1. Early season pressures on lawn space, and mitigations
For the first part of 2021, we will have only lawns 1 to 5 available. We also have ambitious plans this year for recruitment, community outreach and organised club events, and our normal level of matches, tournaments etc. If demand from members is anything like 2020, there could be busy times when some members can't get a game because the lawns are all fully booked, and other quieter times.
This means we must plan for more effective sharing. Some initiatives we will take are:
- Modified lawn maintenance slots to improve weekday morning availability - we can start from 9:00 am most days, except Tuesday and Friday which are mowing days and have a staggered start time. This comes with an expectation of flexibility on other weekday mornings; weather-dependent lawn work may occasionally be needed at short notice.
- More active management of bookings (e.g. moving a booking to another lawn) to reduce dead time between bookings.
- Making much more use of half lawns – particularly for activities such as social groups, juniors, community days, club events, coaching, Summer School, solo practice sessions etc. We hope this will leave sufficient capacity for members to be able to get full lawns for club competitions, club friendlies etc. All 5 lawns will have hoop holes for either full or half lawn play, but we will encourage half-lawn activities to use lawns 2 & 3, where possible leaving lawns 1, 4 & 5 for full lawn usage.
- Organised club events like the Alternate stroke doubles and GC Hi-Lo doubles will use half lawns. These events were planned to run separately but have now combined into "Club social doubles afternoons" where some will choose AC and some GC, and all mingle (if we're allowed) afterwards over tea and cake.
- We will consider adjustments to the club competitions, or least manage them more actively so we don't have an impossible demand for lawn space in September, though we hope and expect to have the west lawns available before then.
A way all members can help is - where reasonably convenient - to try to minimise bookings in busy / popular time slots and utilise quieter times. Last year, evenings and Sundays were often quieter. Note that on weekdays before 3pm, lawns may occasionally be needed at short notice for weather-dependent maintenance work such as fertilising, verticutting, sorrel rolling etc. This can usually be accomodated by moving bookings from one lawn to another and using double-banking, but if we are booked to 100% capacity this may not be possible.
We have also provided some advice on this website on double banking and on adapting to full lawns after half lawn usage and vice versa.
Members may book individually up to a week in advance. Bookings such as tournaments, matches, beginner coaching courses, community events, Open Days and formal coaching sessions will be entered on the booking system further in advance. We try to keep a balance and leave most of the time for play between members.
If we all co-operate nicely and are reasonably flexible we should be able to avoid using the quotas features of the booking system.
We may need to review these arrangements in the light of experience.
We hope very soon to have the west lawns too, and have little or no need for such constraints, and to be able to reintroduce "roll-up" slots for spontaneous play.
2. Booking and use of half-lawns and full lawns
At a practical level, the lawn booking system has been modified to show each of the 5 east lawns as two entities, suffixed "L/P" and "R/S".
- When a lawn is used as two half sized lawns, then "L" and "R" are relevant: L is for left, as seen from the pavilion and R for right. Double banking on half lawns is not recommended (but of course doubles play is).
- When a lawn is used as a full lawn then it may be double banked (with a game in the same "code"), and in this case "P" is for Primary colours, and "S" for secondary.
When you make a booking, the booking Type will default to "Half Lawn". If you wish instead to book a full lawn, simply change the Type to "Association Croquet", "Golf Croquet" or "Other". The other half of the lawn can then be booked by double bankers so long as they choose the same Type.
When two halves of a lawn are in use, there will be a need for 12 hoops. The R half should use the trolley for the relevant lawn number. The left half can use hoops from a west lawn trolley (6, 7 or 8) or a set of aluminium hoops or even - depending on the users of the lawn - wire hoops.
When any of the eastern lawns is used as two half lawns, the hoop nearest to the pavilion is always hoop 4. When used as full lawns, the hoop nearest to the pavilion is always hoop 1.
Members may - as last year - book a lawn and in the text say they are looking for an opponent. If you do so, we hope you will be willing to concede your space if someone else has an opponent and nowhere else to play. You may also book lawns for solo practice, but please avoid busy times.
Finally remember that if you are having difficulty getting a booking which you want, need or deserve, please contact Rob Edlin-White, or in his absence Beatrice McGlen, or in both their absences, Ian Vincent and we will do what we can to help.
3. General conditions for club play during the COVID-19 pandemic
The club has adopted some temporary rules which can be found here: Rules during COVID-19 Epidemic. The 2021 second edition will be shared very soon. These rules must be observed for the safety, health and reassurance of all our members, to comply with the law and to avoid any kind of reputational damage.
The rules refer to the lawn booking system which must be used to book lawns in advance. The system can be found here: Croquet Lawn Booking System. It can be used from desktop or laptop computers or tablets or any device which supports a web browser and has a screen large enough for you to see the content.
Guidance notes have been circulated and can be accessed here: Lawn booking system user guide.
Please always check this page of the club website and the lawn booking system before making a journey, even if you have made a booking, just in case something has occured which may affect your booking.
FINALLY PLEASE REMEMBER:
You must remain 2m apart at all times ; particular care must be taken when playing GC not to congregate around hoops.
If you have been to the club and then become sick, have a positive COVID-19 test or have to self-isolate because someone in your household is unwell, then you must inform the club secretary, Ellen Gee, immediately.