Robert "Bob" Kroeger
No one loves to teach croquet more than Bob Kroeger, no one. That is the reason he is so dedicated to the sport. That and the fact that he also loves to play the game.
Bob's croquet heritage stems from the early forms of "gorilla" croquet, the nine-wicket variety played on long grass using a three pound 9 ounce blunderbuss of a mallet, a game replete with foot shots and golf shots much like the game that was originally played at the Westhampton Mallet Club in the formative years. The croquet epiphany for Bob came when he first viewed the manicured lawns of New York's Central Park lawn bowling green and was introduced to six wicket American rules croquet in 1977. Bob and his good friend Duffy Hart would awaken at 6 a.m. every Sunday to take a three hour train commute from upstate Norwich, New York in order to play on these New York Croquet Club's courts.
Bob was among the twenty-eight players to attend the USCA's first National championships in New York City in 1977 and fondly recalls his first major win in 1978 against a very formidable and experienced Hall of Famer, Nelga Young. His dad, Bud Kroeger, came down in 1980 to witness his national participation. In 1983 Bob took fifth place with a then remarkable 26-5 win and a star was born.
His tournament history is glittered with successes. President of the Boston Croquet Club in 1980, Bob participated in virtually all of the New England Regional Championships winning six singles titles and four doubles titles. In 1987 Bob won the USCA International Rules Singles Championship proving his great versatility and in 1988 went on to win his first of two Palm Beach Croquet Club Invitational Championship Singles titles (the other in 1992.) These victories alongside numerous local and invitational titles earned Bob a position on the United States Team, which he represented with distinction from 1988 to 1993. Bob gained his first American Rules USCA National Championship title in 1993 when he won the doubles with another Hall of Famer, Jim Hughes.
From the very beginning, Bob has been an extremely avid student of the game. England's John Solomon and G. Nigel Aspinall, both rated number one in the world, brought croquet technology and the knowledge of advanced shot making and play to America and much of this was passed on through Teddy Prentis to Bob. His authorship of How to Play the Perfect Game, co-starring role in four instructional videos, and his nationwide instructional tours have made Bob one of the most recognized individuals in the sport. He has been and is currently the Director of the USCA Instructional Schools, Chairman of the Referee and Instructor Training & Certification Committee, member of the U.S. Team Selection Committee, Rules Committee, Handicap Committee, and Nine Wicket Committee. All of which belie Bob's tremendous involvement with the USCA.
Croquet notwithstanding, Bob will tell you that his greatest sucess in life is his marriage to Deborah. In 1990 Bob moved to Cambridge, Mass. They were married in 1991. Bob is a professional musician as well, specializing in jazz and chamber music. He is an accomplished player of oboe, English horn, flute, and alto flute and is also a successful recording engineer specializing in digital audio recording and editing.
They say that the key to finding happiness in life is to love your work and to love the people around you. If that is so, Bob Kroeger has found such happiness and perhaps the true beneficiaries of this are all of us.
Bob, welcome to the United States Croquet Hall of Fame.
Robert "Bob" Kroeger was inducted into the United States Croquet Hall of Fame in 1999.