The club was founded by a small group of enthusiasts in the early to mid 1980s. Initially, a lawn was constructed in the vicinity of the rugby clubhouse. In 1985, the rugby club leased the north field from Guildford Borough Council and croquet migrated to a position near the boundary between the north field and the crematorium grounds, adjacent to what was then a bowls club. And that’s where we stayed for about 30 years. Four lawns were established – one adjacent to the bowls club and three others somewhat further south-west, as shown on the picture. There was provision also for a fifth lawn, though that was rarely used.
In 2014, a major upheaval took place, necessitating a further move to accommodate the expansion of the rugby pitches. This provided the impetus for significant improvements to our facilities. The ‘quiet zone’ adjoining the boundary with the crematorium was fenced off. Two new lawns (3 and 4) were laid and we were able to take over the bowls green as our current lawn 1.
By far the greatest change of all was the construction of a clubhouse, with toilet, completed in early 2017. That has made a huge difference to the amenities of the club. It was formally opened in June 2017. We express our gratitude to all the people and organisations who contributed to the costs of laying our two new lawns (3 and 4) and to the construction of the clubhouse. Sincere thanks to:
- The Croquet Association
- South East Croquet Federation
- Surrey Playing Fields Association
- Godalming Town Council
- Waitrose Community Matters, and last, but not least,
- Our members
Further assistance came from:
- Guildford Borough Council
- Broadwater Sports Club Ltd
4 June 2017
The opening of the clubhouse was celebrated with a lunchtime party enjoyed by members and invited guests. After lunch they were treated to an exhibition match of golf croquet between Harry Fisher and Stephen Mulliner.
Harry jumps his blue ball over Stephen’s yellow and scores the hoop. For the record, Stephen won an exciting battle by 2 games to 1.
Since 2016 we have been able to host national and international events, such as:
- 2016: Tier 3 of the Golf Croquet World Team Championship, featuring teams from Norway, Russia and Portugal
- 2018: The Treasurer’s Tankard, an annual Association Croquet tournament for some of the country’s top players
- 2019: The final qualifying competition for the World Golf Croquet Championship
- 2019: The national final for the Golf Croquet ‘B- level’ series
- 2021: The Treasurer’s Tankard
- 2022: The 2020 Tier 3 of the Golf Croquet World Team Championship, featuring teams from Mexico, Portugal, and The Czech Republic
Play under way in the final qualifying competition for the 2019 World Golf Croquet Championship
And then came Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic placed a huge strain on the whole country, and sport was not exempt from its impact. Although the club was able, in 2020, to play socially-distanced internal competitions and general social play, all but one of its open tournaments and all matches against other clubs had to be cancelled. Additionally, we were unable to host any corporate events. We are very grateful to Sport England for granting us a sizeable sum from the emergency fund to help us get over our loss of income and keep the lawns maintained.
Post Lockdown 2021/2023
We have been able to enjoy a full season of normal competition and social play. We hosted the Treasurer’s Tankard again in September 2021 and in July 2022 hosted Tier 3 of the Golf Croquet World Team Championship. We are also scheduled to host the 2023 Golf Croquet C-Level Series National Final in September.
The next major step in our history is the installation of an irrigation system to serve all four lawns. The commission of the system has happened, and we are in the stages of “fine tuning” it. Watch this space!