Official Rules.

St. Petersburg Beer Croquet Club

Established, March 14, 2004




            Beer croquet is played in many ways.  This is our celebration of two great past times.


            OUR game follows some of the rules of Royal Croquet with several major differences.  We will try to explain our rules, explanations, flow of play, circumstances, situations and dilemmas.  It will be impossible to explain all of the scenarios that could be encountered in a game.  Here are some of the most important rules to make sure your game stays controlled and fair.


1.      You must have a beer in your hand if you are swinging the club.  This is beer croquet.  NO two handed sissy swinging.  Soda or water is allowed for those that do not partake of alcohol.  Beer Cans are SACRED obstacles and are used on the course (see below).  Absolutely NO GLASS.  Aluminum cans only!

2.      Appoint a designated driver!  The St. Petersburg Beer Croquet Club does not support Drinking and Driving.

3.      You should have three “directors” who will act as referees and vote on any given situation.  The directors should make themselves familiar with the attached Rules of Play.

4.      The Host will decide any course conflict.  Allowance will have to be made for pools, flower gardens, curbs, fences, etc. The host is the final ruling for all drops.

5.      Keep the play quick.  9 or 10 player games can easily go 5 hours.

6.      If a player is doing something important, like going for bitch or going for poison or trying to hit another player; then one or more of the directors should be called to watch.  Taking shots in secret is not allowed.  The player must call for an observer.

7.      If a player is not paying attention and is not ready for play, the crowd calls out "Drink for making me wait!.  The player must then take a couple of gulps from their beverage. 




            We follow the rules of 9 wicket croquet.  The course is designed to follow the concept of “double diamond”, but we play with an “urban American” thought to course design.  This means we can set up a course anywhere!  We do not play on courses that look like a putting green, although we would.  We play with curbs and trees; houses and fences; dogs and two year olds. 


The winner of the previous tournament is responsible for setting up the next tournament.  This means finding the course, establishing the time and date (which is often changed many times in our world) and informing the players.  It is very important that the tournament is held each month.  It is the responsibility of the directors to call the emergency tournament in case the winner/host is failing in their duties.


Each Player receives one stroke at the beginning of their turn.  As they go through the course, they can earn extra strokes in three ways; hitting another player; going through a wicket; or hitting a post.  If a player strikes a post or goes through a wicket, they earn one stroke.  It is typical for someone starting the game to gain two strokes off the bat by completing wickets 1 & 2.  This allows them two additional strokes to go for wicket 3.  If a player strikes another player’s ball, they earn 2 strokes.  These 2 strokes can be used in the following ways:


1.                            The player can send the victim.  To do this, the player moves their ball next to the victim’s ball; places their foot on their own ball; and smacks it sending the victims ball far, far away.  The player then has one additional stroke.

2.                            The player can take their two strokes and proceed to their target wicket.  To do this, the player moved their ball to ANY side of the VICTIM’s ball (if the victims ball rolls out of bounds, the players ball is also out of bounds losing any gained strokes)

3.                            The player can perform a “push”.  To do this the player takes their ball and places it on ANY side of the VICTIM’s ball.  The player does not cover their own ball as they strike and therefore the player’s ball is also moved.  The player then has an additional stroke.




Back to the game.  The course must have a start/finish post with two wickets; a turning post with two wickets, and a middle wicket.  If played similar to 9 wicket croquet, the player will start (wickets 1 & 2) go right (3), middle going (4), right (5), turning post going (wickets 6 & 7), turning post coming (wickets 8& 9), right (10), middle coming (11), right (12) and finish post (wickets 13 & 14).  Once the player hits the finish post, the real fun begins.


            Our version of Beer Croquet has three terms for players.


1.      Players.  Just an average player still going around the course.

2.      Bitch.  This is a player who has struck the finish post, but has not gone back through the middle wicket.

3.      Poison.  This is a player who has hit finishing post and gone through the middle wicket the correct way (same way as a player coming home).


Players can only be killed by Poison.


Bitches can be killed if they touch or go through any wicket or touch a post, with the exception of hitting the middle wicket if they then proceed through the wicket.  Again, the player must go through the middle wicket the correct way (as if they were “coming” back to finish post). 

Bitches can “self kill” if they accidentally knock their own ball into a wicket or post.  Most often they are killed by the other players.  Players will attempt to kill the bitches by striking them and then sending them through or into a wicket, or making them strike one of the posts.  Unlike when you strike a player (gaining two strokes), when you hit a bitch, you only get one stroke and the stroke must be used to try to kill them.


Poison can only be killed by knocking their ball THROUGH a wicket or being hit by another poison.  They can of course “self kill” by accidentally knocking their own ball through a wicket.  Again, like hitting bitch, you only get one stroke for hitting poison and it must be used to try to kill poison.


Back to the game.  Once the player has completed all 14 wickets, the next object is the finishing post.  It is important to realize that this is the first opportunity that a player can be killed.


If the player strikes the post, bounces off and strikes a wicket, the player has self killed.  The same is true if the ball strikes the post, bounces off and then returns to strike the post again. 


Once the player strikes the post, the next object is to go around and come back through the middle wicket.  If the player goes through the wicket the wrong direction, it is a self kill.  If the player if shot through the wicket by another player, but it is the correct direction, the player is then POISON.  The player must go through from the turning post side in order to become poison.  The player does not get another stroke after becoming poison.  Poison’s do not get extra stokes for the remainder of the game.


The game continues until only one remains.


Beer Cans as Obstacles


When a player finishes a can of beer, the can is a valid obstacle for the course.  Obstacles cannot be moved out of play. You are not allowed to strike the obstacle first, you hit your ball even if a can limits the swing.  You are not allowed to place a can with 12 inches of another ball unless it is to protect your own ball.  When we mean finish, we mean empty.  The can may be inspected by any player.  If the can it tipped upside down and more than three drops come out, the can may be tossed to another part of the course out of play.  If the player spills any beer from the can during play, the can may not be placed on the course.


For example, if someone is going to hit you, then you can slam your beer and place it in between the two balls so that the other player hits the can, and not your ball.  This is the basic premise for using a can as an obstacle.


Cans are used to block the wicket from other players going through.  It may only delay them for one stoke buy that is sometimes good enough.  A bad can placement does not use the wicket as base.  A good can placement uses the wicket to deny the ball.


Cans are used to wrap stakes.  This is a ONE HANDED wrap.  Players cannot use two hands to secure the can.  We have replaced the store bought stakes with 1 inch wood dowel.  This prevents players from locking the cans around one of the skinny posts you get from target.


Other Unique Rules:


Stalking is not allowed.  The first person to become Bitch is often the first one killed as they are the only target on the course.  Players can only take three strokes to try to kill bitches.  After those three strokes, the Player must go through a wicket before it can attempt to kill THAT bitch.  Other bitches are legit targets.  Obviously you can stalk poison all you want.


After one player becomes bitch, cans cannot be placed around middle wicket (to prevent player from being poison).


Unplayable lies happen.  Sometimes you get in a hole or stuck behind a fence.  The player can ask for a drop.  Before the drop, the player must make at least one attempt to knock the ball out of the situation.  If the drop is allowed, that acts as the players turn.  Additionally, the player loses the next shot as a penalty.  Basically it is a three shot penalty.  The host is responsible for the drop location.  usually someplace far from the players target.


If you go out of turn, you lose that turn.  Your ball stays where you hit it.  The player also has a skip turn for their next turn (so they lose two swings).  If the ball passes through a wicket or strikes a player on the erroneous turn it does not count! 


If a player cannot find their ball or mallet, they must finish their beer.