The Official Magazine of the United States Croquet Association | 2017 Volume 3
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Happy Birthday to the USCA!
2017 Volume 3
08 | 40: USCA 1977-2017 30 | 2017 9W Nationals 32 | 2017 Seniors Masters 36 | 2017 USCA GC Eights 38 | 2017 USCA Nationals 40 | 2017 Selection Eights (AC) 44 | 2017 Regional Round-up 48 | Member Profile: Jackie Jones 50 | Club Profile: Buffalo Croquet Club
03 | Courtside with Sara Low 04 | The Clubhouse 07 | New Membership 52 | Let’s Talk Tactics: Getting Clean 54 | The Inbox 62 | Events Calendar
Credits On The Cover: Created by Brandy Ferguson based on a photo taken by Dylan Goodwin at Kactus Creek Croquet Club in Parkville, Mo. Publisher: Dylan Goodwin | firstname.lastname@example.org Editor: Julie Jantzer-Ward Art Director: Brandy Ferguson Contributors: Bob Alman, Bob Baker, Bob Chilton, Missy Chilton, Rich Curtis, Garth Eliassen, Matt Griffith, Doug Grimsley, Shereen Hayes, Genie Hendry, Bill Hightower, Jackie Jones, Karen Kaplan, Bob Kroeger, Sara Low, Myles Ludwig, Bert Myer, Johnny Mitchell, John C. Osborn, Jennifer Othen, Marsi Parker Darwin, Ursula Peck, Eric Sawyer, Sue Sherer, Bobbi Shorthouse, Jeff Soo, Ryan Thompson, Rich Watson, Onifer Wilmoth, Phyllis A. Young
Inquiries Please submit all inquiries and stories to email@example.com. Text should be submitted as a Microsoft Word file and photos need to be FULL resolution (300 dpi). All content may be edited for length and photos will be adjusted appropriately. Croquet News is produced three times per year and is distributed as a benefit to USCA membership. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the expressed permission of the publisher. Views expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the USCA.
© 2018 United States Croquet Association
In 2017, the United States Croquet Association celebrated its 40th year. Jack Osborn founded the association in 1977 with six original clubs and six members. Today, the organization has expanded and includes 3155 members and 218 clubs throughout the United States, US Territories, Canada and South America. We commemorated this watershed with the addition of the anniversary dates on USCA trophies. You can page through this issue of Croquet News to see pictures and read the history of the USCA. We invite you to share your own memories or photos on the USCA Facebook page, and check in often for a glimpse of the association then and now. What has changed in the USCA since 1977? The lawns are still green, but many more exist: 331 at last count. The games still use wickets, mallets and balls, but now the gear comes from all over the world. Mallets alone are made of so many different materials: wood (domestic and exotic), metal, plastic and more. The same smiles shine and stories continue to be told, but the individual player has changed. We see tournament players and casual players, people who compete at the national level, those who play within their clubs or leagues and players who make use simply of their own backyard courts. The USCA itself has transformed from an office of two to one with a full-time staff of three; 16 volunteer committees, including a Management Committee of 11; and more than 100 regional and committee volunteers. It takes a lot of people to run this sport. We used to communicate through a magazine and the US mail. Today, we continue to send letters through the United States Postal Service, but we also have Croquet News magazine (published three times a year), a monthly newsletter and weekly notices that come via your email. In addition, the USCA website, Facebook page and various electronic connections, fed by individuals and clubs who have their own sites or post on YouTube, offer more information outlets. Recently I had the fortune of watching the Seniors Masters tournament in West Palm Beach, Fla. This event is two tournaments played simultaneously: Seniors (USCA members more than 60 years of age) and Masters (USCA members aged 70 and older). Competitors range across all levels of handicaps from new players to US Champions. Two separate comments were made to me about the event. The first was from a participant who said he and his wife always liked to play in this tournament because they had a chance to win. The second person noted that he enjoyed the event because he saw so many friends and top players from around the country: two discrete thoughts, both positive. These observations bring us back to the sport and to the courts again and again. Some things never change. Happy 40th USCA – now and for the next 40 years.
USCA President | firstname.lastname@example.org croquetamerica.com | 3
TheClubhouse insider news from the united states croquet association
2017 ANNUAL AWARDS NOMINATIONS
It’s that time to once again send in your nominations for the 2017 USCA Annual Awards. If you know of a member that excelled during 2017, let the USCA Management Committee know. Email your suggestions, with written support, to email@example.com. Awards will be presented at the 2018 Club Teams dinner on March 16, 2018. Categories are shown below.
Club of the Year
Most Improved Player of the Year
Family of the Year
Most Improved Jr. Player
New Club of the Year Club President of the Year Collegiate Club
Regional Vice President Regional District President
Strawbery Banke Croquet Club Wife of Bob Bozeman
Richard Burns, Jr. Grand Haven Croquet Club
School Croquet Club of the Year
Municipal Club of the Year
Player of the Year
Outstanding Support of Croquet
Jr. Player of the Year Sr. Player of the Year Jr. Rookie of the Year
Spectator of the Year Certificate of Achievement
Sr. Rookie of the Year
Michael Strauss Award
Rookie of the Year
Certificate of Appreciation
Dallas Croquet Association Lake Oconee Croquet Society Burlingame Country Club
John Duke Cottonwood Bocce & Croquet Club
Carol Anne Hamel Houston Croquet Association
Les Kelley Bombay Mallet & Wicket Croquet Club
Elaine Kennedy Mission Hills Croquet Club
EMAIL BLASTS As a club benefit, the USCA will send out one email blast per club per calendar year to help promote your USCA sanctioned tournament. Please send the file as a Microsoft WORD document or a jpeg (photo) file — we cannot send any attachments or pdf files. Any additional email blasts will be $55.00 each.
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Hammock Dunes Croquet Association
Susan Garwood Peterkin Houston Croquet Association
John Westwater Woodland Park Lawn Bowling Club
Adelaide Van Winkle Royal Palm Yacht & Country Club
STATES SHIELD REPEAT FOR MISSOURI
USCA Management Committee ________________________ President Sara Low firstname.lastname@example.org First Vice President Damon Bidencope email@example.com Second Vice President Don Oakley firstname.lastname@example.org Treasurer Steve Mossbrook email@example.com Secretary Carla Rueck firstname.lastname@example.org United States Croquet Association (USCA) 700 Florida Mango Road West Palm Beach, FL 33406
The mighty Missouri squad of Billy Bob Breeden, Steve Jackson and Matt Smith defended their 2017 Croquet Network Golf Croquet States Shield title on August 19, 2017, at the Kactus Creek Croquet Club, in Parkville, Mo., with a 7-3 victory over the visiting Wisconsin team represented by Nels Bjorkquist, Cheryl Bromley and Mary Hennelly. Expansion plans are well under way as nine total teams have committed to battle for the 2018 Shield with the championship set to host the final four state teams on August 18-19, 2018, at the Milwaukee Croquet Club in Milwaukee, Wisc.
WHO AM I?
Tel. (561) 478-0760 Fax (561) 686-5507 Email: email@example.com Website: www.croquetamerica.com ________________________ REGIONAL VICE PRESIDENTS Florida Ron Huxtable (404) 316-6001 firstname.lastname@example.org Mid-Atlantic Timothy Rapuano (201) 887-0787 email@example.com
Don’t worry, my fashion sense has moved with the times.
Midwest Matt Griffith (816) 891-6762 firstname.lastname@example.org
I used to be an Okie, then I became reddish and now I’m more golden.
Northeast Patricia Spratt (860) 227-7297 email@example.com
I blew the French horn in high school before I blew the horn of my first ever car, a 1967 Camaro.
Southeast Macey White (804) 832-2824 firstname.lastname@example.org
I fought forest fires in the Pacific Northwest as my summer job while I was in graduate school.
Western Jim Hanks (707) 696-9153 email@example.com ________________________
I began playing serious croquet in the late ‘80s when I saw an ad in a local alternative newspaper. By the way, the best thing I ever discovered in croquet was the German Chocolate Cake made by a woman who lives in the Carolinas, for which I would probably commit a felony. I’ve won a national croquet title or two, but who’s counting? Speaking of counting, my job requires me to be pretty good with numbers. Can you guess who am I? See answer on page 56.
USCA STAFF Interim Executive Director Macey White firstname.lastname@example.org Tournament Services Jennifer Othen email@example.com Membership Coordinator Ursula Peck firstname.lastname@example.org www.CroquetAmerica.com croquetamerica.com | 5
2017 HIGHLANDS SHOOTOUT EXHIBITION On August 17, the Highlands Falls Country Club, located in Highlands, N.C., partnered with the United States Croquet Association to host “The Highlands Shootout.” This was a golf croquet exhibition match between top croquet players Sherif Abdelwahab and Jeff Soo. The event was designed to generate excitement and enthusiasm throughout the croquet community and did it ever! The Highlands/Cashiers area is home to one of the highest concentration of croquet players in the United States. Everything told, more than 1200 players live on the “plateau” during the summer season. An estimated crowd of 400 spectators filed into Highlands Falls to see two of croquet’s finest players compete. As expected, the players delivered a fantastic show. Guest commentator Damon Bidencope did the play-by-play for the audience. Croquet enthusiasts were invited to participate in clinics offered by Abdelwahab, Bidencope and Soo on August 18. Players could work firsthand and learn from the best during the instructional and rules clinics. Special guest, and current USCA President, Sara Low was also in attendance for the Shootout and visited many of the croquet clubs located on the plateau. This event was truly a grand treat for all who experienced it, and Highlands Falls was grateful for the opportunity to host. Photo: Courtesy of Bill Hightower and his drone. Article: Submitted by Onifer Wilmoth.
Rules Corner Clearing Rover Last Deadness Question: If a rover is last dead on another ball, is that last deadness cleared if the striker roquets another ball on which he is alive and the roqueted ball goes out of bounds?
Answer: No, the last deadness is not cleared.
Discussion: Pursuant to Rule 6.2a, when a striker ball hits another ball on which it is alive, a roquet has occurred even if the roqueted ball goes out of bounds. Rule 10.3c states: “A rover ball remains temporarily dead (last dead) on the last ball roqueted prior to clearing deadness. When the rover ball roquets another ball, on which it is alive, the last deadness is removed.” However, the intention of the rule is that when a rover ball clears its deadness, it must always be last dead on a ball. Therefore, Rule 10.3c was intended to mean that the last deadness is removed only when a rover roquets another ball on which it is alive and becomes dead on that ball. Rules Committee Opinion 1-2017
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newmembership NEW CLUBS
Vero Beach – At Large Member
Palm Beach Polo Golf & Country Club – Wellington, Florida Vero Beach Country Club – Vero Beach, Florida Sky Valley Club, Inc. – Sky Valley, Georgia
Vero Beach – The Moorings Club
Vero Beach – The Windsor Club
Scottsdale – Mountain Mallets
Vero Beach – John’s Island Croquet Club
Brandon Frazier Vero Beach – Riomar Country Club
Drew DiSesa Andy Nelson Susan Tillman
Debbie Bochte Justin Kidd
West Palm Beach – National Croquet Club
Chula Vista – At Large Member
Rick Zazueta Pasadena – Pasadena Croquet Club
Daniel Pilon Jan Pilon Rohnert Park – Sonoma Croquet Club
Patricia Finot Ted Johnson Patricia Jordan Toby Jordan
Niantic – At Large Member
John Byron, Jr.
Atlantic Beach – Fleet Landing Croquet Club
Connie Kolster James Kolster
Jekyll Island – Jekyll Island Croquet Club
William Gibbs Ted Rice Becky Wachholz Jeff Wachholz Sky Valley – Sky Valley Club, Inc.
Lee Robinson Raine Tillman
Westhampton Beach – Westhampton Mallet Club
Asheville – Deerfield Croquet Club
George Collett Patricia Collett Bald Head Island – Bald Head Island Croquet Club
Rex Cowdry Corinne Crownover Arthur Gibbons John Kinney Elizabeth Kinney Donna Patterson Cashiers – Cedar Creek Racquet Club
Alice Brown Missy Cassidy Richard Cassidy Judy Cope Gordon Cope June Nance Pam Roby Charles Schwing Candra Seley William Seley Nicole Spangenberg
Highlands – Highlands Strikers Croquet Club
Wilmette – At Large Member
Galesville – West River Wickets
Hobe Sound – At Large Member
Diane Willson Robert Willson
Susan Johnson John Johnson III
Linville – Grandfather Golf & Country Club
Susan Adams Jack Davis Jeff Ohlrich, Jr. David Walker Freddie Walker Miami Beach – Indian Creek Country Club
Nantucket – The Westmoor Club
Waltham – At Large Member
Kansas City – 9 Wicket Member
Orlando – Winter Park Croquet Club
Palm Beach – The Beach Club
Mantoloking – Mantoloking Yacht Club
Mimi Baruch Dennis Flood Michael Hewson Catherine Hewson Ken Kemp Ursula Kemp Kay Norman Elizabeth Thomas Patricia Thomas
Southampton – At Large Member
Hartfield – Chesapeake Bay Croquet Club
Georgia Brinkman Norm Brinkman Pamela Darney Michael Heath Highland Springs – Confederate Hills Croquet Club
Maxine Brewer William Brewer Jill Murphy Douglas Murphy
Winston Salem – At Large Members
John Rundell Luella Rundell
Deryle Carr Julian Carr Michael Edwards Terry Lauer Rod Ongjoco John Walters John Zopatti
Spring Lake – Green Gables Croquet Club
Camillus – West Hill Golf & Croquet Club
Thomas Leland Gwendolyn Leland
Pinehurst – Pinehurst Croquet Club
Palm Coast – Hammock Dunes Croquet Association
John Bolla Nancy Elia
Johns Island – At Large Members
Lou Ann Lindsay
Buffalo – At Large Member
Highlands – Wildcat Cliffs Country Club, Inc.
Heidi Salvesen John Williams
Jacksonville – The Florida Yacht Club
Newport – Newport Croquet Club
Highlands – Highlands Falls Croquet Association
George Downing Janice Downing James Potts Susan Potts
Broken Arrow – Tulsa Croquet Club
Susan Bernstein Tom Bernstein Jon Spaulding Lucy Spaulding
Wayne – At Large Member
Lloyd Bowers Jr.
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he USCA, as I know it, is a nononsense organization that goes to work each year on a robust series of events spread from coast to coast. With that hard-working perspective in mind, it should come as no surprise that the top priority for 2017 was the successful hosting of one of the more challenging logistical events in the sport – the MacRobertson Shield. That event ran like clockwork in Rancho Mirage, Calif., last spring as an army of USCA and Mission Hills Croquet Club volunteers were up to the task. Sadly, that was followed in May by the shocking news that American croquet legend Ted Prentis died in a motorbike accident in Bermuda.
All that activity and the ever-humble USCA barely had time to acknowledge that the organization was celebrating a 40-year anniversary. But, it is a remarkable milestone and certainly a time to reflect on the overall history of our sport in America and perhaps celebrate the stability and steadfastness of the current organization. How quickly we’ve moved from the Jack Osborn era of promotion and rapid growth to the workmanlike approach that currently embodies the USCA. Perhaps we are poised for our next era where now, with the infrastructure for the sport in solid standing, we can reach back to the spirit of Osborn and embrace a bold approach to marketing croquet in America. With no real roadmap in mind, I successfully recruited Bert Myer to work on this piece with me. What evolved was an attempt to outline the history and a mini-tribute to the leaders, players, supporters, institutions and moments that are key to the history of the USCA and the sport of croquet in America. — Dylan Goodwin
IN THE BEGINNING
The history of croquet in America begins with the poorly documented and relatively shortlived boom for the sport in the 1870s. While manufacturers rushed to take advantage of the potential for selling croquet sets, the National Croquet Congress appeared in 1879, and the National Croquet Association was founded in 1882 and grew to include 25 clubs. The goal was a universally accepted set of rules – the sacred grail of American croquet. Despite the accelerating decline in the game’s popularity due to the rise of tennis, the worldwide interest was still strong enough that in 1900, croquet was included in the “Olympics” held in Paris. In 1904, with the Olympics in St. Louis, the roque variant made a one-time appearance. Roque then ascended as the more popular form of the sport in America and eventually the National Croquet Association, which supported Englishstyle, went dormant. The confusion around varying sets of rules by manufacturers and the different versions of the game led the sport into obscurity in America.
The Algonquin Round Table Revival
Pulitzer Prize winner Herbert Bayard Swope, Sr., who was the managing editor of the New York World, is credited with sparking the revival of the game in the Northeast. He saw the game played in England as a war correspondent during World War I and, after returning to the US, drew the Algonquin Round Table into the sport. The group included names like Alexander Woollcott, Robert Benchley, Dorothy Parker, Harpo Marx, Moss Hart, George Kaufman, Gerald Brooks and many more.
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They played nine wicket at Swope’s estate at Sands Point, Long Island, and the sport again drew interest in the US based on the celebrity group’s fixation with croquet. The nine wicket game migrated to the West Coast where it became the new trend in Hollywood with Samuel Goldwyn and Darryl Zanuck driving the scene. Zanuck was known as a top player and had courts in Palm Springs and Beverly Hills. The sport flourished on the West Coast with several celebrities catching the bug, and it continued to the East Coast as well. That led to the first East versus West War with a tournament at Howard Hawks’ ranch in 1946. The East Coast team of Tyrone Power and Fefe Ferry with manager Moss Hart squared off against Zanuck and Hawks’ western team and took a 2-1 victory in a match that lasted 11 hours.
TIMELINE 1879 The National Croquet Congress is the first organization to form in the United States with the purpose of producing standardized rules. 1882 The National Croquet Association was formed. 1900 Croquet was played at the Paris Olympics. 1904 Roque was played as part of the St. Louis Olympics.
