In 1985, six-wicket croquet came to Denver with the vision of Sparky O’Dea who formed the "Park Hill Croquet Club." They played in Denver’s, City Park on the most level turf they could find until they moved to the grassy center of the big flower garden in Washington Park. While playing in Wash Park, they discovered the fenced Lawn Bowling Green, which was established in 1924. They knew that the New York Croquet Club shared greens with lawn bowlers in Manhattan’s Central Park and thought it would be great to do the same in Denver.
Croquet players, John O’Dea, Sr., Charles Berberich, and Ed Merrill met with the City and pointed out that (in 1985), Denver had 163 tennis courts, 131 soccer fields, 46 football fields, 125 playgrounds, 24 recreation centers, 122 softball courts, 12 senior centers, open spaces for volleyball, one lawn bowling green, and not a single croquet court. The City responded favorably to the request that the Croquet Players be able to share the Green with the Washington Park Lawn Bowling Club.
Having sister clubs jointly share responsibility for the Green (including mowing and upkeep expenses) for more than 30 years is testimony to the dedication of members of both clubs. The two clubs have also agreed that once you have joined one club, you may join the other club for half-price!
We have a very busy joint calendar of activities to provide:
- participation of all members, at all skill levels
- instruction to members of the community
- an opportunity to a group that is rarely included in sport – the disabled. Croquet is a sport that is particularly friendly to the disabled including those with impaired vision, physical limitations and dementia/Alzheimer’s.
James Creasey, a Denver Croquet Club member, found that croquet brings those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers a way to connect with each other, a sport and the community. Please see more about his non-profit organization, JiminyWicket.
* Some information summarized from article originally written by Ed Merrill for Volume One of the Croquet Foundation of America's "Monograph Series on Club Building, Organization and Management" and republished as the online article "Croquet in Public Parks - A Case Study"