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Rulebook - Croquet

National Veterans Golden Age Games

Event 5: Croquet

Age Groups

Men and Women Compete Together

  • 55-59
  • 60-64
  • 65-69
  • 70-74
  • 75-79
  • 80-84
  • 85-up


The National Veterans Golden Age Games host will provide standard croquet mallets, balls, stakes, and wickets. Competitors must use the equipment provided by the host during the competition.

Other Equipment: boundary markers and lining materials, ham­mer for driving stakes, scoring sheets, bracket sheets, bullhorn, tables, chairs, drinking water and first aid kit.


A standard American nine wicket, two stake croquet court will be used. If the facility does not permit a standard court size, the host may adjust the court size if needed. The host will provide a minimum of four courts and maximum of six for this event. The croquet court must be located on a flat grassy surface.


Each competitor will compete individually in a single elim­ination format. This competition is limited to ambulatory competitors only. Up to six competitors can compete in each game with the winner of each game moving on to the next com­petition round.

The game winner is normally the competitor who completes the tour of the croquet court first. However, if more than one competitor completes the course on the same round, the winner is deter­mined by the stroke count. (Round: begins with the top col­or of the starting stake and ends with the last color. Competitors with colors that follow the first finishing competitor are considered on that same round and are entitled to finish their turn. A competitor is finished playing when he/she takes his/her turn and does not reach the finish stake.) Of the players finishing on the same round, the competitor using the fewest strokes to complete the course is declared the winner of that game. If there is a tie for low score, a playoff game will be conducted between the tied competitors.


Rule 1:00 Order of Play

To be determined by the sequence of colors of the starting stake (top to bottom). The top color is the first to play.

Rule 2:00 Color of the Ball

Play will be determined by the order in which the competitors are bracketed (i.e., first name plays the top color; second name plays the next color, etc.).

Rule 3:00 Mallet

A competitor may hold any part of the mallet with one or both hands and may use any stance (i.e., center, golf or side). The ball must be struck, not pushed, with the striking ends of the mallet tip.

Rule 4:00 Stroke

A stroke is counted if the mallet strikes the ball, however slightly the ball is moved. No stroke is counted if the ball is missed entirely. The competitor may attempt a strike again.

Rule 5:00 The Striker May Not

Section 1
Place another mallet against a ball and then hit that mallet with his/her mallet.
Section 2
Strike a ball with the mallet by hitting a wicket or stake that is between the competitor and his/her ball. The mallet must have clean contact with the ball.
Section 3
Touch or strike any other ball with his/her mallet.
Section 4
Touch another ball with his/her mallet or foot in attempting to strike his/her ball. His/her turn ends and both balls are returned to their original position.

Rule 6:00 Start of Play: Ball placement

Section 1
One half of the distance between the starting stake and wicket #1.
Section 2
In a direct line between the starting stake and wicket #1.
Section 3
In starting, each competitor attempts to pass through wickets 1 and 2 with one shot.
Section 4
An extra shot is earned for each successive wicket successfully passed through. Extra shots can be cumulative.
Section 5
At the Start Stake, all players are dead on each other. That deadness is not cleared until a player passes through wicket number 1. When passing through a wicket an extra shot is earned and that person is live on all other players.

Rule 7:00 Tour of the Ball

Section 1
Is counterclockwise from the starting stake through wickets 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 to the turning stake; from the turning stake through wickets 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 to the finishing stake.
Section 2
A player who does not follow wickets in their proper order will Not be notified until that player passes through an incorrect wicket. He/she will then be told there are no extra strokes earned and why.
Section 3
Competitors receive a single additional stroke after striking the turning stake. The ball is then similarly placed as described in Rule 6, Section 1.
Section 4
Balls hitting the turning stake clears any prior deadness.

Rule 8:00 Making a Wicket

Section 1
An extra shot is allowed for each succes­sive wicket passed through. A player must hit his/her ball through a wicket. It cannot be hit through a wicket by another player (for example, as in a croquet). A ball is considered through the wicket when a straight edge placed against the approach side of the wicket does not touch the ball. A ball stopping in or rolling back into a wicket has not made the wicket and an extra shot is not awarded. A competitor continues his/her turn as long as his/her ball passes through a wicket or wickets. Extra shots can be cumulative.
Section 2
A ball, which is in the direct path through a wicket, is considered to be a Block. A competitor may Block A Wicket for two successive turns with a ball upon which the opponent is dead, but on the opponent's third turn must leave the wicket clear or be lifted and replaced after that turn.

