Beach Croquet Rules

The Course

The course is a 9 wicket configuration:

  • Step off 10 steps between wickets, and 10 steps to each side wicket from center. This makes the course roughly 50' X 100'.

  • Double wickets at each end are about 2' apart, and pole is one mallet length from rear wicket.

Whatever works to fill the space as long as the distance is uniform.


 Out of Bounds: 

All course boundaries, and specifics as to obstructions, walls, trees or gardens are determined before play begins.

The Basics:

Note: Each player has one shot per turn. Extra shots are gained by passing through a wicket, or striking another player's ball. (More on that later)

The idea is to travel the length of the course, beginning at either end, traveling through the wickets beginning with the double set. The ball can be placed in the wicket, as long as it's not over half through. 

An extra shot is gained each time the ball passes through a wicket, at least by 50% of its diameter. Thus when you exit the double wickets, you have two shots to get through the next wicket to the right side of the course. Once you pass through it, you move to the center wicket, far right wicket and the double end wickets. When you pass through the double wickets, you must hit the pole to reverse the field towards the final goal. 

All accumulated shots are erased when the pole is struck, and the ball in play can be picked up and placed in the first of the double wickets nearest the pole. The player continues and exits the double wickets with two shots to go after the next wicket to the right. Then the center again, the far right and back through the beginning wickets. 

The first player to complete the cycle, passing through all wickets in the proper order and direction, and hit the end post wins.

Beginning Play:

1 -4 Individual Competitors: 

Each player selects a mallet and ball, and from approximately 10 paces, 25', lags his ball to the post. (Note: only the mallet face can be used to strike the ball, no side blows) This determines the order of play. The closest to the post can choose to go first or last. All others shoot in order of distance from the pole. (The strategy is that you will have more targets to use if you go last)

Partners (2 against 2): 

The same lag method can be used to determine partners:

  • The closest and #3, against #2 and #4.
  • Males vs Females, 
  • Couples, 
  • Parents vs Children etc 

It is all fun. An appointee from each team lags for the post, and each team can decide who shoots first for the team. Again the closest Lagger can go 1st & 3rd or 2nd & 4th.

Rules for Play:

Extra shots:

As stated above an extra shot is gained when the ball passes through the wicket, in the proper direction, which is always toward the next wicket or goal. The extra shot can be Lost, in the event of Wicket Abuse. Wicket abuse occurs when the ball is struck in such a way as to knock over the wicket with the ball, and or the mallet.. (See Photo)

Individual players can use an opponent to gain extra shots, only once per turn. When a player strikes an opponents ball, he receives 2 bonus shots. There is a "Send" option where the striking player can position his ball on any side of the stricken opponent, and either "send" both balls, or "pin" the strikers ball with his foot and "send the stricken ball, holding his ball in place. In either event, the second shot is forfeited when the striker touches his ball.

Also the extra shot can be Lost, in the event that the striker touches his opponents ball with his Mallet.

Extra shots, Partners:

In a game involving partners, each team is limited to 3 uses of one another per game.

Smoothing: (Beach Croquet Only) 

Smoothing occurs on the beach, when foot prints or mini-dunes may obstruct a shot. A Player attempting to hit an opponents ball is allowed to smooth the path between balls, with a mallet head only.. The length of the smoothing is limited to the length of the mallet handle and head total. (Approx 31.5")

Before "smoothing"  

After "smoothing"  

Beach Croquet Tips:

  • If youíre by yourself, play a round or two alone and invite a passing ďBeach BabeĒ to play.

  • Mix players on teams, such as: Father/Son, Husband/Wife, Brother/Sister, Young/ Old

  • Its kind a cool to put streamers on end poles to play in the wind.

  • Wind of course isnít a factor like Frisbee or Volley ball, but your opponent may not know this.

  • Generally the wickets are easy to push in the sand, but a wooden mallet help pound them in in wet or heavy sand.

  • Set up so you have both soft and smooth wet sand. The difference in ball reaction to stroke adds to the challenge. Also sloping sand can be tricky. I often try to have challenging different look holes.

  • Playing in hard wet sloped sand may allow ball to enter surf.

  • Itís fun to wait your turn while a wave moves your ball around. Often you have to hurry shot to beat the wave. This may call for a boundary rule with ball placement onto dry area. Remember you canít improve your position in relationship to a target wicket or an opponentís ball.

  • Play best of three if there are those waiting to play, or a one loss and out Tournament to keep all interested and attentive. Remember team games can last twice as long as cut-throat.

Questions? Comments?

As you play Beach Croquet, occasionally there might be some situations that arise where the rules above don't seem to apply. Or, you might have some useful suggestions for us in improving this website.

Drop us a line by email. All comments and questions are welcome.


  Copyright 2006 Bob Weir