Watching polo can be an extremely exciting way to spend the day, the public is welcome and admission is just $10 per car! Spectators can tailgate on the berm, reserve a table in the Clubhouse Restaurant or enjoy a refreshing drink and meal on the fieldside patio of the Cantina. All guests can enjoy the food options and fully stocked bar while being given a play by play analysis by Tony Gregg, our resident announcer.
FEATURE MATCHES – January 8 through April 2
FRIDAY (Feb & Mar) – International Field 2pm
SATURDAY – Cantina Field 12pm
SUNDAY – Cantina Field 10am & Clubhouse Field 12pm & 2pm
Sunday Clubhouse Reservations – (760)-831-POLO(7656) – $10pp surcharge
We are excited to once again offer 12 Goal, 8 Goal, 4-6 Goal and Pro Pool leagues along with Pee Wee Polo for future polo stars to develop their skills. For those who have seen polo and thought that you may like to try your hand at it, we have the Polo & Riding Academy equipped with safe horses and all of the gear to get you started. There is something for everyone at Eldorado Polo Club.
Polo is played on a massive field the size of nine football fields (300 x 160 yards), to accommodate the intense speed and pace of the game. Horse and player traffic can extend just outside of the low wooden border but as soon as the ball leaves the field, it is out-of-bounds and stops play.
Goal posts stand 8 yards apart at either end of the field. A goal is scored by hitting the ball between the two goal posts at any height. A goal is confirmed by the flag bearer standing (at a safe distance) behind each goal. It pays to keep your eye on the ball but also on your team because they change directions each time a goal is scored, in order to equalize playing conditions.
Each team consists of four players numbered 1 through 4 with the No.1 being the most offensive player and No.4 being the most the most defensive. The No.2 and No.3 are considered to be “mid-fielders” and help transition plays from defence to attack. Each player is assigned a rating (also called handicaps or “goals”) based on their experience and skill on the field. Beginners are assigned a C (-2) or B (-1) rating. From there, as skills improve the players are rated from A (0) to the top rating, a 10-goal player. The aggregate handicaps of the four players are added to give the team handicap.
The game is comprised of periods or “Chukkers” that last for 7 ½ minutes. Games at Eldorado can consist of either 4, 5 or 6 chukkers. Players will change mounts in the break between chukkers and some will also change mounts mid-chukker although this is done in the player’s own time. Some players may choose to use upwards of 10 horses in a game. Polo ponies are generally thoroughbreds that stand, on average, 15 to 16 hands high at the withers. An ideal polo pony has a steady temperament, is responsive during intense play, and possesses stamina, agility and maneuverability.
Because the primary focus in polo is the safety of the horse and of the players, the rules of play focus on avoiding injury. With horses hitting speeds of up to 35 miles per hour, the most significant rule governing play is “right of way,” as designated by what is referred to as the “line of the ball.” Players can hit the ball from either side of their mounts (though they can only use their right hand to hold the mallet), and once the ball is in play, the “line of the ball” is established. The player who is closest to the ball with the narrowest angle has the right of way. Opposing players cannot cross the line too closely to the player who has the right of way nor can they approach the player with the right of way at too sharp an angle, or they risk a foul and subsequent penalty. The severity of the penalty depends on how dangerous the infraction was or how much a player was disadvantaged by the infraction.