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National Croquet Center
launch plans finalized

by Bob Alman
posted July 25, 2000
updated October 7, 2000
Related Links
National Croquet Club memberships and donations
Final floor plans by architect Digby Bridges
National Croquet Center site plan (unrevised)
Florida pols okay new U.S.C.A. HQ complex
Opening soon in West Palm Beach: croquet's national home
Donor list through July 20, 2000
Internal Links
Launch Season Special Events Calendar, November 2000 - January 2001
Regularly Scheduled Events and Clinics
Operating Hours, Fees, and Membership Dues
Corporate Groups and Private Parties - Rates and Amenities


Plagued by recurrent permit delays, the launch date of the world's largest croquet complex has remained in doubt until midsummer. But as this report hits cyberspace in late July, the final hurdles have been cleared and construction plans have been adjusted to assure that the opening date is met: the maintenance shed has been redesigned to include restrooms and temporary office space; the lawns will be well knit and open for play on December 2. A large and well appointed tent will serve as the social center and site for lunches and resfreshments until the main building is ready for occupancy. The Official Opening and Launch Week Celebration is set for January 21-28, 200l.
How successful the National Croquet Center will be as a focus for publicity and marketing of the sport remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: It is designed to be the best place in the world to play croquet. The physical facility itself, with 12 lawns surrounding a magnificent 15,000 square foot clubhouse, would alone make it unique. Add to that an unparalleled variety of programs and events and you have a magnet for every serious croquet player in the world.

USCA Headquarters Image. THE NATIONAL CROQUET CENTER

The "Launch Season" - November, December, and January - displays all of this variety as an enticement to visiting players, even before the central building is completed. Archie Peck, Director of Croquet, has announced a Launch Season Calendar that has something for everyone - in great abundance. Peck is a former national champion and for many years has been the most popular croquet pro in the Southeast, in constant demand for coaching and directing major events. Peck and his staff will direct all the lawn activity at the National Center from the Pro Shop in the front of the building, just off the entranceway.

Introducing the Daily Draw

One feature of the National Center's program sets it apart from any other venue in America: the Daily Draw. On any day of the year, you can come to the National Croquet Center's Pro Shop and sign up with Archie Peck or his assistant for the Daily Draw at 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM. Your name is put into the draw with others in your handicap range, and you get a singles opponent for the 9:00 AM court time; and if you like, you can go back for another draw at eleven. For many players - including myself - the greatest abiding joy of the sport comes in a couple of competitive pickup games in one perfect croquet day. For me, it's better even than tournaments. The National Croquet Center makes it easy. You get to meet and play against people from everywhere, any day of the year.

Although the January calendar of the National Center is already packed, the first six weeks of operation in November and December are comparatively open, and there are many other reasons to plan a playing visit during these first two months. It's Florida's "low season," when the weather is great but the rates are still far below the "high season" prices for travel and accommodations that begin in January. The National Croquet Center also is offering a one-time-only "low season" rate for out-of-state visitors: a $100/month special membership in the National Croquet Club that allows you unlimited play in November and December.

In the first three months, most details of the Operating Plan will be put into place, climaxing in late January with the Launch Week Celebration - a full week of tournaments in a wide variety of game and ladder formats.

Fundraising continues to finance completion

The clubhouse will probably not be completed in the first season of operation. Funds raised through mid-July amount to little over $2,300,000, with another $1,500.000 from a loan secured by the Croquet Foundation of America. Highly desirable but optional features of the building - the kitchen, dining room, and members lounge - will have to wait for new donors.

But even before completion of the facility, the National Croquet Center will be in full operation - providing abundant court space for the resident National Croquet Club, extra courts for the annual invitationals of other nearby USCA clubs, free Community Service Programs for inviting new segments of the Florida public into the sport; court times and special programs for croquet players visiting from other parts of the country and around the world, Golf Croquet for corporate groups and private parties, USCA schools, coaching and clinics by the professional staff....and much more. From Day One, this unique facility will justify its name as the world's first National Croquet Center.

