Hitting the ball around with pro Mike McDonnell

Monday, 10 April 2017
One of my favorite parts of visiting Napa Valley earlier this year (besides wine tasting at Domaine Carneros) was our croquet lesson with pro Mike McDonnell. He is the resident pro at Meadowood Resort and we enjoyed an hour of instruction on a day when we did not go wine tasting.


Can you believe how beautiful those grounds are? I would like to visit again for another lesson.

We learned that there are two versions of croquet. "English" competitive croquet with mallets that are square, and the Americanized "yard" version (can also be competitive) with mallets that have rounded edges. We learned the rules of the former.

Mike made the experience absolutely hilarious, interesting, and educational. James always seems to pretend that he doesn't really "do" sports but so far in our relationship I've come to realize that he is better than me at canoeing, corn hole, bowling, croquet... and the list goes on. I'm a competitive person and he fooled me into thinking I could win at life against him. Nope.

James was beating me during the game that Mike led us through and every so often our instructor would "tap in" and win the shot for me. Here's a great example:



I've always wanted to learn how to play croquet because you don't have to break a sweat, can enjoy a team sport, sip wine occasionally while playing, and play on the tournament courses throughout the world. Bucket list! 

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