Intrigued by the glamor of polo?
Then the Greenwich Polo Club is your “in” to this exclusive sport.
First played on the fields of Persia, it was used as training exercises for forces of the Persian Kings’ cavalry and guards.
Polo was elitist from the very start.
Which may explain why people with a passion for all things dramatic, romantic, and luxurious are drawn to the Greenwich Polo Club each year.
Here’s everything you need to know about this enigmatic event and what you can expect when you attend.
What is Polo?
Polo is one of the world’s oldest team sports. Played on horseback and considered the “gentlemen’s sport”, it’s why the Royals never miss a game.
Polo fields are 300 yards and players gallop at 35 mph towards their opponent’s goal.
Players use mallets to hit a ball into the net. Each team has four players. The game is separated into six, seven-minute periods called “chukkers.”
The Sanskrit word for circle, or wheel, cakra, is the source of the polo term chukker.
And yes, this writer Googled that.
Although known as the gentlemen’s sport, today 25% of the players are women.
Other popular clubs include Meadowbrook Polo Club and Beverly Hills Polo Club.
Five fun facts about polo
Afraid of sounding like a complete newbie on the field?
Sometimes all you need to carry a conversation is to know 5 fun facts about a give topic.
Here are five quick facts about polo:
- The object of the game is to move the polo ball down the field while hitting it through goal posts.
- A polo team is usually made up of 4 players.
- A polo game is divided into time periods known as chukkers, which are usually 7 minutes long each.
- During half-time, spectators enter the field to participate in a tradition known as “divot stomping.” This helps to reduce the divots created by the horses’ hooves.
- Polo players are ranked annually by peers and the USPA on a scale of -2 to 10 goals.
What is the attraction of polo?
Aside from the whole socialite thing, polo is an action-packed, fast-paced sport like no other.
The combination of:
- Being outdoors
- Rubbing elbows with the glitterati
- And experiencing the pounding of galloping horses that threaten to topple their riders
All work together to create pure exhilaration for spectators.
And why the Greenwich Polo Club?
Well first, there’s nothing as quintessentially Connecticut as attending a polo match.
And especially Greenwich, for that matter.
Home to distinguished American families, playground of the rich, and an attraction for well-known:
- And personalities
Established in 1981, the Greenwich Polo Club itself is located in the pastoral backcountry of Connecticut. It quickly made a name for itself as an elite high-goal polo venue.
It offers what many consider an unmatched roster of legendary teams. Talented players vie for dominance of the field atop champion polo ponies. The White Birch polo team has become one of the most successful polo teams in history with a record of tournaments spanning 25 years.
Since their start in 1979, they have amassed 31 championships and tournaments at the 26-level goal or above. In the past 25 years, no other polo team has won more tournaments than the White Birch Polo Team.
The club has hosted some of the world’s best players including the likes of:
- Mariano Aguerre
- Facundo Pieres
- Hilario Ulloa
- Nacho Figueras
- And many others
As a newbie to polo, these names might not mean much, but they are the cream of the crop in polo circles.
Suffice it to say:
The Greenwich Polo Club has become a major attraction for elite players anxious to attain a prestigious polo trophy.
When are Polo Matches Held?
Matches happen from June until September on Sundays at 3 pm. While the club hosts 50 matches each year, only 11 are open to the public.
High goal polo tournaments include the East Coast Open and East Coast bronze, gold, and silver cups.
The gates open at 1 pm for ticket holders.
Dress Code for the Greenwich Polo Club
This is the perfect excuse to shop for the ideal “summer picnic chic” outfit.
Don your dressy Sunday best!
And then complete the look with a sophisticated Audrey Hepburn “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” floppy hat and dark sunglasses.
You can get to know your inner socialite dressed to the nines in your finest outdoor summer attire.
That said, the club also welcomes your basic smart casual — a bit more practical than heels on the lush green lawns.
Especially when completing the most unique tradition of polo matches: divot stomping.
