Tired of losing money betting on golf? We get that. Whether you’ve been getting crushed at the books, are brand new and looking to start things off right, or you’re a successful golf bettor who wants to be more successful, you’re in the right spot. What we plan to do in this extensive guide is go through everything you need to know to take your golf betting strategy to the next level.
Yes, it’s still going to take some work on your part to make the right picks. But, the information and resources we have for you here are going to put you in a position to succeed. It’s impossible to be a profitable golf bettor without the right tools and without a sound betting strategy. So, if you’re serious about being a profitable golf bettor, get your learning pants on and let’s get to the information you’re looking for.
We need to make sure of one thing before we get into the actual strategy and betting tips. We need to make sure that everyone has a trusted and reputable place to make your golf bets. If you are still stuck in the past and betting at a brick and mortar sportsbook, it’s time to get with the times and shift your action online.
Betting online gives you the access to a lot more bet options, the ability to shop your betting lines efficiently and effectively, and the convenience gives you more time to research and focus on making your picks. If you’re ready to get started betting online, we recommend you check out one of the top-rated sportsbooks we have for you below.
We’re not paid to give these books glowing reviews; we recommend them because they are the best and most strategic option for you. If you’re serious about making money betting on golf, these are the books you’re going to want to take your action too.
The first thing that you’re going to want to look at before even looking at any of the golfers to bet on is the course. Every golf course is not created equally and this means that different golfers are going to excel and struggle at different courses. The better you are at identifying how each golfer will mesh with the course, the better your chances of making money betting golf will be.
You may be wondering why we like to start with the course factors and not the golfers. The reason we do this is because the course factors are like the big picture. We like to set the stage for the tournament or round before we start looking at the competitors. This ensures that we look at the right factors for each golfer and that we interpret those factors properly.
While it’s completely up to you what order you do this in, this is the order we recommend for maximum efficiency and effectiveness. Start with the big picture and then dial down to the details.
If you’ve ever played golf yourself, you know that the weather can have a big impact on your ability to score or play well. For some of you, it has a huge impact while some of you are able to adjust well. While pro golfers are professionals, they are still human, and they are still susceptible to Mother Nature and her ability to help or hinder their abilities.
Because of this, you need to take the weather into condition when you’re building out your golf betting strategy. Let’s take a look at three main areas of weather that you should be looking at.
While golfers won’t play in lightning, they will play in the rain or in conditions after it has rained. If you’ve ever played on a wet course, you know this can have a pretty dramatic effect on scoring in some positive and negative ways. Let’s take a look at these different ways and how they can affect different golfers.
First, when the course is wet either from current rain or rain in the days or hours leading up to a round, the greens and the fairways are affected. When you hit an approach shot into a wet green, the ball has much more of a tendency to stick and not roll off the back. This means that you can take much more aggressive shots at difficult pins without the fear of losing your ball into the hazards around the green.
For golfers who struggle with iron and approach shots, this is a welcomed blessing. This will negate a lot of the advantage that great approach hitters have as everyone can now take the same aggressive shots at the pin. When it’s dry, weaker approach hitters have to take safer shots which can leave them a lot longer putts to try and score. This is obviously important to note when you’re handicapping a golf tournament. Don’t assume that the great approach hitters are going to be worse, but do assume that the gap between them and those that struggle will be much smaller.
Second, the fairways are going to offer much less roll to drives which can impact the distance different golfers hit the ball off the tee. Obviously, the further you can get off the tee, the shorter your approach shots are going to be which helps for scoring. So, what this means is that golfers who are shorter off the tee are going to be at a much greater disadvantage now.
Yes, this is going to affect the long ball hitters too, but the difference of going from an 8 iron to a 7 iron versus going from a 6 iron to a 5 iron is much bigger. The long ball hitters will most likely still be able to hit most of their approaches with shorter irons allowing for more spin and control while the shorter ball hitters are going to need to drop down to lower irons which sacrifice spin and control. They will have the luxury of the sticky greens thanks to the water, but this will still be a disadvantage.
If you want to take this a step further, you can look at the loft of each golfer’s drive. The guys and gals that hit the ball with much more loft and carry are going to be impacted less by this. The golfers that hit the ball with a lower trajectory and a lot more run are going to be much more impacted by this. It’s a small detail, but it can help you to start identifying small edges in course advantage.