The Westhampton Mallet Club in the mid ‘60s. Ted Prentis as a teenager is to the right in a striped shirt. In glasses looking down (second from the left) is Jack Osborn and Al Heath is in the foreground on the right. Photo provided by Bob Kroeger.
Rise of the East Coast Clubs
By the late 1950s, the Westhampton and Southampton clubs were active on Long Island, N.Y., as well as the Green Gables Croquet Club in Spring Lake, N.J. The Southampton club extended to Palm Beach and Bermuda, thanks to summer visits. The leadership for the nine wicket based Westhampton Mallet Club included Ned Prentis, John David Griffin and Jack Osborn. Southampton was a six wicket club and the two clubs operated separately until the Westhampton group of Walter Margolies, Homer Langdon, Henry White and Osborn travelled to England in 1966 to challenge the Hurlingham Croquet Club. The Hurlingham team proceeded to demolish the American visitors, but the trip provided first contact with England’s John Solomon, who was at the height of his playing career. Solomon would prove to be a key figure in the true development of the sport in the United States. Not long after their return, Osborn left the Westhampton club and formed the New York Croquet Club (NYCC) with S. Joseph Tankoos, which grew to 30 charter members in March 1967. Drawing a connection back to the initial rebirth of the sport in America, Herbert Swope, Jr., was made the first president of the NYCC. But it was Tankoos that negotiated with Parks Commissioner August Heckscher to get playing time on the lawn bowling greens across from Sheep’s Meadow, where the NYCC continues to thrive. In 1970, Tankoos asked Solomon to visit New York for a clinic. Solomon was unable to make the trip, but he sent Nigel Aspinall, who visited for about five weeks. Aspinall came back the following year and did five weeks’ worth of teaching in Palm Beach. He continued that routine for several years and during that time started to work with Osborn on merging the American nine wicket game with English six wicket (Association).
LAUNCH: EARLY YEARS
The United States Croquet Association (USCA) was organized by Jack Osborn in 1977 from a nucleus of five original clubs: the New York Croquet Club (1967); the Westhampton Mallet Club (1960); the Green Gables Croquet Club, Spring Lake, N.J. (1958); the Palm Beach Croquet Club (1969); and the Croquet Club of Bermuda (1970). Osborn hammered out a consensus that codified a set of rules, which, at first, incorporated the six wicket court
1919 After World War I, Herbert Bayard Swope, Sr., and the Algonquin Round Table begin playing croquet in Long Island, N.Y. 1946 East versus West match was played at Howard Hawks’ ranch. 1958 The Green Gables Croquet Club in Spring Lake, N.J., was formed. 1960 The Westhampton Mallet Club was formed. 1966 The Westhampton group traveled to England to challenge the Hurlingham Croquet Club. 1967 Jack Osborn and S. Joseph Tankoos launched the New York Croquet Club. 1969 The Palm Beach Croquet Club was organized. 1970 Nigel Aspinall’s first five-week training visit in Palm Beach, Fla., occurred. The Croquet Club of Bermuda was organized. 1975 The Arizona Croquet Club was officially formed and played traditional Association rules croquet. croquetamerica.com | 9
1977 Jack R. Osborn (1929-1996), a New York City advertising man, founded the USCA in 1977 and served as its president for most of the Association’s first 20 years. Under his guidance, persistence, perseverance and Johnny Appleseed-like proselytizing, the USCA became one of the fastest growing sports in America, eventually becoming, in its early years, an organization of more than 350 clubs nationwide and approximately 5000 individual dues-paying members. Today, the USCA, while somewhat smaller in numbers, is no less vigorous and expansive. Annually, it sponsors and/or sanctions local, regional, national and international tournaments under American Rules and Association rules, nine wicket rules and the rules of golf croquet; it conducts teaching clinics; maintains a handicap system; trains referees and instructors; selects US teams for international competitions; produces a variety of informative newsletters, magazines, videos, educational materials and official rules books; sells logo merchandise and croquet equipment; and produces internet content. A full-time USCA headquarters staff has offices at the largest dedicated croquet facility in the United States, the 12-court National Croquet Center, in West Palm Beach, Fla. 1979 The first US Croquet Gazette was published. The CFA established the US Croquet Hall of Fame with Margaret Emerson, Samuel Goldwyn, W. Averell Harriman, Moss Hart, Milton “Doc” Holden, George S. Kaufman, Arthur “Harpo” Marx, Dorothy Rodgers, Herbert Bayard Swope, Sr., Joseph Tankoos, Alexander Woollcott and Darryl Zanuck inducted into the first class.
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layout as well as the familiar nine wicket layout generally favored by American “backyard” players during the mid-century years. Despite exposure to English rules, the new American version retained carry-over deadness, turn rotation and other American traditions. However, as exposure to the English game increased through consultation with top international “serious” players, the six wicket court layout became the one of choice.
Jack Osborn in play at Central Park in 1983.
The Marketing Machine
Based in New York, Osborn utilized the New York Croquet Club (NYCC) as his centerpiece for the sport as he moved quickly to work on sponsorships for the new association with a “strategic and massive marketing effort.” From Karen Kaplan’s “New York Croquet Club History:” In 1977, he established the first USCA National Championship. It was hosted by the New York Croquet Club and was the first of nine consecutive nationals that would be held in New York. For the first time since 1882, a national tournament could justifiably take place because for the first time in almost 100 years there was a widely accepted code of rules on which to base play. Played on two half-size courts with only 16 single entrants and only 30 people in attendance, the tournament was small. Archie Peck won the singles championship with Jack Osborn as runner-up, and Jack and Archie took the doubles championship beating Nelga and John Young. By 1979, only two years later, the tournament had grown to a competition of 32 top-ranked players from across the United States and Bermuda. Importantly, it ushered in the first USCA Croquet Ball to benefit the Croquet Foundation of America and its inaugural Hall of Fame inductions. Osborn primarily measured that growth through the addition of new clubs. As Anne Frost Robinson said, “Nothing thrilled Jack more than when we signed up a new club. He would jump up and proudly place a pin on the map at the spot the new club was located. I particularly remember New Year’s Eve 1989 when we signed up our 67th club of that year. Jack opened a bottle of Perrier-Jouët and we toasted our success. Jack always enjoyed a party and took time to savor and celebrate the triumphs.”
Croquet Foundation of America (501c3)
Jack Osborn also established a parallel organization, the Croquet Foundation of America (CFA), a 501c3 nonprofit, to support the mission of the USCA. It is the major fundraising body for the sport of croquet in the United States. Today, the CFA owns and operates the Charles P. Steuber National Croquet Center (NCC) in West Palm Beach, Fla., the home of the USCA. In addition, the CFA underwrites croquet educational programs and other worthy projects in support of croquet, such as books, videos and instructional tours; helps fund national and international teams representing the USCA in competitions around the world; and sustains the US Croquet Hall of Fame (1979).
Hall of Fame
In September 1979, the Croquet Foundation of America inaugurated the US Croquet Hall of Fame during the National Championships in New York City. Twelve individuals, whose contributions to the history, growth and enjoyment of croquet in America, were inducted at a ceremony held at the Tavern on the Green in Central Park, near the croquet lawns. While many of the individuals inducted in 1979 were unaffiliated with the founding clubs and were not active competitors, all were well-known in political, literary or celebrity circles as croquet players, which was intended to bring both media recognition and legitimacy to the rapidly growing USCA. In 1980, 10 additional individuals were selected for induction in the Hall of Fame, many more of them associated with early roots of American six wicket croquet. Since then, annual Hall of Fame nominees have been selected for their direct contributions to the sport, both on and off the greensward. As of 2017, 107 individuals have been inducted. The annual Hall of Fame ball is also a significant fundraiser for the CFA.
Archie Peck: The First US Champion
Archie Peck held the distinction of winning the first USCA singles championship while doubling that by also claiming the first doubles title with partner Jack Osborn. It certainly didn’t end there. He went on to dominate the early era of the USCA as he claimed four of the first six singles titles and another doubles title with Osborn in 1979. Amazingly, he added another title in 2007 when he partnered with Stewart Jackson to win the USCA AC National Doubles Championship. “He had the style, the looks, the grace. He won with ease. He was mesmerizing to watch,” said John Osborn.
He started in the sport at the Palm Beach Croquet Club, founded by Joseph Tankoos, and later became president of the club. He was, of course, later instrumental in the creation of the USCA and the CFA, but perhaps his greatest achievement was the work he did as the first Director of Croquet at the National Croquet Center when it launched. As Johnny Mitchell noted in Croquet News magazine after Peck passed away in 2012: “He was there at the start, working closely with Chuck Steuber to help make the Center a reality and provided a vital element towards its success. Ever vigilant, Archie took meticulous care of the lawns of the NCC. Often arriving before sunrise and leaving after sunset, it became his passion. He always made sure the lawns were ready for all the local, regional, national and international tournaments and the large groups that would come to the Center. When the USCA held the World Championships at the Center in 2009, it was important that the players had the most challenging conditions possible and Archie delivered. He took pride in making everything just right. But the lawns were just a small part of what he did. More importantly was his relationships with the people. This is where he really excelled. Archie introduced countless people to the game. On any given day, you could find him on the lawns dressed in white with his tanned skin teaching groups and individuals the game he loved so well.” Peck was inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame in 1984 and the World Croquet Federation Hall of Fame in 2008.
1980 John David Griffin, Howard Hawks, John Lavalle, Mary Sue McCulloch “Suzie” Linden, Duncan McMartin, Lillian “Lil” Phipps, Richard Rodgers, Michael Romanoff, George Sanders and Gig Young were inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. 1981 The USCA’s International Challenge test series began. George Abbott, Andrew Fuller, William “Bill” Hawks, Louis Jourdan, Frederick Schock, Jr., Herbert Bayard Swope, Jr., were inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. 1982 Raoul Fleischmann, Jean Negulesco, Edmund A. “Ned” Prentis, III, and Francis Tayloe were inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. 1983 Teddy and Debra Prentis covered nearly 15,000 miles in a crosscountry teaching tour underwritten by the Croquet Foundation of America and the USCA. Their visits to dozens of clubs included both group clinics and private lessons (which helped to defray expenses). The tour was repeated and expanded in 1984. This outreach venture brought the USCA face-toface with its growing membership, as well as enhanced the value of the USCA’s instructional programs. Teddy Prentis, at the time, was the teaching pro at the Palm Beach Polo & Country Club and was a three-time national doubles champion. He won the national singles title in 1983. The Prentises also appeared as models for the USCA logo clothing and equipment in various USCA publications, and Teddy was used in a print ad for Rolex, a major USCA sponsor in the early 1980s. Jack Osborn published the book Winning Croquet: From Backyard to Greensward with writer Jesse Kornbluth. It described the skills, strategies and rules of what Osborn termed “America’s most sophisticated sport.” croquetamerica.com | 11
1983 continued Paul Butler, William O. Harbach, Jack Randall Osborn, John Young and Nelga Young are inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame.
Ned Prentis and Ted Prentis
1984 Richard Pearman, J. Archie Peck and Catherine Tankoos were inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. 1985 Fifty new clubs for a total of 220 clubs and 2500 members were now in existence. The USCA instituted new by-laws based largely on those of the tennis and golf associations The CFA sponsored a comprehensive study by Ian Gillespie, President of the South African Croquet Association, presented on development, current state and future potential of croquet in US. The study indicated targets of 1000 clubs and 10,000 members for the USCA … perhaps even 100,000 members in the long term. A special committee was formed targeting sponsorship opportunities. A national handicapping system was recommended for the new American Rules game. The February issue of Town & Country magazine ran “The Amazing Croquet Comeback” by Jesse Kornbluth, illustrated with a 50-photo double-spread of players participating in the 1985 Club Team Championships at the Palm Beach Polo & Country Club. The article featured Jack Osborn and was reprinted in its entirety in the Winter 1986 Croquet News. Forster Manufacturing Co. acquired Southbend Toy Company’s “Lawnplay” line of croquet sets, raising the combined reach of the companies to approximately 85 percent of the “backyard croquet” market. Capitalizing on this merger, Osborn negotiated placement of USCA American six and nine wicket rules references in all sets to expose the recently codified rules, as well
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Ted Prentis: Champion, Teacher, Historian
As a player, Ted Prentis collected a seemingly endless list of championship titles at the Westhampton Mallet and New York Croquet Clubs as well as club invitationals and USCA regional championships. And, of course, he won nine USCA national titles and the first Grand Prix in 1983. In fact, winning that Grand Prix title marked a transition to a new focus on becoming a teacher and promoter of the sport. He became a full-time professional instructor/club pro at Palm Beach Polo & Country Club and did two nationwide US tours with the support of the CFA, visiting several USCA clubs to provide much-needed instruction. He also became the Director of the USCA’s National Schools program and expanded on that movement by contributing to the creation and production of the library of instructional video tapes funded by the CFA. He also went on to produce numerous DVDs and instructional books with Bob Kroeger. Their “On Tactics” column was a fixture in Croquet News magazine and the “Bob and Ted” brand is synonymous with instruction on US rules croquet. His efforts in providing instructional croquet materials spanned four decades. Because he was on hand during the early days of the Westhampton Croquet Club, Prentis was eyewitness to the prologue, launch and meteoric rise of the USCA. He was the history of the game and he penned many of the biographic tributes to the US Croquet Hall of Fame inductees and most notably wrote the moving tribute to John Solomon that appeared in the 2014, Volume 3, edition of Croquet News – a piece that provided quite a bit of detail to the pre-history of the USCA. The US croquet scene was sent into shock as he passed away unexpectedly this past spring in a motorbike accident in Bermuda. Current USCA President Sara Low sent this note: “It is with deep sadness that I have to report the death of Teddy Prentis. Teddy was in Bermuda playing croquet, doing what he loved most, when a tragic road accident took his life this morning. A giant in the croquet world, Teddy was inducted in the US Croquet Hall of Fame in 1989. Throughout his life, he held nine USCA National Titles and served as Director of the USCA’s National School in addition to winning or running an uncountable number of club tournaments and teaching positions. We all loved him for his athletic ability in the sport, his knowledge of and position within its history, his commitment to teaching us to improve our play and his great sense of humor. You will always be a player of distinction, Teddy. We will miss you terribly.”
Jack Osborn’s embrace of croquet as a serious sport included at times romance. His sense of mission was infectious and, often, charming. Like many charismatic leaders, he attracted
devoted followers, some of whom were more devoted than others. Elizabeth “Libby” Newell, for one, was one his closest friends, a USCA vice president, a director of the Croquet Foundation of America and, over the years, a significant benefactor for Osborn personally and the fledgling USCA. Jean Arrington was with Osborn at the founding of the association, ran the New York City office, was secretary of the association and moved to Florida when the USCA relocated to PGA National in West Palm Beach. Lee Olsen, a good friend of Libby Newell, discovered croquet at The Beach Club in Palm Beach, Fla., in 1983 and thereafter served on the board of the CFA, chaired (usually with Newell) many of the fundraising galas in support of croquet and served on Libby Newell (L) and Lee Olsen (R) the USCA management committee as the southern regional VP. Olsen was a major benefactor for the CFA and USCA, especially in support of international teams. The Lee Olsen Fund, established in her name, continues her legacy. Catherine Tankoos, wife of the late Joseph Tankoos, owner of the Colony Hotel in Palm Beach where Palm Beach croquet had its roots, was chair of many a croquet ball, too, as well as president of the New York Croquet Club, USCA VP of the International Division and consummate hostess for croquet events in New York, Bermuda, Newport and Palm Beach.
1985 continued as the benefits and services of the USCA organization, to vast new audiences.
These women had major impacts at the genesis of the USCA. Through their financial, administrative and, not in the least, emotional support, they helped Osborn overcome the obstacles—economic, political, organizational—encountered by any startup, particularly one in a niche market. Forty years later, it clearly was their wisdom, acumen and loyalty, combined with admiration for the founder, that assured not only the USCA’s survival, but its flourishing. In tribute, Libby, Jean, Lee and Cathy have all been inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame.
Hilda McMartin and Elizabeth “Libby” Newell were inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame.
Evolution of Equipment
Codified, published rules for an American six wicket game and adoption of the large (84 x 105 foot), flat, fast, English court six wicket layout were but the first steps in developing US croquet’s governing body. Serious equipment was necessary for a serious sport. Except for a few places, notably on Long Island, N.Y., and Hollywood, Calif., where full-size mallets and narrow cast-iron wickets were used, American croquet players were accustomed to toylike croquet equipment—flimsy wire wickets, small, rubber-tipped mallets and lightweight wooden balls (six or eight balls to a set). To give his game the legitimacy and gravitas necessary to separate it from backyard frolic, Osborn turned to John, Jaques & Sons, of London, England, purveyors of English sporting equipment since 1795. He established Croquet International Ltd. as the official equipment supplier to the fledgling USCA and, following the bankruptcy of Abercrombie & Fitch, became the exclusive importer for Jaques’ extensive line of croquet sets, including mallets, wickets, balls and court accessories, such as center stakes, corner flags and progress-marking clips. Since the American game had adopted carry-over deadness, deadness boards were created to display the status of each ball. And, because the game employed strict turn rotation (sequence of play always being blue, red, black followed by yellow, with blue and black teamed against red and yellow), white-striped balls in these “first colors” were introduced for double-banked games (two games played simultaneously on a single court) to avoid confusion. (Forsaken were the second color balls—green, pink, brown and white—used elsewhere in the world where, under Association Rules, a team could play either ball at the beginning of a turn.) In the beginning, virtually everyone played with Jaques mallets, and Jaques Eclipse composition balls were the standard for most serious play. However, a factory fire in June 1987 put an end to the Eclipse era. Today, Dawson (Australia), Barlow (South
As Western Region VP, Tom McDonnell established the Western Croquet Newsletter in January as a resource for the flourishing croquet scene. McDonnell was a former TV director and had played with the old Hollywood crowd at the Sam Goldwyn estate. In 1971, he and his wife Jane relocated to the bay area where he would later help develop several courts (including the courts at Sonoma-Cutrer) and help found the San Francisco Croquet Club. The Western Croquet Newsletter ran through 1987.
