GOLF CROQUET – Playing the Middle Section (P1)
When competing in a game of Golf Croquet, I like to break each game into three sections: the Start, Middle, and Finish
I do this as a means of trying to stay focused throughout each section so that my intensity is consistent without easing up if I have a lead, as well as not getting overwhelmed if I am behind. As we all know, the momentum of the game can change on one shot or hoop. The game is never over until the winning wicket has been scored, so keeping or switching momentum back onto one’s side is key.
Section I: The “Start” Hoops 1-2-3-4
Section II: The “Middle” Hoops 5-6-7-8
Section III: The “Finish” Hoops 9-10-11-12 & 13
Today’s focus will be on the Middle Section and most specifically the middle hoops 5 & 6 and the transition hoops prior to (#4) and following them (#7).
The Transition – Hoop #4 to #5
Since hoop #4 is a corner wicket, if your scoring ball happens to be in the jaws and it is possible for your partner ball to peel it through and move towards hoop #5, you will save your team having to take an extra shot. The scoring ball will
now be able to take a position at hoop #5 on its next shot rather than having to first score the hoop.
Location, Location, Location
If your opponent scored hoop #4 and you are the first ball to play to hoop #5, determining your shot placement for a position will depend on where your opponent is and their ability to clear you away.
a) If you think it would be a difficult or long shot for your opponent to clear you away, take a scoring position at hoop #5
b) If your opponent shoots well and could potentially clear you, set up slightly back and just beyond the center of hoop #5. Your ball will now act as a clearing ball for any opponent ball that lands in a scoring position. (Refer to diagram A).
c) One other consideration is whether your partner ball is in a position for you to rush it to a good position at hoop #5.
Clear, Block or Play Defense
If you are the second ball to play to hoop #5, there are a few options you can try.
a) Clear or move the opponent ball that has position at hoop #5 to take away their scoring shot.
b) Block the opponent ball that has position at hoop #5
c) If the opponent ball is on a questionable angle to score, set up behind hoop #5 to be able
to take them out if they go to jaws. The risk here is that they can now use the hoop to
“wire” or protect their next shot from your ball.
d) A risky option is to set up in a better scoring position than your opponent and force
them to take the “bait” rather than trying to score the hoop. However, you could be sent
well across the court if they clear you.
The Money Ball
The third ball to shoot is what I consider the “money ball.” Imagine the following scenarios:
a) Your 1st ball (blue) is not in a good scoring position at hoop #5 – no worries – set up black to score hoop 5 and blue will now become a clearing ball to take care of any ball that might threaten to take out black. (Refer to diagram A below).
b) Your 1st ball (blue) is in a good scoring position at hoop #5, your black ball option could be to set a block between any opponent ball that might want to clear blue away.
c) Your 1st ball (blue) is in a good scoring position, but you can also set up black to score as well so that you “double load” the hoop for insurance.
d) If you feel confident about scoring hoop #5 with blue, set up your black ball half-way to hoop #6
See more: part 2