FAQS & HELP GUIDEPlease find below some questions those not familiar with polo or the event may wish to know about. If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to contact us directly.
The Dubai Polo Gold Cup is a tournament lasting six days. All games will be held at the Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club. Please click here for a location map.
Where do we sit?
We have seating in the VIP area, Gold lounge area and also on the grass lawn around the polo field. Just bring a blanket or beach chair. You can enjoy the polo match played by some of the greatest players in the world right from the sidelines! Polo is played in more than 60 countries and enjoyed by more than 50 million people each year.
So get off the Internet and book your tickets to a world-class competition between some of the greatest names in polo.
Is there food and a licensed bar available?
Yes there will be lots of delicious food and drinks stands around the polo field. Try the VIP area, tents and various other stands selling great food and a wide variety of drinks.
Can I bring a picnic?
Yes of course, please feel free to bring a picnic. Cars are allowed onto the lawns for a great day out with friends and family.
What happens at half time?
Divot stomping is a long standing tradition at half-time. Spectators wander all over the field stomping down the torn up turf. Its fun and you can meet great people just wandering the field. Even at high goal tournaments the players often walk divots to keep limber at the half, and often they take breaks or change ponies close to the stands.
Many times you can say hello to the best polo athletes in the world. Just remember not too be too distracting, these are athletes who need to get back to work.
What do I wear to the event?
As this is a major tournament you may want to dress up! Polo is an outdoor sport, so dress according to the weather. You really can't be over or under dressed. Spectators at a polo match wear everything from jeans to high fashion. If you want to go divot stomping at halftime, and you should, it's a good idea to wear shoes for health reasons and a hat for sun protection. Other than that, be comfortable.
Will you have any entertainment on the day?
Yes If you have never experienced a day at the Gold Cup final, you will be please to hear that you are in for a fun-filled day as there is a lot more to it than just watching the matches.
Can I park at the polo club?
Yes there is plenty of parking in the car park and on the polo fields for those bringing picnics.
Is there a shuttle bus to the event?
Yes a shuttle bus will be leaving the Habtoor Grand Resort & Spa and Metropolitan Hotel for polo final on March 9th. Shuttle bus times will be available from the hotels nearer the date.
Are taxis available at the polo club?
Yes there will be taxis available from the polo ground.
What is the 'mallet'?
A polo mallet is usually between 49 and 53 inches long. The length used depends on the height of the pony and style of the player. Most mallets are made of bamboo-like cane or graphite with a wooden head. The grip is similar to a tennis racquet. Unlike croquet, the polo ball is struck with the side of the mallet head, rather than the point.
What is the ball like?
A field polo ball is between 3 and 3 1/2 inches in diameter, or about the size of an orange. Balls used to be made of wood or other hard natural substances. Now they're a heavy polymer (plastic).
What do the numbers on the shirts mean?
Those are the positions, from attack to defence. Watch how the players line up with the umpire to start the game. The players closest to the umpire play the ‘1’ position, while those farthest away are ‘4’s.
You might notice that when play begins Number 1 breaks for the opponents' goal and looks for a pass from his teammates. He leads the offensive plays, supported by Number 2. Number 3 is the ‘midfielder’. He's usually the strongest hitter, since his job is to move the ball from Number 4, the defensive player, back up the field to 1 and 2 for an attacking play.
Like most sports, it's legal to block plays and steal the ball in polo, so players on the defensive team ‘cover their man' and look for an opportunity to steal the ball and create an attacking drive of their own.
Okay, there was a big mess and some guy in a striped shirt blew a whistle. What happened?
Like any sport, it takes a while to see plays or, in this case, fouls in polo. The riders in striped shirts are the umpires. They are responsible for enforcing the rules and designating penalties. A minor mistake could just result in possession of the ball going to the opposite team.
Extremely dangerous or aggressive fouls can result in free points to the other team or even players being kicked out of the game. It helps if you read a copy of the polo rules. You can request a current rule book from the Hurlingham Polo Association.
