Golf Betting Guide

Golf is one of the most entertaining sports to bet on, especially if you like placing bets that can run for days and days.

Golf is popular across the world and the PGA and European Tours are the two big associations that run tournaments all year round.

Playing golf may look easy but it’s in fact a very intricate, skilful sport — and the same comes with golf betting. If you’re new to the game then this guide will help you understand how golf works and the best golf betting practices available to punters.

Here are Unibet we follow golf around the globe with in-play markets and outright betting odds always at the forefront of our sportsbook. So let’s take a look at how to master this beautiful game!

Rules of Golf

Golf is a very simple game with straight-forward rules which any newcomer to the sport can easily pick up. In golf, the objective is to hit your ball into a hole in the fewest number of shots possible. 

Players use a golf club to whack the ball towards the hole. In professional golf, there are 18 holes in a round, with four rounds being played across four days. It means each player will compete over 72 holes for the trophy of a particular tournament. 

Because each hole in golf will be of different lengths, a par system is set up that players play to. Most holes will be ‘par 4’, whereby a player must get the ball in the hole in four shots to stay at the average. Par 3 and par 5 holes are also common in professional golf.

 A hole in one is the best golf score you can get, and it happens when a golfer sinks the golf ball in the hole in a single stroke. Below, we will list the rest of the golf scores. Bear in mind that they all differ, depending on the par of the hole: 

  • Albatross – three strokes less than par
  • Eagle – two strokes less than par
  • Birdie – one stroke less than par
  • Par – equal number of strokes as the hole’s par value
  • Bogey – one stroke more than par
  • Double bogey – two strokes more than par
  • Triple bogey – three strokes more than par

 As an example: Scoring par is when a golfer sinks the ball in the same number of strokes as the hole’s par value. Three strokes on a par 3 hole, four on a par 4, and five on a par 5 hole. It works in the same way for all the different golf scores. For a Birdie on a par 3 hole you need to sink the ball in two strokes, three strokes on a par 4, and four strokes on a par 5 hole.

 There are various areas of a hole in golf, some of which aid players and others create problems. Players start off a tee — a stick that lifts the ball slightly above the grass — and their first shot is called a ‘tee shot’. They will likely aim for the fairway, which is well cut grass in the middle of the course. Either side of the fairway there may be rough, which is thicker grass that the ball could get stuck in. A golfer tries to get the ball on the green, which is where the hole is situated. The green is usually very finely cut grass, meaning the ball travels faster here. Many golf courses also add sand bunkers around the green to make it extra difficult for the players.

What is The Cut in Golf?

The cut is a term in golf whereby tournament organisers ‘cut’ the amount of players competing after two of the four days. Once everyone has played their second round, organisers will usually cut the lower half of competitors, ending their tournament early. Those above the line will ‘make the cut’ and be allowed to play the final two rounds, usually on the Saturday and Sunday of a tournament.

The cut is used to space out the competing players, so the course is less congested and start times don’t stretch into the early hours of the morning. Some players can be out on the course at 6:30am on the first day of big tournaments.

How to Bet on Golf

Golf betting offers hours and hours of skilful playing and lots of excitement. The most common types of golf betting are Tournament Bets, where you simply bet on the golfer you think will win a specific tournament. The beauty of these bets is that the odds can change hugely during a four-day tournaments, with players rising and falling depending on how well they are doing.

Each Way betting is also massive in golf and a great way to back a player in a big tournament. An Each Way bet in golf effectively means you’re covered if your player doesn’t win, but finishes towards the top of the list (called a ‘place’). Like in horse racing, your Each Way bet divides into two parts – the winner and the place – and your stake will be doubled. In this way, you will make a safer bet when you’re unsure if the golfer you want to bet on will be capable of winning the tournament. If the golfer you’ve backed wins the whole tournament, you will win on both parts of the bet. If he doesn’t win it, you may win 1/4 of the odds on the ‘place’ part of the bet, depending on which place he finishes in the tournament. Each Way in golf often ranges in a finishing position from 1 to 4 or 5.

Player specials is another great way to bet on golf and make the tournaments more exciting. In player head to heads, you can back one player to finish above another. So far example, you might bet on Matt Kuchar to finish above Martin Kaymer in a tournament. If Kuchar gets a lower score, and thus beats Kaymer, then you win your bet.

You can also bet on a player to win the first round of a tournament. Whoever finishes on top after a round has what is known as a ‘clubhouse lead’. This can be important as it will give the player confidence to push ahead for the title the next day. And it can also throw up some interesting results, with lesser-known players sometimes earning the clubhouse lead after a particularly spectacular opening round. Quite often these players will then drop away as the tournament progresses — but you could bet on them at a good price to secure that Round One win.

Another popular type of golf betting, besides Tournament Bets, are Season Bets. Season Bets often include different types of bets, where you bet on golfers during a full season. Let’s take Rory McIlroy as an example, on whom you can place Season Bets such as ‘To win a Major’, ‘To have a Top 5 finish in a Major’ or ‘To finish in Top 20 in all Four Majors’. Each of these bets have two outcomes, where you can bet on either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. You won’t find any easier type of betting than this.

Best tournaments to bet on golf

The majors are usually a great place to start when betting on golf, because this is where the most extensive bets Unibet have will be available. There are four majors in golf and the best players in the world all compete for their titles. It means the competition is always fierce and very rarely does one player run away with the lead and never look back.

The Ryder Cup is also an excellent tournament to bet on. This is a by-annual competition between the best players in the USA and the best of Europe. The two teams play matchplay golf, including fourballs, foursomes and singles, over three days of golfing action. Players are divided into mini teams and win points when their team beats their opponents. There are 28 points up for grabs in the Ryder Cup, so the first team to 14.5 points wins the competition.

Both Europe and the USA have a rich history of success in the Ryder Cup and momentum between the two camps swings over the decades. In 1990 the women’s version — the Solheim Cup — was introduced, with USA winning the inaugural competition in Florida.

Golf betting live

Betting on golf live is an excellent way to follow all the action. because golf is a number’s game, players rise and fall down the tournament ranks freely. And this means their odds are changing all the time.

The beauty of golf live betting is that any player could have a stunning streak of five birdies, or implode and find the rough, at any moment. It creates a fast-paced and exciting world where you could be backing a player on minute, and then backing someone else the next!

Bet on golf