Sotogrande has a long and proud history of polo and to this day we host some of the best international tournaments, have world-class facilities and train the world’s best players.
The story of Sotogrande started in 1962, when the founder Joseph Rafael McMicking y Ynchausti went looking for the perfect place to develop an exclusive resort. They discovered San Roque, and purchased Finca Paniagua, with McMicking and his nephews Jaime and Enrique Zobel leading the development of Sotogrande.
Enrique Zobel was an avid polo player and was president of Manila Polo Club, with a memorial tournament now held in his name. He was so passionate about this wonderful sport that he drove the development of polo in Sotogrande and created the first polo field here in 1965. Initially known as The Beach Ground, this is now the Santa Maria Polo Club, one of four polo clubs in Sotogrande, with several others in nearby Tesorillo and Jimena de la Frontera.
Santa Maria Polo Club
Santa Maria Polo Club is the original club and regarded as one of the best in the world. It has seven polo grounds, four of them deemed World Class, and exceptional club facilities designed to welcome polo fans every summer.
They are currently celebrating their annual International Polo tournament, the Mansion 49 Torneo Internacional de Polo. This tournament runs from the 25th of July until the 30th of August and La Reserva Club are proud sponsors of this great event. Every afternoon spectators can enjoy the best polo matches from international teams and a wonderful atmosphere for all the family. There is a shopping area featuring great brands, luxury properties being showcased and a wonderful bar area to enjoy drinks and snacks with friends. There’s also a kids club so the little ones can enjoy the day as well. You can find out about options and purchase tickets on their website.
Ayala Polo Club
There is still a strong connection with the founding family here in Sotogrande, with the son of Enrique Zobel, Iñigo Zobel presiding over Ayala Polo Club and continuing his father’s legacy. Located in nearby San Enrique, Ayla Polo Club boasts a 35-acre area with three polo fields, a stick and ball field, an exercise track and indoor arena. They also have a polo school open for beginners, all the way to advanced players, and they don’t even ask for any riding experience to start learning this exciting sport. They also hold coaching chukkers and organise tournaments for beginners, intermediate and advanced players, which you can take part in.
Polo Valley is set on a 100 acre estate and surrounded by undisturbed nature. With a private 12 acre lake and pristine polo grounds discover a totally new experience at our unique destination. This is a world-class polo facility and resort which offers a wide range of incredible polo courses and activities in an exclusive setting. Whether you are interested in learning to play or improve your polo, trying a totally new experience with one of their excursions or looking to host a private dinner or event they would be delighted to show you around.
Dos Lunas Polo Club
Dos Lunas Polo Club is another great place to enjoy polo in Sotogrande. It specialises in polo and dressage and prepares horses to compete in some of the best competitions. It has two polo fields, training tracks, riding ranges, paddocks and accommodation for participants. It even boasts the longest canter field ever designed by riding surface specialists Dammann. They also hold spring and summer tournaments and recently held the Black Eagle Tournament.
Iridike Polo school is a polo destination founded by professional polo players Luciano Irazabal and Nano Iturrioz near Sotogrande. The school teaches polo at all levels to inspire and enable more people to get into this great sport. They also organise polo holiday packages to bring polo fans to Sotogrande to learn, relax and enjoy this beautiful place. The school has 40 horses, 10 paddocks, a regulation size polo field and two smaller support game fields, training tracks and exercise tracks, just 20 minutes from Sotogrande Marina.
Le Hardy Polo
Le Hardy Polo Sotogrande connects the elite Polo community to all Sotogrande has to offer. It is the brain child of international polo player and Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) certified coach Jaime Le Hardy. With an illustrious career under his belt, including Captaining England, Jamie is now based in Sotogrande and has created something very special with Le Hardy Polo. They offer classes, clinics and coaching for adults and children, from beginners to advanced players. They also organise tournaments and riding activities from classes through to mountain and beach hacks. However, they also offer a lifestyle concierge service which creates memorable experiences alongside the polo. They can organize leisure and sport activities, wellness and private events for their clients, to allow them to get the full luxury Sotogrande experience.
As you can see, Sotogrande really is a paradise for polo players and fans, and we’re excited to share it with the world this summer during Santa Maria’s prestigious tournament. Polo is a sport which is growing in popularity and many youngsters are interested in learning this skill, hoping one day to compete in tournaments such as these. To help those budding players, here are a few tips to start to play polo from our equestrian centre team.
How to learn to play polo
Polo is a wonderful sport, not just to watch, but also to play and where better to learn than here in Sotogrande?
The first step to becoming a great polo player is to develop skills and confidence on a horse. The riding school at La Reserva Country Club helps riders to hone their skills from beginners, to those wanting to enjoy the stunning horseback trails, all the way up to those competing in dressage and show jumping. If you feel that your riding is not quite up to speed for polo, get in touch with the club and enquire about lessons to make sure your riding is top class.
Once you’re at total ease with the horse, then its time for polo skills. Start by practicing using a mallet and hitting the ball on the ground. There are some great videos and tutorials online which will talk you through the correct grip and swing, so that you feel confident hitting the ball before you get on the horse. At the same time, study the rules and make sure you’re in good shape, to give you the best chance of a strong start.
We offer one-hour polo lessons at Polo Valley Sotogrande. This taster lesson, is a great way to learn the basics and see if the sport is for you, so you can practice the skills and move on to further training to really push yourself to the limits.
We look forward to helping you to enjoy polo in Sotogrande!