Frequently Asked Questions

Below are questions often asked at the club. If there is a question you have that isn’t answered here email me.

How do I book a lawn? You’ll first need a login. Please request one from the Membership Secretary. The process for booking is explained here.

Where do I find out what internal competitions I can enter? You can enter any and as many internal competitions as you want. For an explanation of each competition click here.

What external leagues can I play in? We have teams in a number of leagues. Please contact the club secretary for names of the team captains.

Who is on the committee? Members and their roles can be found here.

What is the different between the two notice boards? The one on the left as you enter is Croquet related, displaying items such as competitions. The one on the right nearest the ladies changing room is club business, displaying items such as Monday Monthly Lunch menus.

What are the different colour balls for? The blue/red/black/yellow balls are called the Primary Colours. The green/pink/brown/white balls are called Secondary Colours. The secondary colours are used when sharing a lawn with another game. You use these so that the two games don’t get confused as to whose balls are whose. 

Where can I get my own mallet? There are a couple of places around Colchester where they can be obtained. Generally there are four considerations: weight and length of head, type and length of handle. Some suppliers will also offer different woods for the head. Treetop Mallets is owned by a member of our club (Jeff) who makes excellent mallets in Dunmow which, as a member, you’ll get a discount. If you get in touch you’ll find him happy enough to meet you at the club sometime with some examples. In Sudbury there is Percival Mallets.

Whilst playing with other members ask to try their mallet for a few shots to get an idea of what you like. When you find one you like ask where they got it.

Can I practice before a competition either internal or external? It’s generally held that a 10 minute practice on the court you are about to play on is acceptable but don’t run any hoops. Best to wait and check with your opposition for their views.

Is there a book on Golf Croquet tactics I can read? Yes here.

Can I still play in the winter? In the winter months we close the top two lawns and rotate the hoops 90 degrees on the bottom two. This makes the lawns slightly smaller at 80%. For more information on winter croquet and rules governing play please see here.

What’s a bisque? Used in handicap play for Association Croquet and One-ball competitions bisques are free turns awarded to the weaker player. The weaker player is given the number of sticks representing bisques which is the difference in the handicaps of the two players. For example, in a game where a ten handicap plays a four then the 10 handicap gets six bisques. A bisque can be taken at the end of any turn whether it is a normal or bisque turn. Bisque turn can immediately follow bisque turn. Half bisques cannot be used to score a point or run a hoop.

Full bisque play in AC means both players get bisques equal to their handicaps. Where a base number is added then, for example, in a base six game each handicap minus 6 is the number of bisques allocated to each e.g. where a 16 handicap played a 20 handicap the 16 handicap would get 10 (16-6) bisques, the 20 would get 14 bisques (20-6).

What is offside? In Golf Croquet immediately following a hoop run a ball that is over halfway to the next hoop is declared off-side if it obtained that position by the owner without striking an opponent’s ball to get there; for example, a missed clearance.
A tactic often used if a hoop is deemed to be lost is the striking of an opponent’s ball at such an angle that the striking ball ends up close to the next hoop. As the striker’s ball came off an opponent’s ball it is not deemed offside.
If a ball is deemed offside the opponent directs the offender to place their ball within a yard semicircle of the halfway point of either of the two longest boundaries.

Where are the lawn swishers? If you’re first to play a lawn then it’s important you swish away the worm casts. They’ll affect the run of your ball. Treading them in can ruin the lawn creating patches of mud.

The Swishers are hung in the eaves of the overhang at the front of the shed. They’re long flexible yellow poles.

When the gates are open what’s to stop someone obtaining the padlock number, or even stealing it? It’s good practice to hang the padlock through a gate and attach the padlock swivelling the numbers so it can’t be read or stolen by a passerby.

What’s the process for bringing guests? On the desk to your right as you walk in there is a guest book. Enter the details of the guest and place £5 per guest in the sleeve at the front. Alternatively, there are bank details on the sign under the drinking glasses at the back. Please label the transfers ‘Guest(s)’. You cannot bring the same guest more than three times as we would prefer they joined. However, they’re maybe reasons why this isn’t possible so contact the Membership Secretary to discuss.

What’s a Roquet. If the struck ball strikes another ball, this is called a “roquet”. In Association and One-ball croquet. This entitles the player to two extra strikes. The first extra strike is a special type of shot called a “croquet shot” and the second is a normal shot.

What does it mean to ‘deem a shot’? In Golf Croquet a player can choose not to take his shot. This would be because the player does not believe his ball would be better placed anywhere else. He declares this by saying “I’ll deem”. The opposition then takes the next shot in sequence.

What’s a Croquet shot? After a Roquet the struck ball is brought to the Roquet ball so that both balls are touching. The player lines the two balls up in a configuration that once struck should determine the resting place of both balls. After determining the intended destination point for the striker’s ball, you must aim at a point halfway between the two.

