Golf croquet’s big rise evident in numbers

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Avid croquet players travelled to Gore last week to compete in the 92nd Southland Croquet Tournament.

The tournament, held at the Gore Croquet Club, started on Saturday with association croquet and finishes tomorrow with the golf croquet final.

While there were only 12 entries in the association croquet, 31 singles and 21 pairs are competing in the golf croquet.

Club president and tournament organiser James Telfer said there had been a significant rise in golf croquet numbers over the past three years.

“There’s been an increase in golf croquet and a decrease in association croquet. You can play a game of golf croquet in 40 minutes but a game of association could take up to three hours.

“It’s a much quicker game and suits everyone, so we’ve seen it grow,” he said of golf croquet.

No Gore players competed in the association competition but 15 would compete in the golf competition, he said.

Players from throughout Southland as well as from Timaru, Ashburton and South Canterbury made the trip to Gore to compete. South Canterbury’s contingent of 15 was the largest.

South Canterbury player Kevin McGlinchy said he returned to the competition annually and always enjoyed the experience.

“It’s a great wee competition – I love coming to it every year. The social nights out with everyone are good, too,” McGlinchy said.

Hosting the tournament in Gore was beneficial to the town, Telfer said.

“Players from out of town are staying at the motels; we went out for a big meal at the Gore RSA the other night – it’s great.”

Last year, the tournament was hosted by the Winton Croquet Club but was held at the Gore club as its four fields made it easier to run the competition, Telfer said.

The tournament finishes with the golf croquet final tomorrow.