Principles and Overview of Croquet Handicapping
Croquet has a handicapping system that allows players of different abilities to play competitively with an approximately even chance of winning. To achieve this, the weaker player is given extra turns by the stronger player.
The weaker player may choose to play one or more of their extra turns at the end of their regular turn. In Golf Croquet (GC) a turn is a single stroke and so an extra turn is called an Extra Stroke. In Association Croquet (AC) a turn can comprise a number of strokes and an extra turn is usually called a Bisque. AC also has Half-Bisques which have limitations on their use. GC has an alternative method of handicap play, which gives a head start to the weaker player in the number of points to be scored; it is called Advantage Play.
The number of Extra Strokes/Bisques that the weaker player gets to use for each game is calculated by the difference between the handicaps of the player and their opponent. Players may wish to use the online Handicap Calculator, however, as this is not maintained by Croquet England, if there is a discrepancy with the calculation using the method described in the latest GC Rules, AC Laws and Tournament Regulations, the Croquet England method is paramount.
All players should have a handicap based on their ability, a low number indicates a strong player and a high number indicates a weaker player. Zero and negative handicaps indicate very strong players.
Linked pages for both AC and GC deal with the following handicapping matters and more:
- Setting an initial handicap
- The Automatic Handicapping System (AHS)
- Handicap cards
- Managing handicaps (including Club, Federation and National Handicappers powers and duties)
- Playing on smaller courts
- The relationship between handicaps for AC and GC.
- Short Croquet (SC)
Follow the link below to view a video presentation by Brian Fisk on the Challenge of Handicapping - a Guide for Club and Federation Handicappers. This is recommended viewing for all new and existing handicappers.
For further details of the guidelines and procedures of the two systems see
Information on the Most Improved Player Awards and past winners can be found in the Tournament Honours Section