The History of the Mulligan

The History of the Mulligan

Most golfers are amateurs, and of these only a very small percentage are hard core - that is, the vast majority are casual players. They enjoy the game and the company of their playing partners, and they don’t take the game too seriously.  Of course, they want to play well and there will certainly be frustration, anger, and some off-color language. But in the club house, after the round is over, all the angst disappears over a few beers.

For these weekend players, there is an element of the game that is very much a part of their repertoire: the “mulligan”.  The term refers to a “take-over” - a correction shot.  The player has messed up their first shot by slicing, hooking, topping, or otherwise misplaying the ball and plays a second shot considering the first attempt never happened - a blatant violation of the rules of golf.  The mulligan is commonplace in golf and under most circumstance does not raise an eyebrow.  In fact, it is even known to be used outside the world of golf.

So where, when, and how did the term originate? Well, there are two stories and not surprisingly, both involve a gentleman named "Mulligan". The first and most prevalent takes place in Montreal in the 1920’s - David Mulligan.  He was playing with his usual partners and shanked his tee shot on the first hole.  Without a moment’s hesitation, he played a second tee shot. When questioned by his surprised partners he answered it was a correction shot and called it a "mulligan".  In the second version, Buddy Mulligan is the legend maker and it takes place at a course in New Jersey in the 1930’s.  After working all morning at the course, he was asked to join other golfers to complete their foursome.  He, too, duffed his opening tee shot.  After doing so he complained that he was at a disadvantage since his playing partners had been warming up for a while, but he had rushed from his duties to the first tee without practice.  He was granted a reprieve – a mulligan.

While there are no rules associated with a mulligan there are certain unwritten guidelines.  Your playing partners should be in agreement to the use of the correction stroke. It should only be used for tee shots (usually the first tee) and certainly never for putts.  Most importantly, it can not be used excessively. 

The bottom line is that golf is meant to be enjoyed and not to be taken too seriously for the vast majority of players - it’s a chance at a little exercise, camaraderie and fun.  And of course, after the round is over more socializing in the clubhouse. 

It is in this spirit that the CADDYSACK® is a perfect fit for the casual golfer.  Practical, convenient and comment provoking.  What better companion can there be on the golf course?!  It does the job while generating loads of laughs – a recipe for success!

Dougie 2 Balls

Doug Keyes (Dougie "2 Balls") is an engineer and salesman by day, avid reader and writer by night. Doug would like nothing more than to spend his days on a golf course and his nights in a comfy chair with a good book. Doug is a proud member of the CaddySack Comedy Crew and is well-known for his famous line  "CADDYSACK has 2 balls" in the most recent CaddySack video "What's in the Sack"



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