Additionally, the rain can have some other effects that you should look into. When it rains, there is water. When there is excess water, it pools. This means that any existing water hazards are going to increase in size. It also means that any ditches or low lying areas might start to fill with water. One of the most common places you’ll see this is lowered areas around the edges of the fairway.
If a golfer struggles with accuracy off the tee and there are new hazards or bigger hazards for them to contend with, they may have a tough day on the course. While we don’t expect you to become an architect, you can start to pay attention to which courses have drainage issues and how you think that’s going to affect the golfers.
Ever try and play golf when it’s windy? Yea, it can be a nightmare. Again, professional golfers are not immune to this either. They are more capable of adapting to the wind than most of us, but it still has an effect. Additionally, some golfers are going to be much better at adjusting than others.
What your goal with the wind is to figure out which golfers are better at adapting and which seem to struggle in windy conditions. How do you do this? Well, you’re going to have to do some research into past performances in windy conditions. Find out when they played windy courses and how it affected them. If you really want to go deep, figure out how much the wind affected every golfer and then see if it affected the golfer you’re looking at more or less than everyone else.
This is a lot of data work, but once you get some results, this is information that you can use for every upcoming tournament where the wind is blowing.
Typically, golf tournaments are played in favorable conditions. But, there are times at specific tournaments where it’s going to be hot and humid. Again, if you’ve ever played golf in the heat and humidity, you know that it can take a toll on your cardio and zap your energy. Pro golfers are not immune to this especially the ones that aren’t in the best of shape or are getting up there in age. As the rounds get later, or it gets later in the tournament, the effects may become magnified.
Just like you did with the wind, you may want to look into how certain golfers have done in less than favorable hot and humid conditions. Specifically, look for signs of struggling on the back 9 of each round or the later rounds. If you see a pattern of worse play that can’t be explained any other way, it may be a sign that they’re not in the sort of shape they should be in or that age or just the heat in general is affecting them.
If you really wanted to go the extra mile and you know a lot about the mechanics of a golf swing, you could always watch footage of them late in rounds to see if their swing is changing. Look for things that show fatigue like a slower swing speed or dropping of the shoulders etc. It’s not necessary to go this far into detail if you don’t want to, but the option is there for those of you that want to leave nothing to chance.
It’s no secret that golfers who can hit the ball further are going to have an advantage on longer courses. But, what we’d like to see you do is take this a step further when you’re making your predictions. Instead of just looking at the total length of the course and comparing it to who the long ball hitters are, we’d like to see you look at the advantage hole by hole.
For example, a course might have a long length, but that’s just because the par threes are longer. Or, a course might have a longer length because there are some big par fives that only the big ball hitters can reach in two. The ability to reach a few par fives in two when no one else can is a huge advantage and could mean extra strokes every single round.
Instead of just classifying each course as long or short, look at the individual holes. The course maps are all going to be online, so you should have no problems getting your hands on this information. Then, go ahead and look to see just how much of an advantage long ball hitters are going to have. There are going to be some courses where you might think they’d have a huge advantage by looking at the total course length but when you break things down, you realize that it really isn’t that big of an advantage.
It might look like we’re looking for very small edges here, and you would be correct that we are. If you were to just look at the major factors, you’d be doing the same thing that the rest of the betting public is doing. In order to gain an edge and an advantage, you need to willing to put in some extra work to drill down on the details needed to get a leg up. Sports betting is something that requires you to find small edges and push them hard. If you’re only looking at surface level stuff, you’re no better than the rest of the betting public, and you’re not going to be able to find that competitive edge.
While you’re looking at course lengths, you can also look at where the different pin locations are going to be for the upcoming tournament. Remember, the pin locations are moved from round to round, so they’re not going to be the same throughout the tournament. This is extremely important if you’re looking to bet an individual round.
What you’re looking for here are pin locations that will favor particular golfers. Is the pin in a location that only aggressive golfers with great approach shots are going to go for it? Which golfers are those? Is the pin in a location that’s going to require almost everyone to drop a long putt? Who are your stronger long putters?
