Cover to come
CLUB POLO 101
Starting a Club. Building a Club. Sustaining a Club.
THE USPA POLO DEVELOPMENT LLC
TABL E OF CO NT ENTS List of Contributors .
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Introduction by Justin Powers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Section 1. Club Organization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Section 2. Club Facilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Section 3. Tournaments and Leagues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Section 4. Polo School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Section 5. Outside the Boards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Section 6. Safety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Section 7. USPA and Polo Development Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Section 8. Umpires . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 Section 9. Announcer Scripts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 Section 10. Club Case Studies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 Bloomfield Polo Club: Create plenty of partnerships for success . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 Central Coast Polo Club: Advantageously use Interscholastic/Intercollegiate Polo .
Colorado State University Polo Club: Mutual respect in student run club . . . . . . . . 84 Empire Polo Club: Diverse use of property generates revenue .
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Garrison Forest School: Excellent results lead to positive reputation . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 Great Meadow Polo Club: Twilight Polo makes fun family experience . . . . . . . . . . . 90 Newport Polo Club: Event polo engages spectators and sponsors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 San Diego Polo Club: Effective marketing is key to success . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94 Triangle Area Polo Club: Building a club from ground up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96 Toronto Polo Club: Toronto teamwork makes the dream work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98 Appendix I. Body Condition Scoring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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Appendix II. Matching Horse to Rider . Appendix III. Club By-Laws Example .
ÂŠ United States Polo Association. All Rights Reserved.
A special thanks to our contributors Kris Bowman
JENNY SC H WA RTZ, CLU B P O L O 101 P RO J E CT M ANAG E R Jenny is uniquely connected to the Club Polo 101 project because she herself has started a collegiate polo program as well as a polo school in the Washington D.C. area. She began playing polo at the age of 12 and went on to be a very competitive Interscholastic player at Garrison Forest School. She founded the Polo Club at Virginia Tech and built it from the ground up while receiving her Bachelorâ€™s in Business Management and Marketing. Her work in Polo Development started in 2015 after she graduated when she took a USPA Internship at a polo club working with one of the most wellknown polo managers, Melanja Jones. Once the season ended, she began working on this invaluable resource with Justin Powers. She collected various manuals and guides, interviewed polo professionals and researched all things polo for Club Polo 101. Jenny and Justin are proud to present the first edition of Club Polo 101.
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INT ROD U C TIO N Club Polo 101 is the brainchild of USPA Director of Club Development, Justin Powers. Justin is entering his 23rd year as a member of the USPA. He joined the Polo Development team in January, 2012. As a third generation polo player, Justin spent his childhood traveling the MidStates Circuit developing green horses and playing competitive polo. In addition to polo, Justin’s extensive knowledge includes various aspects of the horse racing industry, Capitol Hill, oil and gas and economic development. He holds a bachelor’s degree in sports management from Robert Morris University and a master’s in nonprofit management, both of which he uses on a daily basis when working with polo clubs. In the 1960’s, Everett Rogers, a communications professor at Ohio State University, wrote a book called Diffusion of Innovations, in which he analyzed how and why new ideas spread throughout cultures and societies. Traveling to clubs across the country allows the USPA Polo Development, LLC team to see the level of passion and commitment of individuals growing the sport at the grassroots level. It is always rewarding to disseminate a polo innovation that worked in one part of the country to another club and see it successfully replicated. According to Rogers, as more and more clubs “adopt” innovations, that knowledge and implementation will spider web across the entire polo society. The purpose of Club Polo 101 will be to standardize and share successful club development information with clubs. We are building a strong polo development network based on collaboration. We are identifying new innovations and determining “best practices” and distributing them throughout the polo development network. The old saying “It takes a village…” applies not only to raising a child, but also to developing a polo player.
INTRODUCTION | 3
1. Outside the Boards
CLUB ORGANIZATION | 5
Organization provides the key for any successful club to understand the fundamentals that make any business work and the organizational structure required to support a membership based entity. Part of the Certified Polo Instructor (CPI) Program includes continuing education with respect to business operations and profitability, professionalism, and club marketing. Please see http://poloskilz.com/certified-instructors/ to create an account to have access to all the CPI Business Tutorials as well as additional resources to help you and your business. For questions about creating an account, email Jess Downey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BAS IC BU SIN ESS K NO WLED G E The Certified Polo Instructor Program offers an all-encompassing business guide that is easy to follow and covers all the basics. The first section outlines Profitability. This section explores business structures, business models and plans, financial statements, accounting, profitability, profit margins and pricing. To learn more about how to properly construct a business plan and how to keep track of your profits, email Justin Powers at email@example.com. Section two covers Professionalism. This tutorial explains how to create the “polo experience,” establish client and employee relationships, establish relationships with peers and other professionals and best represent your sport. To further your knowledge on networking, managing expectations and establishing leadership, email Justin Powers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
M ARK ETIN G The Certified Polo Instructor Program offers an intensive guide to Marketing. This tutorial covers what marketing is, what to market in polo, how to market, understanding and delivering value, a customer’s most valuable asset, cultivating customer relationships, branding, finding leads, the purchasing process, the sales process and how to be an effective salesperson. Marketing includes everything you need to know about how to effectively market your club to your community by explaining market segmentation, how to satisfy customers and business networking. For more information on marketing your club, email Elizabeth Hedley and email@example.com. The growth and development of polo is predicated on the sport growing at the grassroots level with regional cooperation amongst clubs. In essence, “It takes a village to grow a polo player.” Over the past few years, clubs have worked together to develop regional associations to cooperatively govern the sport in their areas. The Central Texas Polo Association is a great example of clubs working together for the good of the sport.
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REGIO NA L O PPO RTU N ITIES T O D E VE L O P T HE S PO RT O F PO LO Contributed by: Daniel Coleman, Arizona Polo Association and Karl Hilburg, Central Texas Polo Associaton
What is a State or Regional Polo Association? A state or regional Polo Association is made up of multiple polo clubs all unified as one professionally run club and functioning under one consistent administration. It can be a new start to polo, with new volunteers, new management, and a new fee structure. An Association would represent all the member clubs, facilities, polo players, and supporters. It would hire and supervise club managers and staff, schedule polo matches, operate all schools and work to ride programs. All clubs can maintain USPA club membership in accordance with USPA by-laws. Each club would be responsible for its own organization and would maintain its own delegate.
CLUB ORGANIZATION | 7
The Association can be a non-profit LLC owned by its members. Its members would be its clubs and the players. It would be governed by a Board of Directors, with each member club having one Board seat and the players electing additional Board members.
What are the benefits for clubs being a unified Association? A unified Association will allow all members to be feel that they are included in a single club. It would allow a polo club’s voice within the USPA to be much larger. Significant additional Polo Development money from the USPA may be made available for a larger, unified Association. A unified Association allows you to collect uniform dues from all players and students so that you can increase your revenue and provide much greater service to your members.
CLUB G O V ER NIN G D O CU MENT S For an example of Club By-Laws, see Appendix III.
HOW TO FIND A ND K EEP A G O O D P O L O M ANAG E R 1. Finding the perfect fit for your club • The officers/decision makers must first write down what the club’s expectations will be for the Manager. Make sure you have realistic expectations and that the salary is commensurate with that job description. 2. Where do you find the right Manager? • Network with USPA staff and officials. Let people know you are looking. Start your search in well in advance of the time you need the position filled. The most desirable managers will already have offers many months ahead of the season. • P ut an ad in the Polo Media outlets such as Morning Line and Post and share job opportunities on Social Media. • Contact universities that have a polo program and look for recommendations from coaches. • Contact managers from Winter run polo clubs and see if they have any recommendations. • Promote from within. 3. Once you have found the right person, how do you keep him or her? • Make sure that you have presented this person with a written proposal of the Manager’s job description. This should include what you are going to do for them as well as what services they are expected to provide for you. Some items to include:
· Length of time that the person is expected to be running your club.
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· Stabling and living arrangements. · Salary and bonuses. · Answer questions first and put the answers in writing: – – – – –
Do you expect them to play? Umpire? Teach? Do field maintenance? Who will provide their insurance, them or you? Will they be an employee or a private contractor? Is the club providing dues for this person or their children or spouse? Are they responsible for marketing, advertising sales, or announcing?
• C heck this person’s references before officially hiring. • H ave the written agreement signed by both parties. 4. What the successful polo clubs already know: • Include the Manager in setting budget goals and have them involved in the club finances. • A lways back up your Manager’s decisions. Fix any problems behind closed doors. You want your members and visitors to respect this person and the best way to show this is by the way the officers treat the Manager. • L et the Manager do his or her job. Do not micromanage. Set your boundaries and guidelines then let the Manager work independently. • A Manager can only have one boss. Too many chiefs can run off a good Manager in no time. Determine who your Manager will report to and work through them. • M ake sure at the end of the season, if you want this Manager back, that you let them know. Don’t assume he or she will return. 5. What the successful Polo Managers already know: • How to dress professionally. • To always keep relationships professional. • Treat all players and members equally. • How to communicate. • Never play officers or members against one another. • To keep their private life private. • To fulfill their commitments, and if a mistake is made, take ownership and fix it. • How to navigate the USPA and utilize the programs and services.
CLUB ORGANIZATION | 9
DUES Pro tip from David Brooks, owner and manager of Triangle Area Polo Club. Triangle Area Polo Club charges dues for the full season: mid-March to mid-November. Players must be club members to play on weekends. Club members receive discounted rates on horse use and lessons. Club members can play in a monthly 2 chukker club tournament or a quarterly 4 chukker club tournament with no entry fee. Non-members can take lessons during the week at a higher rate than members. Non-members are invited to play twice on weekends to entice them to join. Youth membership is discounted. Youths can participate in youth lesson night and interscholastics at the higher rates. They must join the club to play on weekends.
Membership Level Another option for dues is to have levels of membership, similar to the levels of membership at Maryland Polo Club • Practice Membership: lowest price, play once a week in practice/coaching chukkers. • Intermediate Membership: similar price to Practice Membership, play once a week in slow chukkers. • Junior Membership: Practice Membership plus weekend games for players under 26 years of age at a discounted price. • Full Membership: Practice Membership plus weekend games for players over 26 years of age. • F amily Membership: practice membership plus weekend games for the rest of the family of a Junior or Full member.
Employee-Employer Contract The following is a sample contract that includes a non-compete clause. This contract is between an employer and employee. It is best to consult with your legal counsel when writing up a contract to ensure your needs are covered.
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Sample Employee-Employer Contract
AGREEMENT THIS AGREEMENT (“Agreement”) is made and entered into ______________, _______, by and between _____________________ (“Employer”) and _________________________ (“Employee”). In this Agreement, Employer and Employee will also be referred to collectively as “Parties” and individually as “Party.” RECITALS WHEREAS, Employer desires to retain the services of and employ Employee to teach polo and matters pertaining to riding horses; and WHEREAS, Employee desires to perform services for and be employed by Employer. NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the mutual covenants contained in this Agreement and for other good and valuable consideration, the receipt and sufficiency of which are hereby acknowledged, Employer and Employee hereby agree as follows: 1.
Term. The term of this Agreement shall be for period of _______ months (the “Term”).
2. Compensation. During the Term, Employer shall pay or provide to Employee as compensation for the services of Employee, and subject to all applicable deductions: a.
a salary of $__________, payable in such periodic installments as determined by Employer, but not less frequent than ______________;
3. Performance of Duties. During the Term, Employee shall perform to the satisfaction of Employer such responsibilities and duties as required by Employer. 4. Policies and Procedures. Employer will have the authority to establish from time to time reasonable policies and procedures to be followed by Employee in fulfilling and discharging his or her duties under this Agreement. Employee agrees to comply with such reasonable policies and procedures as Employer may promulgate from time to time. 5. Limitations on Authority. Without the express written consent of Employer, Employee shall have no apparent or implied authority to: a. Pledge the credit of Employer. b. Release or discharge any debt due Employer, unless Employer has received the full amount thereof. c. Sell, mortgage, transfer, encumber or otherwise dispose of any assets of Employer.
CLUB ORGANIZATION | 11
Termination. Employer may terminate the employment of Employee as follows: a. At any time and effective immediately upon written notice to Employee if said discharge is “for cause”. By way of illustration and not limitation, any one or more of the following conditions shall be deemed to be grounds for termination of Employee’s employment “for cause” under this subsection a.: i.
E mployee’s failure or refusal to materially perform to the satisfaction of Employer his or her duties and responsibilities.
ii. T he willful misappropriation of the funds or property of Employer or any of Employer’s affiliates or subsidiaries. iii. T he use of alcohol or illegal drugs interfering with the performance of Employee’s obligations under this Agreement and continuing after a written warning is issued to Employee by Employer. iv. T he conviction in a court of law of, or entering a plea of guilty or no contest to, any felony or any crime involving moral turpitude, dishonesty or theft. v. The material nonconformance with Employer’s standard business practices and policies made known to Employee, including, without limitation, policies against racial or sexual discrimination or harassment. vi. T he commission in bad faith by Employee of any act which injures or could reasonably be expected to injure the reputation, business or business relationships of Employer or any of Employer’s affiliates or subsidiaries. vii. T he gross misconduct or gross negligence by Employee in the performance of his or her duties. viii. Any material breach of any duty, term, provision or condition of this Agreement. ix. E mployee conducts himself or herself in an unprofessional, immoral, dishonest or fraudulent manner, or if Employee’s conduct should discredit Employer or be detrimental to the reputation, character and standing of Employer. b. Upon the death of Employee. c. Upon the “total and complete disability” of Employee. The “total and complete disability” of Employee shall mean the inability of Employee to perform his or her responsibilities, duties and/or title as set forth in this Agreement or by Employer, whether by reason of physical or mental injury, physical incapacity or disability, physical or mental illness or otherwise. 7. Confidential Matters. Employee is aware of and acknowledges that prior to and during the Term, Employee may have had or may have access to information relating to Employer or Employer’s clients which is exclusive, valuable, non-public and confidential (“Confidential Information”). Employee expressly agrees that during the Term and thereafter subsequent to the
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expiration and/or earlier termination of this Agreement for any reason whatsoever, whether with or without cause, Employee shall not, without the prior written consent of Employer, release or divulge any Confidential Information to any other person or entity or use any such Confidential Information for any purpose other than permitted under this Agreement. Confidential Information covered by this section will include any and all written, visual or oral scientific, technical or commercial information which is exclusive, valuable, non-public, confidential and proprietary in nature, including, but not limited to, past, present and future Employer: financial information, customer information, products and services information, pricing information, records, intellectual property, source codes, object codes, documentation, technical knowledge, trade secrets, business and marketing plans, compilations, and other information concerning Employerâ€™s business, including the terms and conditions of this Agreement. Employee may disclose Confidential Information if required by an order of a judicial or governmental authority, so long as Employee provides Employer sufficient prior notice in order to permit Employer to contest such order. Employee shall promptly notify Employer of any unauthorized use or disclosure of Confidential Information, and shall take any and all reasonable efforts to prevent further unauthorized use or disclosure. 8. Non-Competition. As a material inducement for Employer to enter into this Agreement, Employee hereby agrees that he or she shall not for any reason, during the Term and for one (1) year following the expiration and/or earlier termination of this Agreement, directly or indirectly, whether for his or her own account or for the account of any other person or entity: engage in any business that is in actual or prospective competition with the business of Employer, whether as a principal, officer, director, proprietor, executive, employee, partner, shareholder, member, manager, investor, consultant, advisor, licensor, agent, representative, or other participant. 9. Incorporation. The Recitals and any all schedules and exhibits referred to and attached to this Agreement are true and correct and hereby incorporated into this Agreement by reference. 10. Complete Agreement. This Agreement represents the complete agreement between the Parties with respect to the subject matter contained in this Agreement, and this Agreement replaces and supersedes all prior written and oral agreements or statements by and among the Parties with respect to the subject matter contained in this Agreement. 11. Amendments. All amendments and modifications to this Agreement must be in writing and signed by all the Parties. 12. Waiver. No term, covenant, condition or warranty of this Agreement will be deemed to have been waived, nor shall there be any estoppel against the enforcement of any provision of this Agreement, except by written instrument of the Party charged with such waiver or estoppel. 13. Binding Effect. This Agreement will be binding upon and inure to the benefit of the Parties and their respective successors and assigns. Employee acknowledges and agrees that Employee shall personally perform his services pursuant to this Agreement. Employee also expressly
CLUB ORGANIZATION | 13
acknowledges, agrees and consents to Employer, at Employer’s sole discretion, assigning this Agreement to a third-party which may purchase all of the stock or all or substantially all of the assets of Employer. 14. Parties in Interest. Except as expressly provided in this Agreement, nothing in this Agreement will confer any rights or remedies under or by reason of this Agreement on any person or entity other than the Parties and their respective successors and assigns. 15. Construction of Agreement. In the event it is necessary to construe the terms and conditions of this Agreement, it will be done without giving any consideration or effect as to which party may have drafted this Agreement. The Parties acknowledge that all the terms of this Agreement were negotiated at arms’ length and that this Agreement and all documents executed in connection with this Agreement were prepared and executed without duress, undue influence or coercion upon any Party. 16. Governing Law; Venue; Jurisdiction. This Agreement shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of ________ (without giving effect to principles of conflicts of laws). The venue for any legal proceedings arising from or connected with this Agreement shall be exclusively in ______________, and no Party shall have the right to challenge venue based upon forum non-convenient or otherwise. The Parties expressly consent to the jurisdiction of the state and/or federal courts in and/or for __________________. 17. Attorneys’ Fees. In any legal proceeding, arising from, under or in connection with this Agreement, the prevailing party shall recover the reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in preparation for and in connection with such legal proceedings, including at all levels of trial and appeal. 18. Severability. If any provision of this Agreement is held invalid, illegal or unenforceable, the remainder of this Agreement will not be affected thereby. 19. Survival. Each provision of this Agreement which incurs an obligation on a Party subsequent to the expiration and/or earlier termination of this Agreement, will survive the expiration and/or earlier termination of this Agreement. 20. Counterparts. This Agreement may be executed in one or more counterparts, each of which shall be deemed an original, but all of which shall constitute one and the same document.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the Parties have executed and entered into Agreement as of the Effective Date set forth below. Employer: Employee: By: ________________________________________ By: _____________________________________________ Name: ____________________________________ Name: _________________________________________ Title: _____________________________________ Date: _____________________ Date: ____________________
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â€¢ Boards 1. Outside the
This pic ok here?
CLUB FACILITIES | 15
FIELDS A ND A RENA Where will you play polo? On the grass? In an arena? Will you have both? Both grass fields and polo arenas must be built and maintained properly in order to increase their longevity and keep costs down in the long run. While field and arena polo are the two most common forms of polo, there are other types of facilities utilized across the country that are a hybrid of field and arena polo. Examples include Lakeside Polo Club, a grass field with open end zones and arena walls on the side, and Darlington Polo Club, a skin field played under the lights with an outdoor ball and outdoor rules. For more information about unique polo facilities contact Justin Powers, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Polo Field Contributor: Billy Raab Creating a Polo Field • Good design with regards to grading and adequate drainage when fields are put in makes all of the difference in how well and how safely a field plays. • It takes at least one year, but usually two, for a polo field to mature. • A full-size polo field is 300 x 160 yards with 10 yards on each side for safety zones and 30 yards at each end for turning room. • G oal posts should be easy to maintain, lightweight, and do minimal damage to horse and rider if hit. The width of the goal post should be consistent from the base to the top. • Field should run north-south with the west side reserved for spectators. • P utting in a polo field can be a tedious task. There are a lot of opinions on crowning a polo field for drainage. Some recommend a crown of 18” to 24” to facilitate drainage and prevent wet spots but a crown can also cause inconsistency of the footing on the field. It is recommended to consult a field and soil expert to develop the proper field schematics for your geographical location. • D epending on local soil conditions, a top dressing of 3” to 4” of sand or sand/loam should cover the field. The soil or footing is much more important than the type of grass used. • A t the end of each playing season, it is a good practice to top-dress each field with an additional half-inch or inch of sand to keep footing light. • F requent aerating with a shovel or tube-type aerator can approximate top dressing as well as help remove thatch.
