Back to
The Front Page
News & Features

New courts attract more players
and events to the Czech Republic

Story and photos courtesy of Stepan Hazdra
Posted March 27, 2013


Related Links
Czech-moravian Croquet Association
Czech Croquet
Croquet Club Dynamo Telc
World Croquet Federation


The Czech Republic, landlocked in Central Europe, borders Germany, Poland, Slovakia, and Austria and boasts a population of more than ten million. Remembered by most Westerners for the brief "Prague Spring" in 1968--an early crack in the Iron Curtain--the Czech Republic became subject to international law in 1993, when the Federal Republic of Czechoslovakia was finally dissolved. The country was admitted to NATO in March 1999 and to the European Union in 2004. The Czech Republic is a democratic country headed by a liberal state regime, maintaining a multi-party parliamentary system based on free political discourse among the parties, with a free market economy. The President is the head of state, balanced by the two-chambered houses of parliament and an independent judiciary.

Croquet was played in Czechia more than 125 years ago, and even today there are remnants of croquet courts in the chateau parks of a few old stately homes. Interest lapsed with World War II and the subsequent change in the political system, and then when croquet became popular in the 1970s as a favourite game for family summer weekends away, it was backyard croquet--without any unified rules and no clubs or other organizations to regulate and standardize the game. The only available equipment was wire hoops, wooden balls and lightweight mallets.

More than 125 years ago, a few stately homes had croquet courts in their parks, like this one at Chateau Sychrov.

In 2001 the need to found an integrated national croquet organisation in the Czech Republic took seed in several towns all at once. In Havirov, the Asociace ceskomoravskeho kroketu (The Czech-Moravian Croquet Association) was organized. Other clubs soon discovered Czech croquet through the Internet. By 2002, the first national competitions began. After a few seasons of increasing membership, the first National Championship was organised in 2005.

CROQUETING IN
THE CZECH REPUBLIC

Every year the only international competition in the Czech Republic -- The Mill Cup tournament, for Golf Croquet -- takes place in Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad), about 100 scenic kilometres west of Prague. In 2013, the dates are 6-8 September. For more information, email president@kroket.org.

Today the association has six registered clubs and about forty very active members. Among them are teachers, doctors, technicians and students of all ages, from their early twenties to seventies. Our common interest--croquet--is helping to bridge or erase generational and social gaps.

Coincidentally, all the Czech clubs have been established in towns and cities considered very attractive to visitors, so when you decide to visit, be sure to book a tour guide as well!

Club portraits suggest flexible dress standards in the Czech Republic.

Championships for individuals or clubs within the republic are held regularly. Every year the only international competition in the Czech Republic--The Mill Cup--happens in Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad) in September--the ideal month to visit the country. Previous Golf Croquet Mill Cup Open tournaments have hosted players from nearby Germany as well as other countries, including Carole Jackson from South Africa and David Hopkins and Graham Thompson from England. The contact information for Mill Cup sign-up is: president@kroket.org . The most important Association Croquet event of the year is the Czech national championship in Prague in early July.

International players are invited to Septemberís Mill Cup tournament in Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad), a world-famous spa resort--Golf Croquet on the best croquet lawns in the Republic.

In the spring of 2013, the only purpose-built regulation croquet courts are in Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad), a world-renowned spa town near the western boundary with Germany, known for its treatment of various movement and digestive disorders. Although croquet is an ideal activity for convalescence, so far the two local croquet clubs are used mainly by club members. The club, on the grounds of the Karlovy Vary adjacent to a stylish hotel, has a predominantly female membership.

Not every competition has such good courts as Karlovy Vary, so players at most other venues have had to settle for lawns on improvised football pitches.

Itís not always easy to peg out on a football field.

But not for long: The local club in the beautiful town of Telc in the middle of the country, with its medieval town centre listed by UNESCO, is constructing new courts and club facilities with great fervour. A new multifunctional sports complex is being developed on the site of an old fruit orchard and initially two, and later up to four courts will be available to members and visitors. We're hoping that the new, expanded, world-class facilities will attract larger-scale international croquet events.

The medieval town of Telc may soon become the main international focus of croquet in the Czech Republic. The multifunctional sports complex being developed here will include up to four croquet courts.

Another gorgeous town with a croquet club is Horice, in the far east of the Republic, about 200 kilometers by auto from Prague. The town is distinguished for its beautiful stonework. Artists who gather for festivals and workshops on sculpture and masonry often leave their works behind to grace parks and other public spaces. The local croquet club has the highest average age among Czech members, but it is the most active in participating in competitions and other club activities.

Artists at sculpture and masonry meetings and festivals in Horice sometimes leave their work behind. The croquet club is the most active in the Republic.

International cooperation began in 2005, when we established relations with Austrian player Leopold Walderdorff. Based on his recommendations, the Czech-Moravian Croquet Association in 2012 became an Observer member of the WCF and a full member of the European Croquet Federation. Recent amendments to the Statutes of the WCF has encouraged the Czech-Moravian Croquet Association to apply for Associate membership.

Prague and Ostrava are favorite tourist destinations--and they also have croquet clubs.

From year 2005 on, Czech players have established themselves in international competitions and are competing on a regular basis in European and world events. Among the achievements of the national team are a first place in the 3rd Tier of the MacRobertson Shield 2010, third place in the Golf Croquet World Championship Division 2 in 2012, and David Hajn's 2nd place at the European Continental Championship 2008.

This Czech team won the MacRobertson Group C in 2010.

Czech players often take part in competitions in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Players in those nearby countries have always been those who have supported us in the international arena, and we are indebted to them.

But now we are ready to welcome croquet players from everywhere. When you come to the Czech Republic, you can see the sights, get to know the culture, meet new friends....and play competitive croquet on fine courts. Check us out!

Stepan Hazdra, president of the national association.
Stepan Hazdra, president of the Czech-Moravian Croquet Association, is married with one young son and has been playing croquet for more than 20 years. He lives with his family in Jihlava, a town halfway between Prague and Vienna in the approximate middle of the country, and just 40 kilometres from Telc, where he cofounded the Telc-Dynamo Club. Stepan is one of the prime movers of the new croquet development there. He works as a project manager in a small telecommunications company.


 
Back to Top   Copyright © 1996-2017 Croquet World Online Magazine. All rights reserved.