Be ‘In the Know’ for Polo in The Palm Beaches

Dressing up in fancy frocks, sipping champagne in the sunshine and watching ponies gallop across the field chasing the ball — that’s what Sunday polo is all about here.

Polo is one of Palm Beach County’s favorite pastimes that dates back to the 1970s. Today, the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC), one of the most premier polo destinations in the world, is located right here in The Palm Beaches. It hosts many of the greatest high-goal teams and the most prestigious polo tournaments in the United States. The 2022 winter polo season at IPC runs from Jan. 2–April 24, 2022. Immediately following, the IPC Spring Series will feature low-goal games that are open to spectators every Sunday for four weeks through May 17, 2022.
 
Beginning as a war game more than 2,000 years ago and known as “the sport of kings,” polo is one of the oldest team sports in history. It’s fast, rough and considered one of the toughest sports today. If you like action and fast-paced fun, there’s nothing more exciting than enjoying a cocktail on the sidelines watching the horses and players gallop past at top speeds. It’s a sport for the whole family to enjoy, but before you go, here’s a little bit of what to know, what to wear and where to watch this magical sport.

Two polo players on horseback holding mallets
Photo courtesy of the International Polo Club; credit: Alex Pacheco

What to Know 

You'd probably be surprised to learn the size of the field is 300x160 yards. That’s approximately the size of nine football fields! The objective of the game is to direct the ball between the opponent’s goal posts, and the team with the most goals wins the game. Much like football, the initial direction of each team is chosen based on a coin toss at the beginning of the game. Direction is changed after each goal is scored. A polo match generally lasts about one to two hours and is divided into periods called chukkers, which last 7.5 minutes each.
 
During halftime, it’s fun for the whole family! The tradition is to participate in the “divot stomp” — walk out on the field and stomp the divots kicked up by the hooves of the horses and help flatten the surface. The best part? Free champagne is poured to those who participate! Also, it’s a great time to let the kids run loose and play pretend polo to get some energy out. You may even get to meet some famous players during the break, too!

Crowd of people on a polo field
Photo courtesy of the International Polo Club

What to Wear

Dress in your Sunday best. Ladies, think about wearing a floral maxi sundress with your favorite accessories, sunglasses and a straw hat. Remember to wear shoes that are comfortable and easy to walk in the grass, especially during the divot stomp! Scratch the stilettos and wear your wedges. Gentlemen can wear nice pants and a button-down shirt, or a sporty suit with a fun bowtie and/or pocket square. Fedoras are always a fun accessory for the guys, and don’t forget the sunglasses. Remember to dress for the Instagram moment, as there will be many!

Where to Watch

The International Polo Club offers a variety of ticket options, from The Pavilion, tailgate options, box seats and more. IPC’s Champagne Brunch on Sundays is a highlight for the socialites, and it features an ever-changing array of delicious food and refreshments at different stations, with a close-up view of the action. Brunch starts at 2 p.m. and tickets must be purchased by Friday for the feature Sunday match of the week. The Champagne Brunch is the place to be, trust me.

People sitting at tables watching a polo match
Photo courtesy of the International Polo Club

What to Expect 

If you haven’t been to a match before, take my word for it, you’ll fall in love. Some of the highlights of the season include the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship (March 7–19, 2022) and the Gauntlet of Polo, consisting of the three most sought-after polo tournaments in the United States: the C.V. Whitney Cup, the USPA Gold Cup and the U.S. Open Polo Championship.
 
If you or your kids end up loving polo so much and feel inspired to give it a try, the International Polo School offers individual lessons and team practices. Here, you can learn the rules of the game and play on an experienced school horse. The school employs USPA-certified instructors to teach the basics of riding, stick and ball techniques, and the overall strategy of a four-on-four match.
 
IPC also allows the opportunity to become a member and enjoy amenities like its luxurious pool and spa area, dining options, tennis courts, premier seating at polo matches and more. Individuals or groups interested in reserving box seating or tailgates should contact the IPC Box Office at [email protected] or 561-282-5334.

Check out the 2022 schedule

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Ashley Cline
Ashley Cagle
Ashley Cline Cagle of EquestrianStylist.com is a lifestyle and fashion blogger based out of Wellington, Florida. Growing up living in fast-paced South Florida and competing at the Winter Equestrian Festival planted a seed for her love of fashion at a young age. With a degree in Fashion Merchandising from Florida State University and an M.B.A. in entrepreneurship from Nova Southeastern University, Ashley is committed to connecting the mainstream fashion industry to the equestrian community.