The Four Seasons Hotel group opened a luxury hotel at Dogmersfield Park in February 2005. Amongst the many activities offered to guests was croquet. As there was no member of staff who knew how to play the game or what equipment was required, The Croquet Association was approached for advice. Michael Hague, the South East Development Officer, agreed with the hotel that a Croquet Club should be formed so that players, with a knowledge of the game, would be available to explain the rules to hotel guests and assist if required.
Consequently, Michael established a Club with the help of two members from Woking Croquet Club who lived nearby, Martin Mander and Anthony Cox. Some 18 people attended the inaugural meeting at Winchfield Village Hall and Dogmersfield Croquet Club was formed with Michael Hague as President, Martin Mander as Chairman and Coach and Jill Catt as Secretary and Treasurer.
A grant was made to the Club by the Croquet Association to purchase mallets, hoops, balls and flags. Notification of the Club’s formation was advertised in the local press and recruitment started. The hotel grounds staff prepared the lawn and some 20 new members were instructed in the basics of Golf Croquet by Michael and Martin in early May 2005. By the start of the 2006 season the Club had 42 members and started to play friendly matches against other clubs and joined in local leagues.
It should be noted that the Club plays at the Four Seasons Hotel, Dogmersfield , on a ‘Grace and Favour’ basis. The lawn is only half size (having been a grass tennis court) and is maintained by the hotel. Hotel guests have the right to play as they please and can ask for instruction. With the goodwill of the Management and Club members it works well.