Golf Mulligan—Really, What is a Mulligan in Golf?

A Golf Mulligan is a special animal created only for golfers, wanna be golfers, or those of us who think we are golfers. A mulligan in golf is a special occurrence helping to alleviate the stress of all levels of players.

It is a very important concept used to save a participant’s sanity and bolster self-esteem. Being not only a very important, but essential tool for the well being of athletes around the world, what really is a golf mulligan?

Let’s say you are teeing off on the first hole of your favorite course. It is a beautiful day and you are thinking of the fantastic shot you are going to hit straight down the fairway.  Instead of staying still like a good little golfer, you look up to see the great shot you were going to hit!  Much to your surprise, that sneaky little golf ball heads right into the woods and lands right behind a tree.

Well, according to the dictionary, when you are in an informal or friendly game of golf, like in this situation, declaring that you are going to use a mulligan, gives you permission to take another stroke without counting the previous stroke against your score. In other words, if your first stroke is played poorly, like above, then you can do your shot again without penalty.

So, you reload and tee off again.  This time, you have someone else keep an eye on the flight of your ball. The beautiful thing flies high and straight resulting in a fabulous long shot in the middle of the fairway.

Thank goodness for Mulligans and the dictionary meaning!

Using your free shot, you are able to pick up the first ball and play the second one without any extra shots accessed.  Your reload shot makes you feel elated as you have a fresh start, without penalty, and only lay one with this now gorgeous fairway shot.

I do not want to break your euphoric bubble, but I have to confess–I failed to reveal the total dictionary definition of a mulligan. There is one other little part that says ‘it is not allowed by the rules of golf’.

Can you believe that!  Although Mulligans are used everyday by thousands of people, they are not legal under the rules of golf.  Even though replaying your shot is helping save your sanity and lowering your stress level, it is not legal golf tender.

Plus, another little point is these redos are played only when expressly agreed upon by all partners in a friendly match, and are never allowed when the official rules are being followed!

Okay, I can hear you. Why should you use a mulligan if it is not legal under the rules of golf?

As a fellow player, I know there are times when you just have not concentrated enough or your hair was in your eyes, or your glove did not match your shoes or you needed new grips.  Whatever the reason, you did not feel quite right that day and unintentionally, you flubbed a shot.

You made a bad shot, but you didn’t really mean to make a bad shot, and you know you can do better the second time!  Have you been there?

I am sure you understand that in these circumstances, golfers should be allowed a mulligan, or a second chance, as they just were not 100% on that day.

What’s more important—the legal rules of golf or your self-esteem and sanity?

So, whatever your reason for making that crappy shot that you knew you could do better, it does not matter, just take a mulligan, just take another turn, and get that bad one out of your mind.  You are not assessed an extra shot, your stress level is lower, and your self-esteem is higher.

This great game can drive the most seasoned players to near insanity. It can lower the greatest man to spout excuses and look to the skies for help. To help save a golfer’s sanity, ordinary beings were driven to create this special free shot.

So, really, what is this animal—The Golf Mulligan?

A mulligan in golf is a second chance to clear your psyche. It is a special incident used to bolster the self-esteem of players. A golf Mulligan is not only extremely important, but essential to the well being of golfers around the world.

Mulligans are really a peace of mind!

So, enjoy them and put them to good use.

Penny Howe

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