Polo blends equine and human athleticism, inspiring the fusion of man and machine in Segway polo and the confusion between man and shark-riding merman in open-water polo. Watch the least confusing kind of polo with today's Groupon: for $10, you get admission for two to a polo match at Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club in Carpinteria (a $20 value). Polo matches are held each Sunday, and major upcoming matches include the Harry East Memorial finals on September 25, the USPA President's Cup finals on October 9, and the Wickenden Cup finals on October 16.
Recently visited by Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club's polo facilities boast three world-class fields and grandstand spectator seating for up to 600. Professional polo players from around the globe flock to the club's high-stakes polo matches, which take place on four fields that each stretch to the size of nine football fields, or two skyscraper-length trampolines. As mallet-wielding competitors strategically direct their charging steeds during Sunday matches, which begin at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., up to 600 spectators fill the grandstands, with many more occupying nearby tailgating, cabana, and lounge seating. During halftime, crowds can stroll about to admire the picturesque fields, stop into the club's Centennial Café for gourmet cuisine and drinks, or train nearby ponies to believe that their riders' hands are made of sugar cubes. The staff at Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club mandates a casual dress code for spectators, though some polo watchers enjoy dressing up, arriving in such formalwear as suit jackets, fancy hats, and pinstriped bridles.
Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club
Cleaved between the Pacific Ocean and the foothills of Santa Ynez Mountain, Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club is among the oldest polo facilities in the U.S. The Club was established in 1911 and quickly became a focal point of competition and social interaction. In fact, by the 1920s, spending Sunday at the club had already become a celebrated social event. Visitors would don the latest fashions and picnic at the fields, some even hiring helpers to assist with the noonday meal and deliver jokes during intermission.
Although some conventions have changed, the club retains its reputation as an elegant destination to enjoy the “Sport of Kings.” It features a trio of world-renowned polo fields, plus eight tennis courts, a fitness center, and a pool for recreational use. The club still draws some of society’s most noble figures, too—Prince William and Catherine visited during 2011, a trip that saw Prince William compete in a charitable match.
3300 Via Real
Carpinteria, California 93013