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• A dvice about soil and grasses can come from the County Extension Service (with someone who has experience in turf management) and another great source is a golf course traffic and turf management professional. • H igh or low pH, salt content, drought, climate extremes after too-close mowing, routinely mowing too closely, lack of necessary nutrients, thatch buildup, and compact soil from over-playing a single field are all factors that can cause major traumas to a field and inhibit grass growth. Field Maintenance • Key elements of concern should be the preparation of the surface long before the season starts and at the season’s end. • Spring and fall fertilization are the most important things that can be done to improve a field. • Determine the precise needs of the soil. Most turf grows best in soil that has a pH of 6.5 to 7.5. • Have soil tests done over time in order to track what your field needs or has needed.
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Lime • Acidic soils require applications of lime to reduce acidity. • Supplies calcium or calcium magnesium to the soil. • Has been known to correct or improve the soil of heavy or clay-based fields. • The rule of thumb for lime is 50 pounds per 1,000 square feet of field. • Lime should be incorporated into the top 4-6” of the soil. • Some incorporation into the soil can be obtained by deicing. • L ime application should occur once every three to five years any time during the year, but fall and winter are preferred. Fertilizer • Nitrogen has the greatest effect on the quality of grass. • In cold season grasses, application of 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of turf in March, May, September, and November are adequate for most soils. • W arm season grasses should be fertilized during the summer months, May through September. Mowing • Single greatest expense in maintenance when time, manpower, and equipment are considered. • Ideal playing height for Bermuda grass: ¾ to 1 ¼ inches. • Ideal playing height for cold weather grasses: 1 ¼ to 1 ¾ inches. • Reel-type fairway mowers are preferred for polo fields. • Mowing frequency should be regulated by the growth of the grass rather than a rigid schedule. • U se a top dressing, a mixture of 2/3 high quality top soil and 1/3 coarse sand and rye seed mixed in to fill cutup areas of cold weather fields. • Mow in a different direction each time (north-south one week, east-west the other). • Irrigate and fill divots as soon as possible after games. • Allow grass to grow a bit longer at the end of the season. • Frequent mowing will help to stimulate growth of desired grasses. Irrigation • In-ground irrigation systems can be installed most economically when a new field is put in. • Rainbirds are far cheaper but require more manpower.
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• K now that most grasses go into a semi-dormant state during periods of heat and drought for survival. • W hen irrigating, be sure to irrigate the actual playing area, but also include the area outside the sidelines to avoid accidents caused by different and slippery footing. • It is best to put an inch or more of water per application in a single watering. • Y ou need 5 gallons per minute of water per acre to be on target. It takes 27,000 gallons of water to put one inch of water on one acre. Soil Aeration • Aerate two or three times a month during heavy play, before each fertilization and irrigation as well as at the end of each season. • The best type of aerifier is the small shovel type rather than a blade. Thatch • A heavy accumulation of dead grasses will interfere with the active growth of turf. • B est course of action is to rent a street sweeper or concrete cleaning brush and sweep dead grasses off the field. Side Boards • Fields across the country feature boarded and unboarded sidelines. The benefits of boarded sidelines are keeping the ball in play and serving as an extra safety barrier with a crowd. • Benefits of an unboarded field are ease of maintenance and cost. • There are two primary types of boarded fields:
· Fields that are boarded only on the sidelines with the boards being square and perpendicular to the endlines.
· A second type of boarded field features boards that curve in on the endlines to promote the flow of play towards the goal.
Polo Arena Benefits of Arena • The arena is an excellent environment to start playing polo and a great place to learn the game. The confined space keeps students and new players in one area, allowing instructors and managers to keep an eye on everyone. • T he arena is also a place for competitive and fast paced polo with a lot of strategy. Players have more opportunities to have possession of the ball in the arena, keeping all players engaged throughout the game.
CLUB FACILITIES | 19
• T he Middle School, Interscholastic, and Intercollegiate programs all play in the arena from September to May. Regional and national tournaments host hundreds of young players every year and many of these players play outdoor over the summer. • Training. • A rena polo only has four chukkers in a game and you can often double two horses per player. Therefore, fewer chukkers, fewer players needed, fewer horses needed. • Arenas require less maintenance, which makes them much more cost effective. • A major benefit to a covered arena is the ability to play when it rains and in other inclement weather. This means polo can be played year round. • A rena polo is an excellent spectator sport because it is in a smaller space and more engaging to watch. There are more opportunities for the play to be directly in front of spectators, as opposed to an outdoor field where the play is often quite far away. Arena polo is very fan friendly. • Tournament Opportunities
· WCT · Military · Circuit / Sanctioned / National • Safe Lesson Venue • A renas are multiuse. They can be used for hunter jumper exhibitions, horse shows, and riding lessons. Footing Types • Sand • Clay Mixture • Dirt • Grass • Artificial Maintenance • Regular, consistent watering is needed to settle dust, provide good footing, and keep the surface consistent. • A tractor with a spike-tooth harrow drag will be needed to drag the arena before and midway through the match. • O ther equipment needed: rototiller, roller, knives or disk harrow (for clay arenas), and a York rake.
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3 â€¢ Boards 1. Outside the
TOURNAMENTS AND LEAGUES
TOURNAMENTS AND LEAGUES | 21
Contributed by: Melanja Jones
W HY H AV E A LEAG U E? 1. Leagues raise additional funds for a club. 2. Leagues raise the level of play by adding a level of professionalism not found in practices alone. 3. Leagues can add a fun level of competition to your polo season without the intensity of a one week or single elimination type tournament. Goal levels can be adjusted to suit the majority of the club so more members may be included. 4. Players will know their game schedule ahead of time each month so they can plan their summer activities outside of polo more easily.
S T EP S TO TA KE WH EN O R G ANIZING A L E AG U E: 1. Choose a level of play that will involve the largest number of club members. Remember this is intended to bring in extra revenue for your club. 2. Decide what day, number of chukkers, and league fees will best suit your club. Also it is recommended that you name your league for referral. 3. What length of time do you have available for league play? If you have a month and there are four teams entered, then you should easily be able to have each team play the other one time. If you have six teams entered, then you may have to draw into two brackets and the teams from each bracket will play each other one time to determine which team will go to the finals against the winner of the other bracket. Often, if there is only one bracket, then there is no need for a finals; the team with the best record will be declared the winner of that league. If, however, you have brackets, then you must have a final. When faced with a tie, you should use the tie breaking methods described by the USPA under Specific Tournament Conditions in the blue book. 4. Always make your schedule for the entire league ahead of time, with intended date, time, and umpire when possible. Before you make your schedule, ask players to submit dates for which they are unavailable for that particular month. After the schedule has been made, there should not be game changes, only substitutions of players. Ultimately, if you have a certain league on a certain day season after season, players learn to organize their work schedules accordingly. 5. Have a day reserved for rain dates. If you are prone to rainy seasons, then it may be best to count 2 points for a win, 1 point for a tie or rain out, and 0 points for a loss. A rainy season can cause a league to drag out for months and if that is a problem for your club, then you may prefer to use the point system.
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6. Hand out your league schedule at least one week prior to the first game, if not sooner. 7. In order to keep an air of professionalism, players should wear whites and umpires should have proper equipment and proper umpire jerseys. A knowledgeable timer and scorer should be appointed to each game for record keeping. Remember, you have charged a fee to your members for this league, so expectations will be higher. 8. Keep score sheets organized so you will have them available when it is time to tally records to determine the winner. 9. Have trophies ordered ahead of schedule to award to the winning team. 10. Familiarize yourself with the section titled â€œSpecific Tournament Conditionsâ€? in the blue book. Remember, if you have questions regarding the proper tournament procedure, you can always call the USPA, as they are always willing to help.
TOURNAMENTS AND LEAGUES | 23
T OURNAMENT G U ID E Go to https://www.uspolo.org/association/bookshelf to see the USPA “Tournament Guide.” • Checklist for USPA Tournaments • Information and Awarding of USPA Tournaments • National Event Application • Circuit Event Application • Sanctioned Event Application • Information on Liability Insurance • Information on Trophy Reimbursement Program • Information on the Arena Incentive Program • Women’s Event Handicaps • Sample Rosters • USPA Umpires, LLC Information • USPA Score Sheets • Information on Submitting Tournament Results
Tournament Checklist. This tournament checklist, contributed by Melanja Jones, contains all of the steps necessary to put on a successful tournament.
✔ Set tournament conditions and send out to potential teams and players. • D ates of entry, draw conditions, play dates and final, goal levels, fees, fields, and format. • Any special conditions (pro-am, youth, ladies, charity). Keep it simple on initial PR; details can wait for the entry form. • Create a database of players to invite to play in tournaments. • Note: fill out sanctioning paperwork with the USPA if it is a USPA event. ✔ Collect entry fees. • H ave money to cover field / arena expenses, pay staff, and buy trophies. Be sure to collect the money in advance.
✔ Send out and collect signed entry forms. • E ntry forms help spell things out in advance and promote clarity. They are a tool for conflict resolution, if needed.
✔ Assemble a Host Tournament Committee (HTC). • The HTC will help field questions and make determinations if something arises.
✔ Insurance • Secure event insurance if it is not part of the master policy.
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✔ Fields or Arenas • M ake sure your field or arena is available and that it is mowed or dragged. Make sure there is adequate parking and a safe staging for horses. Have a backup plan in case of problems.
✔ Staff • E MT. An EMT should be at all practices and games. If the club is too small to have an EMT always present, make sure there is a designated person at each game / practice / lesson who knows the address of the facility to tell 911. • Umpires and Third Man (Referee): contract these people well in advance, especially if you are taking advantage of PUMP-6 (see Umpire section). • Umpire horses: assign specifically to teams. • Horse ambulance and / or emergency plan: have a designated horse ambulance trailer with ramp, extra halter, Kinsey brace, and tarp. There should be an emergency contact plan for a veterinarian who can tend to emergencies or in worst-case scenario, can put a horse down humanely. • Timer & scorekeeper: hire or assign to members. • Flaggers: hire or assign to members. • Announcer and sound equipment. • Corporate sponsorship: signage, special seating, etc. • Additional staff: videographer, security, trailer parking attendant, etc. ✔ Supplies • G ame supplies: balls, air horns, timers, whistles, umpire gear. • Trophies: Order a minimum of two weeks in advance. ✔ Draw and Scheduling Checklist • V erify player handicaps. Check online at uspolo.org. • Verify team eligibility. ¾ rules, American rule. • Draws. There are many different options and formats for a draw. Make sure to state the format of the draw and the tiebreakers. • Schedule. Send out schedule to players, staff, media, and club members. Communication is key. Never assume someone knows the schedule unless you have personally made contact or have confirmed email addresses on email list. ✔ Game Day Checklist • R emind all players the day before the game of schedule, field assignments, umpire horses, and jersey colors. • Check field / arena conditions for safety, including signage for spectators, players, and safety zones. • Waivers. • Scorekeeper / timer game day supplies:
· Score sheets · Roster with correct handicaps
TOURNAMENTS AND LEAGUES | 25
· · · · · ·
Pens / pencils
Air horn and a backup air horn
Clock and a backup clock with extra batteries Current White Rule Book
Check electronic scoreboard one hour before match
• D ouble check sound system. • Have prepared script for announcer to use in emergency scenarios. • Staff arrival: EMT and umpires should be ready 30 minutes prior to game. Flaggers, timers, scorekeepers should be ready 15 minutes prior to game. • Make sure MVP and BPP selectors are present. • Ceremonial Bowl-In: prep teams so they know it is purely for show and does not start the game. • During the game:
· Monitor the field for safety issues (spectators in run off area, field conditions, loose horse, etc.)
· Make sure score matches the scoreboard. · Make sure the game runs on time and the timer blows the horn as needed. • Post-match:
· Trophy presentation and recognitions. Prepare presenters in advance and make sure they know what to do.
· Script announcer to recognize sponsors and VIPs. · Photos of teams for publication of game results on club website, local, and polo media, and USPA Bluebook.
· Results packet: send in completed results packet to email@example.com with photo of winning team (labeled from left to right) to be included in the blue book.
· Corporate sponsor recognition. · Trophy presentation: builds camaraderie, is a form of validation for players, and makes players feel appreciated.
✔ Crisis Management • P reventative Maintenance: Have players sign a Code of Conduct and other documents so you will have backup proof of precautions. • Remain calm, polite, and decisive; you are a professional. • Communication: Be very clear to staff and members about current plans and emergency plans so everyone is on the same page. In case of emergency, everyone should be prepared and calm. • Have a Host Tournament Committee and Discipline Committee in place beforehand that can handle any issues that arise. Hold members and players accountable for their actions. • Do not be afraid to acknowledge problems, but focus on the positive to keep a healthy atmosphere.
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• on 1.lways Outside the Boards • A finish a positive note.
This pic ok here? POLO SCHOOL | 27
A polo school brings in new players to the sport, improves the playing of current members, and can really enhance what your club has to offer. A polo school helps sustain your club by introducing polo to more prospective players. • C lub Support. The number one key element is to have the sole support of the polo club you are associated with. The most successful clubs promote their school, send all inquiries to one instructor, and provide stabling and meeting space for the operation. There are various financial arrangements possible, but the club must understand that the long-term benefit comes from the instructor converting a student into a lifetime player. The instructor does the hard work and the club reaps the benefits. It is a waste of your time if there are multiple instructors working for their own advantage. Never forget that your sole purpose is to produce dues paying polo players for your club. • D o not eat your profits. You must limit your number of lesson horses. This is a mathematical equation. The number of days that you will be teaching polo, plus the number of days each horse can work, plus the estimated number of students you can safely teach equal the number of horses that you should have in the program. Whether you teach year round, or just for the season, you will need to subtract what these horses cost you during their non-work time. You cannot let that exceed your income. There are ways to get around this problem if you are not using lesson horses year round:
· Share a string with a college or polo school that operates in another season. · Lease appropriate horses from local players. · Ask club members if they have a nice retired horse you can borrow and care for for the season.
· Bring sale horses from other clubs or players who would be willing to let you take and sell them to your students. • E ncourage moving on. Students will turn into players and they might move on to another club, go on to play with another pro, or stop taking lessons all together. You must encourage students to keep moving forward in their polo careers.
Polo School contributed by Kris Bowman. Up until 2009, Kris Bowman was playing competitive polo and running several of the most successful polo schools in the country. Fast forward to today and you will find Kris working for the USPA as Executive Director of Polo Development LLC and responsible for a multi-million dollar budget. Her duties include effective program development, implementing and creating association policies and procedures, and supervising an ever-growing handpicked support team whose sole purpose is to laser focus on growing the sport. Best known for her hands on, no nonsense, results driven energy, she guarantees effective results or will die trying. Kris passionately believes in the change our sport is ready to see and she is the one to take us there. Being in the right place at the right time is everything in business and Kris Bowman is exactly that, right on time.
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• K now your limitations. You need to recognize what you can effectively accomplish as a professional polo instructor. If you are rated 0 or 1 goal and you play with your students in their first tournaments, understand that they may soon move on to play in higher-level games. Know when to set them up with recommended teams and professionals. If you are the polo manager, realize what your time restraints are. Hire an assistant or limit the number of students or leagues that you play in. There is a balance that needs to be achieved if you are going to do a good job as a manager, a player, and an instructor. Be honest with yourself. Otherwise, you will end up disappointing and shortchanging everyone. • H ave a plan and sell the vision. Your students may have never owned a horse or may come from a different sport. Realize that you need to paint the picture of what playing polo will look like for them. Students will be overwhelmed with the thought of what it would take to care and own a horse. You need to take the worry from their mind and speak in future tense but be realistic. You need to show them the brochure or polo school website that shows happy beginners
POLO SCHOOL | 29
playing slowly and safely, then progressing to more competitive games. What does this journey cost? How much time will it take? What days do you play? Students need to feel secure about these steps because they may flee if there is too much unknown. Just remember you are speaking a foreign language and you do not want to overwhelm them, but you do want them to picture themselves riding their polo steed off into the sunset with the wind blowing through their hair! • C reate a community. This is what makes the successful polo instructor. In general, your students just want to have fun. They want to hang out with other adults, experience a lifestyle they never imagined and tell their friends about it. It is exotic and you are their tour director. Teach group lessons. Let them get dirty and help if they want! Organize dinners; ask them to bring drinks for after a hard game, embrace the case of beer rule if they fall off. This is the closest thing many students will get to being a kid again, so make it fun! This is your club and you are the leader of the pack. • D on’t play favorites. There will always be people who are not your favorites but you must treat all students the same. Everyone can see through special treatment and that will drive even your most loyal clients away. Be fair. Be respectful. On the other hand, if a student is ruining everyone’s time, then give them their money back and tell them they are not the right fit for your program. Do not torture yourself or your other students with someone who is detrimental to your program. Peace and harmony is what your clientele is seeking while they use their precious free time to pursue their new hobby.
12 KEY TIPS TO R EJ U V EN AT ING YO U R P O L O CL U B 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
Encourage the development of a polo school. Bring potential players to a polo match. Take time to talk to new players and provide encouragement. Develop a coaching league and / or add beginner chukkers to practices. LET THE BEGINNERS HIT THE BALL!! Invest in the future by developing a junior program. B alance the time for polo with the time dedicated to family, occupations, and other interests. 8. Improve your club umpiring (host an umpire clinic, encourage umpire certifications, participate in the USPA Umpires LLC program). 9. Develop a social committee and host a BBQ for players, guests, and beginners. 10. Encourage new players to get involved in the organization and governing of a club. 11. O verlook past differences. Accept that polo clubs have all types of personalities and let neutral parties make decisions. 12. F or well-established clubs: Add a beginner / amateur league to your schedule. The future of your polo club depends on your participation in its growth! Each member has something to contribute to a club.
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S AMP LE PO LO SC H O O L J O B D E S CRIP T IO N XYZ Polo Club PO Box 111 Smallville, OH 44444 Help wanted for 2017 season April - September The XYZ Polo Club is seeking an experienced and motivated candidate to manage our Polo School and assist in the running of the club. References are very important and must be present with letter of interest. Please contact XXXX with your interest at XXXX @xyzpoloclub.com. Description of person: The ideal candidate is a confident, kind, and experienced person who can multi-task, with good computer skills to communicate with club members, players, and other clubs throughout the season. This person must be well known and respected in the polo community, with the ability to attract players to the club. We are looking for a person with vision who would like to be a part of XYZ’s future, who will put in a substantial long-term effort, and approach this position as being an integral part of a five-year club development plan. This leader must be able to teach for the level indicated at this club, which is currently beginner to one goal. Polo School Manager / Instructor-must be legal to work in USA Responsibilities: 1. Support Polo Manager. 2. O nce members are in place, to be sure their membership experience exceeds their expectations. 3. Communicate with club members. 4. Provide XX horses suitable for teaching and renting to beginner players. Safe horses are key. 5. Manage the rental and leasing of horses to club members. 6. Market XYZ Polo to attract new members to the club. Duties Include: 1. Strict and fair enforcement of the rules and sportsmanship, without favoritism. 2. Teach all levels of polo. 3. The instructor will be a part of the XYZ Polo Club. 4. The instructor will also be required to umpire as needed.
