The Criers and Whiners Golf Format Explained

Criers and Whiners is the name of a golf format that can be used as a betting game by a group of buddies, or as a tournament format. The gist of it is this: In Criers and Whiners, your course handicap is converted into mulligans that you can use during the round.

Criers and Whiners goes by a couple different names. "Mulligans" is probably the most common, and No Alibis is frequently used, too. "Wipeout" and Play It Again Sam are still other names for this format.

The "Criers and Whiners" name stems from the fact that some golfers (not you, of course) cry and whine about those shots that cost them a good score. "If only I had that one over!" they say. Criers and Whiners puts that theory to the test: In this game, you do get to play those bad shots (some of them, anyway) over.

How Criers and Whiners Works

Imagine a golfer with a course handicap of 15. Rather than applying handicap strokes in the normal manner when handicaps are in use, in Criers and Whiners that 15 course handicap converts into mulligans, or do-overs. A golfer can use those mulligans anywhere on the golf course and at any point during the round, with a couple of exceptions noted below.

The game can be played with full handicaps (a 15 course handicap means the golfer gets 15 mulligans), but it is most common to use only three-fourths or two-thirds of handicaps. That forces the player to be judicious in using his replay strokes.

So: Hit a terrible drive on the third hole? Hit it again. Now you have 14 do-overs left. Run a 4-foot putt eight feet past the hole on the fifth? Try it again. Now you're down to 13 mulligans.

Two other conditions usually apply: The first tee shot of the day can't be replayed, and no shot can be replayed twice.

Because of all the mulligans, Criers and Whiners takes longer to play than "regular" golf. Keep that in mind if your group is going to play it and be extra aware of any groups behind whose play you might be holding up.

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