For Immediate Release: Golf Croquet Introduced at Muskoka Lawn Bowling Club Bracebridge, ON – The Muskoka Lawn Bowling Club will be introducing a new sport to the community: golf croquet. Starting this July, several times a week the members will put aside their bowls, bring out the mallets (NOT golf clubs), wickets and croquet balls, and start swinging!
“Golf croquet is a relatively fast-paced, strategic game, with simple rules”, explained Sally Mills, President of the Muskoka Lawn Bowling Club. “Similar to lawn bowling, croquet is a low-impact sport open to all ages and abilities. Men and women play together. You don’t have to be athletic. Shaded benches are situated around our green, so you can rest if necessary, but most want to be right there to see the action.”
The club, which is located on the grounds of the Muskoka Highlands Golf Course, will set up the croquet wickets on Saturdays afternoons, through Sunday. Golf croquet lessons, registration and game times are listed on the club’s website. The seasonal membership is $200, or $100 for a one-month membership, which includes instruction and all equipment. Members have access to both croquet and lawn bowling. http://muskokabowls.ca/?page_id=1775
The club doesn’t require members to wear “all whites”, so comfortable clothes of any colour are acceptable, but shoes with smooth soles, like running shoes, are a must.
The safety of all participants is of utmost concern to the club, which adheres to the extensive safety protocols outlined by the Ontario Lawn Bowling Association. The club is also a member of Croquet Canada, whose website states: “The game of croquet is played at a stand still while shooting, and a walking pace to retrieve balls. There is minimal risk to infectious particles from high energy activity. This is not a team sport. The only items of equipment that are touched during the progress of the game are personal to the player. The exception would be croquet balls which can be retrieved and placed in position using the player’s feet, thus avoiding touching. In short, it is an ideal sport for safe, distanced playing while providing important exercise to players.” For more information and golf croquet rules, visit: http://www.croquet.ca/golf-croquet.html
“Croquet Canada, the national association that represents croquet players across Canada, is excited to welcome the Muskoka Lawn Bowling (& Croquet) Club to our family of clubs,” said Jim Wright, President of Croquet Canada. “Croquet is a wonderful, healthy and safe game for all ages and all abilities from beginners to pros alike. We stand ready to help make this new venture a great success; a new recreational outlet for the whole Muskoka community.”
Mills, who learned how to play golf croquet in Florida, reached out to Croquet Canada for help in acquiring croquet equipment. Within a short time, two Ontario croquet clubs offered to donate enough equipment so that the club would be able to start their own activity. “We are still hoping to acquire more mallets, but I am excited that we will be able to introduce limited golf croquet to the community starting in July,” stated Mills. “I am fortunate to have learned this fun new sport. It helps me to stay active physically, and mentally.”
Mills explained why the Muskoka Lawn Bowling Club decided to introduce croquet at their club. “It is not uncommon for lawn bowling clubs to share their facilities with croquet clubs, so we decided to start our own croquet program. Our large green is ideal for croquet; absolutely flat, with very short grass. We think that our bowlers will enjoy the challenge of the new sport, and hope that others from the community will join for the croquet.”
The lawn bowling & croquet facility is located on the grounds of the Muskoka Highlands Golf Course in Bracebridge. Information about the Golf Croquet program can be found at www.muskokabowls.ca, or by contacting Sally Mills at 705-646-0086 or email@example.com.
Numerous Member clubs have recently been given permission to open but are under strict limitations of Covid protocols imposed by local public health authorities. Please consult your local club for details.
Objective To assist member clubs in the creation of a safety protocol for croquet play across Canada designed to permit the enjoyment, exercise and social interaction inherent in the game of croquet while minimizing the risk of Covid-19 virus infection.
Background: (for those regulatory agencies unfamiliar with the game) The game of croquet is played outdoors on a standard green grass lawn which typically measures 28 by 35 yards. (25.6/32m.) It is a game played at a stand still while shooting, and a walking pace to retrieve balls. There is minimal risk to infectious particles from high energy activity. This is not a team sport.
Two to four people play in a 90 minute to 2 hour game, with only two persons occupying the court at any time. The only items of equipment that are touched during the progress of the game are personal to the player. The exception would be croquet balls which can be retrieved and placed in position using the player’s feet, thus avoiding touching. In short, it is an ideal sport for safe, distanced playing while providing important exercise to players, many of whom are seniors.
The following is designed as guidance for a club to provide a safe environment for their members and the community but is not comprehensive. It is expected that each club will adapt and expand on these suggestions for its particular situation and to meet local health regulations.
Considerations: 1. How to maintain a safe environment at the croquet club, while playing and using club facilities. 2. How to manage the handling of equipment for play in a safe way to avoid virus infection. 3. How to schedule play to maximize safety for players and minimize personal interaction. 4. How to use facilities at the club (washrooms, kitchens etc) safely.
Disclaimer: The following guidelines are offered with the understanding that Croquet Canada does not possess medical or scientific expertise or knowledge but is using established advice from Federal, Provincial and local Government and Public Health Authority guidelines and directives which should be used as the final authority when developing local club safety protocol.
Introduction The Safety Protocol is offered to assist in the gradual reopening of facilities. Further information will be sent to members and member clubs as government and public health units remove restrictions on activity and physical distancing.
