If you know nothing about polo, your initiation into this centuries old sport will be smooth and lots of fun. The International Polo Season is your introduction into a unique venue that delivers five months of the finest action of world-class polo players. An ambiance of everything delightful and delicious.
Wine and Dine
First, let's start with the delicious. If Sunday Brunch is one of your passions, this will remain on your most notable list for a long time to come. And if you've never been to a polo match before, this is absolutely the place to start. Omelet and carving stations, flowing Champagne and fabulous Hors D'oeuvres - literally something for everyone - all combine for a melt-in-your-mouth experience.
Dress the Part
Polo is an outdoor sport, so dress according to the weather. A big floppy hat or preppy attire is not required, but ladies, spiky heels are a definite no-no. (You'll find out later, when in the middle of the game, there's a break for everyone to come onto the field and "stomp the divots".) You may want to don that wide-brimmed chapeau and embellished sandals if the polo match you're attending is a major tournament, charity benefit match or special event.
How to Play
Now, let's cover the basic overview of the game. The object of the game is to move the polo ball down-field, hitting the ball through the goal posts for a score, similar to soccer, but on horseback. Play begins with a throw-in of the ball by the umpire after each goal and at the opening of each chukker (sees terminology below). Polo teams (four polo players) change direction after each goal in order to compensate for field and wind conditions. With the ball traveling over 100 mph at time, keeping an eye on the ball can be a bit difficult, so if you have binoculars, bring them along.
Timeout for Divots
During halftime, spectators go onto the field to participate in a tradition called "divot stomping" to help replace the divots created by the horse's hooves. (You remember the no spikey heel rule, right? Your heels will get stuck in the soft grass.) A match lasts about 90 minutes and played on a field 300 yards long and 160 yards wide, the equivalent of nine football fields - the largest field in organized sport.
Sound Like a Pro
Regarding terminology, here are a list of a few key terms and their meanings so that during your brunch you will sound like a seasoned veteran:
- Chukker - Period of play; in a single match each of the six chukkers are seven and one-half minutes long
- Appealing - Claims by players for a foul, expressed by the raising of mallets above the head
- Goal - Anytime the ball crosses the line between the goal posts, regardless of who (including ponies) knocks it through
- Positions - There are four players on a team, numbered 1 through 4, each with different responsibilities
- Stick - The polo mallet
- High Goal - Teams are ranked by handicaps; high Goal matches feature the best-of-the-best players
- Polo Ponies - Name given to the horses; they are well-trained equine athletes, and considered the most essential part of the game
Get more information on the best way to experience Polo in The Palm Beaches or call the Polo Hotline at 561-282-5290.