The ultimate guide to betting on golf
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The ultimate guide to betting on golf



Golf is one of the most popular sports in the world, and with that comes a variety of different ways for punters to be able to stake their money. For a novice, the amount of markets available during the significant events is overwhelming, but it isn't an overly confusing sport to gamble on. The Masters, US Open and Ryder Cup are just three of the most popular events on the golf calendar, but there are events on throughout the year which online punters can lay their stake on.

Betting on Golf Events

The first thing that punters must be aware of is that there are two main tours that you are able to put a stake on. The primary is the PGA Tour, which is mainly played on US soil, with limited events played in South America or Asia. The players on this circuit are predominantly American born, but they play against the very best players from around the world including Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Francesco Molinari. The PGA Tour is where the significant prize money is and the vital world-ranking points in order for the best players to rank at the top of the standings.

However, the European Tour is played across Europe, Asia and Southern Africa, meaning that it has a transcontinental feel to the competition. A number of the events are coordinated to line-up with the Sunshine and Asian tours so a lot of the players that participate come from far and wide.

Each tour concludes with a final series where the best players throughout the season compete for massive prize money in short fields. The FedEx Cup is that series on the PGA Tour, while the Race to Dubai is the European Tour race. The PGA Tour FedEx Cup is held over three events with the first including the top 125 players in the points list. The second event is a field of 70 before it is reduced to 30 for the third event. The final Tour Championship event includes just the top 30, and these compete for the prestigious FedEx Cup.

Meanwhile, the Race to Dubai consists of the top 72 point winners from that past season go against one another in the three final series events, with no cuts made throughout the events.

Betting on Golf Majors

The four standout events for golf punters in the calendar are the major events. These are the times of the year when bookmakers will offer increased incentives to bettors and have price boosts throughout the weekend. There will also be an increased number of place positions and special betting options available. All four events are unique in their own right and research is fundamental to how the gambler performs.

The Masters

The only major on the calendar that is played at the same venue every year is the Masters. This gives punters an excellent chance to read up on historical data from the venue, where some players will historically do well at the course. The incredible Augusta National hosts the event, and the research of data is fundamental since the previous form at the course goes a long way to narrowing down the options on who could potentially win the event. The event takes place in April and features approximately 90 players.

PGA Championship

The second major of the year is played in May and is the PGA Championship. The event has become synonymous for its low scoring over the years, and that is something that punters will have to be aware of before placing their wagers for the weekend's action.

US Open

Typically, the most difficult scoring major of the four is the US Open. The course ensures that birdies are hard to achieve and that par is not treated as an average achievement on the scoreboard. Many of the US Open greens are protects by dense rough, which means any mistake by the golfer is underlined, and they are punished massively.  The US Open takes place in June and features an opening number of 156 players.

The Open Championship

This event is referred to by the Americans as the British Open, and it is the oldest of all four events. It was first played in 1860 and is traditionally played on British link courses. Make no mistake about it; this is the competition that all the significant players want to win. The scoring is consistently dependent on how the coastal winds are over the four days, and that is an element that punters must be aware of. That is highlighted by the consecutive wins achieved by Padraig Harrington; in 2007 he won with a score of -7, before coming back and winning again but this time with a +3 result.

Betting Options in Golf

Golf remains one of the most lucrative betting options available, and the markets open for the majors as well as other events outweigh most sporting events. However, with that comes an important question that punters must answer: what market to stake my bet on?

Outright Winner

Without a doubt, the most popular market for punters is the outright winner of the competition. There is an incredible array of prices on players; with the favorite in most competition priced as low as 5/1. There is definite value in place bets, especially if the punter has done thorough research prior to the event. BestBetsFree.com explains that with a place bet, the result is a straightforward win or lose for the punter; if the player who has been selected wins the event than the bet is a winner, however, if they fail to win then the stake is lost.

Each-Way Betting

Since most of the tournaments consist of upwards of 140 players, it often makes sense for punters to place their stake on the each-way market. This remains incredibly lucrative, with bookmakers often competing against one another in offering more places. Companies like SkyBet often payout on the top ten, while other bookmakers often pay out on the top seven or eight depending on the major.  Of course, if your pick doesn't win the major, then you will only receive one-quarter of the stake that you put down, but it is a safer insurance bet if you aren't feeling 100 percent confident that they will win, but you do think they will be close.

Much like it is with horse racing, there isn't much sense in putting a favored option such as Rory McIlroy on an each way chance if he is priced as the 5/1 favorite for the event. However, it can be incredibly lucrative should your research point to a rank outsider as having a decent chance of finishing within the top places. While this is a preferred option on the major circuit, it is also incredibly lucrative on some of the co-sanctioned events on the European Tours. This is because a significant portion of the field will be made up of lesser known players and these players will be members at the courses where they are playing meaning they will have a clear advantage over the remainder of the field. Time and time again on the European circuit, we see instances of this happening and punters should be aware of that.

First Round Leader

One of the most popular markets nowadays is the first-round leader. This has turned into a common bet for experienced golf gamblers whose research shows that specific players will start better with an earlier tee off time. That isn't too confusing to understand as they will experience the best conditions on the green and no pressure of watching the leaderboard.

Top Ten Finish

The top 10 and top 20 markets have become more popular as the researching of competitions has increased. Punters who are handy with their research have found that players such as Max Kieffer almost always come out of the blocks quickly and finish strongly to ensure that they achieve a high finish in the standings. While they look competitive on the board, they very rarely look like winning the whole event, and that's why these players are so frequently the punters pick in this market.

Top Nationality

If a punter is struggling to find value in the other markets, then this is typically the fallback option. Should there be two or three players from only one country and they all have a modest chance, then it can create value. Obviously, it doesn't make sense to pick a country such as the USA or GB since players from these countries will mostly head the betting. Therefore, punters will have to be smart and research the players lower in the market.

Hole in One

One of the best things about watching a round of golf is the excitement that you get when a player gets a hole in one. Bookmakers offer markets where punters can simply put a stake on yes or no with regards to the question of whether there will be one. It is a fun market to keep the interest in the event alive and with the advanced control that players have in their equipment; these are becoming less rare than they once were.