What is a Mulligan in Golf? Explained For Amateurs

By Chris Moore •  Updated on 02/25/22

A mulligan in golf is what you call a second chance. If you hit what appears to be a bad shot, and want to try again, the other players will allow it as long as they can see that your first shot landed on an unplayable surface (e.g., water).

The term “mulligan” originates from the phrase “to take one more swing” or “to give oneself another chance to do something.”

Are Mulligans allowed in competitive play?

Mulligans are only used in casual rounds, and not allowed in any type of competitive play like the majors.

Since they aren’t in the golf rules, what decides whether or not to allow a mulligan is simply up to the players playing. There are no official guidelines, but typically if someone does take a mulligan, their opponents will usually give them one in return.

Some golfers have taken the “mulligan” concept too far by taking multiple mulligans on each hole, which obviously would be disruptive to the game.

How do you take a mulligan in golf?

To take a mulligan, what you need is for all players on your side of the hole to agree that they will allow it. You can’t just ask one player if he or she wants to let you have another shot-you have to get everyone on board.

Once everyone agrees, the next step is to announce that you are taking a mulligan. This lets your opponents know so they can keep track of what’s going on.

After announcing you’re taking a mulligan, wait for all of the other golfers to take their shot, and then take your second shot and play on from there.

When to take a mulligan

There’s no definitive answer as to when you should take a mulligan. Some golfers might only take one if they really mishit the ball, while others may try to take a mulligan on every hole.

It all depends on your personal preference and what you’re comfortable with. Just be sure that whatever decision you make, you stick to it, and don’t take more than what you’ve decided on!

For example, if you don’t want to take a provisional shot and your group is okay with it, then take a mulligan instead.

Purpose of a Mulligan

The purpose of a mulligan is to retake a shot you mishit, giving yourself another opportunity to make a good golf shot. It’s not meant to be used as an advantage, but simply as a way to help you get back on track.

Mulligans can be helpful if you’re struggling early in a hole since it allows you to try again without the added pressure of losing points. Just remember that using a mulligan should never slow down the game or disrupt what’s going on.

Mulligans are a fun part of golf, and everyone has their own strategy for using them. The most important thing is to be respectful of your opponents and not use them excessively!

How many mulligans can you take?

If you’re playing by the official golf rules, you can not take any mulligans during a round.

As previously stated, in any type of competitive play, these are not allowed.

However, in casual rounds where everyone is just trying to have fun and play some golf, taking mulligans can be what you decide.

If your group decides that they will allow them though, there are no set rules on how many times someone can take a mulligan; generally, it’s 1 mulligan per side or 1 mulligan per round, but it depends on you!

Mulligans became popular in golf in the early 1900s. There is no official rule about them in the golf handbook to this date.

Some people believe that Mulligans were first introduced in America by a man named David Mulligan, who was an early member of the PGA. However, there’s no real evidence to support this claim.

Regardless of when they became popular, Mulligans are now a part of the casual game and something that many golfers enjoy using to help them shoot lower scores.

Chris Moore

Hi, I'm Chris Moore and I'm the guy behind As an avid golfer since 2010, I decided to create this blog to share everything I've learned over the years. Whether it's golf equipment, swing tips, or anything in-between, I want to make sure you have everything you need to become a better golfer.