Two Kinds of Mulligans—Which Mulligan in Golf Works Best for You?

There are two kinds of mulligans in golf. Which one is the best? Which one is most advantageous to you, the golfer? Which of the Mulligan scenarios should you choose if you have a choice?

Picture yourself on the first tee of your favorite gorgeous golf course. It’s a superb day and you are prepared to enjoy a great round of golf. You are looking fresh with your new golf shirt and your matching golf shoes. You are ready!!

You tee that beautiful little ball up to the right height, take a practice swing, and then do your setup routine. You take a fine swing with your prized driver. To your chagrin, that precious little ball heads right for the fairway bunker on the left side of the fairway.

You are not too happy, but the good thing is that you are playing with your buddies and they allow a mulligan on the first tee shot.

What are your mulligan alternatives?

Alternative #1: “The Must Mulligan”

The first kind of mulligan is when you hit a bad shot or a shot you do not like and you decide to hit another ball in place of that golf shot. In this case, you MUST use that second ball.

Now, don’t get mad at me-I did not make the rule.

If that ‘do over shot’ is better than the first one, then obviously your mulligan has done its job and put you in a better situation.

But, if you still did not pay attention and the ‘do over’ shot ends up being not as good as or worse than the first one…

Too bad, so sad—that’s the one you have to play.

Like was mentioned above, you hit your first shot long, but on left side of the fairway right in to the fairway bunker. You reload and decide in your mind that you are not going to be left again. So, what do you do—you wind up and hit the ball right. Now, you hit it good that if for sure, but it ends up hitting a tree, and landing out of bounds.

Really, I am not a sadist!!

In this Mulligan scenario #1: Using the ‘Must Mulligan’, you have to use the second ball!

Lucky for you, there is:

Alternative #2: “The Provisional Mulligan”

With this second kind of mulligan, if your second shot is not as good as your first, you can still use your first.
In other words, your second try is what we call a PROVISIONAL shot. You are hitting it with the provision or idea that if it is better than the first one, you will use it. If it is not, you have the opportunity to use the first one.

PERFECT: All the cards (or balls in this case) are in your favor!

So, using the ‘Provisional Mulligan’ in the golf scenario above, you would have the option of which ball to use. Of course, you would play your first ball that is in the sand trap, as it is still in play, opposed to the second shot that ended up out of bounds.

Your mulligan was not really put to good use, but it certainly is better than being out of bounds and hitting three off the tee, like with the ‘must mulligan’.

In this Mulligan scenario #2:Using the ‘Provisional Mulligan’, you can pick the best of two golf shots!

With the ‘Must’ Mulligan you must use your mulligan or second shot off the tee.
With the ‘Provisional’ Mulligan you have a choice of using your first shot or your second mulligan shot, whichever is best.

Well, it looks like the ‘provisional mulligan’ is a chance for a win, win, Mulligan situation.

So, if your golfing group plays with a mulligan, and you can choose what kind of mulligan to play, it would seem that the ‘Provisional Mulligan’ should be selected over the ‘Must Mulligan’.

Whichever Mulligan alternative you use, add some fun by declaring your mulligan using a Golf Mulligan Excuse Card. Keep your mulligan card hidden in your pocket.  When the time for your mulligan arises, pull it out, flash it and wave it in the air.  Then with some flare and lots of emotion, use the excuse on your card and entertain your fellow golfers!

A laugh or two, along with some amusement and a mulligan, is great for the golf mental health.

Penny Howe

Check out these other Mulligan articles.

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