Skip to Main Content Close
Call: 800-667-0097
  • Customer Service
    • Contact Us
    • Find a Rep

Croquet is a popular game played both casually and competitively on lawns or courts. In croquet, players compete against one another by using mallets to hit balls through a series of hoops called wickets. Families and friends can easily play croquet from the comfort of their backyard. With croquet being so popular, affordable game sets can be found with wire hoops that can be easily set up at family outings or picnics.

History and Origins of the Game

The history and true origins of croquet are often contested, with similar games being played in France, Ireland, and elsewhere in Western Europe as early as the 1600s. While some insist croquet came from the French game of Pall Mall, a lawn game played with a ball and mallet, others argue that it came from the Irish game, crookey. No matter its origins, the popularity of croquet grew after being showcased at The Great Exhibition of 1851 in London by John Jaques. Afterward, John Jaques became an established manufacturer of croquet sets and several publications, including the rules of the game.

  • John Jaques manufactured and showcased croquet sets during The Great Exhibition of 1851. The Great Exhibition in London featured goods and works from across the globe and saw an astonishing number of visitors during its five month opening.

  • Croquet became incredibly popular for its ease of play and accessibility to all people, regardless of their age or gender.

  • John Jaques published the official rules and regulations, as well as guides and tactics, in countries outside of England as the game's popularity grew. These countries included Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, and South Africa.

Rules of the Game

While there are many rules to croquet, more stringent rules are used for competitive play while simplified rules can be used to make play quicker and easier for everyone. Croquet can be played by single players or by teams, with one team or player using blue and black balls while the other uses the red and yellow ones. In backyard croquet, more color options are available for more teams or competitors. These players or teams take turns hitting their ball with a mallet to try and score a point. The person whose turn it is to play is called "the striker". Each player is only allowed one hit per turn, unless their ball either scores a hoop point or hits another ball. The game continues until a player or team scores a set amount of points, such as six hoop points per ball, and their two balls hit the center peg.

  • If a striker's ball hits another live ball, it is called a "ball in hand" and the player gets to make "a roquet" on that ball. This player has a few options. They can place their ball a mallet head away from the other ball, anywhere around it to make it easier to score a point, or they can use their ball to hit their opponent's ball further from the hoop.

  • If a striker makes a roquet or scores a hoop point, they play a continuation stroke. A continuation stroke is an extra hit the player gets to make. A player may make several continuation strokes as long as a hoop point is scored or a new live ball is hit.

  • If a ball goes off the court or out of the playing area, the striker's turn is over and the ball is returned to the last legal point of play.


Whether you play association croquet with twelve hoops or garden croquet with only six, players score a point by hitting their ball through a hoop in the correct sequence. After a ball has been played through each of the correct hoops, in the right direction of play, two balls must be hit into the center peg. A point is earned for each of these two balls for a "peg point", with a total of two peg points possible per person. Whoever scores all of the needed hoop and peg points wins the game. The amount of balls and hoops can vary, depending on which rules you abide by. With so many variations to the game, it is easy to choose the rules and equipment that works best for you.

  • There are only two ways to score a point in croquet, with a hoop point or a peg point.

  • Hoops must be played in order. A player gets a hoop point for hitting their ball through the next hoop in the right direction of play.

  • A peg is a long cylindrical stick that is embedded vertically in the center of the playing field. A peg point is awarded for each ball that a striker hits into the center peg. After that, for each ball that has gone through each hoop in order.


There are many different types of croquet and each variation has its own way of winning. For timed events, the player or team with the most points at the end wins. For set fields, teams or players can win by having each of their balls make it through the sequence of hoops in the correct order and direction and then hitting the center peg. Players compete to get each of their balls through the hoops and then hit the center peg before the other team.

  • Variations to the rules can be found online and in croquet publications. These variations can make play more complex, and make it harder to win, or they can simplify the game for beginners and backyard competitions.

  • For games with six hoops and two balls per player, a total of fourteen points is possible. In twelve hoop games, a total of twenty-six points is possible. For region or competition specific rules, see the official laws and guidelines for that organization or game.

  • Whether in timed or set games, backyard and garden croquet rules can be adjusted to fit the needs or goals of the players. Croquet is a highly customizable game that makes it easy to find the perfect way to play for you, your family, and friends. From professionals to beginners, croquet is fun for everyone.

Additional Croquet Resources


Edited by: Ben Thompson