1986 Based on the progress in the test matches against Great Britain in the International Challenges Series, the US was encouraged to apply for participation in the 1990 MacRobertson Shield in New Zealand. Jack Osborn met with the leaders of national croquet organizations across the world to begin development of the World Croquet Federation. The USCA began the headquarters move to Palm Beach, Fla. Peyton Ballenger joined the staff as an administrative assistant. The plan called for a presence in New York City to be maintained to handle PR, advertising and sponsorship relations. Financial support for USCA had been through the CFA and Croquet International Ltd and the Jaques croquet equipment US distribution agreements. Forester croquet was added to the Croquet International lineup. Continued on page 16 croquetamerica.com | 13
Africa) and Sunshiny (Taiwan) are the three leading, and officially sanctioned by the World Croquet Federation, balls used in top-level play. Mallets have become a cottage industry with far-reaching design and material choices. Wickets, too, while adhering to standards for height and ball clearance, are available in a variety of materials and ground-anchoring schemes.
In 1981, the USCA created a Challenge Cup Series to host international teams using both international rules games and the new USCA six wicket rules. Teams visited from England, South Africa, Scotland, Bermuda, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Great Britain and on two occasions “International Champions” squads combined players from the countries that had been part of the series. From Ted Prentis: “I became the first full-time croquet professional at the Palm Beach Polo and Country Club. This was due to the efforts of Paul Butler and his influence to put in courts at the club in Wellington, Fla. Butler wanted an international match to be held there much like polo, and so it came to pass that Solomon, Aspinall, Dr. William Omerod and Professor Bernard Neal, all world-class champions, came to play Jack Osborn, myself, my father and Archie Peck. Our team was defeated, but we won several games and had the added benefit of filming our first Croquet Primer with the help and instruction of Solomon and Aspinall.
SOLOMON TROPHY RESULTS YEAR WINNER
Bald Head Island
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With the encouragement and international support Solomon garnered, the USCA created a Challenge Cup Series whereby a US team played against other countries in Florida competing in both rules. This not only gave us exposure to international worldclass play, but also gave our top US players, scattered around the country, a chance to get together and compete as a National Team. In 1985, the USCA sent its first official team to compete against the British team in England. This was quite a bit different than the Westhampton visit. Although we were defeated soundly, our #1 Jim Bast did defeat Keith Wiley in the test series, and we won several matches during our 16-day playing tour through England, Scotland and Ireland. At the final dinner at the Roehampton Club in London, Solomon announced the upcoming creation of the Solomon Trophy, a match to be played every year (except MacRobertson Shield years) between England and the US. In 1988, Solomon presented the first trophy in his name to our worthy opponents and the event continues …”
The USCA Grand Prix I and II
The original USCA Grand Prix ran for 11 years, beginning in 1983. John Osborn dominated the competition taking first place seven times, but the original Grand Prix was abandoned in 1994. Per Croquet World Online, in 1997, the USCA Management Committee began work on a new version of the Grand Prix with Rich Curtis, who was the Mid-Atlantic Regional VP at the time, to lead the project based on feedback from players of all levels. As a mathematician, Mike Weimerskirch worked out the formulas and design structure for the system to create a simple result format that all managers could easily report to the USCA for automated input. The new system took effect in time to restart for 1999, where Mik Mehas took the first title of the new era. The new Grand Prix is still active today and is used to determine the USCA Player of the Year annual award.
John C. Osborn started playing at five years old on the long-grass, nine wicket courts of the Westhampton Mallet Club on Long Island. Osborn’s dad, Jack R. Osborn, the founder of the United States Croquet Association and then local club champion, had rented a summer place directly adjacent to the croquet courts. It was there in the early 1960s that the younger Osborn, who was only inches taller than his mallet, made his entrance into the game and ultimately croquet history. It was there he also inherited his nickname ‘Boom-Boom’ – a name that characterized his lighting fast Solomon grip backswing that endures to this day. In 1977, he played at the first USCA National Championship in Central Park and later went on to win three National Singles titles in 1987, 1991 and 1999 as well as a National Doubles title in 1997. But, as a player, he is probably best known for winning the USCA Grand Prix nine times, including a stretch from 1984-1987 where he won four in a row. Osborn moved to Palm Beach, Fla., in 1991 and beyond being a world-class player, he also managed to become a consummate teaching professional. He’s taught at virtually every club in South Florida as well as Long Island and New York. He has also served as a Class I National Instructor for the USCA Instructional School since the 1980s and co-authored the book Croquet – The Sport with his father Jack. This past summer, he stepped in to work on the “Let’s Talk Tactics” strategy column for Croquet News with Bob Kroeger when Ted Prentis passed away.
USCA GRAND PRIX WINNERS 1983 – Ted Prentis 1984 – John C. Osborn 1985 – John C. Osborn 1986 – John C. Osborn 1987 – John C. Osborn 1988 – Reid Fleming 1989 – Reid Fleming 1990 – Jim Erwin 1991 – John C. Osborn 1992 – John C. Osborn 1993 – John C. Osborn ** 1999 – Mik Mehas 2000 – Jeff Soo 2001 – John C. Osborn 2002 – Jeff Soo
Over four decades, Osborn has been one of the most prolific players in the history of the American game, winning regional, invitational and club tournaments that total into the hundreds. He’s also been a frequent member of international teams, including the first US Solomon team in 1985.
2003 – John C. Osborn
In 2005, he was inducted into the United States Croquet Hall of Fame.
2006 – Ted Knopf
THE MIDDLE YEARS
2007 – Stewart Jackson
In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, major, USCA sanctioned croquet invitational events blossomed: • Florida – notably the Palm Beach Croquet Club at the Breakers Hotel, the Lara Hart tournament at the Palm Beach Polo & Country Club and The Beach Club • Arizona • Massachusetts • Georgia • the Carolinas • Pennsylvania – at the historic Merion Cricket Club in Haverford where literally dozens of courts could be setup on the expansive greensward normally used for lawn tennis • Bermuda • New York • Connecticut – Greenwich, Conn., at one time was the largest croquet club in the US, boasting well over 100 members, rivaling the New York and Palm Beach clubs in size.
2004 – Bob Cherry 2005 – Brian Cumming
2008 – Doug Grimsley 2009 – Ben Rothman 2010 – Ben Rothman 2011 – Danny Huneycutt 2012 – Ben Rothman 2013 – Danny Huneycutt 2014 – Jeff Soo 2015 – Danny Huneycutt 2016 – Stuart Lawrence 2017 – Randy Cardo
These tournaments drew players from all over the United States, lasted four, five, sometimes six days and created bonds that would last a lifetime. Similarly, the USCA Regional Championships grew exponentially, especially in New England, which for several years took over the grass tennis courts at the Casino & Tennis Hall of Fame facility in Newport, R.I., for a full week each August, drawing 80 or so players at all levels of proficiency. Both the Mid-Atlantic and South remained strong, especially croquetamerica.com | 15
when its regionals were played in Florida, where several multiple-court facilities were available. For many years, the regional championships served as qualifiers, albeit somewhat loosely, for the national championship held in the fall. This is no longer the case as players now have numerous ways to qualify based on handicap level, past performance and other criteria published in the USCA Standing Orders.
Leaving no stone unturned during the USCA’s early development and growth, founder Jack Osborn enlisted the help of Bostonian and Brandeis University professor Sandra Kayden to encourage six wicket croquet among collegians. A College Division was launched in 1980 with a HarvardYale match. In 1982, the first USCA National Intercollegiate Croquet Championship was held in Palm Beach, Fla., with eight teams representing Harvard, Yale, Brown, Brandeis, Vassar, Columbia, UCLA and the University of Florida. In subsequent years, at schools where enthusiasm ran high, croquet groups were often able to achieve club sport status within athletic departments, resulting in budgets for equipment and travel. While collegiate croquet sometimes ebbs and flows with the constant turnover of students, the USCA’s Collegiate Division remains active and serves as a resource for tournament organization, instruction and coaching. Croquet also became central to major charitable events, both in the US and Canada (CroqCan). Many of the USCA’s top-ranked players’ travel and accommodation expenses were “comped” by event organizers to ensure competitive, high-level-of-play events and to attract media and sponsors as well as generate public interest. The Domaine Mumm Croquet Classic, held for several years in the late ‘80s at the Meadowood Resort in Napa Valley, Calif., offered a prize purse totaling up to $30,000, awarded on a sliding scale to the top doubles teams.
More than 80 players participated in the 1986 USCA National Championships conducted on the West Coast at the Sonoma-Cutrer Winery in Windsor, Calif., and Meadowood Inn & Country Club in St. Helena, Calif. Rolex was designated as the official watch of the USCA, a Sonoma-Cutrer booster sponsor and host for the 1986 National Championships. Tom McDonnell was inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. 1987 On January 9, 1987, the USCA officially dedicated a new headquarters at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens. With five brand-new courts on site, it was the largest croquet complex in the western hemisphere at the time. The move from New York gave the USCA the opportunity for year-round instruction and training while it also
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The National Championships in American six wicket rules continued to attract strong participation, so much so that the annual tournaments now required multiplecourt facilities, a far cry from the two courts in Central Park where they were first played. Association (International) rules were given their due in 1987, and events, such as the USCA Club Teams, grew as well, embraced by gregarious players from Canada and St. Croix, the latter fueled by Cajun rum and the enthusiasm of the late Les Kelly, a.k.a. “The Commish.” These successes paved the way for the USCA Seniors Championships, later combined with a Masters division, and national championships in golf croquet and nine wicket rules.
Jacques Fournier in 1994 at Newport
On the world stage, the US began a steady climb toward international recognition and success as skill levels improved and more and more top American players took up Association rules. In 1993, the USCA became the fourth nation in the prestigious MacRobertson Shield tournament, begun in 1925 and held every three or four years, joining Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand. Notable individual US citizen accomplishments since include Arizona’s Jacques Fournier’s victory over the world’s number-one player, Robert
Fulford, at the World Croquet Championships at Sonoma-Cutrer in 1999, and still later, David Maloof ’s close second at the World Croquet Federation Championship in 2016, and Ben Rothman’s ascendance to croquet’s pinnacle as winner of the British Open (founded in1867) in 2016.
Anne Frost Robinson
Anne Frost Robinson’s involvement in croquet began in 1987 when she was 24 years old and was recruited as the Membership Director of the USCA by founding president, Jack Osborn. While she held that position, the USCA experienced the greatest growth in its history. In 1988 alone, a record 68 new croquet clubs joined the USCA.
provided more office space for the growing needs of the USCA, CFA and Croquet Unlimited.
From 1990 to 1994, Robinson served as the Executive Director of the USCA. She was responsible for the fiscal and administrative operations of the USCA. She also negotiated and administered a multi-year $150,000 sponsorship with Jaguar Cars. From 1989-1994, she was the editor of more than 20 issues of the USCA Croquet Bulletin. Working with then President, Foxy Carter, she was the Tournament Manager for the World Croquet Federation’s 1992 World Championships in Newport, R.I., the first WCF event held in the United States.
The US Croquet Gazette was its largest in history with advertising lineage up 60 percent.
Robinson was the Administrative Director of the Croquet Foundation of America from 1989-1994, during which time she created the CFA’s Friends of the Foundation fundraising program and served as a liaison for Hall of Fame events and Palm Beach Balls. She also edited the CFA Monograph Series on Club Building written by Bob Alman, and oversaw the production of the promotional video “Serious Sport, Serious Fun,” both of which played significant roles in the growth of the sport of croquet in America.
The first USCA International Rules Singles and Doubles National Championship was played at Bon Vivant Country Club, Bourbonnais, Ill.
She served on the USCA Management Committee from 1997 through 2008 as Secretary, Treasurer, Second Vice President and First Vice President. She was the editor of the USCA’s Croquet News from 1999-2003. She worked closely with former USCA presidents Dan Mahoney, Dick Brackett and Rich Curtis, who nominated her to the Hall of Fame in recognition of her insight, dedication and guidance in dealing with the considerable challenges faced by the USCA during those years. She also served as a member of the Board of the Croquet Foundation of America from 1995 to 2001. She was the CFA’s Secretary from 1996-1998. She was inducted into the USCA Hall of Fame in 2013. In addition to her contributions to the growth of croquet in the United States, Robinson also served in volunteer roles for Croquet Canada, the national governing body for croquet in Canada. She was a member of its Board from 1995 to 2001, and President from 1996 to 2001. She was also a founding officer of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Croquet Club in Ontario and served as club instructor. Robinson’s on-court accomplishments are also notable. In 2005, she became the first woman to win the US National Singles Championship in First Flight at Mission Hills Croquet Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. She placed third (with partner Bill Hoy) in the 2008 USCA National Club Team Championships. She was the 2012 New York Croquet Club Osborn Cup First Flight Singles winner and has also had numerous high finishes in regional, invitational and club tournaments.
The USCA Resort/Hotel/Inn network launched, identifying places to stay and play throughout the USA, Bermuda and Canada. An October survey questionnaire was sent to 1650 individuals, which provided a detailed picture of the USCA membership.
Croquet Canada was formed. Following the USCA’s headquarters move to Palm Beach, Fla., Michael Strauss, a retired sports writer for the New York Times who resided in Palm Beach, wrote frequent articles on croquet, which were published in the Palm Beach Daily News and Palm Beach Life magazine. These helped to promote both the serious and social nature of the sport among the area’s social elite, as well as visiting winter season “snowbirds.” Strauss died at the age of 96 in 2008 and was claimed to be, at the time, the oldest working sportswriter in the world. croquetamerica.com | 17
Foxy Carter (L) with Barton and Walter Gubelmann
Barton Gubelmann and Walter Gubelmann were inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. 1988 Editorial responsibility transitioned from the annual Gazette to US Croquet News, which shifted to concentrate on member and club happenings, tournament results and schedules. Farsight Communications Inc., headed by Jack Osborn, was appointed as the exclusive marketing representative for the USCA to handle sponsorship and licensing sales. Abercrombie & Fitch was added to the roll of USCA advertisers. A record 20,000 Gazettes were published. The “first” annual Solomon Trophy test was played between US and Great Britain at the Cheltenham Club in England. Great Britain won 20-1. Tests from the international series between the two teams held in 1985 and 1987 were included in the records for the series. The President’s Matches played under American rules were held at the Hurlingham Club in London. Garth Eliassen’s National Croquet Calendar launched in January of 1988 and was an independent voice for change for croquet and comprehensive source of information and tournament dates for serious North
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The ACA vs the USCA
On February 16, 1987, the American Croquet Association (ACA) was born out of frustration with the USCA’s lack of support for the Association (international) game. The uprising occurred from the western players and their long tradition of playing AC-style croquet. In fact, the launch of the Arizona Croquet Club in 1975 pre-dated the USCA and the invention of the US Rules game. However, the AC-oriented Arizona players did embrace the new version of American six wicket once Jack Osborn visited the club. And over the years, the western players applied ACstyle play to the deadness game and certainly accelerated the skill level of the overall playing pool across the USCA. Related to American rules, it was the Arizona Croquet Club that introduced and perfected the “Chernobyl Opening” that put the red/yellow player at an equal or even better advantage during the opening turns. Almost immediately after the launch of the ACA, the USCA announced an “International Rules” Championship in Illinois for the 1987 season. Osborn certainly wasn’t pleased with the new association. He felt American players wouldn’t embrace the AC game and the movement could fragment the sport in the US – derailing the rapid growth trend the USCA had experienced through the 1980s. Ultimately, the rise of the ACA did force the USCA to embrace Association croquet. After all, the USCA had already supported the AC game through the international challenge tests. It was a slow process, though, and it is generally acknowledged that Dan Mahoney, during his term as USCA president from 1997-2001, smoothed things over with the AC players. The ACA and the western players also had another impact as they became the driving force in a 10-year battle over the right for USCA members to vote for Regional Vice Presidents. Per a summary in the 1996 May-June issue of the National Croquet Calendar, Southwest Regional VP Ray Bell worked on voting rights’ proposals in both 1991 and 1992, with the second attempt losing support at the last minute and failing to pass, with a slew of post-vote controversy. Washington District President Howard Kellogg then took up the cause and failed when his first proposal was amended (or switched out). With the USCA membership favoring voting rights, news of the struggle filtered out to the other national associations and the pressure began to mount. Kellogg and Bell teamed up on another proposal that failed in a secretive voting process. Jack Osborn then reversed his opinion on the issue and supported having all members of the management committee subject to member vote elections, including president. With the writing on the wall, Bill Berne presented a proposal that was like the Kellogg-Bell proposal, and it passed on April 15, 1996.
World Championship History
With the founding of the USCA in the late 1970s, and the explosive growth of six wicket croquet that followed in the US, organizers in the other major croquet-playing nations saw an opportunity to take top-level competition to a new level of organization, sponsorship and publicity on the world stage. An exploratory meeting held in conjunction with the 1986 MacRobertson Shield was the first milestone in the daunting process of creating a world
governing body for the sport. Not until 1989 did the World Croquet Federation officially get off the ground with its first general meeting, followed immediately by the inaugural WCF World Championship. In the meantime, American croquet maven Brice Jones had created his own top-level event in 1986, which he then renamed the World Croquet Championship (WCC), not without controversy. Based at his Sonoma-Cutrer winery, Jones used his connections and his flair for promotion to draw the world’s best players and a large audience of well-heeled spectators. The key was the charity auction held immediately after the tournament final. This ensured that the Final, featuring expert commentary, would be by far the mostwatched croquet match of the year. Over the years, the auctions raised millions of dollars for charity. The last WCC was held in 2002. But from 1989 until then, two events were styled as “world championship.” Jacques Fournier, then 17, won the WCC in 1999, the only American ever to do so.
