Palm Beach Polo: The epicenter of the winter season.

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Jun 27, 2024

15 min read

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    Some high flyers travel to Palm Beach for its pristine white sand beaches and ultra-exclusive lifestyle. But for the polo crowd, Palm Beach is the national epicenter of this prestigious sport.

    This oceanside destination has spent the last 50 years developing exclusive equestrian facilities and goal circuits revolving around the sport of polo. If you’ve never attended a Sunday Brunch at the Pavilion or witnessed the U.S. Open Championship firsthand, it’s time to make Palm Beach your polo destination next season.

    History of Palm Beach Polo

    Polo has been interwoven into the cultural landscape of South Florida for decades. Its origins here began in 1978, when William T. “Bill” Ylvisaker created the region’s very first polo fields, introducing the sport to the community of Wellington.

    In the words of the Polo Museums Hall of Fame, “A bright meteor in polo’s sky, William T. ‘Bill’ Ylvisaker had an astonishing presence in some 50 years in the saddle and the committee room. His record was singular and his legacy potent for generations to come.”

    Ylvisaker’s Palm Beach Polo and Country Club became the premier polo destination in the United States. With private polo fields proliferating around Wellington and Palm Beach by the 1990s, these lux facilities ended up merging into a platform for high-goal competition.

    In 2002, John B. Goodman, patron of the Isla Carroll Polo team, took over the local fields to found the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC). The club has since gained guardianship of the prestigious 26-goal C.V. Whitney Cup polo tournament. Since its inception, the IPC has built out expansive world-class amenities to support this and other events, including grandstands, private boxes, and other services.

    Most recently, in 2022, the IPC was acquired by the United States Polo Association (USPA) and renamed the USPA National Polo Center (also known as the National Polo Center [NPC]). With this acquisition, the NPC has become one of the largest polo clubs in the world, with nine polo fields, a main stadium that seats 1,640 spectators, and a host of the world’s greatest polo tournaments, like the U.S. Open Polo Championship.

    Palm Beach polo club

    Palm Beach Polo Destinations

    Palm Beach and neighboring Wellington are where polo’s most prestigious matches happen. The area has several renowned facilities catering to everyone in the sport: players, spectators, and socialites. From the U.S. Open to Sunday Brunch, here are the polo facilities of note in Palm Beach.

    National Polo Center

    The pride of Palm Beach polo is the National Polo Center in the nearby village of Wellington. It has nine natural grass fields and two stadiums that can accommodate over 1,600 spectators.

    The NPC hosts some of the world’s most distinguished tournaments, such as the Gauntlet of
    Polo, the U.S. Open Polo Championship, and the USPA Gold Cup. Here, you’ll witness the best players compete in riotous matches, showcasing their equestrian skills. If you have any open Sundays during the four-month season, make time to attend at least one Sunday Brunch at the Pavillion, with VIP tables overlooking the field.

    But it’s not just polo. The NPC boasts an Olympic-size pool, an expansive spa and fitness center, tennis courts, and a croquet lawn.

    Two polo players competing

    Palm Beach Polo Golf and Country Club

    Conveniently located near the NPC, Palm Beach Polo Golf and Country Club offers its members an opulent space to indulge in their passion of choice. Mediterranean-styled neighborhoods and an 18-hole championship golf course complement the polo fields and expansive forest preserve.

    The Palm Beach Polo Golf and Country Club is the epicenter of equestrian social life, especially during the Winter Equestrian Festival.

    Palm City Polo

    Palm Beach polo training and development revolve around Palm City Polo. This 35-acre facility just outside of Wellington has a regulation arena, two regulation grass fields, 60 stalls, a hitting case, and an exercise track. Open to guests, Palm City Polo offers polo lessons, clinics, practice sessions, and low- and medium-goal league tournaments.

    Palm Beach Polo Season

    Polo season in the U.S. runs from January to April. Throughout the four-month season in South Florida, the Palm Beach Polo Club and the National Polo Center host weekly and often daily events, training days, social gatherings, and more.

