Golf Betting Guide

As golfers are well aware, few things are better than hitting the links on a beautiful day. There’s also lots to be said for kicking back and watching the best in the world complete on absolutely stunning courses in beautiful locales.

There are even numbers to back that up. It’s estimated that there are about 25 million people in the United States who play golf. On the viewership side, interest is through the roof already and continues to grow at a rapid pace.

For those golf fans — especially those who like to place a wager or two — there is some great news: It’s now legal to bet on golf in a number of states across the nation, including right here in Michigan. Betting on golf is not only fun, but it is potentially profitable, and it’s also nowhere near as hard as it may seem to the uninitiated.

In this guide, we’re going to walk through everything you need to know on how to bet on golf . By the time you’re through, you’ll know how golf betting works, what to watch for and have some golf betting tips to stick in your back pocket.

Let’s get to it, beginning with the best places to play in Michigan.

Best golf betting apps in Michigan

SportsbookLaunch Date
BetMGM SportsbookJanuary 2021
FanDuelJanuary 2021
PointsBetJanuary 2021
DraftKingsJanuary 2021
Golden NuggetJanuary 2021

To get started with betting on golf, you’ll need a reliable and safe place to go. The operators in the table up above fit the bill. Each of them feature an interface that’s very user friendly, and signing up is a piece of cake to boot.

For starters, click on our exclusive links to take advantage of some awesome sign-up offers. You’ll need to enter a few quick tidbits of info to create an account before you download the app for your device from the sportsbook website. Once you do, you’ll have access to golf betting at any time.

How to bet on golf in Michigan

The US Supreme Court weighed in on a long-running case that questioned the legality of a federal sports betting ban in May 2018. The Justices put the matter into the hands of the states to decide for themselves.

A number have done just that and now have thriving sports betting markets. Michigan passed legislation towards the end of 2019, and legal sports betting made its debut in the Wolverine State in early 2020.

Residents can now legally and safely place bets on golf and other sports. As seen in the the table above, golf betting online options are expected to follow suit.

You can get started right away, but it’s a good idea to get the basics down first. We’re going to help you do just that, starting with one of the most important facets you need to understand.

Golf betting odds

When one of golf’s major tournaments is on tap, such as The Masters, you should find the odds for the event among the featured listings at online and mobile sportsbooks. For regular PGA Tour stops, you’ll be able to find them by clicking on the golf tab.

There are a number of different ways to bet on golf, all of which we’ll cover in full detail shortly. For now, let’s focus on the most common odds listings you’ll come across. The featured attraction is the odds for which golfer will win the upcoming event.

All of the golfers scheduled to compete will have odds next to their name. The list is typically in descending order with the favorites on top, longshots on the bottom and everyone else in the middle.

Here’s what the top of the board might look like.

  • Rory McIlroy +900
  • Brooks Koepka +1000
  • Dustin Johnson +1100

In a nutshell, the odds to win the event gives us a view on how the oddsmakers see the competition shaking out. We can quickly discern the favorites while also having an idea of which golfers may be in line for long weekends.

Of course, the golf betting odds aren’t always right on the money. A dark horse contender could win the event, and bettors who are on the mark with their picks could be in line for a nice return as a result.

If we decided to go with one of the favorites, such as Koepka in our example up above, and he went on to win the event, a bet of $100 would return a total of $1,100 — the initial $100 bet plus winnings of $1,000.

The next most common listing you’ll come across for golf tournaments is for head-to-head matchups. Oddsmakers will pair up random golfers in the field and place odds on both sides. Bettors then get to pick which one they think will fare better for a round or the tournament as a whole.

  • Phil Mickelson +130
  • Tiger Woods -110

For these listings, the odds are just like you would find for a moneyline bet in team-based sports. We’ll walk through some golf handicapping tips you can use in a bit.

One final note on golf odds: there will usually be some movement from the initial release of odds based on betting action. Try to make note of the shifts to help spot the way the betting action is flowing. Also, take the time to shop around at different sportsbooks to compare golf betting odds and find the most appealing ones.