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Club will provide: 1. Housing. 2. Stabling and turnout for up to X personal horses. 3. Stabling and turnout for up to X lesson and rental horses. 4. Feed, shoes, and bedding for lesson horses. 5. Advertising for polo school through all club means and channels including club website, newsletters, social media, and announcements during games. 6. Assistance with newsletters. 7. Modifications to the club website as required. 8. Printed cards and flyers for distribution at games and other events by polo school operator. 9. Office use. Compensation: 1. Salary of $XXXX per month. 2. XX% of revenue generated by the polo school. 3. The club will give XX% commission on dues of members that come through the school. 4. The instructor would be encouraged to bring additional horses to sell to new players. No percentage of the sales will be due to the club. 5. The club will provide a monthly cell phone allowance.
DRILLS “Drills Drills Drills” contains proven techniques for teaching polo. This guide, put together by Elizabeth Holson, covers dozens of drills contributed by multiple Certified Polo Instructors that you can use in your daily lessons. Visit PoloSkilz.com for a digital copy.
QUES TIO NS FR O M PRO SPE CT IVE S T U D ENT S Prospective polo students often have many questions before coming to their first lesson. Here are some common questions and how you can answer them on your website or in an informative handout about your lesson program. Your answers may differ, depending on your accommodations and instructors. 1. Who can play polo? Polo is a sport that can be enjoyed by a variety of people ranging from the serious competitor to the weekend amateur. Men, women, and children are all able to play together as an equine teammate is an amazing equalizer. There are also different areas of polo specific to a person’s age, experience, and interests. For the younger players, we offer USPA middle school, interscholastic, and intercollegiate programs as well as a variety of youth programs. Many polo clubs have
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lead line polo for young children, and senior polo for those who have started playing the sport later in life. The USPA also offers womenâ€™s, amateur, and military tournaments that are hosted by clubs all over the country. 2. Do I need to know how to ride a horse? A person does not need any riding experience prior to learning how to play polo. However, riding is a key component and prior experience is beneficial. There are several polo schools located across the country that specialize in introducing beginners to the sport. A passion for learning something new and exciting is all one needs to start playing the game. 3. What should I wear to my first polo lesson? A pair of comfortable pants such as jeans, an athletic shirt, and a pair of riding boots are recommended. If riding boots are not owned, a pair of athletic shoes with a short heel will suffice.Â A certified riding helmet and eye protection is required, and can be provided by most polo schools.
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Can we get a higher resolution original??
Visit www.poloskilz.com for more information on the Polo Experience Tree.
T HE STEP U P PR O G RA M “How do I keep polo school students in the sport?” “Is there a way to ‘graduate’ them?” “Will they ever buy horses and be self-sustaining polo players?” The answer is yes, with the Step Up Model. Houston Polo Club, as the largest polo club in the USPA, is a prime example of how to utilize the Step Up Program.
The Crux of the Step Up Model The Step Up Model needs a well-rounded eco-system. A polo club with great infrastructure, organized competition for spectators to come watch and members to play in, events, a large membership, a social atmosphere, a strong and organized governing body, and local club awareness generates leads. These leads from marketing, word of mouth, and having a social atmosphere pull players into the Polo School. Polo School students then commit financially with leasing horses and purchasing equipment so they can compete in the Margarita Leagues. Once they have
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already committed with competing regularly on leased horses, they then are ready to purchase their own horse so they can compete in the Club / Low Goal Leagues. This all feeds into Polo Club Sustainability, long term members, and higher goal polo.
Houston Polo School Model The goal of Houston Polo School is to graduate quality members to Houston Polo Club. HPC primarily generates their leads by having a contact list of spectators, word of mouth, relationship marketing and their Sunday Polo events. Events allow HPC to easily market their polo school to spectators who clearly already have an interest in the sport. Components of Houston Polo Clubâ€™s Step Up Model â€˘ Polo School
Nurture the Commitment Create the Vision Turn Key Horse Purchase and Care
Turn Key Horse Care and Leasing
Club/Low Goal League
Polo School Lessons
Embrace the Newbies
Marketing Word of Mouth Building Social Atmosphere
Polo Club Sustainability Club Polo Governing Body Membership Events Infrastructure Local Club Awareness Can we get a higher Social Atmosphere Organized Competition
Polo Club Eco System
POLO SCHOOL | 35
· · · ·
Eight week long instructional course, twice a week
Individuals will learn everything necessary about the game No previous riding experience is required Sessions for both children and adults
• Margarita League
· · · ·
A beginner polo league
Twice a week during the polo season Instructors play on each team Horses are available for lease
• 2-Goal League
· · · ·
A step up from the Margarita League
Players compete with polo pros on each team Bi-monthly tournaments Horse ownership
Houston Polo Club is the largest club in the USPA because 70% of their Polo School Graduates “Step Up.” They develop sponsors from players that started with them in the Polo School. These sponsors have teams in one of the six 4 Goal leagues or one of two 8 and 12 Goal leagues at HPC. HPC has had 60% of their members join in the last six years. This is because they Step Up quickly and have such a sustainable program, they just keep on growing. Yes, Houston is one of the largest cities in America. Might that have something to do with it? No. Other clubs that have used this model experience the same results of having a well-rounded eco-system. For example, Triangle Area Polo Club is run by David Brooks in Hurdle Mills, NC, a city that has a population of less than 4,000 (2010). Brooks has very successfully implemented the same Step Up Program for his club. For more information about implementing the Step Up Program at your club, contact Justin Powers: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to Houston Polo Club for sharing your Step Up Model with the polo community. For more information about implementing the Step Up Program at your club, contact Justin Powers: jpowers@ uspolo.org.
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1. Outside the Boards
OUTSIDE THE BOARDS
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BENEFIT MATCH ES Benefit matches are a perfect way to connect your club to your community. A benefit match is organized to raise money for a charity, bring in extra money for your club as a Special Event, and to showcase your club’s polo to a new group of spectators. A benefit match can be an exhibition match or a tournament game – as long as there is a polo match! Since most clubs are short staffed, it is best to simply lease the charity a portion of the sidelines and let their organization handle the rest.
Important Factors for a Benefit Match • A greement – Prepare a thorough Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and have it signed by all interested parties. It is smart to have a 2-year agreement and be very specific about the do’s and don’ts. For example: no glass, no open flames, permits, trash pick-up, noise deadlines, bands, EMT sharing, etc. Put everything in writing. The goal is to have your venue returned to you exactly as provided. • V endors – Maintain a list of preferred vendors the charity is restricted to use, i.e.: tent, catering, porta potty, valet, trash pick-up, etc. and negotiate a percentage of their sales for your club prior. 15% is industry standard. • P ermits – Determine permit restrictions, neighborhood preferences, noise deadlines, signage, liquor, etc., confirming your special events benefit match meets all requirements dictated by the state, city, associations, police, traffic department, etc. Include in your MOU agreement. • Weather – Set a rain date. • P ayment – We advise not offering your venue free to any benefit match. You are running your polo club as a business and it costs money to put on a polo match, so at least charge an amount that will allow you to break even. The first year can be an initial amount, with the MOU agreement stating the second year will be a bit more, building up to a respectable fee. Check with local country clubs and hotels to see how much they charge and use that as a reference.
Outside the Boards is contributed by Elizabeth Hedley. After earning an MFA from the University of Texas, Austin, Elizabeth joined her two passions, horses and creativity, to launch a 15+ year career in equestrian sports management. She has worked exclusively at equestrian Hunter/Jumper venues, including five years at Winter Equestrian Festival, and at polo clubs throughout the United States from California to Florida, from New York to Texas, and from Virginia to Wyoming. Outside the Boards is a program Elizabeth designed specifically to address the needs of clubs wanting to investigate sustainable revenue generating possibilities that co-exist with the revenue established from teaching and playing polo.
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Photo by Michael Montesa, Skull Valley Polo Club
OUTSIDE THE BOARDS | 39
• C lub Rights – Be sure to retain a few Club Rights. For example, the right to hand out a club’s marketing materials to the benefit’s guests. One of the reasons to hold a special event is to attract new spectators that can be converted into social members, polo school students, and sponsors for additional events or seasons. How about the right to sell the teams? In addition, it is important to address your club’s existing sponsor agreements, annual tailgate agreements, and member agreements. Sometimes retaining one side of the polo field for your club’s use is a solution to that issue.
Other Tips for Hosting a Benefit Match • T eams – If you are putting on an exhibition instead of a tournament game, see it as an opportunity to invite players from your club to participate or invite a higher handicapped player or a Celebrity player to captain the team. This opens the possibility of charging other players for the chance to play beside this invited notable player. In addition, perhaps organizing a clinic for the invited higher handicap captains to teach at some point during the weekend would be beneficial. • T ime Line – A well run benefit match might take six or seven months to plan. Make sure the organization you are working with is aware of their timeline, organized, with a good event coordinator who has good follow through. Sometimes an unorganized benefit match is more trouble than it is worth and it is best to turn down the offer. • C harities – Local charities are best, with their immediate recognition in the community and a broader base of active volunteers. Ask to post your club logo and polo schedule on their website. • Media – Offer a well-spoken club member for media interviews if the charity initiates. Benefit matches are meant to be a win/win situation. They raise funds for a good cause and bring added income to your club’s bottom line. Setting clear boundaries early in the relationship will go a long way toward a successful outcome for all involved.
S OCIAL MED IA Social media has become a necessary marketing tool for all businesses. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter create opportunities to reach a new audience locally as well as globally. Social media is an excellent way to interact with your polo students, clients, and spectators. What is the best part about social media? It is FREE MARKETING. • D esignate one person to be in charge of all of the social media accounts. Have a schedule in place of when posts should go up, decide what content should be posted and how to manage followers. • Specify who can post. • D etermine how you will engage with others online. Know what will be the tone, the perspective, the goal.
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â€˘ Post frequently. Keep wording short. Use bright colors and dynamic pictures. â€˘ Re-post positive articles written about the club or club members on social media.
W EBS ITE Franklin Polo Academy, in Franklin, Tennessee, is a Polo School aiming to bring new people to the sport of polo. Their home base is the Tractor Supply Arena, a collaborative effort among different equestrian and non-equestrian leaders in the community. Please see their websites, www. franklinpolo.com and www.tractorsupplycoarena.com, as examples of a good way to present polo information, promote the sport to the community, highlight key sponsors and stakeholders, and attract new spectators and participants to the sport.
S TAKEH O LD ER EN G AG EMENT
Franklin Polo Academy of Franklin, Tennessee
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Stakeholder engagement is vital to business. Listen to members’ feedback, spectators’ comments, and invested sponsors’ expectations as to how best to improve their polo experience at your club. Sending out a survey is one reliable method for learning how you are doing when it comes to making your stakeholders happy. Although there are many websites, try JotForm.com or SurveyMonkey.com for creating a survey template.
Sponsorships Sponsorships are harder than they look and easier to find than you might think. It’s smart to start with the people that already attend your club’s activities, such as polo students, Sunday spectators, or benefit match attendees. You never know if that junior player’s parent is a CEO of a large company or who you might meet canvasing the sidelines during Sunday matches. Prepare a brief sponsorship handout to facilitate the discussion and be sure to get their business card and follow through. Striking up a conversation, pitching the opportunity, and closing the deal takes time. But once they sign a contract for a sponsorship and the money is in the bank, the real work begins. Meeting sponsors’ expectations is key to holding on to their loyalty for years to come. Don’t oversell, don’t over promise, and be sure to follow through on each line item in their contract.
Sponsor Benefit Ideas • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
aming Right to the #1 Polo Field N Title Sponsorship on a Tournament Presenting Sponsorship on a Tournament VIP Tent Opportunities Tickets Preferred Parking Signage – Field Banners, Entry Recognition, Trophy, Step and Repeat Logo Award Presentation Photo Opportunity Meet The Players Cocktail Reception Logo on Website Ad in Club Magazine/Program PA Announcements Televised Event After Party
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S P ECTATO R ENG AG EMEN T Spectators become more engaged the more they understand the game. Offering a handy spectator guide that they can refer to during games is smart. Asking your announcer to comment on rules, players, horses and safety for the sake of your spectators is also a good idea.
Polo Facts for Website or Handout 1. Intro to Polo • An outdoor polo game is between two teams comprised of four players, each on horseback, who compete on a 300 by 160-yard grass field. The objective of the game is to use mallets to drive the ball down the field, in order to score through the opposing team’s goal posts. Most outdoor polo games consist of 6 chukkers (periods) of 7 minutes and 30 seconds each, with a 10-minute halftime. • A n arena polo game is between two teams comprised of three players, each on horseback, who compete in a 100 by 50-yard dirt-surface arena. The objective is the same as the outdoor game. Arena polo consists of 4 chukkers of 7 minutes and 30 seconds each, with a 10-minute halftime. 2. Throw- In • The umpire bowls the ball in between the two ready teams, when the chukker begins or when play resumes after a goal or foul.
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3. Direction of Play • The initial direction of each team is chosen based on a coin toss at the beginning of the game. Teams move in the direction of their goal until the first goal is scored, after which teams switch goals. Direction is changed after each goal is scored. • In arena polo, the direction is only changed after each chukker. 4. The Line of the Ball • Players follow a “line of the ball,” an imaginary path along which the ball travels; it represents a right-of-way for the last player striking the ball and is the basis for most rules of the game. The player following the line and direction of the ball on his/her right has the right-of-way over all other players. No opposing player or horse may cross the line of the ball in an attempt to make a play. 5. Ride Off • This is one of the most common strategic moves in the game: when two players make contact and attempt to push each other off the line of the ball to prevent their opponent from hitting the ball. The horses must be traveling at the same speed, shoulder-to-shoulder at a 45-degree angle or less. 6. Hook • A defensive player may prevent an opponent from hitting the ball by hooking or striking his/ her mallet. The player attempting the hook must be on the same side of the offensive player’s mount as the ball, or in a direct line behind and may not hook when the mallet is higher than the horse’s back. 7. Right Handed Players • Players must carry the mallet in their right hand. Playing left-hand was banned from polo in the 1970’s for safety reasons. 8. Handicap • Players are rated on a scale of -2 to 10, which is determined by a player’s horsemanship, hitting ability, quality of horses, team play, and game sense. The team handicap is the sum of its players’ handicaps. 9. The Ball and Mallet • For outdoor polo, the ball is typically about the size of a baseball and made of hard plastic. It weighs between 3.5 and 4.5 ounces. For arena play, the ball is a larger inflated ball similar to a mini soccer ball. • T he mallet is 48 to 54 inches, depending on the height of the pony and the reach of the player. The shaft is made of Manu wood. The grip is similar to a tennis racquet with a cloth safety strap. The head is typically made of tipa wood.
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10. Polo Ponies • Polo ponies’ main qualities are intelligence, willingness, speed, and stamina, with the ability to accelerate, stop, and turn quickly. Many polo players describe their best mounts as having big hearts and a feel for the game. Horse manes are shaved and tails are tied up to stay out of the way of the mallet and reins. • A ll horse breeds are allowed to play polo, with no restriction to height. But a majority range from 15-16 hands tall (one hand = 4 inches). Horse height is measured from the ground to the top of the withers (base of the neck). 11. Dress Code • Believe it or not, polo can be extravagant and elite, as well as informal and laid-back. Many people envision polo as the Kentucky Derby, where ladies don their beautiful dresses and elaborate hats. A warning to the ladies: high heels are not recommended if you plan on participating in the traditional halftime Divot Stomp. Since polo is still known as the “Sport of Kings,” you will find many stylish spectators, but, depending on the location and type of polo event, sporty, relaxed dress is usually acceptable. The game has become more of a family event, so when it comes to fashion, you are sure to spot everything on the sidelines from casual to couture. 12. The Divot Stomp • The Divot Stomp is one of the oldest and most widely known traditions of polo. When the game breaks at halftime, spectators are invited to march onto the field to socialize and replace the divots that are torn up by the horses’ hooves during play. This serves as a great time to meet new people, move around after the first half, and help restore the field’s smooth playing surface.
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LUNCH & LEA RN A Lunch & Learn is simply a rotational clinic taught to a group of adult beginners followed by a light lunch. You are basically combining a lesson with an event. The goal is to first offer a fun, safe polo experience with minimal horse use and to then attract new player members, new social members, and potential sponsors to the sport of polo at your club.
Lunch & Learn Steps • S ign ‘em Up: The perfect scenario is to sign up 12 clinic participants. No experience is necessary. Have them wear white jeans, if possible, and a low heel boot. The best time to hold the clinic is just before a practice, so clinic participants can watch. Thursdays after work, perhaps, or Saturday mornings. • M eet & Greet: It is important to have a Meet & Greet table where participants check in, sign a release, pay the clinic fee, and put on nametags. • D ress The Part: Next, send participants over to select a polo jersey to wear for the day, a helmet they will use for when they get on a horse and boots if you want to provide a few choices. Note: If you can borrow several different jerseys and several different size boots, it will help your participants feel and look like real polo players. • P hoto Op: Now comes an important element: the group photo. In order to take advantage of all 12 participants’ extended network of FB friends, it is vital to take a group shot, in front of your club’s logo and with their phones. If you ask all to forward photo to FB, your clinic with receive free marketing to over 1200 new potential contacts. • P ayment: It is vital to receive payment up front. Be sure to have a square reader and open an account to accept credit cards. Price wise, do the math to figure out how much to charge, but expenses should run you about $25 per person. If you charge $225 per participant, you will make a $2,000 profit from the day’s effort. • W hat You Will Need: 4 horses (2 tacked, 2 untacked), 2 hoof picks, 12 foot mallets, 4 regular mallets, balls, wooden horse, 12 team jerseys, borrowed polo boots (optional), polo helmets (4-6), name tags, marketing material, clipboard with releases and sign-up sheets for lesson packages/social memberships.
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· · · ·
1 Meet & Greeter
1 All Around Helper 1 Lead Instructor
1 Assistant Instructor
• H ow to Start: Welcome everyone and say a little bit about your club. Introduce your staff and tell them about the day’s Lunch & Learn agenda. Then have your lead instructor demonstrate the off side forehand on one of the lesson horses. That is the only shot you will be teaching during this Lunch & Learn. Line all participants up, give them a foot mallet and teach the off side forehand. Then break them up into 3 groups of 4 and assign them a station. • L esson Stations: There will be 3 stations: 1) foot mallet station 2) horsemanship station 3) riding station • F oot Mallet Station: Ask participants to hit to a target, such as a red bucket placed on its side, or have them hit back and forth with a partner, or create a drill. • H orsemanship Station: Teach participants to pick a hoof, roach a mane, tack a horse, or tie a tail. • R iding Station: Safety first when it comes to handling this station. We recommend they practice with full mallet on a wooden horse before using a mounting block to mount the real horse. We also recommend only using a half swing, at a walk, and with someone leading the participant with a lead line. Again, having a target to hit toward is a good idea, like a red bucket on its side or goal posts. Each station lasts approximately 15-20 minutes, with an air horn to indicate time to change stations. • L unch: Setting the stage with nice tablecloths, dinnerware and bales of hay around a fire, will contributes to a successful Lunch. Serving a typical asado meal is something different for most people and not costly. Prior to the Lunch, please thoroughly discuss the use of alcohol with club management and your insurer. • M arketing Handouts: Lunch is a good time to invite participants to sign up for a lesson packet, to join as a social member, or to hear sponsorship possibilities. Hand out the club magazine, schedule of events, or any marketing materials. Most importantly, do engage participants by talking, selling, and explaining your club’s fun dynamics. • T hank You: Finally, be sure to send out the group photo and thank you email, giving them one last chance to sign up for a lesson package, buy a tailgate, become a social member, or buy tickets to Sunday Polo.
