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ne might imagine, while driving down the tree- lined gravel road to what suddenly comes into view as a vast space of solid green grass, that someone has discovered a hidden corner of what might have been the playground of some Pre- Revolutionary War estate. Nestled between the Piankatank and Rap- pahannock rivers, this parcel may have belonged to an unknown colonist who brought with him his vast wealth and British traditions. The reality is that just a half-dozen years ago, the land was an old peach orchard.


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About five years ago, Macey White was invited by a friend to join him on a trip to play croquet. Macey had played around with the game as a child, with a traditional wooden croquet set so many children have received as Christmas gifts. The bent wire hoops and varnished wooden balls came neatly packed, along with varnished wooden mallets in a handy wooden rack. White, like so many generations of children, had found it impossible to really control the ball on the relatively rough turf of even a well- maintained lawn. Macey White said, as a child he was always frustrated by the fact that he could never really control where the ball would land. The croquet set was relegated to storage.


White assumed that his friend was taking him to a backyard game of croquet and was surprised when he learned he would be participating in a formal croquet game at a serious croquet court. White said that from the very first mo- ment he took a modern-day croquet mallet in hand and hit the first ball, he knew he would grow to love the game of croquet. It was love at first sight. What he probably did not know at the time was just how deeply involved in croquet he would become and how quickly. White said that he wished he had


discovered his passion for the game of croquet when he was in his twenties. In a very short time, he was traveling to croquet tournaments in Florida and anywhere else he could play. He was sur- prised to discover croquet is not a child’s game or a game for geriatrics. It is an


The House & Home Magazine


adult game. “The first day I played, I real- ized the game was complicated enough that it was going to take me a while to learn how to play it and even longer to learn the strategy of the game,” he said. “And that is what I fell in love with.” The more White played, the more he liked it and the more he became “addicted” to the game. White has become a nation- ally ranked croquet player. Last year, he played in four- teen tournaments. The United States Croquet Association (USCA) has a system called the Grand


Prix, which ranks players based on their winning scores in games through- out the year played at places like the Meadow Club in South Hampton, NY, at the Pinehurst Resort in North Caro- lina, at clubs in Florida, at a host of resorts up and down the East Coast, and at Mission Hills in Palm Springs, California. White ranked seventh in the top sixty 2016 Grand Prix of croquet.


Like the Ray Kinsella character, in the 1989 blockbuster fantasy movie Field of Dreams, White had a dream. His dream was to become a highly skilled croquet player and to one day bring croquet to Hartfield, Virginia. Soon, White interested friends like John Priest in playing croquet. Be- fore very long, he and his friends got together to form what is known as the Chesapeake Bay Croquet Club located in Hartfield. The club is located on State Route 3, just off Twiggs Ferry Road, be- tween the Piankatank River Bridge and the Hartfield firehouse.


White and some of his friends played at a court in Mathews, Virginia, but the turf needed work to bring it up to cham- pionship standards. They considered renovating the old court in Mathews; however, White said it was going to cost


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Macey White about to shoot the ball through a wicket. Photo courtesy of Bob Cerullo.


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