    Winter Season Polo Events in Palm Beach

    The polo world descends on Wellington for the winter season to play, spectate from the grandstands, and attend high-profile social events. Polo matches and tournaments are open to the public, where attendees dress to the nines, becoming another aspect of the pomp and circumstance swirling around Palm Beach polo.

    U.S. Open Polo Championship

    The polo season in South Florida reaches its pinnacle with the U.S. Open Polo Championship. This is the most preeminent event in the U.S. and serves as the crescendo for the Gauntlet of Polo. If you can only attend one event in Wellington this season, this is it.

    NPC 16-Goal Championship

    Although it’s only just getting started, the Florida Circuit 16-Goal Super-Series Championship by the USPA Tournament Committee aims to boost team participation in medium-goal polo. It features teams at their home club while still giving them a chance to contend for a major polo event.

    The Wellington Polo Tour

    A relatively new entrant into the Palm Beach Polo season, the Wellington Tour encompasses four separate tournaments throughout the year: the Outback Cup, Iglehart Cup, Ylvisaker Cup, and the Continental Cup. Tournaments are played out across nine private fields in Wellington. Stay tuned for next season’s tournament dates and Palm Beach Polo tickets.

    Are you flying in for the next match? Fly above the rest with Volato. Book a private charter on our fleet of modern HondaJets to Palm Beach for your next polo event.

    Aerial view of polo field

    The Palm Beach Experience

    If you’ve been drawn to Palm Beach for the equestrian lifestyle, you’ll quickly discover why it has become a second home to the country’s most influential business leaders and socialites. It turns out the Palm Beach lifestyle is about more than just polo.

    Palm Beach’s ocean views, quiet private neighborhoods, and countless world-class facilities exist on another plane of reality. Whether it’s the championship golf courses, the exclusive tennis courts, or the shopping, Palm Beach and the surrounding neighborhoods are designed to exceed exacting expectations.

    The area boasts some of the best beach-side resorts in the country. From the Amrit Ocean Resort and Residences to The Breakers to the Four Seasons, you’ll have more than a few choices for your next escape.

    Getting to & From Palm Beach, Florida

    Just outside West Palm Beach, Wellington and the town of Palm Beach are an hour and a half drive from Miami. Of course, given the caliber of visitors here, most fly into one of the county’s handful of local airports on their private jet.

    Palm Beach County hosts three airports that service private jets and charters.

    • Palm Beach International (PBI) (West Palm Beach, FL): Serving both commercial airlines and general aviation, PBI has three on-site fixed-based operators to meet your travel needs: Atlantic Aviation, Jet Aviation, and Signature Flight Support. It’s just a 12-minute drive from Palm Beach proper.
    • North Palm Beach County General Aviation (F45) (Palm Beach Gardens, Florida): Located in the northern part of the county, North Palm Beach County General Aviation Airport offers the best access to Florida Research Park, Jupiter, and Palm Beach Gardens. It is a designated reliever airport for PBI and has a 4,300-foot runway.
    • Palm Beach County Park Airport (LNA) (Lantana, Florida): Palm Beach County Park Airport is in Lantana, Florida, just 6 miles south of PBI. It’s conveniently just a short drive from the county’s coastal cities, including Palm Beach. It’s another PBI reliever airport but caters to reciprocating engine and turbine aircraft.

    Experience Palm Beach Polo

    From its origins, as envisioned by polo legend Ylvisaker, to the expansive facilities that now define Palm Beach’s landscape, this area has unequivocally become the center for all things polo during the U.S. winter season. Here, the legacy of polo is alive and well, inviting visitors to take part in this prestigious sporting season.

    Book a private flight with us the next time you travel to Palm Beach. Fly Volato.

    Polo match at Palm Beach

    Disclaimer: This post is intended for informational purposes only. Volato is not responsible for omissions or inaccuracies in such information, or for data that is no longer accurate due to delay, change in law, rules, or regulations.