What Is A Golf Calcutta? Things You Need To Know Before Joining

If you have ever heard of a golf Calcutta, you might wonder what it is and how it works. While the concept of a Calcutta in golf may seem unusual, this type of tournament structure has been around for decades.

The basic idea behind a Calcutta is that each golfer in the tournament puts money into a pool that will later be collected by one lucky (or skilled!) player at the end. This creates an exciting “auction-style” competition, as every golfer competes against their fellow players and bids on their chances to win—and other players’ chances too! 

In this blog, we’ll explore everything there is to know about Calcutta in golf: from the definition, how it works, rules and regulations to all sorts of interesting facts about them. So grab your clubs and prepare for an informative exploration into one of golf’s most creative tournament concepts!

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What Is A Golf Calcutta?

A Golf Calcutta is a popular betting format played in golf tournaments, typically used for charity events or fundraising efforts. The game involves auctioning off the golfers in the tournament to the highest bidder, with each team consisting of a combination of one or more golfers.

This format adds an extra level of excitement and competition to the tournament, as participants are playing for their own score, their team’s score, and the potential payout. While this format is mainly used for charitable purposes, shaking up your typical golf game with friends can also be fun.


How Does A Calcutta Work? 

A Calcutta in golf works like an auction, with players bidding on the golfer or team they think has the best chance of winning. Remarkably, players can even bid on themselves, adding to the thrill of the competition. 

The highest bidder is the winner, and all the funds raised go into the pool. When the tournament is over, the owners of the winning team receive a predetermined payout from the auction pool. 

It’s a great way to make the game more engaging and could lead to significant rewards if you pick the right golfer or team.


Rules And Regulations For Calcutta 

What Is A Golf Calcutta
Credit: Mathier

As a popular pastime among avid golf enthusiasts, it’s common for Calcutta tournaments to vary in their specific rules and regulations. 

Many participants and spectators turn to convenient gambling software applications to accurately determine odds and payouts. These programs consider various factors, including the number of available payouts and each team’s overall performance. 

Member-guest tournaments typically offer payouts to the first and second-placed team owners, although some may opt for a three-place or five-place payout system. 

With the help of these advanced software tools, participants can enjoy a fair and exciting competition while earning sizable rewards for their efforts.


How To Get Started With A Golf Calcutta? 

The process begins with selecting the golfers, golf courses, and auction participants who will participate in the tournament. The format of the tournament is typically an 18-hole, stroke-play event. As the tournament approaches, information about the participating teams and golfers is made available to all auction participants.

During the Calcutta auction event, guests have the opportunity to purchase a participating team. Once the tournament begins, golfers compete for the duration of the event. After the tournament, the winnings are paid out to the winning owners. 

Although substantial amounts of money are at stake, sometimes exceeding $30,000, unsavory characters may attempt to engage in shenanigans. Therefore, it is essential to have a professional tone throughout the event to ensure a fair and enjoyable experience for all participants.


Strategies For Betting In Golf Calcutta 

A Golf Calcutta

As any professional golfer knows, the Calcutta format can excite a tournament. But how can bettors increase their chances of success in this unique betting system?

Research The Players Beforehand

One of the most effective strategies is to examine the players beforehand thoroughly.  Doing so allows you to analyze a player’s past performances, current form, and overall skill level. This information can prove invaluable when it comes to placing strategic bets. With this knowledge, you can make informed decisions that will maximize your success chances. 

Know The Course

Another important factor to consider when betting on a Calcutta golf tournament is the course. By familiarizing yourself with the layout of the course, you can gain insight into which players are more likely to succeed. For instance, if a certain hole is notoriously difficult, it may be beneficial to back players who are adept at tackling such challenges. 

By taking the time to study the course, you can gain a greater understanding of the tournament as a whole, increasing your chances of success. 

Focus On Quality, Not Quantity

While some may be tempted to place numerous bets in the hopes of having more chances to win, this strategy is often ineffective. Instead, smart bettors should focus on individual bets likely to yield the greatest returns. By doing so, bettors can reduce their overall risks and increase their potential winnings in the long run.

Know The Payouts

Knowing the payouts and odds is essential. Payouts will vary depending on the type of tournament, so it is important to research this information prior to placing any bets. Additionally, a good understanding of the payout structure can help you make informed decisions when placing bets.


How Does Handicap Work In Golf Events Calcutta?

Before any handicap event, the players’ handicaps must be announced. This is crucial information, as it helps determine the best player to wager on. 