Greenwich Polo Club Dress Code, in a nutshell: Summer picnic chic or casual to dressy Sunday. Sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen are also highly recommended.
Who Attends Polo Matches at Greenwich Polo Club?
The club is intent on making the sport more accessible.
As a result, Greenwich polo matches have become the Sunday venue for people looking to escape the hot, sticky streets of New York.
The cool lush fields of each match attract over 3,000 spectators from:
- New York City
- Fairfield County
- Westchester Country
But spectators come from throughout New England and the rest of the Tri-State area.
Considered the highest caliber polo in the area, it is not just a sport.
Rather, a polo match is an event where people gather to nibble on high-end picnics and sip glasses of Veuve Cliquot champagne cocktails. The club is earnest in its efforts “to break down the barriers surrounding this concept of polo as being snobby.”
You never know who you may be rubbing elbows with at this event.
On some days, you may even expect to see celebrity guests!
In 2013, Prince Harry himself chose Greenwich Polo Club to host the Sentebale Royal Salute Polo Club.
No one is out of place and is welcome to partake in the rare experience and excitement of polo.
Buying Tickets for the Greenwich Polo Club
There are various tickets available, starting with a $40 car pass covering up to four guests with general seating available on the East Lawn.
You can order online, and they will email the ticket to you which is then scanned at the entry gates.
If you don’t drive, you can also buy tickets for a shuttle from NYC or take the train to the downtown Greenwich train station.
Then you just need to Uber it.
More exclusive seating options include:
- East Lawn Reserved:
$75 per car with reserved lawn seating sans shade on the east side of the field.
- Grandstand Bleacher Reserved Seating:
$60 per car close to the food, bar, and shops with an elevated view.
- West Lawn Club:
$350 per car with a four-seated bistro table, umbrella, and a dedicated server for VIP bar service.
- Grandstand Box:
$300 with 2 car passes for a box w/ 4 seats, an elevated view, shade, catering options and drink service available.
- Ctc & G Players’ Lounge:
$150 (2 guests), $200 (3 guests), or $250 (4 guests) with exclusive lounge seating, shade, meet & greet with players, live music, and access to a premium exclusive bar.
- Ctc&G Players’ Lounge Suite:
$1,000 including seating for 10 guests on the front lawn of the Players’ Lounge with full access to the Players’ Lounge tent and some of the best views of the match.
- West Cabana:
$600 for four cabana car passes (four guests each vehicle) private 10’x10′ tent and 25’x10′ front lawn with 8 chairs, a cocktail table, and VIP bathrooms.
- East Lawn Cabana:
$400 with four east lawn cabana car passes (four guests each vehicle), a private 10’x10′ tent, and 20’x10′ front lawn with 8 chairs.
Food and Beverage at Greenwich Polo Club
You are welcome to pack your own food and drink. A picnic here is an excellent (and unique) Connecticut date idea.
That said, you’re limited to snack foods like chips, salsa, nuts, crackers, and cookies. Rolling out a first-class buffet from home is against the club’s policy.
Alcohol is also not allowed, though The Cup Bearer serves it.
All guests can order catering of polo-themed boxed-to-go food and drinks. Private cabanas, box seating, and Players’ Club suites have full catering services available. Other food options include a selection of gourmet food trucks.
Extend your visit with more things to do in Greenwich, Connecticut
Anyone is welcome at the Greenwich Polo Club, one of the most unique attractions in all Connecticut.
Head 15 minutes back to downtown Greenwich, Stanton House Inn’s haunts.
Bring a change of clothes or two so that you can explore the best of summer in Connecticut here:
- Top Connecticut hiking trails throughout Greenwich and nearby
- The unique experience that is the Greenwich Avenue shopping district
- Enjoy a day at the beach at one of the best beaches in and near Greenwich
Be sure to download a free copy of the Greenwich Visitor’s Guide for all the top activities, attractions, and things to do in town.
Updated and republished: March 24, 2022