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Tournament vs Recreational mallets
Differentiating types of mallets leaves alot to be desired as far as terminology. Typically, "Tournament mallets" are used with 16 ounce balls. They are capable of standing up to striking a full weight ball without premature failure (shaft breakage or head splitting). "Recreational mallets" are usually lighter weight and have little or no reinforcement on the striking faces. They are meant for backyard (garden) play with balls weighing 12 ounces or less.
- Mallet height: There are several factors that will determine the best mallet height. These include the type of grip you use (Irish, Standard or Solomon), your overall height and body proportions (long torso/short legs/long or short arms). A player using the Irish grip will typically use a mallet 2" - 3" shorter than the those using the Standard or Solomon grip. A good starting point would be to try several mallet heights and choose one that doesn't have you bending too much at the waist.
- Head length: Unlike golfers who have a bag full of different clubs for each situation they find themselves in, croquet players are limited to one. For this reason, we have to compromise on head length. A long head will give higher peripheral weighting which stabilizes the mallet. A short head allows for a steeper angle of attack, which is necessary to perform an effective stop shot. Somewhere in the middle is the best solution to most of your shots. If you are selecting a lighter mallet, you can still get satisfactory stop shots with a longer head (11" - 12"). However, if the mallet weight is heavier, you'll want to consider a shorter head (9" - 10")
- Ash~Aluminum~Graphite: Ranging from least expensive to best performing, you can decide to use any of these handle choices.
- Ash is the traditional material used for mallet handles. It's inexpensive, performs well but also weighs the most out of the 3 choices.
- Aluminum reduces the weight of the handle by 3 - 4 ounces, thereby lowering the center of gravity and lightening the mallet or allowing for more weight to be placed in the head without compromising the overall mallet weight.
- Graphite or Carbon Fiber is the lightest material of the 3, weighing only 7 ounces. To keep the weight as low as possible, our handles are covered with a one-piece lightweight foam grip. In addition to its light weight, another benefit is the ability to alter the flex of the handle by changing the orientation of the fibers in the fabric that it is built from.
- Graphite Rigid vs MidFlex: There are equal number of players preferring each flex. In a nutshell,
- Rigid handles provides greater feedback to the player on what is happening when they make contact with the ball.
- MidFlex handles offer a softer strike on the ball. There is increased cushioning, which is beneficial if the player experiences any joint pain (arthritis, tennis elbow, rotator cuff etc)