Introducing Croquet

We hope that you will all agree that Croquet is a most agreeable of sports for all ages; it is a low-impact pastime that can be enjoyed throughout one’s life; a mentally stimulating ‘stress-reliever’ that encourages people to socialise outdoors for a common purpose. The ever present ‘frisson’ of competition raises it above the ordinary and helps one develop a simple form of tactical awareness by encouraging players to be thinking ahead, one or more strokes, to create game-winning advantages whilst maintaining a wickedly winning smile (if you see what I mean!!).


First and foremost, croquet is just great fun!


Court Layout:


The Course will be set up to play either Association Croquet, “garden croquet”, or Golf Croquet, whichever you decide. The suggestion is that most new or inexperienced players start by playing “Tisbury garden croquet (TGC)”, which is a much simpler form of Association Croquet, where some of the rules are slightly amended in the interest of keeping the game simple, instructive, but essentially ‘fun’ – from the word go.  


The layout of all croquet games on either half courts or the full court is the same and is detailed in this illustration.


A tournament Croquet Court is as laid out as shown below with distances on the outside given in metres. Hardly anyone plays on a court this large! The important thing is to have it all laid out in proportion so that if the length of the court is Five Units and the width is Four Units and a ‘unit’ is (say) 2 metres, the four outside hoops are set up one unit (2 metres) from the boundaries whilst the middle two hoops are 2 units (4 metres) from the long boundary. EASY?

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Croquet is played with four balls - either teams in pairs or as singles. Each side must complete either 6 (for a short game) or 12 (for a full game), consecutive hoops after which, with that team’s balls having gone through the last defined hoop, both must then hit the centre peg in order for that side to win. Each completed hoop scores one point for the team and a final point for hitting ‘the peg’


Playing Croquet:


For the training of beginners and those with limited experience, the first few games will be structured as “Tisbury Garden Croquet”.


A Synopsis of Tisbury Garden Croquet (TGC):


The croquet course is the standard layout, illustrated below, but the game consists of only the first six hoops, and then finishing on the Peg. Teams will be either singles (where players play two balls each), or doubles where each player plays with one ball. The allocation of balls will remain the same throughout the game, and play will continue according to the order indicated down the peg throughout the entirety of the game (blue, then red, then black, then yellow).


Play starts, one mallet’s length from Hoop 1. Players that play their own ball through a hoop, get a free shot after passing through the first and each successive hoop. If a player’s ball is ‘pushed’ or knocked through by another ball, it has still completed that hoop but no ‘free shot’ is awarded.


Between each hoop, a ‘roquet’ can be made by a player on each of the other three balls, once – and once only. The only exception is that when a player has gone through Hoop 6, he is deemed to be a ‘Rover’ and can roquet every other ball, once, every turn.


A roquet consists of the Player’s ball hitting one of the other three qualifying balls. The Player’s ball is then picked up and placed so that it is touching the ball that was struck in order that the Player’s ball can then be hit so that the ball that had been subject to a Roquet must then move (a little or a lot). The final part is when the Player’s ball then benefits from the award of an immediate free shot.


Roquet’s are used to prolong a Player’s turn for positional advantage (to go through a hoop or be able to roquet another ball), or to disadvantage an opponent by disrupting his ability to progress round the course.


The first team to complete all six hoops in the correct order, with BOTH balls, then needs to “Peg-out” both balls to be declared the winner.


Having mastered ‘Tisbury Garden Croquet’, players will be encouraged to progress to the accredited games of Association Croquet (AC) and / or Golf Croquet (GC).


TOP TIP!! Don’t get too mesmerised by words, expressions or complex details of either Association Croquet or Golf Croquet, before you start to play. You really will be amazed at how easy it is to understand the essential rules when we start to play. Don’t even look at the “basic rules” until you have played at 2 or 3 games based on these ‘synopses’!

A Synopsis of Association Croquet

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syn golf croquet.png

The opposing sides each have two balls: Blue and Black against Red and Yellow. Each side may be one or two people (i.e. singles or doubles). Each side plays alternately in rotation: blue, red, black, yellow, as shown by the sequence of colours from the top of the centre peg.

Each turn consists of one stroke only: no extra stroke is gained by running a hoop or hitting another ball (unlike Association Croquet). To start the game, toss a coin. The winner of the toss chooses whether to play first or second. The side that plays first plays blue and black, and blue always starts.

The opening strokes are played from within one yard of Corner IV (nearest hoop 4), and the players aim to run the hoops in order from 1 to 12. The winner is the first to reach 7 points. A deciding hoop (hoop 3 again) is run if the scores are equal after 12 hoops, making 13 in all.

To score a point, a ball must run completely through the hoop in the correct direction. In marginal situations, a ball has run a hoop if none of the ball is visibly protruding from the playing side of the hoop. It may run the hoop in more than one turn, or be knocked through by another ball. If a ball should go through two hoops in order in the same stroke, both points are scored.

