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When Is It Okay To Take A "Mulligan" On The Golf Course?

Golf is not just a sport; it's an art form that requires precision, persistence and, sometimes, a pinch of creativity. One aspect of the game that has become synonymous with the creative side of golf is the use of "mulligans" – a term that means getting a second chance after a less than successful shot. But when is it really acceptable to use this classic trick on the golf course? We break down some scenarios where most golfers would consider it fair to take a "mulligan." However, note that these are not official rules, but a writer who stretches the rules quite a bit.

1. The breakfast ball (but only if your first shot was bad) Taking a breakfast ball is perhaps the best and fairest way to use a mulligan, especially if you are rushing to the first tee without having warmed up properly in the morning. First hit of the day, go ahead and take another.

Be careful if:

  • You hit a good first shot.
  • You're a guest and your host hasn't said it's okay to take "two off the first tee."
  • You have had a long training session before the round.
  • You are the last player to hit and no one else took a breakfast ball.

2. Missed short putt that you tried to putt in but missed You step forward and try to putt in a two-foot putt but accidentally miss. It happens, so sure, scrape the ball back to its original position and hole the putt properly if you're trying to take the game seriously.

3. Hitting to or from the wrong place on an unfamiliar course New courses are confusing, and sometimes that confusion can lead to mistakes. You hit from the wrong tee markings or towards the wrong green, or down the fairway on hole five instead of hole ten. Go ahead, tee up another one.

4. Damaged Golf Ball You Didn't Notice You may have seen a scratch on the ball and thought it was nothing to worry about. But then you hit the ball, it makes a weird noise and dives out of the air like a wounded duck. Damaged ball, hit a new one.

5. 18th hole during a bad round You've been struggling all day, and your only goal is to find something positive to take with you into the next round. Last shot of the day, another bad shot, take the chance to take a mercy "mulligan." We've all been there. We understand.

6. First putt on fast greens Now it's getting very doubtful, but look, often the practice greens are not as fast as the ones on the course. If you get to the first green with no idea how fast the greens are, ask your fellow players. There may be a chance for a mulligan. Would say that most people might not approve of this one.

see modern black and white golf rangefinders with the text 'Blue Tees' and '3 MAX' on a dark background with a palm leaf pattern and the slogan 'CHANGE THE WAY YOU SEE THE COURSE.

7. Weird Disturbance During the Swing Maybe it was someone sneezing, or a car backing up, or a car on the road that thought it was funny to pee in the middle of your swing. Provided I wouldn't use this card more than once per round, it's an acceptable mulligan chance.

8. Drastic foot slide during the swing Again, don't be the golfer who starts making this a habit, but if your feet slide out from under you, it's not a true display of your skill. I'm a nice person, take another chance.

9. Animal Trespass So your ball rolls toward the hole, and then a bird, dog, or other animal disturbs it? I don't know if the ball would have actually gone in the hole, but either way, I can't think of many better times to say "hit another one."

10. Annoying phone calls Sometimes reality calls. Maybe it's from home, or your boss needs something urgent. If it's a phone call you have to take during a low-stakes round, take the call and then hit another ball.

Using a "mulligan" is an art in itself - part of the unwritten etiquette of the golf course. By using it responsibly and only in fair situations, you can preserve golf's spirit of fun and community, while giving yourself that extra chance to do your best on the course.

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