The Club was founded as small country Club by the Pearson family in 1910. In 1912, Major Frederick ‘Rattle’ Barrett became the first British 10-goaler and regularly played at the Club.
During WWII, the polo fields were ploughed as part of war effort and the Ambersham polo grounds were taken over by the Fleet Air Arm. The air hangers are used to store polo equipment and machinery.
Following WWII, John, the 3rd Viscount Cowdray set out to establish Cowdray as one of the most famous polo clubs in the world, securing its place at the pinnacle of the sport, nationally and internationally. Having lost his left arm at Dunkirk in 1940, he had an artificial arm adapted at the Roehampton Limb-Fitting Centre, assisted by his gunmaker, Churchills, so that he could hold the reins with a hook and continue to play. The 3rd Viscount proceeded to build his surviving string of twelve polo ponies to make the UK’s leading string. He loaned ponies to other players to increase participation in the sport. Beginning with Cowdray, polo was gradually revived on a smaller scale at other clubs around the country.
By 1948, visiting Argentines Jack Nelson and Luis Lacey were sufficiently impressed by the re-launch of British polo to invite John Cowdray to take a team to compete in Buenos Aires the following year. The visit by the English team in 1949 was a huge success and marked a significant step in the recovery of British polo.
In 1953, Cowdray Park played host to the first Coronation Cup. Teams from the UK, USA, Argentina and Chile competed and the finals drew a crowd of more than 10,000 people, including HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.
The Cowdray Gold Cup was inaugurated 1956 and remains Europe’s premier high goal tournament which welcomed its Golden Jubilee in 2006.
Discover some frequently asked questions about polo at Cowdray Park. If you are unable to find the answer you are looking for below, please do get in touch. We will be happy to help.
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