Golf bet types

As mentioned, there are plenty of different ways for you to bet on golf. Let’s walk through each of them in full detail, starting with a closer look at the two bet types we’ve already discussed:

  • Golf To Win Betting: You can place your bets on which golfer you think will win the tournament. There will be odds for each player slated to compete. It can be helpful to break down the board into three tiers: favorites, mid-range and longshots. From there, get a feel for the event as a whole and research the selections you feel best about from each group.
  • Golf Head-to-Head Betting: Betting on head-to-head matchups can keep you further engaged throughout the event, not to mention open the doors to additional chances to profit. For these bets, you’re simply picking the golfer who will fare better from a pair of selections. It’s very similar to handicapping and picking the winner in other sports.

We’ll now take a look at all of the other major ways you can get in the game with golf betting:

  • Golf Finishing Position Betting: These are bets you can place on a golfer to finish highly in the coming event, such as in the top five, 10 or 20 finishers.
  • Golfer vs. the Field Betting: This is a bet in which one of the favorites will be pitted against the field. The choice is whether the golfer in question will win or if it will be someone else who’s scheduled to compete.
  • Golf Group Betting: These wagers can vary and include two, three or four golfers, and you’ll sometimes find them listed as two or three balls. The goal is to pick the best performer out of the group.
  • Golf Each Way Betting: This is a wager that covers a golfer to either win the event or place in the top tier, such as in the top 10 on the leaderboard.
  • Golf Round Leader Betting: You can drill into the individual rounds of the tournament and place your bets on who you think will post the top score for the day.
  • Golf To Make Cut Betting: For most golf tournaments, cuts take place after round two. You can place your bets on which golfers you think will advance to the later rounds.
  • Golf Nationality Betting: This is a wager in which you are betting on the nationality of the golfer to win the tournament.
  • Golf Prop Betting: You can find prop bets for tournaments and rounds. An example would be “How many birdies will Tiger Woods have in round two – Over/Under 4.5?”

While all of the choices you have to make may seem overwhelming, remember that there’s no need to try every bet type right away. You can just pick some that look interesting for starters and try out others as your skills develop further.

Live betting on golf

You can get even closer to the action on the course as a tournament goes down, and that’s thanks to the innovation known as live betting. These are wagers you can place in real time as the event itself plays out.

Odds and opportunities will continually appear throughout the festivities, so a mobile app makes for a great way to stay on top of things. It’s a fast-moving market in which offerings will vary, but here’s a sampling of what you might see.

  • What will Jordan Spieth card on the next hole – Eagle/Birdie/Par/Bogey?
  • Will Justin Rose shoot a birdie on hole 12 – Yes/No?
  • Who will card better on hole three – Justin Thomas or Dustin Johnson?

Live betting also allows you to hedge your initial bets if things aren’t going your way. For example, if your winning ticket on Jon Rahm suddenly doesn’t look like it’s going to happen, you can mitigate some of the damage with some well-placed live bets.

That said, remember to stay disciplined no matter how much you get caught up in the action. You should treat live betting like any other kind of wagering and have a strict budget in mind while being selective with the offerings you wager on.

The golf futures market

You can also look ahead to upcoming big golf tournaments via the futures markets. These are bets you can place on things that will happen down the road. It’s an active segment of the betting world for all sports.

For golf, the biggest markets revolve around the major events, such as:

  • The Masters
  • US Open
  • British Open
  • PGA Championship
  • Ryder Cup
  • Player of the Year

Odds are released well in advance of the events, and the markets stay active nearly year-round. There’s a big spike in interest upon the initial release of odds, but plenty of bettors stay on top of the market all year as they hunt for the best futures opportunities.

How golf tournaments work

The PGA Tour season is a lengthy one, typically beginning in October and running straight into the following fall. Along the way, there are events nearly every weekend. The typical tournament begins on a Thursday and runs through Sunday.

For the majority of the tournaments, there are 100 or more golfers in the field. They’ll all play the first two rounds with a cut line set to determine advancement. Those who make the cut move on to play the weekend, while the tournament is over for those below the line.

While this is the majority of the schedule, there are also events here and there with smaller fields and fewer rounds, as well as special events such as skins and match play. For skins, the golfers are competing for prizes on each hole. In match play, teams compete and earn points for topping their opponents for the hole.

