Santa Barbara Polo Club
Santa Barbara, California, is well-known for its sunny and mild Mediterranean-like climate, chic dining, shopping districts and gorgeous coastline and mountains. But what many tourists may not know is that deep in the heart of the city’s posh culture lies a love for the ancient sport of polo. Steeped in history, the “game of kings” is the highlight of summer and fall at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, which hosts matches on weekends from May through early October. Spectators of all ages delight in watching rival teams on deft ponies tear up and down a grass field that’s the area of nine American football fields.
The Sport of Royalty
But Within Reach ~ Of The Mere Layperson
But just because polo is the preferred sport of royalty doesn’t mean it’s inaccessible to the layperson. Santa Barbara polo’s general admission seats in the grandstand are only $10, while cabanas for groups of up to 15 people start at just $100. Even though it’s a very reasonably priced event, many spectators enjoy the game’s tradition of dressing up in elegant clothes for matches. However, the stands aren’t shaded, so plan accordingly. Sunscreen, sun hats and water bottles are a must.
The Polo & Racquet Club holds its Main Match on Sundays at 2:30, starting with a Maserati and polo pony parade and the national anthem before the 3:00 throw in (like a kick-off, but with ponies). Matches are 90-minutes long with a halftime break. But don’t wander off before the traditional divot stomp! Those ponies kick up a lot of turf, and the spectators take to the field at halftime to stomp the divots back down while sipping complimentary apple cider or champagne near the grandstands.
Two full bars ~ And Free Samples
In addition to its two full bars, the club hosts a different winery or brewery each week that offers free samples of libations during the match. You could also pay a visit to the grill during the Sunday matches to pick up sandwiches, salads, soup, burgers and more.
Be More Than A Spectator
Learn Everything From Riding ~ To Knock-Ins and More
If you’re interested in improving your already burgeoning polo skills, the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club offers clinics with professional coaches who will help you get ready for the next season. Veteran coaches Corky and Kathy Linfoot are offering a clinic June 18th and 19th, 2016, where they’ll teach riding, throw-ins, knock-ins and more. They’ll also teach attendees the ins and outs of buying and owning a polo pony. This clinic is open to players at all levels, but would be especially useful for players looking to step up their game.
After The Match
There's Plenty to See ~ In Family Friendly Padaro Beach
After the polo match, keep in mind there’s plenty to do in the nearby area. Padaro Beach has great boutiques and the family-friendly Padaro Beach Grill, where the gang can satisfy its appetite al fresco style while enjoying live music on Sundays. Or hit the beach where you can cool off in the surf after an afternoon in the sun.A lively day at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club is certainly a refreshing alternative to more common vacation activities and is a great way to create lasting memories for years to come.
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