Golf handicaps allow golfers of different skill levels to compete together on a relatively equal playing field, which is part of what makes golf so special.  Traveling on group trips and setting up games where everyone feels like they have a chance to compete can be so much fun for the golfers.  Whether the format changes daily, involves a team aspect, or the players play multiple courses or rounds daily, giving people the opportunity to wager and predict outcomes ups the fun factor exponentially.  But trying to generate starting odds based on either handicap or past performance, or worse, trying to offer fixed odds and risking payouts you might not be able to fund is most likely a waste of time and not worth it.  Especially when pari-mutuels and prop bets based on pari-mutuel calculations deliver just as much fun for your participants without such an effort to set starting odds.

Pari-mutuel (literally meaning mutual stake) differs from fixed-odds betting in that the final payouts are not determined until the betting pool closes. 

In fixed-odds betting, the payout amount is agreed to at the time the bet is made.  The pari-mutuel system was created in 1867 by Frenchman Joseph Oller but didn’t debut in the United States until 1927 near Chicago.  Pari-mutuel wagering started in the horse racing industry, but golf lends well to outcomes that have participants finish in a ranked order after any tiebreaks.  Unlike many forms of gambling, in pari-mutuel betting the gambler bets against other gamblers, not the house, which means that the bank can NOT be broken.  I have heard stories from golf trip admins of being upside-down with fixed odds and how that was a complete disaster for them and their travelers.

Clever and successful pari-mutuel bettors are trying to identify competitors that the rest of the bettors are not backing with bets but that might finish in the top spots.  With the payout odds and pari-mutuel calculations assuming that losing bets fund winning payouts from each available betting pool, a bettor is seeking to cover competitors (or prop bet options) with a wager that most other bettors are overlooking.  The dark horses or long shots that finish in the top spots turn healthy profits in pari-mutuel betting, whereas a betting favorite that finishes in the top spots generally won’t trigger a huge return on the original stake, because you weren’t unique amongst the bettors in wagering on that outcome.

Golf horse races, shootouts, and steeplechases are natural bridges for golf pari-mutuel wagering to enter the golf space as the ‘final teams standing’ define those top spots.  Private clubs often elevate the fun factor with pari-mutuels at member-guests and member-member tournaments and also use the pari-mutuel concept for betting on flight winners, as well as predicting overall results in advance of Round 1.  Golf trips, while daily formats might vary greatly, lend well for daily pari-mutuel bets based on that day’s format as the travelers want to participate in fresh predictions that might just yield them a payout for covering an outcome that comes to fruition at day’s end.  Daily pari-mutuel bets also keep excitement and engagement going for the next round’s performance even if they played poorly in the prior round.

Homestretch Golf is the perfect software to allow your participants to easily save their wagers on the platform’s digital tickets, let them enjoy live odds (for all pools, if applicable: Win, Place, Show), receive automated receipt and results notifications, and have the payout calculations done instantly for you upon checkout.  Homestretch Golf was built by a PGA Professional and launched in 2019, and has run pari-mutuels for thousands of golfers.  Your trip participants won’t have to download an app from an app store, nor will they have to create an account.  They simply ‘Find your Tournament’ that you’ve created and start saving their wagers – quick and easy!  And the admin managing the tickets has a streamlined way to keep organized as participants fund their tickets, which is very helpful when running a cash game which is still the overwhelming favorite way to offer trip bets.  What is the saying?  Cash is king?

Prop bets using pari-mutuel golf calculations are becoming more popular on Homestretch Golf.  Consider bets that aren’t necessarily betting on people.  Popular prop bets using just a Win Pool on Homestretch Golf are ‘Winning Score’, ‘Total # of Birdies or Better’, various margins of victory (great for match play), or anything creative that your group would like to make predictions on.  We’ve seen groups run prop bets on # of lost balls that day or on a certain hole with water next to the green.  The sky’s the limit to how you leverage Homestretch Golf to offer prop bet prediction fun!

Take your golf trips to the next level with Homestretch Golf’s pari-mutuels & prop bets software!  Put more smiles on the faces of your travelers and up the FUN with extended betting windows in advance to the trip, live odds and instant payout calculations – all delivered and managed by Homestretch Golf!

Create your free admin account to get started!

Join Homestretch Golf on our inaugural Golfbreaks trip to Las Vegas in December 2024: