Whakatāne's George Coulter says the banter, and being beaten, keeps him in his place on the croquet green.
It would be fair to say the 22-year-old is normally the youngest in his matches, but he is part of a growing number of young people playing the sport.
"Croquet is a lot different than your conventional sport, you are thinking a lot about tactics as well as accurate hitting. It is more of a thinking game than physical. There are very low barriers to entry as well so anyone can come and pick up a mallet, play for a morning and get hooked," Coulter says.
"I got into it through my grandfather, at the time I was playing a bit of football and I came down one afternoon for a have a go day. It started from there.
"There is heaps of banter – a lot of them still beat me. I try and keep that on the down low but it keeps me in my place that's for sure."
Coulter is on the Croquet New Zealand committee and says nearly 100 of the 4700 croquet players in New Zealand are under 18.
"One of the underlying goals is to get croquet in the Commonwealth Games. In the last five to 10 years there has been a real surge of the younger demographic playing the sport. It is really great to see and with the surge of national skilled younger players the sport has seen a real different environment in a short period of time. And because of it, it has given the national level to bring it into the mainstream."
Coulter was one of six players who represented New Zealand at the World Golf Croquet Championship in England in August where he won the bowl event. Former Mount Maunganui player Duncan Dixon won the shield.
Coulter is hoping to have further success when the same event is staged in the Bay of Plenty in 2021. Croquet Mount Maunganui will be the headquarters for the tournament while games will also be played at the Tauranga, Whakatāne and Matamata clubs.
"With home advantage you get to understand the curves of the lawn - where the good patches are and where the bad patches are," Coulter says.
"Getting to know the speed is a big advantage too. There will be expectation and more pressure than normal."
Coulter says while the recent world champs did have a livestream, it will be great to have the support in person.
The Bay hosted the same event in 2015 and Croquet Mount Maunganui president Sue Roberts says 300 people watched the final.
"It brings a lot of people into area and there will be 80 players and their entourages as well. It also brings in spectators.
"It is a great opportunity and we don't charge for people to come and see it. It might surprise people, it is not just a pitter patter sport. It can be quite mean – you are challenging to get the ball through the hoop first. We want the spin off from this to be to get more younger people involved."
The Bay also hosted the women's world championships in 2011 and Roberts says the financial side is the biggest challenge.
"It is mainly trying to get some funding to go for it and the cost is probably in the vicinity of $40,000. There is a lot of preparation in getting the greens up to scratch and we have just done some renovations on them [at the Mount club].