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Guide: Golf betting for beginners (and pros)

Did you ever consider that golf is among the most favourable sports for betting, offering notably higher value, particularly in each-way markets? Betting is a skill that requires knowledge and patience. PGA pros, once novices themselves, and successful punters all began their journeys as beginners.

GolfTipsters has been a leader in golf betting since early 2018, accumulating valuable insights over the years. Below, we share our learnings.

Do: Develop a strategy

The foremost "Do" in golf betting and betting in general is to adhere to a well-thought-out strategy. Relying on gut instincts alone is a surefire way to incur losses. The key is to consistently build a plan, validate its efficacy, and adhere to it. At GolfForecast, countless individuals have attested to the benefits of our strategy. Those who maintain consistency and patience reap the lucrative rewards. While there is no one-size-fits-all strategy, researching what works best for you is crucial.

Why use our strategy?

Our primary goal is to secure smaller, consistent wins, opting to transform $100 into $200 consistently rather than sporadically turning $100 into $500. Achieving this involves betting less on more players, typically distributing the stake (e.g., $100) across 20 players. Additionally, we leverage each-way terms, increasing the likelihood of recovering some funds if our picks secure positions in the top 5, 8, or 10.

The maths behind GolfTipsters

Identifying undervalued players is crucial to our strategy—those the bookmaker underestimates, making them potentially lucrative if they perform well. 

The GolfTipsters algorithm balances strike rate and ROI, ensuring consistent wins while growing the bankroll.

On average, we profit in one out of every 2.5 tournaments, achieving a 74% ROI in 2021. 

Here's how we do it:

  • The GolfTipsters algorithm predicts a percentage for each player based on available player data, incorporating the past three years, current data, various golf course datasets, and weather conditions.

  • We collect odds and each-way terms to identify the bookie offering the best value for each golfer.

  • The algorithm calculates 'Normalized Bookies Odds,' reflecting what the bookies truly think by normalising the best value odds for each golfer.

  • Our algorithm determines the 'Normalized Effective Value,' identifying undervalued bets and providing users with the actual value for each bet.

  • The final tip is based on the difference between our algorithm's prediction and the effective value, offering users the best odds.

On average, our algorithm selects the top 22% of the field to diversify odds, resulting in lower risk, higher strike rates, and more consistent profits. While wins may be less substantial, they will be more frequent.

Don't: Opt for early cash outs

Cashing out your bets might seem convenient, but it plays into the bookmakers' hands. After all, they wouldn't offer it if it weren't in their favour! We frequently witness individuals prematurely cashing out bets that would have ultimately been winners, often at the most inopportune moments. Even when bets don't materialise into wins, the built-in margin ensures the bookie secures long-term profits. Unless cashing out aligns with your strategy, it reflects inconsistency, a lack of value, and likely emotional decision-making.

Do: Be VERY patient

We all want to see results quickly, but as the graph shows, there will be ups and downs. The critical thing to remember is the overall trend is positive. While short-term profits can be unpredictable, consistent profits are much more likely if we're patient and ride out the fluctuations.

Don't: Bet with just one bookmaker

The most straightforward method to enhance the value of your bets involves leveraging the markets. Similar to seeking the best deal for a golf club online, thorough market exploration is essential. First, you must look at the market's overall value.

We compile all available odds and terms from leading bookmakers to identify the most valuable overall betting option. In the example below, you can easily understand that each bookie's odds can vary - sometimes quite widely. 

In the scenario below, Unibet's True Overround of 13% compared to Paddy Power's 34.8% reveals an additional 21.8% in value by simply selecting the best bookie for your bet. 

  • Overround of 'true value' of best available: -7.6%

  • Overround of best available: 1.3 %




True overround


6 @ 1/5



LiveScore Bet

5 @ 1/4




5 @ 1/4




5 @ 1/4



Sport Nation

5 @ 1/4




6 @ 1/5




7 @ 1/5



William Hill

6 @ 1/5



Sporting Index

5 @ 1/4



Betfair Sportsbook

7 @ 1/5



Paddy Power

7 @ 1/5



Betfair Exchange

1 @ 1/1



Key  Overround: The best available odds and each way terms from the bookies.

True Overround: The implied probability of the effective value of the odds from the bookies.

Do: Embrace each-way betting in golf

We recommend using "each-way" (e/w) bets for more risk-averse betting. It reduces bankroll swings and gives you peace of mind. (See our full analysis here).

Pro tip: Place e/w bets on golfers with odds greater than 200/1. The choice is yours for lower odds, as the long-term difference is negligible.

Don't: Put all your eggs in one basket

Instead of picking just a few golfers, spread your bets across a broader range (around 22% of the field, roughly 22 players). This balances your win rate with return on investment (ROI) and lets you leverage compound interest.

The critical question is: How many players should you aim to bet on? We've crunched the numbers, and the optimal figure is 22% of the field, roughly translating to 22 players. This approach offers two distinct advantages:

  1. It is safer - You can stake a more significant percentage of your bank per event, covering your losses with winning players. 

  2. It is consistent - By staying consistent, you hold a better guarantee of consistent returns, enabling you to capitalise on compound interest effectively.

Do: Spread your bets wisely

Don't bet equal amounts on golfers with different odds. Aim for similar returns from each bet.

An example: Instead of a $10 bet on a 25/1 player and a $10 bet on a 150/1 player, place five $2 bets on the 125/1 players. This gives you the same potential return as the single $10 bet on the 25/1 player.

At GolfTipsters, we can help you distribute your bets based on your stake per event.

Do: Skip the favourites

You might be surprised, but favourites only win about 8% of tournaments! Our analysis shows that golfers have better value when the odds are between 22/1 and 150/1. 

Do:  Find bets with value

There's one golden rule in golf betting: always bet on value. Just because a player isn't the favourite doesn't mean they can't win. Your job is to find those golfers whose odds are higher than their actual chance of winning. That's where the value lies. This approach requires research and analysis, but it's the only way to gain a long-term edge in golf betting.

Do: Manage Your bankroll wisely

Don't go all-in, a safer approach is to bet an appropriate amount relative to your total bankroll. We recommend a risk score of 10, meaning a 10% stake per event. So, with a $300 bankroll, bet £30 per tournament.

Do: Unlock the power of compounding

Gambling can be fun, but it's important to be mindful of your bankroll. Betting too much can quickly drain your account. The best option is to build a sustainable and profitable golf betting strategy by tracking your bets, managing risk, and leveraging compounding.

Here's a key principle:

  • Bet Proportionally: The amount you bet should be a reasonable percentage of your bankroll. For example, a $500 bet on a $1000 bankroll is riskier than a $500 bet on a $5000 bankroll.

Consider a Risk Score:

  • Different strategies have different risk profiles. A score of 10 suggests a more cautious approach. With this risk score, you would wager 10% of your bankroll per bet. So, with a $300 bankroll, your bet per tournament would be $30.

By following these tips, you can approach golf betting with a healthy perspective and focus on the enjoyment of the sport.

Top Tip:  By reinvesting your winnings, you are more likely to grow your future bets. It takes time, but the long-term gains are impressive!


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