By Elaine Wessel
The International Polo Club Palm Beach is one of the top polo destinations in the world, and it is located right in the heart of Wellington’s horse country. Every winter from January through April, the venue hosts the world’s best high-goal teams and the most prestigious polo tournaments in the United States.
World-renowned players and polo enthusiasts alike come to town each winter to enjoy their love of the sport at the largest and most spectator-friendly polo facility in the country. The 2022 high-goal polo season at IPC is right around the corner, opening in January and continuing until a thrilling finale in April.
IPC includes seven state-of-the-art tournament fields that can accommodate multiple games simultaneously, ensuring that the action continues from the first to the last game of the day.
The flagship events of the IPC polo season are undoubtedly the feature polo matches every Sunday afternoon from January through the end of April. The thrill of the game, paired with the elegance of the outfits and the wonderful hospitality offerings, combine for a uniquely memorable experience for everyone, regardless of their knowledge of the sport.
“We are proud to host some of the most exciting polo tournaments in the world at IPC. With so many competitive teams, the IPC polo season gives them an incentive to play at their best, which ultimately helps to provide the best experience possible to both casual and serious fans of the sport,” said Paul Regal, vice president of operations and catering services at IPC.
Members can take advantage of prime viewing of the matches from their assigned boxes, but non-members also have many options available to them, all close to the action. On the east side of the field, the Pavilion hosts a very popular ticketed champagne brunch on the covered patio. For those looking to customize their experience with their favorite food and drinks, tailgates are available alongside the edge of the field, and the casual fan is welcome to seats in the grandstands.
As if four months of polo is not enough, IPC will be extending its season with the IPC Spring Series, which is slated to run for four weeks into May and will feature amateur polo tournaments. The spring extension will be run by the on-site International Polo School, which allows fans of all ages and skill levels — even beginners — to learn the rules of the game and play on an experienced school horse with individual lessons and team practices. 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.
“Many of our clients derive from a background in the hunter/jumper discipline or are completely new to the sport,” said Gates Gridley, head trainer at the International Polo School. “We are unique to other local polo clubs because we offer an opportunity for teams to practice as part of their participation in league tournaments. We pride ourselves in offering a fun, competitive and social environment for clients, and our field-side authentic Argentine asados can’t be beat.”
Another feather in IPC’s cap, the Florida Festivals & Events Association recently announced the winners of its annual SUNsational Awards, and IPC was honored with an award for the “Adaptation of an Event” category. A total of 170 events submitted materials for consideration, and out of all the entries in the category, IPC was awarded third place overall. The facility and its team were recognized for the extensive Reopening Guide that was produced and implemented to combat the risks of COVID-19 during the 2021 high-goal polo season.
“The 2021 preparation and execution of the polo season was undoubtedly the most challenging one we have faced, but I am so proud of our team for what they were able to accomplish in spite of many hardships and new situations. To receive official recognition for our efforts is quite an honor. Though IPC hopes there will not be a need to implement the full COVID-19 protocol for the 2022 season, the team is now well prepared to do so should it be prudent,” said Vaneli Bojkova, vice president of event operations at IPC.
While polo is the cornerstone of IPC, the facility also offers annual memberships for locals and seasonal memberships for those in town only for the winter in order to take advantage of its amenities that include a luxurious pool and spa area, dining options, tennis courts and more.
Events such as meetings, parties, weddings and other celebrations are hosted at IPC throughout the year, bolstered by the delicious and creative on-site catering.
The International Polo Club is located at 3667 120th Avenue South in Wellington. For more info., including how to buy tickets, inquire about event space, become a member or schedule a polo lesson, call (561) 204-5687 or visit www.internationalpoloclub.com.