Posted on Leave a comment

What Is A Mulligan In Golf? – Explained!

What Is A Mulligan In Golf?
What Is A Mulligan In Golf?

Golf is known to be a technical sport full of expressions and technical terms that you may not know the meaning of. One of those expressions sometimes thrown out in conversation and golf courses is the word “Mulligan”.

If you are reading this article, you may wonder: What exactly does a “Mulligan” mean in golf?

In this article, we will explain to you exactly what a Mulligan is in golf, along with some examples to solidify your comprehension.

What Is A Mulligan In Golf?

In golf, taking a Mulligan means that you are retaking a shot or stroke you are not satisfied with. In essence, a Mulligan is a second chance. Mulligans are only allowed in some instances of casual golf, meaning they are illegal in competitive and professional golf.

In the great game of golf, the term “Mulligan” is a word that is somewhat uncommon to hear. However, many golfers have heard of the term “Mulligan” before.

If you do ever hear the word “Mulligan”, it will almost always be during a round of casual golf with good friends.

In golf, a Mulligan is essentially a second chance at a golf shot you are not satisfied with. Taking a Mulligan means that you are retaking a golf shot of which you did not like the result.

When you take a Mulligan, you do not count the shot you are unsatisfied with towards your score. This means that if you take one Mulligan to replace a bad shot, you took two shots, but you only count one stroke.

A Mulligan is not something you get by default, it must be allowed by your opponents or the members of your group.

A Mulligan is essentially the opposite of a Gilligan.

Furthermore, Mulligans are illegal in competitive and professional play. You will never see a Mulligan taken on the PGA Tour or in other serious golf tournaments.

You generally only get one Mulligan per golf hole, but how many you get depends on the casual rules you agree on with your golfing group. Some groups only allow a Mulligan on the first tee shot, whiles others allow a Mulligan only on every tee shot.

An important note to mention is that, even in casual circles, Mulligans are not always welcome. Some people prefer to play by the official Rules of Golf, even if there is no money or legacy on the line for them.

A special situation in which Mulligans are sometimes used is charity tournaments. In fact, to raise money, some charity golf tournaments let you buy Mulligans. In such a scenario, golf can technically be pay-to-win, as you can keep buying Mulligans until you have the best score.

In such charity tournaments, an opponent does not have to allow you to take a Mulligan. You can take as many Mulligans as your wallet can afford, unless the rules of the tournament state otherwise.

You can read a real-world example of Mulligan taken in golf, down below.


Larry is playing in a charity golf tournament. He bought 1 Mulligan to use whenever he wants.

A pond is separating Larry from the putting green, meaning he has a tricky shot on his hands.

Larry takes a shot, but his ball unfortunately lands in the water.

“No big deal! I’ll just take a Mulligan!”

Larry places a new golf ball where the old one was, and takes a new shot.

The shot lands comfortably in the putting green, and Larry only adds one stroke to his score, despite taking two shots.

In the example above, you can see just how useful a Mulligan can be to save your score, and for some people, increase your enjoyment in playing golf by reducing frustration.

Weekend Warriors are known to love to incorporate Mulligans within the rules their groups play by.

The term Mulligan’s origin is not obvious at all, and it is quite an interesting story. There was once a man named Mulligan who played golf with his 3 golfer friends.

Mulligan was the one responsible for driving and often took care of a lot of exhausting tasks while his friends took things more easily. As a show of appreciation to Mulligan, the 3 friends gave Mulligan an extra chance on his first tee off stroke.

Since this privilege was only given to Mulligan, the extra chance on a golf stroke was named “Mulligan”. The term Mulligan extended to shots other than just the first tee shot. A Mulligan can now be taken on any shot in golf, if the rules of your group permit it.

There are multiple theories about the origin of the term Mulligan, but this one of the main ones.

If you would like to lower your score and reduce your need to take Mulligans, you can read our guide: How To Improve Your Golf Score? – 9 Pro Tips.


There you go! After reading this article, you have learned exactly what the term “Mulligan” means in golf. You also got to read some real-world examples to further improve your understanding of the meaning of a Mulligan in golf.

Do you have any other words you wish to know more about? Do you play with the “Mulligans” in golf? Let us know in the comments down below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *