Choosing Croquet Hoops
The regulations for hoops say that they should have uprights which are 5/8″ diameter, a gap which is between 4″ and 3¾” wide, and the crown of the hoop should be 12″ above the ground. In practice, for clubs and tournaments, the gap of the hoop is normally set to the diameter of the balls in use, with a clearance of between 1/16″ and 3/16″.
Hoops come in sets of 6, being the number on a standard croquet lawn. One hoop (the first) will be marked with a blue top, and one (the last) with a red top. Otherwise hoops usually have a white painted finish.
Competition or club standard hoops will meet the CE Hoop Specification and Approvals, and will in addition have a ‘carrot’ shape on the end of each hoop leg. The carrots should be heavy, conical in shape, and will ensure a firm setting for the hoop in the ground.
The competition hoops are made from welded bright steel bar, and have a smoother finish. These are sometimes criticised as being ‘too easy to run’, as the smooth surface is more likely to let a ball slip through.
Competition Hoops will require holes or sockets to go into, which can be made with a hoop and an appropriate rubber hammer, or by a hoop drill. When removed, they will leave noticeable holes in the ground. Although a lot more expensive than garden hoops, with proper maintenance, these hoops will last.
Garden Hoops are generally made with thinner uprights, a wider gap, and will have extended legs to go into the ground. It is best to choose a hoop with thicker uprights (either solid or tube), as the thicker the wire, the more firmly they will be held in the ground. Club-Style Croquet Hoops have small ‘carrots’ which help to stabilise the hoops in the ground but require a hoop drill to make the holes first.
Perfect for a serious croquet player who wants to practice hoop running (a hard shot will tend to get through too easily) we have put together Home Practice Sets which includes one George Wood Championship Hoop and a selection of one or two Sunshiny Tournament Balls.