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What is Polo?

What is Polo?

Polo is the oldest ball sport in the world dating back to 600 BC. Polo is derived from the “pulu”, the willow root from which the polo balls were crafted in Tibet over 2000 years ago.
The sport gradually spread through Asia to India, where it was introduced to tea planters and British soldiers, who brought the game to England. The first match was played in the UK in 1871 between the 9th lancers and 10th Hussars. One of the players in this match was Captain Frank Henry who started the Beaufort Polo Club in 1872.

For the Spectator

What makes polo such a special spectator sport is that you don’t have to be familiar with the rules, allowing you to take in the thrill and excitement of one of the fastest team sports in the world. The following information is designed to give you an insight into the finer parts of the game of polo.

The Game

The aim of the game is to score more goals than your opposing team! Play starts initially, and after each goal, with an umpire throwing the ball among the players in the middle of the ground. Ends are changed after each goal – this has been found to be the fairest way for teams not to be disadvantaged by wind or slopes on the pitch! When the ball goes out of play over the sides of the ground, teams line up side by side five yards back and the ball is thrown in.
If the ball crosses the back line, being last touched by the attacking team, the defending team takes a free hit from where the ball crossed the line. Should the defending team hit the ball over the back line a penalty is called and the attacking team is given a free hit from the 60 yard line opposite where the ball went out. There is no ‘corner’ or offside as in football


The game is played over four, five or six periods of 7 minutes each which are called by the Indian name “Chukka”. At the end of the Chukka the first bell is rung, but play continues until the ball goes out of play or the second bell is rung after 30 seconds.

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