Generally, you’ll want to focus on the player with the lowest handicap score when placing your initial wagers since they are likely to perform the best. However, as the betting heats up, it’s important to keep an eye on players with higher handicaps, as they may surprise you with their skills. 

Handicapping is used to determine a player’s standing and is always a crucial part of any tournament. For team events, the overall team handicap is a vital factor in deciding the winning team. 

Handicapping information is usually released the night before the event, giving adequate time to analyze handicaps and make informed wagers. Enough research and preparation can increase your odds of winning big at these handicap events.


Calcutta Golf Tournament Charity Fundraising

What Is A Golf Calcutta
Golf Calcutta typically used in Charity

The use of Calcuttas in golf tournaments has been controversial, as not all organizations endorse the practice. However, when used for charitable purposes, Calcuttas has the potential to raise significant funds for important causes. This is because the money raised through Calcutta bets can be split between the winning bidder and the charity, with the split determined in advance. 

As a result, Calcuttas can be a win-win situation, both for the participants and the community at large. With careful organization and thoughtful planning, Calcuttas have the potential to make a real difference in people’s lives.


Potential Risks Involved With Playing In A Golf Calcutta

Participating in a Calcutta auction is something to think twice about for amateur golfers who love the game and want to keep their amateur status. The USGA’s policy on gambling is clear: activities that involve compulsory participation or have the potential for high sums of money may be considered contrary to the purpose of the Rules (Rule 7-2). 

Though Calcuttas may seem harmless fun, the potential for large sums of money to be involved can lead to trouble for those wishing to maintain their amateur standing. If you are still determining whether a particular activity could risk your amateur status, seek guidance from the USGA or R&A. 

Before participating in Calcuttas, take time to read the Decisions on the Rules of Amateur Status – such as 7-2/2, 7-2/3 and 7-2/4. These decisions are easily accessible online. Ultimately, it may be simpler to avoid Calcuttas altogether and stick to tournaments and events that align with your amateur status. 


Final Thoughts

Calcuttas are an exciting way to increase the stakes of a golf tournament. When used for charitable purposes, these auctions can be a great way to raise money for important causes.

However, as with any form of gambling, caution should be taken before participating in a Calcutta. It is important to understand the legal implications of gambling and the risks involved with playing for high sums of money. Doing your research and staying informed on the legal aspects of Calcuttas can help ensure that these events are conducted in compliance with applicable laws. Ultimately, having a good understanding of the rules and regulations related to Calcuttas can help you make an informed decision on whether or not this type of event is right for you. ​



Why Is It Called A “Calcutta”?

The term “Calcutta” is derived from the Indian city of Kolkata, where this type of gambling was first invented. It originally began as a way for British traders to gamble on their ships during the days of the East India Company.

What Is Another Name For Calcutta?

“Calcutta,” also known as a “golf Calcutta,” “Calcutta auction,” or even a “Calcutta sweepstakes,” is the name assigned to an exciting type of competitive betting that can be applied to golf and many other sporting activities.

How Does Calcutta Work In Golf Tournaments?

Calcutta, a popular wagering format, typically involves four teams. The process is fairly straightforward: all four teams are listed on a board, and bettors can buy into a team for a set price. Each member can also buy into the team, with each player ultimately receiving a 10 percent stake. 

Should Amateur Golfers Play Golf Calcutta?

The USGA has a strict policy on gambling that amateur golfers must follow, and activities with the potential for high sums of money may be considered contrary to the purpose of the Rules. Amateur golfers must read and understand the Decisions on the Rules of Amateur Status before participating in any Calcutta. Ultimately, it may be simpler to avoid these events altogether and stick to tournaments and events that align with your amateur status.

Is Calcutta Golf Tournaments Legal? ​

These tournaments are completely legal. However, players must be cautious as they may unwittingly be classified as professional golfers before they wish to be. Moreover, the betting style adopted in Calcutta golf tournaments is similar to other popular sports such as swimming, cricket, tennis, soccer, and rowing. 


  • Alvin Daniel

    Hello everyone, I'm Alvin Daniel. I was born in the Philippines and came to the United States when I was 16 years old. I started playing golf at that age and have loved it ever since. I turned professional when I was 21 and have been working as a golf instructor and guide ever since. My goal is to help everyone know more about this great game of golf. And, hopefully, through my instruction, they can improve their skills and enjoy the game even more.

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