There is one mallet on the market that will make you a better straight ball shooter; if you know how to use it. These mallets, with their wishbone handle, are made by the Norwich Croquet Company in Norwich CT.

   In 1899, a small group of croquet enthusiasts from across the country met in Norwich to revise the old rules and to revitalize the game. They looked at court size, hoop counts, dimensions, and number of balls used; making appropriate, permanent changes to standardize the game.

   Almost 120 years later in Norwich, mallet maker Gordon Kyle is making some revolutionary changes to the game of croquet with his unique mallet handle and open center design as embodied in 2 models: the AirHeart and the AirGo.

   Kyles wishbone mallets are literally designed with no flex in the handle. This means you DO NOT have to get in a “crouch position” and put your bottom hand a couple of inches above the mallet head to make any roll shots. All these shots can be made in the standing position with your bottom hand never going below the top of the wishbone split. It’s all done with your stance and with the forward, downward angle that you make contact with your ball.

   The center of the mallet is open so that you can see the sightline as you stalk and cast over your ball. When stalking the ball, approach your ball in a straight line to your target, place your mallet behind your ball and then step back far enough to look through the wishbone and check if the sightline is on target. Make any adjustments and take you stance. Then, take a few casting strokes over the ball looking through the open center to see if you are swinging the mallet straight splitting the ball in two.

   If your alignment was correct, you are swinging straight over the ball and you make good contact with your ball, you will hit your target. A tip: Practice, practice and practice with these mallets and you will become a better straight ball shooter.

   –Ford Fay

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From Ford Fay --  to consolidate threads:

You have been playing serious croquet for a little more than two years and now you are really looking to refine your hitting skills. Something is missing, you have taken lessons and you know what you should be doing but you are still missing your target.

You see an advertisement for a mallet with a “wishbone” split handle. What is this?

The “wishbone” mallet is a revolutionary new concept. You no longer have to get into a crouch position with your hand down at the bottom of the shaft to make any roll shots. You ask, how is this possible? The secret is that this mallet had literally no flex in the shaft. Flexible shafts are a disadvantage in your making roll shots and pass-rolls, requiring an adjustment in your grip and stance to eliminate all the whip.

All your roll shots can be made standing up. Your lower hand does not have to go any further down than at the top of the wishbone split (approximately 11 inches above the mallet head) and contact made with the proper forward angle of the shaft and ball.

With a wishbone handle and open mallet center (allowing full vision of the sight-line) your visual eye control will improve when stalking and casting over the ball.

  1. When you stalk your ball and come up to it, place your mallet against the ball, then step back a few yards to look through the wishbone handle at the target. Is the sight-line straight with your target? Make any adjustments before taking your stance. If you make the proper contact* with the mallet head and ball you will hit your target.
  2. When you are casting and looking through the open center, concentrate on splitting the ball in half (using the sightline) and watch that you are swinging straight. Again, if you make the proper contact* you will hit your target.

* If your line of aim is correct, shoulders perpendicular and you make contact squarely with the mallet head and the center of the ball, you will hit your target. Always remember practice makes perfect with this mallet.

You can meet the mallet maker by going to http://www.croquetworld.com/News/shaftmaster.asp

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