Buying a Mallet
A brief guide
A New Mallet
So you have been a member for a year and now, in accordance with Club policy, it’s time to consider buying your own mallet. Or is it time to change to a mallet that will better suit your style of play? Perhaps a slightly different length, longer head, parallel ovoid shaft.
With your own mallet you can master its playing characteristics and know how to play a shot the same every time. Mallet characteristics do differ, quite significantly, between types and this does affect the shots you play. If you always play with a club mallet and cannot always have the same one, your play will be adversely affected. This is why we ask you to buy your own mallet; not just to ensure new members have a range of mallets to try-out before they too, purchase.
Changing to a personal mallet will force you to ‘go back to basics’ and concentrate on playing shots correctly. Change can be beneficial.
Before you purchase or change do ensure you have tried as many different mallets as you can. The club has a reasonable range but there are far more varieties in personal possession. Do ask other members if you may try a few shots with their mallet and ask about their thoughts on its characteristics. Most players will happily discuss the pros and cons of their mallet.
A standard mallet used to be 36”, i.e. in AC the yard line measure – inside edge of white boundary line to centre point of the ball. It mostly depends on your height. I started at 36” went to 39”, very uncomfortable, and am now ‘happy at 35”. It is important to experiment and find the right blend of height, weight and head length. Mallets are mostly ‘made to order’ these days so you can be quite precise in the specification.
Below is the Croquet Association short guide on mallet selection and then there are a few pages of adverts that appear regularly in the Gazette; all are very popular. As at Feb 22 the CA is only offering 2 ‘club / personal’ mallets, but do check the when you really are about to buy.
Don’t forget EBay Good second hand mallets can be good deals - a new grip, ‘brush and varnish’ - sorted.
Other suppliers are available on the web but, I would seek advice from an experienced member first.
If you are a serious player you may find the information on mallets on the excellent Oxford Croquet Website of interest.
Croquet Association Guide to Buying a Mallet
Choice of mallet is a very personal thing. There are no hard and fast rules but here are some things to think about.
Weight - Most people will want to choose a mallet which is in the range 2lb 12oz to 3lb 4oz. If in doubt, you should not go far wrong with a 3lb mallet. If you are choosing a mallet which is particularly long (or short) then you may want to add (or reduce) the weight a little, since it is the head weight which is important, and of course you will be adding (or reducing) weight in the handle.
A heavier mallet may make long shots easier, and you can hit harder and straighter with less effort. A lighter mallet will make stop-shots and delicate strokes on a fast lawn easier.
Length - There are no hard and fast rules for choosing length, as a player’s style can significantly affect the length of mallet which is required. If possible, find a mallet which is too long for you, and adjust your grip to a height on the mallet which is comfortable for you. This will tell you how long you need. If this is not possible, then a general rule is to take the height of your wrist from the ground, when your arm is hanging down by your side. Add an inch to this.
However, Solomon grip players will generally want a longer mallet (add about 4 inches) and an Irish grip player will generally want a shorter length. If in doubt, get a mallet which errs on the long side — you can always shorten the shaft if it proves too long, but you can't add to it if it proves too short!
Remember when specifying length, always give the total length of the mallet, from the ground to the tip of the handle (i.e. including the depth of the head).
Head length - We recommend a standard mallet which has a head length of 9 to 10", for beginners. A longer mallet head is thought to make aiming more accurate and makes it harder to accidentally twist the mallet during the stroke. However, a longer head is more awkward to use, and beginners may find they are taking divots out of the lawn. It is better to start with a shorter head, and increase the length once you have more experience. A sight line will help you line up your shot.
Mallet Handle - The mallets we sell have either wooden or carbon fibre handles. Mallets with carbon fibre handles are generally a bit more expensive but they are generally better balanced and can reduce jarring. Handles with an octagonal profile provides additional directional feedback and does help you line up your shot. Handles are usually fitted with a wrap round grip or a moulded foam grip for comfort.
Disclaimer The advertisements below feature regularly in the CA Gazette and are reproduced here purely for information. Neither the Club nor the webmaster endorse the mallets featured below, although you will see several members using these advertised mallets. There are more makers. These give an idea as to cost and features available.