Polo season at Oak Brook a spectacle for everyone

Polo may be known as the “Sport of Kings,” but the Oak Brook Polo Club makes it accessible for anyone and everyone to enjoy.

What can best be described as hockey on horseback, polo first originated in Central Asia as a sport for nobility and military men.

“There’s usually an affinity and love for horses, or someone may have ridden horses at some point,” says Daniel O’Leary, managing director of the Oak Brook Polo Club. “Some people ride but want more of a team aspect, and polo offers a level of camaraderie.

“It’s also for people who are a bit of adrenaline junkies who are looking for that rush and thrill but want to break away from tradition.”

There are two polo schools in the area, one in Barrington and one in Naperville, but coming to a match at Oak Brook Polo is the perfect way to get a taste of the sport.

And a day at the polo fields is really what you want to make of it.

Guests can do lawn seat or tailgating, or they can buy tickets for the west sideline, which is more of a luxury lounge with elevated seating. Tailgaters get to pull their vehicles right up to the sideline of the field, and are welcome to bring their own food and beverages for the match. It’s $45 per car, but that fee covers however many people can fit in the car.

The luxury seating is more of a dressy, party vibe. Tickers per person are $10 a head, and VIP seating, which includes a seat, bar, lawn games and champagne, costs up to $40.

“When people call and ask what to wear, I always ask what type of experience they are looking for,” O’Leary says.

But polo isn’t just a spectator sport. Everyone in attendance gets to take part in the divot stomp, which consists of walking onto the field at halftime and filling in or “stomping” all of the holes created by the horses. The divots, which are caused by stops and turns, can be dangerous for the horses.

“As far as we know, it’s the only sport where the spectators play an important role,” O’Leary adds.

There is a host of exciting events on the calendar for the Oak Brook Polo Club this summer after the season opens on June 10. Some of the notable matches include the Drake Challenge Cup on June 24, which pits the USA against the Mexico polo team, the Butler Challenge Cup on July 15, otherwise known as “Horses and Horsepower” featuring 40 Ferraris, and the Heartland Cup with Jaguar’s Concours, Cats and Ponies Soiree on July 22. Oak Brook Polo also will be hosting the Chicago Polo Open with the inaugural craft beer festival, Horses and Hops, on Aug. 19.

“There are a lot of things I’m really looking forward to,” O’Leary says. “We’re in the Midwest, we like our beer up here. It also opens us up to an entirely different demographic in terms of people’s lifestyle and preference. We’re not just all about champagne.”

Oak Brook Polo Club
Prince of Wales Field

West of York Road, between
22nd and 31st Streets in Oak Brook
Parking for Polo is located at in the Drake Hotel lot,
2301 York Road, Oak Brook

Looking for something to cure the mid-week summer blues? Arranmore Farm in Aurora offers Wine Down Wednesday Polo on its grounds all season long. Check it out at www.arranmorefarmandpoloclub.com