The origins of golf date back several hundred years but the general view is that the modern game, as we know it, owes much to Scotland.
That is where, we’re led to believe, the sport was first played over 18 holes… and as every true golf fan will tell you, St. Andrews is still viewed as the ‘Home of Golf’.
In 1860 the first Open Championship was held at Prestwick Golf Club in Ayrshire and the tournament remains the most famous and oldest of the four golf majors (ahead of the US Masters, US Open and USPGA).
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club (based at St. Andrews) was taken to be the leading authority on the game and oversaw the development of a set of rules for the sport.
Much later this body would be given the amended, abbreviated title of The R&A.
This organisation now looks after the Open Championship as well as the Amateur and Senior events, the Walker Cup and numerous other competitions.
Golf also became hugely popular in the United States with 1894 being the landmark year when delegates from various golf clubs around the US met in New York to form what would later become the United States Golf Association (USGA).
The sport has steadily spread throughout the world and now rates as one of the most popular pastimes and one of the most watched professional sports.
Changing little in nature, the sport is played over 18 holes per round, with the vast majority of professional tournaments being played over four rounds. These tend to be played Thursday to Sunday.
The golfing calendar, on account of its global appeal, is more or less 365 days of the year as players can ‘follow the sun’ from Australia to the Far East, the Middle East to mainland Europe and across the Americas.
The men’s professional circuit is split into various tours… the PGA Tour of America, the European Tour, Asian Tour, PGA Tour of Australasia, Sunshine Tour etc.
Players then compete together in the majors as well as sanctioned World Golf Championship (WGC) events.
The women’s game follows similar lines, with by far the biggest tour being the LPGA in America.
The sport also has a thriving Seniors Tour where players (above the age of 50) can still compete for major prizes and big prize-money.
Leading golf tournaments and players…
Despite prize-money in a number of events going through the roof in recent years… the winner of the FedEx Cup pocketing the best part of $11m… it’s the majors which capture everybody’s attention.
The US Masters at the Augusta National course is the first major of the year and is traditionally played in the first full week of April. It’s the only major to be held at the same course each year, and dates from 1934.
Jack Nicklaus (the Golden Bear) has won a record six times with Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods (both 4) his nearest challengers for Green Jacket honours… every winner is given a ceremonial ‘Green jacket’ as part of their victory presentation.
Next on the annual calendar is the US Open, first staged in 1895. Nicklaus has four wins in this major (along with three other golfers, including Ben Hogan).
This tournament is staged on a different course each year and is viewed as one of the toughest to win on account of the USGA making the playing conditions as hard as possible!
The Open Championship (or British Open as the US refer to it) is played in the third week of July for ‘the Claret Jug’ trophy.
The tournament is played on a different course each year, taken from a roster of nine… St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Muirfield, Turnberry and Troon in Scotland… Sandwich, Birkdale, Lytham St. Annes and Hoylake in England.
Harry Vardon (6) has the most wins of all time… Tom Watson (5) the most in the modern era.
Final golf major of the year is the PGA Championship, played around mid-August again moving from one US course to another each year.
This tournament started out as a matchplay event but has been strokeplay ever since 1958.
Leading players are Jack Nicklaus (5) and Tiger Woods (4).
These four events along with the WGC tournaments are the highest honours in individual golf… by far the biggest in team golf is the Ryder Cup (played every two years between the USA and Europe). The Walker Cup is the amateur equivalent, the Solheim Cup the women’s version.
The USA also play the Rest Of The World in the Presidents Cup golf event.
What markets are available in golf betting?
Golf betting takes in all aspects of the game.
Who will win the tournament, which country will they come from, how many shots will they win by…
Golf betting tips will also cover individual player performances… you can back players to beat each other (match bets) over 18 holes or 72 holes or to be the leading player of their nationality.
There are 3-ball bets for a golfer to beat his two playing partners on the day.
All sorts of markets take in players to either do well or perform badly. You can back a player for a Top 10 or Top 20 finish, just as you can back a player to miss the cut.
Because golf is so widely supported and watched, and because in terms of betting turnover it’s beaten only by horseracing and football… the bookies make sure there are lots of markets available for professional golf tipsters as well as a novice backers to trade on.
Because it has a great choice of markets, plenty of great statistical information available and it’s easy to study form with all the weekly action, in the US or Europe, covered on TV.
More importantly, it’s an individual sport and so (like snooker, tennis, boxing, darts) you can get a very accurate profile of a player… and in golf they could be around for the best part of 30 years!!
For those new to betting on pro golf there is the potential to back bets at a huge range of prices (every season golfers will win events at odds of up to 150/1, maybe more) and that simply won’t happen in a number of other sports.
Golf… it really does provide sports betting profits all year round.
Every serious backer, who wants to make money, should consider golf betting.