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An Overview
The Croquet Court at Rossmoor is full regulation size, with a playing field in A-1 condition, and an extremely level surface. Bright green bent grass surface surrounded by tall trees, and players in white enjoying competition — the court is a special treasure of the community. Its club has also been recognized by the US Croquet Association as one of the Best Active Adult Community Croquet Clubs.

The Rossmoor Club is a member of the US Croquet Association, an organization based in Palm Beach Florida with over 300 Member Greens in the US, representing over 3,000 players. There are a total of 7 clubs in New Jersey who have membership in the Association. Florida has the most with 40. If all Croquet Associations in the US and Canada are included, it is estimated that there are more than 600 greens and 10,000 dedicated players. There are also over 120 greens in the United Kingdom, played under the "International Rules" of the British Croquet Association which sets many of the world-wide standards for rules and equipment.

The play at the Rossmoor Court rigorously follows the "American Croquet Rules," and uses the "American Six Wicket" format. The US Croquet Association promulgates the rules for four different versions of croquet to standardize play at all levels: (a) Backyard Nine-Wicket, (b) American Six-Wicket, (c) International Six-Wicket, and (d) Golf Croquet (which uses the nine-wicket layout.)

In case it is thought that croquet is a sport only attracting older participants, be advised that the average age of the top players in the UK is 20-35 years, and the average age of US Croquet Association members is 43 years.

The sport has become popular with undergraduates in many University settings such as Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Columbia and others. It is also not a game played only in the UK and the USA. Croquet has become an international sport with clubs in such diverse places as: Egypt, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Russia, Japan, South Africa and others. The World Croquet Federation, founded in 1986 is a multi-national organization committed to developing and promoting croquet across the globe.

 

 

"With all the help club members gave me, I quickly became very comfortable on the court. I now play as often as I can, and love the challenge of learning the subtle strategy of the game. It has become a wonderful part of my life at Rossmoor."

A two year resident of Rossmoor remembers his first view of the green and the players,
wondering if he could ever learn to participate.

 

 
 

 

Joining the Rossmoor Croquet Club
Residents of the Rossmoor Community are always welcome to join the club; attend clinics; be assigned a mentor; use the practice green associated with the main court; and sign up for games throughout the week. Enjoying a new sport and the challenge of learning a new set of skills is the motivation for all who are attracted to joining the club. "It is really a great deal of fun!" — is a description heard very often.

The current Club now has 70 members and is growing annually. New members (from the Rossmoor Community) are encouraged to join in the Spring of each year when the Croquet Club holds Open House. This is organized to assist residents in deciding whether or not this is an activity they would enjoy. Though a few residents join at other times, this is not encouraged. Because new first year members are placed in a regular progressive teaching program, entering at odd times breaks the continuity of the class with spotty learning of important skills and information. Croquet, played correctly, is a game requiring considerable skill. Proper training is an integral first step for anyone to enjoy the game.

Membership fees are $25/yr for initial membership, with annual dues of $20.

Equipment: Rossmoor provides equipment such as mallets and balls, however many members prefer to own their own.

Educational Opportunities
Free Croquet Clinics are held weekly, and can run the full season or on an 8 week basis as needed. Because the court is illuminated, the Club provides evening Clinics for Rossmoor residents who are still working. These teaching Clinics are not only for Beginners, but also for Advanced Members in the strategy of the game. There are indoor classes at different levels to review the basic as well as the advanced rules of play. The club owns a full set of Video Instruction tapes which it loans to members. The tapes explore Rules, Strategy, Beginning strokes, Advanced strokes, as well as a general overview of the sport.

Once proper technique and knowledge of the rules are understood, the most difficult part follows. The strategy and tactics are the truly most difficult part of the sport, and can take many years — if ever — to master. Because of this, Croquet has often been called "Chess on the Lawn."

 


 
 

  "Croquet Season" runs from April to December, and is controlled by the dates of frosts in the area. In the Spring, the end of winter frost also determines when Spring preparation of both Croquet and Golf Greens can be begun. (the Golf Course Management company often requires several grass cuttings before the courses can be opened.) The season ends when the hard frost of winter arrives.

