It’s a perfect way to spend an afternoon.
There are three courts at the club. The croquet
lawns were and still are used for weddings. A
small clubhouse exists to the west of the courts
and the club has hosted lunch and special events
like the tournament awards ceremony there. An
antique wooden croquet set is on display inside
the clubhouse, as well as several framed photos of
the founders of the club.
Fred Jones first introduced the game to Blaine.
Fred is in the Croquet Hall of Fame and is a
member of the United States Croquet Association.
He and his wife, Jackie, are both instructors.
“Fred was an incredible coach,” Blaine said.
Blaine first started competitively playing with
“I liked playing croquet more than golf because
you have an opponent … in golf your playing in
The United States Croquet Association (USCA)
has developed a ranking system based on how
well ranked players play in tournaments against
other ranked players. In any given tournament, the
tournament director puts similarly-ranked players
together, so the better a player plays, the better
their opponents eventually become.
22 GASPARILLA ISLAND July/August 2019
Croquet is usually played in
a beautiful area,
on a gorgeous day
with treasured friends.
- Mark Masselink
In most tournaments, the tournament director
groups the players in three “flights”:
1. Championship Flight (best players)
2. First Flight (players whose ranks are lower
than the players in the Championship Flight)
3. Second Flight (players whose ranks are lower
than the players in the First Flight)
In a tournament, each flight has its own set of
games for players in that flight, and a winner is
declared for each flight based on the results of
The Gasparilla Mallet Club is also the home of
the Grande Dames of Croquet who play golf
croquet – another version of the game, which is
becoming very popular.
Islanders Candy Shy Hooper, Lucinda Sullivan
and Nancy White play about twice a week.
Instructors Lucinda Sullivan and Pia Lindstrom,
lead the group that includes Jane Geniesse, Pam
Miles, Nancy White, Liz Verney, Susie Tinsley and
“They look lovely on the court in their whites,
and they play a cutthroat, strategic game,” said
player Candy Shy Hooper, who is currently
recovering from spine surgery, but still comes to