Sport of the Month London Polo - Getting Started
What is polo?
Polo is a team sport played on horseback with objectives of scoring goals while on offense and preventing goals while on defence. Goals are scored by driving a wooden ball through the goal using a mallet. Polo grounds are 300 yards long and 200 yards wide.
Polo teams consist of four players each mounted on horseback. Players can change horses throughout the duration of the game, which affects the physicality and speed of the polo match.
Average playing time per match is about two hours. Each match consists of six chukkas with a duration of 7.5 minute each. Break intervals of three minutes occur in between each chukka with a five-minute interval at halftime.
While polo’s origins date back to 5th Century B.C. in Persia, the modern game popularised by England originated in India in the 1800s. The game of polo was spread by the British military, with many clubs established throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
Polo is an entertaining and relaxing spectator sport. London polo fans can enjoy weekend matches at the Ham Polo Club from May through September. Visit http://www.hampoloclub.org.uk/ for fixtures.
How do I get started?
While polo is a popular spectator sport in the greater London area, the city offers options for participation through polo clubs. Clubs offer team play, lessons and workshops to allow polo fans of all abilities improve their game and meet fellow polo enthusiasts.
Visit Totally Sporty’s comprehensive London sport club directory to find your nearest polo club. Totally Sporty has also put together recommendations for the best polo clubs in London below.
Best London Polo Clubs By Region
Southwest London: Ham Polo Club
The Ham Polo Club, located eight miles from Hyde Park Corner, is proud to be the last surviving London polo club out of the 12 that existed in London area earlier this century. Founded in 1926, Ham Polo Club is also one of the oldest clubs in the UK.
Ham Polo Club hosts matches every Sunday at 2 p.m. from May through September.
For more information, visit http://www.hampoloclub.org.uk/
Southwest of London: Epsom Polo Club
Epsom Polo Club is based out of Great Meadow Polo Field and is also home to the largest indoor polo arena in southeast England. The club offers year-around indoor and outdoor polo lessons, instructional chukkas, matches and tournaments.
Individual polo lessons at Epsom Polo Club cost £75 per hour while group lessons cost £50 per hour.
For more information, visit http://www.epsompoloclub.co.uk/index.html
Chukkas — 7.5-minute period of game play in polo. Most polo matches consist of six chukkas, but some levels of polo will have four or eight chukkas.
Hook — Polo defence technique where players hook their mallets with opposing players' mallets to prevent goals.
Bump — Polo defence technique where players body check opposing players.