some of the most popular and most watched golf tournaments are:

  • The Masters – occurs each year at Augusta National;
  • PGA Championship – occurs in May, and there is always excitement when it takes place;
  • US Open – many consider it the toughest test in golf, and is the main talking point when it occurs;
  • Open Championship – also known as the British Open Stateside, and it is often the most unpredictable, both in terms of the weather and winners;

Besides these, there are also other notable mentions, such as the ANA Inspiration, US Women’s Open, Women’s PGA, Evian Championship, and so on. One thing is sure here – betting on golf never lacks options.

Golf Betting Tips

Learning how to bet on golf can take some time, but you can never be sure that a bet you make will be a winning one. However, by using some betting tips, you can increase your odds of getting a payout. We at are experienced professionals in the golf betting world, so we would recommend the following tips when placing wagers:

  • Know the bet value – it is very important that you know how to read odds and calculate them based on the statistical chances of winning. Remember – you don’t need to be more money, but you need to know which outcome is worth backing;
  • Check players’ performances – there are plenty of golfers in a tournament, so you need to know exactly how they cope in such events. Take a look at the tournament that is currently taking place and how certain players perform in it;
  • Find the best odds – you need to register at sports betting sites that have the best odds offer. Don’t be lazy, do your research and find sites that offer the most comprehensive golf odds;
  • Set a budget – the golden rule of sports betting – always set a golf betting budget and never go over it.

How To Bet On Golf

New golf bettors may think that starting their betting journey on the sport is a complicated process. However, the reality is far from it. Thanks to our guide below, we can ease your concerns when you are at the start of your golf betting adventure. Keep reading for more.

Register on a Licensed Golf Betting Site

The first and most obvious step is to find a site that holds a reputable license. A license from a trusted regulator is the bare minimum a site needs to have to guarantee a safe betting experience. Once you make sure the site is licensed, complete the short registration process.

Make Your First Deposit

All golf betting sites have minimum deposit limits that you need to comply with when opening an account. You need to check this prior to signing up. If you are okay with the limit, choose a payment method and top-up your account.

Claim the Welcome Bonus

Reliable betting sites have a nice welcome bonus awaiting newly registered punters. A welcome bonus can come in many different forms. Take a look at the bonus terms and conditions, and if they match your taste, then claim the offer.

Start Betting

Now, your golf betting adventure can begin. You can see which tournaments are currently taking place, and you can wager on any one of them. Hopefully, you will get a few correct predictions early on, which will help you with your confidence.

Most Common Golf Betting Mistakes

In addition to the tips and tricks mentioned above, we can advise you to avoid the following golf betting mistakes:

  • Betting on your favorite player – never allow emotions to cloud your judgment, always place bets based on facts;
  • Chasing losses – everyone can go through a bad spell of betting, but it is important not to chase your losses. Just call it a day, there is always tomorrow;
  • Bet on suspicious websites – we cannot stress enough the importance of a site having a valid license from a trusted gambling regulator;
  • Always betting on favorites; – favorites often win, but not always. Upsets do happen in golf, so you can sometimes take your chances and back an underdog.

Is it Safe to Bet on Golf?

There is a very simple answer to this question – a resounding YES, but only if you wager on reputable and licensed golf betting sites. These sites use SSL encryption technology, which ensures all your sensitive data is secure.


What bet type is ideal for a new player?

If you are new to the golf betting business, then we recommend you start with the basics, such as matchups and tournament winners.

Can I bet live on golf?

Yes, reliable betting operators allow you to place live bets on various golf tournaments. Of course, the odds change as the games progress.

Do I get a betting bonus for golf?

Well, it depends on the online sports betting site in question. The vast majority of operators offer special bonuses when big golf events take place.