If you've ever played a round of golf, chances are you've wished for a do-over at one point or another. Whether you topped your drive into the woods or sent your approach shot sailing over the green, there have likely been many moments when you've thought to yourself, "If only I could take that shot again." Well, my friend, there is a way. It's called a mulligan.
Ah, the mulligan. That age-old question in golf: to take one or not to take one? For the uninitiated, a mulligan is a "do-over" of sorts; it's when a player is allowed to re-do a shot without penalty. In other words, it's a freebie. But should you take one if you're offered? Let's explore.
How Mulligans Work
Mulligans are most commonly used on the first tee shot of the day. For example, let's say you're about to tee off on the first hole and you're feeling nervous. Your hands are shaking and your heart is racing. To make matters worse, there's a water hazard lurking just off the fairway. In other words, it's the perfect recipe for disaster. And thanks to all your negative thoughts disaster strikes as your tee shot skips into the water.
So what do you do? You could try to tough it out and hope for the best. Or you could take a mulligan. If you decide to go with the latter, simply tee it up again with no penalty stroke. No harm, no foul. It'll be as if that first swing never happened. But there are some unwritten rules of etiquette even when it comes to mulligans.
If you're offered a mulligan by your playing partner, the proper response is often to politely decline. If, after hitting your shot, you realize that you would like a mulligan, you can ask your playing partners if they would mind if you took one. It's considered poor form to just declare that you're taking a mulligan without first asking permission. Most often you will declare whether a mulligan is allowed before you start your round.
Now, some purists will argue that taking a mulligan goes against the spirit of the game. They'll say that golf is supposed to be a challenge and that you should have to live with the consequences of your bad shots. To those people we say this: sometimes life is too short to play bad golf. If your foursome allows for a mulligan and taking a mulligan helps everybody enjoy their round and play better golf, then so be it. Just don't make it a habit.
At the end of the day, whether or not you take a mulligan is up to you and your playing partners. But for a friendly game with your buddies, a breakfast ball or mulligan on the first tee isn't such a bad thing. It gives you a chance to erase your early morning jitters and start fresh. And who doesn't love a do-over every now and then?
If you find yourself taking too many mulligans or losing too many balls it may be time for some practice. And we have the perfect solution - see below to find out more.