The side that first gets a ball through Hoop 1 scores that point and then all balls go for the next hoop in order (i.e. Hoop 2). All players contest the same hoop. A player may play towards the next hoop before the previous hoop is run. However, subject to certain exceptions set out in the detailed Rules, the opponents may ask that any ball more than halfway towards the next hoop when the current hoop is actually run, is brought back to a penalty area halfway down the east or west boundaries.

A ball that goes off the court is replaced on the boundary where it went off but may be temporarily moved if it interferes with the playing of another ball.

The striking of the ball in a turn must be a clean, single hit; there are a number of faults that a player may make when striking the ball. These are listed in the detailed rules. After a fault, the non-offending side chooses whether to leave the balls where they lie or to have all balls replaced in their positions before the faulty stroke. The non-offending side then plays their next ball in sequence.

If a player plays out of sequence the error is remedied in one of two ways. Either the balls are replaced and the player then plays the correct ball or by a ball swap when the balls are left where they finished except that the positions of the ball just played and its partner ball are swapped. Players should stop play if they believe that a wrong ball is about to be played or has just been played. See the Wrong Ball rule in the detailed Rules.

To allow evenly contested games between players of different abilities either the weaker player is given a number of extra strokes or the starting scores are adjusted. See the rules on Handicap Play and Advantage Play in the detailed Rules.

Further details, see:




We will offer taster sessions or informal instruction / mentoring on request (whenever possible!). Details of coaching days or other teaching opportunities will be offered in emails to all members. The Croquet Association website does have some excellent details on how to play each game, and informative videos that may be useful to all members.



The Club is very fortunate to have exclusive use of two full games of equipment and additional items that can be made available for practice on the adjacent Recreation Ground (if the lawns are in use or are being maintained).


Many members prefer to have their own mallet so that they can get used to it and, by keeping it at home, know that it is always available for your exclusive use. We highly recommend that, if you enjoy the sport, get your own as soon as you feel that you are “ready”.

When walking on the lawn, FLAT-SOLED SHOES ARE MANDATORY (please!), to maintain the best playing conditions for both Croquet and Bowls.


It would be most helpful if players set out the hoops and peg for their own game and, unless someone is scheduled to play on the next session of that day, return the hoops and peg to the Clubhouse when the game has ended. Ideally, players should select their chosen mallet and ball(s) from the Clubhouse. Please ensure that the Clubhouse and the gate to the ground are locked whenever either or both are to be left unattended.


Find a Friend for a Game:


If you have a mobile number you may join the “TBCC WhatsApp” Group which can be used to ask for members or friends to join you or your friends for a game. Contact



Useful Links:


The Croquet Association is

Jaques which provides equipment


Association Croquet is played with four balls, Blue and Black versus Red and Yellow, on a court shown above. The Game can be played as singles or doubles, each player in doubles playing with a particular ball throughout the game. Each ball must run a set course, as shown in the diagram, above, going through each hoop twice in a specific order and direction and then hitting the peg. The side, which first completes this course with both its balls, wins the game. Thus the winning side has 26 points to score (12 hoop points and the peg point with each ball).

A ball scores a hoop point when it passes right through a hoop in its correct order ('runs a hoop') in one or more strokes. The point is scored whether the ball is struck directly by the player or by another ball. Clips coloured to match the balls are placed on the hoops or peg to indicate the next point for each ball. The clips are placed on the crown of a hoop for the first six hoops and on the side of the hoop for the last six.

The sides take alternate turns. In the first four turns the four balls are played from one of the starting lines ('baulk lines') at each end of the court. There is no strict order of playing the balls. Once the four balls are on the court a side chooses which of its two balls it shall play in each turn.

A turn consists initially of one stroke only, but extra strokes can be earned in two ways:

  • If the player's ball runs a hoop, he is entitled to another stroke.

  • If the player's ball hits another ball ('makes a roquet'), he places his own ball in contact with the other ball and then strikes his ball so that the other ball moves or shakes ('takes croquet'). After this the player is entitled to one further stroke.


The player may roquet and thus ‘take croquet’ from each of the other three balls in succession in any turn; each time his ball runs a hoop he may repeat this process. Thus, by a combination of taking croquet and running hoops, a series of points can be scored in a turn ('making a break'). A turn ends when the player has made all the strokes to which he is entitled, or if he sends a ball off court when taking croquet, or if he makes a fault as defined in the Laws. A turn does not necessarily end if a ball is sent off court in any stroke other than when taking croquet.

At the end of each stroke any ball which has been sent off court is placed a yard inside the boundary ('on the yard-line') nearest to where it went off, and any ball lying between the boundary and the yard-line, except the player's own ball, is also replaced on the yard-line. When a ball has scored its last hoop point ('becomes a Rover') it can score the peg point either by the player hitting it onto the peg or by being hit onto the peg by another Rover ball. The ball is thus 'pegged-out' and removed from the court.

The game of Association Croquet is in essence a tactical struggle with each player trying to manoeuvre both his own and his opponent's balls to make points for his side whilst restricting his opponent's chances of doing the same by careful positioning of the balls at the end of his turn.

For more information, see –


A Synopsis of Golf Croquet: