CA Logo
CA Logo

Commentaries on the 2nd Edition (2005) Laws of Golf Croquet ( Superseded 2008)

Caveat emptor: This page is status archived so its content is not up-to-date and links might not go where expected. It is presented as support information for the main website content.

Commentaries on the 2nd Edition (2005) Laws of Golf Croquet

Please note that this is superseded by the 2008 publication of the Laws of Golf Croquet 3rd Edition


1. Introduction
2. Differences between the 2005 CA Laws and 2005 WCF Rules
3. Discussion on the main changes from the 2004 Laws

Commentaries - Introduction

NOTE The terms Bab and Ray will be used in the following text to define the owners of the black and blue balls and the owners of the red and yellow balls respectively. B, K, R and Y should be taken as the blue, black, red and yellow balls respectively.

The 2005 CA Golf Croquet Laws are identical to the 2005 WCF Golf Croquet Rules with very few exceptions as explained in Paragraph 2 below. The 2005 Rules have cured a great many of the shortcomings and anomalies of the 2004 Rules and the intention of the CA Golf Croquet Laws Committee has been to adopt the WCF Rules with deviations only where strictly necessary to deal with English conditions or to correct unintended deficiencies in the WCF wording.

This Commentary contains:

References to the relevant parts of this Commentary are given in the affected provisions of the Laws using the format "[See C 2.1]".
The Laws and this commentary are also published on the Croquet Association web site at Whilst there is no intention to make changes in the laws during the playing season, additional clauses may be added to the commentary on the web site if it is considered that this may help in the understanding of these laws.

NOTE Additional comments or rulings which have been added since the printing of the Golf Croquet Laws books are shown in blue type for ease of identification. These include the following

Reference Date Subject

C 3.5

22 March 2005 Operation of clause 10(b) of the Halfway Law

C 3.6.3

11 April Replacing balls after a non-striking fault is committed clarified.

C 3.9

11 April Calculation of Additional strokes for doubles pair with equal handicaps

Commentaries - Differences between the 2005 CA Laws and 2005 WCF Rules, (January 2005 Issue)

NOTE This comparison may be partially inaccurate if further changes are made to the WCF Rules


2.1 Law 1(i)

WCF Rule 1(i) (Time Limits) directs that a game will continue until the next point is scored unless notified otherwise before the event. The CA considers that this ruling partially negates the reasons for using time limits, i.e. to allow Managers to complete tournaments where time is restricted. In games played to the CA Laws play will continue for a further eight shots, two per ball after the time limit expires. Play will only continue if scores are equal after the eight shots and a tie is not an acceptable result. This procedure is defined in the CA Tournament Regulations.

2.2 Law 5(b)

Law 5(b) begins with the words "Unless stipulated in local rules," (which do not appear in WCF Rule 5(b)) to allow the normal requirement that all games must be started from the corner IV square to be relaxed. This is a requirement of many clubs to extend the starting area for club play to any point one yard into the lawn from the east boundary but no further north than hoop 4. This extension of the starting area should not be applied to CA sponsored competitions..

2.3 Law 6(a)
The WCF Rule 6(a) defines a stroke as being "played when the striker strikes the striker's ball with a mallet". CA Law 6(a) defines a stroke as being "played when any player strikes a ball in order to play a turn". This avoids logical problems with limits of claims and the operation of Law 10(b).

2.4 Law 6(d)

The words "or points" appear at the end of CA Law 6(d) but are omitted in WCF Rule 6(d). This makes it clear that, in a situation where B is in the jaws of hoop 1 and K peels it hard so that B also hits R through hoop 2, both B and R score a point.

2.5 Law 6(f)

The word "accurately" in line 1 is not in WCF Rule 6(f).

2.6 Law 6(h)

The words "apparently of its own accord" are not in WCF Rule 6(h). This makes it clear that Law 6(h) does not apply to movement caused by a stroke or a fault.

2.7 Law 10(a)

WCF Rule 10(a) contains the sentence "For the purposes of Law 11(a) the offender is responsible for the position of all balls moved, whether replaced or not". This is omitted in CA Law 10(a) because the effect of the sentence is included in Law 12(c)(6).

2.8 Law 10(c)

WCF Rule 10 does not contain paragraph (c). Accordingly, under WCF Rule 10, there is no cut-off when play is discovered to have been out of sequence for some time and it is therefore necessary to work backwards until the first ball out of sequence has been identified. Sometimes it may not be possible to make that identification with certainty and the WCF Rule 10 provides no guidance as to how that situation should be resolved.

2.9 Law 12(c)(6)

This sub-law does not appear in WCF Rule 12(c) with the result that, under the WCF Rules, it is possible to circumvent the rule against deeming (Rule 6(d)) to gain an advantage for the purposes of Law 11 by deliberately touching a ball other than the one that should have been played and thus committing a non-striking fault of the sort not covered by Law 10

When competing for hoop 1, Bab plays B and clears R to near hoop 2 with K in good position to run hoop 1. Ray does not wish to move R because it is currently not offside under Law 11(a)(2) and (3). So Ray touches Y with his hand or foot instead, thereby committing a non-striking fault and losing his turn but not affecting R which remains offside.

