Provisionals, Mulligans, and Altered Handicaps

Anyone who’s played in a golf tournament knows what a mulligan is. It’s a free shot. You can usually buy them if you’re golfing at a non-profit event. Guys who just hang out and play once a week generally gift each other one mulligan per nine holes. It’s fairly common practice, so it’s okay, right? The members at my club don’t care, but don’t try to use those cards towards your handicap.

I’ve been playing golf for forty years and I’m convinced that everyone lies about their golf scores. Sometimes it’s blatant. You shoot an 85, but you know you kicked a few woods balls into the fairway. Others conveniently misstate their strokes when the scorer calls out for a tally. It happens. I’m cool with it. We’re only lying to ourselves. I’ve been there and I’ve done that, more than I care to admit.

The final score is the only true indicator of how well or how poorly I’m playing. If I lie about it, I’ll convince myself I’m better then I really am. To prevent that, I try not to take mulligans. If I crank my tee shot into the woods, I’ll take a provisional. The first one is a lost ball. I’m not obligated to look for it. As long as I or anyone else I’m playing with doesn’t find it within five minutes, I get another stroke at +1 instead of the plus two I’d have to add for a drop.

No, I did not just make that up. The provisional shot is in the rulebook. If you lose a ball, you can take another shot and only be penalized one stroke. Don’t get too excited though. Water balls and other on-course hazards don’t count. If you drop a ball into a water hazard, or lose it in swamp grass, you’re taking a drop. That’s a two stroke penalty. It’s only those long-lost woods balls that make you eligible for the provisional rule. You know the ones.

It’s Time to Register for Our Golf Classic

Now that June is here and the country is opening up again, it’s time to think about tournament season. October Golf Magazine is the primary sponsor of the Steve Mitchell Golf Classic in October. Have you registered yet? The date is October 16th. The price is $75 per golfer. The venue is Lee’s Hill Golf Club in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The Hole-in-One Contest is for a $1 Million Cash Prize. You should register. Today. Click the button below to secure your spot.

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