spectating a game

Bristol Croquet Club: Club Guide

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For a gentle, thorough, introduction to croquet and the club, read all sections left to right, top to bottom - others might want to jump to the section of interest. Key: Club Life, Playing, Competition.

Club Guide: Our rules, customs and conventions


Whether you are new to croquet, or a more experienced player moving to Bristol Croquet Club, joining a club involves a lot of learning - not just about the game but about the rules, customs and conventions of the club.

The Committee has created this Guide for you. It covers the safety and security of our members, visitors, contractors, and physical assets; it facilitates efficient, equitable and harmonious sharing of the Club's facilities.

These are combined from a range of sources and cover the rules, values, guidance, good advice, customs and etiquette relevant to enjoying croquet at our Club.

It is important that the section Club Etiquette: Conventions, Customs and Good Manners is understood from the outset. You may find some of these quaint but all should be duly noted.

Your coach or any Committee member will be happy to explain any of these points. Members who fail to observe them, whether through ignorance or thoughtlessness, might expect a word of encouragement in their ear from a Committee member!

Club Life

The Club is a social enterprise. We want everyone to feel part of it all - so please behave with courtesy and consideration towards all members, visitors and guests.

And we couldn't operate without our member-volunteers. There are masses of activities to get involved with. Some tasks use contractors (lawn seeding and mowing, hedge trimming, clubhouse cleaning) but everything else is undertaken by member volunteers.

Raised Hands

These are just some of the ways you can get involved:

cheers Do make the most of what we have to offer: join in and do offer to help - any Committee member will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

Why not share your enthusiasm and super-powers with us?

The Clubhouse

Arial View of the club Arial View of the club

We enjoy a purpose-built clubhouse with three full-size lawns and associated out-buildings.

Please note that smoking is not permitted in any of the buildings, on the courts nor the clubhouse terrace. If you must smoke, please do so with consideration for other members and spectators and move away graciously if asked to do so.

Our clubhouse has a clubroom, changing rooms, toilets and kitchen facilities with supplies of soft drinks, ices, etc. but no bar. Prices are displayed on the kitchen noticeboard and members are asked to use the tally system to pay.

You are welcome to bring in your own drinks and other refreshments, but please take all empty bottles, cans and other containers back home with you when you leave.

Plan of the Clubhouse Plan of the Clubhouse

Please use our facilities with consideration for others:



On payment of a refundable deposit, members may obtain keys that will open the gate and the clubhouse. It is very important that the last member to leave checks that the clubhouse is secure and the gate is locked. There is a separate key for the clubhouse doors.

The first person to arrive should:

The last person to leave the clubhouse must:

The last person to leave the grounds must:

padlock on the gatePut the padlock so it is easily accessible

Personal equipment (e.g. your mallet) may be stored in the respective clubhouse changing rooms at your own risk, but must be labelled with your name


Parked Car

Our members are many but our parking spaces are few.

Lawns and Equipment

The condition of our lawns is an essential factor in the enjoyment of the game. We spend a great deal of money and volunteer effort cutting and maintaining our lawns. Members must take great care not to damage the lawn surface in any way, either with their feet or their mallet, although we accept that occasionally accidents do happen.

ball in hoop A Newly Set Hoop

The correct position for newly set hoops is with the top of the carrots (the wider base of the hoop that gives it more grip in the ground) about ½" above the ground. This does not interfere with the ball running the hoop because of the curvature of the ball.

If hoops are hit in too far, our Hoop Group have to move them, which leaves lawn damage in its wake. Please do not tap hoops further than is necessary to make them firm (it only needs a tap, not a thump) using the black-rubber headed mallet kept in the white lining shed, where you will also find the swish sticks needed after rain to clear worm casts before play. Please stop other people hitting hoops in too far, or playing without clearing worm casts.

The Hoop Group regularly reset the hoops, to move away from worn patches and rabbit runs, and set hoop widths appropriate to upcoming tournaments and our Hoop Setting Coordinator would be grateful for more volunteers to spread the workload. Full training given!

In rare situations, an AC player might find that the projecting carrots prevent them from making a fair stroke - in that case only can the hoop be hammered down to the ground. See Law 5.

Please also read Preparing to Play in the etiquette section.

See the Our Grounds Secretary looks after the lawns and surrounding areas. Our Playing Equipment Coordinator lays out the lawns for play, positioning boundary lines and hoops as required.

Please contact them to report damage or with any queries relating to these topics.

See also Booking a Court.



There are a number of club mallets, which beginners may borrow in their first year of play, and perhaps longer by prior arrangement with the Playing Equipment Coordinator. They are kept in the equipment cupboard when not in use. They must not be removed from the club premises.

Coaches will help you to select a suitable club mallet. Several people may use the same mallet at different times so it is important to return it promptly when you have finished playing.

In your second year of play, you should buy your own mallet. Coaches and the Playing Equipment Coordinator will be pleased to advise you how to choose and buy a mallet. Do not buy a "Garden Mallet", a good starter mallet will typically cost about £200 new.

From time to time, members will wish to sell used mallets. This is a good chance to get a decent mallet at a bargain price. If you wish to sell a mallet, contact the Playing Equipment Coordinator who will circulate details to other club members.

Risk Assessment and Safety

Calm Careful

Croquet is not a dangerous sport, but playing croquet at Bristol carries more risk than staying at home on the sofa. We will not enumerate here the many obvious and universal risks (e.g. 'the kitchen knives are sharp'), but there are risks specific to croquet, and there are risks specific to Bristol Croquet Club; let's take those separately:

Any accident that occurs must be reported to a Committee member as soon as is practicable and recorded in the Accident Book (kept in the clubhouse or equipment hut while closed) including all relevant details of when, what, how, why and to whom.

Please also refer to the General Risk Assessment.

For more information, please email Chris Frew, who will be happy to help.