Quoits is a game somewhat resembling the throwing of the discus among the ancients; only the discus was flat, while the quoit is ring-shaped. The quoits are made of metal, usually iron, and are comparatively thick at the inner edge of the ring, but sharp enough at the outer edge to stick in soft clay when properly thrown. In size they vary from eight to nine and one-quarter inches. The game is played on a ground from 18 to 24 yards in length, at each end of which a pin called a hob is fixed in the ground to serve for a mark.
The object of the game is to throw the quoits from one end of the ground to the other so as to make them stick in the ground as near the hob as possible. The best shot, called a ringer, is when the quoit surrounds the hob. The players are divided into sides and each player has two quoits, which he delivers in succession. The winning side counts one for each quoit that it has nearer the hob than the nearest of the losing side and if it has a ringer it counts two for it. The rules as to the size of the quoit, the distance between the hobs and other particulars vary with different players.
In the United States the game is often played with cast-off horseshoes. The game is popular in England, Scotland and Canada, and in the two latter countries is the summer sport of the curling clubs. In the United States, under the auspices of the Grand National Curling Club of America, there is an annual contest for the Bell quoit medal, given by David Bell of Buffalo, N. Y., in 1868.
Some years ago the police of the Royal Irish Constabulary had many teams of quoit throwers. These hefty men used a quoit which weighed 21 ounces and the pitch measured 22 yards. The clay bed at each end of the pitch was specially prepared for each match. The team which scored 21 points won the match, and sometimes when an evenly matched quartette met they would be throwing almost continuously for two hours.