Rudolph E. (“Foxy”) Carter
Foxy Carter, so-named because of his US Foreign Service career, had a major impact on the growth and prosperity of croquet during his tenure as president of the Newport, R.I., Croquet Club (early ‘80s), USCA NE Regional VP (1983-1989), USCA President (19891993) and US representative to the WCF. In the latter position, he was instrumental in bringing the WCF’s world championships to the US for the first time in 1992. He also served as vice president of the Croquet Foundation of America and was a member of the founding committee of the National Croquet Gallery, Hall of Fame and Archives, originally housed at the Newport Art Museum (now at the National Croquet Center in West Palm Beach, Fla.). It was Carter who fostered a relationship with the renowned Newport Casino and International Tennis Hall of Fame, where many NE regional, USCA national and international tournaments were held using the facility’s historic structures and spacious grounds with grass-surface tennis courts. The success of these events was largely attributable to them being hosted at a single facility with multiple courts, a precursor to sites such as the National Croquet Center (Fla.) and Mission Hills (Calif.). Under Carter’s guidance, the USCA achieved sound financial and administrative gains, positioning the organization for its later stages of development. He was inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame posthumously in 1994.
Modern croquet’s growth garnered the attention of—and was boosted by—in-depth coverage in major consumer magazines and, later, on television. The February 1985 issue of Town & Country magazine ran a major story, “The Amazing Croquet Comeback” that featured USCA founder Jack Osborn and included photographs of the more than 50 participants in that year’s Club Team championships. In October 1992, Smithsonian magazine devoted nine pages to croquet in a major piece, “With mallets and forethought, croquet is back.” The sports network ESPN spent an entire week covering the 1994 National
1988 continued American players. Its “opinion pages” offered varying perspectives on the sport’s “political” issues and controversies. The magazine looked a bit more like a newspaper and offered six issues per year until it closed with the NovemberDecember 2011 issue after 24 years and 144 issues, leaving a void that websites haven’t yet been able to fill. Cesare Danova, Ned Skinner, Frederick Supper were inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. 1989 Jack Osborn stepped down as president and was succeeded by Foxy Carter. Dan Shepard became the Executive Director of the USCA. The Gazette shifted to quarterly and merged with US Croquet News. The Croquet Bulletin focused on news, results, club activities and administration issues. Osborn published Croquet the Sport with his son John C. Osborn. The new 272-page book was a sequel to Winning Croquet, much of which was incorporated into the updated and significantly expanded publication, available in hardcover and soft cover editions. Included in the new book were chapters on shot making, grips, stances and swings, strategies and tactics, variations on the game and complete rules for six wicket, nine wicket and golf croquet. The World Croquet Federation was formed and the WCF World AC Championship was established. Edmund A. “Teddy” Prentis, IV, and S. Cortland Wood were inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame.
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Damon Bidencope won his third straight AC national title. The first USCA Seniors Championships (regionals and nationals) were held and sponsored by Gieves & Hawkes. Al Heath and Jim Lyons were inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. 1991
Championships in Newport, R.I., and subsequently ran an hour-long segment on the event in its series “Great American Events.” ESPN was back again at the 1997 Nationals in Wellington, Fla., with extensive coverage throughout the tournament. Cigar Aficionado, Connoisseur, Islands, Dun & Bradstreet Reports, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts and several other publications reported on the “serious game” and its then claim-to-fame as “America’s fastest growing sport.” The USCA also took up the mantle, producing a major promotional video, “Croquet: Serious Sport, Serious Fun.” In 1993, Bert Myer, USCA New England Regional Vice President, created and published the first of four editions of the USCA Croquet Annual, an upscale magazine that showcased croquet’s many dimensions. It featured photographs of events and facilities around the country, as well as articles on croquet-related topics from strategy to fine art. The annuals were consistently produced with professional graphic design, reinforced by high-end advertisements from Rolex, Estée Lauder, Jaguar and world-class resorts in Palm Beach and Bermuda.
Peyton Ballenger: 1950-1992
In 1991, Dr. Carleton H. Mabee of Kennebunkport, Maine, published A Guide to Croquet Court Planning, Building & Maintenance, the definitive book on the construction and care of croquet facilities. As a dentist by profession and serious agronomist by avocation and avid croquet player, Mabee discovered the USCA and the six wicket game in the mid-1980s. His dedication to practice regimens—and the resulting skills they developed—earned him USCA rookie of the year in 1988. In subsequent years, he won several invitational and regional tournaments and, most notably, four US championship-level national titles: singles (1994), doubles (1994
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A beloved teacher, administrator, player, US team member and Hall of Fame inductee, Peyton Ballenger made her mark on croquet in a too-short, but significant career. Her achievements were many; her untimely death too soon. Peyton began playing croquet at the Pinehurst Country Club, N.C., and was its first director of croquet. In 1986, she moved to the new USCA headquarters at PGA National in West Palm Beach, Fla., as assistant to the association’s president and soon thereafter became the first fulltime woman croquet professional as Director of Croquet. She later continued her teaching career at the Meadowood Resort in California, then returned to PGA in 1989. She was a member of the US National Croquet Team from 1988-1990 and was voted the most valuable player in the 1990 US/International Challenge Cup. Ballenger was the only woman ever to represent the US in the World Croquet Championships in 1989 and 1990. The Ballenger Trophy was established in her honor and is presented annually to the highest finishing woman in the USCA National Singles Championship. The Peyton Ballenger tournament held at PGA National each February is also named in her memory.
CroquetAmerica.com and Croquet World Online
Current chairman of the USCA Online Committee, Jeff Soo said, “Bob Alman had the vision and drive to establish the USCA website and independent Croquet World Online website in 1996, when the Internet was still new enough that many organizations didn’t have a website. The site was actually quite good for its time. The main thing is that it got the USCA started.” In his own words, Bob Alman said, “I launched the USCA website in 1996 – before I had a computer! I produced disks on my ‘automatic typewriter’ and mailed them to a club member in Silicon Valley. But the site was mostly a ‘brochure’ with contact information at
that time, largely static. Although, within a few months, it was clear that we could put the handicaps online as a dynamic feature and…well, like that. When I first called Bill Berne, USCA President, to ask if I could put up the website, he asked only two questions: ‘What’s a website? How much money would it cost?’ When I told him it wouldn’t cost him ANY money, he said the management committee didn’t think it would do any harm, but wanted me to know that the web was only a fad. Shortly after that, I started Croquet World Online because I thought there was a critical lack of news and reporting.”
Archie Burchfield: 1937-2005
1991 continued and 1996) and Masters singles (2016). He also was named to the US Solomon Cup team in 1995 and competed in matches against Great Britain in Nottingham, England. Mabee has long served as chairman of the USCA Courts and Greens Committee and has authored several articles on croquet court care. Jean Arrington and Patricia Supper were inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. Patricia Supper
1992 Through the sponsorship and efforts of the Newport Croquet Club and USCA President Foxy Carter as well as support from John Solomon, the World Championship were held in Newport, R.I. Bob Clayton, Don Degnan and Lee A. Olsen were inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. 1993 Bill Berne began his term as the third president of the USCA.
When Archie Burchfield showed up at the Palm Beach Polo and Country Club in 1982 with his 18-inch mallet, the Kentucky clay court legend changed all the stereotypes about croquet on and off the court. His experience on the Kentucky courts made him a master of rotation, and on that day at Palm Beach Polo, he was directed to Ted Prentis and they played a few games. As Burchfield said, “We won some and we lost some.” A few months later, Burchfield and his son, Mark, beat Archie Peck and Jack Osborn to claim the USCA Doubles National Championship. From there, he became a media sensation and prompted many articles in the national press, including articles in the New York Times and New Yorker Magazine. As one USCA insider said, “He was a far cry from the stereotypical ‘Palm Beach’ player. He was also a great guy.” As a player, Burchfield went on to play in international competitions and ultimately claimed the doubles title with Damon Bidencope in 1987. He also won two Club Teams National Championships with Ren Kraft. And, of course, he also held a total of 16 Kentucky Clay Court titles (nine singles, seven doubles). He was inducted in the US Croquet Hall of Fame in 1995.
Jerry Stark claimed he would probably have stuck around working on the assembly line at General Motors if it weren’t for croquet. Instead, he became interested in the sport playing in the famous backyard nine wicket scene in native Kansas City, Mo., in the ‘70s. Those legendary tournaments were known as massive events with hundreds of players, rock music and plenty of beer. He then heard about a “World Championship” that was played in British Colombia. He, along with his high school buddy Jim Bast and some other friends from the Kansas City nine wicket scene, travelled to the event for several years. Later, Bast moved to
Team USA entered MacRobertson Shield play with Tremaine Arkley, Jim Bast, Kiley Jones, Bob Kroeger, Erv Peterson and Jerry Stark on the roster. The event was held at Rich River, Australia, in March and the US team was blanked by Great Britain and New Zealand. However, they did manage three victories in a loss to Australia in the first round and six more wins against Australia in the “third place” test. Great Britain claimed the 1993 Shield with a 17-3 win over New Zealand in the championship final after a 3-0 record in the opening round. Peyton Ballenger and Mack Penwell were inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. 1994 With Anne Frost Robinson as editor, Bob Alman’s Monograph Series on Club Building was published by the CFA as a comprehensive guide to all the information local club organizers croquetamerica.com | 21
needed to start and maintain a croquet club or facility. The three-volume set was based on his experience as one of the principal organizers of the San Francisco Croquet Club. Rudolph E. “Foxy” Carter was inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. 1995 Archie Burchfield, W. Ellery McClatchy, Stan Patmor and Forrest Tucker were inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. 1996 The USCA allowed members to vote for Regional Vice Presidents on April 15, 1996.
Phoenix, Ariz., and discovered “real croquet.” Stark would visit Bast on his vacation from GM. After playing croquet with members of the Arizona Croquet Club, Stark told Bast, “Give me one year and I’m moving to Phoenix to play croquet!” And he did.
Jack Osborn, founder and first president of the USCA died, May 12, 1996.
Stark excelled at the sport and quickly became one of the best Association rules players in America. He placed third in the 1989 World Croquet Championships and second in the Sonoma-Cutrer Worlds in 1997. “I’m the perennial runner-up or third place guy,” he said.
John Donnell, Bill Hoy and Russ Ketcham were inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. 1997 Dan Mahoney began his term as the fourth USCA president. James B. “Jim” Miles was inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. 1998 Mik Mehas made the first appearance by an American in a WCF final in the GC World Championship final held in Leamington Spa, England. As the “Bad Boy of Croquet,” Mehas was remembered as much for stirring up controversy and pushing buttons across the American croquet circuit Photo by Myles Ludwig as he was for the trademark ponytail and baseball pants. For a career that spanned a relatively short 20 years, he made his mark as a player claiming nine national titles in US six wicket, AC and GC. In fact, he was the first
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In 1989, he became the club pro at the Meadowood Resort in Napa Valley in northern California. The job was a perfect fit and he later estimated that during his time at Meadowood he introduced 3000 new people per year to the sport of croquet. Perhaps his greatest impact was in the development of the US National Team and overall improvement of the US on the international stage. He was a member of the first US MacRobertson Shield team and played on every US Shield team until he passed away in 2010 (he had been selected to play on the 2010 team as well). Over his career, he was a member of 16 US National teams and played in nine WCF World Croquet Championships, 10 World Championships at Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards and claimed five national titles. He also served on numerous USCA committees and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.
Driven in part by the Croquet Foundation of America’s eviction from the PGA facilities in 1998, Chuck Steuber took action by donating $2 million and a five-acre piece of land in West Palm Beach, which became the site of the National Croquet Center. Steuber did this because he noted that the Foundation could not promote the game if it didn’t have the facilities. Despite several challenges, 12 full-size courts were built and fundraising started for the clubhouse. Once built, the CFA and USCA members moved in and enjoyed having a stable home for their main offices. The center was completed just ahead of the great mortgage crisis of 2008, and just as financial stability would have been projected, the financial challenges put the future of the NCC in jeopardy. In the summer of 2008, NCC member W. David McCoy served on a special committee to raise funds to erase a $120,000 deficit. The effort was successful and after a year on the CFA Board, McCoy volunteered to be the general manager of the NCC in 2009. In 2010, he became president of the CFA and went to work building a team to stabilize the financial model by nearly tripling membership for the NCC club and growing overall revenue by 45 percent by 2013. Today, the NCC is in good standing and the premier croquet destination on every USCA player’s annual tournament list.
Photo by Dylan Goodwin
Rothman Runner-up for AC World Title
In 2009, the National Croquet Center hosted the 12th edition of the WCF Association Croquet World Championship. Not many outside the US would have given any of the Americans much of a chance at winning, but Ben Rothman backed up his singles and doubles victories (Doug Grimsley as partner) at the AC Nationals a few weeks earlier and went on a tear that started with a 2-1 win over Marcus Evans in round one and was followed by a 3-0 victory over five-time world champion Robert Fulford. In the quarterfinals, he again went 3-0 against John Gibbons to advance to the final four where he met Chris Farthing and came away with a 3-2 win. In the final, he faced off against South Africa’s Reg Bamford—a two-time WCF World Champion. The run ended as Rothman’s strong roquet percentage faded and Bamford claimed a 3-0 victory. However, the Silver medal finish marked the arrival of Rothman as a true threat on the US and international croquet scene, and later in the year he would be key in helping the US get its first victory in the Solomon Trophy series against Great Britain.
Solomon Breakthrough and Road Win
After 24 years and 17 straight losses, the US team was certainly due for a win in the Solomon Trophy series against Great Britain. As the 2009 edition of the test series shaped up, the first break came when Britain announced a lineup that didn’t necessarily feature the best players available (a common issue for the sport for road teams). That had the dual effect of charging up the US team and adding a bit of pressure as they would host the event at the Mission Hills Croquet Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Sure enough, the on-paper US advantage went into jeopardy as the team narrowly avoided a 3-0 deficit on the first day as Doug Grimsley and Ben Rothman had to utilize a batch of gamethree heroics against Stephen Mulliner and Tony Le Moignan. Mulliner had a sextuple in game two, and in game three, he TPO’d
Photo by Genie Hendry
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1998 continued player to win the three “major” US titles and he stands as only one of three US players to appear in a WCF Singles final. He also was a factor on the international scene as he played on the 2000 MacRobertson Shield team as well as four Solomon teams and two Carter Cup teams while also making appearances in several world championships. James H. U. “Jim” Hughes was inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. 1999 Seventeen-year-old American Jacques Fournier of Arizona won the World Croquet Championship held at Sonoma-Cutrer winery in Windsor, Calif. Design for a 10-acre, 12-court National Croquet Center, conceived and largely funded by Charles A. Steuber, president of the Croquet Foundation of America, was approved by the West Palm Beach County Commissioners. Michael “Mike” Gibbons and Robert “Bob” Kroeger were inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. 2000 Ray Bell, Reynold E. “Ren” Kraft and Jerry Stark were inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame.
Mike and Cynthia Gibbons
2001 Richard Brackett began his term as the fifth USCA president. Charles Paul “Chuck” Steuber was inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. 2002 Norma S. Truman was inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. 2003 Billie Jean Berne and Freeman A. “Bill” Berne were inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame.
Grimsley. But Le Moignan let Rothman in and, with a few gut-wrenching shots, pulled the break together and salvaged a win, gaining some momentum. From there, the test stayed close but Britain entered the final day up 8-7. A 3-3 record would earn the British team an 18th straight win. The first results saw Mulliner beat Rothman 2-0 and the noose tightened. But Samir Patel broke down against Jerry Stark in the third game and that one ended in favor of the US. Danny Huneycutt then beat Robin Brown 2-1 to even the test at 9-9. Jim Bast then finished Ian Burridge with a 2-1 victory to set up Jeff Soo for the seriesclinching win. After being down 1-0, Soo fought back against Jeff Dawson after Dawson missed a short roquet to let him back in to finish a triple in the rain and kick off a US celebration. The unfinished match between Grimsley and Le Moignan left the final score at 11-9. When asked if he thought the victory would intensify the series, Rothman said, “I hope so. Up until now it’s been more of an instructional clinic than a rivalry.” The following year, the two teams would meet in the MacRobertson Shield competition in England with both teams fielding their best players. Great Britain prevailed in a close 12-9 test. In 2011, the series was back in play and Britain vowed to field a stronger team to defend the home soil for the Solomon test, but the US team pulled off the shocker and claimed its second straight victory in the Solomon series with a 13-8 win in Wiltshire, England.
Ellery McClatchy: 1925-2011
As Bob Alman described it in a post on the Croquet World Online website on November 9, 2011, “It’s hard to think of American croquet without thinking, also, of the Swopes, Jack Osborn, Chuck Steuber…and Ellery McClatchy. McClatchy is the last of them to pass away, and he was the one who most closely and steadfastly committed himself to the growth and development of USCA croquet for the longest time – for more than 30 years.” His family founded one of the most prominent American newspaper chains and served the McClatchy Corporation as officer and board member for 28 years. McClatchy was first exposed to croquet in 1979 when friend Xandra Kayden took him to a croquet event in New York’s Central Park organized by Jack Osborn. He was completely bitten and immediately built a lawn at his upstate New York home. He was soon making the rounds and playing in as many tournaments as he could. In 1983, he sold his New York home and moved to Palm Beach, Fla., which had become the center of American croquet. He immersed himself in the sport. Not only the game, but also the politics. McClatchy eventually bought another home in Palm Springs and moved back to his native California. There he jumped right into the middle of the battle between the West Coast and East Coast factions divided between support for the British AC game versus support for the American game. He had become the mediator. He joined and helped clubs on both coasts and eventually moved to his famous Ink Grade home in northern California where he held his yearly Ink Grade Invitational. In his later years, he spent all his time between there and his home in Palm Springs. Through the years he gave many gifts and grants. He was always willing to help deserving players travel internationally to represent the USCA. Working with Alman, his generosity
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2013 USCA GC Nationals at the Country Club of Sapphire Valley in Cashiers, N.C. Photo by Dylan Goodwin.
and vision for a USCA presence on the internet helped establish the Croquet World Online magazine as well as the USCA website. He also helped fund the National Croquet Center and served twice as president of the Croquet Foundation where he worked with many to help support the game he loved so much. Very few people have had as much impact on the game as McClatchy did.
