Some croquet players are better than others. And some croquet players are much better than others! To level the playing field, handicaps are commonly used to redress the difference.
In its simplest form, the difference between two players’ handicaps is reflected by the number of free-turns (called “Bisques”) the less experienced player receives. So if one player has a handicap of 4, and another has a handicap of 9, the latter will receive 5 bisques during each game.
Players are commonly referenced directly by their handicap, eg “She’s a 4, playing against an 8”.
What follows is pretty much all the detail you’ll need to understand how handicaps and bisques work in Association Croquet, but you may wish to simply get to the answers – if so, you can view our Bisques Calculator, or if you want to work out Extra Turns in Golf Croquet, you can view our Golf Extra Turns Calculator.
Handicaps start at 26 for a new player, and decrease from there. A way of considering handicaps in Association is how many extra turns you would need to complete the game. A scratch handicap (when your handicap is 0) is the stage of equilibrium where you are expected to go around without needing any extra turns at all.
The best players in the world get down to minus numbers (down to -3 or so). While that’s very impressive, they probably still wouldn’t want to be playing a person with a handicap of 20 who has 23 extra turns, which shows how the system can be so effective.
Your Handicap Index
When you become a member, and decide that you wish to play in competitions, you are given a Handicap card, into which you enter the results of any serious/competitive singles games which you play in. You will undergo a simple assessment with one of our Handicap Committee, after which you’ll receive your “Handicap Index”. This is a number that ranges from 0 up to just over 3000. After you play each game, you enter into the card your handicap, that of your opponent, whether the game was Handicapped or “Level”, and what the result was. There’s a simple lookup table in the card itself which lets you determine how much your handicap index increases/decreases by.
When playing a Handicap game (a game which uses bisques) then your index will either go up or down by 10 every time, regardless of the respective handicaps of the players involved. When Handicaps are ignored, the game is considered to be “Level”, and the change in index reflects this. So if a “2” beats a “24”, the “24” won’t lose many index points at all, but if the “24” wins then they’ll receive a large amount of index points.
There are certain trigger points (numbers, basically!) which, when you pass them, will increase of decrease your Handicap itself.
As an example, imagine your Index is 1240, which would mean your handicap is 11. You then beat somebody, and you look it up in the table and see that it means adding 10 points to your Index, making it 1250. 1250 is a trigger point for the handicap of 10, so congratulations – you are now a “10”!
However, from the example above, you wouldn’t return to being an “11” if you lost some points in your next game, pushing your index back below 1250. It wouldn’t be until you pass the previous trigger point (in this case at 1200) that your handicap would increase again.
|-2 ½||2800||2 ½||1750||10||1250|
|-1 ½||2400||3 ½||1650||12||1150|
|– ½||2100||4 ½||1550||16||1050|
Sometimes people improve more quickly than the handicapping system can keep up with, so a member of the handicapping committee may reassess your level and change your handicap to something which more realistically reflects your level. This doesn’t happen very often, but it’s worth remembering that it’s a big compliment when it does!
As Reigate’s lawn is ¾ sized (making it slightly easier than a full sized lawn), the bisque allocation may be adjusted slightly to reflect this. You can use the table below to look up how the usual number of bisques is altered for the ¾ lawn
|Full Lawn||¾ lawn||Full Lawn||¾ lawn||Full Lawn||¾ lawn||Full Lawn||¾ lawn|