Try croquet - have a go for free

Croquet can be played by people of all ages and abilities. You don't need any special clothing or equipment - just flat-soled shoes. And best of all, if you ask us about having a go, you'll get a warm welcome and free coaching to get your game under way.

The club provides all equipment, including a selection of mallets. Players usually buy their own mallet after they have been playing for a year or so.

The game is often described as a combination of snooker and chess, with the added random factor that comes from playing on a grass lawn in the open air. Unlike Alice in Wonderland, we don't play with flamingos, but our five croquet lawns at Kelburn are regularly overflown by kākā and tūī.

Croquet can be played powerfully, strategically and competitively with great skill and precision, and it can also be simply a great way to relax and have fun.

How it is played

Croquet can be played as a singles or doubles game. It is played with a set of four balls, which must be hit through the six hoops on the croquet lawn in a specific sequence, with a croquet mallet. 

As a ball only just fits through a hoop with about 2 mm to spare, this requires some skill. We help coach new players in techniques for striking the ball.

It's also fair game to target the opposition's balls, deflecting or blocking them from a hoop shot. So, game on!

Each of the balls are different colours, and they must be played in the same order each time. The order of the colours is marked on the centre peg marker in each lawn. 

The order of play for the main, or "primary" set of balls is: blue, red, black, yellow.

The order of play for the "secondary" set of balls is: green, pink, brown, white.

Play with the primary colours starts from the yellow-flagged corner of the lawn. 

If playing singles, the first player will start with blue. The second will play red. The first player will play black. The second player will play yellow. And they will continue around the lawn in the same sequence each turn. 

If playing doubles, the first player will start with blue, and their partner will play black after the first player in the opposition team has played red. The second player in the opposition team will play yellow after the black ball has been played.

The balls must be hit through the hoops in a particular sequence. Play continues for a predetermined time and/or up to a predetermined score, depending on the type of croquet game being played, with each hoop scored counting as one point.

Experienced players are always happy to help you learn the sequence for playing the hoops in turn, and the other rules of the game. 

The two main forms of croquet played at Kelburn

The two main forms are Golf and Association croquet. Both games can be played either as singles or doubles.

Golf croquet is an increasingly popular game, and is what most new players start with. The method of play is easy to learn. Strategy and skills may be developed over time. A game can be played in 45 minutes to an hour.

Click this link to open a PDF containing a brief introduction to the fundamentals of Golf Croquet. 

The Croquet NZ website also provides introductory information (click here). 

Association croquet is a game of skill like snooker and strategy like chess. The Croquet NZ website provides the following introductory information (click here).