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T ROP H Y STAG E The trophy stage plays a very important role at your polo club. It represents a culmination of effort, time, and money invested in your tournaments as well as an opportunity to show appreciation to those who contribute to your club’s overall success. Its significance is important and needs to be respected with a ceremony carried out with the utmost attention to detail.
Pro tip from Elizabeth Hedley, creator of Outside the Boards program.
A NO TE AB O U T EX PEN S E S
he challenges of running a polo club include being financially responsible. We recommend taking a hard look at operating expenses vs. revenue, to ensure smart decisions toward sustainability are being made as your club moves forward. Dividing your club into two categories can be one way to look at it: Inside the Boards vs. Outside the Boards. Inside the Boards would be expenses and revenue generated from lessons, tournament fees, membership dues, and the like. Outside the Boards would be expenses and revenue generated from sponsorships, ticket sales, merchandise sales, Sunday polo, special events, and the like. Since polo players are challenged enough when it comes to paying for the sport, we recommend finding other sources of revenue to sustain your polo club. Below is a pie chart suggesting a 25/75 percent ratio and list of income possibilities for Outside the Boards. Outside the Boards Expenses and Revenue: • Charity Events • Entry Fee • Special Events • Parking • Food & Beverage • Tailgates • Social Memberships • Sponsorships • Merchandise
Inside the Boards
Outside the Boards
The Stage The trophy stage itself could be a grandiose hay wagon covered with carpet, logoed signage, and flowers or a simpler version where there is no structure at all, but instead a field-side ceremony with only a sign, as they do in England at the Guards Polo Club. No matter which form the trophy stage takes, there are 3 important basics to consider:
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• Is it easy and safe to access? • Is the club’s name visible when photographed? • Is there an MC?
Trophy Table Do your best to display the trophies well. Ask a reliable person to do this task if you don’t have time; however, be sure to supply a table, sufficient tablecloth and plate stands when needed. It is helpful to include a small sign with the name of the tournament on the table. Photographers will be shooting the trophies, so make the best impression possible.
The Ceremony With everyone watching, it is important the trophy ceremony goes smoothly. Ask your teams and your trophy presenter ahead of time to arrive promptly at the stage after the game and tell them where to stand as they wait. The MC should have a cordless microphone and begin by thanking all the sponsors, teams, and spectators for a great day of polo. This is also a good time to thank the staff or honor a person within the club. Here is a recommended ceremony order of go: • R unner Up players get on the stage first to receive their trophy, step forward, and have a group photo taken. • W inning players get on the stage next to receive their trophy, step forward, and have their group photo taken. • MVP is awarded. • BPP is awarded. • Runner Ups leave trophy stage. • Winners step forward to have a group photo taken with perpetual trophy and sponsor/VIP. • Sponsor/VIP leaves stage. • Winners photo is taken with perpetual trophy.
Trophy Stage Photos At the end of the day, the trophy stage photos are all you have to document the event. It is best to have both photos from a professional camera that you can use for print purposes and phone photos taken that can be posted to Instagram and Facebook ASAP. It is important to send the sponsor/VIP a photo, thanking them for attending.
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â€¢ Boards 1. Outside the
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EQUINE WELFAR E • E quine welfare is crucial in the sport of polo. The I/I polo community has gone to great lengths to include Equine Welfare at the forefront of their program and tournaments. Please contact Ali Davidge, email@example.com, for a copy of the I/I Equine Welfare Guide. • T railering is inevitable in polo and can be harmful to horses if not done properly. Please see Trailering Guidelines written by Megan Judge of Central Coast Polo for more information in the Certified Polo Instructor Manual from pages 53 to 64. (CPI e-manual: http://poloskilz. com/cpi-manual/index.htm#/79) • Body Condition Scoring is a key component to equine welfare and should always be considered before playing a horse. “Please see the guide written by the Polo Development Team for more information on Body Condition Scoring in Appendix III or Body Condition Scoring video on www.poloskilz.com. • T here are many Equine Drugs & Medication rules in place to protect you and your horses. Please see pages 123-130 in the 2016 USPA Rulebook to see permitted and restricted drugs and testing procedure and protocol. • T he USPA Equine Welfare Committee produced an Equine Welfare Guide. To purchase go to www.uspolo.org/association/programs (under Forms and Documents). • P art of the Certified Polo Instructor certification process includes continued education with respect to matching riders to horses. Please see Appendix IV for more information.
EQUIPMEN T Tack Recommendations All horses ridden by players and umpires should appear in properly fitting tack. This includes, but is not limited to: • Saddles with appropriately sized stirrups • Bridles including a standing martingale and two (2) sets of reins (straight or draw reins) • W raps and / or protective boots for all four (4) legs for playing horses, front legs for umpire horses, and tape to secure the wraps • Saddle pads and over girths are highly recommended.
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Bits and Bridles The following guide has some information on bits and bridles. This information is important for any polo manager to be well versed in. It is also important for Certified Polo Instructors. For more information on bits and bridles go to www.poloskilz.com for an electronic copy of the Certified Polo Instructor Manual. • Heavier, thicker bits are milder bits. Conversely, thinner, angular bits are more severe. • C hange bits and experiment to see what may be the best for each horse, especially when working with a young horse. • C heck mouth and cheeks often for abrasion. Switch to a Pelham if you find sores inside the horse’s cheeks or to a gag if you find a curb chain sore. • A larger ring gag will apply more pressure or torque to the poll and to the bars and tongue. • A smaller ring gag applies more pressure to the roof of the mouth and to the lips. • A lways use a dropped noseband or figure 8 noseband with a gag to get maximum action. Such nosebands prevent the horse from evading the bit by opening his mouth. • T he curb on the Pelham should engage at 45 degrees. Two fingers should fit between the curb and the chin groove. • Wrapping a bit in latex may help in various horses by customizing a bit. • No bit works the same for every horse. The pressure points are different for each one. • A lways school and stick-and-ball your horse in the bridle it plays in unless you are experimenting with something new. Do not use an exercise bridle. It will be too late if you have a disagreement or need to tune the horse up. • Bits made of copper and sweet iron tend to encourage a softer, moist mouth.
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â€¢ Boards 1. Outside the
USPA AND POLO
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Below is a breakdown of the USPA programs. For more detailed information, please see the USPA Program Guide at www.uspolo.org/assets/docs/Program-guide.pdf.
USPA PR O G RA MS Club and Circuit Awards Club Awards What better way to participate in the national association than through awarding your own members national awards that recognize the best equine welfare, outstanding groom, and most improved player? To recognize an individual with one of these prestigious awards, please email a request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Clint Nangle Equine Welfare Award The club Clint Nangle Equine Welfare Award is provided by the Association to a recipient who has demonstrated excellence in the field of equine welfare. Owen O’Hanlon Best Groom Award The Owen O’Hanlon Best Groom Award is provided by the USPA annually to each active USPA club to be given to a recipient based on the following criteria: • Dedication • Ability • Knowledge Dr. Billy Linfoot Most Improved Player Award In Dr. Billy Linfoot’s own words, “Polo is harmony between two athletes: horse and rider. They must communicate in order to perform. For that reason, it is an emotional game. Scoring is not enough. To score you must ride like a master. Keeping a cool head in polo is doubly important because you are thinking for two.” This award is a tribute to Dr. Billy Linfoot and is provided by the United States Polo Association once per year to each USPA Club. It is to be given to a recipient based on the following virtues: • Improved athletic ability • Sportsmanship • Integrity in all aspects of the game, both on and off the field.
Circuit Awards: Circuit Sportsmanship Award Awarded by the Circuit Governor to a player who promotes the honorable traditions of polo by his or her conduct and exemplifies the very best in sportsmanship and fair play.
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Circuit Clint Nangle Equine Welfare Award An official plaque awarded by the Club Delegate to an individual who demonstrates outstanding achievement in the field of equine welfare.
Arena Committee The Arena Committee provides benefits to clubs through the USPA Arena Incentive Program, which reimburses for certain expenses, as well as the Arena Challenge Cup Series, where the USPA provides trophies and umpires. Program specifics and requirements are listed below.
USPA Arena Incentive Program The USPA Arena Committee, in an effort to increase participation in arena polo, has received Board-approved funds to be used to reimburse certain expenses for USPA member clubs that host the following tournaments:
CIRCUIT ARENA CHALLENGE CUP (8)
CIRCUIT SHERMAN MEMORIAL (6)
CIRCUIT ARENA DELEGATE’S CUP (2)
CIRCUIT ARENA CHAIRMAN’S CUP (1)
NATIONAL SHERMAN MEMORIAL (1)
NATIONAL ARENA DELEGATE’S CUP (1)
NATIONAL ARENA CHAIRMAN’S CUP (1)
*The Circuit Governor has the ability to set the goal level of this tournament Requirements: All tournaments are subject to approval by your Circuit Governor or the USPA Tournament Committee. • These funds are in addition to any other available USPA funds (umpiring, marketing, etc.). • For Circuit events, you must have a minimum of three teams competing in the event to be eligible for this reimbursement. • For National events, a minimum of four teams must compete in the event to be eligible for this reimbursement.
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• T hese funds are limited and will be approved on a first come first served basis. For more information or to apply, contact Teresa Stephens: email@example.com.
Arena Challenge Cup Series Goal Level: Set by the host club Application: Circuit Application Benefits: • Trophies provided by the USPA are eligible for trophy reimbursement program. • USPA Free Umpire available. • Any player who participates in an arena qualifier is eligible to participate in the Nationals. Finals: Fall Season, location to be determined.
Equine Welfare Committee Mission Statement: The Equine Welfare Committee recognizes the value of the polo pony to the sport and advises the Association and its Membership on all aspects of the care and well-being of polo ponies. The Committee develops policies and procedures and executes programs to ensure that polo ponies are treated in accordance with humane guidelines and the highest standards of care. Equine Welfare Guidelines Book The second edition of the USPA Equine Guidelines Book was published in early 2016. This book is a guide for members on all aspects of horse care, including feeding and first aid. This book will be distributed to all clubs in 2016 with additional copies available for purchase online as well as a downloadable version (link below). Body Condition Scoring Poster Polo Development created a version of the Heineke Body Condition Scoring System. This system is used around the world to determine fat distribution in horses. The committee will be distributing these to clubs in the 2016 Equine Welfare Packet mentioned below. 2016 Equine Welfare Packets All Active and Affiliate Member Clubs will receive an Equine Welfare Packet. This packet will include copies of the Equine Welfare Guidelines Book, a Body Condition Scoring poster, a pad of Body Condition Scoring Forms, and a pad of Equine Welfare Acknowledgement Forms.
International Committee “Polo is your passport to the world.” The USPA International Committee was created to help facilitate international polo opportunities. Whether your club is interested in hosting an International Event or you’re wanting to send a team to represent the United States in a tournament played abroad, the USPA International Committee can provide you with guidance. See International Sanctioned Application to host an International Event and see International Team Sanctioned Application to represent the United States in a tournament.
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National Handicap Committee As a fundamental service to all USPA members, the Handicap Committee selects Outdoor / Indoor Handicaps for those USPA members who compete in the sport of polo in order to create the fairest possible competitive environment within the structure of the USPA and to make those handicaps publicly available to all members. Handicap Procedure Registered Players, Affiliate Players, and Student Members are awarded a handicap rating, expressed in goals, which is an indicator of the value of that player to his or her team. Handicap ratings range from C (minus 2-goals), the so-called beginner, to 10-goals, theoretical perfection. Members are evaluated twice a year by local committees and the National Handicap Committee of the USPA using the criteria of general mastery of the fundamentals, horsemanship, sense of strategy, and conduct and quality of ponies.
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Rules and Rules Interpretation Committee The USPA Rules and Rules Interpretation Committee is in service to all clubs and members and advises on all aspects of our rules, including the White Book, Outdoor / Arena Rules, Constitution and By-Laws, Tournament Conditions, and Equine Drugs and Medications.
Safety Committee The Safety Committee provides benefits to clubs and members through polo injury research, injury prevention, and testing of protective gear, as well as communication of safety information and safety recommendations to polo players and polo officials. The committee has made available grants for companies that develop approved safety gear. NOCSAE Helmet Grants The Safety Committee has two $25,000 grants to award to a company that develops a NOCSAE approved helmet with NOCSAE approved mounted eye protection. The company can apply for the grant once the helmet has been placed on the market. Baseline Testing The United States Polo Association Safety Committee proudly offers ImPACT baseline testing to all Youth Members ages 10-26. Youth Members receive $25 off next year’s USPA Membership by getting their baseline tested. We hope to offer it to the membership at large in the near future. USPA Safety Injury Report If you have suffered a polo-related injury, please complete the USPA Safety Injury Report.
Tournament Conditions The Tournament Committee elevates the standards of play, promotes involvement and the overall vitality of the game of polo, and stimulates the growth of tournament play at all levels by hosting USPA Sanctioned, Circuit, and National tournaments at USPA member clubs. Through the approval of tournament matches and events, the USPA Tournament Committee promotes an emphasis on sportsmanship, fairness, and safety while expanding the opportunities for professionals, amateurs, umpires, clubs, sponsors and spectators. There are three types of USPA Tournaments: • National Tournaments • Circuit Tournaments • Sanctioned Tournaments For information on different types of tournaments or hosting an event, please see the Tournament Guide. Trophy Reimbursement Program The USPA offers a Trophy Reimbursement Program (TRP) for clubs hosting USPA National and Circuit Events. This will allow clubs to purchase their own winners’ awards and then be reimbursed for a set amount (shown below).
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Clubs will need to follow these simple steps: 1. Submit a Tournament Application: Circuit Event or National Event. 2. Designate on the application that the club will be using the TRP. 3. O rder trophies. Prize Possessions, www.prizepossessions.com, and Sterling Cut Glass, www.sterlingcutglass.com, offer a discount for USPA tournaments. You may also use a trophy supplier of your choice. 4. Fill out the Reimbursement Form. 5. S ubmit the purchase receipt and Reimbursement Form to Lindsey Ebersbach at firstname.lastname@example.org or via fax (888) 391-7410. This program cannot be used for the following tournaments: Circuit Governor’s Cup, National Youth Tournament Series, Circuit Hall of Fame Challenge or USPA / PTF Seniors Tournament. Reimbursement Amounts: • Circuit Outdoor Event: $140 • Circuit Arena Event: $120 • National Outdoor Event: $600 • National Arena Event: $500
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USPA Services Committees The USPA services division operates as the “hub” of all USPA functions; it maintains the administrative and operational infrastructure within which all divisions, LLCs, clubs, and members participate. The services not provided by the LLCs for their operation are generally provided by Services in support of the LLCs and USPA. Arena Committee The Arena Committee is the successor of the Indoor Polo Association. Its mission is to manage arena polo within the USPA as well as organize, promote and develop arena polo with member clubs and players. The committee seeks to differentiate arena polo as an exciting, competitive and alternative version of the sport polo, as well as an invaluable teaching polo format. The committee’s initiatives and responsibilities include arena rules, arena handicaps, high-goal arena polo, arena tournaments, international arena polo, I/I and women’s arena polo. Armed Forces Committee The mission of the Armed Forces Committee, in recognition of the great history and connection between the sport of polo and our armed Forces, seeks to create opportunities to support and bridge the armed forces and the polo communities through the promotion of events supporting the military community and the development of partnerships to increase military participation in the sport of polo. Audit Committee The purpose and primary function of the USPA Audit Committee shall be to assist the Board of Governors of the USPA (the “Board”) in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities for (a) the integrity of the USPA’s financial statements, (b) the USPA’s compliance with any legal and regulatory requirements, (c) the independent auditors qualifications and independence, and (d) the performance of the USPA’s internal audit function and that of the independent auditors. (From the Audit Committee Charter) Board and Staff Development Committee The mission of the USPA Board and Staff Development Committee is to, on an ongoing basis, study and offer recommendations on the establishment and continuous improvement of an efficient, staff-driven organizational structure. The Committee shall provide advice and support to the Association’s Chief Executive Officer in USPA personnel matters and offer advice and support to the Association’s Chairman in all matters relating to USPA Board of Governors and USPA Limited Liability Companies development. The Committee shall study USPA mission statement objectives and make recommendations to achieve stated goals, correct deficiencies and ensure consistency, continuity and clarity in all areas of the Association.
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Constitution Committee The mission of the Constitution Committee is to advise the USPA Chairman, Executive Committee, Board of Governors, Delegates and staff about all aspects of the USPA Constitution, By-Laws, Strategic Planning and Governance. The Committee shall prepare appropriate language to affect changes to the USPA Constitution and By-Laws as directed by the Board of Governors, other Committees or on its own initiative. The Committee shall prepare other resolutions, opinions and documentation as required to effect efficient and stable Governance. Equine Welfare Committee To recognize the value of the polo pony to the sport and to advise the USPA Chairman and Executive Committee on all aspects of the care and well-being of polo ponies. And to carry out Committee-driven programs to ensure that polo ponies are treated in accordance with humane guidelines as established by this committee. Finance Committee The mission of the Finance Committee is to provide the USPA Chairman and Board of Governors direction for the fiscal responsibility of the USPA. This is achieved by a regular review of the organizationâ€™s financial statements along with the approval of the annual budget with submission to the full Board of Governors for approval, ensuring all are consistent with the strategic objectives and mission of the USPA. The Finance Committee also seeks to prudently manage organizational investments consistent with the duties outlined by the USPAâ€™s Investor Policy and Guidelines. High Goal Committee To advise the Chairman and BOG and committee chairs on all aspects of high-goal polo in the US. To be the communication channel between the USPA and high-goal community including club managers, high-goal sponsors, and high-goal professionals. To grow and promote the sport of polo at its highest level around the US. International Committee The mission of the International Committee is to build and improve USPA membership by facilitating and promoting international polo events, including tournaments, umpire and player clinics to foster international fellowship and sportsmanship. The committee will cooperate with National Polo Associations, The Federation of International Polo, The Pan-American International Polo Foundation, The United States Olympic Committee and all other interested qualified groups or individuals in achieving its goals. National Handicap Committee The mission of the Handicap Committee is to fulfill the highest standards of selecting an Outdoor/ Indoor Handicap in service to any USPA member through the essential practices of honesty and integrity as we utilize the approved system of peer evaluation/observation by the Delegates of USPA Member Clubs, approved Circuit Handicap Chairmen, selected National Handicap
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Committee members and approval of the USPA National Handicap Chairman. To have regular meetings and procedures in selecting handicaps for those USPA members who have competed in the sport of polo in order to create the fairest possible competitive environment within the structure of the USPA and to make those handicaps publicly available to all members. Nominating Committee The Nominating Committee shall consist of seven Registered Players, five of whom shall be members of the Board of Governors and four of whom shall be Circuit Governors. This committee will meet annually to consider and nominate a slate of Officers. This slate of Officers is to be conveyed to the Secretary of the Association at least two weeks in advance of the Board of Governors meeting prior to the Annual Meeting. Rules Committee The mission of the Rules Committee is to advise the USPA Chairman and Board of Governors about all aspects of the USPA Rules and Rules Interpretations. Safety Committee The mission of the Safety Committee is to advise the USPA Chairman and Board of Governors of all safety aspects of polo through injury research, injury prevention and testing of protective gear, as well as communication of safety information and safety recommendations to polo players and polo officials. Tournament Committee To promote the sport of polo in the United States through responsible consideration and recommendation for the approval of tournament matches and events. It is the Tournament Committeeâ€™s responsibility to preserve the history and tradition of the sport of polo; encourage interest in the sport of polo; elevate the standards of play; promote involvement and the overall vitality of the game; and stimulate the growth of tournament play at all levels by hosting USPA Sanctioned, Circuit and National tournaments at USPA member clubs. The Tournament Committee promotes an emphasis on sportsmanship, fairness and safety, while expanding the opportunities for professionals, amateurs, umpires, clubs, sponsors and spectators. Womenâ€™s Polo Committee To recognize the value of the polo pony to the sport and to advise the USPA Chairman and Executive Committee on all aspects of the care and well-being of polo ponies. And to carry out Committee driven programs to ensure that polo ponies are treated in accordance with humane guidelines as established by this committee.
