Forget vicars’ lawns and Alice in Wonderland, this is a summer sport requiring skill, strategy and tactics, that’s suitable for anyone

Think you know croquet? Think again! Forget vicars' lawns and Alice in Wonderland, this is a summer sport requiring skill, strategy and tactics, suitable for anyone aged 9 to 99, able or disabled, and any background. Similar to snooker but played on grass, you need to get your ball through the six hoops before your opponent, using a mallet to strike the ball.

Why is it good for me?

Croquet is a sport for the mind as well as the body. While you are benefitting from gentle outdoor physical exercise, you are also having to plan your strategy and adapt your tactics when things don’t go your way.

This is one of the few sports where men and women can play equally because it is not based on strength. It is a sociable game and can be played purely for fun and good company, or you can compete in club competitions and at a more serious level in tournaments around the country.

As your skill level improves you will learn new strategies and tactics, so you never stop learning this fascinating game. A handicap system means you could play a World Champion and still be in with a chance!

How much does it cost?

Most clubs run free Open Days or taster sessions in April/May, which are often followed by a 4-6 week beginners’ course (typically £25). If you have missed one of these just contact your nearest club and get started that way. Most clubs are open April-September but some play year-round.

Club membership costs £60-£250 a year depending upon the size and facilities, and most offer discounts in the first 1 or 2 years; juniors usually get substantial discounts. Your membership fee covers all your playing costs – no hidden extras!

What equipment do I need?

Flat soled shoes are all you need. Clubs provide all other playing equipment.

If you start to play regularly you may wish to buy your own mallet but you do not have to because there are always club mallets available.