The current form of handicap GC uses extra strokes and is played mainly in Australia, England, and New Zealand and almost nowhere else. It is not generally regarded as the optimal way of allowing players of different abilities to compete on equal terms.
In 2020, the WCF Management Committee (“MC”) obtained details from the Croquet Association of Ireland of a form of handicap GC that it had used successfully in recent years. This did not use extra strokes but instead gave the weaker player an advantage in the form of a certain number of hoops. Unlike the current form of handicap GC, this version did not require different tactics from the level game and it was believed that this made it easier for new and improving players to develop.
The MC then established a Working Group with representatives from Australia, England, Latvia, Uruguay and USA with the task of coming up with a statistically sound and yet simple-to-use algorithm which would give both players a 50/50 chance of winning a game through an adjustment of the number of hoops that needed to be scored by one or both players to win a game.
The Working Group has developed a form of GC which has been named “Advantage GC”. The MC believes that Advantage GC has an excellent chance of gaining general support amongst the playing community if they have the opportunity to try it out.
2021 Official Trial Results
An official trial took place during the English CA's Southern Croquet Federation (SCF) 2021 League season.
The WCF are pleased to report that the trial was completed successfully, with both good data and subjective feedback received.
Roy Tillcock, who organised the trial, has analysed this data and it is extremely encouraging. We know that many clubs around the world tested the new variant, and their feedback was also extremely favourable. We thank everyone who has helped test the game and submitted their data.
The full results can be seen here > SCF 2021 Advantage Trial Report
2022 update - amendments identified
The trial showed that most people felt this game provided a closer experience to level play GC than using extra strokes. The data showed that this variant provided closer matches than the use of extra strokes. Previous analysis has shown that extra strokes generally favours the stronger player, however, data collected over some 836 games of Advantage GC, showed that in some cases there was a slight advantage for the weaker player. To correct this, the Starting Scores Table has been amended.
There is a new table to be used - First to 7 point - and this should be downloaded and used for all future games of Advantage GC, not the table published last year.
Click here to download the Advantage 2022 table> Advantage 2022_First-to-7-points_Handicaps -6 to 14
A revised document explaining the game and incorporating helpful advice around scoring and use of the Starting Scores can be found here >How to play Advantage GC - March 2022 revision
Further alterations to the Table may be made at the end of 2022 if further collected results identify the requirement.
We invite you all to give the game a try and, if you wish to, please send us feedback. Please let us know your impressions and observations and also provide game results which show the handicaps and/or DGrades of the players. Please use the dedicated email address set up for this purpose – firstname.lastname@example.org