Golf Betting Guide | How to Bet on Golf

For Beginner
golf bets go swinging

Bet on Golf and make this laid back game way more exciting

Golf is one of the most entertaining sports in the world, especially for bettors who like placing bets that can last for a few days. Several popular tours take place around the year, but the PGA Tour is the favorite of most fans and it runs all year round.

The sport of golf looks simple. Just get a golf ball and wack it into a hole right? Well, it’s much harder than it seems, a high level of skill is required to play and an even higher level of skill is needed to place the right bets. This guide is here to help you learn about golf as a sport, and find the best way to bet on golf. If you have never bet on golf before or it's been a while since your last golf bet, this guide is for you. So let’s get right into it and start with how golf works.

Table of Contents

The Basic Principles of Golf

For newcomers to the sport, it’s easy to get a grasp on the rules and how things work within the first 30 minutes of watching the game. The game aims to get the ball into the hole with the lowest number of strikes. The lowest number of strokes possible would be 1 hit and miraculously got it in the hole. These are extremely rare and known as a ‘hole in one’.

In the pro ranks of golf, each player plays a total of 18 holes played per day. The game takes place over 4 days and has 4 individual games that are played. This means players will play a total of 72 holes per match. This is great for gamblers who want to bet on a sport over 4 days, waiting with suspense on who might win the game. As mentioned earlier, the most popular tournaments are the PGA and European tours which all have these number of games. 

The length of the holes is different for each one. This means the par system needs to be implemented to stay within the average. Typically, a 4 par system is used in the pro ranks, where players need to get the ball in the hole within 4 strokes. There are also occasions where 3 and 5 pars are implemented. There are 8 different scores you can achieve in golf here’s a list:

  • Hole in one — The Highest score and a single stroke into the hole 
  • Albatross — Three strokes lower than a par
  • Eagle — Two strokes lower than a par
  • Birdie — One stroke lower than a par
  • Par — An equal number of strokes as the hole’s par value
  • Bogey — One stroke higher than a par 
  • Double bogey — two strokes higher than a par
  • Triple bogey — three strokes higher than a par.

Now that we’ve given you a breakdown of the sport and the rules, let us give you some information on betting on golf. This is where things get interesting so buckle up and get ready to learn about how you can make some real money betting on golf.

Why Bet Online on Golf

Betting online on golf is easy to accomplish, it’s much easier than walking down to the local bookie and placing a bet in person. Why travel a long distance when you can pull out your phone and place a cheeky bet within minutes. There are some great advantages of betting online on golf and here’s some of them:

  • Many interesting golf markets to bet on 
  • Wide range of deposit methods 
  • Live betting while a tournament round is ongoing 
  • Bet on a golf tournament and get action for 4 days.

Betting at brick and mortar establishments is still good if that’s your preferred method of gambling. However, here at SportsBettingGuide the sportsbooks provided are some of the best on the planet. Our recommended sportsbooks are fully regulated and have the proper licensing which ensures safe and secure gambling for all users. With that being said, we also provide users with the best bonus and promotions available at the top-rated sportsbooks here in the US.

Golf Betting Guide | How to Bet on Golf

A lot of states have now made it possible to bet legally on golf and there are for sure more to come in the future, for example, Florida. The ones who offer legal golf betting at the moment, you'll find here:

  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Illinois
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • Washington DC
  • West Virginia

Types of Bets — What Bets Can You Find on Golf?

There is a whole range of bets you can place on golf. Here’s a list of the most popular golf bets available at the top US sportsbooks:

  • Outright Winner — Bet on who will win the tournament 
  • Each Way Bet 
  • Prop Bets
  • Three Ball Bets.
  • Matchup Bets

The difficulty level of betting on golf is within the higher range. Placing bets is relatively easy, however, winning an Outright Winner bet is extremely difficult as there are so many players involved. The odds are always changing, so it can get easier to place a bet mid-way through the tournament as you’ll have a better understanding of who’s winning and playing in form.  

Outright Winner betting

This is the simplest of bets. All you need to do is select which player you think will win the entire tournament and place the bet. It’s the easiest bet to make but the hardest one to win because there are so many players per tournament. The great thing about single-player bets is the odds you can get some reach as high as a 200/1. There’s also the chance to bet on the winner while the tournament is ongoing and each of the first three rounds finishing.

For example, let’s say you picked Tiger Woods to win the tournament. He’d need to place 1st for you to win. The winnings would not be given out until he has been confirmed as the winner of the tournament. 

Each Way betting

This is a popular style of betting in golf and includes betting on a player to either win the tournament or come in position 2, 3, 4, and on occasions 5th place. This type of bet allows pundits to win a small amount of money even if the player doesn’t come first. A great bet as a tick-over bet is things don’t go well.

For example, let’s say you placed a bet on Dustin Johnson to win the tour, and he didn’t win. Would you still get paid? The only occasion you’d get a payout is if positioned in 2nd or 3rd and on some bets it could be 4th and 5th as well. The amount of money you’d receive would be lower depending on how low down the ranks he is placed. If he came in at any lower positions, then you wouldn’t be paid out anything. 

Prop betting

There are lots of prop bets available. The prop bet is a style of bet which suggests if the player will do something or not. For instance, in golf, a good prop bet could be if the player will get a hole in one or if they won’t. There is no shortage of the number of prop bets available in golf and these will be available with in the golf section of all our recommended sportsbooks.