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P OLO D EVELO PMEN T PRO GRAM S : P L AY ER D EVE L O P M ENT Junior Polo The mission of Junior Polo is to cultivate and promote junior polo throughout the United States by providing the organizational structure to support junior polo clinics, tournaments, and international competition. The program utilizes Regional Polo Center instructors, experienced Team USPA members, and other qualified instructors as mentors and clinicians. Junior Polo will also work with the United States Pony Club and other youth equestrian organizations to develop new playing members of the USPA.
National Youth Tournament Series The National Youth Tournament Series (NYTS) is an outdoor youth tournament for players who have not exceeded their 19th birthday as of January 1 of the calendar year. Clubs can apply to host a NYTS Tournament by completing a circuit event application. NYTS Qualifiers can be held from March 1st through the first Monday in August. All-Stars are selected at each NYTS qualifier based on their horsemanship, sportsmanship, playing ability, current handicap, and team playing ability. All-Stars named throughout the NYTS season are eligible to represent their Zone at the National Youth Tournament Series National Championship, held over Labor Day Weekend.
Team USPA The mission of the Team USPA Committee is to enhance and grow the sport of polo in the United States by identifying young, talented American players and providing mentored training and playing opportunities leading to a pool of higher rated amateur and pro players and the resultant giveback to the sport of polo. Team USPA is an advanced training program for 18 to 25 year-old American players, focused on mentoring, playing opportunities, clinics and lectures. Team USPA represents everyone from all levels of polo (amateurs, pros, future patrons, umpires, future veterinarians, etc.) playing 2-goal to 20-goal polo from every USPA circuit. Creating a new culture in the sport where Team USPA players give back to their local polo community with lessons, junior polo, umpiring, and coaching beginners and young players. Team USPA currently utilizes training centers located in Wyoming, Florida, and South Carolina using the Team USPA donation horses.
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Young Player Outreach (YPO) Youth Player Outreach (YPO) is a program to support a larger scope of young players, focused on strong foundations and playing opportunities, through clinics, mentorships, and other training opportunities. This program was born from the success of Team USPA and aims to provide more education to polo players at an earlier age.
Certified Polo Instructor Program The mission of the USPA Certified Polo Instructor Program (CPI) is to identify and educate equine professionals by requiring industry standards for teaching and managing the sport of polo. Special emphasis is on developing programming that will equip polo instructors to coach the next generation of polo students with an emphasis on sportsmanship and safety to facilitate a lifelong love of the sport. This is accomplished by providing guidelines for riding instruction and horsemanship as well as for introducing students to the sport in a safe, sequential manner. In addition, certified instructors are offered extensive managerial education. Tools used to accomplish this goal include instructive videos from leading experts, the USPA Certified Polo Instructor Manual, interactive teaching symposiums and clinics, written exams, and continuing education courses in order to raise the level of polo instruction for the continued sustainability of the sport of polo. Please see PoloSkilz2.0, www.poloskilz.com, for more information about the CPI program including the CPI Polo Instructor e-manual (www.poloskilz.com/certified-instructors/ certified-polo-instructor-manual/).
Instructor Manager Forum (IMF) â€œIdeas That Workâ€? is the concept behind the IMF program dedicated to the sharing of best practices with polo club managers, instructors, and support staff who come together from all over the United States to learn a better way to build a successful polo club. This annual forum is an amazing, interactive learning opportunity focused on networking and boots-on-theground lesson demonstrations, as well as classroom lectures from seasoned polo professionals.
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Player Performance Player Performance encompasses and encourages clubs and interested players to advance their polo education by giving them hands on tools and opportunities to improve their technique and skills. Based on the target participants and the overall goal of the club the USPA provides clinics and additional resources to clubs that are interested in growing their polo.” Available Types of Clinics Include: • Y outh Clinics: open to USPA members, ages 10 to 25, in youth, IS, or IC Programs. These clinics are designed to help your youth program thrive. We will build an outline and schedule for your students to help them take something new and exciting back to their polo. • P layer Performance Analysis: these new clinics will be available to your club and will help your players improve their mounted and unmounted horsemanship, as well as analyze their swings using cutting edge technology. • H ost Your Own Clinic:- available to clubs wishing to host a USPA clinic for adult students. Apply for funding to host a clinic by providing your intended clinician, outline, and target participants. • P ony Club Clinics:- open to polo clubs wishing to host a USPC group at their facility. The USPA will provide a USPA Clinician for the event and will come prepared to introduce the eager Pony Club riders to the sport of polo. For more information on clinics contact Amanda Snow, email@example.com.
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P OLO D EVELO PMEN T PRO GRAM S : CL U B D EVE L O P M ENT Polo Development Initiative The Polo Development Initiative (PDI) program was established by the USPA Board of Governors to promote the growth of the USPA membership and the development of USPA member clubs. The PDI program is designed to financially support projects that identify a need that is relevant to the growth of polo and feature a well thought out plan toward contributing to the sport of polo. The focus of the PDI program is on player / membership development and retention, promotion and outreach, and sustainable club development. For more information on the PDI Program, please contact Elizabeth Hedley, firstname.lastname@example.org.
PoloSkilz 2.0 The foundation for PoloSkilz 2.0 is predicated on 6 fundamental principles: • Horsemanship, • Sportsmanship, • Teamwork, • Instruction, • Strategy, and • the Polo Experience. Each of these fundamentals is equally important on the individual level, but when brought together, their synergies create an environment to foster the development of the sport of polo. PoloSkilz was created to help spread wisdom and knowledge from some of the greatest polo minds. At the time of its creation, PoloSkilz was an innovation in a sport that is intensely rooted in tradition. In 2014, the USPA Polo Development LLC purchased the PoloSkilz Network to serve as the central hub for all things Polo Development.
Intern Program The Intern Program is designed to foster and develop the next generation of instructors, managers, and polo professionals through mentoring and hands-on polo experience.
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Club Consulting The Club Consulting program is designed to assist clubs in strategic planning, organization and management, market research, and long-term goals in order to grow their membership and player base. Circuit Strategic Planning: a continuous process of working with circuit leadership to develop a plan for the growth of the sport at the circuit level. Promoting regional cooperation amongst clubs. Outside the Boards: a program aimed to help clubs develop skills in sponsorships, event planning, marketing and targeting an audience.
INT ER SC H O LASTIC / IN TERCO L L EG IAT E ( I/ I) Middle School The goal of the Middle School League is to provide a venue for younger players to gain more tournament experience while allowing them to play against competitors of their same ability. To be eligible, a player must be enrolled in an academic program as a 5th through 8th grade student, and will be entered as an individual. Players are responsible for bringing or leasing appropriate horses for the tournament, as the split string format will not be used. For more information on the Middle School League, please see the tournament conditions, or contact Emily Dewey at email@example.com with any questions.
Interscholastic/Intercollegiate I/I Polo is played in the arena under the USPA Official Arena Rules with such modifications as outlined in the USPA I/I Tournament Conditions. One modification is that I/I games are played using a “split string.” The intent and purpose of mandating split horse strings in I/I Polo is to create a fair opportunity for both teams to play the same horses under the same conditions while
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reducing the expense by not transporting horses for games. One team will play a string of horses in the first chukker and the other team will play those same horses in the third chukker. Many teams have their own horses to provide for games and tournaments. However, some teams are able to participate in the I/I Program by borrowing horses from other I/I Schools/Clubs. I/I teams must have a minimum of three qualified players on the team and most teams will have alternate players available. A qualified player is a current USPA member that meets all I/I eligibility requirements as defined in the USPA I/I Tournament Conditions. All I/I teams, provided they meet USPA eligibility requirements, have the opportunity to compete in postseason tournaments. Teams will compete against other I/I teams in regular season games in order to qualify for their respective regional tournaments. The winners of each regional tournament will advance to the USPA National Championship. Tournaments begin in early February and end mid-April while the I/I regular season begins as early as September. For more information on starting a college polo program and the benefits for your club, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please visit the PoloSkilz 2.0 site, www.poloskilz.com/videos and click on â€œI/I Educational Videosâ€? for more information about the program. Videos include: I/I Program Review, I/I Fundraising 101, and PD Talk: Middle School League.
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UMP IRE C ERTIFICATIO N PRO CED U RE There are four steps to becoming a USPA Certified Umpire. 1. Pay the current year USPA Individual Member fee. 2. T ake the current year Outdoor or the Arena Rules test (annually) and obtain a grade from the USPA. (Note: In order to receive or maintain an Umpire Certification from “CU” to “AA” the minimum grade of 95% (Outdoor), 94% (Arena), must be met on the Annual Rules Test: This applies to certified umpires). Each certified umpire must complete the Rules Test by December 1 each and every year in order to maintain certification for the coming year. 3. B e observed (every three years) and a recommendation made by a designated USPA Umpire Certifier. (Note: It is not a certainty that members will be awarded an Umpire Certification after being evaluated. Umpire Certification recommendations must be forwarded to Steve Lane at email@example.com.) 4. A ll USPA Umpire Certifications are approved and recorded by the USPA Umpires, LLC Committee. Umpires LLC Professional Umpire are able to certify umpire one level below their own certification, and professional status. Steve Lane is able to certify umpires at all certification levels. Individuals seeking Umpire Certification will be responsible for insuring items 1-3 are completed. Rules tests can be obtained at www.uspolo.org and completed on-line. A list of Umpire Certifiers can be found at www.uspolo.org and individuals requesting Umpire Certification ratings must insure that Umpire Certification recommendations are submitted to the USPA office at: 9011 Lake Worth Rd. - Lake Worth, FL 33467. After items 1-3 above are completed by the individual requesting Umpire Certification, all Umpire Certifications will be approved by the USPA. A list of approved Umpire Certifications will be posted on the USPA website at www.uspolo.org and updated periodically. If there are any questions, or additional information needed, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2017 Umpire Management Program “UMP” Umpire Management Program “UMP”: Each USPA circuit is allocated “UMP” funds, based on the amount of member clubs, registered players and affiliate members within the circuit. The Umpires LLC, UMP Program is focused on reimbursing a portion of umpire fees, and expenses to clubs who hire professional, or certified umpires for tournaments with four teams or more. There is a total amount of $118,000 allocated to the 13 circuits of the USPA. Over 40 USPA member clubs received umpire reimbursements through the UMP Program in 2016. For further information, please visit the USPA website under Umpire Services, or contact Steve Lane, slane@uspolo. org, or 352-454-6611.
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1. A pplies to both Outdoor and Arena events. 2. M ust be a minimum of four teams participating in the events (USPA National, Circuit, Sanctioned events and Club events). 3. P er the Umpire Rate Schedule, on the bottom of forms EO-1 and EA-1, the highest reimbursement rate is “BB”, lowest is “CU”, on a per game basis. 4. H osting club agrees all tournament participants are current USPA members, and all matches will follow USPA Rules. 5. U SPA member clubs, may be reimbursed up to a maximum of 80% of requested reimbursement, who have hired Professional, or Certified umpires, using form EO-1, not travel or housing, etc. 6. U nder the UMP Program, expense reimbursement to include travel, housing or per diem expenses, using Form EO-3, and submitting receipts. 7. Q ualifying umpires must be currently listed as USPA certified umpires. 8. F unds are reimbursed based on a signed affidavit by the check writer as well as the umpire check recipient, which is located on the Reimbursement Request forms EO-1, EO-2, and EA-1. 9. A n attached W-9 must be completed and signed by the club, prior to any reimbursement being paid. 10. T he Reimbursement Request forms EO-1, EA-1, or E-2 must be submitted to Steve Lane at email@example.com (in a PDF Format, pictures are not acceptable) within 60 days following the event for consideration of reimbursement prior to November 1st, 2017, unless Pre Approved. 11. A ny funds remaining that have not been reserved after November 1, will be reallocated by USPA Umpires LLC to other circuits/clubs which have submitted and met the reimbursement request criteria.
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2017 Umpire Management Program â€œPUMP/8â€? 1. M aximum number of USPA National or Circuit tournaments (outdoor and/or arena), 8 goals or below, that are eligible for a PUMP/8 umpire per year, per club: three 2. T ournaments must have a minimum of four teams participating 3. C lubs must reserve an umpire with a minimum of 14 days notice prior to the beginning of the event 4. C lubs must fill out an Umpire Request application and pay a non-refundable deposit of $500 before an umpire will be scheduled. Clubs will receive one umpire per tournament, and all their expenses will be paid by USPA Umpires, LLC: travel, hotel and salary 5. M aximum of 10 consecutive tournament days for a PUMP/8 umpire 6. Only one tournament of each Circuit Event per circuit, will be awarded an umpire 7. C lubs must follow USPA Tournament Conditions and USPA Rules. Tournaments must have two mounted umpires, plus a referee for outdoor tournaments 8. Clubs which already acquired an umpire under contract, will be credited for games played 9. Clubs must send a schedule of all tournament games played 10. R equest for credit and games schedules, will not be considered or accepted after 60 days of the tournament end date 11. Umpires are limited, and will be available on a first come, first serve basis. For additional information, please contact Maggie Mitchell 941-928-4600, firstname.lastname@example.org
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DOW NED H O RSE SCR IPT The determination that a horse needs to be removed from the field by equine ambulance or designated trailer will be made collaboratively by any or all of the following, depending on who is on site: • The polo club manager, and / or • The official veterinarian, • The horse owner. • An umpire, • The equine welfare representative, During this process, if there is a public address system, the announcer should refer to the ambulance dispatch script provided on the next page. Once the decision is made, the equine ambulance will be dispatched and the designated official(s) will prepare the horses and players for the approaching ambulance. As soon as possible, the injured or downed horse shall be cloaked from spectator view with the use of such items as: tarps, motor vehicles, trailers, or players. The ambulance will return to the polo grounds as soon as possible, once the horse is removed from the ambulance.
Other considerations: Should it be necessary to euthanize the horse, the horse owner should sign a Permission to Euthanize form. If a veterinarian is not onsite, one should be contacted immediately and the horse evaluated as soon as possible. The equine welfare representative will be instrumental throughout the entire process of removing the horse from the field. Their responsibility will be as a liaison to all of the parties involved while overseeing the entire situation from start to finish, with a strong emphasis on the care of the horse as well as consideration of the horse owner and spectators.
EQUINE AMB U LAN CE D ISPAT CH S CRIP T To be used during removal of an injured or downed horse Note: This format may also be used for a human ambulance dispatch The determination that the horse needs to be removed from the field by equine ambulance will be made collaboratively by any or all of the following depending on who is on site: the official veterinarian, the equine welfare representative polo manager and horse owner. Once this decision has been made, the announcer will be notified immediately. After the announcer has been notified, he will inform the public by making the following announcement:
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“I have just been notified by the officials that the mishap on the playing field will require the assistance of the equine ambulance and veterinarian team. In order to expedite the process, it is ABSOLUTELY essential that everyone remain off of the playing field unless specifically summoned to assist by an official. Thank you for your cooperation. I shall keep you informed of any details as they are made available. Our goal is to appropriately tend to the polo mount as necessary and to return to the game as promptly as possible.” Include a 1 - 2 minute pause. The host club can also use this time to thank sponsors and fill time to the best of their judgment. Appropriate updated information will be announced as it becomes available. Example: “Ladies and gentlemen, I have just received word that the injury appears to be minor; however, the decision has been made to transport the mount by Equine Ambulance to a Veterinarian Hospital.”
P ROCE D U RE FO R TH E LO S S O F A H O RS E & S CRIP T The announcer will solemnly ask for the attention of the crowd and announce that he/she has a very unfortunate update on the status of the injured equine partner. “Ladies and gentlemen, I regret inform you of the tragic loss of one of our beloved equine partners. We invited you here today to share the exhilarating and elegant sport to which, we as competitors, have devoted a great portion of our lives. At the heart of this sport is the horse and the relationship we share with our equine partner. It is a bond that begins when we, as polo players, adopt the horses from racetracks, farms, foaling sheds and adoption facilities. Together we start a journey of riding every day, training each other and striving to become a better and more fulfilled athlete than we were the day before. Most of the time this relationship lasts the duration of one or both of our lives. Sometimes, and thankfully not very often, this lifelong bond ends far too soon and tragically as we have witnessed here today. This is especially tragic for all of the players. At this time of tragic loss, we ask that you respect the horse’s partner and extended family and join us in a moment of silence be dedicated to the memory of this beautiful horse as we share our sorrow.”
CONSO LATIO N FINA LS AN NO U NCER S CRIP T Presented by: _______________________________________________________. Let’s start by having the teams from our consolation finals up on the stage: ______ and _________. Our fourth place team: _________________. 1) _______________________2) ____________________ 3) _______________________ 4) _______________________ Our third place team today: ___________________. 1) _______________________2) ____________________ 3) _______________________ 4) _______________________
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I’d like to congratulate the players on both teams for the outstanding games they played this weekend. Let’s hold for a minute for photos. (pause) Thank You. You can all step down now. Now if we could please have _____________ and _______________ onto the stage.
FINALS A NN O U NC ER SCR IP T Presented by: ______________________________________________________. Congratulations to _______________ on today’s hard fought game. 1) _______________________2) ____________________ 3) _______________________ 4) _______________________ I’d like to congratulate the players on both teams for the outstanding games they played this weekend. Let’s hold for a minute for photos. (pause) Now I’d like to have our winners ____________ step forward. Congratulations to ________________________________________ 1) _______________________2) ____________________ 3) _______________________ 4) _______________________ Please invite all teams to the stage for a group photo.
S P ECIAL AWA RD S Next we move onto our ___________________ special awards. These special awards are representative of player’s participation throughout the entire tournament. Best Playing Pony: Presented by: _______________________________________________________________. Today’s Best Playing Pony is ____________, played by_____________, and owned by________________. The Most Valuable Player award: Presented by: _______________________________________________________________. Special Thanks
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POLO CASE STUDIES
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CREATE PLENTY O F PARTN ERS H IP S F O R S U CCE S S Bloomfield Polo Club Will & Tab Orthwein Overview Bloomfield Polo is an arena polo club that was formed in 2015. The club is located next door to the historic Saratoga Polo Club that hosts an outdoor season from July-Labor Day each year. Though the Saratoga Polo Club season is vibrant, it’s very short. Bloomfield Polo was founded with the intention of extending the polo season in the spring and fall for local polo players and enthusiasts. The goal is also to offer an introduction to polo for newcomers and on ramp to becoming more involved in the sport after those first few introductory experiences. With a strong foundation, players can more easily transition to higher goal polo on the grass. The success of Bloomfield Polo is largely due to the partnerships (described below) formed with community polo players, the Skidmore College Polo Club, Mario Dino’s Saratoga Polo School, and the newly formed EPIC Interscholastic Polo Team. Key Components of Success • Clear mission and goals: A club has to have a niche. It’s important to know your audience and to have clear short-term and long-term goals and to let these guide your decisions. • B uilding sense of community amongst players: It has to be fun! Seeing young interscholastic players, collegiate players, new adult players, and seasoned players all rehashing their chukkers and talking about their horses after chukkers is the best. It makes people feel like they are part of something. • L arge Outdoor Polo Arena: Having a large arena with good footing is key to good fun arena polo. • O rganization: All parties involved appreciate running an organized, efficient program and this keeps people coming back. • U tilizing technology: Using SignupGenius for online chukker signup, using a shared TeamUp Calendar for scheduling arena time has been helpful, emailing and texting chukkers in advance is very popular with everyone. Both technologies are free services. • P artnerships: Partnerships with Skidmore Polo, Mario Dino’s Saratoga Polo School and EPIC Interscholastic Polo enhance the polo experience for everyone.