The special Launch Season rates published below encourage croquet players from everywhere to visit and play at the Center. Beginning September 1, court times may be reserved through USCA headquarters. At the date of this publication, the best times to schedule a non-tournament playing visit to the National Croquet Center during the Launch Season are:

* November 21 - December 5
* December 11 - January 7
* January 14 - 20


NATIONAL CROQUET CENTER LAUNCH SEASON
SPECIAL EVENTS CALENDAR

November 2000 through January 2001

Nov 21, 2000
COURTS OPEN FOR PLAY.
National Croquet Club memberships activated.
All USCA members may reserve court times through the Pro Shop.

Nov 21
Daily Draw begins, 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM every day

Dec 6 -10
USCA FLORIDA REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS (seven courts)

Dec 8 - 10
USCA THREE-DAY SCHOOL (two or three courts)

Dec 16 - 3:30 PM to approximately 7:00 PM
"200l CLUB" LAWN PARTY, for all members of the National Croquet Club, honoring the donors who helped make the National Center possible. Fun and games, followed by the first monthly National Croquet Center Cookout. (six courts) By invitation only.

Jan 4- 6, 2000
USCA THREE-DAY SCHOOL (three courts)

Jan 6, PM
THE NATIONAL CROQUET CENTER FOUNDERS DINNER
Reception and dinner honoring major donors. By invitational only.

Jan 8 - Jan 13
PALM BEACH INVITATIONAL (eight courts)

Sunday, Jan 21
OFFICIAL OPENING DAY
Ceremonies and Games For Launch Week players, National Croquet Club members, city officials, the press, and other special invitees, with golf croquet featured in many formats: pro-am exhibition games; a tournament with corporate teams benefiting the National Croquet Center's Community Service programs for youth and the elderly; and organized games for everyone.

Sunday, Jan 21 - Sunday, Jan 28
LAUNCH WEEK CELEBRATION at the National Croquet Center
Celebrating the full-service launch of the National Croquet Center, with a full week of sanctioned tournaments and special events. Limited to 120 players. (Watch for the complete schedule of activities and registration details, to be announced soon.)

January 29 - February 3
BEACH CLUB INVITATIONAL (six courts)

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REGULARLY SCHEDULED EVENTS AND CLINICS

DAILY DRAW - 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM
Arranged pickup games in your handicap range, Pro Shop

LUNCH - 12 Noon to 1:30 PM (daily)
North Verandah

MEMBER CLINICS (weekly)
(For National Croquet Club and visiting USCA members)
Tuesdays 3:00 - 5:30 PM
Thursdays 3:00 - 5:30 PM
Saturday 9:00 - 11:30 AM

Clinics cover different areas each week, including shot making, shot selection, break play and game play; end game play; American Rules seminar; coaching forum in which participants request help in specific areas; International Rules tactics and strategy. Clinics will incorporate "game play" coaching during Daily Draw games as requested by players.

Fees: National Croquet Club members, $20.00; nonmembers $30.00.

SATURDAY EVENING COOKOUT & GAMES
Once monthly, 3:30 PM to approximately 7:00 PM.
"Fun and Games" begin at 3:30 PM, followed by cookout. Free for National Croquet Club members, who may bring a guest. Visiting USCA members may reserve for a small fee subject to space available.

INTRODUCTION TO CROQUET
First Saturday each month, 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM (year-round)
Free public course emphasizing basic one-ball strokes and golf croquet games, with limited paid membership options extended to attendees. Offered through West Palm Beach Recreation and Parks Department and newspaper announcements. By phone reservation only.

FREE GOLF CROQUET
First and Third Wednesdays, 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM (year-round), minimal some instruction for novices and supervision. Offered to the public through West Palm Beach Recreation and Parks Department. No reservation required. Flat-soled shoes required and casual dress code (no tank-tops or cutoffs, etc.).

