Golf Editorial

20181110 Some Guidelines for Smart Golf Betting

Introductory Comments

There is no substitute for backing winners, so if you always back winners you don’t need to read this. Just go enjoy your winnings and have a good laugh at the expense of the rest of us!

However, for the other 99.9% of gamblers what follows is an eclectic cornucopia of lessons gleaned from my personal betting experience and, more importantly, from watching the betting of all levels and types of gamblers from all over the world – from the rankest of amateurish recreationals to the most disciplined and professional global syndicate.

They didn’t all bet on golf but the strategies of sports betting don’t vary from sport to sport; only the tactics vary in terms of addressing issues such as the sizes of the fields and time.

In the course of working with online bookmakers since 1997, I’ve observed some things that I think you should do and some that you should not:


Successful betting requires discipline. I’ve never seen a successful gambler, over any period of time, who was not disciplined – in both his staking and what he bet on.

Staking Levels

Every golf gambler should have a staking level, or amount that he can afford to spend (burn): per bet, per tournament, per week or preferably all three.

If you’re a trader, you should be planning to try and win a notional amount per bet, tournament or week.

Personally, I structure my betting so that, if I hit a modest place-place double, my payout in any such week will equal roughly three times my weekly outlay.

Have a Plan

It doesn’t matter what the plan is, just have one. You’ll find it will help keep you more disciplined and structured in your betting. For example:

  • If your plan is to stake a maximum of $10 per week, don’t bet $100;
  • If your plan is to bet on golf, don’t bet on football;
  • If your plan is to bet on golf outright markets, don’t bet on first round leader;
  • If your plan is to back longshots, don’t back favourites.

Be Capable of Sustaining your Plan

Anybody’s golf tournament staking level should be one that’s sustainable for a reasonable period of time, because fields of 156 players means you’re not going to win regularly; you need to know you can afford to sustain your staking for weeks ahead.


Closely allied to the above sustenance issue is that there are few worse feelings than having decided you’ll bet on every longshot you like, conscientiously doing so for several weeks and then having to skip a week owing to lack of funds. While you’re on the sidelines, the inevitable may happen!

Eliminating the opportunity for this type of remorse to arise, and the subsequent apportionment of blame and beating-up of oneself, is an underrated psychological component of betting.

Having said that, remorse should not be sublimated. If that bad betting event occurs, you need to reflect on it and feel bad and, especially, tell others about it. Believe it or not, this is healthy therapy.

Firstly, the suffering may help you make better decisions going forward – perhaps even including not gambling. Secondly, telling others is healthy whereas keeping secrets, especially financial ones that impact you or your family, is not.

Don’t get Carried Away by a Win

Just as you should not reduce your staking level after losses, you should not increase it after wins. Many golf punters allow one (typically rare and random) win to go to their heads and will stake ten times as much the following week.

In my opinion, there are only three reasons for such increased staking:

  • You’re well in funds and the step-up to the next level of investment is justified by winning performances that you deem sustainable or;
  • You’re now ten times more intelligent than you were last week or;
  • You’re a certifiable moron.

Don’t back too Many Players in one Tournament

This is a common trap for persons who work hard to analyse golf tournaments. It’s a common failing of many golf tipsters too. So, be guided by price in determining how many to back; the shorter (lower) the prices, the fewer you should back.

If you like to back favourites (which you should rarely do, by the way) it makes no sense to back five players in the 6/1 – 30/1 range because your winners will not be frequent enough to sustain your betting bank. If you don’t believe me, go test it out. Pick 5 favourites for each tournament for a few months and see how many win and what your payouts would have been relative to your total outlay.

If you like to back outsiders, in my opinion it’s justifiable to back up to four of them each way. For argument’s sake let’s assume their win prices are 51.00 -101.00, making their place prices 13.50 – 26.00. If you back three each way, your total outlay will be 6 units and if one places (no ties) you’ll more than double your money.

Put another way, one placing will sustain your betting for 2-3 tournaments.

Cheers & Good Luck with your Golf Betting.


© Copyright Mike J Miller: 10 November 2018