Law 12(c)(6) prevents this because Ray becomes responsible for both R and Y for the purposes of Law 11 by committing any non-striking fault, not just playing a wrong ball. Hence Bab could run hoop 1 with K and direct that R be next played from a penalty spot.

2.10 Law 14
Law 14 (Etiquette) replaces WCF Rule 14 (Behaviour) which is based on the equivalent Egyptian rule which requires a referee to be in charge and contains a list of prohibitions which are not all relevant to the game as played in England.

2.11 Law 15
Law 15 (Referees) is a shortened version of Rule 15 (Referees) which omits a long list of specified duties in favour of a shorter, more general statement of a referee's function and duties. It should also be noted that even with referees in charge in an English game, some of the powers given to individual referees by the WCF rules would not normally be delegated by either the Referee of the Tournament or the Manager to individual referees in English competitions.

Commentaries - Discussion of the Main Changes From the 2004 Laws

NOTE Additional comments or rulings which have been added since the printing of the Golf Croquet Laws books are shown in blue type for ease of identification.

3.1 Law 1(f)

The striker and the striker's ball are now both defined. If Bab has played B then Ray is the only person who can be described as the striker and R is the only ball that can be described as the striker's ball. This means that Law 13 (Striking faults) only applies to strokes played by Ray when striking Red. Every other event is covered by Law 10 (Playing a wrong ball) or Law 12 (Non-striking faults).

3.2 Law 1(h)
The players and the referee, if present, may only forestall play after they believe an error has been committed. Hence, if a player appears to be about to play out of sequence or to play another form of wrong ball, play should not be forestalled until after the stroke has been played.

Furthermore, a referee is no longer allowed to warn that a ball is offside. The new principle is that it is the responsibility of each player to be aware of their rights and to decide if they wish to exercise them (similar to the right, but not the obligation, to take a lift in Association Croquet).

3.3 Law 6(f)

The second sentence of Law 6(f) introduces a minor change in practice. If B clears R to the boundary so that R hits K, which is already on the boundary, so that R leaves the court at the same place as K, K should be replaced where it was and R should be placed on the boundary in contact with K (R's owner chooses which side). Then K is temporarily removed to allow R to be played (Law 6(g)). Previously, R would have been played from the same place as K. There is no practical difference but the wording is simpler.

3.4 Law 10 (Playing a Wrong Ball)

3.4.1 This is the biggest change from the March 2004 edition. Law 10 now encompasses both playing out of sequence (which was the subject of Rule 10 in the March 2004 Rules) and playing a wrong ball in the traditional sense (which was treated as a striking fault).

3.4.2 Playing out of sequence is no longer an unimportant mishap without a penalty. Now, if Bab plays B in sequence and Ray plays Y instead of R, the consequences can be serious. If Bab or a referee, if present, notices that Ray has played the wrong ball immediately and forestalls, Law 10(a) allows her to choose:
(1) whether the balls are left where they have come to rest after Y was played or replaced where they were before Y was played; and
(2) whether she restarts with B or K.
The combination of options should give Bab a significant advantage. This means that there is now a strong incentive to be vigilant about playing in sequence and to check all the time whether the opponent has played in or out of sequence.

3.4.3 If there is no referee and Bab does not notice that Y is out of sequence and plays K automatically because she last played B, play will have gone B(lawful) and then YK. If play is then forestalled because one or both of the players realise that something has gone wrong, Law 10(b) applies because K, although out of sequence with Y, was a ball that Bab owned. Law 10(b) recognises that both players have been less than vigilant and therefore directs that there is no penalty for either side, no balls are moved and any points scored in those strokes are counted. Play then restarts using the sequence set by K, the last ball played. Accordingly, Ray must now play Y again because Y follows K.

3.4.4 If play goes B (lawful) and then YKR before play is forestalled, the analysis is that Y was a wrong ball, that K condoned Y's error and started a new sequence under Law 10(b) and that R was therefore a wrong ball (because R does not follow K). Accordingly, Bab will be able to apply Law 10(a).

3.4.5 However, should it emerge that four or more balls have been played out of sequence before play is forestalled, the provisions of Law 10(c) come into force. In these circumstances, providing each of the last four strokes was played with a ball the relevant player was entitled to play and when he was entitled to play (e.g. B (lawful) and then Y(Ray), K(Bab), R(Ray), B(Bab)), there is no penalty for either side, no balls are moved and any points scored in those strokes are counted. Play then restarts using the sequence set by the last ball played. Accordingly, Ray must now play R again because R follows B.

