Key factors to consider when betting on golf

Golf betting is big business around the world. For the dedicated golf fan it is possible to watch golf played on most continents, and there are plenty of online golf websites to keep you in touch with the latest developments on all the main tours. 

Many golf fans also like to bet on their favourite sport and there are plenty of American and European, including UK and Irish sports betting sites, that can offer the full range of betting markets. When you’re betting on golf, however, there are some key factors to consider before handing over your money.  

The Courses

Golf, perhaps more than any other sport, is affected by the conditions at the venues it is played upon. The difference between the huge greens and sand-blown fairways of windy St Andrews and the immaculate tree-lined layout of Augusta National is dramatic. 

The differences matter because they can determine which players will be able to play to their best in the conditions, which we will get into in the next sections. There are many ways to analyse golf courses, but these are some of the most important factors. 


Courses can vary from the ultra-long type suiting only the biggest hitters, such as the 7,765-yard South course at Torrey Pines to the very short, such as Pebble Beach at 6,816 yards. Short courses don’t disadvantage big hitters, but they do level the playing field allowing shorter hitters to compete. 


Often combined with length when weighing up the nature of a course, fairways are an important consideration. Wide fairways with minimal rough can be very forgiving, while tighter fairways with stiff rough can put a premium on accuracy over power.


The putting green is where each hole ends and there are numerous factors to be considered when analysing a course’s green, including:

  • Size
  • Undulations
  • Speed
  • Type of grass

Hazards and Weather

Courses that are described as ‘difficult’ tend to feature a combination of narrow fairways or tough greens with a large number of hazards in the form of bunkers and water features. Local weather conditions can also be a significant factor in analysing a course, particularly at windy venues with minimal tree cover. 

The Players

Even the very best players have preferences, while middle-ranking players are often dependent on a particular set of factors to play at their best. For example, the -time Major winner Rory McIlroy has long been one of the biggest hitters in the game, but his very best performances have come at long courses with soft surfaces, where long drives don’t roll off course when they land. 

When evaluating a player and their preferences, you can often tell a lot by checking out the courses where they have won or finished in the top ten. You can also use some of the wealth of stats that are available for golf betting. Some of the most important are:

  • Shots gained – a sophisticated stat that provides a snapshot of a player’s overall ability
  • Driving length – how far on average does the player drive the ball
  • Driving accuracy – how many times does a player miss the fairway with his drives
  • Greens in regulation – how often does a player reach the green in the par number of strokes
  • Putting percentage – how accurate is a player at short, medium or long putts
  • Scrambling – how effective a player is at getting out of trouble around the green

Since golfers tend to have long careers, you can find that working out a player’s abilities, strengths and weaknesses can pay dividends for many years. 

Each Way Betting

Most golf betting action takes place around the Tournament Winner markets, but given the big odds available in this market, it is essential to consider the each-way option. A bet on a player at 100/1 who finishes third can provide a healthy payout, and it is worth noting that, particularly around the big tournaments, many sportsbooks offer each way betting down to sixth or even seventh place. 

Other Golf Markets

Most golf bookmakers offer a wide range of markets, so it is always worth checking out the different types of markets as you can when you’re starting out. Here are some of the most interesting:

  • Tournament Leader – betting on which player is leading at the end of each day
  • Fourballs and Pairs – betting on which of two or four named players will have the best score
  • Winning Score – a wager on the score winning wining player
  • Hole-in-One – will there be a hole-in-one during the tournament?

If you are in search of a bookmaker to bet on golf, you can find one on Match.Center. And, as with any form of betting, you should only bet with money you can afford to lose and you should keep your stakes low in the beginning or even make ‘paper bets’ while you are learning the ropes.