Polo may be coming soon to Polk

Published 1:05 pm Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The idea of the equestrian game of Polo coming to the Tryon horse community has never been as viable as it is today. &bsp;

After Libby Johnson of Tryon horse country commented in an article last spring that this equine community has everything but Polo, Dave Slater of Slater Turf Farm got an idea. &bsp;

As a turf farmer he knows how to grow turf on large fields.&bsp; A little study and asking around brought him to the conclusion that his family had just the right ingredients to create a full sized polo field.

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A polo field is enormous, says Slater, it is just shy of 10 acres in size.&bsp; It needs to be big to accommodate the eight players and the umpire barreling along at a gallop trying to hit the polo ball through the goal post. &bsp;

Slater has turned his bermudagrass sod field into a polo field at Caroland Farms in one of the farms many bottomland fields along the North Pacolet River just below the Old Iron Bridge. &bsp;

In fact, Slater says, there is enough land on this farm to establish maybe a dozen full sized and practice polo fields.&bsp; Bermudagrass is an excellent playing surface for polo.&bsp; It can be mowed at a low height for fast polo play or kept a little longer to slow down the ball.

The next order of business is to find the polo teams and the umpire.&bsp; Slater has been asking around, speaking with people who have polo experience.&bsp; It seems a polo game makes both a great spectator event and a great charity event,” says Slater in summing up some of the conversations he’s had.&bsp; “It would now be practical to have a game in our community.”

Polo is played all over the world and across the United States.&bsp; It is especially popular in Aiken, SC and in Wellington, FL&bsp; It is a very fast and exciting sport involving horses, riders, umpires, spectators, sponsors, and the local economy when a game comes to town.

Slater says the polo field and games would not interfere with his turf production.

“There are about 30 acres of turf in that field.&bsp; I will not be giving up growing turf there, only sharing the large field with a polo game now and then,” says Slater. ” My harvest area is currently outside the polo field area, however I can actually have polo played on the turf one year and harvest it in another year if necessary.”

For additional information contact Dave Slater at Slater Turf Farm in Tryon.