Game Changers

A Basic Guide to Betting on Golf

By Keith Stewart, PGA
Published on

Have you ever walked up the 18th hole with a one-shot lead in a professional tournament? Ever competed in a playoff?
Less than one percent of us will ever know what it feels like to experience the closing anxiety of a tournament win . . . unless you throw a little weekend wager on your favorite player and go through the emotional rollercoaster with them.
It’s no mystery golfers love to bet when they play, but since Congress repealed the PASPA Act in May of 2018 many fans are betting from home, as well.
Golf betting is fun. Part of what makes it compelling is the emotional connection you feel with the players. It heightens the viewing experience and amplifies our appreciation of how good the best men and women in the world are. As golf betting continues to grow in popularity, casual fans of the games want to join in. Much like walking up to the first tee, we all have questions on how to get started.
First things first
The first step for any sports bettor, golf or otherwise, is to establish a budget. Betting should be a form of entertainment. Golf betting offers a multitude of options every week on multiple tours. Set you budget before you begin clicking away on the sportsbook app. Speaking of apps, make sure you are using the correct one. There is a difference between daily fantasy games (DFS) and sportsbook betting. Operators (FanDuel, DraftKings, etc.) have different apps for each. Pay attention to which app you download and deposit money into at the start.
Once you open the app and deposit money, you then navigate to the golf section. Right away you will see numbers. They are all listed as positive or negative values. This number is called the “moneyline.” It is a universal betting term that explains the payout for each bet. For example, if you click on the -200 number and bet $10 and win, you will be paid $15 back — your ten original dollars plus five more for winning. A -200 bet is a 1-2 payout. Conversely, if you click on a +200 bet and risk $10 the payout is $20 — the original ten and ten more you won. A +200 bet is a 2-1 payout.
Positive numbers are great, but the moneyline represents the likelihood an outcome will occur. The higher the positive value, the LESS likely it will take place, and therefore the bigger payout. Every betting app has a calculator attached to the betting function. Click different bets and observe the payouts. The best way to learn the value of a bet is to enter it. Don’t worry, you won’t be charged for the bet until you click “confirm bet.”
The different types of golf bets
Golf has an endless number of options to bet on. Explore the app and find your favorites. There are three main types for each tournament:
Outright bet – Picking the winner of a given tournament. To win, your selection must win.
Proposition bet – Commonly referred to as “prop bets.” This genre covers the top 10 and top 20 wagers. Prop bets can also be very creative. Will there be a hole in one? How many birdies will there be at the PGA Championship?
Matchups – Represented by the acronym “H2H.” Pick a matchup winner but be careful. Not all matchups are just between two players.

Start with a small budget and try different strategies. Diversify your betting to ensure the entertainment lasts all four rounds.

Also remember that not every bet needs to be made before the tournament starts. H2Hs and props are available in-play. Save some of that budget and test your predictive talents each day.
You’re now more than ready to start making a couple of weekend wagers. The true excitement comes from picking an outcome, betting confidently and having fun riding an emotional adventure with your player!

Keith Stewart is an award-winning PGA Professional. He covers the LPGA and PGA Tour for Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News, LPGA and PGA TOUR. If you are looking to raise your golf acumen and love inside information about the game, check out his weekly newsletter called Read The Line