Golf Croquet Momentum
Measuring the progress is like charting the movement of a glacier, but it looks like that darn golf croquet is here to stay. The shift toward treating GC as an equal form of croquet certainly predated Eugene Young’s tenure as USCA president with the WCF Golf Croquet World Championship being held at the NCC in 2002 being a notable starting point. But top leaders in the sport point to his emphasis on GC as the turning point. Young was based in the heart of the US GC movement in the mountains of western North Carolina, so he was on hand to witness the explosive growth in that sector as the region grew from an estimated 300 croquet players to 1500—all centered around golf croquet programs.
2004 Don Oakley claimed the back cover of the Spring 2004 issue of Croquet News with an ad for Oakley Woods/ CroquetStore.com. With a lot of fun updates along the way, Oakley Woods has been a fixture on the back cover ever since. Based in Brighton, Ontario, Canada, Oakley’s mallets are present at almost any tournament you stop by in North America. William W. “Bill” Campbell was inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. 2005 Rich Curtis began his term as the sixth USCA president.
Eric Sawyer summarized the progress by noting the international selection process has evolved from a situation where all slots couldn’t be filled in the previous decade to becomingly “hotly contested and fierce” in 2016.
Fred Jones and John C. “Johnny” Osborn were inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame.
Another measure would be the number of US players in the world GC rankings database. In 2000, four players were in the system. By 2010, that number was 43, and in 2016, it reached 143 to surpass the number of US Association players (121) in the world ranking. Although the numbers are still small, the growth trend is clear, especially considering the US Grand Prix had just 776 players compete in 2016 – a troubling decline when you factor in that some of those 776 would be GC or AC only players.
2006 John W. Curington was inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame.
Maloof’s 11.5 Hour Attempt to Win the AC World Title
Jack Osborn was inducted into the World Croquet Hall of Fame.
The WCF Association World Championship returned to the National Croquet Center in 2016 and this time around it looked as though the US AC scene had several players ready to defend the home soil. When Simon Jenkins made it to the main event from the qualifier and then into the knockout, there were seven Americans that joined the round of 32 players. However, there was a surprise right away as as Spain’s Jose Riva took down top American Ben Rothman 2-1 in round one. In fact, only Danny Huneycutt and David Maloof made
2007 Robert Chilton was inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame.
2008 Chuck Steuber died on August 27, 2008, at the age of 87. He was, of course, known as the driving force behind the vision and completion croquetamerica.com | 25
it through to the second round. Huneycutt was the big surprise early as he took out James Death 2-0 in the first round to knock out a top contender. He followed that with a 3-1 victory over young Australian Greg Fletcher before his run ended in the quarterfinals with a 3-2 battle against England’s Stephen Mulliner. Huneycutt had in fact led 2-1, but couldn’t quite get the last one to advance. In the meantime, Maloof caught everyone’s attention as he took down 2013 World Finalist Paddy Chapman of New Zealand with a convincing 3-1 win in the quarterfinals. Then, after dropping game one, he knocked off England’s David Maugham 3-1 to earn a trip to the finals against Mulliner who had survived a near-death experience in the other semifinal against Reg Bamford. Mulliner had been down 2-0 before storming back to produce a crazy 0-26sxp, 13-26, 26tp-6, 26sxp-0, 26tp-0 scoreline.
2008 continued of the National Croquet Center, which operates today as the heart and soul of the sport in America. Born in Milwaukee, Wisc., Steuber majored in chemical engineering at the University of Wisconsin and later began his career with Union Carbide where, in 1947, he became marketing director for its European sales division and helped to create its European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. He formed his own company in 1951 where his innovative spirit and vision for the future helped to revolutionize the storage and transportation of petrochemicals around the world. In 1983, he and his wife Peggy moved to Boca Raton from New York where he continued to keep a summer home. It was during this time that he became active in croquet and soon fell in love with the sport. Steuber began playing in numerous tournaments between Florida and New York and became a good player. As his involvement in the game grew, so did his love for the sport and his desire to play a meaningful role. In the late ‘90s, he became president of the Croquet Foundation of America. During this period, the USCA was headquartered at the Palm Beach Polo Club and was having difficulty with its lease. Recognizing the need for the organization to find a permanent home with court facilities, he jumped
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Thanks to the efforts of Sherif Abdelwahab and Simon Jenkins, the Maloof/Mulliner final was made available via livestream video with Jenkins providing professionalgrade commentary. The experts weren’t giving Maloof much of a chance, but as the croquet world eagerly watched, he jumped out 26-22 and 26-9 in games one and two. An American world title had never been so close. But the afternoon games stretched out and Mulliner fought back 26-21 and 26-15 to tie it up with darkness closing in. It was decided to move the final game to the lighted courts where Mulliner finished the comeback to claim his first world title in a match that lasted 11.5 hours. In fact, Mulliner had played four straight days of matches that went to five games for one of the more legendary title runs.
David Maloof. Photo by Jeff Soo.
As a bonus, the livestream carried through to the awards presentation inside the NCC where both players received awards and made comments. At its peak, the livestream broadcast had 144 viewers, while the text commentary also remained strong with 121 followers. Add to that 200 spectators at the venue and the epic battle arguably had played out in front of one the bigger engaged audiences in WCF history. For one day, hardcore AC fans savvy enough to stream through the big screen in the family room got the feel for what AC would look like as a mainstream sport.
Bob Kroeger started playing competitive nine wicket croquet at age 11 and was introduced to the six wicket American game when he visited the New York Croquet Club in Central Park in 1977. Along with friend Duffy Hart, they would take a three-hour train ride at 6:00 a.m. on Sundays from Norwich to learn the game on the courts at Central Park. He joined the scene in time to play in the USCA’s first national championships in New York City in 1977 and scored his first major win in 1978 against formidable and experienced Hall of Famer Nelga Young. In 1983, he took fifth place at Nationals with a then remarkable 26-5 victory and became a top-tier US player. As president of the Boston Croquet Club during the 1980s, he participated in virtually all the New England Regional Championships, winning six singles and four doubles titles. In 1987, he won the first USCA Association (international) Rules Singles Championship, and in 1988, went on to win his first of two Palm Beach Croquet Club Invitational Championship Singles titles (the other in 1992.) These victories, alongside numerous local and invitational titles, earned Kroeger a position on the US national team, which he played on from 1988 to 1993. In 1993, he won his first American Rules USCA National Championship when he claimed the doubles title with Jim Hughes.
2008 continued in with his “get it done” attitude and the final result was the NCC. Diane Blow and Jackie C. Jones were inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. Archie Peck was inducted into the World Croquet Hall of Fame. 2009 Eugene Young began his term as the seventh USCA president. 2010 Alexander Ix, Dr. William “Bill” Luke and Margaret Mihlon were inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. In 1990, Kroeger moved to Cambridge, Mass., and married his wife Deborah in 1991. In addition to his croquet accolades, he is a professional musician specializing in jazz and chamber music. He is an accomplished player of oboe, English horn, flute and alto flute and is also a successful recording engineer specializing in digital audio recording and editing. From the beginning, though, Kroeger was an avid student of the game. England’s John Solomon and G. Nigel Aspinall brought croquet technology and advanced shot-making skills to America and much of this was passed on through Teddy Prentis to Kroeger. From there, he partnered with Prentis to pass on that knowledge to the members of the USCA and beyond, making seven instructional videos – two on shot-making, four on strategy and one on backyard nine wicket croquet. He is also the author of the Official USCA Shotmaking Manual along with a comprehensive three-volume set of croquet strategy books he wrote with Prentis.
Jerry Stark was inducted into the World Croquet Hall of Fame. 2011 The National Croquet Calendar closed with the November-December issue after 24 years of coverage. Richard “Dick” Brackett, Richard G. “Rich” Curtis and Daniel J. “Dan” Mahoney, III, were inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. Tom McDonnell was inducted into the World Croquet Hall of Fame.
He and Prentis were also regulars in Croquet News magazine with their “On Tactics” American six wicket strategy columns. John C. Osborn now joins Kroeger after Prentis passed away in May and the column continues under the new “Let’s Talk Tactics” name.
2012 Johnny Mitchell began his term as the eighth USCA president.
Kroeger is currently the Director of the USCA Instructional Schools and has chaired or been on numerous USCA committees over the years. Today, he is active on the Nine Wicket, Education, Rules, Handicapping, Selection and Tournament committees.
John Milton “Jack” McMillin, Jr., Johnny M. Mitchell, Ruth Summers were inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame.
His impact on the advancement of the game and particularly the skills of the overall base of players in North America is immeasurable. He was inducted into the United States Croquet Hall of Fame in 1999.
Jeff Soo rose fast in the sport, winning his first national title in US Doubles in 1999 with Paul Scott. The next year, he won the US singles title. It wouldn’t be his last. Through the years, he won five US rules singles titles including as recently as 2013. He stands alone in that category with five wins (followed by Archie Peck with four titles). That is the tip of the iceberg as he’s now collected 18 total national titles with singles and doubles victories in AC, GC and US spanning 18 years and in three decades. On an individual level, no other American player has sustained as consistent a national title threat over a longer period. And, of course, he just collected that 18th title with a doubles win in US rules with Rich Lamm this past October at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Aside from his national presence as a player, he’s also been a regular force on the US National team playing in his first Solomon competition in 1999. Overall, he’s played in eight Solomon tests, one Carter Challenge and five MacRobertson Shields and was captain of the MacRob team in 2010.
Garth Eliassen was inducted into the World Croquet Hall of Fame. 2013 Charles Philip Lazarus, Anne Frost Robinson and Rhys Thomas were inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. Brice Jones was inducted into the World Croquet Hall of Fame. 2014 W. David McCoy and Ervand M. “Erv” Peterson were inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. Rhys Thomas was inducted into the World Croquet Hall of Fame.
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In a 2013 interview on Croquet World Online, of team competition he said, “... winning a test match is the biggest thrill there is for me in croquet. Because it’s not just about you, it’s about your team and all the home fans. It’s also where we really learn how to play the game. It’s no coincidence that I started winning national championships shortly after I first played in the Solomon and the Mac, and other players have had the same experience. And we bring that knowledge home with us, and spread it around. So, supporting the team really is worthwhile, and every aspiring national champion should make it a priority.” Photo by Jeff Soo
He has served on several committees including the USCA Management committee. One of the more impressive contributions is that while being a player, he has contributed so often to recording games with event photos and excellent tournament reports. It is quite amazing to have a player in the mix provide such excellent coverage and photography. Notably, it was Soo that was on hand, playing for his own British Open title hopes and keeping a daily player journal for the Croquet Network website, thus capturing Ben Rothman as he claimed the most coveted annual trophy in the sport. And just a few months prior, it was Soo who captured the 2016 WCF AC World Championship in both words and photos. It was his photo of David Maloof that was used as the “special cover” of the USCA newsletter to recognize Maloof ’s awesome run to the finals.
Rothman wins the British Open
The British Open is widely held as the most prestigious annual title in the sport of croquet. And some consider it to be the de facto world championship of croquet. It’s been played since 1867, and in July of 2016, Ben Rothman became the first American to win the title with a -26tp, +19, -20tp, +25tp, +26tp victory over Samir Patel of England. It stands as the top international achievement for an American player. Notably, the Open win came just seven years after his breakout on the international scene with his run to a silver medal at the 2009 WCF AC World Championship. In fact, it only took that brief stretch for Rothman to own the US croquet scene as he
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has now collected a USCA record 20 national titles (10 singles, 10 doubles). He’s been particularly dominant in golf croquet, where he’s landed five singles titles (including four in a row from 2012 to 2015) and four doubles titles. And it should be mentioned that his run on national titles came during a time when the US croquet scene has had its deepest base of top-tier talent.
2015 Ben Rothman won his fourth straight GC National title. And, with his doubles win with Sherif Abdelwahab, he recorded his 20th national USCA title, which is an active USCA record. Shereen Hayes, Stephen C. Johnston and Michael Orgill were inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. 2016 Damon Bidencope and Albert J. “Bert” Myer, V, were inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame. 2017 Sara Low began her term as the ninth USCA president. Digby C. Bridges was inducted into the US Croquet Hall of Fame.
Jack Osborn, John Osborn and Catherine Tankoos at the 1996 Palm Beach Invitational.
Our print and web sources are listed below, and we have acknowledged some contributors in the piece. However, many sources also simply answered questions or gave comments in quick emails. I want to thank everyone who was so helpful in providing information to help make this piece possible. Of particular note, all of the photos in the piece were provided by Bert Myer unless otherwise noted. And with that spirit of collaboration in mind, we conclude with the following words from the founder on perhaps the greatest aspect of the sport:
“The game of croquet, to which I have given such a large portion of my life, fuses so many different elements: competition, a fine eye, a sharp mind, a firm stroke, a large amount of patience, ability to plan ahead and, by no means the least, a control of one’s temper. Few of us have had all these qualities in hand in every game. But they are there to strive for in all games. Yet beyond all of these, our game provides that finest of outcomes: comradeship. It is that which brings us together, and it is that which I have always enjoyed, wicket by wicket.” —Jack Osborn at an Appreciation Ball held by the CFA on April 16, 1996, in Palm Beach, Fla.
Print Sources: Croquet Magazine Croquet News Magazine National Croquet Calendar New York Croquet Club History by Karen Kaplan US Croquet Gazette and Annuals USCA Croquet Bulletin Websites Sources: Croquet Network: croquetnetwork.com Croquet World Online: croquetworld.com Croquet Records website: croquetrecords.com USCA website: croquetamerica.com World Croquet Federation website: worldcroquet.org.uk
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2017 USCA 9 Wicket Nationals September 22-24 | Parkville, Missouri
Championship Singles Winner - Matt Griffith
Griffith Wins 9W Nationals By Matt Griffith
The 2017 USCA 9 Wicket Nationals played out in a beautiful setting along the Missouri River at English Landing Park in Parkville, Mo., in hot-for-September conditions on extremely challenging turf. 30 | croquetamerica.com
The Parks Department allowed us to mow twice the day before the tournament. We had to bring out the big commercial blower to blow leaves every morning. The huge Cottonwood trees were relentless. Sixteen players participated in doubles and singles in the Championship and First Flights September 22-24, 2017.
RESULTS CHAMPIONSHIP SINGLES 01. Matt Griffith 02. Macey White 03. Greg Clouse
The Championship singles final featured Matt Griffith against Macey White late Sunday morning after the singles semifinals. White took out Greg Clouse 17-14 to reach the final, while Griffith ended Dylan Goodwin’s tournament with a 23-15 victory to advance.
03. Dylan Goodwin
With the unexpected hops here and there, turf impressions and deep-to-thin grass, the Final brought plenty of interactivity and an active deadness board. Griffith had a quick early break to get through H5 with blue, but was unable to get an attack toward White’s red and yellow position at H2. After a lot of back and forth, it was White that had the first opportunity to establish control as he worked red out to the doubles, but failed to get red into hoop-scoring position at H6 while trying to roll yellow into position for the same hoop.
02. Greg Clouse & Dylan Goodwin
Griffith got the first extended break together when he took black through H5 out through H11. From there, Griffith kept control of the rotation and took a 20-14 win for the national title. Unofficially, it represented his third appearance in the 9 Wicket Nationals Singles final (2014 and 2016).
07. Loren Winters
In other action, Griffith and partner John Warlick took the Doubles National Championship with a 4-1 record. This was Warlick’s fifth victory in doubles.
03. Eddie Mondt & Dave Cochran
05. John Warlick CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLES 01. Matt Griffith & John Warlick 03. Gail Rubin & Macey White FIRST FLIGHT SINGLES
Championship Doubles Winners – Matt Griffith & John Warlick
01. Ron Millican 02. Steve Jackson 03. Jodi Adams 03. Deborah Millican 05. Gail Rubin 06. Ellie Griffith
FIRST FLIGHT DOUBLES 01. Jodi Adams & Deborah Millican 02. Steve Jackson & Justin Marciniak 03. Ron Millican & Greg Adams 05. Ellie Griffith & Loren Winters
First Flight Singles winner - Ron Millican
In First Flight, Ron Millican defeated Steve Jackson 24-10 to claim the singles title. Jodi Adams and Deborah Millican defeated their husbands in the semifinals to go on to win the First Flight doubles title with a victory over Jackson and partner Justin Marciniak. A special thanks to Ellie Griffith; because of her hard work and organization, the tournament ran smoothly.
