Croquet is a lawn game that is played by hitting balls made out of plastic or wood with a mallet through hoops on a grass playing surface. It dates back from the early part of the 19th Century and is derived from a game (ground billiards) that dates back to the 14th Century. It was during the 1860s that the popularity of croquet spread throughout Great Britain, its colonies and its former colonies (such as the United States). Since then, it has been a popular family backyard pastime, as well as a competitive sport. Croquet's competitive heyday was early in the 20th century, when it was held at both the 1900 and 1904 Summer Olympics. It is still a lot of fun to play and does a good job of bringing families together. It is an appropriate game for everyone from age three and up. The following is a guide to getting a croquet setup in your backyard.
When buying croquet equipment for family fun, it is best to buy a full set of equipment. A good quality croquet set should come with at least six mallets of different colors, as well as six matching balls for each different color of mallet. It should also come with nine wickets, two sturdy stakes and a set of rules. A good set will also have a nice carrying case in which to store the set when it is not in use. Expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $100 for a good quality, durable recreational croquet set. You can find a cheaper set if you want, but you may have to sacrifice quality and durability.
The lawn is just as important to playing croquet as the set of equipment you use is. It is important to seed a lawn well so there are no bare spots to negatively affect the travel of the ball. Regular fertilization, watering, mowing, rolling and brushing are also necessary. Watering should be done early in the morning or late in the evening. During the fall, the lawn should undergo a deep raking process to remove dead matter from underneath the living grass. This will improve ventilation for the grass, as well as help prevent moss.