Mulligans In Golf

Someone wrote in a facebook comment “There is no such thing as mulligan in golf. I dont know where we get that term from but in my hometown golfers term it as ‘Murugan’ haha..”  (In this comment’s context, Murugan is a common Indian male name, probably a friend to our commentator and his golf buddies.)

Back to the term “mulligan”.

Yes, everybody knows you will never find any ruling on “mulligans” in the official rule books of golf. Because there is no such things as mulligans in golf, as our friend had said. But in a social game, a friendly competition, in golf charity events, among our usual weekend foursomes, or in corporate entertainment rounds, it is a common practice, as you know it too well. It is also common to find that in charity golf events the organiser will actually sell mulligans to collect the extra money, all for a good cause.

But mulligans can be good sometimes. Especially if you are not Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy. Or if you seldom break 96. In any case, here are a few positive reasons why you should give mulligans to people, or if people give them to you, you must accept::

  • Mulligans help make the golf round more enjoyable
  • People (the one given the mulligans and his partner) are happier
  • The game moves at a faster speed
  • Your client will give you the project or the sale (how many mulligans did you give him?)
  • Your boss might like you a bit more (how many mulligans did you give him?)

So where does “mulligan” come from? How did it originate? There are several versions as to how the term came about. But I like these two: 

  1. An author, Henry Beard, believes that the term comes from Thomas Mulligan, an Anglo-Irish aristocrat and passionate golfer (1793-1879). To Mr. Mulligan, you don’t count a bad shot made on the first tee, you only count the good one.
  2. It all happened when one fine day Mr. David Mulligan, a Canadian hotelier who played the game in the 1920s, hit a tee shot he didn’t like, and so he took a re-hit. His friends found it funny and they decided to name such a practice after Mr. Mulligan.

Finally, please remember, mulligans are not a bad thing. To give or to receive. It makes the world a happier place to live in, at least for about five hours under the sun.


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About pakngah

social golfer; 24-handicapper.
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