Croquet Rules

The rules for UC Santa Cruz Intramural Croquet are derived from the US Croquet Association (UCSA), unless otherwise stated within this document.  The full rules are available at Croquet America's website linked here.

Rule 1: Facility

  1. All matches will be played at the OPERS East Field Triangle. Alcohol and tobacco are not permitted at the complex or in the parking lot.

Rule 2: Player Eligibility

  1. All UCSC Intramural Sports eligibility rules apply.  Please check the Intramural Sports Rules and Regulations carefully to see more details.
  2. All players must have a valid, original UCSC or state-issued photo identification to participate.

Rule 3: Team Composition

  1. Each team must consist of 1 player; the maximum is 3 players per team. There are no gender requirements.

Rule 4: Equipment

  1. Participants may wear open-toed or open-heeled shoes.
  2. Jewelry is permitted.
  3. Equipment will be provided by Intramural Sports.
  4. Equipment broken by participants are subject to suspension and fines covering the cost of replacement.

Rule 5: The Field

  1. The field is 50ft wide and 100ft long, however may be adjusted to fit available facilities.
  2. If more than 50% of the ball crosses over the designated boundaries it is out of bounds. Out of bounds will be marked with cones at each corner.
  3. Nine wickets and stakes will be arranged in a double-diamond pattern. Please see the illustration below for more details.

Croquet Field Diagram

Rule 6: Beginning a Game

  1. Games begin every 45 minutes. Please show up 15 minutes early to check in with Intramural Sports staff and to warm up.
  2. A captain from each team will meet with the IM Supervisor to talk about rules.
  3. A roshambo (best of three) will determine who starts first. If more than 2 teams are in the round, than captains will pair off and roshambo (best of one). The winner will then roshambo (best of 1) another winner until only one team captain remains as a winner. If participants are unable to determine a playing order the IM Supervisor on duty will make the determination.
  4. The order of play will always be blue, red, black, yellow, green, then orange throughout the game.
  5. All balls are played into the game from a spot halfway between the finishing stake and wicket #1. Please see the diagram above for illustration.

Rule 7: Object of the Game

  1. The object of the game is to advance your ball through the course, collecting a single point for each wicket passed through in the correct order and direction before your opponents. Each stake contacted is an additional 2 points when played in the correct order and direction.
  2. The first player or team to finish the course with 14 points is determined the winner. If time expires (45 minutes from scheduled start time) before any players finish the course, the player or team with the most points is declared the winner.

Rule 8: Order of Play

  1. Players take turns and only one may take a turn at a time. The player taking their turn is considered the “striker”.
  2. Strikers have one shot to complete their turn. After that shot the turn ends unless a bonus shot is earned by scoring a wicket, stake or by hitting another ball.
  3. The turn ends when the player has no more bonus shots to play or has finished the course by scoring the finishing stake.
  4. Strikers may only initiate contact with the ball in which they started the game with.
  5. After all balls have started the game, play continues in the same order until a ball finishes the course. When a ball is out of the game, the remaining balls continue in the same order, skipping the ball that has finished the course.
  6. There is no penalty for shooting out of turn. Any ball moved during the out-of-turn play is replaced to its position prior to the error and play reconvenes as appropriate.
  7. If the striker takes a swing and misses their ball, the miss counts as a shot and the turn ends unless there is still a bonus shot to be taken.
  8. If the striker’s mallet accidentally hits another ball other than the striker ball, the shot must be replayed, but with no loss of turn.

Rule 9: Scoring Wickets and Stake Points

  1. Each ball can score wicket and stake points for its side only by going through a wicket or hitting a stake in the proper order and direction. Going through a wicket out of order or in the wrong direction is not counted as a point gained or lost. 
  2. A ball caused to score its wicket or stake during another ball’s turn earns the point for its side, but no bonus shot is earned as a result.
  3. A ball scores a wicket point only if it comes to rest clear of the playing side of the wicket. If a ball passes through a wicket but rolls back, it has not scored the wicket.
  4. A course completed in the correct order will yield 14 points for that player and/or team.

Rule 10: Bonus Shots

  1. The striker earns one bonus shot if the striker ball scores a wicket or hits the turning stake.
  2. The striker earns two bonus shots if the striker ball hits another ball (a “roquet”). If a roquet occurs, strikers are “dead” on a ball for extra shots until the next wicket is cleared or on the start of the striker’s next turn.
  3. Strikers may not have any more than two bonus shots during any given turn.
  4. Bonus shots may not be accumulated. They are to be used in the current turn or foregone.
  5. If two bonus shots are scored by striking another ball, the first of these two shots may be taken in any of four ways:
  6. From a mallet-head distance or less away from the ball that was hit (“taking a mallet-head”),
  7. From a position in contact with the ball that was hit, with the striker ball held steady by the striker’s foot or hand (“foot shot” or “hand shot”).
  8. From a position in contact with the ball that was hit, with the striker ball not held by a foot or hand (“croquet shot”).
  9. From where the striker ball stopped after the roquet. If the striker ball went out of bounds then the ball should be measured one mallet length from where it crossed the boundary.

Rule 11: Rover Ball

  1. After a ball scores all of the wickets in the course, its player or team may choose to keep it in the game as a “rover” to help advance that side’s remaining ball(s) and to prevent the opposing side from advancing.
  2. During this ball’s turn, it may hit any other ball only once per turn, gaining bonus shots as appropriate, but it does not earn extra points for passing through wickets or hitting stakes.
  3. Any player may put a rover out of the game by causing it to hit the finishing stake.