The Scene: Polo in Palm Beach

Picnics, parties and ponies, oh my! Before the season kicks off in January, we’re taking you on the scene of Palm Beach’s favourite sport.

Sep 19, 2013
  • Palm Beach Polo: In play at International Polo Club Palm Beach, Florida
  • Palm Beach Polo: Veranda seating at International Polo Club Palm Beach, Florida
  • Palm Beach Polo: Post-match sipping in Palm Beach, Florida
  • Palm Beach Polo: Awards ceremony at International Polo Club Palm Beach, Florida
  • Palm Beach Polo: Spectators take to the field
  • Palm Beach Polo: Sunday brunch at International Polo Club Palm Beach, Florida
  • Polo in Palm Beach, Florida
  • Palm Beach Polo: Getting a ball signed in Palm Beach, Florida
  • Palm Beach Polo: Sunset at the International Polo Club Palm Beach, Florida
1/9
The International Polo Club Palm Beach is host to the highest goal tournaments in the U.S., including the U.S. Open Polo Championship.
Photography courtesy LILA PHOTO
2/9
From a veranda or box seat in the Nespresso Grande Pavillion, you’ll enjoy stunning views of Piaget Field. Polo in Paradise package holders take this experience up a notch by participating in pre- and post-game ceremonies, player meet-and-greets, and photo ops.
Photography courtesy LILA PHOTO
3/9
What do polo enthusiasts do after a long day of Champagne toasts, exciting plays and hobnobbing? They go to the club’s handsome Mallet Grille for the official After Party of champions, of course. Polo stops poolside.
Photography courtesy LILA PHOTO
4/9
Want to play like a pro? Package holders can opt to “stay and play with the best,” which includes an hour-and-a-half personalised polo lesson with some of the season’s top talent. Afterwards, toast your success with a glass of Champagne.
Photography courtesy LILA PHOTO
5/9
At half-time, spectators trot onto the field for the time-honoured tradition of stomping the divots.
Photography courtesy LILA PHOTO
6/9
On Sundays, don’t miss Champagne and croquet at noon. Sip cocktails on the sidelines or partake in the Polo in Paradise Sunday brunch, which includes light hors d’oeuvres, a Bloody Mary bar and a live DJ. Dress to impress.
Photography courtesy LILA PHOTO
7/9
Polo is played between two teams of four. Each player’s number—one, two, three or four—corresponds to his position on the field. Player one concentrates on scoring, while player four defends the goal.
Photography courtesy LILA PHOTO
8/9
Make polo a family affair with “a perfect polo picnic” on the sidelines of a match. One option in the Polo in Paradise package, this gourmet experience is perfect for families who want to socialise with players post-game. Getting a ball signed is always a bonus.
Photography courtesy LILA PHOTO
9/9
Polo seasons runs every year from January to April. Be there with the best and celebrate all things polo, Palm Beach style.
Photography courtesy LILA PHOTO

There’s a reason polo is called “the sport of kings.” Genghis Khan played it. So did Alexander the Great. And Winston Churchill, who had an affinity for horses, lauded the game long after he had retired his mallet. Even contemporary royals compete from time to time. That’s more than two millennia of aristocratic fun, and although polo neophytes may be thinking, Isn’t that enough? it’s not—not by a 300-yard long shot.

It’s easy to see why this stick-and-ball sport has such enduring appeal: It’s fast yet graceful, physical yet technical. The field is the size of nine American football fields, which allows for hearty galloping and skilled mallet twirling. There are pre-game picnics and post-game cocktails. And, of course, there’s half-time, when blue-jeaned billionaires stomp divots alongside pretty ladies in pastels and pearls. That last part may sound clichéd—and certainly there are aspects of the game that don’t conjure images of Richard Gere and Julia Roberts—but at its core, polo is ritualistic.

The game’s popularity transcends culture, gender and age, and during the winter season, nowhere is it more prominent than in Wellington, Florida. A 30-minute drive west of Palm Beach Island, this epicentre of equestrian sports was the world’s largest strawberry patch until the early 1970s, when the farmland began to transform into the blue-blood horse country it is today.

Among Wellington’s gentle pastures, multimillion-dollar homes and private airplane hangars, polo and hunt clubs seem like urbane answers to society demands for entertainment. In fact, the opposite is true: These clubs helped build the community around them, and solidified Wellington as the world arena for polo’s winter season.

International Polo Club Palm Beach is one of the most renowned of these venues. The club is home to the highest goal season in the U.S., meaning that the teams who come to play are among the world’s elite, with handicaps of 20 or higher. During the 2014 season, which runs from January 5 through April 20, the club will host a series of tournaments including the USPA Piaget Gold Cup and the 110th U.S. Open Polo Championship, both 26-goal tournaments.

In partnership with International Polo Club, Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach is celebrating the season with the Polo in Paradise package. The package offers experiences ranging from a polo lesson with a pro to a sideline picnic to a VIP experience on polo’s biggest day of the week, Sunday.

So put on your fancy hat and pop the Champagne. Cliché or not, it’s polo in Palm Beach, and in this noble game, ritual is king.

Jessica Kenny contributed to this article.


Tags:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Today's Top 5

Four Seasons Magazine

Loulu palm

Current Edition

The best of luxury travel, style and culture from thought leaders and tastemakers

Issue 1 2014