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Conclusion Bloomfield Polo Club’s partnerships are incredibly important to keep the club successful. Described below are the partnerships Bloomfield Polo Club has and how they enhance polo at the club. Community Arena Polo: Bloomfield Polo Club offers a season membership or the option to pay by the chukker for community polo. Chukkers are offered two days per week. Signup is conducted using a free online signup tool that has worked well for us and makes building chukkers manageable (www.signupgenius.com). Players are asked to signup 24 hours in advance of the practice. The chukker list is texted or emailed to players the night before or the morning of chukkers, making it possible for people to efficiently plan their time. Every effort is made to start on time and to keep the time between chukkers to a minimum. We often gather in the barn after practice for beverages and socializing. This has created a nice sense of community amongst players. Skidmore College Polo Club: Bloomfield Farm is the fall and late spring home of the Skidmore College Polo Club. Men’s and Women’s Varsity Games and JV games are held in the Bloomfield Arena and the college ponies are boarded at Bloomfield. During the fall months, members of the Skidmore College Polo Club practice with the Bloomfield Club players one night per week. This has been a nice partnership that has helped to assure that everyone has the opportunity to play at a level appropriately challenging for each individual player. The top varsity players mix nicely with our top community players and the JV players with the more novice community players. Mario Dino’s Saratoga Polo School: Bloomfield Farm hosts the independently owned and operated Mario Dino Saratoga Polo School. Mario operates the school out of Bloomfield Farm from May-Nov. He gives lessons on both leased horses and to clients who own their own horses. He leases horses for chukkers or for the season, he assists clients with string management and care, and he runs clinics for kids and adults as well. Bloomfield Farm provides stabling and an arena at an affordable cost to the polo school, recognizing the value that a polo school adds to the local polo experience and its future. EPIC Interscholastic Polo Team: Bloomfield Polo Club is also the home of the newly formed EPIC Interscholastic Polo Team. Members of the Old Chatham Pony Club and Mario Dino founded this team. They practice and play their games at Bloomfield Farm and the top interscholastic players join in the Bloomfield Polo Club community chukkers throughout the season as well.
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ADVANTAG EO U SLY U SE IN T E RS CH O L AS T IC AND IN TER CO LLEG IATE PO L O Central Coast Polo Club Megan Judge Overview The Central Coast Polo Club located in San Luis Obispo, CA has been an active USPA club since January 2003, and has been in operation since April 2002. Currently, the club has three instructional programs as well as a busy summer arena league. The club hosts two interscholastic teams with eight fulltime students (ages 11-18) participating annually. The club sponsors the Cal Poly Polo Team, which is active September through May with over 24 students participating this past Fall Quarter. The club also sponsors the local community college, Cuesta College Polo Team, which was inactive this past year. During the summer, the club has eight to twelve active adult members who travel to other California clubs to compete in tournaments and league games. The club is structured to provide all the equine management aspects for students, as well as travel / game set-up / facilities / equipment and instruction. The responsibility of the students is to set up games with other schools in coordination with the CCPC manager, prepare all horses for competition, and serve certain duties during games such as hot-walking, scoring, flag goals, and time.
Key Components to Success • C ommunication with parents: This is key when having a middle school or interscholastic program. There is a six-month calendar sent out with all practices and game times in addition to weekly emails. Remember, at the end of the day, they are the ones paying the bills. • C ommunication with the University: It took years for Megan to develop a relationship with Cal Poly. Trust needed to be built for Cal Poly to be able to allow Central Coast to be associated with them. A college is a huge institution that cares about the safety of the students so they are not to be sued if there are any issues. In order to gain trust, communication needs to stay consistent and constant. • Safety: Everyone wants to know that they are in a safe environment. Parents want to know
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that they can drop their children off at polo without having to worry. The club needs to have a reputation of safe horses, no barn drama, and an organized system. Students are comfortable around the horses at Central Coast because they are required to work with the horses, tack, groom, warm them up, etc. • O nline signup: Central Coast has an online sign up function for chukkers and practices on their website. Students and members are able to sign up weekly and add comments about their arrival times and preferences. • S preadsheets: Spreadsheets are key in staying organized. Tracking when horses get worked ensures that horses are staying fit but not getting over worked. This can prevent injury in horses and support safety. • D ress code: Long pants are required and ladies must wear polo shirts. This builds reputation and ensures that the club members are always in presentable shape. • P assion: Putting all of your time, money, and energy into polo takes passion. You must be willing to dedicate everything to the sport.
Conclusion Central Coast Polo Club has a dynamic operation that appeals to a wide audience in terms of age and ability. Communication with all parties across the board is crucial to running a smooth operation. This will ultimately save time because if expectations are clear, you will not run into issues later with parents or members being confused as to why something occurred. Utilizing technology is important for a manager because it saves time and – again – expectations are clear. Passion is something that polo club managers must have a lot of in order to be successful. Building a thriving polo club takes years of dedication but it is the passion for the sport that keeps a club manager going.
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M UT UA L RESPEC T IN STUD ENT RU N CL U B Colorado State University James Dodge, Club President Overview The Colorado State University Polo Club is an entirely student run CSU club sport that has been in operation, since 1977. The club owns roughly thirty polo ponies at any given time that are boarded at the CSU Equine Center, where practices are held five days a week. Their Men’s and Women’s teams are very competitive on a National level, frequenting regional and national tournaments. In addition, the club has a large beginner and junior varsity program. Previous polo experience is not required to join, so they regularly have between thirty and forty members who are learning to love the great sport of polo. CSU won the Men’s 2015 National Championship, taking home their fourth national championship. Currently, CSU Polo does not have a coach and must rely on alumni, current club members, the university, and the USPA for support.
Key Components of Success • Lead by example: This is the biggest reason the club is successful. This means stepping up and doing the task at hand. Without a coach, they depend heavily on club leadership to take the first step and for others to lead by example. • C amaraderie: It is important for students to coach each other, especially in the varsity program. Camaraderie plays into this idea because members have a relationship outside of polo as well as being teammates. This supports the idea that constructive criticism from peers is openly accepted. It creates an atmosphere of mutual respect. • C ommunity: There is a very strong sense of community within the polo club that helps the club work towards and achieve goals. This unity and community in the club is something that supports communication and dedication to the sport. • R esponsibility. A student run club requires each member to be responsible for horses, scheduling, crisis management, and upkeep of facilities. Each member knows that they are individually responsible, on some level, for the club’s success. • P assion for Horses: Unless a vet needs to be called, a student is responsible for going out and giving horses their medication and making sure they are taken care of. Horses are the most important aspect of any club.
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• A ppreciation: The students at CSU are appreciative for having an amazing equine program that is supported by the school. This means that they have excellent facilities a short fiveminute drive off campus. The club is also on a CSU bus route. Conclusion Colorado State University Polo is successful for so many reasons. A student run program presents unique challenges, but also allows the club to have a lot of opportunities as well. Members change frequently and leaders change almost annually. Conflict resolution is key, as no one in the club is truly an expert or polo professional, so they all must work together to do what is best for the horses and the club. Much like larger clubs, CSU must work with outside businesses for sponsorship opportunities. We must also work with alumni. This student run club allows for leadership opportunities, networking, and experience in running a non-profit.
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DIVERSE U SE O F PRO PERTY G E NE RAT ES RE VE NU E Empire Polo Club Vicky Owens
Contributed by Ed Armstrong
Overview Empire Polo Club is considered by many to be the most beautiful club in the country. With a backdrop of the Santa Rosa mountain range with its snow-capped peaks, this desert oasis is a lush combination of world-class polo fields and stunning gardens. Empire offers league play, including Coaching League and at the 1, 4, and 8 Goal levels, appealing to the players they serve. They have 12 polo fields and a world-class arena in addition to hunter-jumper facilities that are all meticulously maintained. They have a polo school, a kids polo program, three exercise tracks and on site stabling for 700 horses. A public tavern on the property promotes camaraderie amongst the area’s players, grooms, and spectators and there’s a healthy schedule of parties and social events. For two weekends each winter, Empire Polo Club is transformed to host the Sandstorm Lacrosse Tournament that brings in 30,000 people from all over southern California. They also host the Jack Bradshaw AKC Dog Show with over 4,000 dogs, which brings thousands of participants and spectators to the property. Each spring, the club plays host to the world famous Coachella and Stagecoach Festivals, where top billed acts take the stage to entertain the thousands of fans that flock to the valley for the event. The Southwest Art Show also calls Empire home each year. Valley restaurants and hotels are filled to capacity during this time, making for good neighbor relations. Key Components of Success • Good mix of polo: Empire Polo Club has any levels of polo to attract and keep player membership. Leagues with low goal professionals make the play fast and fun! • S ocial Scene: Thriving social scene and opportunities for social activities. The club is in the Palm Springs area, known for great winter entertainment and dining options. Diverse use of land and club facilities: Partnering with area promoters, they rent the property to other sports and activities, bringing in funds to keep the club profitable and offset the club’s substantial maintenance expense. • M ore than adequate infrastructure: 12 polo fields and an outdoor and lighted arena provide the venues for the club’s extensive offerings. International events have been held on the fields and in the arena. Stabling for 700 horses makes it easy for winter players to come and stay.
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• T he right people: Top-flight management and ownership oversight ensure best practices are being utilized. Friendly and accommodating atmosphere builds club loyalty. Local horse rentals through a proven supplier accommodate many weekend visitors and provide fill-in horses for players and pros. • P olo School: Professionally run polo school provides an inflow of new players and increases polo and club awareness in the community and beyond. The school is a winter joint venture between California Polo Club and Empire. The venture is mutually beneficial because CPC’s main season is summer and Empire’s is winter. Empire also has a kids polo program, introducing many kids to the sport and building an early commitment. • L ocation, Location, Location: The club’s location in the Coachella Valley, this well- known winter haven for not just the LA crowd, but for people from all over the US and Canada. The area’s warm winter days make Empire a great place for polo and all outdoor activities. Conclusion Empire Polo Club is a very healthy club that thrives year after year, due in large part to its diverse uses of its property. The club strives to offer polo players an above average experience with leagues and tournaments that suit the wants and needs of its membership. Empire is a year round wedding and corporate event venue, hosting dozens of diverse events per year. With four beautifully appointed venues, they offer first class accommodations for weddings and other gatherings. They offer exhibition polo and golf cart polo for their corporate events. The club benefits from very good management, a local string of quality rental horses, and a first class polo school and kids polo program. There is much to be learned from a club like Empire Polo Club.
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EXCELLENT R ESU LTS LEA D T O P O S IT IVE REP U TAT IO N Garrison Forest School Cindy Halle Overview Garrison Forest School is an independent, all girls, K-12 day and boarding school located on 110 acres in Owings Mills, MD, just outside of Baltimore. Polo is offered as a team sport to middle- and upper-school students during all three sports seasons at the Varsity, Junior Varsity, and Third Team level. Girls younger than nine years old can start taking after school polo lessons and polo is now part of Garrison’s physical education program for middle school students. Cindy Halle coached at Garrison Forest from 1986 to 1997 and then began coaching again in 2007. There has been an assistant coach since Cindy returned to coaching. Garrison Forest’s polo program also hosts two club teams that practice on evenings and weekends, utilizing the GFS ponies and facilities (West Shore and Devecote). Garrison Forest has won thirteen USPA National Girls’ Interscholastic titles and West Shore won the Open Interscholastic Championship in 2015. In the evenings, there are also lessons offered to adults and youth from the area. In the fall of 2015, the program had 19 Garrison Forest students, 15 non-Garrison Forest students and a large number of adults in the lesson program. Key Components of Success • Indoor arena: The arena allows for all year, every day play. • S upport: Garrison Forest’s polo program has the support of the school in terms of some funding and recruiting, although the program is expected to meet budget expectations. • C ontinuity: Garrison Forest has only had four head coaches in the polo program’s 26-year history. This creates credibility and more solid relationships. • R eputation: The string of polo ponies in your program is key. Garrison Forest is constantly receiving high quality, experienced donation horses to the program because it is well known that horses in the Garrison program are very well taken care of. • E xpectations: Expectations are very clear, especially when dealing with young players. In the Garrison Forest program, all students are expected to do work around the barn and with the horses so they are more invested in the sport in its entirety. There is consistent and honest communication with students and parents via email or in person, which helps make
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expectations clear. Students are also encouraged to cooperate and work together within and between teams. Good sportsmanship, teamwork, and commitment are expected and any issues with such are quickly addressed before they get to be a problem. The goal is for students to learn life lessons through being on a team and playing a sport, especially one that involves an equine teammate. • I nfrastructure: The polo program is able to use all equipment, trailers, and buses from the existing equestrian facility. There is a barn, tackroom, room for parking, an indoor arena, and paddocks. The school also has its own maintenance and security departments. • S tructure: There are different levels of teams for every skill and experience level and a very well structured lesson program. There is a balance between drills, scrimmages, the hitting cage, and chalk talk so all learning styles can grasp concepts. Conclusion The program at Garrison Forest is unique because it has some financial support from the school and can use the school’s existing equestrian center facilities. Whether or not a program has funding or is completely self-sufficient, the key components to successfully running a polo school remain the same. Keep expectations very clear. Having the students take part in horse care has proven to keep students more engaged in the Garrison Forest program. The structure of the program and each individual lesson follow a clear trajectory, allowing students to work towards a goal. This not only encourages commitment, but also ensures that students and parents are on the same page. Keeping everything as consistent as possible allows for a positive reputation to build, making it far easier to make contacts, receive excellent donation horses, and recruit players.
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GREAT MEAD O W PO LO CL U B John Gobin & Whitney Ross Overview Great Meadow Polo Club, located in The Plains, Virginia, is owned by the Great Meadow Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, and operated by Twilight Polo LLC/John Gobin. The polo operation began in 1993 when the arena was first constructed. Great Meadow Polo Club runs arena Twilight Polo, grass polo, practice chukkers, and a polo school. Twilight Polo begins in May and goes through September but the Great Meadow polo school season is from April to November. Key Components of Success • Arena: Possibly the biggest advantage to Great Meadow is their arena. The box seats and tailgating spots regularly accommodate 2500 spectators at Saturday night Twilight Polo and have the potential to grow larger. Grass polo often gets rained out in the spring and fall so the arena is very useful in being able to still provide polo for the club members. The arena is also the best place for a beginner to learn so their arena is an asset to the polo school. • S cheduling: All games and themes for Twilight Polo are set before the season and made clear to members and spectators in advance so they can mark their calendars. • C rowds: Having a well-established program with large crowds attending every game leads to a very high demand for players. Members rotate playing times on Saturday based on skill level and outside players are constantly trying to play in the headlining 8 PM game. • E xclusive: Twilight Polo is exclusive to club members only. Players must hire their own pro if they are playing in the featured match games. • U tilizing the local horse community: Great Meadow is in an area of Virginia with a very high population of horse people. The box seating around the arena gives the sense of exclusivity for the spectators because they enjoy attending Twilight Polo weekly. • A dvertising: Great Meadow proved to have higher attendance when they utilized Groupon in addition to using their website and Facebook page to promote polo. With Facebook, they post pictures of people in the crowd where they can tag themselves and they also have a professional photographer that takes pictures of the game for everyone to see. The players really enjoy the pictures and keeps them coming back for more. They also produce a large poster that is put in all the local areas within an hour’s radius of Great Meadow that provides information for Twilight Polo. • F amily fun: Great Meadow focuses on families and family fun. Every game has a new theme from week to week, from 007 to Disney. There are a wide variety of themes in order to appeal
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to the masses. At half time there is tug of war for the kids and after polo there are foot mallets and balls for the kids to run around play in the arena. They also have a trophy presentation after each game where people are selected from the crowd to hand out trophies. This helps get the crowd involved and they are able to take pictures with the polo players. • P olo on the Mall: John has made arrangements to play polo on the National Mall in Washington D.C. every Thursday evening at 5pm from June-August. Restaurants and bars host after parties for players and spectators so the polo game becomes more of an event. There are various obstacles including permitting, field conditions, etc. but it has proven to be very successful.
Conclusion Great Meadow Polo Club is the perfect example of a club that uses an arena to its full potential. They have proven year after year that a club can be successful with arena polo being its main attraction. There are plans to make Sunday grass polo at Great Meadow much more popular for spectators and this will generate more revenue in addition to bringing more awareness about the different aspects of polo. Great Meadow promotes family fun as opposed to having a wild party. This brings in a much wider audience and creates a larger and consistent following. Having Polo on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., creates such a unique experience for members. This brings opportunities to play in front of national landmarks before new spectators and those passing by that are so special to members.
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NEW P O RT PO LO CLU B Dan Keating Contributed by Ed Armstrong Overview Newport Polo Club has been building its success over the last 26 years by always paying attention to its fan base. Starting from scratch in 1990, they began by fulfilling the requirements of their lease by repairing and upgrading the facility. The International Series was started in 1992. Their fans come from the local area, the greater Rhode Island area, as well as neighboring Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. They always have a contingent of people from further away in the US and also many foreign visitors. Attendance has built over the years and currently runs from a high of over 6000 fans to a low of 2000 and generally averages about 3500-4000 per Saturday. Club owner Dan Keating said that the location in one of the country’s great tourist destinations is not a major factor in the club’s success. There are so many world class events in the area that polo becomes just one of the choices from which people have to choose. Dan thinks that his club could be replicated in many other places around the country. They run 19 total events including 8 International events, featuring teams from around the world, and their City Series, where visiting US teams compete against the local Newport team. This identification of the visiting teams has garnered great interest among the fans, engaging them in the game and building loyalty to the venue as a place they return to, week after week. People identify with an Irish team or a Pittsburg team much more that with a private sponsored team with an unfamiliar name. Newport plays on a smaller than regulation sized field that allows the crowd to see the whole game and serves to engage them in the game. This is unique among outdoor clubs where the action can be 300 yards away at any given time. Key Components of Success • Identifiable teams: The International Series, along with the more recent City Series, pits the home team (USA or Newport) against teams from other cities and other countries around the world. For example, people identify with USA vs. Ireland or Newport vs. Pittsburg more than they do with two privately sponsored teams. This promotes fan loyalty and many return visits. • G reat visibility: The smaller field size at Newport makes it easier for the fans to get engaged with the game. Other clubs struggle with crowd engagement and rely on field side activities and sponsored events to engage the crowd. They also need to reengage week after week. Newport fans are “polo” fans. The smaller field also makes for a higher scoring game and studies show that fans like scoring!
