Our first Forest Hills Ladies quarter tournament for 2011 was called “wipe out”, a game of mulligans. Now, how cool is that? You get a chance to do it over. In this case, you not only get a chance to do it again, but do it again and again and again! The tournament rules stated that you could use your mulligans from any point on the course. Handicaps are converted into free shots that are used during a round. So if you are an 18 handicapper you get 18 mulligans to use anytime. This instead of applying your 18 handicap in the proper manner. Ideally, if you use your mulligans WISELY, you should end up with an even par score or better. Or so I thought.....
The idea of having “second chances” to do things right is actually terrific. The point being you learn from your mistake and you get an opportunity to make things right. Don't they say “it's always better the second time around?”
But second chances aren't always good. If you play your round thinking that you have all these “second chances”, there is that possibility for you to get careless and loose your focus because afterall, you have all these mulligans anyway. Not only is there a tendency to get sloppy in your shot-making, you can also get GREEDY... and greed is the root of most evils.... especially in golf.
Take hole 5 (Forest Hills Handicap 1, par 4), I cross the ravine in two but not quite reaching the green. I make an easy pitch to the green in 3 shots. I take my third shot but I end up left on the green on the slope short. This leaves me with a 10 foot putt. With some luck I could still make par or I could make 2 putts and save bogie. “But wait!!! I have all these free mulligans” I thought. So I take my mulligan and shank my pitch. What the fuss??? How does one shank a pitch???? Worse, I hit my flighmate in the ankle and then loose my ball into the ravine. What a nightmare! All these because I opted to take my mulligan when I already was on the green. Such is GREED!
During the tournament, I see my flightmates do the same errors I did. They approach the green and end up by the fringe. One up and down and they should still save par. But NO! They take the mulligan, hit it out of bounds and take a penalty. Then there are those golfers who save their mulligans, hoping to use it when they REALLY, REALLY need it. Then they get to the last hole with 5 mulligans or more to spare. What were they thinking???? Use these mulligans for the next tournament?????
So is it really better the second time around? Maybe. A mulligan can seem like a life saver, but its more like a golfers eraser to wipe out the sins of a bad shot. Hey all of us deserve a mulligan now and then. To know that if we do make a mistake (in golf or in life) that we do have a chance to start over and make it better.