Croquet Balls

Croquet Balls are not all the same, as you would think. You should obviously use a good croquet ball when playing the game of croquet, as the sport is all about getting the ball through the hoops or wickets. Use a well-made croquet ball (they come in plastic, though wood is more common), and you’ll have fewer problems making long, straight shots when you’re trying to. With quality croquet balls, you’ll also have a more exciting game when making many shots involving contact with other players’ balls. Let’s explain.

Called “crooky” when first seen in England, the game was popularized greatly among English players and introduced to the larger world audience in 1851 when John Jaques began production of the world’s first croquet sets. The world-renowned company, Jaques of London, is still producing quality handmade croquet sets, making it the oldest family run croquet equipment company in existence. (Incidentally, the Jaques company was also the first producer of numerous other games, including Tiddledy-Winks, Snakes and Ladders, Table Tennis, Shove ha’penny and others.)

The standards set by Jaques for quality croquet balls, mallets and sets still remain unrivalled, just as his editions of “Jaques Basic Laws of Croquet,” which outlines the game’s rules, are still followed. The company produces many unique croquet sets, such as the Great Exhibition set. Croquet now enjoys popularity worldwide, and is played in most every country in the world; the fun habit, like the sets, are often passed along in families for generations.

Croquet balls come in a variety of colors, with the primary ones being blue, red, black and yellow (in order of play), and these colors are striped onto the “winning peg” that the game’s champion strikes his or her ball into, before celebrating. Blue and black are played by the same player or pair of players, and the same holds true for red and yellow. Some croquet sets include mallets with colors that match the balls, to identify players’ clubs and keep their playing order set, but this is usually for children’s and beginner’s sets. Serious and professional players know their turns and mallets well.

Secondary colors (also called second colors or alternate colors) for the croquet ball include green, pink, brown and white (in order of play). They are used in this order in a “double-banking” game, where a second game is played on the same court or lawn, or paired as green and brown against pink and white, again, played by the same player or pair of players. Croquet balls come in the four-ball or eight-ball combinations in different sets; knowing your style of play, how many players you’ll usually be playing with and other factors will help you determine which set to purchase.

In any event, croquet balls made by a superior manufacturer are the only kind to use for the sport. This is for several reasons. First, you’ll be hitting the balls a lot, especially if you get into the game a lot (as increasing numbers of people are, as it’s quite addictive and a lot of fun). Also, numerous shots in croquet involve one ball striking another with purpose — such as the roquet (the initial strike) and the shot where a player “takes a croquet,” in which a they use their ball to hit another from immediately against the second player’s ball — and, unintended ball-strikes and hits against metal hoops further up the potential wear on croquet balls. Thirdly, long shots take a bit of a impact-laden stroke that only quality balls will withstand for years.

Choose a good maker of croquet balls, one that uses cross-scoring of the ball’s surface for better shots of the mallet’s head, upon quality hard woods that will last a lifetime. After all, you’re going to be playing for life, once you get started. What’s more, explaining all of this to a grandchild you’re coaching in croquet will be less embarrassing if you can still show off quality croquet balls that have been kept well for decades.

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