My family and I attended our first polo match at the Greenwich Polo Club in Greenwich, Connecticut, last weekend, and I highly recommend this unique, fun and wholesome activity for your entire crew.
I’d always been fascinated by this seemingly dramatic, romantic and luxurious sport — it originated in Persia 2,500 years ago as training exercises for the Persian Kings’ cavalry and guards. My lifelong curiosity has been fueled by images of British royals competing in polo matches and I wanted to check it out for myself.
There’s an air of exclusivity and fanciness to the sport — the showboating, the champagne, the fancy cars, the mystique of dashing professional polo players with foreign accents — but you can plan a day trip that won’t break the bank.
>> If you’re free this weekend, check out The East Coast Open on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023, at the Greenwich Polo Club.
The Greenwich Polo Club is a short 90-minute drive from Staten Island, provides a sophisticated backdrop of manicured grounds and elegant architecture for an afternoon of polo. Learn the rules here.
From the thundering sound of horses’ hooves on the field to checking out everyone’s beautiful summer outfits, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget. I’m still in awe of the beauty from our visit.
Here are my 11 tips to keep in mind when you plan your visit to Greenwich Polo Club:
1. Dress the part: The spectators were mostly in their 20s to 40s, and families (from toddlers to people in their 70s) — all dressed casual, but in chic summer outfits. The men mostly wore white pants or flat-front shorts with linen shirts or polos and the ladies looked breathtaking in their breezy, colorful sun dresses. Get ideas here.
2. Sunday Public Polo Matches at Greenwich Polo Club: Gates open at 1 p.m.; the match begins at 3 p.m. and concludes around 5 p.m. Get there at 1 p.m. to maximize the fun and set up your picnic if you plan to sit in the East Lawn. More on that later.
3. All tickets are car passes, each car pass allows entry to all passengers in the same vehicle and includes parking. The car pass ticket will be emailed from firstname.lastname@example.org and verified by a barcode scan at the entry gates. Every car needs a unique car pass ticket for the gate.
4. Kids are welcome. Bring your dogs, too, if you want. If you have lawn seating on the east side of the field, bring a picnic blanket and folding chairs. If bad weather is in the forecast, check the website for cancellation notices. Make sure your smart phone is charged because you’ll want to snap photos of the glorious views.
5. If you buy west side of the field tickets (Grandstand SkyBoxes, Bleachers, West Lawn Club, Cabanas, Players Lounge), no outside foor and drinks are allowed, as there is a cash bar and gourmet food trucks to enjoy. More info here.
6. Wear comfortable shoes. Ladies, wear flat sandals or flats, and gentlemen, wear boat shoes, sneakers or sandals. At halftime, you’ll want to stomp the divots, one of the oldest and well-known traditions of polo, wherein spectators are invited to march onto the field to socialize and replace the mounds of earth (divots) that are torn up by the horses’ hooves during the game.
7. Wear a hat or fascinator and don’t forget your shades. Polo matches are as much a fashion show as they are an athletic competition! Many dress to impress. Plan a nice outfit and top it off with a perfect hat. Apply sunscreen generously, too.
8. Be sure to actually watch the polo match. Between socializing with your friends and family and snacking on the delicious food truck offerings available, it’s easy to get distracted from the actual games. Be mindful that a period of play within a polo match is called a chukker, which lasts 7 minutes and 30 seconds. It goes fast. Don’t miss it.
9. The East Lawn at the Greenwich Polo Club is $50 for a car pass and all passangers gain entry with lawn picnic seating. All passengers arriving in a single vehicle have access to the picturesque grounds of the polo club and the Pony Bar, food trucks, apparel shop, and after-party Asado barbecue. The price jumps to $150 for a car pass if you want to reserve an umbrella.
10. Grandstand bleachers are $30 for a car pass for two guests and offer an elevated view of the match and easy access to the Pony Bar and other amenities. The most popular tickets, however, are the West Lawn Club Seats, which are $75 per person for a table of six, and is situated by the Pony Bar. Buy front row for an extra fee. You must buy all six.
11. Grandstand Skybox (four seats) are available for $100 per seat, including parking. Seats are padded and are in a prime location with shade. The Players Lounge Tent is $75 per person and has a great social vibe. For $100 per person, you can reserve a Players’ Lounge Suite. If you have lots of disposable income, splurge for the Cabana, which is $900 and comes with a 10-foot-by-10-foot tent with a spacious 25-foot-by-10-foot private lawn right up to the polo pitch.