Most garden hoops have thinner uprights and a wider space between them. They also have longer legs that go into the ground, but no “carrot.” Choose a hoop with thicker uprights (solid or tube). The thicker the wire, the more firmly it will stay in the ground. But a serious croquet player who wants to practice hoop running won’t be able to use even a thick wire garden hoop because they are too easy to “bully.” That is, a hard shot will often go through because the hoop gives too much. The height of the hoop should be at least 6 feet “in the dirt. For the cheaper, shorter hoops, it might be best to set them lower than the standard 12 feet “height to give them enough grip on the ground.
If the lawn to be used is a typical rough back yard lawn, you should choose 4 “wide hoops it could be a good idea for playing in the garden. The more serious player, especially on a better lawn, may want a narrower hoop, closer to 3¾ inches “.
Standard Hoops for Tournaments
A tournament or club standard hoop will meet the above rules and have a “carrot” shape at the end of each leg. The carrots should be heavy and in the shape of a cone. This will keep the hoop in place in the ground. Some hoops, which aren’t very common in the UK, have fins on the legs below the ground level to do the same thing. However, these are best for sandy soil because the fins could break easily on harder ground.
In the UK, you can buy two main kinds of tournament hoops. The traditional hoop is made of cast iron and may have a seam running up the inside of the legs. Most croquet clubs like these because they are a little bit rougher on the outside. This kind of hoop is used by both Townsend and Jaques.
The newer type of hoop is made from bright steel bar that has been welded together. It has a more perfectly round upright and a smoother surface. People sometimes say that these are “too easy to run” because the smooth surface makes it easier for a ball to slip through. This type includes the Aldridge and Omega hoops. The Omega hoops also have an adjustment system with offset, rotatable carrots that make it easy to set the hoop gap correctly.
Tournament-standard hoops need holes or sockets to go into. Hoops and the right rubber hammer or a hoop drill can be used to make holes or sockets. When they are taken out, they will leave holes in the ground that are easy to see.
Tournament-quality hoops start at around £150 for a set, which is a lot more than wire garden hoops.