2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Curling 101 – How far do you throw the rock?

Published: February 16, 2014, 10:30 pm, by Dena Rosenberry

Yet another great question, this time from Corinna, via Facebook.

Ice sheet - Madison Curling Club“I heard someone say you have to throw the rock 150 feet to the target area. It doesn’t look that far on TV. How far is it?”

How big is a curling sheet?

Each sheet of ice is at least 146 feet long between the inside edges of the back boards. The desired length is 150 feet, but some older facilities allow only 146 feet.

curling_sheet(When you’re on the ice, you can see, right,  that it does look a long way to the opposite house. That’s Regan Mizuno, former Team Colorado skip and now a curler at the Four Seasons Curling Club in Blaine, Minn., sliding down the ice at 2010 U.S. Club Nationals at the Madison Curling Club.)

The width of the sheets can vary. At a minimum, a regulation curling sheet is at least 14 feet, 2 inches wide between the inside edges of the side lines and no more than 16 feet, 5 inches wide.

Of course, the sheets are uniform at a venue such as the Olympics or Worlds or a national championship, but they vary a bit from curling club to curling club.

Also at such events the sheets are distinct, with areas to walk between ice sheets.

Em Good - Richmond Curling ClubAt other events and most curling clubs, the ice sheets are divided by wooden or metal boards, foam or rubber bumpers, or nothing but lines painted in the ice. (The Richmond Curling Club in Richmond, B.C., right, where national standout Em Good is delivering a stone in the photo, has dividers in the field of play, but they do not continue the full ice sheet.)

Here are some other regulations:
a) The tee line is no more than 1/2 inch wide and the center is 57 feet from the middle of the rink.
b) The back line is no more than 1/2 inch side and the outside edge is 6 feet from the center of the tee line.
c) The hog line is 4 inches wide and the inside edge is 21 feet from the center of the tee line.

Denver Curling Club at The Ice Ranch(In this photo of Ice Station Valencia, left, where the Hollywood Curling Club plays, you can see there are no dividers between the sheets. That’s common at clubs that play in hockey arenas.)