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How many mulligan's would you need to compete on the PGA Tour?


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If you're a GolfWRX member, then you have to give the PGA Tour pros a few mulligans instead.

I’ve played several courses that the PGA and LPGA use and I would need to play as a one man scramble just to have my round look like a golf score and not a bowling one. 

I was giving this some thought last week watching the Pebble Beach 'Pro-AM'=(Pro only) to how many mulligans I would need to keep up. Pebble actually sets up well for me as far as Tour tracks go. I do

I have hovered around a 2 cap for a long time and it's always a few wild shots that get me in trouble. Then it can snow ball a tad during recovery. I do make my share of birdies though so getting back those wild shots would be huge. 

Also the confidence that a bad shot won't kill me is an enormous mental boost. It would allow more risk reward. 

I have played in more than a few scrambles where someone doesn't show up. We are usually given the option to chose any one of us to take the fourth shot. When I get two cracks at a shot it has lead to some ridiculously low scores. So if i could take 8 mulligans a round I think i could come in with a 3 or 4 under on nearly every round. Which may or may not compete for anything other than back of the pack... but I think I could make a few weekends. 

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I was thinking about this more, in general a mulligan is worth less than a free stroke. Yeah mulligan is more helpful when you hit your tee shot OB, but in pretty much every other case you'd want the free stroke. Top your driver 100 yards? 100 yards + a long iron is going to beat your best possible mulligan drive. Missed the line on the 12 foot putt? No problem, just tap it in with free 2nd stroke rather, much easier than retrying the putt.

 

So overall a more interesting question is how many strokes you would need to compete on the Tour. In general, I think par minus 8 strokes at a typical 6300 muni course is enough to compete, so if you shoot 80, you need about 16 strokes. If each stroke is worth 1.5 mulligans, you would need about 24 mulligans as an 80 golfer to compete on tour.

 

Edit: but now that I think about this more, there are diminishing returns with mulligans. Mulligan #1 (save it all round for OB tee shot) is worth more than mulligan #10. At some point, mulligans aren't even helpful (like if you can't hit 220 to a par 3 in the wind with your best struck tee shot). So maybe more mulligans are needed.

Edited by tw_focus
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11 hours ago, tw_focus said:

I was thinking about this more, in general a mulligan is worth less than a free stroke. Yeah mulligan is more helpful when you hit your tee shot OB, but in pretty much every other case you'd want the free stroke. Top your driver 100 yards? 100 yards + a long iron is going to beat your best possible mulligan drive. Missed the line on the 12 foot putt? No problem, just tap it in with free 2nd stroke rather, much easier than retrying the putt.

 

So overall a more interesting question is how many strokes you would need to compete on the Tour. In general, I think par minus 8 strokes at a typical 6300 muni course is enough to compete, so if you shoot 80, you need about 16 strokes. If each stroke is worth 1.5 mulligans, you would need about 24 mulligans as an 80 golfer to compete on tour.

 

Edit: but now that I think about this more, there are diminishing returns with mulligans. Mulligan #1 (save it all round for OB tee shot) is worth more than mulligan #10. At some point, mulligans aren't even helpful (like if you can't hit 220 to a par 3 in the wind with your best struck tee shot). So maybe more mulligans are needed.

I guess at the core of the question is with improvement in your execution could you compete?

 

In theory with enough mulligans you could hit every shot to the best of your ability - would it be enough to compete? How many mulligans would it take to allow you to execute all shots well enough to compete?

 

Simply shaving strokes is basically asking could you compete on the PGA Tour with a net score and what would your handicap need to be. In essence - how much worse are you than a pga pro - at their cores they are different questions.

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In many cases, You guys are assuming a mully is a stroke it seems, what if your mully also sucks?

 

I know I played Muirfield Village and shot high 70’s from the tips with two weak water balls.  Call it 76 with two better wedges that didn’t creep back into water

 

Lehman won there one year with four 67’s in a row !!!

 

To compete I need to be 68 or 69.  I need 8 shots a round.  The Q for me is how many re-do’s are required to get those 8 shots ?  14?

 

i’ve gone around Summerlin from the tips in 74. But again, now I need 5 better a day.  10 Mullies? 


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1 hour ago, cardoustie said:

In many cases, You guys are assuming a mully is a stroke it seems, what if your mully also sucks?

 

I know I played Muirfield Village and shot high 70’s from the tips with two weak water balls.  Call it 76 with two better wedges that didn’t creep back into water

 

Lehman won there one year with four 67’s in a row !!!

 

To compete I need to be 68 or 69.  I need 8 shots a round.  The Q for me is how many re-do’s are required to get those 8 shots ?  14?

 

i’ve gone around Summerlin from the tips in 74. But again, now I need 5 better a day.  10 Mullies? 

Yes you are focused in on what I intended with this thread. Realistically some days my swing is so off it could take 20 attempts before I hit the shot I am attempting. 🥺

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A scratch golfer would need 20-30 depending on the day, maybe more. If you take a tour course, it's around a 75 rating. Add tour conditions probably 79 rating. To compete the player would need to shoot let's say -3 so 69. Basically a scratch golfer needs to play 10 strokes better than handicap.

 

The hardest part would be making the birdes required. Something that people don't seem to really notice is how many birdes tour pros make. Yes they may shoot -2, but could have 4-6 birdes getting there. The average scratch golfer probably makes 2-3 a round at normal conditions, let alone tour conditions.

