What Is A Golf Mulligan? All Beginner Golfers Should Know

Golfers throw a couple of shots that they hope could still go back to doing something different, particularly terrible strokes.

In these situations, a Mulligan may be helpful for them! 

What is a golf Mulligan? It is a type of do-over established by golfers. It permits them to attempt again at terrible shots to correct their mistakes.

If you want to learn more, it’s best to dive into this post! It will provide basic knowledge about this golf practice.

Where Does A Golf Mulligan Come From? 

The history of the name mulligan is not clear; yet, there are several theories.

According to the USGA, this term was named after David B. Mulligan, a Canadian golfer. He was a member of the Country Club of Montreal in the 1920s.

The actual origins are unknown. However, the following are three hypotheses for how the name came to be:

Theory 1:

After striking a terrible hit, Mulligan teed up and corrected a tee shot, which he described as a correction shot.

His teammates thought that naming that practice after his name might be more appropriate.

He pioneered the idea of this rule at Winged Foot after he moved from Canada to America.

Theory 2:

The additional shot was awarded to Mulligan because he was jumpy and wobbly following a challenging ride across the Victoria Bridge toward the golf course.

Theory 3:

Another theory is that Mulligan was offered a second shot after oversleeping and rushing to reach his tee time.

Another version of the story involves a golfer called John A. “Buddy” Mulligan. 

During the 1930s, he worked as a locker room assistant at New Jersey Essex Fells Country Club.

While working at this club, he regularly completed 18 shots with Dave O’Connell and Des Sullivan.

He asked Sullivan and O’Connell to let him repeat a bad initial shot he had made. He claimed that they had been training while he was at work.

Others began awarding themselves “Mulligans” to his honoring after knowing the reason.

Another intriguing idea suggests that the name originated as an ethnic insult as Irish-Americans attended sports clubs and were mocked for being poor golfers.

What Is A Golf Mulligan? 

A mulligan is a do-over shot in golf. It allows you to retake a stroke from the same place as your previous shot without incurring any penalties.

Because of a poor shot on the preceding stroke, it may be permitted in friendly matches.

This technique can help you play faster and spend less time looking for a misplaced ball in an informal competition.

Remember that before you request the extra shot, all participants must agree.

It will probably result in disqualification if you try it deliberately to allow it to occur in a professional event.


What is the purpose of this stroke? In golf, this practice is a particular circumstance that provides various advantages.

It’s an extra chance to blow your mind, maintain your sanity, relieve stress, and boost self-esteem.

A “Gilligan” is the inverse of this practice, in which your opponent might request that you retake a successful shot.


Only tee shots are eligible for a golf mulligan. Members often can decide to restrict it through the match’s first shot.

Multiple extra shots may be granted at the first hole if all team participants agree. Organizers of charity events may offer these shots to raise extra funds.

The number of this practice available is subsequently restricted to the ticket number sold at the tournament’s start.

It is a do-over golf practice

Is Mulligan Legal According To The Rules Of Golf? 

According to the Rules of Golf, this extra shot is not legal. In fact, the rules even don’t mention that term.

In other words, this practice is not permitted if you’re competing in a tournament regulated by the Rules of Golf.

If you want to know more basics of golf rules, this video will be helpful: 

Players must penalize themselves by a stroke rather than using mulligans in particular scenarios when they may utilize one in an informal match.

A golfer can only redo a stroke if he announces an extra stroke in golf. When a golfer has cause to suspect the ball he just struck is lost or won’t be hit from the penalty zone, he will throw this practice.

You can’t ask for a second extra shot only to take a second chance; instead, it is perfect for saving time.

If a shot penalty is given, it doesn’t require a player to backtrack to the spot where he just hit that stroke.

Nevertheless, it does not prevent golfers from utilizing this practice in a tournament of golf.

This extra stroke can assist players in speeding up their game and solving difficulties on the field instantaneously.

Mulligans are appropriate to utilize occasionally in an informal course of golf as long as they don’t slow down the speed of play or disrupt the game’s pace.

What Is The Best Time To Ask For A Mulligan? 

As shared earlier, you can call for this practice in certain circumstances. So, what is the best time? Here are some tips to consider:

The Right Time

When a player’s tee shot from the first hole goes out of borders, it’s an excellent sign to offer a mulligan.

In this case, a mulligan may make the situation more pleasurable for specific players.

If your team decides to accept the second stroke throughout the match, you must specify which options you will use.

There are two options to consider:

  • A provisional ball: It will give you the option of playing the previous shot or a mulligan one.
  • A must-ball: Regardless of how your mulligan turns out, you must perform the shot from wherever it lands.

Put some Golf Mulligan Excuse Cards in your pocket to make the second ball clear in a golf round.

When using this practice, tear the card when taking it out of your pocket. Wave it to the delight of your fellow companions.

The Wrong Time

Permitting several mulligans might detract from the tournament’s stakes and fun for competitive golfers.

When using the second extra shot, avoid doing so if it slows you down or if the group ahead of you is playing quicker.

Additionally, if you play better than the rest of your team, hit fairways often, and usually get the greens, it’s terrible to request a mulligan.

What’s more, when you’re resting on the fairway, don’t request this practice.

Time to ask for the second chance

What Are Mulligans’ Bad Reputations? 

The mulligan is a controversial technique. Some golfers will become offended when you utter the term in casual conversation.

For instance, the Atlanta-based GOLF Top 100 trainer, Jon Tattersall, describes this practice as an act of the piss. He regards it as a practice, not a play. 

Besides, Brian Henninger, a Veteran Tour professional, disapproves of mulligans. He is afraid of ignorant players who don’t follow, grasp, or falsify the score’s essential reliability.

In A Nutshell

This article has ultimately solved your question: What is a golf mulligan? In general, this practice is a do-over in golf. 

You can retake another shot without penalties in exceptional cases like lost balls to save playing time. 

You also note that this practice is not legal in the golf rule book. You can call for it in casual competitions. 

Hopefully, this post will be helpful for you. If you have further questions, feel free to check our blog page or comment below. Thanks for reading!

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