PGA Tour in Michigan

The PGA Tour is scheduled to touch down in Michigan in 2020 for the Rocket Mortgage Classic, which is scheduled for July 2-5. TV coverage will be provided by CBS and the Golf Channel, with streaming covered by PGA Tour Live. Here are some of the key details on the event and venue.

  • Course: Detroit Golf Club
  • Location: Detroit, Michigan
  • Par: 72
  • Length: 7,294 yards
  • Established: 1899
  • Designer: Donald Ross

For the 2019 edition of the event, here’s what the leaderboard looked like when all was said and done, listed by golfer and final score.

  • 1: Nate Lashley, 263
  • 2: Doc Redman, 269
  • T3: Wes Roach, 270
  • T3: Rory Sabbatini, 270
  • T5: Joaquin Niemann, 271
  • T5: Ted Potter Jr., 271
  • T5: Patrick Reed, 271
  • T5: Brandt Snedeker, 271
  • T5: Brian Stuard, 271
  • T5: Cameron Tringale, 271

Golf betting tips

Betting on golf can seem a little confusing and intimidating at first glance, but a little bit of experience will show you that it’s not all that different from betting on other sports. For example, instead of breaking down teams and how they match up, you’re simply examining the golfers in the field and how they stack up against the competition.

While doing so, you can follow several handicapping principles which apply to other sports. You’ll want to examine the strengths and weaknesses of those set to tee off, analyze any news and notes surrounding the event, and have a good sense of what the oddsmakers have to say. Before you know it, you may even develop your own golf betting system.

In the meantime, here are some other golf betting tips you can work into your betting routine.

  • Follow the money: After odds are released for a tournament, betting action starts to flow in. From there, you’ll see shifts on the odds board. Pay close attention to noticeable spikes and drops in the prices. This will help point you towards the golfers who handicappers like or dislike for the tournament at hand. While the public money isn’t always correct, this is a wisdom of the crowds approach which can help you spot things you may have missed.
  • Know the venue and history: The PGA Tour makes regular stops at many courses, so we have course history to lean on as part of our research routine. There are golfers who excel at certain venues, and others who struggle in certain situations. Be sure to take the time to review the venue for the week and make note of who has performed well in the past along with those who may have struggled.
  • Study recent form: It’s a long season for the PGA Tour, so golfers will naturally have some peaks and valleys along the way. To gain a good sense of how things are going in their world, review how they have performed over the last three events. Golfers who are consistently doing well could be in line for more of the same, while those who are struggling just to make the cut may need some time to work the kinks out.

You’ll learn a lot about the game by taking time to handicap, but that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. If you fall into that camp, you can lean on the advice of others, whether it be via free or paid picks. For any picks you may be interested in paying for, make sure there’s a clear record of past results for you to review before spending your hard-earned dollars.

Golf FAQ

Who is the best golfer in the world?

There are a number of talented pros who can lay claim to this moniker at any given time, but we can always lean on the Official World Golf Rankings to help settle the argument. Here’s the current top five as of this writing.

  1. Rory McIlroy
  2. Jon Rahm
  3. Brooks Koepka
  4. Justin Thomas
  5. Dustin Johnson

How many golf majors has Tiger Woods won?

Woods has won 15 majors all-time, which places him in second place on the all-time list behind Jack Nicklaus, who sits in the top spot with 18 major wins. His last major win came at the 2019 Masters, which was his first victory in an event of that magnitude since he took down the US Open in 2008.

What’s the best golf tournament to bet on?

Each PGA Tour stop is unique and the field of golfers will vary, so a case can be made for a number of events throughout the year. In terms of betting action, the four majors — The Masters,US Open,British Open and PGA Championship — attract the most attention.

Is it harder to handicap golf than other sports?

Not necessarily. Just like any other sport, it takes some time to get up to speed with all of the ins and outs of the game. However, those who take the time to learn and understand will soon see that there are plenty of parallels that can be drawn between handicapping golf and other sports.

What is a links golf course?

The term links refers to the style of course. Typically, a links course is located either on a coastline or very near to a coastal environment. Links courses are also notable for hard surfaces which impact the style of play, a good amount of dunes, a notable absence of trees and water hazards that are few and far between. However, a lot of people use the word “links” to describe any golf course, which is common in sports writing and other media.