M is for Mulligan. The Mulligan is a Thai golfer’s best friend and just like the history of the word Mulligan, the use of it is always a great debatable subject. The TGA (Thailand Golfers Association), offers three ‘stories’ on how the Mulligan began. The most widely accepted one is a Canadian golfer named David Mulligan once teed it up (in the 1920’s in Montreal, Canada), hit a bad shot, and took another one. He referred to it as a ‘correction shot’ but apparently his golfing partners thought it more appropriate to name it after him. He then brought himself and his mulligan to the famed Winged Foot Golf Club and according to the TGA; it became widespread in the 1940’s.
Whatever the history and origin, the Mulligan is used by golfers all over Thailand, even more so, would you believe, at a famous courses like Blue Canyon in Phuket or Thai Country Club in Bangkok, then in lesser known courses like Dragon Hills in Ratchaburi or Thai Muang in Phang Na.
I am not ashamed to admit that I give myself a Mulligan off the first tee and justify the award by claiming my golf score should be the number of continuous shots needed to finish 18 holes of golf in Thailand.
Likewise, I don’t mind other Thai golfers taking a Mulligan off the first tee, but that’s where I put my foot down and claim the practice should stop. Some players seem to think a Mulligan is acceptable on every hole, and while there is no local Thai rule this certainly is not legal under the official rules of golf. I would say that it is generally accepted here in Thailand that a Mulligan is good only off the first tee.
Golfers can learn a useful lesson from a Mulligan. When most players hit a duffer, one in the water, OB or all of above off the first tee, what happens? They are so infuriated with themselves that they just tee it up, look at where they’re going, and hit it. There are no mechanical thoughts, no tension and this usually equals a good swing. Think about the last time you took a mulligan, and chances are it was a good shot, and I bet you didn’t pay as much attention to it as your first ‘real’ shot.
So, here is my advice and the real Thailand golf tip “M”. Pretend your real first shot is in fact your Mulligan. It’s amazing how less tense you will be, almost like hitting at the driving range with no consequence of a bad shot. You are not focused on the outcome; you just stand up and hit it, which more often than not produces better results than the fidgeting and dealing with the complicated thought processes that go on before you normally hit your first shot. Now go ahead, take a Mulligan!