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OPERATING HOURS, FEES, MEMBERSHIP DUES

THE NATIONAL CROQUET CENTER and PRO SHOP HOURS
8:30 AM - 5:30 PM East Standard; 8:45 AM - 6:00 PM Daylight Saving (Many events will be scheduled to end at later times.)

DAILY COURT TIMES AT THE NATIONAL CROQUET CENTER
9:00 - 11:00 AM 11:00 -1:00 PM 1:00 - 3:00 PM 3:00 - 5:00 PM

COURT RESERVATIONS
Not required for National Croquet Club members, but suggested. All others should reserve in advance to ensure court space. Cancellations must be made 24 hours in advance; otherwise, a $20.00 fee will be imposed on next visit. Rain checks or refunds will be offered in case of inclement weather. (After September 1, reserve court times through the USCA office, 561-753-9141.)

GUEST FEES
The following fees apply to everyone who is not a member of the National Croquet Club. Arrangements are subject to double-banking and other special requirements to be determined when reserving court times through the Pro Shop. These fees apply only to the Launch Season and are subject to revision beginning February 1, 2001.

 One player     2 hours     $15.00 (one game period)
                4 hours     $20.00 (two game periods)
                6 hours     $25.00 (three game periods)
                8 hours     $30.00 (four game periods)

Two players: 2 hours $30.00 ($15..00 each) 4 hours $40.00 ($20.00 each)

Three-four 2 hours $50.00 ($12.50 each) players: 4 hours $60.00 ($15.00 each)

Full day court rental - $100.00 for up to 4 players. $120.00 for 5-8 players

Mallet rentals are available through the Pro Shop.

NATIONAL CROQUET CLUB MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES & FEES

Full Membership - $1000/yr; $1,500 couple
Affiliate Membership - $250/yr; $325 couple (any 14 days of the year)

Monthly Membership

     January through April - $250.00/month; $375 couple
     May through October - $100/month; $125 family
     November and December - $100/month, $150 couple
     (this Launch Season rate applies only in the year 2000)

NATIONAL CROQUET CLUB SUMMER MEMBERSHIPS

(These summer memberships confer full privileges and unlimited court time for the period May 1 through October 31.)

$300.00 single membership
$350.00 family membership
$100.00 single membership - one month only
$125.00 family membership - one month only

A printed seasonal calendar will be distributed to National Croquet Club members by December 1 and made available to all USCA members by request. In September 2000 the the National Croquet Center Website (www.CroquetNational.com) will debut with complete calendar and scheduling information updated frequently.


Corporate Groups and Private Parties - Rates and Amenities

The National Croquet Center is designed to offer to corporate clients and private parties the finest in resort-class programs for Golf Croquet - the fastest-growing form of the sport, learnable in minutes. A typical group program lasts about 3 1/2 hours, mixing instruction and competitive games with food, drink and socializing in one fun-filled package. The pro staff provides all equipment, instruction, and tournament management for these popular novice-level group events. Many other group formats may be designed to suit the client's requirements for time, style of catering, meeting space needed, and other amenities.

BASIC GROUP FEES:

$10/person/hour for groups of 16 or more.

"CROQUET LAWN PARTY" PACKAGE RATE $25/person for three- to four-hour event for 16-49 people. $22/person for three- to four-hour event for 50-99 people. $18/person for three- to four-hour event for 100 or more.

MAXIMUM GROUP SIZE

The Center is designed to accommodate up to 250 players simultaneously for Golf Croquet on the Center's 12 full-sized lawns.

MULTI-SPORTS OFFERINGS In addition to croquet, the Center can accommodate 8 Volleyball courts, bocce ball, and up to 18 rinks of lawn bowling.

CATERING AND OTHER AMENITIES

Event managers may choose their own caterers or ask the National Center to arrange catering. A large dining area is the main focus of the Festival Tent in the center of the facility. Meeting rooms are available on-site.

FOR INFORMATION OR TO RESERVE YOUR GROUP

Call (561) 753-9141
Fax (561) 753-8801
Email: USCA@msn.com

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