Chase Park Croquet Club Hopes Free Clinics Will Attract New Members

by Brad Joyal

CHATHAM – If you stroll through scenic Chase Park during the week, you might just discover a group in white wielding wooden mallets.

The Chase Park Croquet Club is celebrating its fifth season at the park, and the group of approximately 40 is hoping its upcoming free clinics will help the club continue to grow.

The club is hosting free croquet clinics at 1 p.m. on May 26 and June 1. The clinics are open to beginners or anyone else who is looking to shore up their skills.

Although the sport, which is believed to have been developed in Ireland during the mid-19th century, is commonly played in backyards, Connie Loomis said the group members take their croquet seriously.

“It’s very competitive,” Loomis said. “It’s very different from backyard croquet — heavier mallets, heavier balls and you play with partners. There’s lots of strategy involved, so it makes it very challenging and competitive.”

The club’s members pay $50 per season, which runs from June until October. Upon joining the club, members submit a schedule with their preferred time to play and their partner’s name if they have one.

Members start playing around 9:30 a.m. until about 6 p.m. from Monday to Friday. The park is open to the public and anyone is allowed to play on the court during the weekend.

Part of the club’s fees help ensure the court remains in pristine condition.

“It’s the most beautiful croquet court,” Loomis said. “The town cuts it once a week and then we pay privately to have it cut again because it needs to be cut twice. It’s the most beautiful location.”

The court is conveniently located with access to the park’s shed and bathrooms. There are also benches — including two that are dedicated to late, beloved members Don Edge and Debbie Hearle — that provide players with an opportunity to take a rest while waiting their turn.

A plaque displays the champions from the club’s annual end-of-season tournament, which Loomis said she expects to be held in September this year.

Although the majority of the club’s members are in their 60s, 70s and 80s, Loomis said croquet is the perfect sport for people who are eager to try something new. Many of the members turned to croquet after years of playing tennis, paddle tennis or golf.

“Anyone on the Cape from any town is welcome to join the club,” Loomis said. “All ages, of course, but it’s mostly people who have given up paddling or golf.”

Loomis said current club members should send their schedules and $50 membership fee to club president Sally Stratman, 1114 Orleans Rd. No. 5, Chatham, MA 02650.

Those interested in joining the club can call Stratman at 508-945-2827 or Loomis at 508-221-2104 with questions.