The Croquet Club has an active schedule throughout the year. This is a partial listing:

  1. Annual Open House: At the start of the season the Club hosts an "Open House" to which any resident interested in possible Club Membership is invited.
  2. Opening Day Luncheon
  3. Daily Games: The Croquet Club has a courtside signup sheet for daily games. Games traditionally last a maximum of 1 hr 15 minutes each.
  4. Singles Tournament: In the Spring there are Singles Tournaments where one player plays both balls of his team, and a second player competes with the remaining two balls against the other.
  5. Buddy Tournament is in the Fall and is especially for 1st year players using a Doubles format of four players, two as a team, and in which each player plays one ball.
  6. Hi/Low tournament features players teamed by Handicap, with a Hi and a Low Handicap paired.
  7. Inter-Club Croquet Tournaments where our players compete with other New Jersey Croquet Clubs either on their course or ours.
  8. The Challenge Ladder (An ongoing competition throughout the year, of several different "ladders." A ladder continues for 6 wks or longer):
    Each consists of approximately 12 players. Initially, names are placed from the top to the bottom of the ladder by a random drawing. Then anyone on the list may challenge a player whose name is above theirs. Should the challenger win, the names are exchanged on the ladder. The goal is to try and achieve the top name slot on the list.

  9. Wheel Play: Using a double wheel, players are matched when — after the wheel is rotated — two names line up. The wheel is rotated monthly matching a different set of players for the next round.
  10. Club "Playdays" occur in June, July and again late in the summer. These are less serious games and are organized "just for fun."
      1. Miniature Golf: The court is set up as a miniature golf course with bridges, tunnels and teepees, as well as other course "hazards"
      2. Golf Croquet: This is a game often used in other settings as an executive training technique.
      3. "Shoot and Scoot"
  11. Annual Holiday Party

 
  Certified Club Level Referees
The Rossmoor Club has two members certified by the US Croquet Association as official club referees at tournament events. The certification process requires the applicant to pass both a written and a practical test. To remain certified, referees must reapply and repeat the process every three years.

 

Outreach of the Rossmoor Croquet Club:

  • Members have participated in Regional Tournaments and Inter-Croquet-Club events.
  • Participation in Fund Raisers for the Newgrange School, a ungraded school located in Hamilton, NJ, for ages 8-18 which provides a full curriculum, and an individualized educational program for youth with language based learning disabilities and dyslexia. (The Newgrange Outreach Program is associated, located in Princeton, and offers educational seminars and teacher training; maintains a resource library and an information network for individuals concerned with learning disabilities.)
  • Has given Croquet demonstrations at Drumthwacket, the New Jersey Governor's Mansion in Princeton.
  • Members of the Club participate annually in March of Dimes events.
 

 
 

 

The Beginnings of the Rossmoor Court
The Rossmoor Community owes its beautiful court to the vision of the two founding members of the Club, Ruth Dowdell and Virginia Allen. After experiencing the excitement of the game while on vacation in Georgia, the two were certain they had found a great addition for Rossmoor. In 1989, soon after a large tree came down on the south lawn of the Clubhouse clearing a large space, it was apparent that this would make an ideal setting for a court.

For the first year, the newly formed club used existing lawn, but it soon realized that in order to have a high grade court, something more was needed. What followed was the research and development of a more professional surface. To continue improvement, the Club raised funds for an even more major reconstruction. The new design that was used was created by a professional Civil Engineer who was both a Rossmoor resident and a club member. By 1999 the redesigned court was in place and being used, maintained by the same company who manages the greens of the community's Golf Course.

 
Ruth and Ginny enjoying a moment between games

  And, of course, any serious club requires a mascot, even if unofficial! Robbie (aka Rob Roy, Duke of Cranbury) remains "on the alert" watching the colored round "critters" shoot across the court. Robbie warily sizes-up any unfamiliar faces carrying mallets, and is the nemesis of all furry or feathered "varmints" who DARE show up on his court!
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