There has never been a better time in history to bet on golf. With the internationalisation of the sport, along with the rise of the internet, online bookies and endless sites dedicated to analysis and information about golfers and tournaments, betting on golf has become a year round affair that offers great benefits to punters who specialise in its domain. This guide serves as a starting point for rookies to learn the basics of golf betting. Start slow and eventually your methods and process will become a well lubricated betting machine.
With that said, the first place to start is with the events. The biggest events to look out for are the American PGA tour which sits at home on US soil for the most part, and the European tour. Consequently the line up between the two favours more US contenders in one, and more Europeans in the other, which is an interesting side note. When the seasons finish the best performers are allocated a spot in two additional tours, the Race to Dubai (from the European Tour) and the Fed Ex Cup. In addition to this, throughout the year there are a variety of other major competitions where the best talents from the tours duke it out; namely the US open, the Master the British Open and the USPGA.
With the average game canning 160 players, and because of the contentious nature of the current competition, there can be a lot of variation between favourites and lesser favourites from week to week. Because of the variation in prices that are offered, there can be many spots to find value in a player who may have had a bad run but is still fundamentally stronger than the competition would have you believe. This is important to note because at the moment, golf is a lot different to something like Men’s tennis where a handful of favourites at the top tier have dominated the international grand slams for the last decade.
So how do we in value as a punter?
There are many things to consider when punting on a golfer or collection of golfers in any given tournament. In order to isolate downward through the 160 or so golfers that you’ll have to contend with, you really need to eliminate certain player groups based on a variety of factors. To start with, the sheer ranking line up should zero down your selection. The lowest contenders, sometimes called ‘the field’, are so lowly ranked that their chance of hitting into the top 5 or 10, let alone placing is such a long shot that they’re not worth considering. By that same token, some of the very top favourites offer odds that can give you such a low pay off if they win, that the heat of the top end competition makes the risk largely irrelevant.
Given the ranks of the contenders, the next thing to consider is how certain player’s skill sets; their strengths and weaknesses correspond to the course that they are competing on. There was a time before Tiger woods came along and courses started ‘tiger proofing’ themselves from Golfers with a long tee off advantage, though shorter courses that are forgiving for inaccuracy can still give an edge to the Jason Days and Bubba Watsons of the world. However courses like Bethpage Black are very narrow and difficult, and put a lot of pressure on golfers who are less accurate on their tee off and rely solely on range. Likewise courses that are prone to wind and bad weather or placed near ocean fronts (for example New Zealand’s Cape Kidnappers) tend to favour a very certain type of player that have ‘a lot swings in their bag’, or particularly northern European players or players who have grown up somewhere where fair conditions were very rare and they had adjusted accordingly.
Once you have narrowed down which players are going to be favoured by the conditions of the course at hand, it’s worth looking into recent player history to isolate a pool of small favourites to potentially back. This is relatively easy to do if you follow recent player history. Players who have fallen short in their last few tournaments really ought to be avoided, unless your analysis determines some glaringly telling otherwise. In addition to this it’s important to recognise the added pressure that any up and comer who has never won a title has placed on them; the rewards are so great that a player who wins is essentially allocated a spot on the next PGA for following few years, and at a micro level, that peace of mind on a champions shoulders can take a massive weight of their chest, while doing the opposite to an inexperienced contender.