Championship Doubles runners-up Greg Clouse & Dylan Goodwin
First Flight Doubles winners - Jodi Adams & Deborah Millican
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2017 USCA Seniors Masters Championships November 15-19, 2017 | West Palm Beach, Florida
Experience Counts In November By John C. Osborn
hile it is difficult to offer both relaxation and competitive play within the same competition, each year the Seniors Masters Championships seems to qualify in both departments. Split into multiple divisions in both singles and doubles, this tournament is a series of many events, those with ages of 60-69 falling into the Seniors Division and those above 69 qualifying for the Masters, or more experienced group. This year, the breakdown worked like a charm, offering well-balanced flights for all the 61 players in attendance. Held over the span of five days and with the weather offering only a half-hearted shower, play began at 8:00 a.m. each morning and continued until darkness. Eight courts were in use most of the time and the matches were timed at 75 minutes. The schedule ran smoothly, with players allowed breaks between matches, and double banking was reserved for singles only. The format offered block play leading to single elimination ladders in all divisions and the Finals were completed by midafternoon Sunday. Both the Seniors and Masters Championship Singles Flights saw handicaps range from -2 to 2.5, with a large majority of the matches close throughout last
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turns. In the Seniors Division, Rick Sheely (-1.5) fought through an early-week illness to capture the flight with a 15-12 victory over an underplayed but surprisingly accurate Johnny Mitchell (-1). Tim Bitting (-1) and Matt Griffith (-.5) shared Third Place. Meanwhile, the Final in the Masters Flight proved to be even closer. David Ekstrom (-1.5), from whom one never knows what to expect, had his hands full with the determined Jackie Jones (-2). When a last turn desperation wicket failed for Jones, Ekstrom took the event with a 15-14 score. Dick Sullivan and Mike Gibbons (both -1) split Third-Place honors. If there was a lopsided Singles Final to be found, it came in the 17-10 victory by Dick Scherf (4)
in the First Flight Seniors. Scherf, who was playing well above expectations, maneuvered past Deborah Millican (6) while Kevin Hansley (4.5) and the impressive and true longshot, Mark Ski (8), followed shortly behind. Within the Masters portion of the flight, Arthur Olsen (3) survived a back and forth battle (14-12) against the always dangerous Russ Dilley (4). Bill Trower (3), who had been playing extremely well, and the surprising Reine Bitting (5) were both one win away from the Finals. As is the case in all the doubles flights, the Second Flight Singles combined both the Seniors and Masters. While Bobbie Duryea (9) showed a nice degree of consistency in claiming victory (12-9) within the division, applause certainly goes out to Arlene Stevens (12) for her impressive play. Bill Sadowski (10) and Tim McCormick (8) each played well throughout to take a piece of Third Place. Doubles, as expected, saw many of the traditional pairs, and therefore players knew their partners and opponents so well that these matches were often more interesting to watch from a strategic viewpoint. In the Championship Flight, pretournament favorites Stewart Jackson and Peter
Just lived up to expectations, defeating the very traditional team of Mike Gibbons and David McCoy (15-12). Dick Sullivan and Bob Chilton, always within the mix come the last day, shared Third Place with crowd favorites Fred and Jackie Jones. Lynda Sudderberg and Bill Trower, perhaps taking advantage of the home-court advantage, overcame Ron Millican and Gene Raymond (16-10) in the First Flight Final while Tim McCormick and Missy Chilton had to scramble to outlast (13-11) the impressive Michael and Anne Kukla. While the social highlight of the week was certainly the Hall of Fame Gala, this year honoring Digby Bridges, the entire event also had great food and service. Great thanks go out to Sandy James and the entire NCC staff for always being there to accommodate any need. Likewise, thanks go out to Rick Landry for his hard work in making the courts, at times, lightning fast! And finally, thanks go out to the USCA for its diligence and from the USCA to the players for making this one of the most enjoyable events on the calendar year after year!
FINAL RESULTS CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT SENIORS SINGLES
CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT MASTERS SINGLES
01. Rick Sheely
01. David Ekstrom
02. Johnny Mitchell
02. Jackie Jones
03. Tim Bitting
03. Dick Sullivan
03. Matt Griffith
03. Mike Gibbons
05. Dick Brackett
05. John Blamire
05. Lynda Sudderberg
05. Peter Just
05. Michael Todorovich
05. Bob Chilton
05. Linda Huxtable
05. William Rinaman
09. Jim Erwin
09. David McCoy
09. Bill Hartmann
10. Ron Huxtable
11. Missy Ramey
10. Gene Raymond
11. Conrad Rugart
12. Steve Warner
See more final results on page 34 croquetamerica.com | 33
FINAL RESULTS FIRST FLIGHT SENIORS SINGLES
FIRST FLIGHT MASTERS SINGLES
01. Richard Scherf
01. Arthur Olsen
02. Deborah Millican
02. Russ Dilley
03. Kevin Hansley
03. Bill Trower
03. Mark Ski
03. Reine Bitting
05. Linda Dos Santos
05. Cassandra Gaisor
05. Steve Grassbaugh
05. Carla Rueck
05. Jeff Morrison
07. Howard Holdsclaw
05. Michael Kukla
08. Martie Ekstrom
09. Rick Alderson 09. Ron Millican 09. Pat Spratt 09. Yen Sullivan Dnf. Lee Hamel
SECOND (Combined) FLIGHT SINGLES
CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT DOUBLES 01. Stewart Jackson/Peter Just
01. Bob Duryea
02. Mike Gibbons/David McCoy
02. Arlene Stevens
03. Dick Sullivan/Bob Chilton
03. Bill Sadowski
03. Jackie Jones/Fred Jones
03. Tim McCormick
05. David Ekstrom/Bill Hartmann
05. John Grabow
05. Linda Huxtable/Matt Griffith
05. Sam Orleans
05. Rick Sheely/Russ Dilley
05. Anne Kukla
05. Ron Huxtable/William Rinaman
08. Lovejoy Duryea
09. John Blamire/Larry McDermott
dnf. Anne Licursi
09. Michael Todorovich/Dick Brackett 09. Missy Ramey/Conrad Rugart 09. Tim Bitting/Reine Bitting Bob Duryea
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12. Johnny Mitchel/Lee Hamel
FIRST FLIGHT DOUBLES
SECOND FLIGHT DOUBLES
01. Lynda Sudderberg/ Bill Trower
01. Tim McCormick/ Missy Chilton
02. Ron Millican/ Gene Raymond
02. Michael Kukla/ Anne Kukla
03. Rick Alderson/ Martie Ekstrom
03. Jeff Morrison/ Arlene Stevens
03. David Spivey/ Steve Grassbaugh
Lynda Sudderberg and Bill Trower
05. Cassandra Gaisor/ Linda Dos Santos
05. Bob Duryea/ William Duryea
06. Arthur Olsen/ Nancy Reynolds
06. Deborah Millican/ Nancy Hart
06. Pat Spratt/Mark Ski
06. Howard Holdsclaw/ Lois Holdsclaw
08. Sam Orleans/ Kevin Hansley Tim McCormick and Missy Chilton
03. Eugenia Wilke/ Bill Sadowski
06. Carla Rueck/ John Grabow
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2017 USCA Golf Croquet Eights October 20-23 | Venice, Florida
Successful Launch in Venice By Jeff Soo
he first annual USCA Golf Croquet Eights added a top-level golf croquet tournament to the calendar with the newly-expanded Sarasota County Croquet Club (SCCC) debuting as a major tournament venue. The 24-player field included many SCCC club members, joined by players from across the country. The tournament began with an afternoon of practice, followed by tournament players joining the club for its monthly potluck supper. This was just one of the ways the SCCC made the visiting players feel as though they were part of the club. Club members also hosted visiting players and provided daily breakfasts, lunches and post-play “attitude adjustment” toasts and tallies. Like the USCA Selection Eights, this event was a blocksonly format with no playoffs except to break a first-place tie. The Third Eight was a double-round-robin of singlegame matches, while the First and Second Eights were single blocks, but with best-of-three-
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games matches. All games were 13 points (score 7 to win) with no time limit. Double-banking was used throughout. Players were encouraged, but not required, to use scoring clips, and this helped players and spectators alike to keep up with matches. One game in the First Eight, played without scoring clips, ended when the players walked off the lawn thinking the score was 7-1, when it was actually 6-2. In the Third Eight, Gil Flowers lost his first game, 5-7 to Avril Rangoni-Machiavelli. He then won 12 games in a row to win the Third Eight by a healthy margin. Ted Thelin finished second, on nine wins. Rangoni-Machiavelli withdrew due to illness after two days, and Fred Jones stepped in as a substitute to allow all players to play their full set of games. Because these games could not be used in the standings of the Eight, they were treated as a separate event, dubbed the “Hall of Fame Plate.” Jones won most of his games to win the Plate.
Macey White played consistently well throughout the event, winning all seven of his matches to win the Second Eight. He was notably effective with jump shots. Hans Peterson and Peter Carlin won five matches each. The First Eight started with Matt Griffith beating three of the four top seeds in the first two days of play. Rich Lamm was the only one of the top group to escape the giant-killing Griffith in a 39 point match: 7-6, 6-7, 7-6. David Maloof and Jeff Soo also enjoyed a 39-point match, Maloof winning. Maloof beat the other top seeds to win the Eight with six match victories. The club worked hard to bring the lawns up to tournament conditions, and the players were impressed with the results. The lawns were very true and played at a consistent medium pace throughout the tournament. An unusual feature of the tournament was the Pro-Am, pairing top-level players with
youngsters the SCCC had been working with as part of the Warehouse program for disadvantaged youth. This brief event was one of the high points of the weekend for many of the participants. The tremendous volunteer support from the SCCC was coordinated by Hans Peterson and Michael Albert. Jeff Soo handled scheduling and scoring as the Tournament Director.
HALL OF FAME PLATE 01. Fred Jones 02. Nancy Hart, Gil Flowers
FIRST EIGHT 01. David Maloof 02. Matt Griffith 03. Jeff Soo 04. Stephen Morgan 05. Rich Lamm 06. Alan Cottle 07. Cheryl Bromley 08. Michael Albert
SECOND EIGHT 01. Macey White 02. Hans Peterson 03. Peter Carlin 04. Colin Irwin 05. Stephen Jackson 06. Bill Hoffman 07. Russ Cuccia 08. Eileen Soo
THIRD EIGHT 01. Gil Flowers 02. Ted Thelin 03. Gene Raymond 04. Avril Rangoni-Machiavelli (DNF) 05. Nancy Hart 06. Judy Carlin 07. Mac McDermott 08. Byron Hicks David Maloof went 6-1 to win the First Eight
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2017 USCA’s National American Rules Championship Rancho Mirage, California | November 5-11, 2017
Abdelwahab Comes Back for
US RULES TITLE WIN T
he 41st Edition of the USCA’s National American Rules Championship featured an exciting week of tournament play at the Mission Hills Croquet Club in Rancho, Mirage, Calif. Thirtyone players attended and were treated to great lawn conditions and fabulous weather all week during the event that was held November 5-11, 2017.
Cardo to make it unbeaten to the final. Sherif Abdelwahab then played wonderfully to first overcome Danny Huneycutt and then Cardo in the back draw to advance to the Final. Morgan was in the box seat as his opponent needed to win two games to claim the title, as opposed to Morgan’s one game as the unbeaten player.
showing absolutely no signs of nervousness at all as he went on to claim the necessary two games to claim his first National Singles crown! In the Championship Doubles, it seemed nothing could keep the indomitable Jeff Soo from the winner’s podium, partnering Rich Lamm to take out their third National Doubles title against Huneycutt and Cardo.
In the Championship Singles, Stephen Morgan beat Randy
But odds obviously meant nothing to Abdelwahab, who played with precision and ease,
Rich Lamm, Jeff Soo
Steve Mossbrook, Danny Huneycutt, Randy Cardo, Wayne Davies
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OTHER WINNERS: FIRST FLIGHT SINGLES: Michael Albert defeated Cam Evans in the final FIRST FLIGHT DOUBLES: Evans and Nick Gray defeated Bev Cardo and Jeanne Branthover in the final CHAMPIONSHIP PLATE: Paul Bennett defeated Richard Sullivan FIRST FLIGHT PLATE: Yen Sullivan defeated Jeanne Branthover
Steve Mossbrook, Michael Albert
CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT SINGLES
CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT DOUBLES
01. Sherif Abdelwahab
01. Jeff Soo & Rich Lamm
02. Stephen Morgan
02. D anny Huneycutt & Randy Cardo
03. Danny Huneycutt 03. Randy Cardo 05. Jeff Soo 05. Doug Grimsley 07. Rich Lamm 07. Paul Bennett 09. Macey White 10. Brian Cumming 10. Daniel Pailas 12. Jim Butts 13. George Cochran 14. Peter Bach 14. Richard Curtis 16. Britt Ruby 17. Richard Sullivan 18. Steve Mossbrook 18. Jim Turner 18. Mary Rodeberg 18. Gary Bennett 22. Sandra Knuth Walsh 22. Donna Dixon FIRST FLIGHT SINGLES 01. Michael Albert 02. Cameron Evans
03. B rian Cumming & Stephen Morgan 04. Jim Butts & Peter Bach 05. R ichard Curtis & Doug Grimsley 05. W ayne Davies & Daniel Pailas 07. S herif Abdelwahab & Sandra Knuth Walsh 07. B ritt Ruby & George Cochran 09. J im Turner & Richard Sullivan 10. M ary Rodeberg & Michael Albert 11. M acey White & Donna Dixon 12. P aul Bennett & Gary Bennett FIRST FLIGHT DOUBLES 01. N ick Gray & Cameron Evans 02. B everly Cardo & Jeanne Branthover
03. R obert Morford & Patrick Dugan
03. Beverly Cardo
CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT PLATE
04. Nick Gray
01. Paul Bennett
05. Robert Morford
02. Richard Sullivan
05. Yen Sullivan
03. Macey White
07. Jeanne Branthover
03. George Cochran
07. Patrick Dugan
05. Daniel Pailas 05. Peter Bach 05. Jim Butts 05. Gary Bennett 05. Wayne Davies 05. Donna Dixon 10. Mary Rodeberg 10. Sandra Knuth Walsh
Steve Mossbrook, Yen Sullivan, Wayne Davies
10. Steve Mossbrook Steve Mossbrook, Sherif Abdelwahab, Stephen Morgan, Wayne Davies
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USCA Selection Eights October 26-29, 2017 | West Palm Beach, Florida
is Eights Champ By Doug Grimsley
Once again, the Selection Eights have proved to be one of the most popular events of the year. A full complement of 40 players met at the National Croquet Center (NCC) to compete over three-and-a-half busy days of croquet with each player squeezing in 14 games. As usual, the Selection Eights was a no-frill tournament—low entry fee, no parties, buy your own lunch and play a lot of croquet. Complaints were non-existent as the players hit the courts at 8:00 a.m. and generally played until dusk, sometimes even extending into the night under the new NCC lights. 40 | croquetamerica.com
The format of the Eights has been the same since its origin in the late ‘90s. The brainchild of Jerry Stark, it was created along the lines of the British Eights and was an attempt to bring Association croquet into the mainstream American croquet scene. Stark’s tireless work in those early years has been rewarded. The Selection Eights are always played at full capacity and usually with a significant list of players on the waiting list hoping to grab the last few open spots. The top-40 qualifiers were divided into five groups of eight. Each player, regardless in which eight they were placed, got 14 games—a double round-robin with the other seven players in their block of eight. As usual, much of the spotlight fell on the top eight players. Eight of the top-10 ranked players in the country squared off, and when Sunday rolled around, it was 18-year-old Matthew Essick taking first place with a 11-3 record. He was followed by three players with eight victories—Brian Cumming, Stuart Lawrence and Stephen Morgan. They were followed in order by David Maloof, Danny Huneycutt, Doug Grimsley and Sherif Abdelwahab. The First Eight completed 27 triple peels on very challenging courts. The Second Eight was a runaway by two players. Zack Watson (who will be moving to the First Eight next year) and Simon Jenkins were both 12-2. The closest competition came from Macey White with eight wins. The rest of the field was Mike Taylor (6 wins), Peter Bach (5 wins), Daniel Pailas, Ian Harshman and George Cochran. Randy Cardo dominated the Third Eight with 12 victories. He was trailed by Howard Sosin, Mike Todorovich, Robert Hurst, David Druiett, Jay Hughes, Russell Dilley and Mary Rodeberg. The Fourth Eight was a big victory for Chris Barley, who went 12-0 (two games unfinished) and was the only undefeated player in any of the groups. Next was Jane Beharriell, Dawn Jupin, Gene Raymond, David McCoy/Rick Landry, Sandra Knuth Walsh, Travis Watson and Chad Goodwin.
First Eight Champion Matthew Essick
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Several first-time competitors played in the Fifth Eight, and experience came to the front with Elaine Moody at 13 victories and Missy Ramey at 10 wins topping the list. Steve Berry and Deborah Millican followed with nine victories each. Chris Sullivan made a nice showing with seven wins, first-timer Karin Karel was next with four wins, and Todd Marshall and Martin Karel filled out the field.
