Croquet originated in England in the 1850s. Since then, it has become a popular pastime in North America. The casual pace and simple rules make this a great game for all members of the family to play in the backyard or in the park. With any sport, if you were playing at the professional level, there are official rules and regulations that all players need to follow. The playing field needs to be regulation size. However, for the casual backyard players, this can be adapted to suit the home version (see our picks for the best heavy-duty croquet set). Regardless, it is important to set up the croquet game properly so there is some level of consistency. Here are some instructions on setting up a croquet game to play with friends and family.
You should have a set of croquet equipment. A set for six players should have six mallets and six balls that are color-coded, a set of nine wickets (These are the hoops you place in the ground), and two stakes. If you’re still learning, read our article on how to play croquet for beginners to help get you started.
Determine the Size of the Court
According to the international croquet association, the official size of a croquet court is 105 feet long by 84 feet wide. However, for practical purposes, these numbers can be rounded to 100 feet by 50 feet. Still, many families do not have this kind of space in the backyard. For playing a casual game with friends and family, the court size can be halved, making the dimensions 50 feet long by 25 feet wide. The following instructions will use the smaller dimensions.
Identify the area where you think the perimeter of your croquet court will fit. Measure out the dimensions and place flags in the corners of the court. Stretch a piece of string around the flags, from one to the other, to delineate the boundaries of the rectangular court. These boundaries are important because there are rules that apply to croquet balls that are struck out of bounds. If there are trees or bushes in the area, just consider those to be obstacles that all players will have to maneuver around. This makes the game more fun and challenging.
You will set up a court that is called a double-diamond, nine-wicket court.
Setting Up The First Diamond
After you have delineated the boundaries of the rectangular court, go to the center of a short side. From this boundary, measure three feet in from the edge and plant your first stake at that spot. Use a rubber mallet to hammer the stake into the ground.
From this stake, measure three feet down the long side, still at center court, and place your first wicket.
From the first wicket, measure three feet down center, and place your second wicket.
From the second wicket, measure 16 feet down center court, and place your third wicket. This third wicket should be pretty much the center point of the playing field.
From the second wicket, measure eight feet toward the third wicket (i.e. halfway between the second and third wickets). At this point, measure nine feet toward each of the long sides of the court. Place a wicket on each side (fourth and fifth wickets). You have now formed the first diamond in your court.
Setting Up the Second Diamond
From the third wicket, measure 16 feet down the center toward the other end of the court. Place your sixth wicket.
Go back to the third wicket, measure 8 feet toward the sixth wicket. From this point, measure nine feet toward each of the short sides of the court. Place your seventh and eighth wickets at these spots.
From the sixth wicket, measure three feet toward the end of the court, and place your ninth and last wicket.
From the ninth wicket, measure three feet toward the end, and place your second stake.
Your court should now have two diamond-shaped configurations. Your nine-wicket croquet court is now complete and ready for a game.
If you have space (like if you have a big space in the park), you can set up a court 100 feet long by 50 feet wide and just double the measurements specified above. Many families like the smaller court because it fits their space. Plus, it allows people to stay together and socialize easier. There is also a configuration that uses six wickets instead of nine. This is used in professional tournaments. However, you can also adapt this configuration to a backyard croquet court.