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What's the deal with a Mulligan?

Updated on August 22, 2016

Recently at a special local charity golf tournament, in which the company I work for sponsored, a fight broke out. Now a days you never know when you go to a fight, if golf games going to break out somewhere on the field of play. (That was suppose to be a joke). Now how could something for a good cause turn so horribly bad. We learned latter that an argument that first turned into a headlock escalated into an all out brawl. We then learned that the cause behind this entire conflict was something called a Mulligan. I wasn't sure what a Mulligan was at the time, but a short time latter someone told me that it meant a do over in golf, and that the golfer got another attempt to hit his golf ball. Mulligans at this particular golf coarse cost fifteen dollars for three of them prior to tee time. Then we all started to wonder where the term Mulligan came from. I figured it was because someone with Mulligan as their last name in the early days of golf, wanted to hit their golf ball over again. Since they were the first person ever to do it, everyone called it a Mulligan in their honor. So in a quest to find out the truth on the word Mulligan, I decided to do some research. After completing some extensive research one thing always remained consistent, and that was that nobody really knows how the word Mulligan acquired it's golf meaning and came to be. I don't even think drbj could possibly be 100% sure about this one. It appears that back in the 1940s the term Mulligan was in common use on golf courses everywhere. Some of the better known stories included a fellow named David Mulligan who was not happy with his shot at a Montreal golf course, and hit it again. At a New Jersey golf course a gentleman by the name of John "Buddy" Mulligan often replayed his poor shots. Way back in the day these two men may have been known as the "Mulligan connection". A Mulligan is basically just a "freebie" to be used by golfers who are unhappy with their shots. Outside of golf a Mulligan refers to a haircut, and a free bottle of booze set on a bar for customers to drink from. There's even an uncharted island where Mulligan was always getting into mischief. Oh wait a minute that was Gilligan. (That was another joke). So I guess I wasn't that far off with my first assumption, that the term Mulligan was named after a golfer who wanted a "do-over". Hold on a second, only in golf are players given a "Do-over". Can you imagine if other sports gave it's players another chance after they botched a play. In the NFL with only one second left in the game, and the winning field goal was missed. The coach just simply yells out Mulligan, and the second attempt goes through the up rights to win the game. In baseball the pitcher gets to use a Mulligan when the batter hits a home run on the final pitch of a full count. Only on the next pitch he strikes out the batter. In NASCAR drivers could call for a Mulligan when they run out of gas to get an opportunity to refuel to win the race. In poker a Mulligan could be used after seeing the other player's cards in a bluff. In basketball one could be used to re-shoot a missed basket. No other game gives you another try after you mess up. Not soccer, hockey, tennis, or any other sport gives out freebies. So what makes golf so special? I guess that's because golf is such a hard game. I mean after all a golfer has to hit a stationary ball, while standing still with all the time in the world, and with no opposing team to block their shot. The golfer then must walk a few feet to a motorized golf cart, and drive to where they hit the ball. They have the opportunity to drink a refreshing beer on their way, and even have someone called a caddy pick up after them. Talk about a rough stressful life for an athlete, I can certainly see why they are giving the poor golfer a break. After all a tired out golfer has so much on his shoulders that they deserve a Mulligan. Give me a break! Unfortunately I must conclude this hub now with no definitive explanation for the origin of the word Mulligan. If anyone else out there feels that they have a more accurate explanation for this simple term, please feel free to chime in on the below comment section. Until then keep on smiling, and keep on hubbing.

"A sneak peak  inside of a Mulligan"
"A sneak peak inside of a Mulligan"
"This guy doesn't have anything to do with a Mulligan"
"This guy doesn't have anything to do with a Mulligan"

Have you ever used a Mulligan before?

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    • profile image

      Princess Megan Rose 9 months ago

      A Mulligan is a do over or a free play in golf. Cool. Nicely written details and you gave them special attention and you made this interesting. I have to ask if there has anything to do with Mulligan's Stew. A pleasure to read and looks like you spent time with this. A good presentation. Excellent impression. Always: Megan

    • Dan W Miller profile image

      Dan W Miller 5 years ago from the beaches of Southern California now living in Phoenix since 2000

      Good Lord, I wish I could have a Mulligan in life! Well done, "TheHoleStory!" (Ironic author's name for a story on golf, eh?) If I were a Mulligan descendant, I would campaign hard to be the direct "relative" of a boo-boo that never happened to be famous in life for something!

      ~ D.

    • Healthy Fat Guy profile image

      Healthy Fat Guy 6 years ago from Cincinnati, OH

      I never heard the word "Mulligan" until I watched a Republican Presidential Debate. Michelle Bachman said "You don't get a Mulligan."

      A Mulligan? What? But after tuning for some Fox news entertainment...I heard it again and again, Mulligan this...Mulligan that.

      I thought it was a name for a nerdy kid or "Poindexter."

      But now I know. Great hub. +1 funny

    • mackyi profile image

      I.W. McFarlane 6 years ago from Philadelphia

      Very funny, but informative hub!