The good weather has finally come to visit Bath. Over the past few days we’ve had glorious sun here and the temperatures have been so high that the parks and the al fresco dining areas all around the city have been filled with people enjoying the heat in strappy dresses and shorts. Understandably we’re very happy that the temperatures look set to stay in the twenties as we make our way into the weekend. This is certainly making us very optimistic that the weather will be just as good, if not better, when the Golf Croquet World Championships come to visit Bath next weekend.
From the 15th-20th of May Bath’s Recreation Ground (which is almost next to Dukes Hotel) will be playing host to the 2016 Golf Croquet World Championships. Competing will be teams from Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Latvia, Spain, Scotland and Switzerland. Play will begin at 9:30 each morning and continue through the day, and during this time you are able to go and watch the play for free. Even better, you can also try your hand at playing it yourself.
Given that Bath is a city with a definite atmosphere of refined British gentility, it seems only fitting that such a gentile and traditional sport such as golf croquet should be coming to Bath. If you’re also coming to Bath while the championships are here it really is a must try activity. Or perhaps you’re coming especially for the championships themselves. In which case you are probably fairly familiar with the rules of the game. But if you, like us, are fairly new to golf croquet, here’s some idea of what you can expect to see…
The game is played by striking a ball with a diameter of 92mm with a long wooden mallet which ends at about hip height. Each team has between three and six players who typically dress in uniforms that look quite similar to cricket whites. These players may compete in either doubles games, with four players, or singles games, which need two players.
In doubles, one side of two players plays with blue and black balls and the other side with red and yellow, each player playing only one colour. In singles each player plays both balls of the side. The object of the game is for each side to cause either ball of its side to run through the small metal hoops which are hammered into the croquet lawn in a specified order (a croquet lawn is about 25 x 32 metres). A point is scored for the side whose ball first runs through the hoop. When that hoop has been scored by any ball, either side may score only by going through the next hoop in the order.
It’s a lovely game that was a favourite among the landed gentry and English upper classes in years gone by – especially as a precursor to afternoon tea; and happily the 2016 Golf Croquet World Championships will also have refreshments available throughout the days of play. So if you’re in Bath between the 15th and 20th of May we certainly recommend going and having a go!