What is a Mulligan in Golf?

A mulligan is a “do-over”. A chance to replay a poorly executed shot.

It is much more prevalent in the United States than in the UK. 

Mulligan’s are not part of the rules of golf and anyone playing under those rules would not be allowed to take a mulligan.

Whether or not you and your golfing pals allow mulligans is entirely a decision amongst yourselves.

Former President Trump is keen on a mulligan or 10 according to reports!

What is a mulligan?

Why is it called a Mulligan?

There are two theories as to how the term mulligan originated.

John A “Buddy” Mulligan was a locker room attendant at Essex Fells Country Club in the 1930s. After working all morning he was invited to join some friends for a game of golf. Since he hadn’t warmed up he hit a bad opening shot. According to the story he turned to his friends and asked for a replay as they had been able to warm up. They agreed and other members soon began following suit and coined the term mulligan as a result.

According to the USGA, mulligans are named for David Bernard Mulligan, a Canadian hotelier and amateur golfer in the 1920s. His friends allowed him to replay his shot on the first tee following a particularly bumpy ride to the course.

Peter Jensen Brown does manage to blow a hole in both these theories, however.

You can find explanations of many other golf terms in the golf glossary.

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