Croquet is a sport that involves hitting plastic or wooden balls with a mallet through hoops which are often called “wickets”, embedded in a grass playing court. Although not a very popular sport, you can still play the game in some country clubs today. Do you know how to play croquet though? Before that, we tell you a little bit more about this interesting game.
Croquet seem to have originated in medieval France but a variation of the game known as “Paille Maille” was played in a field near St James Palace in the sixteenth century, which later became known as Pall Mall. The modern game appears to have started in England in the 1850s and quickly became popular. Today, surprisingly, the game is still played all over the World with international tournaments being held annually in several countries! Variants of the game are also played in Egypt and Japan.
Just how do you play? Here are the things you will need to know:
- A backyard croquet court or a lawn with short grass provides the best playing surface. The official full-size court is a rectangle, 100 feet long by 50 feet wide. The nine wickets and two stakes are arranged in a double-diamond pattern.
- For a two- or four-player, two-sided game, you need four balls. For a six-player team game, you need six balls The colors usually used are blue, red, black, and yellow. In “one-ball” games, you need one ball per player.
- Each player uses a mallet. Only the striking (end) face may be used to strike a ball, unless the players have agreed to allow the use of “side” shots or other shot-making variations.
- The goal is to advance your ball through the course scoring points for each wicket and stake in the correct order and direction. The winner is the first side to score 14 wicket points and 2 stake points for each of its balls. In a timed game if the time expires, the team with the most points at the end of the time period wins.
- The players take turns, and only one plays at a time. At the beginning of a turn the player has one shot. After that shot the turn ends, unless a bonus shot is earned by scoring a wicket or stake or by hitting another ball. The striker may directly hit with the mallet only the ball he or she is playing in that turn.
Some of the country clubs we know that offer croquet include Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, CA; Lake Toxaway Country Club in Lake Take Toxaway, NC; and the Belleair Country Club in Belleair, FL. Ready to play croquet?