The 2019 high-goal season is set to kick off at the International Polo Club Palm Beach on Sunday, Dec. 30 and continue through Sunday, April 21. As the premier polo destination in the world during the winter season, hosting the most prestigious tournaments in the United States, IPC is eager to begin a new season of world-renowned polo for players and enthusiasts alike to Wellington.
This season will feature an extensive competition schedule with several 20-goal tournaments returning, as well as the introduction of the United States Polo Association’s new 22-goal format.
The previous 20-goal tournaments will remain at the 20-goal level, including the Herbie Pennell Cup, the Joe Barry Cup and the Ylvisaker Cup. The four USPA tournaments — the C.V. Whitney Cup, the Butler Handicap, the USPA Gold Cup and the U.S. Open Polo Championship — will now be played at the 22-goal level.
“The 2018 season showcased incredible sport, and our expectation is the same for the 2019 season,” said Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Wellington Equestrian Partners, which operates the International Polo Club Palm Beach. “Each year since our partnership purchased the venue, it has been our priority to invest in the sport in a way that we can grow a more robust spectator base and increase participation. This year, we will be launching several new initiatives at the Polo School to help engage and draw people to learn the sport at a deeper level, while also exposing new audiences to this incredible sport.”
The recent decision to lower the premier high-goal tournament level from 26 goals to 22 goals was made to provide an increased number of competitive teams, enhance spectator interest and generate greater opportunities for American players, while lowering the cost of fielding a team for team owners.
Along with this new format, the USPA’s Triple Crown of Polo events will now guarantee a significant increase in prize money to teams. An innovative “winner takes all” prize money arrangement pledges $125,000 to both the C.V. Whitney Cup winner and the USPA Gold Cup winner. The U.S. Open Polo Championship winner will be awarded $250,000. An added bonus will provide a team winning the Triple Crown of Polo up to an additional $500,000 bonus, yielding a total of $1 million in the prize money package.
An expanded partnership at IPC, with both the USPA and USPA Global Licensing, aims to continue growing one of the world’s oldest sports, enticing new spectators and demonstrating absolute top sport, with many of the best players and teams participating this season.
Additionally, IPC will be hosting the 40-Goal Challenge in February, as well as the U.S. Women’s Open Final in late March and the 10th annual Gay Polo League tournament in the beginning of April.
During the 2019 season, IPC also plans to expand opportunities and game play at the Polo School, establishing a permanent stick-and-ball simulator and featuring another season of low-goal matches for newcomers to the sport.
“Last year, we saw a huge increase in interest around learning to play the game of polo and fine-tuning skills in a real game setting,” said Gates Gridley, manager of the Polo School. “We’re really looking forward to getting things started again this winter and welcoming new students and players to the school. It’s a great way to get people involved in the sport.”
Competition will begin on Sunday, Dec. 30 with the Herbie Pennell Cup and continue throughout the season with regular matches taking place almost daily. Polo matches are open to the public and free during the week.
On Sundays, the afternoon matches will be held on IPC’s impressive Field 1 with expanded entertainment and offerings. Spectators can watch each Sunday’s featured game at 3 p.m. from the elegant stadium boxes, grandstand seats, tailgate spots or the pavilion.
The pavilion at IPC offers a weekly Sunday brunch with an ever-changing array of delicious items spread out over various stations.
With a fun atmosphere and a perfect field-side view of the polo match, the pavilion is a prime ticket to the sport and social action. Brunch begins at 2 p.m. each Sunday, and a variety of package options are available.
The International Polo Club Palm Beach is located at 3667 120th Avenue South in Wellington. To learn more about the competition, membership and ticket options at IPC, visit www.internationalpoloclub.com or call (561) 204-5687.
International Polo Club
2019 Competition Schedule
Herbie Pennell Cup – 20 Goal
December 30, 2018
Joe Barry Cup – 20 Goal
January 3 – 13, 2019
Ylvisaker Cup – 20 Goal
January 11 – February 10, 2019
February 16, 2019
C.V. Whitney Cup – 22 Goal
February 13 – 24, 2019
Butler Handicap – 22 Goal
February 17, 2019
U.S. Women’s Open Final
March 23, 2019
USPA Gold Cup – 22 Goal
February 24 – March 24, 2019
Gay Polo League
April 4-7, 2019
U.S. Open Polo
– 22 Goal
March 27 – April 20-21, 2019
Tentative schedule, subject to change. Sponsors listed at time of print.
The International Polo Club Palm Beach is located
at 3667 120th Avenue South in Wellington.
For tickets and additional information, visit
www.internationalpoloclub.com or call (561) 204-5687.