REGION — The sport of kings will kick off its 28th season at the San Diego Polo Club June 1, with gates opening at 12:30 p.m. and local and international players competing in matches at 1 and 3 p.m.
The event will include a fashion show at 2:30 p.m., as well as the traditional divot stomp. The day will conclude with the 7th Chukker After Party until 7 p.m.
Matches are held every Sunday, with the exception of July 27 and Aug. 3 and Aug. 10, with the season culminating Sept. 28 with the U.S. Polo Association’s Spreckels Cup finals.
Ticket options include a VIP, center-field grandstand tent for $300 to $450 for a table of 10 with food and beverage service. Field-side reserved garden seating is $25 per person, and general admission is $12. Parking is $10.
For $10 per person plus parking attendees can pack a picnic, tailgate on the east side of the field and watch the matches from there.
The San Diego Polo Club has two full-service bars offering craft cocktails, local craft beers and champagne — a must-have for the divot stomp. Food choices include sandwiches, salads and daily specials.
Polo was first played in San Diego in 1906, launched more as a business venture than an athletic competition, and has been part of local history longer than the Padres or Chargers.
Hoping to attract visitors at the turn of the century, Hotel del Coronado owner John D. Spreckels built the Coronado Country Club, a four-block, two-story facility with three polo fields.
The first major tournament was between English lords and an American team of Navy officers. Match attendance exploded but interest waned after two world wars. The country club was sold, bring to an end polo in Coronado.
The game continued to be played in various locations throughout the county until 1987, when a permanent home was found in the current location at 14555 El Camino Real in the San Dieguito River Valley.
Although polo initially attracted millionairesand movie stars, Steve Lewandowski, community relations director for the polo club and match announcer for more than two decades, said the sport is not for the haughty, especially given the fact that “the athletes are pooping on the field.”
Visit sandiegopolo.com for more information.