Huge thunderstorms delayed many of the late games on Friday, but most were completed by the end of play on Sunday. Players waited patiently on the NCC porch hoping for a break in the rain, but play was finally cancelled around 5:00 p.m. It has been known to rain in Florida from time to time, so it was all taken in stride. Availability letters to all USCA members usually go out in May or June. Players who wish to be considered for the 2018 Selection Eights should put their names in early to help secure a spot. The availability letter will be followed by the actual entry form in July and August along with occasional reminders. Once again, the format will restrict entries to the top-40 ranked players who make themselves available, and all others go onto a waiting list. Next yearâ€™s TD will be Doug Grimsley assisted by Brian Cumming and Danny Huneycutt. FIRST EIGHT
01. Matthew Essick
01. Chris Barley
02. Brian Cumming
02. Jane Beharriell
02. Stuart Lawrence
03. Dawn Jupin
02. Stephen Morgan
04. Gene Raymond
05. David Maloof
05. David McCoy
06. Danny Huneycutt
05. Sandra Knuth Walsh
07. Doug Grimsley
07. Chad Goodwin
08. Sherif Abdelwahab
07. Travis Watson
01. Simon Jenkins 01. Zack Watson 03. Macey White 04. Mike Taylor 05. Peter Bach 06. Daniel Pailas 07. Ian Harshman 08. George Cochran
01. Elaine Moody 02. Missy Ramey 03. Steve Berry 03. Deborah Millican 05. Chris Sullivan 06. Karin Karel 07. Todd Marshall 08. Martin Karel
THIRD EIGHT 01. Randy Cardo 02. Howard Sosin 02. Mike Todorovich 04. David Druiett 04. Robert Hurst 06. Jay Hughes 07. Russell Dilley
01. First Eight, Matt Essick and Doug Grimsley
08. Mary Rodeberg
02. Second Eight, Simon Jenkins 03. Third Eight, Randy Cardo
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04. Fourth Eight, Chris Barley 05. Fifth Eight, Elaine Moody 06. Second Eight, Zack Watson
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2017 USCA Midwest Regional Tournament September 1-4 | Tulsa, Oklahoma
UP in Tulsa By Bob Baker
he turnout was somewhat down with 22 players for this year’s Midwest Regional Tournament; however, those who didn’t attend, missed the best weather that we’ve had for a Tulsa tournament. As usual, our First Flight was the largest at 11 players for singles, with eight in the Championship and three in the Second Flight. The Second Flight players had the opportunity to play up with several of the First Flight group, which we hope was a valuable learning experience for the newbies. This was the first tournament for Tulsa Croquet Club (TCC) members Jon Spaulding and Charlie Keegan, who got the First Place trophy for doubles in the Second Flight, and Scott Fisher took First Place in the Singles. George Peterkin took a respite from all the commotion surrounding hurricane Harvey in Houston to play in the First Flight Singles Final in his first Tulsa tournament. We tried to treat him kindly, but Joe Steiner took First Place against him in the last game of the tournament. The Joe’s (Steiner and Schulte) beat Ron Millican and Harold Menzel in the First Flight Doubles. Our great Texas friends, Britt Ruby and Joe Yoder, took First Place in the Championship Doubles, and their singles game against each other was the first that our friend Russell Dilley posted on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clrPMG8UkdQ). Ruby also took the Singles Championship trophy with Scott Spradling taking Second. Our Social Committee took great care of us, as usual, by keeping the food and drinks arriving when needed. I mentioned Steiner above for his winning play, but he also took control of all our club equipment and of laying out courts. He was applauded for his innovations of carts that consolidated all the equipment for each court and for his deadness board design that could be seen equally from front and back. It was great seeing Dilley’s finished product on YouTube after several days of professional videography at the courts. At our tournament dinner, we toasted Matt Griffith for his many years of service as our Midwest Regional VP. Menzel mentioned the Texas Classic, and Suzanne Spradling talked about the Scissortail Invitational in Oklahoma City. Wendell Thompson spoke about the tremendous success of our collegiate team that he has coached to multiple first places at the National Championship Tournament at Merion Cricket Club in Pennsylvania for many years. We had a great meal at the LaFortune Grille. Finally, we appreciate all who came to play and who helped with the tournament.
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CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT SINGLES
SECOND FLIGHT SINGLES
1ST PLACE: BRITT RUBY
1ST PLACE: SCOTT FISHER
02. Scott Spradling
02. Charlie Keegan
03. Joe Yoder
03. Jon Spaulding
03. Kevin McQuigg 05. Matthew Griffith
CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT DOUBLES
05. Russell Dilley
1st PLACE: BRITT RUBY & JOE YODER
07. W endell Thompson
02. Matt Baird & Kevin McQuigg Britt Ruby and Scott Spradling
FIRST FLIGHT SINGLES 1ST PLACE: JOE STEINER 02. George Peterkin III
03. M atthew Griffith & Scott Spradling 04. R ussell Dilley & Wendell Thompson
03. Harold Menzel 03. Suzanne Spradling 05. Ron Millican 05. Deborah Millican 05. Joseph Schulte 05. Stephen Jackson 09. Pat Garner Charlie Keegan and Scott Fisher
09. Robert Ellis Baker
FIRST FLIGHT DOUBLES 1ST PLACE: JOE STEINER & JOSEPH SCHULTE 02. R on Millican & Harold Menzel 03. Pat Garner & George Peterkin III 03. D eborah Millican & Stephen Jackson 05. S uzanne Spradling & Tad Cassidy
SECOND FLIGHT DOUBLES 1ST PLACE: JON SPAULDING & CHARLIE KEEGAN
Joe Yoder and Britt Ruby
Charlie Keegan and John Spaulding
Kevin McQuigg and Matt Baird
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USCA Northeast Regional Tournament September 29-October 1, 2017 | Watch Hill, Rhode Island
CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT SINGLES 01. Stephen Morgan 02. David Ekstrom 03. Pat Colt 03. Jim Turner 03. Peter Ribbons 06. David McCoy 02.
FIRST FLIGHT SINGLES 01. Lloyd Hadden Jr. 02. Marti Ekstrom 03. Jeannine Bedard 03. Mark Ski 05. Kevin Hoben 05. Patricia Spratt 03.
SECOND FLIGHT SINGLES 01. Susan Herr 02. Randall Bedard 03. Joan Collins 03. Stephanie Hayes 05. Cecily Greenaway 06. Al Muren 04.
01. 01. Jim Turner, Stephen Morgan, David McCoy, Pat Colt, Peter Ribbans, David Ekstrom 02. Stephen Morgan 03. Scenic view of the Ocean House courts 04. Martie Ekstrom
USCA Association Rules Western Regional September 7-10, 2017 | Vancouver, Canada
01. Steve Scalpone 02. Chris PercivalSmith 03. Jim Hanks 04. Rick Shelly 05. Patrick Sweeney 06. Gary Anderson
07. Russell Uhler 03.
08. Brian Wasylyk 09. Mike McGuire 01. 2017 Western Regionals group photo 02. Runner-up Chris Percival-Smith (L) with Steve Scalpone (R) 03. Patrick Sweeney, Steve Scalpone and Jim Hanks (left to right)
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Jackie Jones Age: 78 Home Base: Venice, Fla., since 1990 Home Club: Sarasota County Croquet Club Grip: Standard American grip Mallet: Manor House Pidcock round mallet. I like the round head mostly because I have a bad back and I have learned to use my foot with my mallet head to position my ball in bounds and consequently don’t have to bend over quite as much. It has an 11-inch head and weighs just under 3 pounds. How I got into the game: I played backyard croquet at family gatherings for many years and enjoyed it. I was introduced to American six wicket as a spectator at the New England Regionals in Newport, R.I., in 1988. I observed Debbie Prentis playing Bob Kroeger in the semifinals. That peaked my interest as I thought “Gee, she’s a woman and she seems to be doing pretty well against this guy.” Debbie was running a break and scoring wicket after wicket. Teddy Prentis was narrating and explaining break play in a way that made it very understandable. I was impressed. A year later after my husband, Fred, took up the sport, I began to play on weekends as I was still full-time employed in nursing. I joined the Newport Casino Croquet Club, became hooked on the sport and croquet became my passion. I became president of the NCCC, took lessons from Bob Kroeger, who I feel gave me a strong foundation and good understanding of the game. I started playing in tournaments, which improved my skills and my handicap. In 1990, Fred and I moved to Venice, Fla., into the Waterford development and, with the developer, put in two croquet lawns and founded the Waterford Croquet Club. I attended USCA’s instructor school, became a USCA Certified Instructor and taught croquet professionally at many clubs on the West Coast of Florida starting in 1992. I am the founder and past president of the Sarasota County Croquet Club (SCCC). The SCCC, founded in 2000, has grown from its original core of 14 players to 189 USCA members. The club has grown from three original lawns to six full-size, well-maintained lawns. I really enjoy turning new people on to the sport of croquet and volunteering my time twice weekly year-round to teach clinics to help promote the sport. Favorite croquet venue: I have played on many different lawns and venues and find it hard to pick a favorite as each has something special to offer, be it view, condition of lawns, amenities, people – I think croquet has it all. However, I’m partial to my own home courts as we have, I think, very well maintained true lawns that are a delight to play on.
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Favorite tournament: I have many favorites, but I guess I have to say the Senior Masters is on top. I enjoy seeing, competing against and reacquainting myself with the “seniors” in the sport. Many I see just once a year at that tournament. Croquet highlights/tourney wins: I had the great honor of being inducted into the Croquet Hall of Fame in 2008. Over the years, I have had the pleasure of winning many various tournaments, in singles and doubles, and with my favorite doubles partner, my husband, Fred, both locally and nationally. I am the proud recipient of the USCA Peyton Ballenger Memorial Award (an annual award presented to the woman who places highest in the USCA Nationals) many times during the years from 1996 to 2010, which was the last year I played in the nationals. I presently hold a -1.5 handicap. I am certified as a National Referee and a National Instructor by the USCA. The future of the sport: I think the future of croquet is healthy. Golf croquet is certainly taking off and, even just played as a social game, is getting people out on the lawns and experiencing croquet. What would you like to see happen to the sport over the next 10 years: I would like to see more public facilities become available to allow the sport access to people from all walks of life. In starting the SCCC, my goal was to market croquet with a visible location, reasonable membership fees and good routine instruction. With 189 members and growing, we have accomplished that. The SCCC is a volunteer club with many members offering their time and talents to the functioning of the club. Quick croquet tip: Take lessons or participate in clinics to get a good foundation, and make time to practice. Shot-making is critical. You can have good strategy, but if you can’t execute with confidence, you will break down. What is the best thing the USCA has done for croquet: The office staff is always pleasant and accommodating when called upon. The schools are well advertised and promoted and I think a good introduction to the sport. What have you learned from croquet: I am very competitive and play to win, but I only need to feel I have played my best game when the game is over, even if I wasn’t victorious. I can accept and applaud that my opponent played better. When I am teaching, I also try to remember my game when I started and the mistakes I made as a beginner. Patience, repetition, keeping to the basics and encouragement is so important to the novice to keep them interested. I’m dedicated to promoting the sport of croquet. I try to present myself as a role model, especially for women in the sport. I want women to know that they can accomplish the same things in croquet that I have accomplished,
Buffalo Croquet Club
Year founded: 1999, though first started playing six wicket croquet and rejoined the USCA in 2016, receiving the USCA’s “New Club of the Year” Award Number of members: Approximately 20 paid members Number of courts: Two full-size or four full-length, but narrower courts – similar to the New York Croquet Club’s courts in Central Park, the BCC’s courts were also originally lawn-bowling greens. Type of grass: T-1 Creeping Bentgrass and Poa annua, but in the process of transitioning entirely to T-1. Overview of club schedule: The combination of Buffalo weather and climate change has had a dramatic effect on the season’s schedule in the last few years. Sometimes we start playing in May; a couple of years ago, we played until December, but generally our season runs from early June to early October. We mostly play on Monday nights.
Open tournaments (and projected month played): The Buffalo Croquet Club 3rd Annual Six-Wicket Invitational will take place August 9-12, 2018. Please contact Ryan Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in being on the invite list. This year will feature several games of competitive play beginning Thursday night under the lights amidst a cocktail party, followed by President Bill Rupp’s famous “Toast & Tallies” party on Friday. We expect overall improvements in both grass quality and nighttime revelry. Website: Nope Do you use social media (Facebook, Twitter)? What is that? What makes this club special? Lights at night, Buffalo hospitality and a true collaboration with the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. The only American club in Croquet Canada, and, of course, our Six-Wicket Invitational has certain special social qualities. Approach to growing membership: Private club with limited growth. Are USCA members welcome (Court fees)? Sure: how about $15 and a 6-pack?
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Clean By Bob Kroeger and John C. Osborn
Last column we saw a good example of “Chase Theory,” which is where one side anticipates the other side will attack to keep an opponent ball in position, at its wicket, dead on its partner. In this column, we illustrate what can happen when Chase Theory is not applied. In Diagram 1, it is Blue to play. Blue and Black are dead on each other going for Wicket #2, Red is alive going for Wicket #4 and Yellow is dead on Red going for Wicket #3. In the prior turn, Yellow chose to give Red a rush to Yellow’s Wicket #3. We will see that Black’s decision to stay where you see it in Diagram 1 is what will allow the Red/Yellow side to take advantage – an error by Black, in our opinion. We will give specifics on this error soon. Diagram 2 shows Blue shooting to position at Wicket #2 hoping to get clean on its next turn. Generally, the time to try and get position while seriously dead is when the opponents are for wickets ahead of you, which is the case here. In Diagram 3, Red rushes partner Yellow to position at Wicket #3 and takes off to Blue in Diagram 4. Diagram 5 has Red roquet Blue out of position and sets up a take-off to Red’s Wicket #4. While Red has no expectation to get position on its first of two shots, the player has confidence to end its turn in position on its second shot. Let me pause here to say you must have confidence to end your turn in position on your second shot from anywhere on the court and at any distance. If you can’t do this with consistency, you must practice until you can, otherwise this tactical option won’t be available to you. In Diagram 6, Red unsurprisingly does not get position and, as expected, does get position in the second shot. Now, let’s take a closer look at Black’s decision to stay where you see it in all diagrams. It was that decision that allowed Red to do what it did in Diagrams 3-7. Black could have applied Chase Theory by going to the X on the north boundary seen in Diagram 7 or to the Y on the east boundary near Wicket #4. Because Black followed Red, it would have had a somewhat short-ish shot at either Yellow at Wicket #3 or Red at Wicket #4.
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All balls are partner dead except for red
Here is a statement you will want to memorize and then practice: you the striker (Red in this case) can end your turn in position with reasonable safety if the danger ball (Black in this case) is ineffective (a long distance from any ball it’s alive on) and the spent ball is ineffective (either dead on its partner and/or a long distance from any ball it’s alive on). You can win a lot of games by simply applying this one tactic, assuming your opponent doesn’t use Chase Theory. In summary, with Black now to play, it has very long shots at the opponent – the same case with Blue. While long roquets are certainly made at all skill levels, the odds are in your favor that they will be missed. Please visit Bob Kroeger at www.bobcroquet.com. The Bob and Ted Instructional DVD Series is available from the USCA 561-478-0760 or email@example.com. Their most recent DVD is “Mastering Croquet Shots.” The Bob and Ted Strategy Book Series is also available from the USCA, and one-page examples can be seen on the Products Page on www.bobandtedcroquet.com.
Generally, the time to try and get position while seriously dead is when the opponents are for wickets ahead of you,
WHICH IS THE CASE HERE.
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In this ever-changing world, one question remains the same: “Does size matter?” Not to Bill Darwin, II, when it comes to the great game of croquet.
A USCA member for nearly 20 years, Darwin maintains three courts, small, medium and large, on his property in the heart of the Waterloo Recreation Area, just west of Chelsea, Mich. Darwin enjoyed playing croquet with his family as a boy, and in 1989, he built the first court in front of his pole barn studio, forming the Waterloo Area Croquet Association (WACA). In 1998, he discovered American Six Wicket after attending a tournament in Lewiston, Mich., and fell in love with the finessed game, which he believes features the strategy of chess and the shot-making of billiards. It wasn’t his grandfather’s game anymore. In 2003, he went built a 14,000-square-foot court across the driveway from the original, which is now sometimes used for bocce ball, and changed the name of WACA to Waterloo Croquet Club. Darwin planted perennial ryegrass for the meticulously maintained lawn, which he mows himself three times a week. The court has a 17-head sprinkler system and is lighted for night play. Always keeping it croquetready is Darwin’s “full-time, part-time job” in addition to running his business of more than 40 years: building custom stained glass and restoring antique slot machines.
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Because he is the sole proprietor of a thriving small business, Darwin found it impossible to travel far to play the game, and so “he built it and they came.” Currently, the Waterloo Croquet Club has 12 members, but has had up to 20. Players are urged to wear whites, observe proper etiquette and practice good sportsmanship.
