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Golf: How to play it and how to bet on it

Nowadays, golf, with the first information dating back to the distant 13th century, is played all over the world. Accordingly, bets on this sport are relatively popular, and here we will discuss all the basics you need to know.

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Golf geography and major tournaments

Almost every region of the world has its own professional tour - there are Asian, Australasian, Japanese, Canadian tours. For those who are starting to take an interest in golf, of course, it is better to focus on the main series - the European Tour and the American PGA Tour.

The European tour takes place throughout the year and is not really limited to the geography of the Old World, because the tournaments of this series look to the most remote corners of the planet - in South Africa, India, China, Australia and other countries.

PGA Tour events are usually held from January to November. As with tennis, golf has four majors: the US Masters in April, the US Open in June, the July Open, also known as the British Open, and the US PGA Championship in August.

In most cases, professional tournaments are four-day events with the task of overcoming 72 holes. The tournament is divided into four rounds, and the golfer with the fewest number of strokes at the end is the winner. Sometimes there are also tournaments with more rapid regulations, where golfers meet face-to-face on the knockout system.

Types of golf bets

Winning the tournament. The most popular line among bookmakers, but quite difficult for a clear prediction. More than 200 golfers can participate in each tournament, and the choice is not so easy.

However, often the circle of real contenders is strictly defined, and the odds are not so high. Plus, bookmakers usually offer a bet where a certain golfer will not win the tournament and here the chance of winning is obviously quite high.

Victory at the tournament stage. Not every star golfer manages to start tournaments well right off the bat, and you may very well win the jackpot on the victory of an average athlete in the first stage of the competition.

Placing at the tournament. Often the bookmakers can find a line on getting an athlete into a certain improvised place. The most common tops in offers are the top 3, the top 5 and the top 10. If you are confident in the readiness of the golfer but do not want to risk a bet on victory, then this is a good option for reinsurance.

Comparison of golfers. The standard rate for individual sports. Here you can make a prediction of which of the proposed two golfers will take a higher place in the final classification.

The best among compatriots. At the big tournaments of the PGA and the European Tour, you can often find a line like this.

There is a list of golfers from a certain country, widely represented in the competition, and you can try to guess the best in the final table - say, the best American, Irish or Swede.

Golf betting strategies

The key to a profitable golf bet will be your development of a certain strategy of the game, which will allow you to regularly find value in the line. There are four important things that should be a mosaic of winning strategy.

The shape of golfers. The first question you should ask yourself when choosing a golfer's bet is what competitive form is the athlete in at the moment?

We need to pay attention to the latest results in tournaments, and there is no doubt that it is necessary to refrain from betting on a golfer who could barely compete in the past five tournaments. For example, in 2015, in the European Tour, 29 of the 33 stage winners were in the top 20 at the five tournaments that preceded the victory.

Results on a particular field. Equally important is the fitness of the chosen golfer to the field on which he will perform. The features of many of the famous golf courses where PGA or European Tour competitions take place have not changed for years. Therefore, it is easy to track whether the style of play of an athlete corresponds to a particular tournament.

It is not uncommon for a "dark horse" to not show brilliant results in principle, but year after year on the same course they can overcome even the highest tournament barriers. For example, there are fields that are considered more old-fashioned, where you need special accuracy at the start that is impacted by an abundance of natural obstacles like trees and high grass and does not allow physically strong golfers to take risks and use all the power available on their swings.

Considered more modern are well-groomed fields in the open area that is no longer convenient for subtle golfers, counting on accuracy. Powerful hitters get the advantage, having more space for errors and developing the movement along the route with longer strokes.

The weather factor. In golf, the elements can have quite a big impact on the game. There are a few fields on the PGA Tour that have historically earned their glory as particularly windy, and wind gusts are a pretty serious irritant for players.

Not all golfers are able to adapt to episodic impulses - here you need special patience and concentration, and the trajectory of strokes should be lower. Therefore, in windy weather usually better favours golfers from Great Britain or Scandinavians, from childhood accustomed to playing in such conditions, or representatives of the windy states of America - Texas and the Midwest.

However, factors of player form and adaptability to the field are more important when choosing a bet, as the weather on a particular day is sometimes almost impossible to predict. Especially if you want to catch a good ratio at the start line. Unfortunately, even the best meteorologists are not yet able to give an accurate forecast on the speed and direction of the wind a few days before the event.

Player experience. Think ten times before risking money for a promising golfer who is hungry for his first trophy on a serious tour. Yes, he could beat rivals in the tournaments of lesser significance for several months, so he received an invitation to a big event. However, serious, experienced "lions" of golf do not need too much fuss and can safely get to the big tournaments of the PGA or European Tour without tedious trips in the hope of getting extra points.

The fact is that a golfer who has won once in the PGA or ET gets the opportunity to play in big tournaments for two to five years, regardless of the current results. This is the circle of favourites, in which newcomers are ordered to enter until the first serious victory, and the titled golfers are actually the masters of their schedule, not needing unnecessary games to enter the tour.

Forecast statistics

On the PGA Tour website, you can find a lot of stats and samples that can help you make a bet. Here are the most important ones.

Driving Accuracy. As already noted, some fields require special precision long-range strikes in the initial stages. And the Driving Accuracy indicator will help you get basic information about the reliability of strokes - this is the percentage of golfer's strikes that reach the "working areas" of the fairway.

Driving Distance. This statistic will help to get a basic idea of the strength of the golfer's swing, the average distance that the ball travels after it is hit. This is considered to be a more important indicator in more open fields with a limited number of obstacles.

Hitting the green with the estimated number of strokes (Greens in Regulation, GIR). Many consider this statistic the most important in golf because thanks to it you can appreciate the skill of the player as a whole. This is the average amount of strokes that it takes the player to reach the green (a small area surrounding the hole). It also takes the percentage of balls that reach the green from the player’s total strokes. 

Players with a high GIR percentage in recent tournaments usually have a higher chance of winning, their golf is more stable and less involved with the stress component.

Put Average. Putting is executed on the green just before the hole, the cherry on the cake of any masterfully traversed route. A good golfer is obliged to carefully and accurately execute the final blow so that the labours through the field were not in vain. The smaller the Putting Average, the better.

Scrambling. An indicator that demonstrates a golfer's ability to get out of difficult situations. This is the percentage of successful strokes after a player missed the green within 50 yards.

Golfers with high scrambling are ready to face trouble and with short-term difficulties are still able to stay in the competition. While bad scramblers are less stable and on courses with lots of obstacles can quickly lose their temper.