In Sea Girt, the genteel sport of croquet continues to thrive as a summer activity at the Green Gables Croquet Club—the oldest continuously operating club of its kind in the nation.
The club, which marks its 65th anniversary this year, invites the public to play a game of golf croquet during a free open house on June 4 at the National Guard Training Center in Sea Girt, as part of National Croquet Day.
In croquet, players use mallets to drive a wooden ball through a series of wickets placed in the ground. Physical and mental skills, including hand-eye coordination, are required to be a successful player, according to club president Richard Ricciardi of Wall Township.
“It’s like chess on grass,” he says. “It requires the putting of golf, the strategies of bocce, and the ability to plan shots in advance like nine-ball in billiards,” says Ricciardi. He adds, “You have to provide support so people don’t get discouraged.”
The club has persevered during the pandemic and now has about 90 members, ranging in age from late 40s to around 90 years old.
Today, the club upholds croquet’s traditions. Players wear white in competition, Ricciardi says, “and compete on superbly manicured lawns—the same grass used at top golf courses for their putting greens.”
Looking for more fun at the Shore this summer? Check out New Jersey Monthly’s list of the best things to do.