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• Great Announcer: The value of an energetic, knowledgeable polo announcer cannot be overstated. The announcer at Newport further serves to engage the crowd by explaining the game and keeping his commentary both informative and colorful. • N on Profit Engagement: Sunday is for non-profit and charity games. It was discovered early on that these groups couldn’t be used as the sole source of fan and player cultivation but they have their place. Sunday polo allows the club to invite more of its member players to participate in games with a crowd. The charities appreciate the draw of a polo game and the players appreciate the opportunity to play. • N ewsletters: These year round epublications keep the membership and fans engaged with the club even in the off season. • W ebsite: Newport’s website is well maintained and updated. There are plenty of pictures of past events, players and fans. • A menities: Newport Polo operates a bar at their Saturday games and also carries an apparel line that features the Newport Polo logo. These things have the potential of becoming profit centers but are considered amenities that are necessary to make the fan experience more complete. • P olo Lessons: 15-20 lessons are given each week during the high season and many people cycle through the polo school. Usually one player per year sticks with it and becomes a regular polo player. A polo school is an essential part of any club to keep new players coming in as people get out of polo or retire from the game. • S ponsors: Throughout the years, Newport has learned the value of sponsorship by trial and error. Sponsors, universally, require big numbers to spend their advertising dollars on any type of event. As Newport Polo grew, so did the stable of sponsors. Sometimes big name sponsors came along and, while paying some sponsor dollars, were more valuable as a sign to other sponsors that Newport was a good bet. Sponsors want to be in good company. The income from most sponsors is figured as outside the budget and allows the club to make improvements to their venue and infrastructure, rather than as a part of the budget to be depended upon for operating expenses. Conclusion Newport Polo Club has learned a lot along the way. Mistakes were made but they paid attention and made adjustments to get where they are today. They have had peaks and valleys in terms of player membership but have always maintained a critical mass. Having individual players rather than sponsored teams has helped them during economic downturns. The club has built a mailing list through the years that has enabled them to keep in touch with their fans and let them know when new and exciting things are coming up. They have many pictures of their fans in their newsletters and on their website. The most important component has been the club’s attention to what the market has told them and their willingness to adjust accordingly. Newport Polo has been called the 25 year overnight sensation!
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M ARK ETIN G PRO MO TES AL L AS P ECT S O F CL U B San Diego Polo Club Lindsey Chronert Overview The San Diego Polo Club offers a long summer season (May through October) with polo presented to the public for 15 weeks of Sunday polo. Each Sunday polo match is unique, with different sponsors, charities, groups, clubs, and themes. The level of play offered ranges from arena lessons to grass tournaments; their focus is grass polo, which includes cancha pequena (small grass field), beginner lessons, club chukkers, 4-goal, and 6-goal tournaments. They host arena tournaments, weekend pro-pools, and themed tournaments such as “Battle of the Sexes.” San Diego’s main goal is to expand their outreach in order to increase interest in the sport of polo, whether it’s watching on Sundays or playing the sport. They use a variety of tools to market, promote, and execute a successful season, including email marketing, social media, engaging events, various tournaments, and a fun social scene. A lot of the success in San Diego has been making the social program appealing to everyone, from players to those who have never seen a match. Components of Success • Consistency & Variability: SDPC uses multiple marketing platforms including flyers, annual magazine, e-newsletter, and social media to provide cohesive and consistent communication with their clients. This allows open dialogue that creates excitement and allows for feedback, resulting in a range of engaging activities. • O nline Newsletter: San Diego sends out a weekly e-newsletter to 9,000 online subscribers with relevant information, upcoming events, and program highlights. This allows management to engage with the public, players, sponsors and fans. • S ocial Media: San Diego has a strong social media presence, which has been one of their strongest marketing tools. Use of exciting content, event hashtags, sponsored posts, and boosted event listings have all helped increase their traffic and followers, which has led to more clients. It also gives them an option to be considered cool or popular. • P artnerships: SDPC creates exciting events with the help from various charities, local magazines and media, local clubs and organizations, and sponsors. The club is able to expand any existing marketing efforts through their partners and their partners’ clients, donors, and supporters. The marketing effort is built and shared between everyone involved. • C ohesive Event Activation / Marketing: Cohesive events are extremely important to everyone involved, from the club to the sponsor to the guest’s experience. This process begins with your first
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touch, whether it’s in the form of a social media post, e-newsletter, ticket, phone call, or flyer. All the marketing needs to be cohesive and the event needs to be well thought out so it includes each partner. Each component helps build the others and is not effective unless used together. • O nline Ticketing for Sunday Polo: At Sunday Polo, the club collects attendee information (email, address, etc.) and can then communicate regularly with the new client to promote lessons, membership, ticket sales, etc. Benefits include organization, ease of admission, client email collection, analytics, etc. • P rint Media: An annual program / magazine is the greatest print marketing tool, providing pages upon pages of information about the club and its programs. It is distributed at all polo events, at local hotels and businesses, and mailed to affluent homes in the area. It’s a great stepping-stone to introduce new businesses to polo or even educate a first-timer on how to watch the sport. SDPC also sends postcards announcing the season schedule in order increase attendance and awareness. • I n-house design: All flyers, posters, banners, postcards, website, social media images, blog posts, videos, annual magazine or program, rack cards, pamphlets, etc. are created in-house, rather than contracted through a third party. (Saves money, is accurate, relevant, and quick). • O ff-site / Private Events: Mini polo matches, mixers, or participating in outside events makes marketing efforts reach even further. Benefits include increase in new membership / interest in membership, good promotion for season, partners love hosting mini polo match / brand alignment. San Diego Polo Club also hosts private polo matches on-site for private groups including corporations and weddings. • C ommunication: Questionnaires, polls, discussions, committees, and laid-back brainstorming all help develop and improve various programs. Meeting with staff weekly about events and programs makes sure our team is united and informed. It also increases morale, camaraderie, and community. Conclusion The takeaway from the success of the San Diego Polo Club is using a variety of marketing tools to promote membership, polo programs, social events, private events, weddings, and other sports. The branches of a successful marketing strategy stem from one community-based idea that encompasses all partners and is executed across multiple platforms, including social media, email marketing, event marketing, print materials, flyers, and your website. Having a designer / marketing person in-house decreases costs and also ensures information is relevant, accurate, engaging, and consistent.
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BUILDING A CLU B FRO M TH E G RO U ND U P Triangle Area Polo Club David Brooks
T R IA N GL
Overview The Triangle Area Polo Club (TAPC) is a privately owned club located on the farm owned by David and Leslie Brooks. The Brooks run all facets of the club and farm. They have an outdoor arena (135’ x 250’) and a small field (80 yards x 170 yards). Currently, TAPC owns 16 horses; 8 are exclusively for the lesson program. TAPC also offers turnkey horse care for playing members. The club runs group lessons three nights a week from March through October, holding weekly club chukkers on Saturdays and monthly two-day tournaments. Owner / operator David Brooks has been playing polo for over 25 years, but in 2005, polo in North Carolina diminished. The Brooks family transitioned from polo to polocrosse and for the next six years successfully played, hosted, and coached within the sport of polocrosse at an international level. In 2010, Kris Bowman sent David an email “How Bout Polo?” She followed with a call outlining the PDI program and the annual Instructors forum in Houston. In 2011, David and Leslie wrote a business plan and established Triangle Area Polo Club; focusing on the basic principles of the Step Up model highlighted in Houston (getting players in and then upselling them to higher levels).
Key Components To Success • FUN!!! You are selling your clients an experience. Lessons must be fun and also informative. Club chukkers should have a good umpire to keep control and to assure a quicker player is not taking advantage of the slower. • K now your area: Research lesson programs from other disciplines and sports to know what they charge and the time involved, including their location. You have to be competitive with your pricing to get started. Research income for your area. Join a local chamber of commerce to help find your clients. • H ave a business plan: How many horses? How much cost per horse? David learned that free horses were great and very much appreciated, but the cost was much higher for older Thoroughbred types. Once they were established, it greatly helped their profit margin to switch to more Quarter horse stock.
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• T ake advantage of all USPA programs and help: The USPA wants to see you succeed. Use things you learn and fit them to your program. • B uild relationships with people you can work with: Network with pro’s, grooms, club managers, and other instructors. You may have clients who are more serious and want to play tournaments. Stay involved with the process so you know they are treated well and continue their polo career. • R each out to the clubs closest to you: Try to play together and work together to build the sport. DO NOT publicly speak negatively about your neighbors. • Y our cheapest advertising may also be your best: Word of Mouth works! People love to talk about the fun things they do. Carry your phone, take pictures, and stay active on social media. Keep up with website design and maintenance. Make sure photos and schedule are updated frequently. Think about your club name so that it will reflect in search engines for your area. Conclusion In 2014, TAPC grew at an enormous rate and surpassed their goal with 150 lessons with 8 horses. They also began to sell more of their own horses that they had made. These horses fit their clientele and were an excellent source of income. TAPC maintains an average of 24 clients. In 2015, the club continued to grow, surpassing 600 lessons. They started building a new 150’ x 300’ outdoor arena. They plan to enlarge the field to 100 x 200 yards and have added a 50’ x 125’ lighted pen to teach lessons at night during October – March. “We have made many mistakes on our way to success. We feel there are some key DO’s, no matter your area.” — David Brooks
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T ORONTO TEA MWO R K MA KE S T H E D REAM W O RK Toronto Polo Club Cliff Sifton Overview Toronto Polo Club (TPC) began in the 1960’s and has about 80 members today. The club is spread across three independent farms that work together to create as much polo as possible and provide unique playing experiences. The club has use of six outdoor fields, one outdoor arena, and one indoor arena, so polo can be played year round without a problem. TPC hosts several fundraising polo events each year including Polo for Heart, a 36-year tradition that has raised over $5 million. Polo is provided for all levels; from very beginner to players in the 10-goal league. Polo is played 6 days a week in the summer and 3 days a week in the winter. There are multiple leagues at TPC included a Retired League for those who can play mid-day during the week. TPC has an Interscholastic and an Intercollegiate team competing this year. Key Components of Success • Run your club in an unselfish manner: The polo club should be run for the good of the masses, not for individual gain. This is the key to long-term success. • K eep players around: The days of players and families socializing after a game are endangered. TPC builds in a fee into membership dues that is a “food fee.” This fee covers food for the entire year so that after every game there is some sort of social gathering with food that has already been paid for. This is an incentive for players and guests to hang out after polo. The hope is to create a strong club atmosphere and to keep everyone engaged. • A rena: The arena is essential. It is easier to teach students, it is easier to teach umpiring, fewer horses are needed, and the arena is much more accessible. • A ccess to horses: Make it easy for new players to have the opportunity to lease and rent horses at a reasonable price. Players have to get “bit by the bug” in order to want to stick with it. Be realistic, but be reasonable with pricing. • H ave a buddy system: You have to create trust between you and your members and you cannot cheat your clients. If they are looking to buy a horse and you guide them towards buying an overpriced horse, the trust is broken once they realize they have been cheated. Be fair and honest because it pays more in the long run. You can easily ruin the entire sport for an individual if you take advantage of them. Remember: they are looking to you for guidance and help.
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• E ducate: You must educate your players in order to build trust as well. An educated player is a happier player and is also easier to manage. Players must be educated about the game, the equipment, and especially the horses. A player must fall in love with the animal and become a horseman. • M ake it a family friendly environment: Families want to share things together, so having families involved in one way or another keeps members engaged. Supporting peewee polo encourages members to get their children involved. Having potluck social events such as holiday parties supports a family club environment. Conclusion Toronto Polo Club is one of the largest clubs in terms of membership for so many reasons. Three independent polo farms working under one club umbrella is one of TPC’s biggest advantages. Competing polo clubs within a short distance of each other creates unnecessary competition and can ultimately lead to many issues. TPC is able to manage over 80 members by running the club in an unselfish manner and being honest. Dues are kept as low as possible and TPC is able to boast year round polo. TPC is creating players and horsemen in order to grow the sport of polo.
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A P P ENDIX I: BO DY C O ND ITIO N S CO RING
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APP EN D IX II: MATCH IN G H O RS E T O RID ER One of the most essential elements of your success as a polo instructor is learning how to effectively match students to a proper horse. When you are successful, you will ensure the safety of both the mount and rider and have the best chance of providing a great polo experience that will increase the chance of a return customer. There are four key areas to keep in mind when matching horse to rider:
1. Ability What are the athletic and experience levels of the rider compared to that of the horse? A very experienced rider is going to be unchallenged or unstimulated by a dull, unathletic beginner horse and may ask too much of the horse potentially injuring it (especially with the use of artificial aids). You want to keep your students in an upward learning pattern as they progress. Knowing when to increase the level of polo pony is very important to keeping them engaged and returning. Conversely, a novice rider should never be put on an advanced horse that is sensitive to the natural aids, or excessively soft in the mouth. A novice rider needs to be mounted on an experienced, forgiving, and steady horse that is not prone to quick unexpected movements.
2. Temperament Assessing the temperament of the rider and thepersonality of your school horse is very important. A horse that will resent a mistake or a roughhand is not a good match for a novice rider. Nor is a horse that may become agitated with too much rider interference. A calm, experienced rider may be a better fit for more complicated equine personalities. A very aggressive, demanding rider should not be paired with a more nervous mount. They will bring out the worst in each other. Horses that may have little pa)ence for slow polo or standing around for long periods of time are not suitable for lessons in which some standing around/waiting is necessary. Such horses should not be matched with novice, no matter how easy they are to ride.
3. Size There is an art to matching body size of horse and rider to achieve the perfect union. Try to avoid pubng an extremely petite rider on a very large or tall horse. Their ability to control a large animal in an emergency situation may be compromised. Also take into consideration the riderâ€™s leg and arm strength in matching them with a mount. In the case of small students, the larger the horse the larger the fall. Utilizing a smaller horse allows your student to have more proportional balance and leverage. In specific scenarios, the larger horse may be the wiser decision because of other factors, such as temperament. However, when using large horses, keep in mind the risks and use your best judgment. Alternatively, it is also dangerous to put a very large person on a small horse. Balancing the horse is essential for safety
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in sharp turns, ride-offs, and stopping. Polo is a contact sport; minimizing any dangerous situations is very important. Safety begins by crea)ng the right horse and rider combination.
4. Vices The USPA rulebook states, “A horse showing signs of vice or blind in an eye is not allowed to play in USPA tournaments.” The CPI program recommends that horses exhibiting vices, such as kicking or bi)ng during play, flipping over if the girth is over tightened or while tied tacked up, and horses that are blind in one eye should be removed from the lesson program. If the instructor is aware of a pre-exis)ng condition and this mount injures a student or staff, then the instructor will be liable for this accident. If there is any questin about the reliability of a lesson horse outside of normal equine behavior, then it should not remain in the lesson string. While there is always an exception to every rule, an instructor can not ensure that he or she will be present every time a horse with a vice will be handled or ridden, so it is best to minimize the risk and not rely on chance. Ethical Considerations There can be economic pressure behind the matching of horse to rider as well as pressure from the over confident rider, or parent misrepresen)ng their child. Do not be falsely influenced into making a mistake. A riding assessment must be conducted on a reliable mount prior to moving a student to a more advanced horse. This is for your protec)on as well as theirs. Regardless of the experience leve the rider claims to have, he or she must be personally assessed (or evaluated) by the instructor. If a rider becomes injured and you are involved in a lawsuit, the Instructor, as the person in charge, must be able to defend why a certain horse was matched to a certain rider. Masking Lameness Horses can unexpectedly get injured or a beloved school horse may become permanently unsound. The decision to medicate a horse without veterinarian guidance and adherence to the USPA Drugs and medication requirements to mask lameness is not acceptable and can cause legal repercussions if negligence comes into play. If a horse that had been medicated in this manner stumbles you can be held responsible in a court of law as well as in the eyes of the association. Masking Temperament An equally irresponsible ac)on is to drug a high strung horse in order to make the mount more suitable for a novice rider. This type of unethical behavior can permanently ruin the reputation of a polo instructor. Tranquilizing a horse may actually make it potentially more dangerous as muscle relaxants can lead to tripping, and slow response. Masking temperament can not only put your student in danger, but also all the other riders in the area. By upholding high ethical practices and taking key areas into consideration you will create a positive experience for both mount and student.
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APP EN D IX III: C LU B B YLAW S E XAM P L E Regional Opportunities to Developing the Sport of Polo Contributed by Dan Coleman, Arizona Polo Association & Karl Hilberg, Central Texas Polo Association In recent years, Regional Associations have been developed to support the sport. In Arizona, Border Circuit Governor Dan Coleman established the Arizona Polo Association. Through this process, Dan developed By-Laws to support the association and graciously offered these by-laws as a template for other clubs looking to unify their efforts under an umbrella association. Through a quick phone call, Karl Hilberg connected with Dan and utilized the Arizona Polo Associationâ€™s by-laws as a platform for the development of the Central Texas Polo Association governing documents.
Bylaws of the Central Texas Polo Association Draft As March 4, 2016
ARTICLE I. NAME / COLORS The name of this organization shall be the Central Texas Polo Association (CTPA or Association). The club colors are the red, white, and blue of the Texas state flag. The logo is TBD. Each associate club also maintains its club colors and logo.
ARTICLE II. GOVERNANCE The bylaws of the CTPA shall govern the actions of the Association, their member clubs as a whole, and actions of all its staff and elected officials made on behalf of the Association in all their practices. The CTPA is organized and exists under the laws of a non-profit corporation within the State of Texas. The CTPA is wholly owned by its members.
ARTICLE III. PURPOSE & MISSION Section 1. Purpose The CTPA is a non-profit corporation organized with the sole purpose to provide more and better polo in the State of Texas.
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Section 2. Mission The CTPA is an Association of polo clubs, polo players, and polo supporters working to increase the number and quality of polo players, clubs, schools, and tournaments in Texas. In order to achieve this, the Association: 1. Improves polo in Texas by supporting the development of local club facilities; 2. Organizes and support all levels of polo for its members; 3. Supports new player development through polo schools, outreach programs, and low goal tournaments; 4. Provides USPA tournaments at a variety of goal levels and specializations in accordance with United States Polo Association rules; 5. Promotes and organizes tournaments to attract intrastate, interstate, and inter-circuit play in Texas in accordance with the rules of the United States Polo Association (USPA).
ARTICLE IV. BOARD Section 1. Board The CTPA shall be governed by a Board of Directors consisting of not less than four (4) Directors, divided into two (2) classes, Club Member Directors and Player Member Directors, as follows: 1. Club Member Directors: Each member club shall be able to appoint one Director to be announced and installed at each annual meeting of the Association. The Director shall be by appointment by the owner or Board of the Member club. A Club Member Director need not be a playing member of the Association, but must be a member of the USPA. 2. Playing Member Directors: Playing members of the Association shall nominate and elect additional Directors equivalent to each member club, minus one. A Playing Member Director must be a Playing Member as defined in Article 6, Section 3, and a maximum of two (2) can be from one of the association clubs.
Section 2. Board Powers The property and business of the Association shall be managed by its Board which may exercise all powers of the Association and perform all such lawful acts as directed by these bylaws or required to be exercised by the Members. These duties of the Board shall include, but not be limited to the following: 1. To call special meetings of the members whenever it deems necessary; 2. To appoint and remove at pleasure all officers, agents and employees of the Association, prescribe their duties, fix their compensation, if any, and require of them such security or fidelity bond as it may deem expedient. Nothing contained in these bylaws shall be construed to prohibit the employment of any member, Officer or director of the Association in any capacity whatsoever; 3. To establish and collect membership fees from those applying for membership in the Association;
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4. To adopt and publish rules and regulations governing the operations of the Association, the conduct of polo games, tournaments, clinics, practices, seminars and the like conducted or sponsored by the Association; 5. To cause to be kept, a complete record of all its acts and corporate affairs; 6. To supervise all officers, agents, and employees of this Association and to see that their duties are properly performed; 7. To see that all provisions of the Articles of Incorporation and these bylaws are complied with; 8. To establish and appoint, from time to time, such committees as the Board shall determine to be necessary and to designate the chairman of any committee so established, which committee chairman and members may be, but do not have to be, members of the Board.