Darwin occasionally sponsors tournaments and fabricates the prizes himself: handcrafted miniature mallets with colored marbles for balls and mini wickets, or etched glass trophies, among others. He has taught many friends to play, one of whom, Rich Schiller, went on to be ranked a half handicap in the USCA in Mission Hills at Palm Springs, Calif. The late John Taylor and his wife came to play in Waterloo on the way to Canada for a tournament, camping in their land yacht under a tree near the court. Kelly Newton, another member of the USCA who has a court in Harbor Springs, Mich., plays in Waterloo occasionally. Visitors come from all over the country and spectators are welcome. The Club plays Golf Croquet, American rules, a combination of the two and wild ball for three players. The league has run every Wednesday evening since 1991, weather permitting. Sometimes they play even when weather does not permit; a game of “snowquet” has been known to occur when members can’t wait for spring. Living in Michigan, however, winter play is minimal, which brings us to small-size
croquet. In the long winter months of 2009, Darwin built a miniature court that could be played indoors. Darwin constructed a lightweight foam base that fit over a billiard table. He used two plywoodcovered pool tables as workbenches in his studio, which can be uncovered and used for winter games of billiards as well. The base for the small version was covered with indoor-outdoor turf and outfitted with tiny steel wickets fitted into the base. Colored golf balls serve as croquet balls, with wickets and mallets of steel with oak handles scaled to fit. He even built a miniature deadness board. In addition to being able to enjoy a game on a frigid winter evening in Michigan, Darwin
Winter croquet in Michigan
finds the small version a useful tool for teaching purposes. The game becomes clear as beginners can look across the board at the object rather than gazing over long expanses of grass. Strategy and rules are easily explained and understood from a few feet away. The Waterloo club website caught the attention of a Brooklyn, N.Y., collector who hopes to publish a book on croquet and may feature Darwin’s tabletop game. Now we jump to the large-size game Darwin came up with this past summer. He had made a large wicket out of PVC pipe to use to hang a sign for the Waterloo Croquet Club, which gave him the idea for giant-sized croquet. He made six more wickets and a center post out of white PVC pipe, mounted on green plywood bases to weight them on the new court adjacent to the regular one. He purchased colored exercise balls to use as croquet balls. The game is played like American six wicket, with the same action as the real game. Normal size mallets are used, but the foot can also be utilized for those who don’t normally play croquet. Families especially seem to get a kick out of it. And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Getting more people involved in the great game of croquet. Size doesn’t matter – it’s all in how you enjoy the game! —Marsi Parker Darwin
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Our Most Unusual Tournament Awards We have a local artist, Cordell Cordaro, who is editor-in-chief of Art House Press, an art magazine. Each year, Cordell creates unique limited-edition watercolor prints for our Annual Lawn Club Invitational in Rochester, N.Y.. We frame them and award with First- and Second-place ribbons attached for the tournament. The first is from 2016: Is It Wired? was taken from photos I sent and features Don Parker of Maine and Ryan Thompson (with tattoos) in the background. Jim Erwin is in the foreground down on his knees, trying to determine if there is a wire on a ball. The second is from our 2017 tournament and was Cordell’s own idea. It’s All She Thinks About is for the player who has ever relived over and over and over in one’s head a poor shot made (or a great shot made) in a tournament! He gives me a few extra prints each year and we sell them to pay for our maintenance fees as we are a private, church-owned venue at the Grace & Truth SportsPark. We are one of many sports ministries located at that venue and the SportsPark does maintenance for everything EXCEPT the croquet lawns, which we the members maintain at our own expense. —Sue Sherer, Tournament Manager The Lawn Club @ G&T SportsPark, Rochester, NY
This year’s event featured a “non-standard” double peel
“WHO AM I?” ANSWER RICH LAMM. The photo was taken of Rich many, many years ago. Can you tell? Rich was born and raised in Oklahoma. He settled down in Colorado after he completed his schooling and began working. He and his partner Tim still have a mountain cabin in Colorado, but now they consider their domicile to be California, the Golden State. Rich was an accomplished French horn player in high school and college. He even played in the Tulsa symphony for a time. To earn money during his summer breaks in law school, Rich fought forest fires. Like many of us, Rich played backyard croquet as a young child, but hadn’t played in many years until he saw an ad in a Denver alternate newspaper about the Denver Croquet Club. He got hooked and hasn’t stopped terrorizing the greens since. Rich has won many US national titles, including in Association and Golf Croquet, and he has also been selected to play on many US teams competing in international events. It is North Carolina’s resident, Eileen Soo and her German Chocolate Cake that Rich counts as his most prized discovery in croquet. Rich says he would commit a felony for a slice of Eileen’s cake, but he has taken “the Fifth” on whether he has actually done so. Rich is self-employed as an accountant and a tax attorney. That gives him a flexible schedule, which allows him to compete in events throughout the globe … until tax season. Then you never see the guy until on or after April 15.
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JUST THE TICKET FOR YOUR WICKET
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Phil Parsons of Canada was able to catch this “double peel” at the Fourth Annual Lawn Club Invitational in Rochester, N.Y., August 11-13, 2017. In the foreground, playing solids, is Norm Pike of Matthews, N.C., and on the left, squatting to get a second take on the center wicket as Jim Erwin, newly from Geneseo, N.Y., lies prone on the ground. In the background, playing stripes, Rich Curtis of Rochester, N.Y., is doing the same thing through 2-back. —Sue Sherer, Tournament Manager
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The USCA Rulebook allows the use of bisques during tournaments set up for handicap play or for casual games. The entire object of employing bisques is to “level the playing field” between players that have a significant difference in handicaps. The two kinds of bisques: a “replay” (do over) bisque and a “continuation” bisque. It is important to note that a continuation bisque cannot be used if a fault occurred or a ball was sent out of bounds resulting in the end of a turn. One must announce taking a bisque before shooting. Please study the rulebook for complete details.
If you are getting bisques from your opponent Use your bisques wisely. Try to use your bisques to make more than just one wicket or to make a wicket and then to set up your partner ball. Look for an opportunity to jump in when your opponent makes a mistake. It should be a mistake that you can capitalize on. Example: Blue and Red are going for wicket #4. Blue goes 3-ball dead to get to the wicket, but Blue bounces off the wicket and doesn’t score. Red should use a bisque to (1) Get to Blue (2) Use Blue to make the wicket and (3) Roquet Blue after the score and put Blue way out of position and perhaps take position at wicket #5.
If you are giving bisques to your opponent Play your usual game. Your less-experienced opponent will likely use bisques unwisely. He or she may be able to make a wicket or two or perhaps will be skillful enough to make several wickets on a break. Once those bisques are used up, you should be able to employ your superior skill to dominate the rest of the game. If you play too cautiously, your opponent might have kept some bisques and have them in the last 15 minutes. If it is a close game at that point, your opponent might be able to use one or more bisques to win the game. —Rich Watson croquetamerica.com | 57
WICKED WICKET The fourth annual ScissorTail Invitational American Rules Six Wicket Tournament was held September 14-17, 2017, at the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club in Oklahoma City, provided stiff yet cordial competition with 20 participants from New York, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma. The wickets were tight and the lawns were fast, but everyone seemed to manage. Some (mainly Championship flighters) even liked the challenge. Although one wicket seemed to be the nemesis of many, being dubbed the “Wicked Wicket” and was draped in a black shroud after the tournament. —Photo by Missy Chilton
UNIFIED TEAM GC TOURNAMENT Special Olympics Connecticut and Rhode Island held their annual Unified Team golf croquet tournament September 23-24, 2017, at Ocean House, Watch Hill, R.I. These photographs express the wonderful weekend better than a thousand words. —Bobbi Shorthouse, photographer
SARASOTA IN HOLIDAY PARADE On November 25, 2017, nearly 30 members of the Sarasota County Croquet Club participated for the first time in the annual Venice Holiday Parade. Byron Hicks, head “Wicketeer,” led the group in impromptu dance and mallet maneuvers and both were decorated in tinsel and lights. It was a festive event for the crowd and our club members.
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THE INSTRUCTORS Rich Watson submitted this photo that he saw in Boca Raton, Fla. The caption read: “1985 Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club. Sixty-nine participated in the instructional classes conducted by Teddy and Debbie Prentis with guest teacher Kiley Jones.”
BUFFALO TOURNAMENT The Buffalo Croquet Club Six Wicket Invitational was held August 4-6, 2017, Delaware Park, N.Y. Pictured from left to right: Tournament Manager Ryan Thompson, 2017 Champion John H. Young III, Tournament Director Douglas Moore and Buffalo Croquet Club President Bill Rupp.
I LOST MY HEAD From the Bob Chilton photo collection.
STRAWBERY BANKE CROQUET CLUB
Members of the Strawbery Banke Croquet Club in Rye, N.H., gathered for a day of croquet. L-R: Jim McLaughlin (court owner), Lloyd Hadden, Ann Myer, Les Taufen, John Dainton, Rob Elwell, Oakley Johnson, Carleton Mabee, Bert Myer. croquetamerica.com | 59
theinbox OUTER ISLANDS SCHOOL GC PROGRAM UPDATE The Woodlawn Croquet Players welcomed students, teachers and chaperones from four of the six Outer Islands Teaching and Learning Collaborative (TLC) schools on May 18, 2017, for a rollicking hour of croquet instruction and fun at the club in Ellsworth, Maine. According to Woodlawn croquet volunteer, Perry Mattson, “This is our third year helping the Outer Island students learn the game of golf croquet, which is a great forerunner to the game of six wicket croquet.” The Outer Islands Croquet League formed in 2015 after a summer resident donated tournament quality equipment including indoor carpeting and wickets to each of the island schools. The league is overseen by an advisory board comprised of local and summer residents. The student golf croquet program was an effort to increase activity for youth and community on the islands. Each school is a member club of the USCA and this is the third year that the schools have come for instruction and have had the chance to experience Woodlawn’s tournament-sized court. — Phyllis A. Young, Woodlawn Museum, Gardens & Park
Woodlawn’s tournament size croquet court was a buzz with activity when students from the Outer Islands Croquet League visited Woodlawn for golf croquet instruction.
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Croquet, Golf & Water
Whatever the occasion think USCA for those special gifts Books
Croquet the Sport - By Jack Osborn (Hard Cover) .............................................................................. $24.95 Croquet the Sport - By Jack Osborn (Paperback)................................................................................ $15.95 Croquet - By J.W. Solomon..................................................................................................................... $25.00 It’s a Wicket Kitchen Cookbook............................................................................................................... $12.00 Monograph Series On Club Building Vol.1, 2 or 3 @$9.95 or all three for $25.00........................................................................................... $25.00 USCA Croquet Shot-Making Manual..................................................................................................... $15.95 USCA Rulebook (revised 2013 edition)...................................................................................................$ 7.00 International Rules -The Laws of Association Croquet........................................................................ $12.00 Golf Croquet Rulebook...............................................................................................................................$7.00 A Guide to Croquet Court Planning, Building & Maintenance............................................................. $39.95
Bob & Ted’s Strategy CD & Bound Books (Beg/Interm/Adv)..................................................................................................$124.95 Bob & Ted’s Strategy CD & Unbound Books (Beg/Interm/Adv)......................................................................................................... $72.95 Bob & Ted’s Strategy CD (Advanced).................................................................................................... $29.95 Bob & Ted’s Strategy CD (Beg/Interm).................................................................................................. $29.95 Bob & Ted’s Strategy CD (Beg/Interm/Advanced)................................................................................ $39.95 Bob & Ted’s “Know the Rules” CD Understanding the USCA Rules ............................................................................................................ $24.95
2004 USCA National Singles Final DVD............................................................................................... $10.00 Bob & Ted’s “Mastering Croquet Shots” DVD....................................................................................... $29.95 Bob & Ted’s “Excellent Croquet” DVD.................................................................................................... $49.95 Bob & Ted’s “Most Wanted Croquet Strategy” 2 Disc DVD................................................................. $64.95 Bob & Ted’s “Break Play - What You Need to Know” DVD................................................................. $29.95 Bob & Ted’s “Staying Alive” DVD - Winning Croquet Tactics............................................................... $39.95 Bob & Ted’s “You Make the Call” DVD................................................................................................... $29.95 Bob & Ted’s “Excellent” & “Most Wanted” DVD set.............................................................................. $99.95 Bob & Ted’s “Staying Alive” and “You Make the Call” DVD set........................................................... $64.90 Bob & Ted’s “Excellent”, “Most Wanted”,“Staying Alive” 3 DVD set..................................................$140.95 Bob & Ted’s Four DVD set.....................................................................................................................$170.00 Bob & Ted’s Five DVD set.....................................................................................................................$185.00 Kamal vs Rothman - GC Pasadena Playoff.......................................................................................... $19.95 USCA Historical Video DVD.................................................................................................................... $15.95
CDs & DVDs are not returnable.
Defective disks may be replaced within 2 weeks of purchase.
USCA Logo Hats - Brim: S/M L/XL Baseball: One Size...................................................................... $20.00 USCA Jacket with Logo on front............................................................................................................. $80.00 USCA Shirts (USCA Logo or Croquet Week)....................................................................................... $40.00 USCA Logo Long-Sleeve Shirts............................................................................................................. $50.00 USCA logo Ladies Sweater..................................................................................................................... $70.00
Large Mallet Cover with USCA Logo............................................................Up to 12” mallet head – $52.95 Small Mallet Cover with USCA Logo...............................................................Up to 9” mallet head – $49.95 Note Cards or Croquet Party Invitations (10/pk)......................................................................................$5.00 Croquet Paper Placemats (24/pk).......................................................................................................... $10.00 USCA Patch Small......................................................................................................................................$5.00 USCA Ballmarkers (dozen)........................................................................................................................$1.00 USCA Cufflinks (USCA shield)................................................................................................................ $29.95
Prices subject to change
Contact the USCA at 561-478-0760; fax: 561-686-5507; email email@example.com or mail to USCA, 700 Florida Mango Road, West Palm Beach, FL 33406
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NINE WICKET RULES (BACKYARD)
CROQUET NEWS DIGITAL EDITIONS (Members Only) croquetamerica.com/members/magazines/
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Entry forms to USCA events will now be emailed to members and can also be found on the USCA website at: www.croquetamerica.com/members/forms/ or call the USCA office (561) 478-0760 for a copy. For the most up-to-date calendar, please check www.croquetamerica.com/calendar/tournaments/
5-10 15-16 16-18 17-18 18-24 21-25 21-25
Croquet Club at PGA National National Croquet Center
West Palm Beach, FL West Palm Beach, FL
Bill Sadowski Victoria Albrecht
Sarasota CCC at Pinebrook Park Venice, FL National Croquet Center West Palm Beach, FL
Gary Anderson Victoria Albrecht
Mission Hills Country Club
Rancho Mirage, CA
National Croquet Center Audubon Country Club
West Palm Beach, FL Naples, FL
Mike Gibbons Keppy Babcock
1-4 7-11 9-11 9-11 14-18 16-18 22-25
Gasparilla Mallet Club John’s Island Club National Croquet Center
Boca Grande, FL Bob Worrell 402-677-2683 Vero Beach, FL Danny Huneycutt 336-470-4864 West Palm Beach, FL Jennifer Othen 561-478-0760
email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Sarasota CCC at Pinebrook Park National Croquet Center Sarasota CCC at Pinebrook Park Sarasota CCC at Pinebrook Park
Venice, FL West Palm Beach, FL Venice, FL Venice, FL
Gary Anderson Jennifer Othen Gary Anderson Hans Peterson
352-568-5099 561-478-0760 352-568-5099 -
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
4-8 11-13 12-15 21-22 21-22 26-29
Chesapeake Bay Croquet Club Hartfield, VA
National Croquet Center West Palm Beach, FL Jennifer Othen Chesapeake Bay Croquet Club Hartfield, VA Jennifer Othen
Merion Cricket Club Merion Cricket Club
Haverford, PA Haverford, PA
Jennifer Othen Whitney Thain
Mid-Atlantic Croquet Club
Piping Rock Club Pinehurst Croquet Club
Locust Valley, NY Pinehurst, NC
Jane F. Simonds Mike Taylor
New York Croquet Club/ Central Park Lawn Sports Ctr
New York, NY
Buffalo Croquet Club
Ryan Thompson 716-697-4111
Middle Peninsula Croquet Club
6-9 14-17 19-23 26-30
Pinehurst Croquet Club Merion Cricket Club Lake Toxaway Country Club
Pinehurst, NC Haverford, PA Lake Toxaway, NC
Mike Taylor Whitney Thain Jennifer Othen
910-986-3343 610-642-5800 561-478-0760
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Chesapeake Bay Croquet Club Hartfield, VA
Peyton Ballenger Invitational Snowbirds and Flamingos Benefit Golf Croquet Tournament (Doubles) Sarasota CCC Doubles Championship Snowbirds and Flamingos Benefit Golf Croquet Tournament (Singles) USCA National Association Laws Championship The Steuber Classic Audubon Croquet Invitational
Boca Grande Invitational John’s Island Invitational 2018 USCA Croquet Week Golf Croquet Tournament Sarasota CCC Singles Championship USCA Club Team Championships Sarasota CCC Singles Championship Sarasota CCC First Annual Association Invitational
USCA Southeast Regional Association Laws Tournament USCA Croquet School American Rules USCA Southeast Regional Golf Croquet Tournament USCA Collegiate Championship Merion Cricket Croquet Interclub Tournament USCA Southeast Regional 9 Wicket Tournament
Piping Rock Invitational NC Open Association Laws
USCA Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Rules Tournament
Aug Event 9-12 31-9/3
Buffalo Croquet Club 3 Annual Six Wicket Invitational Croquet By The Bay rd
NC State Singles Championship Merion Cricket Club Croquet Invitational USCA National Golf Croquet Championship 28th Pinehurst Croquet Club Invitational
USCA National American Rules Championship USCA Selection Eights
Email email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Email email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
National Croquet Club
West Palm Beach, FL Jennifer Othen
National Croquet Club
West Palm Beach, FL Jennifer Othen
USCA Seniors Masters Championships
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Made in Australia Fabricated to within 1,000th of an inch to provide you with the greatest possible accuracy. and Being made of Alloy, PFC mallets will never distort, never take up moisture and will remain the same weight for life. Every time you pick up your PFC mallet you can be sure it will feel the same. Your PFC Mallet will always be your reliable, familiar friend. Eighteen months ago we developed ZELANITE Striking Faces to facilitate Rolls, Passing Rolls and Rushes. Zelanite is formulated from unique nylons and specific oils, enabling a robust yet slightly ‘softer’ Striking Face. Zelanite performs identically to the Black or Brass Striking Face but is quieter, robust and extremely predictable.
11” Competition PFC Hoop Maker Mallet
9 5/8” Standard PFC Hoop Maker Mallet
• Shafts are made to any length to suit your specific requirement. • Handles are made to any circumference to suit your hands and lower half of the shafts are covered in six colours of your choice … blue, grey, black, lime, purple or pink. • Two shape handles are available ... Round, or our new Ovoid shape – which we can’t make enough of. The ovoid shape fits comfortably into the web between your thumb and forefinger and gives an excellent feel for direction of the head. The design is excellent for folks with arthritis when also combined with our shock absorbing underlay. Just ask and the underlay will be included at no extra cost.
Two models have been made specifically for Six Wicket American players and American Golf Croquet players and are offered to you with a considerably reduced shipping cost. The Competition PFC Hoop Maker is USD 585.00 and The Standard 9.5/8” PFC Hoop Maker is USD 525.00 Shipping to anywhere within the USA is USD 38.00 For more information or to have a chat about any of the items mentioned, please send an email to Pete Coles at
NATIONAL CROQUET CENTER PRO SHOP
United States Croquet Association 700 Florida Mango Road West Palm Beach, Florida 33406
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PRESORTED STANDARD US POSTAGE PAID WEST PALM BEACH, FL PERMIT 283
The USCA celebrated 40 years in 2017 and provides a brief tribute to American croquet history before and after the USCA launch in 1977.
Published on Jan 25, 2018
The USCA celebrated 40 years in 2017 and provides a brief tribute to American croquet history before and after the USCA launch in 1977.