Outline of the Game
1. The sides are Blue and Black against Red and Yellow (or Green and Brown against Pink and White). Doubles or Singles can be played; in Singles the player plays both balls of his side in alternative turns. In Doubles each player plays one ball only.
2. Play progresses in strict colour order: Blue, Red, Black, Yellow (the order of colours on the peg), then back to Blue again. If second colour balls are being used, then the sequence is Green, Pink, Brown, White.
3. Each turn consists of one stroke only. There are never any extra strokes for running hoops or hitting other balls.
4. A full-sized lawn measures 35 by 28 yards, and is laid out with six hoops and a centre peg. The order and direction in which hoops are scored is shown in the diagram.
5. The game starts by playing the balls in order from a position within one yard of corner 4 (the bottom right corner, as shown in the diagram).
6. All players try in successive turns to run (i.e. pass through) Hoop 1. As soon as any player on either side completes the running of Hoop 1, then he scores that hoop point for his side, and all players move on to Hoop 2, and so on around the lawn. Thus each hoop is scored only once, for one side or the other. The side to have scored the hoop may mark this by putting a coloured clips on the crown of the hoop.
7. The peg plays no part in Golf Croquet, other than as an obstacle and a reminder of colour order.
8. The game ends as soon as one side has scored seven points.
9. A turn consists of a single stroke. A stroke is played when the striker hits any ball with his mallet and causes it to move, or commits a fault.
10. When all balls have stopped, any ball which has left the lawn is placed on the boundary where it went off.
11. If at any time a boundary ball obstructs the playing of another ball, the boundary ball may be temporarily removed. If the replacing of a ball on the boundary is prevented by the presence of another ball which will be played first, then the ball is replaced after the obstructing ball has been played. Otherwise the obstructing ball is temporarily removed until the ball is played.
12. A ball may be jumped over a hoop or another ball.
13. A ball scores a hoop point by passing through its next hoop in the order and direction shown in the diagram. This is also known as running a hoop.
14. A ball begins to run a hoop when any part of it first emerges from the back of the hoop, and finishes doing so when the whole of it finally enters the front of the hoop.
15. A ball may take more than one stroke or turn to run a hoop.
16. If a ball other than the striker’s ball is knocked through the next hoop in order, then the hoop is scored for that ball. If more than one ball completes the running of the same hoop in the same stroke, then the other ball and not the striker’s ball is deemed to have scored the point, irrespective of the actual order of the running.
17. If a ball runs two hoops in the same stroke, then both hoop points are scored.
Balls played out of sequence
18. If the balls are played in the incorrect sequence by a player playing the wrong ball of his side, then:
- in Singles play, the balls are replaced where they were, and play continues by playing the correct ball, without penalty.
- in Doubles play, or if a player plays an opponents ball in error, this is a fault – the striker’s turn ends, no points are scored in the stroke and the balls are either left where they lie or replaced at the adversary’s option.
Playing for the next hoop
19. Players may take positions towards the hoop beyond the one being contested if desired, but not more than halfway. Immediately after the hoop in order is scored, any ball resting beyond the halfway line between the hoop just run and the next hoop is placed on one of two penalty spots. The adversary may choose which of these penalty spots the ball should be placed on, or whether the ball remains where it lies.
20. The penalty spots are the half-way points on each of the two longest boundaries.
21. Exception to this rule: Balls are not required to be moved to a penalty spot if they reached their position as a result of:
- hitting an adversary ball;
- an adversary’s stroke;
- scoring the previous hoop, or causing another another ball to score the hoop; or
- being struck by its partner ball which scores a point in the same stroke.
Other forms of play
22. In handicap play, the stronger player gives the weaker one a number of extra turns. One or more of these can be taken at the striker’s option at the end of his normal turn, but only playing the same ball. No hoop point may be scored for the striker\’s side during an extra turn.
23. The number of extra turns to be given is the difference between the handicaps of the two players.
The definitive rules of Golf Croquet are available from The World Croquet Association. These rules were revised and came into effect on 1st March 2019. Although they do not change the way the game is played, they are supposed to clarify the language!