What is Curling?

Curling is a sport played on ice, where two teams of four take turns sliding granite stones that weigh approximately 42 pounds towards a target 150 feet away. Teammates sweep in front of the delivered stone with curling brooms to influence its path and distance travelled.  

Curling dates back to the early 16th century, when it was played in Scotland on frozen ponds and rivers with naturally formed stones. Back then, players used brooms to clear snow and debris from the path of the stone. Curling as we know it today—played in environmentally-controlled ice houses with precisely shaped and polished granite stones—became an Olympic medal sport in 1998, and its popularity has taken off since.

While 16th century curling relied primarily on luck, today it is a game of strategy, finesse and strength, usually played by teams of four. Doubles curling is a variation of the sport, introduced in 2001, with only two players on each team and a faster pace. The principle of curling is simple: get your stones closer to the center of the four concentric scoring circles (called the “house”) than your opponent. 

An end consists of eight stones delivered by each team, and a game consists of 8 ends, taking about two hours to play. Only one team scores in each end—the team with the stone closest to the center of the house. That team scores one point for each stone closer to the center of the house than the closest stone from the opposing team. 

Curling is a lifetime sport, played by people of all ages and skill levels. The age of our members has ranged from early teens to mid-eighties. Available adaptive equipment facilitates curling for people who may not have access to other sports due to mobility challenges. 

Respect, honor, and tradition are core elements of the game. Except at high levels, there are no referees and players report their own fouls. Opponents congratulate each other on well-played shots, never cheer misses, and following a game, it is tradition to sit down together for friendly conversation and food or drink.

Curling can improve strength, flexibility, balance, and fitness. Sometimes called “chess on ice,” curling also offers a lifelong learning experience in which strategy, memory, and mental stamina are as important as the physical aspects of the game. Whether curling for fun or competitively, it is a highly social sport, renowned for the camaraderie that develops amongst its players.


2 Minute Guide to the Sport of Curling

darbys local favorite

Belfast Curling Club
11 Belmont Ave (Route 3)
P.O. Box 281, Belfast, Maine 04915

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