Trading The Open Golf

The Open Golf Championship

Golf isn’t the first thing you think of when Betfair trading. But, curiously, golf was one of my first markets on Betfair. This was somewhat accidental as back then I was arbing (or sort of matched betting) between bookmakers and Betfair. So my Betfiar trading Golf heritgate goes all the way back to June 2000. My focus is really only the Golf majors nowadays. These are the markets with big liquidity and narrow spreads and that makes for a good combination when trading.

The Open Golf Championship is different from other majors in that it is played on rotation schedule across a number of courses in the UK. It is also played on a links golf course which is traditionally near the sea, are near or on dunes, have an uneven surface and a sandy soil. This is in stark contrast to a lot of ‘modern’ courses or you local golf club which are often set in parkland or woods and carefully manicured. The rotation schedule ensures different links courses such as the famous St Andrews course, considered the ‘home’ of golf, get so see the worlds best get the chance to lift the claret jug.

This year we move to Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland for the 148th Open, this course hasn’t hosted a major for 68 years. This makes it a little tricky from a trading perspective as I don’t know the course very well. I’ll have to rely on the course card for some guidance and start to pick up on stats as the course unfolds. I have to admit The Open is one of my least favourite tournaments as I have traditionally underperformed here in comparison to other Majors. Maybe it’s the early start.

Playing links Golf

Links golf is very different from traditional golf in that it’s a bit harder to play consistently, especially if the weather is poor. Open championships will see the course set up for greater difficulty and poor weather can make things even harder. Links courses are best played by hitting the ball low and accurately. Being able to belt the ball a long distance isn’t so important. It’s a real test of your playing abilities, especially if you end up in the rough.

Best Golf trading strategies?

Golf is a game of confidence as much as anything, so players who are playing well tend to carry that form forward. But that said, US based players tend to suffer with the long trip to Scotland. US Golfers are also not used to playing links golf as well. But players who arrive early and play in local tournaments tend to perform better.

This year’s tournament very competitive. So a winner from further down the field is perfectly possible. With 150+ selections in the field, I tend to not focus on who will win, as that’s an incredibly hard thing to do. It’s pretty obvious that it’s quite easy to find a winning lay. That will work, but it also carries a lot of potential liability at the prices you need to lay at.

A winner is hard to pick, so backing is a tough ask. An exception to this is unless you feel the course particularly suits one type of player. Of course, on a betting exchange you have many options available to you other than backing a winner. I tend to pick through players that I think will be in contention or big movers at some point in the tournament and back a selection of them. If you use the dutching tool in your Bet Angel trading software, this means you can do this to a fixed liability. Out of that group you will very often find somebody who performs well and shortens up significantly which will most likely generate a profit if you are trading. If you catch a cluster of decent selections at large prices, when the price shortens, you can trade out of a profit or leave a bit on them for the title. You don’t need all of your selections to shorten in price to profit. You only need one good move to cover your losses on your selections that don’t progress during the tournament.

A difficult course set up will also provide opportunities, as could the weather. The leader after round one has historically only won the title 10% of the time. The leader in round two and three, 26% and 46% of the time.

As we get towards the business end of the tournament, turn your focus to the front of the field. Dutching the front of field within a certain number of shots of the leader has generally been a value bet. We looked back all the way to 1957 and nobody has won the Open after being more than six shots from lead after end of the third round. Even if you narrow that to three shots from the lead you still find a winner 83% of the time.

How volume arrives

One of the problems with Golf is that early start in the morning. It will be around 06:30 for the Open. That prevents most people getting up early to stick a position on. That more or less includes me. I wasn’t sure if I was missing out though, so I’ve collected data over many years to find out.

Volumes tend to start perking up the day before the Open starts on Wednesday. Then it rises in a fairly steady manner for the remainder of the day. In the evening of the Wednesday it seems everybody is active, but as we head past midnight activity completely dies away. At about six o’clock you get another burst. But aside from that burst about 95% of pre-off volume is in the market by about 1am in the morning. There isn’t a great need to get up early 🙂

The graph I have produced below shows you the general trend for volume right through to the start of the tournament. The percentage represents the amount matched to the total at the start of the tournament. This will give you a guide as to when to get on!

Good luck whatever you do this week!

Open Golf Volume

1 Comment
  1. Mansur 2 years ago

    I need to win

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