HANDICAP ADVICE: First-Tee Mulligans
Q: I know first-tee mulligans are a widely accepted norm. How do I record my score for handicap purposes if I take one and finish with a second ball to start the round?
A: You can't use your mulligan score when you post your handicap. You didn't play that hole under the Rules of Golf. Instead, record par plus any handicap stroke(s) you'd receive on that hole. For example, if you have a course handicap of 15, and the first hole at your course is the No. 15 handicap, you would record a score of bogey for that hole. If it were the No. 16 handicap hole, then you would record a par (even though you hit a poor tee shot). You can do this because you just need to play at least 13 holes under the Rules of Golf to post an 18-hole score.
from DEAN KNUTH, former senior director of the USGA Handicap Department.
From Golf Digest January 2014, page 39