croquet 5-15-2013

The Ball is in Your Court

A Croquet Primer

A highlight of warmer, transitional weather is outdoor springtime dalliances. Sweet tea on the front porch, brie and crackers on the lawn and loads of friends drinking in the sunshine (along with alternative beverages).

Now that you have this lively group of people in attendance, why not whet their appetite for more revelry with a bit of friendly competition? Croquet, one of the more simply procured gentleman’s sports, can be easily set up on any patch of grass with a reasonably smooth terrain. All you need is a croquet set, at least two players and enough Vitamin C (mimosas) and D (sunlight) to keep the game in good spirits.

The History

The origins of croquet can be traced back to 1300′s France as a variety of in-door bowling when the weather was too nasty to brave. It was originally deemed, “paille-maille,” which translates to the more rudimentary term, “ball-mallet.” Fast forward a few centuries and the game was renamed croquet and, became a fan favorite among British royalty.

The Field

A standard croquet field is about 100 feet by 50 feet and clear of hitting gardens, pools, delicate topiaries, priceless yard ornaments or small children roaming about like wayward cattle. You can mark the boundaries with chalk, or the corners with flags or stakes depending on your host’s tolerance to aerating their lawn.

Nine wickets and two stakes are arranged in a double-diamond pattern, and the width between wickets must be uniform throughout the court. A proper set up should look like this diagram.

The Game

The object of the game is to hit the balls through the course with a mallet in a certain order. You receive a point for every wicket your ball correctly goes through.

You are awarded two bonus strokes if your ball hits another player’s ball, also known as a “roquet”.

After your ball has passed through all the wickets, you are allowed to become a ‘rover’ and assist your teammates. However, as soon as you hit the final wicket you’re out of the game. Your team wins once all of your collective balls have hit the final stake. The losing team is (historically) obliged to fetch the winning team their next round of drinks.

Looking to pick up an easily portable and family-friendly croquet starter set? We suggest this set from Nine Holes via AHA Life because anything bespoke is worth speaking up for.

Perplexed on how to dress the part of this friendly pastime? We suggest ample notes of seersucker, keeping your look elevated yet casual with bucks, and we’ll always have a soft spot for those daring to sport Go-to-Hell-Pants. Now ready your closets, bar cart and mallets, and share your croquet-filled afternoons with us on twitter or instagram @BrooksBrothers. Nothing like a retweet from America’s original clothier to brighten an already sunny afternoon.

TAGS: aha life | brie and carr's | Brooks Brothers | Croquet | friendly competition | nine holes | of rogues and gentlemen | summer outdoor games | sweet tea | warm weather

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