Back to
The Front Page
The Game


You key into your laptop computer all the basic data, just once--names of the players, handicaps, block divisions, game times, etc.--and out come beautifully designed ladders, forms, tables, and schedules for every conceivable purpose. It's a complete tournament program, and more, and all you need is a knowledge of Excel.

Just about everyone in the western U.S. states, by now, has seen John Taylor in action. He and his wife live in San Mateo, California and belong to the San Francisco Croquet Club, which John helped to organize as one of the directors in the mid-eighties. Recently retired at the age of 55, he's already much in demand as a tournament director and referee. He and his wife Rosemarie travel to the tournaments in a commodious and totally equipped landcruiser. Usually they park in a spot overlooking the croquet lawns lawns and post a big sign on the side that reads "Tournament Headquarters."

Taylor's low-key style calls for order, ease, and simplicity, and his specially developed computer programs for tournament direction are the final and crowning touch in his tournament director's reportoire.

It all started as recently as the 1994 San Francisco Open. As referee and "A" Flight Tournament Director, he decided to use a spreadsheet program to calculate the handicap adjustment points accrued by each player in the tournament and turned to Excel 5.0. "Beginning with the USCA forms for the player scorecard and handicap points, I created a lookup table to determine the adjustment points. In the process, I learned the potential of Excel. I then proceeded to create a whole series of 'workbooks' that can be used to automate all tournament documentation for block play formats."

Taylor has refined his workbooks for a year and a half, producing part or all of the documentation for many tournaments, both large and small, including the San Francisco Open, the California State Championship, the Sonoma Cutrer World Championship, and the USCA Nationals. The results: very few glitches and bugs, and very many rave reviews.

The program is at its best when the going gets tough: At the last minute, a medical emergency prevents the participation of one of the players, whose absence will affect everything in a well-run tournament, changing the seeding order and composition of the blocks. But now it's no problem. Within minutes, the blocks are reseeded, a new schedule is produced, and revised individual playing schedules are hand-delivered to all the affected participants. The tournament proceeds without a moment's delay.

Taylor reports that for most of the tournaments, he used his IBM type 486 laptop, but he has also used a Macintosh with equal results.

To use the program, a director needs only to enter the names of the players, their current handicaps, game times and court assignments. The program prints out customized lists of the players; the tournament schedule; individual player schedules; block assignments and block forms; and score sheets for courtside reporting of game scores.

When the game scores for a complete block have been entered, there need no longer be an extended break in play while all the tournament officials gather to compute placement of players in finals ladders. The program spits out in impeccable order complete block results, including scores, games won, net points, gross points, and block standings.

Finally, when the tournament is over and the scores of all the games are entered, a comprehensive Handicap Adjustment Report is produced, suitable for reporting the complete official results to the national sanctioning organization.

To use the workbooks you must own and know how to use Excel Rev 5.0 or greater. (The workbooks will not run on Excel 4.0.) If you understand Excel, you will find it easy to create additional customized reports as your circumstances may require. "For the printouts at the Sonoma Cutrer World Championship," Taylor recalls, "I printed a selected range in landscape format to show the block result. I also unprotected the sheet and added text to indicate triple peels."

Taylor's program consists of six files. Five are stand-alone workbooks for blocks of four, five, six, seven, or eight players. The sixth includes an extensive set of instructions with a general overview of the program and a step-by-step guide for each sheet. The instruction set is provided in both Word and ASCII text format.

Now, for the bottom line: where do you get it, and how much does it cost? Taylor is almost apologetic: "I'm not planning to get rich selling this application, but I also don't want to go broke copying disks and mailing them off." So he sells the set for $60.00, and you can order them directly from him:

John Taylor
24 North Quebec Street
San Mateo,
California 94401
telephone (415) 347-4881

Click here to view sample output

Back to Top   Copyright © 1996-2022 Croquet World Online Magazine. All rights reserved.