Introduction to the game of Golf Croquet
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 secondary colour balls are being used, then the sequence is Green, Pink, Brown and then White.
3. Each turn consists of one stroke only. There are never any extra strokes for running hoops or hitting other balls.
4. The court settings and equipment are the same as for Association croquet, except that yardline and hence corner pegs are not used. If used, each side will carry six clips of their own colour, which are added to the hoops to mark who scored each one as the game progresses.
5. The game starts by playing the balls in order from a position within one yard of corner 4 (see Diagram 1). Note that for friendly or club games this rule is often relaxed to be anywhere within one yard of the East boundary, and between corner 4 and level with the 4th hoop - this is so as to reduce wear in the corner area.
6. All players try in successive turns to run 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 court. 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 one of their coloured clips on the crown of the hoop.
7. The hoops are run in the same order and in the same direction as Association croquet. However, if the points are level after running the 12th hoop, then the game is decided by the first player to then run hoop 3. 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 (see para. 22). A player may not deem a stroke to be played.
10. When all balls have stopped, any ball which has left the court is placed on the boundary where it went off. (Note: this is different to association croquet, where the balls are replaced one yard in from the boundary). If, when the boundary ball comes to be played, there is insufficient space outside of the boundary to allow the striker to play his stroke freely, then the ball may be moved in from the boundary by the minimum amount necessary to allow an unhampered stroke.
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, provided that the lawn surface is not damaged (see faults para 22 (e)).
13. A ball scores a hoop point by passing through its next hoop in the order and direction shown in Diagram 1. 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, provided that it does not come back past this point later in the stroke (see Diagram 2.).
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 that hoop is scored for the ball which is so peeled. If more than one ball completes the running of the same hoop in the same stroke, then the peeled ball and not the striker's ball is deemed to have scored the point, irrespective of the actual order of the running. If more than one ball is peeled in the stroke, then the ball which was closest to the hoop at the start of the stroke is deemed to have scored the point.
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 is restored to the first stroke in error and play continues by playing the correct ball, without penalty. However, in Doubles, or if a player plays an opponent’s 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 in order is placed on one of the two penalty spots chosen by the adversary of the ball's owner unless (a) one of the exceptions listed in paragraph 21 below applies or (b) the adversary decides that the ball shall remain where it lies.
20. The penalty spots are the half-way points on each of the two longest boundaries.
21. Balls may not be required to be moved if they reached their position as a result of:
(a) hitting an adversary ball, or
(b) an adversary's stroke, or
(c) scoring the previous hoop, either by being struck through the hoop, peeled through the hoop, or peeling another ball through the hoop, or
(d) being struck by its partner ball which scores a point in the same stroke.
22. The striker must hold the mallet by its shaft and swing it so as to attempt to hit his ball cleanly with an end face of its head. He commits a fault if he does not do so, or if, when playing a stroke, he:
(a) touches any ball or his mallet touches any other ball; or
(b) hits his own ball more than once (note: there is no exemption for hitting another ball, as for a roquet in Association croquet), or
(c) squeezes his ball against a hoop or the peg; or
(d) intentionally causes the striker's ball to hit a boundary ball, or
(e) plays a stroke which is likely to and does cause damage to the court.
23. If a fault is committed the striker's turn ends, no points are scored in the stroke, and the balls are either left as they lie or replaced at the adversary's choice.
OTHER FORMS OF PLAY
24. In handicap play, the stronger player gives the weaker one a number of extra turns, called bisques. 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 a bisque turn.
25. The number of bisques to be given is the difference between the handicaps of the two players.