Yes, this is something that you’ll have to look at hole by hole. Again, it’s up to you if you want to go into this much detail or not, but if you have the time and are that dedicated, we would encourage it. You can also look historically at how golfers did with different pin arrangements if you’d like a simpler way to get relatively the same data.
Getting off the tee in a favorable spot is key to scoring well on a hole. What you need to know about a course is how forgiving the fairways are. Are they narrow or wide? Are errant shots out of bounds or in a spot where they can be fairly easily recovered?
Knowing the difficulty of the driving on a course is a crucial factor in determining how a golfer is going to perform. You’ll see in later sections that we’ll take this information and compare it with how well a golfer is driving the ball historically at that course as well as recently at every course. If you find a golfer who is going to struggle getting off the tee at a course that doesn’t play nicely with errant tee shots, then you’re probably not going to want to place a bet on that golfer to win anything.
The last course factor that we want you to look at is the speed of the greens and the quality of the putting surface. Tournaments are won and lost on the green, so taking into account how challenging the putting surface is will be very important. Are the greens exceptionally fast or just the normal lightning speed of PGA greens? Is the surface in good condition or is it going to present problems for some golfers?
Again, as we did with the fairway forgiveness, we’ll take this information and compare it to how well the golfer has done historically at that course on the greens and how they’ve been putting as of late. If you want to go completely over the top with your research, you can take the weather, pin locations, aggressiveness of the golfer, and course length and try and calculate roughly how long each of their putts is going to be if all goes according to plan. You can then take this information and compare it against recent stats of % putts made from different lengths. Again, it’s totally up to you how far you want to go into your research and what you think is important, but we just wanted to spark the idea in case this is something you wanted to look into.
The next step in your golf betting process should be to start looking at the individual golfers. Remember, when you’re analyzing all the factors we lay out for you below that you should be keeping in mind the information and research you found above. You can use the course conditions to figure out exactly how important each of these factors is going to be. Once you do that, you can compile everything together, and you’ll be able to produce predictions on exactly how you think the round or tournament is going to transpire.
The best place to get information about how a golfer might perform in an upcoming tournament is their past. While trends and such are frowned upon in some other sports, it can be a strong indicator in the world of golf. So, what we recommend you do is spend some time looking through the past results of the golfers you are interested in betting on.
The good news is that this may be a lot of work up front, but once you have a good idea of past performances, it will be much less work and research for the next tournament. Now, we want to make sure that you’re not just looking at their overall record and performance as an indicator of success in the next tournament. Yes, that can help in some senses, but you’re going to want to drill down on the details to get the information you’re looking for. Specifically, there are three things that you’re going to want to look at.
First, look at their results at that course in the past. If you can find more recent results and under the same playing conditions, that’s even better. That might not exist, but at least their success or failures on that course will be important to look at. You can even look hole by hole if you want to especially if there is a change in conditions or in the course.
Second, you’ll want to look at their results at similar courses recently. While each course on all the tours is completely different, there are a lot of similarities between some of the courses. If you can identify the courses that require the same skill sets to best, then you have another place that you can look for historical performance that will have an impact on how they do at this upcoming event.
Lastly, you will want to look at how they’ve done at the most recent tournaments regardless of what type of course it is. Golfers can be streaky, and when they’re playing well, they have a tendency to continue playing well. Conversely, if they’re playing poorly, they have a tendency to continue that trend until something happens to snap them out of it. These trends are not always true, but they do need to be considered. Betting on a crashing ship is never a smart play unless you see something that no one else sees.
The next spot you’ll want to stop are the statistics. Numbers will never lie to you and can give a really great picture of how well a golfer is and has been playing. The best advice we can give you with statistics is to figure out the data points you want to look at based on the course conditions and the characteristics of the upcoming course.
For example, let’s say the upcoming tournament is at a course that’s going to be long with very challenging pin positions forcing golfers to take safer approach shots. You might want to look at driving distance, fairways in regulation, and then how well they do with longer putts as that is what they’ll be contending with mainly.
Don’t get too carried away and buried in the numbers, but they can be a fantastic way for you to get outside of your head and what you think you see happening and see what is actually happening. Our brains are scary machines that sometimes have a tendency to see what they want to see. Statistics and data bring us back to reality and protect us from making mistakes.
