Polo: the do’s and don’ts
It’s one of the world’s most graceful sports and often deemed as a summer highlight of the British society calendar, with well-heeled spectators flocking in their droves to watch this wonderful game.
As well as the sprawling lawns of Coworth Park and Windsor Great Park, it is played on frozen lakes in the Alps, beaches from Miami to Dorset, and in some countries on elephants! However, while polo is a beautiful sport to watch, it can be difficult to master the do’s and don’ts of this great sporting tradition.
To help you differentiate your chukkas from your handicaps or from making a terrible faux pas, we spoke with Ebe Sievwright, Manager and Head Coach at Guards Polo Academy, to create a helpful guide in time for the start of British Polo Season.
Before the game
Read up or watch online tutorials about the rules of polo before attending so that you know what’s going on, otherwise the whole thing will look like a cross between Ben Hur and The Charge of the Light Brigade. Get yourself a pair of binoculars to catch all the action on and off the polo field and don’t forget to learn some essential polo terminology. For example, a player with a handicap is referred to as having a certain number of “goals” and not a “goaler”.
What to wear
Unless you’re playing, guests are advised to avoid wearing white jeans, polo shirts, or polo-branded tops as it’s considered a fashion faux pas. Flats or wedges are recommended for stomping the divots at half-time.
Polo is normally held in the height of summer and there’s no better way to get into the spirit of things than with a bottle of your favourite summer tipple and a picnic basket filled with summery treats. Coworth Park offers guests a range of picnics and I recommend the deluxe picnic, which includes a spread of delicious food and a bottle of champagne. Order extra glasses and you’ll be a hero by the time the sun sets.
During the game
Polo is an exciting sport, high in energy and filled with passion. Cheer for your team with vigour, even if you’ve only just decided who to support!
After the game
Do tell a polo player that it was “a great neck shot that he made off that little bay mare”; even if you have no idea what you are talking about. The likelihood is that it happened.
Coworth Park is home to the world’s number one polo school, Guards Polo Academy, and as such offers a variety of options including individual lessons, bespoke polo days or a week’s intensive course those wanting a more in-depth experience. With options for beginners as well as seasoned players, everyone can get involved. Why not combine lessons with the luxury of a five-star at Coworth Park enjoying, relaxing spa afternoons and dining in their renowned restaurants.
For those preferring to watch from the sidelines, spectators can enjoy the idyllic parkland setting of Coworth Park’s polo grounds. Guest staying at the hotel may attend a full schedule of open polo fixtures, such as the influential Indian Empire Shield and the Audi Polo Challenge.
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