3.4.6 However, should it emerge that any of the last four strokes was played by a player with a ball he was not entitled to play or when he was not entitled to play (a "very wrong ball"), the chain of out of sequence balls is broken and the provisions of Law 10(c) do not apply. In those circumstances, Law 10(b) will apply to the ball that played after the "very wrong" ball. Thus, after B (lawful), Y(Ray), K(Bab), B(Ray), K(Bab), any points scored in those strokes are counted. Play then restarts using the sequence set by K, the last ball played. Accordingly, Ray must now play Y again because Y follows K.

3.4.7 All the above examples have assumed that play is forestalled after a player has played either of their balls in singles or their own ball in doubles. However, if the last stroke was an opponent's ball or the partner's ball in doubles, Law 10(a) always applies.

3.5 Law 11 (Halfway Law)

3.5.1 Although the final outcome from this law has not changed significantly, there is a significant change in the implementation. Any ball past the halfway line and not subject to an exception is now known as an "offside ball". We return to the same position as in the CA 2000 laws where the opponent had to request a movement to a penalty point and there is no obligation on a player to declare that he has an offside ball. A player now has to request an opponent move to a penalty point before he plays his next shot otherwise such a request cannot be made.

The exceptions to offside status have been simplified and a new one added, namely being moved to a penalty spot. The opponent of the owner of an offside ball continues to be able to direct from which penalty spot an offside ball should next be played. However, two points should be noticed.

3.5.2 As mentioned in Paragraph 3.2 above, a referee is no longer allowed to warn that a ball is offside. It is up to the players to be alert and to claim their rights under Law 11(b)(1).

3.5.3 However, if a ball is offside after a hoop has been scored, its owner should be wary about playing a stroke with it or the partner ball before his opponent has exercised his rights under Law 11(b)(1). If he does so, he will give his opponent the right to demand a replay under Law 11(b)(2). Hence, if B has scored hoop 1 with Y offside and Ray plays R before Bab has ruled on Y under Law 11(b)(1), Bab will be able to decide whether to make Ray replay R. If R had been played badly, Bab might decide to let it stand. If R had been played well, Bab would no doubt require that it be replayed and that Y should be moved to penalty spot E. Hence, it will probably remain in a player's best interests, if they are about to play the next stroke after a hoop has been scored, to enquire from their opponent if they want an offside ball to be moved.

The situation has been considered where an opponent has asked for a replay under law 11(b)(2) but then decides he does not want the offside ball moved to the penalty point. It is felt that this is quite justified as it is no different to the situation the opponent would have had if the player had
allowed time for the player to claim his rights under law 10(b)(2). It is simply further pressure on any player to ensure that the provisions of the
halfway law are met

3.6 Law 12 (Non-striking Faults)

3.6.1 This law now imposes the same penalty as for a striking fault in situations when the offender is also the striker (such as kicking a ball when preparing to play a stroke). The opponent can choose whether the balls are replaced or not and the striker loses the turn they were about to play.

3.6.2 When a non-striking fault is committed by the side opposing the striker (such as an opponent allowing themselves to be hit by a moving ball), the offending side loses its next turn so that the striker's side will be able to play two turns in succession.

3.6.3 The phrase "and all other balls moved replaced where they were before the fault was committed" in Law 12(c)(2) shall only be applied to balls that were moved as a direct result of the original fault."

3.7 Law 13 (Striking Faults)

3.7.1 This law has been simplified by removing playing a wrong ball to Law 10 and changed by declaring that any stroke in which the mallet causes significant damage to the court constitutes a fault. Previously, the stroke had also to be "likely" to cause such damage. It should be noted that damage caused solely by a ball, as in a big jump shot, cannot constitute a fault no matter how big the dent or furrow created in the court surface.

3.7.2 The law still contains some anomalies which arise because several faults are more relevant to Association Croquet (which has a longer striking period than prescribed in Law 13) than to Golf Croquet. Hence, strictly, kicking the mallet is an act that is likely to start and finish before the mallet has struck the striker's ball and hence before the start of the striking period. It follows that Law 13(a)(5), which purports to make such an act a fault, will be ineffective on many occasions. However, it is hard to see what advantage could be gained by so doing when playing Golf Croquet. It is to be hoped that a future revision of the Golf Croquet Laws will remove some of the more pointless prohibitions.

3.8 Role of referee in charge when present

Laws 6(e), 9(b), 9(c), 11(b)(3), 12(b)(2) and 13(a)(4) contain references to issues depending on a decision by the opponent, both players or the referee, if present. If no referee is in charge of the game present, all references to a referee are simply ignored. However, if a referee is in charge of a game, the decision is that of the referee alone, irrespective of whether the players agree with him/her or among themselves.

3.9 Handicap Play

For the purpose of calculating the additional strokes in a game of handicap doubles in accordance with Law 16(c); if both members of one team have identical handicaps, the team may nominate either player to be the high or the low handicap player.