Why Do Golfers Yell "Fore"? Who was Mulligan? (and More) | Summary and Q&A

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November 26, 2019
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Why Do Golfers Yell "Fore"? Who was Mulligan? (and More)

TL;DR

This content explores the origins of four common golf terms: "fore," 18 holes, bogey, and mulligan.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How did the term "fore" become associated with golf?

It is believed that golfers started yelling "fore" at forecaddies to warn them of an incoming ball. This term may have originated from old Scottish sayings meaning "look out ahead."

Q: Why are there specifically 18 holes in a round of golf?

At the St. Andrews golf course in Scotland, it was decided to combine four short holes into two, resulting in a total of 18 holes for a game. This decision influenced other golf courses to adopt the same number of holes.

Q: Where does the term "bogey" in golf come from?

The term "bogey" originated from a popular 1890s song called "The Bogey Man." Golfers started using it to reference the number of strokes expected on a hole, playing against an elusive opponent.

Q: Who is credited with the origin of the term "mulligan" in golf?

The term "mulligan" is named after either David Bernard Mulligan, a Canadian golfer who took a second shot after a bad first shot, or John "Buddy" Mulligan, a locker room attendant who convinced others to allow a do-over. Historians generally lean towards David Mulligan as the true originator.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The term "fore" in golf is derived from old Scottish sayings and may have originated from golfers yelling at forecaddies to indicate that a ball was coming.

  • The decision to have 18 holes in a round of golf was made at the St. Andrews golf course in Scotland to eliminate four short holes, resulting in a total of 18 holes for a game.

  • The term "bogey" was popularized from a song in the 1890s called "The Bogey Man," which referenced an elusive opponent. It came to represent one stroke over par in golf.

  • The term "mulligan" originated from either David Bernard Mulligan, a Canadian golfer who took a second shot after a bad first shot, or from John "Buddy" Mulligan, a locker room attendant who convinced others to allow a do-over.

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