It was originally organised in England in the 1850s, later played under Association rules requiring great accuracy/careful strategic planning, and now with a more recent variant, Golf Croquet, a more lively individually competitive, and social version with faster, simpler play. The game involves teams of 2 or 4 striking the balls in turn through 6 separated hoops with the highest score being the winner. Most clubs work in partnership with golf or tennis clubs and have slightly more men than women. Portuguese experience is that 70% of members have not played the game before, many being referred by friends.

In the Algarve, according to William Weber, Secretary of the Portuguese Croquet Association “There are four playing Golf Croquet (GC) Clubs with the Algarve Croquet Club (ACC) also playing Association Croquet.”

Croquet is governed by the Portuguese Croquet Association (PCA) under the World Croquet Federation (WCF). The ACC opened two new pitches this year in association with Benamor Golf Club. This year the Portuguese Team came second in a Tier 3 World Club Championship, with local tournaments against Spanish, English, & German teams, as well as away matches. “A croquet club in the Lisbon area would be a huge step forward, and as you know, croquet is becoming popular in Spain with 20 clubs and is increasingly fashionable in both USA and Britain.”

Andrew Heaton (tel: +351 967 482 684., living in Estoril, is “looking for a team” to help develop a local club. Recently moved from San Francisco, California where being used to start-up’s as a BioTechnology MD, he had helped the Oakland Club through club volunteer support, and by also competing in local & national competitions. Already having received advice and help from the ACC and local golf professional experts, he is looking for anyone in the area with a croquet interest, or experience, who are invited to get in contact to consider joining for play, or providing practical help in a coming local club development. It is expected that it will take 6 – 12 months to finalise a suitable location, acquire the equipment, and launch the club. Basic start-up funding is available, and there is local club association interest. “We need a team” he said, “to help launch a most attractive sport that can be played year round, available at a reasonable cost, and yet is both competitive, but also social as you manoeuvre against your opponents”. Please Email him to let me know of any interest, past experience, and the time available to participate – to join in a start-up team to help make this development happen.