What Is a Mulligan in Golf & Where Did The Term Come From?

What Is A Muligan In Gof?

In golf, a “mulligan” gives golfers a second chance at a shot with no penalty. This is especially useful during casual play rounds when golfers make spectacularly poor shots off the tee. While mulligans are not allowed in competitive golf, they are generally accepted during friendly rounds.

Some golfers who make wagers with their playing partners may even negotiate multiple mulligans to keep the game interesting. Mulligans may not be a part of professional golf, but they can add fun.

The Origin of The Term “Mulligan”

The term “mulligan” has been a subject of discussion for quite some time, with many theories and explanations presented over the years. Although the earliest documented use of the term goes back to a 1931 issue of the Detroit Free Press, its true source remains a mystery.

Among the several explanations given, the most common one suggests that it was named after a golfer with the surname Mulligan (David Mulligan or John A. “Buddy” Mulligan), but there is no concrete evidence supporting this claim. Another speculation is that the term was first used in baseball sports writing and linked to a fictional baseball player named “Swat Mulligan.”

Despite its enigmatic origins, the term “mulligan” has become exceedingly popular and accepted by golfers and non-golfers alike to denote a do-over or a second chance.

What Is the Purpose of Mulligan?

The purpose of a Mulligan is to offer golf players a chance to play a second shot in informal play when the first one didn’t quite go to plan. It’s a great way to make golf less stressful and more enjoyable, allowing you to maintain your sanity when facing a challenging course. The reasons for taking a Mulligan can vary from a terrible tee shot, losing the ball, landing in a bunker, moving into woods or rough patches, to simply an unlucky shot.

A Mulligan is a second chance to improve your game and a way to have fun and stay motivated while playing golf. So, if you’re struggling on the course, don’t hesitate to take a Mulligan and give yourself a break.

What Is A “Gilligan” in Golf?

The term “Gilligan” may not be as well-known in golf as its counterpart, the “mulligan.” However, for those familiar with it, the Gilligan is an interesting concept that adds a unique twist to the game.

Unlike the mulligan, which allows players to redo a stroke that did not go as planned, the Gilligan allows an opponent to request that a successful shot be redone. Whether or not to allow mulligans or Gilligans is typically left up to the players themselves, as they are not part of the sport’s official rules.

But for those looking to mix things up and have some fun on the course, the Gilligan could be an intriguing option.

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References: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulligan_(games)


  • 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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