 

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On 2/23/2021 at 10:41 AM, cardoustie said:

In many cases, You guys are assuming a mully is a stroke it seems, what if your mully also sucks?

 

I know I played Muirfield Village and shot high 70’s from the tips with two weak water balls.  Call it 76 with two better wedges that didn’t creep back into water

 

Lehman won there one year with four 67’s in a row !!!

 

To compete I need to be 68 or 69.  I need 8 shots a round.  The Q for me is how many re-do’s are required to get those 8 shots ?  14?

 

i’ve gone around Summerlin from the tips in 74. But again, now I need 5 better a day.  10 Mullies? 

 

That was kind of how i saw it too. But my general feeling is a low index will use the mulligans well enough. Like if you hit a tee ball in the water, you likely won't do it the second time. So it's unlikely you'd make doubles or triples

 

Still going low would be hard because the default would likely be to use your mulligans on "bad shots" and not necessarily to chase birdies. But you'll need to make birdies to shoot 67, and doing that on a 7200yd course is not easy for us

 

I ended up on 11-13 i think i said, but we're thinking kind of alike

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What do you mean by keep up?   I was inside the ropes for 10 years at Pebble Beach as well as many other tour stops.  Many of the amateurs do very well at Pebble during the Pro-Am but they are playing from forward tees and getting strokes and no one cares about them so the pressure is not as bad as it seems. Heck no one cares about most of the pros either. Spyglass gets a lot of them, including the pros.  From watching and walking with hundreds of Pros over the years it all comes down to putting in order to play on Sat and Sun or to go home Friday.  Keeping in mind that there are more pros out there that are not on TV, not in magazine articles, not getting interviewed unless they're in the lead, don't have a gallery besides their partner or parents and they all have an almost identical golf game.  They will drive it to within a beach towel of each other, they will flight irons onto the greens with an almost identical flight pattern. If they miss the green, their short games are all very/ eerily similar and then it comes down to putting.  They can all make pars in their sleep. But in a group of three, two will make easy pars and one will drain a bird. After a couple of rounds of that, 2 go home and one might stay, if he drained enough birdies. Point is, if you want to keep up with these guys, your mulligans will be on the green and not off the tee box. 

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Didn’t Tom Watson famously say if he could hit twice every time he’d be in the high 50’s a lot?  Or was it just putting twice?

 

I believe it, that’s a 2 man scramble +8 cap talking


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On 2/21/2021 at 1:08 PM, 97nismo said:

I think the biggest problem is reaching those long par 4s

 

played from the tips at a few Hilton Head courses last year on vacation and I can say I reached about half of the par 4s...and I don’t think if I had 100 mulligans I’d reach them all

 

Agreed, but if you could use them to chip and putt you could get up and down everytime and make pars. Same goes for long par 3s. Attack the par 5s and get on greens on reachable par 3s and use the mulligans to make putts. Surely there is a number when you can get your round under par. 

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From the original post, regarding "keeping up" with the PGA Tour guys, have we decided if "keep up" is "winning" or "making cuts"?

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I'd want a tour caddy to read all the greens. Had a guy caddy for me at Chambers Bay that caddied on the LPGA and the guy saved me so many strokes on the greens during my round. Including a 60+ foot putt. I have never chunked so many approach shots in my life and still somehow shot 76 from the tips!lol! Then probably at least 3-4 Mulligans per hole. Being in the fairway would be a must attacking tour pins and you would definitely want a mulligan in your pocket (or 2) for those speedy tour greens.

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I am a 9 cap, that hits it average guy long (280ish) but not GolfWRX long, can't putt or read greens for crap, have an okay short game and can get some good distance out of the top of my bag on the longer holes.  

 

I'd say if we are defining compete as make the cut semi-regularly, and maybe snag a top 10/20 every once and a while on courses that fit your game....I'd need 4 per hole if no one was watching. Add the pressure, the crowds, the TV coverage, the tens of thousands of dollars on the line, and tack on another 3. 

 

I'm going to say 7 per hole on average to stay around Par or better on a regular basis on a tour setup with the full tour experience. 

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A lot – and I’ll chime in with my little personal experience that led me to this precise answer!

 

I’m a 8ish and get invited a few times a year to a close by club that is just brutal (for me anyway) from the tips: 7,221 / par71 / 76.0 / 143 (designed by Mike Weir and just plain long, cement firm greens, 12ish stimp – you get the idea)… so my cap hovers around 15-16 there… and my buddy is friend’s with the pros there – and we get to pair up with the best overall player (BOP*) I’ve had the chance to be matched up with… Mind you, that it’s his home course, but BOP usually cruises to a 64-66 while I grind myself to 85ishes…

 

And BOP… is no slouch… played on the Mackenzie tour / played once in the US Open (yes, that US Open) and shot 83/76 to miss the cut… and just missed this week, at the qualifier for the Puerto Rico Open by shooting 65 and losing on the 3rd sudden death hole…

 

But even BOP isn’t sniffing at the PGA tour and will never have the chance to ‘keep up’ there…

 

I know the OP mindset was more on ‘how many redo’ would you need to go low consistently on a Tour track… but just from a pure ‘number of shots’ required / even for scratch and pluses here – it’s a lot

Edited by MtlJayMan
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I am a 5, so 4 mulligans per hole should do it, as long as I could carry them over when not used.  Most would be used for putts, 3 or 4 for drives, a half dozen or more for approach shots.
 

A foursome of  5 handicappers in a scramble have no trouble shooting 6 or 7 shoots under a course rating of 74 or so.

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