What Is Curling?

Curling is a team sport played by two teams of four players each on a rectangular sheet of carefully prepared ice.  Teams take turns sliding heavy, polished granite stones down the ice towards the target (which is called the house).  Two sweepers with brooms accompany each rock and may sweep in front of the stones, making them go further and straighter, to their resting place. The complex nature of stone placement and shot selection has led some to refer to curling as “chess on ice”. The World Curling Federation publishes the complete curling rules and regulations.
A curling game is made up of 8 ends, and teams are made up of four players. The head of the team is called the “skip” and is generally the most experienced. An end consists of each team member throwing two rocks, or curling stones, down the ice towards a point chosen by the skip. Each throw alternates between the two opposing  teams.  The positions on the team are:

  • Lead – throws the first 2 stones
  • Second – throws the next 2 stones
  • Third or “Vice” – throws the next 2 stones and takes over the role of the skip while he/she throws the last 2 stones
  • Skip – Team “captain” – stands in the house and directs the delivery of the stones of the other team players

A 12-foot circle (the “house”) is the scoring area. For each stone closer to the center of the circles than any of the opponent’s stones, one point is scored. The team scoring in one end shoots first in the next end, giving the opponent the “hammer”, or last shot of that end (there is some advantage to having the last stone in an end).  The sheet of ice (playing surface) is 15′ 7 1/2″ wide and 146 feet long, set up to accommodate play in both directions. The shooter must be accurate in aim, weight (velocity in delivery) and giving the rock the correct “handle” (or curl).

Each running stone curls (curves) as it proceeds down the ice depending on the twist it was given during delivery. The curl allows for better control of the stone. Team members sprint along the path of the stone and sweep with curling brooms to control the curl and the speed.  Sweeping slightly warms the ice, which reduces the friction between the
running stone and the ice surface. The result is the stone will curl less and slide farther.  The skip tells the sweepers when to sweep (or to stop sweeping) the stone.

The Curling Experience

The Plainfield Curling Club will have several opportunities this year for anyone hoping to get a taste of what curling is all about! We call this popular event “The Curling Experience.”

This two-hour event will be held occasionally throughout the season for a limited number of people who sign up and register ahead of time. It’s just $50 per person, and you can sign up by yourself or with friends or family, as long as we have enough openings!

No previous curling experience is necessary! In this two-hour session you’ll get a brief overview and learn the basics of delivery and sweeping on our ice, then play a short game against the other participants!

If interested, please FILL OUT THIS FORM and click Submit to request an available time slot and receive more information.

Our next session is Saturday, March 11th, 10 AM to Noon.  Submit the above form if interested.  More sessions will be announced soon.

 

Group/Corporate Outings at PCC
Put your next Company or Group event on ice!

A curling outing at the Plainfield Curling Club in South Plainfield, NJ — the state’s only dedicated curling facility — is ideal for a unique group activity or an unusual corporate event.

We offer two-hour sessions for 8-16 people. (We have two sheets of ice at our club — 8 people are ideal for one sheet, 16 for two sheets. That said, we have accommodated slightly more and slightly less.) Our sessions include 30 minutes of instruction followed by games between the people in your group, assisted by our experienced coaches. You’ll learn how to deliver a rock, how to sweep and begin to understand the nuance and strategy of the sport.

The focus is on fun and the atmosphere is relaxed. Our club offers a lounge/viewing area with a full bar for socializing. The dynamics of the sport — four people, working together on every shot with constant communication — provide a terrific team-building exercise.

Our availability for private events is during most weekday daytime hours with the last available slot being 4-6 PM. The weekday hours that are not available are Tuesdays from 10AM-12 PM and Thursdays from 4-6 PM. Occasionally, we may have weekend availability but we have league play on most Saturdays and Sundays. Please view our club calendar for specific dates.

Our ice is usually ready by October 1st and our season runs until mid-April. If you’re interested in booking an event at our club, please contact us for pricing and availability!

Corporate Outings Contact Form

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FAQs

What is curling?

A curling game is made up of 8 ends (sort of like “innings”), or 10 in a championship and teams are made up of four players. The head of the team is called the “skip” and is usually the most experienced. An end consists of each team member throwing two rocks, or curling stones, down the ice towards a point chosen by the skip. Each throw alternates between the two opposing teams. A total of 16 stones is delivered each end.

