Forget the genteel image: even P Diddy plays croquet. It's great fun and all about messing up your opponent's game. Find out more on these five websites
More than half a million people in the UK own a croquet set and, now that summer is here, the sound of mallet on wood ball can be heard in gardens and clubs all over the UK. As a sport, croquet is not strenuous, but it provides gentle exercise for young and old alike and requires mental skill as much as physical to outwit your opponent (it’s been called ‘snooker on grass’).
There are more than 180 clubs registered with the Croquet Association, which proves its ongoing popularity. There are websites galore for the local clubs up and down the country, but we have selected five generic destinations. (Unfortunately they’re not as elegant and classy as the game they promote; croquet enthusiasts must share a singular lack of taste when it comes to web design.)
The Croquet Association Who knew so much could be written about croquet? This site is full of information, from definitions on garden croquet and golf croquet, downloadable rules, history of the game, archives and articles. There is also an online shop from which you can buy equipment and clothing. Visit The Croquet Association
Oxford Croquet Run by croquet enthusiast Dr Ian Plummer, this is the brightest and most comprehensive of my choices. He has uploaded more than 500 articles and there are links to help you find a local club, resources on coaching, and a section on lawn care (crucial, if you take the game seriously). All this and the ubiquitous sections on history, rules, etc. Visit Oxford Croquet
Croquet World This is an international site – croquet being popular everywhere there is a lawn, it seems – and is more of a community than the previous sites. There are lots of tips and rules (croquet fans LOVE rules), letters and opinions, as well as news and features. I particularly like the article about playing croquet on ice. Visit Croquet World
The Daily Telegraph It’s good to see this sport getting a mention and being taken seriously, although only four articles came up on today’s search (there have been more on other occasions). Did you know there are as many as ten fascinating facts about croquet (such as: P Diddy had a croquet party to celebrate getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame)? Visit The Daily Telegraph
All Garden Fun You can’t play croquet without equipment, and this website offers ten different discounted sets from a basic starter kit at £34.99 to the deluxe Hurlingham Croquet Set at £256.96. Delivery is free and takes one to two working days. Visit All Garden Fun