Rule 9:00 Dead or Alive

Section 1
A player is dead on another player's ball when his/her ball hits another player's ball. He/she becomes alive again on that ball when his/her ball clears the next wicket.
Section 2
If a player's ball hits more than one ball upon which he/she is alive he/she plays off the first ball hit, and replaces the second ball to its original position. The sec­ond ball is still alive.
Section 3
A player who hits a ball that is alive receives two extra strokes. Extra shots can be cumulative.
Section 4
A player who hits a ball which is alive and caroms through a wicket on the same play receives ONE extra shot (for the wicket) from where the ball then lies. The wicket takes precedence over the roquet.
Section 5
A player who makes the wicket and then hits a ball on the same play must hit (roquet) that ball again in order to receive two extra shots. The player, however, may choose to continue play using the one extra shot for the wicket and will not be dead on the ball hit
Section 6
If a player hits a ball on which it is dead, the player's turn ends, any extra earned shots are lost, and both balls remain where they are.
Section 7
A ball hitting the turning stake clears any prior deadness.

Rule 10:00 Striking (Roqueting) an Opponent's Ball

Section 1
A player's ball that hits an opponent's ball on which he/she is still alive is entitled to Two Extra Shots. He/she then has 3 choices:
Use one shot by placing his/her ball in contact with the roqueted ball and in striking (croquet) his/her ball causes both balls to move. He/she then can take his/her second shot;
Use one shot by placing his/her ball in contact with the roqueted ball and holding his/her ball by foot or hand, strike (croquet) his/her ball causing the opponent's ball to move. He/she can then take his/her second shot;
Place his/her ball one mallet's head length away in any direction, but not through a wicket, from the opponent's ball and take his/her two extra shots.

Rule 11:00 Out of Bounds

Section 1
The boundary lines are part of the playing field. Any part of the ball that is resting over the line is considered in play.
Section 2
If a player's ball rolls out of bounds after being struck, it is brought back to the exit point and placed one mallet-head length inside the boundary line. The player's turn is ended.
Section 3
If a player's ball passes through a wicket and travels out of bounds, the turn ends and the ball is placed one mallet-head length inside the point of exit. No extra shot is earned.
Section 4
If, in a roquet or croquet, any ball(s), Except For The Striker's Ball go out of bounds, the striker's turn ends and the ball(s) are placed one mallet-head length inside the exit point.
Section 5
If in a roquet, the striker's ball goes out of bounds it is brought back into play and play continues as in Rule 10.

Rule 12:00 Playing Out of Turn or Wrong Call

Section 1
If a ball is played out of turn, all balls are replaced as at the beginning of that sequence of play, and play is resumed in proper sequence with the offending ball losing its next turn.
Section 2
If a player plays the wrong ball, his/her turn ends and all balls are replaced where they were before the error occurred.

Score Keepers

One scorekeeper and one official per court.

Each scorekeeper should have a score sheet for each competi­tion round that contains each player's name and his/her ball color (see rules 1 and 2).

At the start of play and during play the scorekeeper or official should announce the color whose turn it is to play (e.g., "Red's turn", "Blue's turn", etc.). This should eliminate playing out of turn.

Every time a player strikes his/her ball the scorekeeper makes a slash mark next to that player's name/color on his/her card.

If there is a tie at the end of the game, and on the same round (See Competition section), the stroke count will be used to determine the winner of that game.

Glossary of Terms

A word for a ball that has cleared a wicket, and thus is said to be alive - able to play - on all other balls.
A ball that, after hitting another ball or going out of bounds, must be picked up and moved.
Clearing (or Cleaning)
Becoming alive by running a wicket.
Croquet Stroke (or Shot)
The stroke in which, after a player roquets another ball, he/she places his/her ball next to the roqueted ball, and by striking his/her ball, moves both balls.
Describing a player who has roqueted another ball. He/she is said to be "dead" on that ball - that is, he/she cannot play off that ball again - until his/her ball clears its next wicket.
Double Tap
A fault in which the striker's ball is acciden­tally hit twice in one stroke. Only one stroke is counted.
An unacceptable stroke or an action resulting in a penalty.
Foot Shot
A croquet shot taken with the striker's foot on the ball.
Entrance to the upright of a wicket.
Jump Shot
A shot in which the ball is struck so that it leaves the ground, thus avoiding an obstructing ball, wicket or stake.
The positions on the court where a player leaves his/her and the opponent's balls at the end of his/her turn.
Describing a ball that has no part resting over the boundary lines.
To waive or pass up a turn.
A round wooden stake painted with colored stripes corresponding to the ball colors indicating sequence of play. In the nine wicket game there are two: 1) the start­ing/finishing stake and 2) the upper or turning stake.
The player whose turn it is to play and having played has struck his/her ball.
A stroke is counted if the mallet strikes the ball, however slightly the ball is moved. No stroke is counted if the ball is missed entirely. The player may attempt a strike again.
A ball blocking the intended path of the striker's ball when the striker's ball is "dead" on it.
To pass up a turn. The ball is then considered to have been played where it lies.
A straight or curved-topped arch, through which a ball must be driven.

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