When are whites required? Whites clothing is de rigeur for all external matches and some internal. You’ll be informed if you need them. For roll-ups and general play as long as you have flat soles shoes there is no clothing policy.

How do I update the website about a competition win? The winner of each match must email the result of an in-house competition game immediately after and update the relevant sheet on the left hand notice boards.

How do I do a jump shot? There are a number of methods. Best to ask someone in the summer who you’ve seen perform a jump shot for advice. Jump shots are not permissible out of season when the ground is damp and dormant.

How do I pay for food and drink in the clubhouse? The clubhouse has a selection of snacks and drinks (both hot and cold) for you to consume whilst at the club. There is a trust box on the counter to the right as you enter where money can be left. Alternatively, there is a sign under the glasses where an Account and sort code is posted to enable a transfer from your bank account. Finally, there is card machine. Please state whether it’s for food and drink, a guest or something else. Any questions please contact the Catering Manager.

What is the Solomon Grip? This grip is named after one of the greatest ever players, John Solomon. The Solomon grip is a very popular grip and is particularly good for generating a lot of power. The knuckles of both hands face outwards. It can take a while to master as it does not have the guiding bottom hand to help control the forward swing, however once mastered it is very accurate indeed.

What is the Standard Grip? So named because it is the most common grip, and without too much instruction it can give a good balance between power and control.

The standard grip has the top hand with the knuckles facing outwards (away from your body) and the bottom hand with the knuckles facing inwards. Having the top hand knuckles facing outwards means that it is easier to generate power into shots, while having the bottom hand knuckles facing inwards means that the mallet is still easy to control and guide. It is important to ensure that both hands work together, despite facing in opposite directions.

Some players feel more comfortable placing the thumb of the top hand on the top of the handle, whereas others tend to wrap the thumb around the handle itself. Variations can also be found with the index fingers of the bottom hand, with most players extending it down the handle to act as a guide.

At every level, the standard grip is still the most commonly used. Examples of top players who use this grip are multiple World Champions Reg Bamford and Chris Clarke.

How do I obtain a handicap? To play in any competitions, internal or external, you’ll need a handicap. There are a number of members who are qualified to assess yours. Nick Steiner and Georgeen Hemming are the club handicappers for Association Croquet and Ian Cumming, Ann Brookes and Pam Hopper are the club handicappers for Golf Croquet. Once you have a handicap you should maintain it on the Croquet England website here. More information on the process for GC is available here. Handicaps are reviewed annually by club handicappers.

How do I view another member’s handicap?
this can be done on the Croquet England website here.

How do I get added to the WhatsApp group(s)? WhatsApp groups have been created for both AC and GC players. They are a great way of asking if anyone wants a game. Speak to the membership secretary to get added.

What is the coloured stick in the middle of each lawn for? Other than to remind players the order of play when using the primary colours it is used in AC and One-ball to win the game.

What is a bisque? Bisques are free turns awarded to the weaker player in AC handicap play. The weaker player is given the number of bisques which is the difference in the handicaps of the two players. A bisque can be taken at the end of any turn whether it is a normal or bisque turn. Bisque turn can immediately follow bisque turn. In every new turn all the other balls can be re-roqueted again. The only constraint is that you have to continue playing with the same coloured ball. There are also half bisques, these are bisque turns in which no points can be scored (i.e. cannot be used to run a hoop or hit the peg) for any balls. They are very useful for positioning balls prior to taking a full bisque

What is Advance Play in Association Croquet? Advanced play is conducted on level terms, without bisques. In Standard play experienced players may often score several hoops at one visit to the lawn, and can leave an opponent with a very difficult position. So, if a player runs hoop 1-back or 4-back their opponent may move one of his balls to either start line for his next turn for a better chance of starting a new break. This format attempts to reduce the number of one-sided games by penalising players for scoring too many hoops in one turn, by handing the initiative to the opponent.

What is Short Croquet? Short Croquet is a shortened version of Association Croquet, intended for play on smaller lawns and only contesting 14 points per side. The lawns that are most commonly used are half-size croquet courts (28yds x 17.5yds) or a tennis court (24yds x 16yds).

The main differences between Short Croquet and Association Croquet, other than the court size and the number of points, are the wiring rule and mandatory peels. The wiring rule, simply put, means that if you leave your opponents balls unable to see each other (equivalent to being snookered) then they are able to claim a lift. The mandatory peels rule is effected for low handicappers and makes the game much more challenging for better players because, depending upon how good they are, they are required to do one, two or even three peels on one of their own balls. Player’s handicaps are determined using the Short Croquet handicap table found here. Low handicappers take not of the mandatory peels.