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How to Bet: Golf 

Golf is one of the most popular sports around the world. In a golf tournament, a golfer will play on the course with the primary goal of using the fewest shots to complete the round, which is 18 holes. There are many tournaments around the world, as well as professional golf tours. 

Online Golf 

Not only is golf a very popular sport, but it is also a prevalent betting sport. Most online sportsbooks will have odds posted for golf tournaments, and this is especially the case for the bigger tours in the world, such as the PGA Tour and the European PGA Tour. Some sportsbooks will offer odds for other golf tours, but there will not be nearly as many betting options. 

There are many bets to make besides just picking the player to win the tournament for betting on golf online. There can be proposition bets, hole bets, and others such as top-three finisher and top-five finisher. Again, the bigger the golf tournament, the more betting options will be available to you. 

The biggest golf tournaments in the world are the Majors on the PGA Tour. You will often find special bonuses and promotions for the bigger tournaments, especially the Majors such as the Masters and the British Open. 

Rules and Gameplay 

Golf is a game that is not like other games with a ball in that the players have to deal with various terrains in a non-standardized playing area. The player uses golf clubs to hit the ball into the hole on a golf course with 18 holes. There are nine-hole recreation golf courses, but all professional tournaments are held on 18-hole courses. 

Every hole has a tee where the player hits the first shot and a green where the hole is for the last shot. The hole is 4 1โ„4 inches (11 cm) in diameter, and the terrain of each hole is comprised of the fairway, rough, bunkers, and hazards. 

The main goal of each hole is to hit the ball on the green if it can be reached in one shot or the fairway, which is where the grass is cut shorter and, therefore, easier to hit the ball off of. A bunker is a sand trap, which is a dug-out area filled with sand, and hazards can be things such as water and rocks, which are not in the fairway. 

You try to use the lowest number of strokes, hitting the ball, for a round, which is the 18 holes. Stroke play is the lowest number of strokes by a player, and match play is the lowest on the most individual holes in a total round by either a player or the team. For most big tournaments, stroke play is used. 

The golf clubs that are in a player's bag and used in a round of golf are: 

  • Woods โ€“ Woods are used for long shots from the tee or the fairway.
  • Irons โ€“ Irons are used from fairways, tees, and the rough for precision shots. 
  • Putter โ€“ The putter is used on the green to roll the ball into the cup. 

There are different golf clubs and determining which golf club to use on a shot depends on the distance from the hole and the situation. For example, there are several irons a player will have in their bag from a five iron to a nine iron. 

The loft of the iron will determine the distance the ball travels, and therefore, a shot with a five iron will travel further than a shot with a nine iron. The same goes for woods, as the driver is the one with the most distance while a five wood would have lesser distance. 

There is a standard set of golf rules, and the current rulebook from 2004 came about from The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and the United States Golf Association (USGA).

There are penalties in the game of golf where a player is penalized a stroke or strokes, and some more harsh penalties can lead to disqualification of a golfer. Some rules and their penalties include: 

  • Lost ball or a ball hit out of bounds (1 stroke penalty and distance meaning the player must hit the ball where it went out of bounds or if lost where the original shot was taken from) 
  • Causing the ball to move by equipment (1 stroke) 
  • Ball goes into a red or yellow hazard (1 stroke) 
  • Player swings at the wrong ball (2 strokes) 
  • Player hits another player's golf ball with a putter (2 strokes)

The penalties that can be given to a golfer that can lead to disqualification are cheating, signing a golf card for a lower score, or not following the rules that can lead to improper play. 

Golf is a sport that has a set of unwritten guidelines that is referred to as golf etiquette. There are no penalties for breach of etiquette as all golfers strive to follow the etiquette guidelines for safety, pace of play, and fairness of the game and for caring for the golf course. 

Players cannot walk in the line of another player's ball on the green or make any noise when the golfer is about the make a shot. These are just two examples of golf etiquette. 

When trying to explain golf scoring, you have to start with par. A golf hole will either be a par three, par four, or par five. 

A par score on a hole is the number of shots an expert player expects to complete a hole in. For example, on a 140-yard par-three hole, a player can hit the ball on the green and hit two puts to get the ball in a hole for a par. 

The holes on a golf course differ in length, and how long they are will determine what par is. No matter how long a hole is the number for par allows for two puts into the hole. 

Here are the terms for golf scoring for a par five, four, and three's. 


  • Double eagle: Finishing the hole in 2 strokes
  • Eagle: Finishing the hole in 3 strokes
  • Birdie: Finishing the hole in 4 strokes
  • Par: Finishing the hole in 5 strokes
  • Bogey: Finishing the hole in 6 strokes
  • Double bogey: Finishing the hole in 7 strokes
  • Triple bogey: Finishing the hole in 8 strokes
  • Quadruple Bogey โ€“ Finishing the hole in 9 strokes 


  • Hole in One โ€“ Finishing the hole in one stroke, hitting the ball in the cup from the tee. A hole is one on a par four hole is very rare, as it will typically take two strokes to get the ball to the green 
  • Eagle: Finishing the hole in two strokes
  • Birdie: Finishing the hole in three strokes
  • Par: Finishing the hole in four strokes
  • Bogey: Finishing the hole in five strokes
  • Double bogey: Finishing the hole in six strokes
  • Triple bogey: Finishing the hole in seven strokes
  • Quadruple Bogey โ€“ Finishing the hole in eight strokes 


Hole in One โ€“ Finishing the hole in one stroke, hitting the ball in the cup from the tee.

  • Birdie: Finishing the hole in two strokes
  • Par: Finishing the hole in three strokes
  • Bogey: Finishing the hole in four strokes
  • Double bogey: Finishing the hole in five strokes
  • Triple bogey: Finishing the hole in six strokes
  • Quadruple Bogey โ€“ Finishing the hole in seven strokes 

You can get higher than a Quadruple Bogey if it takes you more strokes to get the ball into the cup. 

Strategy and Tactics 

Perhaps no other sport has more strategy and tactics than golf. Every single shot of round, a player will have strategies and tactics that they will depend on. These are things such as where the cup is placed, distance from the hole, area on the hole the player is, and wind and weather factors, to just name a few. 

If a player is on a par four and perfectly hits their ball in the middle of the fairway, their tactics will be different than if they hit the ball in the rough or get stuck behind a tree. With so many different scenarios on where the ball is in relation to the hole, the tactics are always changing during a round. 

Much of the strategies and tactics of the game of golf also have to deal with the score of the player. If they need to make up shots to move up the leaderboard, they can be more aggressive. 

Conversely, if a player has a lead, they may be more conservative with their shots. If a player needs to make up shots, they may be more daring in going for the hole rather than play it safe. Another example may be if a player has a water hazard in front of them and with a great shot can hit it over and on the green, but less than a great shot will land them in the water for a penalty. 

Overall, for the strategy of a golfer, they can be better long hitters, iron players, or putters. They try to play to their strengths when applying different strategies and tactics on the course. 

History of the Game  

Like many other sports, the exact origin of golf is widely debated. Some believe that golf came from a game in Ancient Rome where players hit a leather ball with a stick. 

There was also a game similar to golf during the Ming Dynasty in China from the 8th to 14th centuries called chuiwan. Cambuca from England and Kolven from Holland are two other games linked to golf, and they were games played around the 13th century. 

The modern golf game came from Scotland, where it was mentioned in 1457 when King James II banned the game. He started playing the game and lifted the ban in 1502. One of the meccas of golf is the Old Course at St Andrews, dating back to before 1574. It was there that the 18-hole course was standardized after being 22 holes. 

The oldest rules of golf date back to 1744 for the Company of Gentlemen Golfers. The oldest golf tournament in the world is The Open Championship, which is still played to this day as a Major and referred to as the British Open. 

In 1888 John Reid and Robert Lockhart set up a golf hole in their orchard, and golf was born in America. In that same year, the first golf club in the U.S. was established in Saint Andrew's Golf Club in Yonkers, New York. 

The Professional Golfers' Association (PGA) tour was established in 1929, and from that time has grown to be the biggest golf tour in the world. 

Wall Of Fame  

The World Golf Hall of Fame is located at World Golf Village near St. Augustine, Florida, and honors the greatest players and innovators in the world of golf. As of 2020, there are 164 inductees in the World Golf Hall of Fame, and you can see the full list of them by CLICKING HERE.

The debate between who is the greatest golfer of all time is between Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. Both players dominated the game in their primes, and while Woods has more total tournament wins, Nicklaus has two more Majors (18-16). 

Woods is still active as of 2020, and he won the 2019 Masters. If he catches or surpasses Nicklaus, whose nickname is the Golden Bear, in Majors wins Woods will likely be at the top of the list. 

In terms of others that are often mentioned as the greatest golfers of all time, the names include Ben Hogan, Walter Hagen, Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Byron Nelson, and Gary Player. 

Distinctive Elements 

One of the distinctive elements of golf is that it is a sport that is played on a course with many holes. Many of the top courses around the world are gorgeous and very challenging to even the best players. A famous saying in golf is that it is a great way to ruin a nice walk.

One distinctive element of the sport is that players can compete against each other, even with different talent levels. There is the handicapping system in golf, which shows the skill of a golfer. For example, a pro golfer is a scratch golfer, which is a 0 handicap, while a weekend warrior can be a 20 handicap. 

This means, on average, they will shoot 20 shots over par for a round. In the handicap system with giving strokes, a pro player can compete against an average joe, and it can still be competitive. 


There are many statistics used in golf, and when it comes to ranking the best players, a couple of crucial stats are overall wins and wins in Majors. However, other stats are used when it comes to playing the game, and the key ones are driving distance, greens in regulation, scoring average, drive accuracy, and putts average, to name a few. 

Golf bettors also analyze golf statistics when they handicap a tournament. However, those stats are not as heavily scrutinized by sports bettors as other sports like baseball and basketball.

Popularity and Cultural Impact 

Golf is a very popular game from the pro-level to players teeing it up and their local course. Anybody can play the game and enjoy it, and millions of people around the world enjoy playing the game. 

Perhaps no other sport has more etiquette involved than golf. Some of the world's biggest sports stars are professional golfers, and Tiger Woods is a living icon that has transcended the sport. 

The cultural impact of golf is vast from all of the TV shows and films about the game and the billions of dollars spent by players every year to improve their game. The golf industry is huge, and there are golf courses on every continent. Unlike other sports, golf can teach players things such as patience, etiquette, and discipline. 

The sport of golf is massively popular worldwide, and that popularity continues to increase every year. 

About Ayden Fahlstrom
Ayden Fahlstrom author profile

Ayden loves sports. There is no doubt about that. He is a walking calendar when it comes to the latest events in sports. He has grown into the passion of writing about them, and settled into his role as a writer after many freelancing jobs. He can write about any sport out there! This is the guy!

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