In its quest to become an outdoor recreation and active living destination, the Town of Round Hill again has found a way to attract new visitors—this time by hosting a regional croquet tournament.
The town will play host to the United States Croquet Association’s Southeast Regional 9-Wicket Tournament at Woodgrove Park from June 7 to 9. Town Planner Melissa Hynes said the idea came from a member of the town’s Outdoors Committee who was researching uncommon sports that would be new and different for residents. She said that bringing the tournament to town aligns with the goals of the comprehensive plan, which strive to promote the town as a getaway destination and to foster community gathering experiences.
“We’re trying to revitalize that concept that we are the quiet mountain destination,” Hynes said. “This is a great opportunity—it’s cool. I’m excited.”
The association will manage and staff the event and provide croquet equipment. It will also hold a free clinic June 5-6 for residents to brush up on their skills and decide if they have what it takes to play in the tournament, which will feature different flights for different skill levels.
Although spectators are invited to watch the games for free, participants will have to pay a $95 entry fee. Of that amount, $15 will pay for their croquet association membership, $10 will go toward administrative costs and $35 will pay for trophies. Macey White, the association’s southeast regional president, said that the remaining $35 from each registration would be given to the town to purchase croquet equipment.
A handful of professional croquet players will be on hand to play alongside any residents who sign up.
Because the county’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department maintains Woodgrove Park, it will be responsible for creating four temporary croquet fields on the property, at no cost to the town. Round Hill also will carry the insurance for the event and pay for advertising and promotions.
Hynes said that hosting the tournament would also be a way to stimulate the town and county’s economy, as visitors will ultimately need to eat, find a place to stay and perhaps go shopping. “With tournaments comes people,” she said.
Mayor Scott Ramsey said that the cost to host the tournament would be minimal and that it’s a great way to encourage residents to get outdoors more often. “We hope the visiting players enjoy their time in the area and that they have a wonderful tournament,” he said.
According to White, the association looked at four locations for the tournament before deciding that Round Hill was the best choice. Aside from Woodgrove Park having the idea landscape for 9-wicket croquet—taller grass with undulations in the ground—what really caught the association’s attention was the town’s willingness to embrace the sport.
“The number one thing which really sealed it for us was Round Hill’s interest in promoting croquet,” White said. “When you put it all together, I think Round Hill is a very attractive venue for us.”
White said that the tournament for the southeastern region, which spans from Virginia to Georgia, has never been held in Northern Virginia and that the association would consider Round Hill as a future site for the National 9 Wicket Championship if next year goes well. He said that 2020 might be a good bet.
“I would expect that at some time in the next few years, if Round Hill is still interested, we will see [that],” he said. “I’m going to push for it.”