Our mallets are specially designed with a wedged face and machined for extreme play, which means they are able to take serious punishment under the worst conditions of terrain and weather.
Our mallets are made of 3.25-inch Polycarbonate with 1.125 inch birch shafts, pinned completely through the head and shaft with 0.25-inch steel rod, then glued with golf-shaft epoxy (many name brands out there). The Polycabonate is much tougher than wood, as we found over the years of development.
Normally tough woods like iron wood, hornbeam, oak, etc. shatter in practically no time. Only the polycarbonate heads survived. Actually, we used to make them out of aeronautical grade 6/6 Nylon, but even they have been known to chip in the 20-degree January 1 New Year's Championship (played at 12:01 AM every New Year's eve).
Polycarbonate is noted for being literally bullet-proof. It is used in helmet material, bullet-proof vests and other assorted highly survivable objects.
It is way cool - the heads are transparent and really high-tech looking. We have totally switched over to using Polycarbonate in our mallets.
We have broken a couple of the birch shafts, but again only under the most unusual of circumstances. We are in the process of trying metal prototypes, in both shaft and head designs. Maybe polymeric liquid-crystal carbon-fiber next !!!
We still use wooden balls whenever we can get them, except in the winter when good plastic polymer balls are necessary. The wooden balls tend to shatter in the dead of winter. It is not at all unusual to shatter a ball anytime during eXtreme play. Have an extra ball or two available in the event of a shatter.
We have three different wickets for specific uses on our courses.
All wickets except the turn wickets and the center wickets are 0.5-inch steel pipe (not cast iron plumbing pipe: that snaps off after a few games when getting hit by the sledge hammers) with welded high-pressure steel elbows connecting the pieces. They are very heavy, and we are trying to come up with new ideas that might work. The beauty of them, however, is that it is possible to slam balls into them with amazing strength and get great caroms. The wickets themselves are six inches across the top and twelve inches long. This gives a reasonably large target, which are needed and appreciated in the courses we play.
The second type of wicket we use is the center wicket (we actually use two of them, since we play a twelve-wicket course). These are also 0.5-inch steel pipe, but they are double-tiered wickets. We use the regular twelve-inch pipe for the sides, but instead of an elbow connecting the pipes, we use a T-connection. The second tier of the wicket is eight-inch steel pipe, again connected with high-pressure steel elbows at the top. The reason for this type of wicket is simple: if a player hits through the bottom tier, he/she would get one shot; should the player hit through the top tier, he/she would get two shots. This is one reason to used wedged mallets.
The third type of wicket we use is for the turn, where, hopefully, there will be constant interaction between the players. These are standard competition wickets ... very narrow ... very difficult. When these wickets are combined with the great length between the two turn wickets and the general problems of terrain, you get players clumped at the turn, roqueting each other down hills and into streams.
New Wickets DevelopedPosts:
Our posts are made of 1.25-inch steel rod, machined to a point at one end. As with all of our equipment,this is necessary due to the harsh conditions found not only in frozen winter ground, but in the rocky fields and state park areas where we play. We carry a five-pound sledge with us for setting both the posts and wickets.
The layout of a course ... or how and where you place your wickets and posts ... can be the thing that makes or breaks your game.
Normally (what ever that means) we pick very difficult courses. But we use different courses in different weather, or different courses depending how we feel that particular day.
FieldsCourses are never measured. We use courses that range from about 50 yards in winter, up to about 80 yards in regular weather. Our average course length is probably 75 yards, although we have played up to 125-150. We don't play that far anymore because that kind of distance takes out the "touch" factor. One of our courses, "The Pit", is about 60 yards from post to post. Wharton Brook Park is usually about 80 yards.
We almost always place the wickets where the terrain demands them to be. We DO NOT place wickets at measured distances. The distance from wicket to wicket can be anything from 10/15 yards to 40/60 yards.
It is very common for for us to make a right angle turn in the middle of the course, like a dog-leg. This adds to the total complexity, and makes the course even more interesting. Sometimes the courses will look downright lop-sided. You should always follow the terrain. Keep in mind it's quality, not quantity.
If we find a group of trees, we put the wickets where the trees provide a natural barrier to their access ... in other words we make sure the trees are in the way. We put the wickets in places where, if you over-shoot the shot by three feet, you drop off a ledge or steep grade. We make sure there's a stump in the way, or a stream bed with water in it. Railroad tracks are particularly gruesome. Just try to use any hindurance or obstruction to make the game its most challenging.
Ask yourself ... are you scared, or do you want to play eXtreme?