Essential Points from CA Golf Croquet Laws 2008 Third Edition -

simplified for Club use (May 2008)

(Compiled by Ros Key-Pugh with assistance from friends)



Players no longer have the choice of who starts. It is always the winner of the toss who starts with blue. However in a multi game match; the loser always starts the next game but may choose which ball of his side is used.


The balls are played from an area within 1 yard of the boundary between the corner nearest to hoop 4 and hoop 4 itself.



The ball must move, however slightly, for a stroke to have been played. If the ball has not been touched, a stroke has not been played and can still be taken. The accidental touching of a ball with the mallet by the striker while preparing to play a stroke counts as a stroke (or a fault).



A ball becomes an ‘outside agency’ if more than half of it crosses the boundary. The significant change in this law is that balls that leave the court or are sent to a penalty point are now regarded as ‘outside agencies’, i.e. they are no longer any part of the game until it is their turn to be played. So there is no longer a striking fault of deliberately hitting a boundary or penalty ball.

 It is no longer mandatory to replace the ball on the line before the next turn. However a player may request that it be replaced, or the position marked if he feels that its position could impede his current stroke, before any turn. If a ball placed on the boundary is hit by a ball in play, then the ball in play is positioned where it would otherwise have finished if the 'outside agency' had not been there.



The ball starts to run the hoop as soon as the front of the ball breaks the plane of the non-playing side of the hoop. It completes the running when it clears the plane of the playing side. Judgement should be made by eye, not with a mallet edge.


When a ball enters from the non-playing side, it must clear the plane of the non-playing side before it can start to run the hoop in a subsequent stroke.


When the striker’s ball puts another ball through a hoop, the other ball scores the hoop even if the striker’s ball also runs the hoop. For instance, if a ball jumps through the hoop but the ball jumped also passes through the hoop, the ball jumped is always said to have run the hoop first – irrespective of which ball was first through the hoop, or ends up furthest from the hoop.


If a ball jams in a hoop, after subsequent hoop adjustment, the player chooses to replace any balls moved and replay the turn or to have the balls left as they finished with the ball that jammed placed halfway through the hoop.



If a ball is subject to interference from, for example, a ball from another game, the ball should be replaced in its original position (if static) or where it would have finished (if moving).



In doubles, players may advise their partners on type of shot and may indicate the direction in which the mallet should be swung or the position where the ball needs to stop. However, when the stroke is played, the partner is to stand well clear and not assist the striker in gauging the strength or direction of the stroke.

If asked, a player is to tell an opponent the score, which hoop is next in order, which ball to play, and how the ball over the halfway line reached its position. They should not comment on the opponent’s shots except in praise!




Immediately after a ball has run a hoop, any other ball that has been played towards the next hoop and which lies beyond the half-way line is an offside ball. The opponents of such a ball may request that it be moved to one or the other of the designated penalty points at their choosing. The request must be made before the opponents’ turn.


The owner of an offside ball is not required to draw the opponent's attention to it.


A ball which reached its position after hitting, or being hit by, an opponent's ball (even if that shot is a faulty stroke) or has reached its position after hitting a partner ball that scores the hoop in the same shot, cannot become an offside ball.




See Bill Arliss's Idiot's Guide to Playing the Wrong Ball  This can also be downloaded as a Word File.




Apart from the special case of playing the wrong ball, these usually involve accidental contact of a ball with a mallet or with a player. The side involved loses its next turn. E.g. the owner of red accidentally gets in the way of a ball when black takes strike; red’s side loses its next turn so yellow loses its turn and blue will play next.


Balls affected by a non-striking fault can be left where they are or replaced at the choice of the opponent. Any claim must be made before the next stroke is played.


A new fault involves damaging the lawn with a mallet outside the time when the stroke is actually being played. It has for a long time been considered unfair that the player who ploughs a massive furrow behind the ball without actually moving the ball can get away with it! This is no longer the case because any damage to the playing surface made by a mallet whenever made now constitutes a non-striking fault and the player responsible misses the turn he has yet to play.



The ball may only be struck with the full face of the mallet, not just the edges.


Any damage to the lawn by the mallet when striking a ball is a fault.


A ball may not be crushed against a hoop whilst in contact with the mallet. This ‘steers’ the ball through the hoop illegally. Thus a ball that is very close (less than 4mm) to a hoop upright must be played away from that hoop upright so it does not touch it.

If an attempt to score the hoop is made from this situation care must be taken to avoid still having the mallet in contact with the ball when the ball hits the other upright so the shot will need to be a tap with rapid withdrawal of the mallet.


Sustained contact of the mallet with a ball causing a push or pull shot is a fault.


If two balls are touching you may strike the balls in any direction you choose.


There is a new rule (13a) 8 which states that the mallet, the striker’s ball and another ball may not all be in contact with each other at the same time. As fast photography has shown that a struck ball leaves the mallet after 3 – 5 mm of travel, if two balls are not touching but are very close together (i.e.4mm 1/4 inch or less), hitting along the line of the centres will always be a fault. It is now regarded as a crush shot where you are crushing a striker's ball between the mallet and another ball.  Thus in this situation you have no option but to play away.


Note however that ‘Double Tap’ is still a striking fault and direct striking of one ball against another when the two are close but further apart than 4mm -say 4cms (2 inches) away from each other - often causes a double tap if you follow through during the stroke. If you feel you can strike your ball with a very good stop shot so that no double tap occurs it is advisable to call the referee to adjudicate or in a club game to ask your opponent to observe and comment. To judge for a clean shot, check whether the front ball travels at least 8 times further than the struck ball. If it does not, judge it to be a fault.


If you choose to strike the ball at an angle to the close ball to try to avoid a fault you will still need to do so with a good stop shot to avoid crushing the striker’s ball between your mallet and the other ball. A good way to judge if the shot is clean is to look at the angle between the two balls after the hit – it should be nearly 90 degrees. Here the relative distance travelled is no guide to legality.


The penalty after any striking fault is that the opponent has the choice of allowing the balls to stay where they are or to be replaced. No hoop may be scored by the faulty stroke and the opponent continues play in the original sequence.





Avoid talking whilst a shot is being taken and avoid moving or allowing your shadow to move in the vision line of the striker.  In doubles keep discussion of choice of shot to a minimum. Time between the previous ball stopping moving and you hitting the next shot should not exceed one minute and in most cases will be considerably less.


Always watch the shot being played and be alert for balls that may be coming in your direction, especially from a split shot, in order to avoid a non-striking fault. When moving towards your ball to be ready for your next shot stay aware of all other players on the lawn.


If playing a difficult shot that could result in a fault, it is sensible to ask your opponent to watch the shot and thus avoid any argument afterwards. You must accept their judgement of it.


Play at a reasonable speed. In tournaments 45 minutes is considered adequate for a 13 point game.