It seems very cruel to the horses. Why do you make them play?
You might be surprised to learn that most polo horses absolutely love playing polo. Some enjoy 'bumping' other horses or chasing the ball so much that it's hard to get them to do anything else.
The polo pony is a cooperative partner on the field, so horses who are scared (spook from the ball or other ponies), angry (mare), or who otherwise won't play polo (won't run, won't stop) really can't be forced to play. Some of these horses enjoy arena polo, and those who don't like polo at all usually do fine in some other discipline.
Additionally, most polo ponies are treated like the valuable athletes they are. Since the pony is worth 60 to 70% of the player/rider team on the field (and a well-playing horse can cost thousands to tens of thousands of dollars), smart players take excellent care of their ponies. Come on over after the game and meet them.
A player rides into another player so as to push the opponent’s horse away from the ball and spoil their shot. The angle of contact must be slight and relative to the speed of the horses. The faster the horses are traveling the smaller the angle of contact must be.
The full game is 8 periods, but often in club matches 4 or 6 periods are played.
They are 7 minutes each in length, plus a 30-second overtime. Each period is called a "chukka". The brief periods are necessary due to the stress placed on polo ponies who will spend a great deal of that time galloping up and down a 300 metre ground.
Each player in high goal (top level professional) tournaments uses a fresh pony for each chukka because the game is played at a very fast pace, with the horses galloping much of the time. In club games, ponies may play 2 chukkas in a match.
Should overtime be required, a seventh mount may be called upon, or a player may go back to his best mount of the day. Three minutes are generally allowed between chukkas to change horses.
Any time a ball crosses the line between the goal posts, it is considered a goal regardless of whether a horse or a mallet caused the ball to go through.
All players are rated on a scale of 1 to 10. A team’s handicap is the sum total rating of all its players. In handicap matches the team with the higher handicap awards the difference in the total sum rating to the other team. For example a 5-goal team will award 1 goal to a 4-goal team.
A player may spoil another's shot by using his mallet to obstruct the swing of the striking opponent.
Should a team, in an offensive drive, hit the ball across the opponent's backline, the defending team resumes the game with a free hit from their backline. No time-out is allowed for knock-ins.
LINE OF THE BALL
The imaginary line produced forward or backward at any moment by the direction of the ball when hit and traveling.
The long bamboo stick with a horizontal wooden head that a player uses to strike the ball.
The left side of a horse, when you are sitting atop and looking forward.
A strike of the ball with the mallet going under the horse's neck from either side.
The right side of a horse, when you are sitting atop and looking forward.
OUT OF BOUNDS
When a ball crosses the sideline or goes over the side-boards it is considered out of bounds. The umpire bowls-in another ball between the two teams. No time-out is allowed for an out-of-bounds ball.
The horse used to play polo. Originally only horses of 14.5 hands were allowed to play and hence the term “pony” was used. Today, a horse of any size can be used, but the term “pony” is still used to describe the mount.
Each of the 3 players assumes a different position, 1, 2, and 3. No. 1 is the most forward offensive player. No. 2 is just as offensive but plays deeper and works harder. No. 3 is the pivot player between offense and defense and tries to turn all plays to the offense and to protect the goal.
A player moves toward an opponent at a slight angle so as make contact with the opponents horse and push or move the opponent off the line of the ball and spoil their play. The angle of contact must be slight and relative to the speed of the horses. The faster the horses are traveling the smaller the angle of contact must be.
A strike of the ball with the mallet going behind and across the horse's rump.
The referee sitting at the sidelines. If and when the two umpires on the field are in disagreement, the third man makes the final decision.
THROW IN (Bowl-In)
A chukka (Period of Play) begins and other plays resume with the umpires bowling the ball between the two ready teams.
An umpire calls time-out when a foul is committed, and accident occurs or at his own discretion. A player may only call time-out if he has broken tack or is injured. No time-out is allowed for changing horses or replacing a broken mallet, although a player may do so at any time.
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