Fantasy golf is one of the fastest growing activities in the fantasy sports industry. You can play for free or with real money on the line, and you participate by assembling a roster of golfers who’ll be playing on a particular day or over the course of multiple days or tournaments. When people think of fantasy golf, they think of the two largest providers of daily fantasy sports: DraftKings and FanDuel.
Although fantasy golf is trending, it isn’t particularly new, and there are many different configurations in which the game is played. In this article, we’ll focus on the salary cap structure because that’s the format that both DraftKings and FanDuel prefer for all of their games. In this style, every player is assigned a monetary value, and you have to complete a roster within the confines of a salary cap.
Fantasy Golf at DraftKings
DraftKings offers both daily and weekly fantasy golf leagues but generally not leagues that extend over multiple events. Free games are available, and you can even win real money through them, but the bulk of the action requires an entry fee. Fees usually start at around $3, but there are contests with buy-ins that are in the thousands.
Many golf leagues at DraftKings play out in a tournament, which means that you’re in a large field of contestants, but you can also play head to head. You can also opt for 50/50s, which are tournaments where everyone in the top half wins.
Check out the video below to get an idea on how DraftKings works.
Fantasy Golf at FanDuel
It may surprise you to learn that as of the writing of this article, FanDuel doesn’t yet support fantasy golf. The reason likely has to do with language in the UIGEA that puts fantasy golf in a gray area. Nevertheless, we’re discussing FanDuel because the company has plans for fantasy golf for the 2016 PGA Tour, which begins in October. A sticking point with FanDuel when it comes to fantasy golf is the concept of accumulated stats. What this means for players like you is that FanDuel will likely emphasize weekly and multi-event leagues rather than daily leagues that DraftKings does.
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Fundamentals of Fantasy Golf
A single fantasy golf contest typically covers an entire event, from Thursday to Sunday, which means that you’ll have to deal with the cut. These are the type of contests that DraftKings offers.
Also, daily fantasy sports sites may offer multi-tournament leagues – such as the contests that Fanduel will offer. These contests will span multiple PGA tournaments. Multi-tournament leagues can be tougher because you have to find sustained performance. Choosing Spieth or McIlroy is pretty easy, but you won’t be able to field a roster of top players. The big difference between the typical fantasy golf contest and multi-tournament play is that you must draft players that can perform consistently across multiple courses.
DraftKings uses a fairly straightforward scoring system. Golfers score for individual holes: 8 points for an eagle, 3 for a birdie, 0.5 for par and so forth. They also score for streaks and bonuses, such as 3 points for a three-birdie streak and 10 points for a hole in one. Golfers also earn points based on how they finished in a particular round or on the overall leaderboard. Birdies are king in fantasy golf, and generally, winning players will distance themselves from the pack with birdies scored.
Strategy: Making the Cut
The cut is a concept that’s unique to golf in the world of fantasy sports. More than half the field in a PGA event is eliminated on Friday. That means that you could pick a player who’s disqualified. Note that the cut can also effect daily leagues because even if you’re contest takes place on Sunday, some leagues will require you to lock in your roster before Friday. So keep in mind that getting all of your golfers through the weekend is more important than finding that surprise performer.
Strategy: Course Matters
Choosing golfers for fantasy golf is a lot like betting horses. Not all PGA Tour courses are created equal, and most pros have courses where they shine and those were they don’t. There are a lot of statistics available on modern golfers, and you can target pros that play well on a particular grass, in specific weather, at certain temperature ranges and so forth. It also helps to look at last year’s event, which can help identify courses that really favors strong drivers or some other characteristic.
Strategy: Finding Value
Picking studs is easy. Finding value to round out your team isn’t. A great tool for beginners are the Vegas odds. Perhaps no fantasy sport demonstrates bigger discrepancies between odds and player salary than golf. The bookmakers are very good at setting odds for a particular player based on the course, weather and other factors. As a novice, get a leg up by choosing golfers that Vegas favors but that DraftKings salary ratings do not.
Sound like fun? IT IS! We recommend trying it out at DraftKings. They offer free contests so you can get a feel for the game and not have to risk any real money. Click here to visit DraftKings!
And of course, fantasy football is by far the most popular fantasy sports game in the world. Click here to learn how to play fantasy football at FanDuel. Then sign up with this FanDuel promotion code for a $200 bonus!
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