of the Mulligan Tour
The Mulligan Tour formed in 1999 when founder Erik
Meland, tired of the same old 9-hole golf leagues, scheduled a series of tournaments
at different local courses and offered a "new kind" of golf
league that would promise a "PGA Tour" feel for the weekend,
recreational golfer. He invited friends and
neighbors (and friends of neighbors) to participate in the inaugural
Tour season. That first campaign included 16 members of
the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of Harbour Pointe - named after the
subdivision in Belleville, Michigan that was home to Meland and half the
An engineer for an automotive supplier, Meland used
his program management skills to organize the tournaments, each with
its own name and trophy, and track the playing statistics like the pro
tour. Using typical "league" playing rules, the
Mulligan Tour would stress the fun, recreational aspect of the game
but introduce a level of competition not readily available to the avid
Using previous scores as a basis for player's
handicaps, 12 players traveled to Ypsilanti's Pine View GC on May 29,
1999 and launched the new Tour by contesting the first Pine View
Classic. Dearborn school teacher Ron Stuart won the tournament
by 2-strokes posting a net 4-under par 68.
A week later, the Tour traveled to Willow Metropark
and Harbour Pointe resident Tom Hamilton won the inaugural Tin
Cup. June would see 2 more Harbour Pointe neighbors win
tournaments - Kerry Homberger in the Western Swing and Mary Petree in
the Crazy Brit - a tournament that used the modified British
Stableford scoring system on the player's net scores.
In July, the Tour faced it's first problems with
weather. The inaugural Harbour Pointe Open, the Tour's first
"major" championship, was stopped by lightning as the field
made their way to the back nine. The tournament was cancelled
and rescheduled for August and the Tour created policy for
future cases when Mother Nature would not cooperate with the Tour's
In late July and early August, Todd Stuart would
become the first to win consecutive tournaments, taking the Strokes on
a Rope and Quad-Tour Challenge titles. The Strokes on a Rope
offered a different kind of handicapping - converting the player's
handicap to a length of string and allowing players to move their ball
and improve their lie by a total amount over the tournament equal to
the length of string. The Quad-Tour Challenge required the
players to "draft" pro golfers that would team up for a
Erik Meland won the first
Caddyshack Classic but Jim Cwikla finished the '99 Tour schedule by
winning the rescheduled Harbour Pointe Open and the PLAYERS
Championship sweeping the Tour's first 2 majors. He earned $80
for the 2 victories but came up $4 short of Stuart, who earned $94 for
the year and claimed the Mulligan Tour's first Money Title.
The Tour adjusted some of the rules for the 2nd
year. The handicap formula was modified after watching so many
net-scores blow past par. After another
small tweak in
2001, the handicap formula has been left relatively unchanged since.
Tournament winners have come from the low, mid, and high handicaps
alike confirming the equity of the handicapping policy.
changes to the playing rules were made in order to speed the pace of
play. A 3-putt maximum rule allowed players to
"pick-up" after missing the 2nd putt. And, mandating a
"quadruple bogey max" gross score meant players would not
get caught in a "blow-up" hole. Today, most players
finish their rounds in 4 1/2 hours or less.
Membership steadily grew during the early years from
24 players in 2000 to 34 in 2002. In 2004, membership reached 55 players and Meland
created a Board of Directors from some of the veteran players to help
guide the Tour's growth. More tournaments were added and the
"Grand Slam" was formed as the Memorial tournament and the
Match Play Championship joined the HPO and PLAYERS Championship as the
Tour's majors. The Memorial tournament was actually Meland's
first foray into tournament golf, first played in 1995 and now
considered the "granddaddy" of the Mulligan Tour.
The Mulligan Tour's "master plan" includes
establishing regional divisions as growth dictates. The Tour
created its first 2 divisions before the 2005 season. The
Central and Western divisions followed their own schedules but members
were able to play in either tournaments much the way a pro golfer
might play PGA Tour events and European PGA Tour events. The
Tour added an Eastern division in 2010 to cater to the Oakland and
Macomb county population.
Recent years have seen the addition of new
tournaments including the popular Commissioner's Cup - the Mulligan
Tour's version of the Ryder Cup. A team of 8 players from
the Central division's leading money winners takes on a team of 8 from
the West's top money gainers in team matches. The Central won
the first Cup in 2005 played at the Lakes of Taylor Golf Club.
But the West rebounded and claimed the Cup for 2006 winning at the
Legacy Golf Club.
In 2010, the Tour added 2 new team events for the
end of the season. The President's Cup is a one-day 27
hole event pitting 6 members of the Player's Advisory Council (PAC),
formerly the Board of Directors, against a team of 6 members in good
standing. The format includes 9 matches - 3 each of best
ball, alternate shot and scramble. Team Management won the
inaugural event 5½ to 3½.
The Division Bell also debuted in 2010.
This event brings a 4-player team representing each of the Tour's
regional divisions to play a total net score from the
team. The Central Division won the inaugural tournament
held at Farmington Hills GC.