Section 3. Board Terms, Nominations, & Elections Playing Member Directors shall be elected at each annual meeting of the Association. The nominating committee shall nominate a candidate for each directorship to be filled, identifying such nominees as the candidates of the nominating committee. Other candidates for the Board may be nominated from the floor at the annual meeting of Members. There shall be no limitation on the number of times a Director may be re-elected or appointed as a Director. Playing Member Directors shall be elected by plurality of the votes cast with each Playing Member entitled to cast the number of votes as vacancies to be filled.
Section 4. Board Vacancies & Removals Playing Directors may be removed, with or without cause, by an affirmative vote of a majority of the votes cast at a duly held meeting of the Playing Members and fill the vacancy thus created. Any Director whose removal has been proposed to the Playing Members shall be given an opportunity to be heard at the meeting. If the office of one or more Directors becomes vacant by reason of death, resignation, retirement, disqualification, removal from office or otherwise, a majority of the remaining Directors shall choose a successor or successors, who shall hold office for the unexpired term in respect to which such vacancy occurred.
Section 5. Board Meetings & Quorum The Board shall hold their meetings and keep the books of the Association at the office of the Association or at such other place inside the State of Texas as the Board may from time to time determine. Regular meetings of the Board may be held at such time and place as shall be determined from time to time by a majority of the Board, but at least four (4) such meetings shall be held during each fiscal year. Notice of regular meetings shall be given by the Secretary of the Association or other designated person, to each Director at least five (5) days prior to the date of such meeting.
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Special meetings of the Board may be called by the President on five (5) days notice to each Director, which notice shall state the time, place, and purpose of the meeting. Special meetings shall be called by the President or Secretary in like manner and on like notice on the written request of two (2) Directors. Notice of any and all meetings of the Board may be waived by appropriate written waiver. At all meetings of the Board, a majority of the Directors shall be necessary and sufficient to constitute a quorum for the transaction of business and the act of a majority of the Directors present at any meeting at which there is a quorum shall be the act of the Board, except as may be otherwise specifically provided by statute or by the Articles of Incorporation or by these bylaws. If a quorum shall not be present at any meeting of Directors, the Directors present thereat may adjourn the meeting from time to time, without notice other than announcement at the meeting, until a quorum shall be present.
Section 6. Compensation of Directors Directors, as such, shall not receive any salary for their services, provided that nothing herein contained shall be construed to preclude any Director from serving the Association in any other capacity and receiving compensation therefore. The salaries for Directors for services other than as such shall be fixed by the Directors, other than the Director for whom a salary is being fixed.
ARTICLE V. OFFICERS Section 1. Titles & Election The officers of the Association shall be a President, a Secretary, and a Treasurer. They shall be chosen by the Board concurrent with or immediately following the Annual Meeting. The Board may also choose to elect one or more Vice Presidents. Officers shall serve one-year terms which shall end at the next Annual Meeting following their election. All officers must be members of the Board (except that Treasurer(s) and Secretary do not have to be). The Board may appoint such agents and employees as it shall deem necessary, who shall hold their offices for such terms and shall exercise such powers and perform such duties as shall be determined from time to time by the Board.
Section 2. Vacancies & Removals The officers of the Association shall hold office until their successors are chosen and qualify in their stead. Any officer elected or appointed by the Board may be removed at any time by the affirmative vote of a majority of the whole Board. If the office of any officer becomes vacant for any reason, the vacancy shall be filled by the Board.
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Section 3. Duties President. The President shall preside at all meetings of the Members and the Board, shall be ex-officio Member of all committees, shall have responsibility for general and active management of the business of the Association, and shall see that all duties which are usually vested in the office of the president of a corporation are carried out. The President shall execute all documents and contracts requiring a seal, under the seal of the Association, except where the same are required or permitted by law to be otherwise signed and executed and except where the signing and execution thereof shall be expressly delegated by the Board to some other officer or agent of the Association. Vice President. The Vice Presidents shall, in the order of their seniority, in the absence or disability of the President, perform the duties and exercise the powers of the President and shall perform such other duties as the Board shall prescribe. Secretary. The Secretary shall attend all sessions of the Board and all meetings of the Members and record all votes and the minutes of all proceedings in a book to be kept for that purpose and shall perform like duties for committees when required. The Secretary shall give, or cause to be given, notice of all meetings of the Members and meetings of the Board, and shall perform such other duties as may be prescribed by the Board or President, under whose supervision he shall be. He shall keep in safe custody the seal of the Association, and when authorized by the Board, affix the same to any instrument requiring it and when so affixed, it shall be attested by his signature or by the signature of an assistant Secretary. Assistant Secretaries, in order of their seniority, shall, in the absence or disability of the Secretary, perform such other duties as the Board shall prescribe. Treasurer. The Treasurer shall have the custody of the Associationâ€™s funds and securities and shall keep full and accurate accounts or receipts and disbursements in books belonging to the Association and shall deposit all monies and other valuable effects in the name and to the credit of the Association in such depositories as may be designated by the Board. He shall disburse the funds of the Association as may be ordered by the Board, taking proper vouchers for such disbursements and shall render to the President, Directors and Members, at the regular meetings of the Board, or whenever the Board may require it, an account of all of his transactions as Treasurer and of the financial condition of the Association. Assistant Treasurers, in order of their seniority, shall, in the absence or disability of the Treasurer, perform the duties, exercise the powers, and assume the obligations of the Treasurer and shall perform such other duties as the Board shall prescribe.
ARTICLE VI. CLUB MEMBERSHIP Section 1. Eligibility Any polo facility or club, which owns or exclusively controls a physical location in the State of Texas with an arena or field acceptable for polo school, polo scrimmage, or polo tournaments, may apply for membership within the CTPA as an Associate Member Club. Each Associate
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Member Club must be a USPA Active Member or Polo School Club and have the ability to ensure compliance with USPA rules regarding field or arena requirements. The club will be considered and approved for membership by the Board. Founding member clubs of the Association are ATX Polo, Heart of Texas Polo Club, San Antonio Polo Club and Texas Military Polo Club.
Section 2. Rights & Responsibilities Associate Member Clubs shall be responsible for the day to day running of their own facilities. They shall coordinate with CTPA when scheduling scrimmages, matches, and tournaments. All Playing Members of the CTPA shall be afforded the right to play at any member club in accordance with the rules and tournament conditions as specified for the event. Associate Member Clubs shall prepare the field or arena for play prior to and during each match, including but not limited to marking the field, installing goal posts, and dragging / watering the surface. The Club Manager and Assistant Manager will coordinate tournaments, scrimmages, practices, and other field use and disseminate to all members of the Association. Associate Member Clubs shall negotiate the fee structure for CTPA use of the facility as needed. Contracts, invoices, payment, and enforcement shall be the responsibility of the Associate Member Club as approved by the Board. â€˘ Facilities with fields: $10,000 / season â€˘ Facilities with arenas: $1,000 / season
Section 3. Director Each Associate Member Club has the right to select a Director to sit on the Board of the CTPA to represent all interests of their Member Club within the Association as specified in Article 2, Section 1.
Section 4. Insurance Each Associate Member Club shall be covered by the CTPA liability insurance coverage and shall be named an additional insured on all CTPA insurance polices.
ARTICLE VII. PLAYER MEMBERSHIP Section 1. Eligibility Any individual interested in the playing of polo or the breeding, raising, and training of horses for use in playing polo, or who is a fan of the sport, of good character and reputation, may apply to become a Member of the CTPA. All Members of the Association shall be members of the United States Polo Association (USPA).
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Section 2. Application for and Acceptance to Membership Any individual who is eligible for membership in the Association and desires to become a Member shall make application therefore by letter delivered to the Secretary of the Association. The Secretary shall review the application and, if necessary request of the applicant any information which he feels will be necessary for action on the application. At the next duly held meeting of the Board following the receipt of the application for consideration by the Board. An applicant shall be accepted for membership if his or her application is approved by a majority of the Members of the Board present at such meeting.
Section 3. Types of Membership All players shall be required to be a Member of the Association. Except for visiting out of town and single tournament players, all players must purchase a Central Texas Polo Association Playing Membership (Playing Membership). Membership shall fall into the following categories: •
Full Playing Membership - A Full membership is open to any player rated B or higher indoors or outdoors. A Full Member is entitled to play in any level of polo at the club, according to USPA rules, in any and all scheduled chukkers, according to the player’s ability, and this level of membership shall include any and all chukker fees at any club approved facility. Each Full Member must be a current USPA Registered or Affiliate Member with their USPA membership associated with a CTPA Associate member club. Each Full Member shall be afforded one (1) vote on all Association business at the Annual Meeting. Youth Membership - A Youth membership is available to any player 18 years of age or under. A Youth membership shall include any and all chukker fees at any club approved facility. Each Youth Member must be a current USPA Student, Registered, or Affiliate Member with their USPA membership associated with a CTPA Associate member club. A Youth Member shall not be afforded a vote on any Association Business. Student Membership - A Student membership is available to any player who is learning the sport of polo, is not rated by the USPA, or who has a B or C handicap. A Student Membership shall include chukker fees up to 2 chukkers at any club approved facility. Each Student Member must be a current USPA Student, Registered, or Affiliate Member with their USPA membership associated with a CTPA Associate member club. A Student Member shall not be afforded a vote on any Association Business. Working Pro Membership – A person who is working in the polo field (managing polo, playing as a pro, leasing horses, etc.). Each membership will be recommended to the Board by the Club or Assistant Club Manager and approved by a majority of the Board. Family / Pro Membership - A Full Member is entitled to buy additional membership(s) for any direct family member or for a Pro (rated 1 goal or higher outdoors, or 2 goals or higher in the arena). A Family / Pro Member shall have the same Rights as a Full Member, except they shall not be afforded a vote on any Association Business. Visiting Membership - A Visiting Member is available to any USPA member not affiliated with a USPA Associate Member Club. A Visiting member shall not be afforded a vote on any Association Business.
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The Board shall have the power to adjust the membership structure as needed to further the mission of the Association. Any change to voting rights of a membership category shall require a vote of the membership at an Association meeting
Section 4. Season The Central Texas Polo Association will have two general seasons…
Section 5. Membership fees Initial Association membership fees are as follows: Field • Full Playing membership - $2,000 Per Season • Active Duty or Retired Military membership - $1,000 Per Season • Youth membership - $1,000 Per Season • Student membership - $1,000 Per Season • Working Pro membership - Free • Family / Pro membership - $1,000 Per Season • Visiting Membership - $100/150 Per Day (4 weekends maximum) Arena • Membership - $500 Per Season The Board shall have the power to adjust the fee structure as needed to further the mission of the Association. The rights of membership of each Member are subject to the payment of membership dues and fees as established annually by the Board, currency of membership in the USPA and affiliation with an CTPA Associate Club, and compliance with these bylaws and all the rules and regulations of the Association.
Section 6. Suspension or Termination of Membership Rights The membership rights of any Member may be suspended or terminated by action of the Board at any time when any membership dues or fees remain past due and unpaid, for violation of these bylaws or the rules and regulations of the Association, or for any action by such Member which, in the sole discretion of the Board, is detrimental to the interests of the Association.
Section 7. Communication to Membership Email shall be the primary means of communication to the membership by the Board and the Manager. Each Member shall be responsible for ensuring that the Board has a current email address for the Member.
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ARTICLE VIII. GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS Section 1. Annual Meeting The Annual Meeting of the Association (Annual Meeting) shall be held between the 1st day of August and the 31st day of October in each year at the office of the Association or at such place convenient to the members within the State of Texas, as designated by the Board.
Section 2. Special Meetings In addition to the Annual Meeting, Special Meetings may be called by the President or by majority vote of the Board.
Section 3. Notice of Meetings Unless waived by a two-thirds vote of the Members present, ten (10) days notice of the time and place of an Annual or Special Meeting must be conveyed by the Secretary to all Members and member clubs. Unless waived by a two-thirds vote of the Members present two (2) days before the meeting, an agenda for the meeting, including any committee reports that are to be presented, shall be conveyed to the Members and the member clubs.
Section 4. Quorum When a meeting of Members has been properly called and proper notice therefore has been given, the presence at such meeting of a majority of Members entitled to vote shall constitute a quorum.
Section 5. Conduct of Meetings All regular and special meetings of the Club shall be conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order in accordance within appropriate adaptation thereof. Agenda for the meeting shall be as follows: • • • • • • • •
Call to Order Officer Reports Committee Reports Election / Appointment of Board Members Board Election of Officers Election / Appointment of Committee Members Deferred Business New Business
Other agenda items shall be added as needed to conduct Association business.
Section 6. Voting Rights Each Member shall be entitled to vote according to their membership status as outlined in Article IV, Section 3. Board members shall vote at the general membership meeting according to
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their membership status. Voting at an Annual or Special meeting shall be in person or by proxy, duly certified.
ARTICLE IX. INDEMNIFICATION 1. The Club shall have the power to indemnify any person who was or is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending, or completed action, suit or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative, or investigative (other than an action by or in the right of the corporation) by reason of the fact that he is or was a director, officer, employee or agent of the Club, or is or was serving at the request of the Club as a director, officer, employee or agent of another corporation, partnership, joint venture, trust or other enterprise, against expenses (including attorneys’ fees), judgments, fines and amounts paid settlement, conviction, or upon plea of nolo contendere or its equivalent, shall not, of itself, create a presumption that the person did not act in a manner which he or she reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the Club, and, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, had reasonable cause to believe that his conduct was unlawful. 2. The Club shall have the power to indemnify any person who was or is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending, or completed action or suit by or in the right of the Club to procure a judgment in its favor by reason of the fact he or she is or was a director, officer, employee or agent of the Club or is or was serving at the request of the Club as a director, employee or agent of another enterprise, against expenses (including attorneys’ fees) actually and reasonably incurred by him in connection with the defense or settlement of such action or suit if he or she acted in good faith and in a manner he or she reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the bests interests of the Club and except that no indemnification shall be made in respect of any claim, issue or matter as to which such person shall have been judged to be liable for negligence or misconduct in the performance of his duty to the Club unless and only to the extent that the court in which such action or suit was brought shall determine upon application that, despite the adjudication of liability but in view of all the circumstances of the case, such person is fairly and reasonably entitled to indemnity for such expenses which the court shall deem proper. 3. To the extent that a director, officer, employee or agent of the Club has been successful on the merits or otherwise in defense of any action, suit or proceeding, or in defense of any action, suit or proceeding referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article, or in the defense of any claim, issue or matter therein, he or she shall be indemnified against expenses (including attorney’s fees) actually and reasonably incurred by him in connection therewith. 4. Any indemnification under paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article (unless ordered by a court) shall be made by the Club only as authorized in the specific case upon a determination that indemnification of the director, officer, employee or agent is proper in the circumstances because he or she has met the applicable standard of conduct set forth in paragraphs 1 and 2. Such
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determination shall be made (1) by the Board by a majority vote of a quorum consisting of directors who were not parties to such action, suit or proceeding, or (2) if such quorum is not obtainable, or, even if obtainable a quorum of disinterested directors so directs, by independent legal counsel in a written opinion, or (3) by the affirmative vote of a majority of the Members entitled to vote thereon. 5. Expenses incurred in defending a civil or criminal action, suit or proceeding may be paid by the Club in advance of the final disposition of such action, suit or proceeding as authorized in the specific case upon receipt of an undertaking by or on behalf of the director, officer, employee or agent to repay such amount unless it shall ultimately be determined that he or she is entitled to be indemnified by the Club as authorized in this Article. 6. The indemnification provided by this Article shall not be deemed exclusive of any other rights, in respect of indemnification or otherwise, to which those seeking indemnification may be entitled under any resolution approved by the affirmative vote of a majority of the Members, both as to action by a director, officer, employee or agent in his official capacity while holding such office or position, and shall continue as to a person who has ceased to be a director, officer, employee or agent and shall inure to the benefit of the heirs, executors and administrators of such a person. 7. The Club shall have power to purchase and maintain insurance on behalf of any person who is or was a director, officer, employee or agent of the Club, or is or was serving at the request of the Club as a director, officer, employee or agent of another corporation, partnership, joint venture, trust or other enterprise, against any liability asserted against him and incurred by him in any such capacity, or arising out of his status as such, whether or not the Club would have the power to indemnify him against such liability under the provisions of this Article.
ARTICLE X. COMMITTEES - OTHER OFFICES Section 1. Standing and Special Committees The Board may establish and abolish such standing and special committees as needed to further the mission of the Association. No standing or special committee may exercise the authority of the officers or the Association. Initial Standing Committees of the Association shall be: Tournament Committee â€“ In conjunction with the member clubs and the Board, the Tournament Committee shall create the schedule for each season and shall serve as (or appoint in the event of a conflict) the USPA Tournament Committee for all USPA events. The Tournament Committee shall consist of the Club Manager, Javier Insua, and Assistant Club Manager, Karl Hilberg.
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Handicap Committee – Review all CTPA Player Member handicaps on a regular basis but not less than a semi-annual basis and work with the USPA Southwest Circuit Handicap Committee and the USPA Handicap Staff to make sure all Member handicaps are properly recorded. The Handicap Committee shall consist of Javier Insua, Doug Brunet, and Karl Hilberg. Disciplinary / Rules Committee – Resolve all disciplinary matters brought to the Committee by a Member. Recommend to the Board any disciplinary actions as needed. Nominating Committee – In anticipation of the annual meeting of Members, the Board shall appoint a Nominating Committee, consisting of three (3) Playing Members. The Nominating Committee shall nominate a candidate for each directorship and committee position to be filled. Social Committee – Organize and promote social events in conjunction with Association polo tournaments and other Association events.
Section 2. Other Association Offices The Board may establish and abolish such other offices as it may desire. No other Association office established by the Board may exercise the authority of the Board or the Officers or the Association. Initial Other Association Offices shall be: USPA Delegate(s) – Each club’s delegate shall perform duties of USPA Club delegate as outlined in the Constitution and Bylaws of the USPA. Each delegate must a Playing member who is also a US Citizen. Assistant Manager (Head Umpire) – Organize officiating at all Association events. Organize USPA umpire training on an annual basis. Coordinate with the USPA Umpires LLC for umpire certification and reimbursement of monies via circuit and national umpire programs. Field Manager – Maintain fields in playing shape. Coordinate with the Club Manager and Assistant Club Manager on field usage. Make recommendations to Board on maintenance requirements and costs. Submit receipts for approved costs to Treasurer for payment.
Section 3. Membership The term of office for all committees and other Association offices shall be one year. Elections shall be held at every annual meeting. Election shall be by majority vote with nominations accepted from the floor.
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Section 4. Removal Any committee member, Officer, or Board Member either elected or appointed may be removed by a two-thirds vote of the Board, or of the Membership at Special Meeting, if, in the judgment of the Board or the Members, the best interests of the Association would be served thereby.
Section 5. Vacancy A vacancy in any office because of death, resignation, removal, disqualification or otherwise may be filled by the Board by appointment.
ARTICLE XI. AMENDMENTS An amendment to the Associationâ€™s bylaws requires a two-thirds vote of the Members present and voting at any Special or Regular Meeting of the Association, providing the proposed amendments(s) shall have been presented at the previous Regular Meeting or in writing to every Board Member at least two (2) weeks before the meeting at which the amendment is to be acted upon.
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UNITED STATES POLO ASSOCIATION Â® 9011 Lake Worth Rd | Lake Worth, FL | 33467 | 1-800-232-8772 email@example.com | www.uspolo.org