What Is a Gilligan in Golf?

In golf, a "gilligan" is something you don't want your opponents to use. Because if they do, they'll be using it to make you replay a good shot.

You can think of a gilligan as the opposite of a mulligan. A mulligan in golf allows a golfer who hits a bad shot to replay that shot without penalty. A gilligan, however, allows one of the other golfers in your group to force you to replay a good stroke that you just hit.

Like mulligans, gilligans are never allowed under the Rules of Golf. But, like mulligans, some groups of golfers, usually friends who've played many rounds together, agree to the use of gilligans.

If gilligans are in use in your group, it is entirely up to group members how many can be used during the round, whether there are any limitations on how/where they can be used, and so on. (There are no official rules around gilligans — or mulligans — because they are against the Official Rules!)

Let's say your group plays gilligans, and your group's rule is that a gilligan can be called against a golfer once per nine holes. On the third hole, you hit the best tee shot of your life. One of your "buddies" calls a gilligan. Sorry, but you just lost that drive — you have to play it again.

Or maybe you just rolled in a breaking, 18-footer for birdie on the green. But then one of the other members of your group calls a gilligan on you, and you are putting it all over again.

Gilligans are also called recalls, as in your opponent or follow-competitor can recall your stroke. A common golf game that includes the use of gilligans is Mulligan and Recall. If your group has never played gilligans before, we recommend starting slow with a small number (maybe just one per golfer) to get a feel for how it impacts your round and group dynamic.

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