I am indebted to the Croquet SA website for this introductory information about how to play golf croquet, and the basic rules of the game. I have included it in this blog for the benefit of those readers who may be puzzled about how it is played in South Australia.
GOLF CROQUET RULES:
1. There are four balls, blue, red, black and yellow, which must be played in that order (the colours are painted on the centre peg to act as a reminder).
2. The hoops and peg cannot be moved to facilitate play.
3. The person whose turn it is to play is called the striker. A turn consists of just one strike. In Singles one player uses the blue and black balls, the other red and yellow. In Doubles each player strikes his own ball — with blue partnering black and red partnering yellow.
4. Toss a coin to start the game. The winner of the toss starts by striking the blue ball, the next person the red ball, and so on.
5. Each person starts in the court within one yard of the corner shown overleaf. In succeeding turns you strike your ball from where it lies. The first hoop to be run is hoop 1, in the direction indicated on the diagram.
6. Once someone has run hoop 1 everyone then plays to run hoop 2, and so on. The game proceeds in the sequence shown and the first player to run seven hoops wins.
7. A hoop is run when no part of the ball protrudes beyond the side of the hoop from which it started (see the diagram above). A ball may take more than one turn to run a hoop.
8. If a ball other than the striker’s ball is hit through the hoop (peeled) by the striker’s ball then the hoop counts for that peeled ball, even if the striker’s ball also goes through that hoop.
9. Each turn consists of striking the correct ball with the face of the mallet head and with no other part of the mallet. Accidentally touching your ball counts as a strike. When it is your turn you have to take it — you are not allowed to ‘pass’.
10. When striking your ball be careful not to touch another ball with your mallet as this constitutes a ‘fault’. It is also a fault to hit your own ball more than once — a ‘double tap’ — or to ‘crush’ your ball into a hoop or the peg. Great care has to be taken to avoid these faults when your ball is close to an upright of a hoop and at an angle to the opening. It is a fault to force the ball through regardless!
11. If a fault is committed the turn ends, no points are scored, and your opponent can decide to take his turn from where the balls are or to have them returned to where they were.
12. Even if it’s not your turn you must not touch any ball, or let it touch you, or you will lose your next turn. So don’t trip over a ball, and watch out for moving balls. They can move very fast! If you do touch a ball your opponent can choose to leave it where it comes to rest or to put it back where it was before.
13. It is important not to play the wrong ball or play out of turn. If this does happen then your opponent can choose whether or
not to replace the balls or leave them where they are, and choose which ball to restart with. For example: if yellow was played (wrongly) after blue, your opponent can choose to continue with either the black or the blue ball. (In Singles if a player plays there partner ball by mistake the ball is put back where it was and the correct partner ball is played, no penalty. In Doubles if the ball belongs to the striker’s partner, no points are scored for any ball, the ball and any other ball
moved are replaced and the correct ball is played, no penalty). A hoop run by the wrong ball does not count as a hoop point.
14. When all balls have stopped any ball which has left the court is replaced on the boundary at the place where it went off.
15. After a turn in which a hoop point is scored any ball that is over halfway to the next hoop to be played can be declared ‘offside’, unless it got there:
a. as a result of the stroke just played: by it running the hoop or it being peeled through, or by it peeling another ball through that hoop; or
b. a stroke, wrong ball play or fault played or committed by an opponent, however this exemption does not apply to a ball whose owner misses a turn
in that position because of a non-striking fault; for example by the red ball being struck so that it knocks the opponent’s blue or black ball beyond halfway to the next hoop; or
c. contact with an opponent’s ball, however this exemption does not result from a ball played away from an opponent’s ball with which it was in contact, unless it moves that ball in the stroke; or
d. being directed to a penalty spot.
16. If your ball is offside, and is so claimed by your opponent, and you are asked to do so, you must move the ball to one of two penalty positions – your opponent chooses which. The penalty points are the half way points on each of the longer boundaries. Your opponent may prefer you to take your turn from where your ball lies.