Three Ball betting

The players in golf are split up into groups of 3. This bet is one where you choose which player will win within the group of 3 they’re a part of. It’s much easier to pick a winner from a set of 3 than a player from the entire game. This bet is popular as it gives pundits a better chance of winning their bet. 

Golf Betting Guide | How to Bet on Golf

Matchup Bets

Another golf betting possibility is betting on one player finishing with a better score than another player - Matchup bets. It's as simple as it gets, your player just have to finish in a higher position than the one he or she is matched up against.

Golf betting odds
Some Unibet matchup betting markets for the 2021 Travelers Championship

In some US sportsbooks you can bet on matchups markets and if they tie for the same score, your bet ends in a push and you get your money back. Other US sportsbooks also offer matchup markets with the possibility of a tie in score between the two players, usually offering odds around +800.

The sportsbooks often offer different matchup bets than their competitors, so you might need to shop around to find your preferred matchup betting market. Using SportsBettingGuide is a good way to find reliable US sportsbooks and make finding the right matchups easy.

Live Betting on Golf

Similar to sports like basketball and baseball, you can also bet live on golf tournaments while the rounds are ongoing. In a game like golf where the situation can change quickly, it might be possible to pick up on early round signs that a player is not going to perform well.

Live betting is especially popular through mobile betting apps and understandably so, you could even go watch an event in any state with legal sport betting and bet while watching the event live yourself.

All of our top rated US sportsbooks offer live betting on golf with a decent amount of available markets, here's an example of the golf live betting lobby from Unibet:

Sportsbook Bonuses and Promotions for Golf Betting

Several online sportsbooks will provide users with weekly bonuses and promotions to use on golf. There are a lot bonuses available for players who register at our recommended sportsbook, but also existing players can opt-in for promotions that are taking place for golf.

While welcome offers doesn't need to be used on golf specifically, they are great boosters for value and using one of these offers could help you hit a big score. Here's the type of bonuses you'll see most often when registering as a new player on a betting site:

  • Match Deposit Bonus / Contribution Bonus 
  • No Deposit Bonus 
  • Risk free bets

Great Welcome Offers for Golf Betting

Rank Partner Bonus Amount Review Link
1 100% Up To $1000 Visit

Here's an example from BetMGM of a risk free bet promotion for the 2021 Travelers Championship, that both newly registered and existing players could make use of:

Golf Betting - PGA Tour

The offer was to place an Outright Winner bet of up to $25, and if your selected player didn't win but instead finished in the top 5, you'd get a $25 free bet added to your account - think of it as betting insurance.


Now we come to the betting tips and strategies section. Here, we’ll give you some general tips and basic strategies you can use to enhance your betting and increase your chances of winning money. 

Tip 1 — Each Way Betting Tip

Typically, the best bet to place on golf is arguably the ‘each-way bet’ as it allows you to still win money even though the player you bet on didn’t win. Increasing your chances of getting a winning bet is always easier when you can still win if the player you chose doesn’t come first. However, the downside to this bet is that the odds are lower if they don’t come first. Make sure to always keep that in mind. 

Tip 2 — Don’t Believe in the Hype / Media

This might be the single most important piece of advice you can receive in sports betting and that includes golf. Some players are hyped up by the media, saying things like this player is guaranteed to win or they’re one of the greatest of all time. This simply isn’t true all the time. Players are either on form or not and this can dip during anything of their careers. So, rather than believing the media have a look at their current stats and how they played in their last tournament.

Tip 3 — Learn About Different Courses

There are different types of courses that require a different skill set. It also means the bets you would normally make on course 1 may not apply to course 2 as one may be easier for some players than others. For instance, if you bet on player one who is fantastic at course 1, he may not have the skill set to play as well in course 2 and could end up costing you lots of money. 

This also ties into understanding the golfer’s skill set. Understand how the golfer you’re betting on likes to play and how good they are at certain things. Knowing a lot about several golfers will give you a better chance to place bets on the right players during games.

Betting on Golf Majors

Each year there are four golf tournaments who gets more attention than the rest:

US Masters
PGA Championship
US Open
British open

Each of these holds a bigger purse to win for the players and tougher qualification requirements, making them more attractive to compete in. In these four tournaments you'll see the strongest fields of the year and usually top competition as well, making them terrific to watch and the most popular golf tournaments to bet on.

US sportsbooks offer Outright Winner betting markets on these tournaments way out in the future and you can track odds changes throughout the year, possibly picking up some early betting value.

Golf Betting odds - US Masters
2022 US Masters odds at Bet365

Golf FAQ

  • Is Online Sports betting on golf legal in the US?

    It is 100% legal to make online sports bets on golf within the US as long as you're within a state that allows sports betting. Luckily for you, online sports betting is being adopted by states that previously did not allow sports betting.
  • What is the best golfer to place a bet on?

    There is no best player to bet on. However, you can always check out the top 10 ranked players in the world and check which tournament they are good at. This way you can increase your winnings by betting on these players.
  • Can I win lots of money betting on golf?

    This is a difficult question to answer. However, the short answer is yes you can win big. The flip side is that you can also lose big. Ensure to understand the game well and use the tips we’ve provided here today to increase your winning chances.
  • What is the hardest golf course to play?

    This can be debated by several people using several courses. Our opinion is that Augusta National is the hardest one.
  • What’s the maximum bet I can place on golf?

    The maximum bet would depend on the sportsbook. This information can be provided to you by the sportsbooks you’ve chosen to place your bets at.