Giving it a Go. Golf Betting

Posted by jim g on Wednesday, September 2, 2015
After much pre-planning, careful financing for other contingencies, and experimentation, I've decided to put aside a four figure 'Bank' for golf betting.

Having had a reasonably successful golf betting season, skimming off a few profits I've been lucky enough to win, I've decided to have a proper go at betting seriously. I'd call it 'semi-pro', for want of a better phrase, and if at any stage the pot's gone, then the experiment will be over.

Am choosing not to divulge numbers, and realise that for some four figures would be not many bets, but several more for me than many others.  

I've been betting now for three years on golf. 2013 was successful, but 2014 provided a reality check but was extremely valuable in learning many lessons that have helped bring me to this point. I realise I'll make plenty more misatkes, and never stop learning.

Golf betting has many positives, but also negatives, and confidence plays a part, as I think in all betting. Juicy tempting prices are weekly on offer and trying to differentiate those likely to be 'value-losers' as opposed to those with a more genuine winning chance, needless to say, is no easy task.

However I maintain that golf works better statistically than any other sport I know of. How do I plan my weekly golf bets?

For me two main facets.

1) Current form. If a player isn't playing well, it's always possible that he/she will jump out of the woodwork and win. Recent examples would be Davis Love and Matt Every.
But frankly they are the exceptions. I want my players to be in decent recent form. You can always forgive the odd missed cut, but the balance of form is crucial. One thing I've learnt is that looking at people with finishes in the teens and twenties can be overvalued. Often they are the 'value losers'. 

So good recent form, top tens carrying significant weighting, makes up about 40% of my assessment.

2) Unless it is a new course, my second important factor is course and distance form. Kenny Perry was playing well recently with top tens, and came into what for the world looked his week, with course form of 2271 over four years and he duly did the business. Jimenez in Crans was a standing dish for years yet would go off odds against in top 10 and 20 markets. Finally got his Win there a couple of years ago. 

I know many believe course and distance form is not a major betting factor, but I'm increasingly convinced that it is extremely valuable, as long as the player is also in similar form as to before playing well at the same venue previously.Again that's about another 40% of my decision in any bet.

If it's a new course, then current form assumes greater significance for me.


1) The remaining 20% is made up of a collection of other stats and issues. However I think it is easy to overdo these. Nowadays you can find everything, particularly on the PGA Tour. Driving distance, greens in regulation, strokes gained putting.
On different courses, some stats have significant benefit. If you can drive the ball prodigiously, without having to worry about penal rough, then it's likely a course for 'bombers'. Others with small greens demand ability to get the ball up and down from off the green, etc etc.

But it's easy to become too obsessive about some of these stats, show me a course where you can putt badly and win. Of course you need to putt well to score well. And how can Jim Furyk or Zach Johnson win on a supposed bomber's course, but they do.  

Don't get me wrong, i'm not wanting to underplay these things. Webb Simpson is a standing dish on Donald Ross courses, Ryan Palmer loves a birdiefest and so on. 

Weather and start times can have an impact. in the absence of an obvious bias i tend to default to preferring early on day one, get a score and something to hang on to, or build on. A late start on day one can have you playing on spiked up greens and even in the same conditions as the morning, play a shot or two harder. That said, a good day one afternoon score can be a terrific launchpad with first use of the greens the next day.

Prices are fascinating and for each potential bet the ultimate deciding factor. There are plenty of good players at 'huge prices'. When you get a recent Major winner going off at 40/1 a few weeks later, that's obvious, but you don't have to just play lots of 100/1+ darts to try and find a profit, though it works for some undoubtedly... 

As a 'semi-pro' player, finding 20/1 winners should lead to plenty profit, think what I'm saying is that it's easy to be lured in by monster prices with dubious chances, but you really don't have to go that way unless you recognize a particular individual standout. The recent Korean runner-up in our Ladies Open was quoted at 500/1 on the Monday, despite being in the top 50 in the World, and the US open winner was 150/1 and definitely findable. .

Finally for now, I love playing in some of the less fashionable events each week, maybe not even quoted by all bookmakers. A 25/1 winner there pays the same as a 25/1 winner of the Open. And so far I have had no problem getting a decent enough stake on.

This week for example Rebecca Artis goes off for the Helsingborg Open at 16/1. She's played twice there, with course form of 2,1, and a recent tour win confirmed her good form. I'm on (though the 'pot' will start from next Monday as I tie up a few loose ends first, adding any profit from this week's bets (therefore nil probably :) )to the pot. 

The good news for my twitter followers is that I won't spam my timeline with loads of bets each week, but will probably give a mention to what I think is the week's best. I will however try to blog a few of my other picks each week with some reasoning behind them. Wish me luck! :)

My other sports bets, racing etc, are unaffected by this change to my golf betting.


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