We’ve been hinting at this and dancing around it in just about every section up until this point. Now, we want to hit it head-on. You need to make sure that you’re looking at how each golfer is going to match up with the course the tournament is being held at.
You can’t just look at the course by itself or the golfers by themselves. The key to drawing any meaningful conclusions from this research and data is by combining it together. We’re not going to beat this point into the ground as it’s pretty self-explanatory. Just makes sure that you’re completing all parts of the puzzle before you go to make any bets.
One of the most impressive things about professional athletes in any sport is how much they are able to block out the struggles of everyday life and the distractions to stay focused and perform their craft. If there is a sport where this becomes that much more important, it’s golf. With golf being such a finesse game, any lack of mental clarity will have a terrible effect on your game.
This is not just true for all of us, but for the professionals as well. There are times that the pressures of the stage can have a huge impact on a golfer. Or, they might have something going on in their personal life that affects the way they’re able to focus on the course. Because of this, it’s important to know how golfers respond to stressors and what stressors are present in their life.
This should not be a huge part of your betting strategy, but it should be something to be considered. Everyone is going to feel the pressure of the big stage, but it’s going to hit some harder than others. Usually, this disappears with experience.
Speaking of experience, this is something that you’ll want to look at from a “mental clarity” standpoint but also from a more practical standpoint. If you’ve ever played a golf course more than once, you know that the knowledge of being out there and playing the course improves your score. The more you play the course, the better your score will typically get as you start to learn what you can and can’t do and any other adjustments you can make to improve your score.
This is the same for professional golfers. The more experience they have with a course, the better they will typically be prepared to perform. One of the biggest things you can look for is golfers that are playing at their home course. Many professional golfers live on the course or live close to the courses that the tournaments are played on. If you see a golfer that you’re considering betting who is playing at their own course, you should expect them to have the best knowledge of all aspects of the course which should give them a leg up on the competition.
You can’t fully breakdown a golfer’s chances of winning without going into the individual aspects of their game. One of the most important aspects to look at is the golfer’s short game. Are they putting the ball well? Are they working out of hazards well? How do they perform when they miss the green? You’ll have to watch footage of past tournaments (or maybe you’ve watched them in real time) to see how they’re doing. Couple this information with how important you think the short game is going to be at the upcoming course and start to build your predictions.
Second, you’re going to want to look at their irons game. How well are they hitting approach shots? Are they long enough off the tee that they can get the adequate spin on the ball to control it? Are they typically an aggressive approach shooter or do they opt for the safer route? Take this information and compare it with the information you found on the green size, wetness of the greens, and pin locations.
Lastly, you’re going to want to take some time looking at how each golfer is hitting the ball off the tee. Look at how they historically hit it (what they are capable of) and what they have been doing in the most recent tournaments. You’re looking for length and accuracy here. Compare that with the length of the course (by individual hole) and the difficulty and forgiveness of the fairways.
While this is a relatively short section compared to the rest of the guide, we don’t want you to assume this is any less important of a section. In fact, you should be spending a large chunk of your time getting as much information on each of these aspects of a golfer’s game. The more you are in tune and up to date with the golf industry, the less work you are going to have to do with this every time you want to place a bet.
We’ve covered a lot so far, but we still have more to go! Obviously, it’s up to you how seriously and in-depth you want to go with your golf betting. But, we wanted to make sure that we laid out literally everything that you could look at so you could take what you wanted and put together a winning golf betting strategy that works for you.
The last piece of the puzzle that we need to add still are our golf betting tips. These tips help to make sure that you pull all of the above information together properly and don’t make any big mistakes or overlook anything. So, before you run out the door and start building your golf betting strategy, we’d like for you to take a few moments and read through these tips to round out what we’ve taught you here today.
Within golf, there are a ton of different proposition bets that you can make. Proposition bets are wagers where the sportsbook will propose something happening on the course, and you will bet whether it will happen or not. These are things like “Will there be a hole in one?” or “Will Tiger have more than four birdies?” The list of different prop bets that can be offered is pretty endless as it comes down to whatever the sportsbook wants to offer. If it can be quantified or confirmed in one way, shape, or form, chances are you can find action on it somewhere.
