Etiquette and Customs
The following etiquette and customs apply in Tournaments but also at most other times. Some of these are more relevant in AC games than GC but a high percentage apply to both codes.
- Dress appropriately. Always wear flat soled shoes. White or light coloured clothing is recommended for tournaments, and may be the norm for Club competitions, weather permitting.
- Before the game. By convention, the player with the lowest handicap tosses up, and is also responsible for setting up any bisques.
- In play. In AC games, wait until your opponent's turn has ended before moving onto the lawn. In GC games, particularly try to avoid the hoop area to minimise wear unless you are taking a shot.
- Play as quickly as possible. Try to decide before your opponent's turn has finished what you are going to do next to avoid wasting time. In doubles matches, do not carry out unnecessarily long discussions with your partner when it is your side's turn to play.
- Call a Referee by raising your mallet vertically (with the head uppermost) if you are about to make a stroke where there is a possibility that a fault may be committed. If no independent Referee is available, then ask your opponent to watch. If you are aiming to hit a ball in the jaws of a hoop, have someone watch it to ensure that contact is made.
- Do not accept advice, or offer it, but query any point of law, if uncertain. The only person allowed to give advice to you during a game is your partner in a doubles match.
- Do not distract your opponent by walking about, talking loudly, catching his or her eye, etc. Do not stand directly behind your opponent to watch the shot, or directly in front in the line of aim.
- Be sensitive to your opponent during matches with respect to conversation. Some players do not welcome remarks during a game. For the same reason, moderate your talk to any other out-players, unless they clearly welcome a chat.
- While out of play and off the lawn, be aware of other games taking place. Stand still if you are near a player about to make a shot, or if you in the line of play of a double-banked game or of a game on another lawn.
- Be sure that you know Part 4 of the Laws: The state of the game; Responsibility for the conduct of the game; Expedition in play; Advice and aids; Miscellaneous laws of conduct. See also Players as joint Referees; Questionable strokes; Testing the position of the ball; Players' opinions differ; Interruption of stroke; Presence on court; Replace balls on yard line with back to court; Testing for lifts.
- After play. The winner normally clears the balls and (if appropriate) the hoops, removes the clips from the hoops, and carries any bisques back to the Club house.
- On arrival, report to the Manager, and confirm your handicap by showing your handicap card.
- Be punctual. Allow for transport delays. Allow yourself time to change, so that you can be on the lawn, ready to play, at the required time. Always be clear about the time that you are needed for your next game.
- Carry a watch or timer (for time-limited games) and markers to mark balls (in double-banked games).
- Find out from the Manager what the arrangements are for players to take meals. Before taking a meal, confirm with the Manager that you will not be required for the time that the meal will take place.
- After the game, report your result to the Manager immediately so that s/he can put on other games and plan ahead.
- Obtain the Manager's permission to leave the ground before doing so and, if appropriate, get confirmation of what time you are required the following day.
- The Manager's decision is final on all matters concerning the scheduling of matches. Give the Manager all the help that you can. Please note that the Manager has powers of disqualification.
- Do not walk across the line of aim of the other game.
- Always let the other game through if a break is being played.
- Always keep an eye out to ensure that you do not impede the other game.
- Ask the other game if you can mark and lift any of their balls that may be at risk from your play. Always err on the cautious side before you strike your ball, even if you are playing well. Nothing is more annoying to the other game than having to try to guess where a critical ball was.
- If you do mark and lift a ball, make certain that the player in play in the other game realises that you have done so, particularly if another player has started a new turn. Announce clearly when the marked ball is back in its original position.
- While you retrieve a ball that has gone off the lawn, take your mallet with you: do not leave it lying in the playing area.
- Read the Guide to conduct in double-banked games issued by Croquet England (and see AC Laws section 59) before you play.