What is a Provisional Mulligan?
While we as golfers spend a whole lot of time working on refining our golf game to hit better, more consistent, golf shots, the fact of the matter is we all still hit our share of bad shots. Golf is hard game, and we all know that. Even the pros struggle to find the fairways and greens, they just struggle a little less then the rest of us. Golf is also not a very forgiving game either, one mistake can cost you a high number on your score card and change your outlook on the rest of the round.
Fortunately, some where along the history of the game of golf some one thought it might be a good idea to introduce the mulligan. While this is definitely not a legal action by the rules of golf, it can have a very positive effect on ones golf game if used correctly. For those that do not know, a mulligan in golf is essentially a “do over”. For instance, if you shank our tee shot into the woods, you could say “I’m going to take a mulligan”, and re tee the ball and hope for a better result and just not count the first shot.
The mulligan is an important part of golf for many high handicap players as it can take some pressure off making mistakes. Typically, most golfers will only allow fellow players the opportunity to use a mulligan on their tee shots. Furthermore, many also try to limit the number of mulligans to 1 per round, 1 per 9, or only on the first hole.
To make this even more interesting, somewhere along the line, some one also introduced the provisional mulligan. This essentially allows a golfer to hit a questionable shot, and then say “I am going to hit a provisional mulligan” which really means I am not sure which ball I am going to play, but I would like the option to try and hit a better shot. It get’s a little complicated when you play with someone who elects to hit a provisional mulligan fairly often but then decides to use their first shot each time. It’s for this reason that many golfers do not allow for a provisional mulligan as it opens the door to confusion and ultimately the use of more mulligans then may have been agreed upon.
The best thing to do is decide with your golf mates what mulligan and provisional mulligan rules you would like to have applied to the round before you begin. If you are playing solo, do the same and stick to it.
Just remember if you are keep track of your handicap, you are really playing at an unfair advantage…