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Why Do Golfers Yell “Fore”? Who was Mulligan? (and More)

Why Do Golfers Yell “Fore”? Who was Mulligan? (and More)


It is generally agreed that “fore” is
short hand for the word “before” or “afore,” which was an old Scottish saying essentially
meaning “look out ahead.” As to how it became associated with gold,
in 1824, The Rules of the Thistle Golf Club recounts a conversation where it was expressed
that one of the speakers had performed the duty of “fore-cady” for the Duke of York
back in 1681. Specifically- “Dickson was then performing
the duty of what is now commonly called a fore-cady.” The job of the forecaddie still exists today. Their role is to locate and determine the
placement of the ball, to ensure there is no cheating. They are usually employed during tournament
play when the stakes are the highest. These caddies used to be employed more frequently
in the 18th century for fear the golf ball (a more expensive item back then) would be
lost. Thus, it’s generally thought the practice
got its start from golfers yelling “fore” at the fore-caddies to let them know the ball
was coming and to get ready to be on the look out. Another hypothesis stems from military usage,
when soldiers and those at a higher points would yell at those on the front line below
“fore,” as a warning to duck from oncoming musket shots. While this really was a term used in battle,
there is disagreement which came first – the military using a golf term or golfers using
a military term. Either way, “fore” is just an antiquated
Scottish way to say “look out ahead”. Moving on to another golf topic, ever wonder
why there are specifically 18 holes in golf? Well, wonder no more. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews
in Scotland was founded in 1754 and it was , as it remains to this day, one the most
prestigious golf clubs in the world. Golfers had been playing on this particular
parcel of land as early as the 15th century on a course dictated by the topography. In other words, they placed holes all the
way to where they could play no more, where land meets water at the St. Andrews Bay. The course that emerged was eleven holes. So, when they finished the first time through,
they would turn around and play the eleven again, making it a total of 22 holes. This brings us to October 4, 1764, and a letter
written by four-time captain of the St. Andrews golf course, William St. Clair of Roslin:
“St. Andrews, 4th October 1764. The Captain and Gentlemen Golfers present
are of opinion that it would be for the improvement of the Links that the four first holes should
be converted into two, – They therefore have agreed that for the future they shall be played
as two holes, in the same way as presently marked out. WM. ST. CLAIR.” Thus, St. Clair and others in charge of the
course determined that there were four holes that were too short, probably originally done
this way to fit the holes onto the land. So, they combined them into two holes, making
each round now nine holes instead of eleven and bringing the total to 18 holes for a game. As St. Andrews grew in influence, other self-respecting
golf courses made the change to 18 holes. It was an unofficial regulation for the next
two centuries or so, until the 1950s when it became a “stipulated regulation” that
a course had to be 18 holes for tournament play. Moving on to another golfing term’s origins-
bogey. It seems the term comes from a song from the
1890s popular in the British Isles, entitled “The Bogey Man.” Yes, this is a reference to the horror movie
staple the Bogey Man. The character in the song is described as
elusive with the lyrics, “I’m the Bogey Man, catch me if you can.” Since golfers were always in pursuit of the
“elusive” perfect score, they began to refer to the amount of strokes that should
be expected on a particular hole as a “bogey,” as in playing against the Bogey Man to try
to match his score. We now know this to be “par” and a “bogey”
is one stroke over par. In fact, an early golfing rules book has a
section dedicated to the rules of “Bogey competitions” – or otherwise known as stroke
play tournaments. An article from 1908 cited by the OED first
in 1933 explains the supposed exact origin, though the accuracy of this is impossible
to discern, “One popular song at least has left its permanent effect on the game of golf. That song is ‘The Bogey Man.’ In 1890 Dr. Thos. Browne, R.N., the hon. secretary of the Great
Yarmouth Club, was playing against a Major Wellman, the match being against the ‘ground
score,’ which was the name given to the scratch value of each hole. The system of playing against the ‘ground
score’ was new to Major Wellman, and he exclaimed, thinking of the song of the moment, that his
mysterious and well-nigh invincible opponent was a regular ‘bogey-man.’ The name ‘caught on’ at Great Yarmouth, and
to-day ‘Bogey’ is one of the most feared opponents on all the courses that acknowledge him.” “Bogey” became known as one over an ideal
score around the early 20th century due to tightening of “perfect scores” on course. The ubiquity of the usage made sure the term
didn’t go away, now becoming a reference to a “near perfect score.” Moving on to mulligan, as most know, the term
“mulligan” extends much further beyond just golf and sports. It has come to be used in politics and daily
life with the word meaning “do-over.” Of course, to taking a “mulligan” is not allowed
in regulated or tournament golf, but many amateur golfers have utilized this unofficial
rule to their advantage. This well-used term is actually named after
a real person, though there is some dispute as to which of two men should be credited. In the late 1920s into the 1930s, a Canadian
amateur golfer named David Bernard Mulligan was making a name for himself in the more
prominent golfing clubs of New York. He was so popular that he had a regular foursome
that he would pick up and drive to the course in his classy 1920s Briscoe. As the tale is told, one day after driving
to the course, Mulligan took his first shot and shanked it. Said Mulligan in 1985 during an interview,
“I was so provoked with myself that, on impulse, I stooped over and put down another
ball. The other three looked at me with considerable
puzzlement, and one of them asked, ‘What are you doing?’ ‘I’m taking a correction shot,’ I replied.” Then, Mulligan’s playing partner asked what
he called that, ““Thinking fast, I told him that I called
it a ‘Mulligan.’ They laughed and let me play a second ball.”” Mulligan further explained that from then
on if you were not satisfied with your first shot off of the first tee, you could “take
a Mulligan.” Another story how this became known as a mulligan
comes from a golf club locker room attendant in Essex Falls, New Jersey named John “Buddy”
Mulligan. The story associated with him was that one
day, he finished his chorus early and convinced two club members to play with him. When he botched his opening shot, he insisted
that they had been “practicing all morning” and he deserved another shot because he just
started playing. So, he got another shot. Upon hearing this story, the other members
of club started doing this and calling it a “Mulligan” as an inside joke. No matter what story is true (historians generally
go with David Mulligan) or if the details are perfectly accurate, the term “mulligan”
seems to have come from the insistence of one individual with that name that they should
be allowed a do-over.

Comments (100)

  1. "square root of 16!"

  2. Can you do one on "Can we actually learn a new language while you sleep?".

  3. Can you do a biography on Agatha Christie please?

  4. I want to know why some highway entrances lose the left lane, some lose the right lane… prior to merging…

  5. Golf the world’s most boring game;

    Talk about a mindless pursuit ??🤔

  6. Thos; S. Whistler a name all by itself, totally not recognized to be short for Thomas for several hundred years in the bloody English language.

  7. Today when watching golf on TV, you will sometimes here the players and bystanders yelling "LEFT" or "RIGHT" when the spectators there are in danger of being struck by an errant ball.

  8. Darth Fore and Darth Mulligan 😂

  9. I looked at the title of this video and thought to myself, “do I need to know this?”

    I answered myself, “yes I do, might come in handy at a party.”

    Yup, I’m a dork. And a tax accountant, so people would probably prefer me talking about this than tax… 🤷🏻‍♀️

  10. "Fore" ⛳ proudly presented to you by the people who brought you,
    🎶 "Auld Lang Syne"!!! 🎶

    Which btw would make a good TIFO, video. Vox has a YouTube video about the song. But, I wanna hear Simon's and the researcher/writer monkey's take on it.
    Anyone else?

  11. Next to Major Wellman!

  12. Right around 4:19 did anybody else get completely lost? "Okay I know all of those English words… But I've never heard them in this arrangement before… Also I think I've gone cross-eyed…"

  13. business blaze is the best channel

  14. This video is now one more golf-related thing that will forever be far more interesting than the actual game of golf.

    Other things in this category:
    – The Arnold Palmer: A non-alcoholic cocktail of iced tea and lemonade.
    – Caddyshack.
    – Happy Gilmore.
    – Tiger Woods getting beaten by his wife with a golf club after she discovered his adultery.

  15. It'll be VERY "interesting" if someone actually yelled "FIRE IN THE HOLE" before that long drive off the green goes off. Betcha'll there's be a lot of confused people scrambling for cover.

  16. *Essex Fells. not Falls.

  17. But where does the word "Golf" come from?

  18. Viewer question, can you legally buy a country?

  19. I always thought it was four, not fore, the one time I golfed and thought my ball was going to hit this old woman I yelled headache.

  20. "Dr. Thos. Brown": "Thos." is an abbreviation for "Thomas".

  21. here we pronounce bogey man more like "wood-ee" or like the music term 'boogie woogie" but bogey in golf we do say 'bow-gee"

  22. When I was little, I thought it was "four". HEAR ME OUT! I watched all Looney Tunes, all the time. And I remember My Bunny Lies Over The Sea, in which Bugs and the Scottsman play a round of golf to settle their differences. At one point, the Scotsman is teeing up and since he didn't, Bugs hollered "FOUR!" and the Scotsman, being who he is said, "Four? Three and a half!" The first time I remember seeing this cartoon was before my younger sister was born, which puts me down there at age 4, and possibly 3 since the rabbit ears are still on the TV in my memory. I feel that, given my age, my logic was completely sound.

  23. 0:43 Wait, why does that guy have a gun?

  24. This video doesn't need a mulligan

  25. Stroke play tournaments? Sounds scandalous…

  26. Robin Williams explains golf pretty well in one of his acts 👍🏻

  27. Great video! More golf videos please! You agree the best!

  28. Ffffooorrreee fffiivvee sssiiixxxx shit! Fucking ball

  29. 0:38 You know they take things seriously when the guy who has to ensure there is no cheating carries a gun.

  30. I think Simon needs a mulligan.

  31. Who else here had hit a shot so good they dient have time* to yell fore'' (*_*)

  32. The term "Mulligan" is also used in various card games (Magic: The Gathering for example) to describe abandoning your opening hand and drawing a new one. In games with official rules for doing this, there is often some sort of penalty for doing so, such as the cards in the abandoned hand being discarded or otherwise removed from play in some way, or being forced to draw one less card after shuffling the original hand back into the deck. These rules are meant to discourage players from abusing the rule (in some games players can try for new cards multiple times) and to encourage using it only when their hand is truly difficult to play with.

  33. Don't bogart that joint my friend, pass it over to me, that is how to enjoy golf.

  34. I use to play golf. I think they have the name spelled backwards.

  35. "fore' ? I always though they said "Four'…lol

  36. Don’t say heads up to friends and allies. On course nor field. Ouch.

  37. What about ‘eagle’ and ‘birdie’

  38. Simon Whistler is the worlds next David Attenborough.

  39. only class enemies play golf, but I like the term "mulligan" now. "I'm doing a correction shot" xD

  40. I've only played on 19 hole courses.

  41. Hello Mr. Wibstler,
    i wonder what happends to the letters that are adressed to the North Pole? Maybe you know the answer. Let me know.

  42. The term was originally Military. Mary, Queen of Scots employed junior Officer’s Cadets, Caddy in French, and those guys used Military terminology. Also named because of said Queen is the sticky whole fruit preserve, which was used back then to treat T.B. When the Queen was Ill, her French maids would yell Marmalade! Meaning Ma’am is I’ll!

  43. Bogie competition. Gotta pick em all.

  44. What? I thought they said four?!

  45. What? No bonus facts?

  46. Its boogeyman. Not pronounced boegey man. (Bogeyman)

  47. Always wondered where those terms came from. It just gives me another reason not to take the 'sport' up. Confusion reigns.
    Besides which,I can afford a few drinks with my mates or a round of golf but not both at the same time.

  48. Always wondered about mulligan

  49. “I played golf. I did not get a hole in one, but I did hit a guy. That’s way more satisfying. You’re supposed to yell, ‘Fore!’ but I was too busy yelling, ‘There ain’t no way that’s gonna hit him!’”

    #mitchhedberg

  50. Mulligan's something related to magic the gathering too. Something new learned today

  51. I want to hear more of this “bogie man” you speak of.

  52. The way you say “St. Andrew’s” is incredible. In the US we’d say “Saint Andrew’s “ – two distinct words. What I hear from your British English is that it contracts it and makes one word – “Suhtandrews” – sounds much better than the way I spelled it.

  53. I'm your bogey man. That's what I am. I'm into whatever I can. Be it early morn, late afternoon, or at midnight, it's never too soon…

  54. Because “skin” got to be too long to say after

  55. TIFO, I would like to see an episode on the topics you tried to research, but just can't find the answers. I'm curious to find out what nuts are too tough to crack.

  56. 6:15 "One day he finished his chorus early"
    Hmm. ITYM "chores".

