How Polo Started in Wellington
Our village of Wellington is considered home to the most prestigious Wellington polo tournaments on the continent. To date, it has numerous excellent Wellington equestrian properties that cater to horses specialized in Polo. The International Polo Club Palm Beach is the most famous polo facility in the nation.
But Wellington was not originally designed as an equestrian mecca. In the 1950s, the land was bought by New York accounting magnate C. Oliver Wellington. Roger Wellington, his son, started finding ways to improve the land when the senior Wellington died. In 1972, together with the company Investment Corporation of Florida (ICOF), they were given the approval to develop 18,200 acres of land. This is the largest single development ever allowed in Palm Beach County.
Bill Ylvisaker, the Gould’s polo-playing chairman in Florida, purchased the interests of ICOF in the already developed residential neighborhoods in Wellington. Then he started the groundwork for Wellington to become as an equestrian capital. He established the Palm Beach Polo & Country Club, exceptional neighborhoods, and home for what would become the Winter Equestrian Festival.
In the late 1970s, Wellington first inaugurated itself as an international haven for world-class polo. It was the place of many top polo tournaments. But the fall of the revered Palm Beach Polo & Country Club as a host venue for high-goal Wellington polo in the late 1990s led players and patrons to find a new site.
Operating under the new name The South Florida Polo Club, it served Wellington polo events. It originally operated using private fields to continue elite competitions. These competitions were eventually brought to the International Polo Club Palm Beach.
In 2002, the International Polo Club Palm Beach obtained guardianship of the 26-goal C.V. Whitney Cup Tournament which made Wellington the new home of high-goal polo.
The club landed the United States Polo Association’s prestigious U.S. Open Championship in 2004. This was followed by the association’s Gold Cup Tournament in 2007. The IPC was the first club ever to host the three highest-rated polo tournaments in the nation.
Today, there are 69 polo fields in Wellington. There are hundreds of practice and competition rings, and thousands of paddocks. During high season, Wellington is home to more than 12,000 horses.