A 12-foot circle (the house) is the scoring area. For each stone closer to the center of the circles than any of the opponent’s stones, one point is scored. The team scoring shoots first in the next end, giving the opponent the “hammer”, or last shot of that end. The sheet of ice (playing surface) is 15’71/2″ wide and 146 feet long, set up to accommodate play in both directions. The shooter must be accurate in aim, weight (velocity in delivery) and giving the rock the correct “handle” (or curl).

Each running stone curls (curves) as it proceeds down the ice depending on the twist it was given during delivery. The curl allows for better control of the stone. Team members sprint along the path of the stone and sweep with curling brooms to control the curl and the speed. Sweeping slightly melts the ice, which reduces the friction between the running stone and the ice surface. The result is the stone will curl less and slide farther.

What are the sweepers for?

The reason you see curlers running like mad after the stone is that sweeping slightly warms the ice, which reduces the friction between the running stone and the ice surface. The result is the stone will curl less and slide farther. The skip often makes the call on whether or not a rock needs to be swept, and will yell things like “hurry” or “hard” if he/she wants the rock to be swept or “off” if the rock is going too quickly and doesn’t need any help. You may also hear the sweepers give information to the skip, saying things like “heavy” or “light” to indicate how fast the rock has been thrown and how it is reacting to the ice.

What is the difference between hockey and curling ice?

Curling ice is not the same as hockey or skating ice. Typical arena ice is perfectly flat, but curling ice has tiny little bumps on it. Before the game, the ice is prepped with a fine spray of warm water (known as pebbling the ice), which melts and creates tiny bumps known as the pebble. The pebble has better grip than your common skating ice. This pebble also allows curling rocks to travel across the ice. A curling rock doesn’t move across skating ice very well.

 

What is so special about the rocks?

The curling stone or rock used in the game weighs approximately 42 lbs and has a special feature on the bottom. The bottom of the rock is not flat, but concave and the actual running surface of the rock is only 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide on the rim of the concave bottom. This small running surface allows the pebble applied to the ice to have an effect on the action of the rock. The stones are made of polished granite, which is quarried only on Ailsa Craig, an island off Scotland’s coast.

Who can play it?

Curling is one of the few sports open to nearly anyone, regardless of age or ability. Kids join in from a very young age (as soon as they are big enough to throw a stone) and adults play well into retirement. For the less mobile, there are plenty of aids that mean you can curl without having to bend down, if you have bad knees, and even wheelchair curling!

Is curling safe?

Since curling takes place on ice, there is always the danger of “slipping”. Making sure you look where you are walking prevents some accidents. Also, remembering to have clean shoes/grippers helps. Sometimes the grippers or gripping shoes wear smooth…not a safe condition. Also, special headgear/caps/hats are available ….in the event you fall backwards and strike the back of your head, the special headwear can absorb the shock to prevent concussion.

Can persons with disabilities play it?

Stick curling is appropriate for people with physical disabilities such as knee, back, heart, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, ankle, or foot problems, or just simply advanced age. The rocks are handled with a curling stick from a standing or sitting position (i.e. wheelchairs) enabling everyone to participate competitively. The stones don’t have to be lifted.

How can I join in?

The best way is to attend one of our open houses. These will be scheduled in the coming months.

Do I need any special equipment?

No. Just wear warm loose-fitting clothes and rubber soled shoes. Once you get into a league or play regularly, you may want to wear regular curling shoes. More advanced players wear special curling shoes. These are similar to ordinary athletic shoes except that they have dissimilar soles; the slider shoe is designed for the off foot (or sliding foot) and the non-sliding shoe for the hack foot The slider shoe is designed to slide and typically has a Teflon sole. It is worn by the thrower during delivery from the hack and by sweepers or the skip to glide down the ice when sweeping or otherwise traveling down the sheet quickly. The non-sliding shoe, or hack foot shoe, is worn by the thrower on the hack foot during delivery and is designed to grip. It may have a normal athletic shoe sole or a special layer of rubbery material applied to the sole of a thickness to match the sliding shoe.

What is a "bonspiel"?

A bonspiel is a scheduled tournament lasting three or four days, consisting of as many teams as can be accommodated. Some are meant for club members only. The larger ones are generally open to any team that cares to make the journey. Bonspiels are designated as Men’s, Women’s, Mixed (two men and two women per team), or Open (teams made up of any combination of players). They are a wonderful opportunity to meet lots of curlers.