Synopsis of Golf Croquet
The Court and Equipment
The standard court is 105' by 84' (35 yards by 28 yards). Unless short grass is available (1/4" or less), the court should be scaled down, keeping the proportions from the standard court. On ordinary grass, such as a sports field or residential lawn, 50' by 40' is a good size. There are six hoops (wickets), one peg (stake), and four balls. Each player needs a mallet, although these can be shared.
It is possible to play on an ordinary lawn and with an inexpensive croquet set such as can be found at department stores. However the game is much more satisfying when played with higher-quality equipment and on the flattest and smoothest lawn with the shortest grass that you can find. Look for a set that has sturdy hoops, mallets sized for adults (about three feet high), and heavy, solid plastic balls. Or, better still, find a nearby USCA croquet club.
An Outline of the Game
Golf Croquet is played between two sides — the blue and black balls versus the red and yellow balls. In singles each player plays two balls; in doubles each player plays the same ball throughout the game.
The object is to be the first side to score seven points. A side scores a point when one of its balls is the first to pass through the next hoop in sequence, as shown by the yellow lines in Figure 2, below. Note that each hoop is scored by only one ball, so that both sides are always contesting the same hoop.
If after scoring twelve points the game is tied at six all, hoop #3 is contested again to break the tie.
Play is made by striking a ball with a mallet. The player who is playing a turn is called the striker, and the ball in play for that turn is the striker's ball. Turns are played in the sequence blue, red, black, yellow. This sequence of colors is painted on the peg. Each turn consists of one, and only one, stroke.
The striker's ball may cause other balls to move and score points. However, the striker must never strike any ball other than the striker's ball. The striker must play using the mallet only, and must not play a stroke while touching any ball. The striker must strike the ball with one of the mallet's two striking faces, never with a side face or the shaft. The striker must strike the ball cleanly and only once during the stroke.
Starting the Game
The side that wins a coin toss chooses balls. The blue ball plays first. Each ball is played into the game from any point on the court within a yard from corner IV.
A ball scores a point for its side by passing through the next hoop in sequence (see Figure 2, above). If the striker's ball causes another ball to run the hoop, the point is counted for the side whose ball ran the hoop. If two balls pass through the hoop on the same stroke, the point is scored by the ball that was closest to the hoop at the start of the stroke.
Each time a point is scored, the side scoring the point announces the score.
A ball goes out of bounds as soon as its center lies directly over a boundary. When a ball goes out it is placed just inside the boundary nearest to where it went out.
The Halfway Rule
At the end of a turn in which a point is scored, any ball more than halfway to the next hoop is an offside ball, unless it reached its position on the stroke just played, or through contact with an opponent's ball, or was moved to a penalty spot.
When you have an offside ball, your opponent has the option of making you place that ball on one of the two penalty spots before you play it again, the opponent choosing which penalty spot. The penalty spots are on the East and West boundaries, even with the peg.
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