A beginner’s guide on how to bet on golf

Visiting the United Kingdom for the Open Championship is a dream holiday for many in the golf world. To witness the prestige, history and drama of the tournament up close, sure, but the claret jug has another inherent pull: the ability to bet on the proceedings in person.


But for those who aren’t in the cloudy confines of Great Britain, fear not: there are plenty of avenues to get your gamble on. Here is our beginner’s guide to betting on golf.

Finding A Sports Book

If you’re in Southport this week, merely walk around the corner. Seriously, there’s an off-track betting parlor on every block. Those in the states, a bit of a different story. Unless you’re making an impromptu run to Vegas, the world wide web is, uh, your best bet. There are dozens of online, offshore betting websites, and yes, it’s legal to place a wager in this fashion.

Most of these sites will tie to a credit card for an account on the site. WARNING: Avoid sites that “require” your checking or savings routing number, as they are more prone to scams.


Most houses and sites make it easy, listing a player’s or circumstance’s odds as fractional. For example, Dustin Johnson is listed at 12-to-1 at Royal Birkdale, meaning — if DJ wins — the gambler’s stake will be multiplied by 12 (as well as getting the stake back).

Rarely — for golf, that is — you’ll see money lines, which show how much one would win if they bet $100. In this instance, if Jordan Spieth is +1200, that means you’d win $1,200 off a $100 wager (plus the original $100 amount).

Worth noting: odds aren’t necessarily reflective of a book’s conviction or forecast in a player/team. While that’s factored in, the number mirrors the public’s investment and movement. The aforementioned Johnson listing opened at 10-to-1. That it’s dropped to 12-to-1 shows the public didn’t like those odds, and the books needed to move the number to get action on Johnson. Conversely, if a player — let’s…

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