Insurance and Liability Insurance held by Croquet Canada for the protection of members and their clubs is currently being reviewed to maximize coverage, protect officers and governors, and provide appropriate liability coverage. Some insurance providers are insisting on a Covid-19 rider to the policy excluding coverage for those who fall sick from the virus. Croquet Canada recommends strongly that each club require all players to sign a waiver of liability with specific reference to Covid-19 before they enter the club premises. Clubs should also review their own insurance to ensure appropriate coverage.
The above mentioned waiver should include a statement by the player confirming that he/she is free from Covid-19 symptoms, is healthy to play, will examine their health prior to each visit to the club for symptoms, and if ill, will not come to the club.
The player will also affirm on the waiver that he/she will adhere to all safety protocols established by the club to maintain the health and safety of themselves and their fellow players.
Safety To keep players safe, clubs need to: • Educate members on proper hand washing and hygiene techniques. • Make available sanitizing gel wipes, soap and disposable paper towels for frequent and easy cleaning of hands and equipment. • Ensure hand washing signage is present at all hand washing stations. It is recommended that players wash their hands frequently rather than wear gloves which might carry infection. • Ask players to wear a mask to protect themselves and others, and especially when using a washroom or inside facility. • Ask players to examine their health, and, if they have any doubts about their health, or possible exposure to the Covid-19 virus, stay away from the club and other members. • Require players to report any failure to maintain safety standards to a club executive who can take steps to correct the problem.
Getting to the club and lawns • Advise players not to travel to the club with others. Experts who have observed the nature of infection of this virus note that there is an enhanced risk when time is spent with an infected person in a contained space. Therefore, players should travel to the club on their own, either walking, biking, or driving. The club property should be restricted to members and maintenance staff only. • Ensure that all club members are aware of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and avoid traveling to the club if they show any symptoms.
Club Operations - Preparing and opening facilities Clubs will need to determine if the following safety measures can be implemented and followed. If not, then the club should consider whether or not the clubhouse can be safely opened. At all times, the guidelines and legislations of Provincial and local Public Health Authorities must be respected and will take precedence over these recommendations.
The Clubhouse • Eliminate the virus on surfaces through the use of soap and water and sanitizing gel and wipes for hands and equipment. • Minimize the number of persons in the clubhouse at any one time, each person keeping proper distancing. • Wash hands carefully after unlocking the facility, opening doors, turning on lights etc. • Wash hands before and after handling game equipment, door handles, light switches or other surfaces. • Place signage by all entrances and storage facilities outlining the physical distancing guidelines in place, as well as hand-washing recommendations/protocols. • Disinfect all surfaces and materials before and after use. • Turn off all water fountains. Players should bring their own water.
Facilities: (if permitted to be open by local health authorities)
Kitchen • Limit use of the kitchen to one person who can prepare refreshments as needed. • Minimize touching of surfaces. Players should use paper towels to touch handles and light switches. • Use disposable cups, plates and cutlery to eliminate the need for clean up or sharing. • After each use, disinfect all surfaces with sterilizing wipes and wash non-disposable cutlery and cups in soapy water. • Provide sanitizing wipes and gel for members using the kitchen, outside areas, equipment rooms and in washrooms. • Where feasible, players should take their own waste home with them. If the above protocols are not adhered to by members, clubs should close the kitchen area and require all refreshments or food to be brought in by each member.
Washrooms • Limit the washroom use to one person at a time. • Post signage to indicate when the washroom is occupied. • Post a clean-up protocol in each washroom to be followed by every user. • Upon completion of the cleanup, users must wash hands carefully and use paper towels to close faucets, turn off lights, and open and close doors. Court setup and tear down • Limit equipment setup and tear down to as few persons as possible who will observe proper distancing at all times. Cleaning equipment • Between games, clean club mallets, clips, boards and balls, and any other items to be reused, in a designated location where there is easily available soap, water and disinfectant wipes. • At the end of play each day, wash or disinfect all equipment including wickets, string storage wheels and hammers then store in a designated location which will contain only equipment which has been cleaned. Only clean equipment should be stored and used for play.
Scheduling of Games To ensure that players don’t congregate at the club in numbers that threaten their health, clubs should: • Limit players to four people per game, with only two players on the lawn at a time. • Maintain a two meter distance between players at all times. • Limit touching of equipment during play to player’s own mallet, clips and ball. Players are encouraged to use their feet and mallets to lift balls from gutters or position them for play. • It is recommended that no tournaments or competitions that involve more than 4 persons per lawn take place until health restrictions are lifted and it is safe to do so. General Rules for players • Book a game, date, and time in advance with the club. Do not just show up and expect to play. • Arrive no more than 5 minutes before your scheduled time, and leave promptly when you are finished. • Practice physical distancing by staying a minimum of two meters (6 feet) away from each other at all times. • Use your own mallet where possible. If you do not own your own mallet, you must follow the posted safety protocols for using club mallets. • Do not share equipment. • Do not shake hands or touch other people. • Do not bring visitors or other non-players with you to the club. • Do not loiter in the parking lot or at the club before or after you have finished playing. • Bring your own water and refreshments. • Take home your own waste material where possible. • If you are feeling unwell, regardless of the symptoms, stay home.