I recently received the following question from a newly appointed recreation/croquet director at a croquet club in North Carolina. I've passed along an answer of my own, but wanted to put it out to the wider community for other ideas and to make it available to others looking for info on the topic:

I wanted to know how other clubs set up their organized croquet times/events. I worked briefly last year at the club and they set aside 3 hours on Sunday for open golf croquet. Basically, when someone showed up, they got fit into a game. Is there a standard way that other clubs do this? I think the club wants more structure and efficiency.

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At Canberra CC we schedule "social draws" to start at set times, either 10 am if morning or 1 pm in the afternoon. People turn up a bit earlier, choose if playing singles or doubles, then do a random draw. If golf croquet, repeat every hour. We have 110 playing members so currently run 5 association draws and 5 golf croquet draws a week (including an evening). peter freer

I like that concept quite a bit ... I thought I would also add what we started last year.

We do a two-hour open GC session at our club on Wednesday nights in the summer and offer a free 20-minute clinic at the beginning of the session. For beginners, it's an intro to grip, stance and the rules. For the intermediates, I have an eight-week outline of skills/tactics to cover. Then, we go into games. We may do a league this year. That could be either a ladder style ... where you rank the players and if you win you move up a spot in the rankings. You can end the season with a tournament based on the final standings for seeding. The other choice is straight up round-robin, but that is not as flexible.
 
I've also envisioned creating a king of the hill session. In this one, if a player wins a game, they keep the court if they want and take on the next challenger. If you have multiple courts, you could also slide the winners toward a specific court and the losers down the court hierarchy. The basic idea of this concept is that games get started and new people show up, they put their name in to challenge and the losers have to give up the court. Pretty much the equivalent of quarters on a pool table.

 

Sounds good Dylan, although ladder competitions often seem to run out of steam. I think it is important to have a progression available. Canberra offers Come&Try on the first Sunday of each month to attract people new to croquet, and we stream the interested ones into Beginners Class (6 x 2 hour lessons starting with how to hold a mallet etc, but then covering both golf & association croquet). We also offer croquet classes via University of the Third Age (U3A) which are usually over-subscribed. Once signed up as members, we have a range of Club championships, both level & handicap, often in flights so that players don't feel out of their depth. These typically last 3-4 months so players can find the time to play their matches, rather than be on a single weekend which many players won't be able to handle. We also encourage them to venture to other Clubs via State-wide Pennant competitions, also in flights, which usually start in Regions so you initially visit nearby Clubs (remember that In Aust "nearby" often means 250 km/3 hour drives). There is always a demand for more coaching, so we run various coaching modules (look up "Canberra Croquet" on the web, but we also pull on resources like clarkecroquet & the Oxford site).

Dylan,

At our local croquet club in Brighton (Canada), we have open play on Monday & Wednesday evenings. To keep it relaxed for those who can't always make it out, we start play as soon as we're setup and have 4 players. Each of the two lawns may be double-banked for a total of 16 players.

Court positions and player number are engraved on plastic chips ie;  Lawn 1 Player 1 and Lawn 1 Player 2. There would be 2 of each of these so the two people that pick Lawn 1 Player 1 are partners. Same for Player 2. Coin toss will determine who shoots blue. Games are the best 4 out of 7 which take about 20 - 30 minutes. We'll get about 4 rounds in each night.

If the croquet director can chime in with his/her name & the name of his club, I'm going to be in the North Carolina area in June and would be happy to stop by to help if it's not too far off my route.

Don -- I will message you the director's name an info.

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