Croquet has always been a go-to fun game to play in our backyard. But it got me thinking, is croquet more than a backyard game? To find out if croquet had any professional leagues and how much of a sport it was, I did tons of research. Here’s what I found out.
Croquet is played as sport in some countries with tournaments and championships. Although most croquet games are played in the backyard as a recreational activity, there are associations such as the United States Croquet Association that holds tournaments to compete internationally.
There are croquet teams and leagues in place that I never knew existed. The World Croquet Federation (WCF) recognizes many types of croquet games, and all are considered a sport when playing at the organization level.
Croquet Is A Professional Sport
The most popular professional croquet organization in the US is the United States Croquet Association (USCA) which holds sanctioned tournaments across the country throughout the year. The winners of some of these tournaments have the opportunity to play internationally under the World Croquet Federation.
Other tournaments are played around the country by other groups or organizations, but since those organizations are not recognized as the controlling association by the WCF, they usually just play for some prize money or prestige in their organization.
Croquet isn’t typically viewed as a professional sport because most people have only ever seen croquet played at backyard barbecues and gatherings. But there are official sanctioned associations and clubs that play croquet professionally, making it a sport.
There are no real professional croquet athletes outside of the USCA which enters players into the world championships throughout the year.
There are many clubs affiliated with USCA across the US and Canada and will compete in tournaments. For example, the PCA (Professional Croquet Association) which aims to bolster croquet as a professional sport. The PCA holds only USCA sanctioned events and collects fees from players and sponsorship deals which are awarded to the winners of the PCA tour. This creates a real opportunity to make some good money playing croquet.
Here’s a quick video of the Golf Croquet Worlds to show croquet being played professionally as a sport.
Is Croquet an Olympic Sport?
Croquet is not played in the Olympics or as an Olympic sport anymore. However, croquet did feature in the 1900 Olympics in Paris, and was the first year in the Olympics that allowed women to participate. France won all medals for the individual competition and the gold in the doubles for croquet.
There were three events for croquet that year in the Olympics; one ball singles, two ball singles, and doubles. France won every medal and was the only country with participants.
Although croquet isn’t an Olympic sport anymore, the one year it was in the Olympics wasn’t enough to keep it around. Some croquet players believe it should be reinstated into the Olympics once again. They claim that one Olympic showing was not enough to decide the value of croquet in the Olympics.
Croquet may never make its way into the Olympics again. Most people view croquet as a backyard recreational game, and that’s how it’s played by most people too. But as the sport grows and garners more support, it could once again be considered for the Olympics.
How Can I Play In A Croquet Tournament?
There are many local tournaments across the United States for beginners to take part in. Check the USCA sanctioned tournaments list to see if there is an invitational tournament near you, and when it will be. Tournaments allow you to meet new players and learn techniques to improve your skill level.
The best place to start is local croquet clubs. Check your area for any local croquet clubs that hold events, it may not be an official tournament, but many clubs hold events for amateur players.
After you’ve got a few local tournaments under your belt, you can enter a regional or state tournament that has been sanctioned by the USCA (see the list above for sanctioned tournaments). You can play tournaments in other states as well. You may be able to enter an international competition, but usually you’ll need to win a sanctioned tournament to be selected.
Here’s a video of the World Golf Croquet Championship Final.
Professionally Played Croquet Variants
There are multiple forms of croquet that can be played professionally. But the important ones are the variants accepted by the World Croquet Federation.
WCF Recognized Croquet Variants:
- Association Croquet
- Golf Croquet
- Short Croquet
- Two-ball Croquet
- U.S. Six-wicket Croquet
- U.S. Nine-wicket Croquet
- Garden Croquet
- Extreme Croquet
- Ancient Croquet
This level of accepted croquet game-play allows many players to be included in this sport. Each with different rules and even court layout, a player may excel in one form of croquet, but not in another.
Is Croquet A Team Sport?
Croquet can be played as a team sport or individually. However, many players prefer the individual play in croquet called singles. Team play croquet is usually referred to as doubles because there are typically two players per team. The players work together to advance the balls around the court first.
There are singles and doubles competitions and tournaments throughout the different clubs, leagues, and associations. You can play with teams of three players or more in a fun backyard game though. The typical set up for three player croquet, is to give one team the blue, black, and green balls, and the other team the red, orange, and yellow balls.
You can work as a team to get all three balls through the wickets and around the court. Each player will get one turn, but may hit any of their teams balls. This makes the game a bit more fun for groups who like to play together. The competition is reduced a bit, and the game can be more about fun and enjoying the game-play.