  57. Why'd I watch this? I don't even like golf…

  58. Every time you say "wonder no more" my brain hears "want to know more."

    …then I look for the place to click on the screen. (That was a Starship Troopers reference for you young'uns)

  59. Thanks Simon. I learned more from you today about golf, than from my dad growing up. One thing he tried to tell me was the word golf itself was actually a sentence just shortened down. Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden. They were trying to keep the female gender from interfering on their new sport.

  60. “Stroke-play tournaments”

  61. How do we ask questions like Alex B? On the comments? I have a serious one.

  62. Ah, bourgeois floorball 🙂

  63. Former President Gerald Ford hit several people with his "wild shots"🏌️‍♂️⛳

  64. https://youtu.be/r5WhoN-knxQ

    LBJ Golf Ball from pawn stars👆

  65. "Wait a minute, I hate golf!"-Mr. Krabs.

    https://youtu.be/sMr0Ax_RA4o

  66. "Its like the sickness I have when I play golf. Now you're gonna look at me & go Jesse "The Body" Ventura, how can you compare that to golf? Well I have a sickness in golf. It's called "ball hawking" I can't possibly play golf without looking for lost golf balls. I don't need them, I could play golf & play 'til I die & I'll never run out, but I still have that inner quest inside of me to get more!"-Jesse Ventura.

  67. "(Barack Obama)Played more Golf than Tiger Woods"-Donald Trump.

  68. Scottish people still stay afore sometimes 😂

  69. Thos. is short for THOMAS

  70. We had it all, just like Bogey and Bacall….

  71. So where did the terms “birdie” and “eagle” enter in? They never sounded very “golfy” to me 🤔

  72. Holy mother of god fore means forward beware mulligan who gives a frig. Stop rattling on dude that's it!

  73. Why do women say ‘oh my god oh my god.. oh oh oh oh.. oh my ggood’ ???

  74. My wife asked me why I keep watching "That bald guy's channel?" and I said to her, "Babe, it's not one channel. Simon is on like 10 YT channels."

    Simon Whistler – hardest working man on YouTube.

  75. Anyone who likes Simon's content check out business blaze! It's a way more personal and fun channel with the same great content

  76. Fore!!

    ball hits man in testicles

    I should’ve yelled TWO!!

  77. Mulligan was the first asshat who asked for a do over

  78. Thos. Is never pronounced “toss”, it is pronounced Thomas. Similarly in historic usage Jos. Is normally pronounced Joseph or Josiah depending on the person’s name. This abbreviating of names in print is quite old. Old texts often refer to Will. Shakespeare. It doesn’t imply that Shakespeare was called Will in the modern sense, but it is intended to be pronounced William.

  79. was fore the real name of the game?

  80. How about, you've been 'forewarned'.

  81. He didn't mention a couple of other phrases popular in golf. Those would be, g*d [email protected],and son of a b!tch!!!! LOL

  82. Nice video as always, however,It would have be nice if you had explained where the terms: birdie and eagle originated from as well.

  83. The first Mulligan reminds me of Walter Hagan's antics

  84. Mulligan and the Bogey man, I knew them well.

  85. I thought they say fore in golf so people don't get confused by the bird if you say duck in golf you maybe looking out for a bird rather than a golf ball.

  86. I always heard it was 18 holes cause there're 18 shots in a bottle of scotch.

  87. I coined the term "Mutha Fooka" for a bad shot in golf.

  88. Interesting, becoming a professional game

  89. Your description of a 22 hole course doesn't quite add up. Placed at lands-end… standing at hole 11… you're only able to play 10 back, right?

  90. Thos. means, and is pronounced Thomas.

  91. Why the fuck is he pronouncing "GOLF", like "GOAL-F" ….and not "GAWL-F" like a NORMAL human being???

  92. "THOSS"??? REALLY?
    You do know that period after "THOS." means it's an abbreviation, right?

    That means it's short for something ( THOMAS ), not an actual word itself. So you don't read it like an actual word, you read it out as the word it's short for.

    Ex. The WARNER BROTHERS movie studio is spelled "Warner BROS." for short, but the "Bros." is read aloud as "Brothers", not like "Bros" without the period.

  93. It's a Good Sportman's warning, short for "Beware!! I aimed my shot at your Foreskin!!!"

  94. Golf is a game for lazy basta**s, that can't (or refuse to) do any real exercise.

  95. So if 9 holes are on the course and they play 18 holes, is #9 the same as #10?

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