Now, the thing you have to realize is that some golf prop bets are awesome for making money. They require skill and precision to make an accurate prediction and deserve a spot in a lot of winning golf betting strategies. But, there are some prop bets that are luck-based and therefore are just gambling. Sure, you can make an argument that you can intelligently decide if there will be a hole in one or not, but if we’re going to be totally honest with each other, you’re just going to be guessing.
You need to be careful with the luck-based prop bets or the ones that require so little skill to predict that you’re just gambling. Yes, there will be some rare instances where you can bet these when the value is there, but for the most part, you need to avoid these prop bets if you’re goal is to make money. If your goal is entertainment and you’re looking for a fun sweat during a tournament or round, then go for it! Bet all the props you want! But, if profit is your goal, you need to stick to the props that require a great deal of skill to predict.
Some of the most valuable tips are the simplest ones. Make sure when you’re making a wager that you look if the bet is on the entire tournament results or just an individual round. Sometimes you can see odds that seem too good to be true and you later find out that’s because they were. Make sure that you’re betting on exactly what it is that you want to bet.
In golf, tournament long bets and round long bets look identical except for one little distinction of which they are for. If you’re not paying attention or taking the time to double check your bets before you make them, you could end up with a wager that you never intended to make. While you could still win, you’re not going to make it far in the golf betting world if you’re firing off accidental bets all over the place.
Everyone loves the big named golfers, and everyone loves to buy into the hype of who is hot. While this can sometimes be the smart play, it often will lead you astray getting you to bet with your heart instead of your head. It’s okay to be a golf fan and love the big names and the legends and get excited about the feel-good hype stories.
But, as a golf sports bettor, you have to be disciplined enough to separate yourself from the hype and the name recognition and focus on the facts. There will be times where the right play will be to bet on the big name or the hyped up player, but most of the time the odds aren’t going to be in your favor because the rest of the betting public has probably already slammed their bets down on that golfer shifting the lines away from having any value.
In instances where you think the big name or hyped up golfer is going to win, make sure you take some time to analyze the proposed payout. Often, you’ll find that it’s not paying you out what you should be getting. In these instances, a no bet might be the better play. Remember, there are times where betting a golfer you don’t think is going to win will be a smart play because of value, and there will also be time when you’ll pass on betting a golfer that you think is going to win because of value.
Betting on golf can be rather high variance when you’re only picking tournament winners. In other words, it may be a long time between wins when you’re only picking one or a few people out of an entire field to win a tournament. This might not be ideal for a lot of people. So, what you can do is mitigate a lot of your variance by mixing up some different types of bets other than just the standard to-win bet.
For example, you could use matchup bets which are wagers where all you have to do is pick which of two golfers is going to score better than the other in a particular round or tournament. Instead of picking from an entire field, you now only have to be able to pick which of two golfers is going to score better. When you bet online, you’ll have several matchup options usually for each round to choose from. This is also a fantastic bet if you’re feeling lost in the research side of things and don’t know where to start. Matchup bets give you two golfers to look at, and you don’t have to worry about anyone else.
Obviously, you’re not getting any special odds with this type of bet or any special value, but you are going to have a lot lower variance. There are a ton of different golf bet types that you can utilize if you want to mitigate your variance. Check out our Types of Golf Bets page if you want to see what options are available to you.
This is not something that you have to do as you aren’t getting any better chances of turning a profit (outside of helping you focus your efforts). But, it’s a great thing that a lot of people like to do when they don’t want to go weeks or months at a time without a win.
But, the good news is that you now have all of the tools and information you need to be a success. It’s now up to you to determine which factors you want to research and which you want to give the most weight too. Keep in mind that the importance and weight of each factor will change based on the course and the course conditions. That being said, make sure that your strategy is a fluid one that can “roll with the punches.”
The last question you may have is how much time and how in-depth do you need to go to get the best results. The answer is that is going to depend on a lot of different factors and the only answer we can give you is one you’re not going to like – as long as it takes to produce profitable results. If you have a strong base of knowledge in the golf world already, it might not take you as long to get to solid conclusions as someone who is brand new to the sport or betting on golf.
Just take things slowly and adjust the time you’re able to commit based on what you have available and what you think is necessary. It’s going to be different for everyone but after a few tournaments, you’ll settle into a routine that hopefully has you picking winners and cashing tickets!