what is a mulligan in golf

What Is a Mulligan in Golf? Uncover the Mystery!

Last Updated on November 5, 2023

Golf is a game of skill, strategy and sometimes luck. But have you ever heard the term “mulligan”? If so, you may be wondering what it means – or why anyone would even consider taking one in golf. A mulligan in golf is an extra shot taken after your initial stroke on a hole without penalty. We’ll explore this further, as well as when to use a mulligan and some common misconceptions about them. So if you’re curious about this mysterious second chance at glory (or humiliation), then read on to find out more.

Table of Contents:

What Is a Mulligan?

A mulligan is a term used in golf to describe an extra stroke taken after a player has hit their ball. It is not counted as part of the score and does not count against the player’s handicap. The idea behind it is that if a golfer makes a mistake on one shot, they can take another without penalty.

Some people mistakenly believe they can take multiple mulligans per hole, while others think they are only available when playing with certain groups or courses. However, neither of these assumptions is true – each player gets just one mulligan per round regardless of who they’re playing with or where they’re playing at.

When to Use a Mulligan

person placing the ball on ground

A mulligan is a do-over in golf, allowing players to replay a shot they are unhappy with. It can be used when teeing off on the first hole of a round or at any point during play. Generally speaking, it’s best to use your mulligan sparingly and only when absolutely necessary.

When deciding whether or not to take a mulligan, consider how much time you have left before the end of the round and if taking another shot would give you an advantage over your opponents. If there’s plenty of time left and you feel like taking another shot could help improve your score, then go for it. On the other hand, if there isn’t enough time left in the round or if taking another shot wouldn’t make much difference in terms of improving your score, then don’t bother wasting one of your mulligans.

It’s also important to remember that while taking a mulligan may seem like an easy way out after hitting an errant shot, it should never be taken as an excuse for poor performance overall. Taking too many mulligans can lead to sloppy play, which will ultimately hurt your game more than help it.

If you decide that taking a mulligan is the right course of action in certain situations (e.g., when playing with friends who are not opposed to it), make sure all players involved have agreed beforehand on what constitutes acceptable usage, so everyone has an understanding of what is and isn’t allowed during their rounds together. This will ensure no one feels taken advantage of by someone else’s generous interpretation of “mulligans”.

Finally, remember that even though some courses allow them without penalty (or even reward them with extra strokes), most tournaments do not permit Mulligans due to their potential for unfairness between competitors, so save those extra shots for friendly games instead.

Taking a mulligan can be a useful tool when playing golf, but it’s important to understand the pros and cons before deciding whether or not to use one. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of taking a mulligan in our next section.

Key Takeaway: Mulligans can be useful in certain situations but should not be taken as an excuse for poor performance. When using them, all players should agree beforehand on what constitutes acceptable usage, and tournaments usually do not permit Mulligans due to potential unfairness.

Pros and Cons of Taking a Mulligan

It’s often used when a golfer hits an errant shot or makes a bad decision on the course. While it can be tempting to use a mulligan, there are both pros and cons that should be considered before taking one.

One of the biggest advantages of using a mulligan is that it allows you to save strokes and get back into contention if you have made an error. This can help prevent frustration from setting in and allow you to focus on your next shots instead of dwelling on past mistakes. Additionally, taking a mulligan can give players more confidence as they know they have another chance at making up for any errors they may have made during their rounds.

On the other hand, some people argue that using too many mulligans takes away from the challenge of golf and defeats its purpose as a game of skill and strategy. Taking multiple mulligans could lead to poor habits, such as not paying attention or trying harder with each stroke which could ultimately hurt your overall score over time. Furthermore, relying too heavily on them could make it difficult for beginners who are still learning how to play properly since they won’t be able to practice proper form if they’re always taking extra shots due to mistakingly hitting bad ones beforehand.

Ultimately, whether or not someone chooses to use them will depend entirely upon their own personal preference, but knowing both sides of this debate should help inform their decision-making process accordingly.

Key Takeaway: A mulligan can be beneficial for saving strokes and building confidence, but it should be used judiciously as it can lead to poor habits and hinder beginners from learning proper form.

Common Misconceptions About Mulligans

One of the most common misconceptions is that you can use a mulligan in tournaments or competitive play. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Mulligans are only allowed in casual rounds with friends or family.

a golf ball and a flag

Another misconception is that you can take multiple mulligans during one round of golf. While some groups may allow for more than one do-over per round, it’s not standard practice to take multiple mulligans – so if you’re playing with someone who allows them, make sure to clarify the rules beforehand.

Some people also think that taking a mulligan will improve their score significantly – but this isn’t necessarily true either. Sure, hitting another ball from the tee box might give you an advantage over your original drive – but unless you hit it perfectly straight down the fairway every time (which rarely happens.), there’s no guarantee that your second shot will be better than your first.

Finally, some players believe they should always take a mulligan if they don’t like their first shot off the tee box – but this isn’t always wise either. Taking too many do-overs could lead to slower play times and frustration from other players on the course; plus, learning how to recover from bad shots is part of what makes golf such an enjoyable game.


In conclusion, a mulligan in golf is an extra shot that can be taken without penalty. It has been around for decades. While it may seem like a great way to get out of trouble on the course, there are some drawbacks to taking a mulligan as well. Knowing when and how to use them properly will help you make the most of your game. Finally, don’t believe everything you hear about mulligans – they aren’t always used as an excuse for bad shots. With all this information in mind, now you know exactly what a mulligan in golf is and how it works.

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