The game of Croquet originated in the South of France as Paille-Maille (Pall Mall) in the 14th Century. New versions of the sport developed in France where it was called Croquet (Crooked Stick) and in Ireland where they called it Crookey in the early 19th Century. It was adopted by England in about 1850 and has been played at a serious level since 1862.
It is a purely amateur sport now enjoyed by enthusiasts in a number of countries which have their own Croquet Associations. These are responsible for regulating rules, competitions and handicaps. The Associations are affiliated to the World Croquet Federation which organises the world championship held every two years and certain competitions between teams from participating countries. These are USA, England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Jersey, Australia, New Zealand, Egypt, South Africa, Japan and Canada.
It is most popular in the USA where it is estimated there are in the region of 2 million players and 150 clubs. (It must be appreciated that many people play in their own gardens and may not be members of a club.) There are approximately 400,000 players in England and 60 clubs. It also has around 100 hotels with croquet lawns. Despite its small population, Australia has some 150,000 players and 200 clubs. In Egypt, where golf croquet is remarkably popular, there are 40 clubs.
Croquet was introduced to Corfu by the British when they occupied the Island from 1816 to 1864 but, as far as is known, it never developed beyond the gardens of several Corfiot families - until the Croquet Club of Corfu.
There are essentially two different forms of the game - Golf Croquet and Association Croquet. Golf is simpler and easier to understand. A game should only take 45 minutes to 1,5 hour. Association is rather more complex and games last 3-4 hours. Both can be played as singles or doubles. Both use the same equipment and are played on the same sized lawn. Men and women play on equal terms.
Each lawn occupies 33 x 27 metres of ground prepared so as to provide a flat smooth grass finish. It has 6 hoops, a centre peg and a very low fence around the sides designed to stop balls vanishing into the distance. The balls are struck by mallets.
On one lawn you can play at the most with 8 people at the same time. Without going into detail, the game can be best described as being like snooker on grass involving subtle tactics, gentle exercise and varying degrees of skill.
The Croquet Club of Corfu plays Golf Croquet, although when there are guests from abroad we also play Association Croquet. We are playing according to the rules of the World Croquet Federation. Most members plays with their own mallets, of course the club will carry a range of mallets for the use of those who do not have their own mallet and for guests.
As we mentioned before we can play throughout the year. We have two Club days a week: in the winter on Wednesday and Saturday, starting at 11.00 o’clock in the morning. In the summer we can change the timings depending on the temperature.
Dress code: you need flat (sport)shoes and in the summer season (April/October) we wear preferably white or light coloured clothing
Of course there is often a difference between the skills of players, to have an attrictive game between players of a different level we introduce the use of handicaps. When two players play a single the player with a higher handicap get the number of handicaps based on the difference. When 4 players play a double, the lowest and top players compares their handicaps and if there is a difference the player with the higher handicap gets half of the difference. A Handicap can be used as an extra stroke. The player use his handicap to realize a better scoring postion or to prevent the opponent to score. The ranking of our players you can find here.
The individual competition, called Egyptian tournament, will be played every year and has his own rules. The competition started this year in February and ends at August 1st. Players invite each other to measure forces in the Egyptian tournament. The ranking of the players will be changed depending of the outcome of this individual competition.