Robert has over 30 years’ experience in sports surface construction design, research and drainage and has worked throughout the UK, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
His polo grounds are patronised by royalty, celebrity, international professional players and amateurs alike. His noticeable commissions have included the construction of two polo grounds in Brunei for HRH The Sultan of Brunei and the re-levelling of Smith’s Lawns 1 and 2 at Guards Polo Club, home of the Cartier Queen’s Cup.
A more complete list of projects follows: –
1996-97 Ahmibah Farm (now known as the Polo Centre Coworth Park)
Construction of 2 full size polo grounds, pony paddocks, pony lines, and full-size exercise track, sand and rubber crumb on porous tarmac. Also, construction of a boom irrigation system over grassed playing surfaces.
2001-2002 Guards Polo Club, Windsor Great Park
Re-levelling of Smiths Lawns 1 and 2 whilst the club was closed for play during the National foot and mouth epidemic, 2001. The works comprised of re-levelling and rebuilding 2 full size polo grounds including stone mitigation, sand carpet addition, seeding and the installation of a large diameter irrigation transfer main. Working in close conjunction with Dr Tim Lodge, STRI, Polo Consultant. And Charlie Stistead, Guards Polo CEO.
2002 East End Farm Polo, Northleigh, Oxon (now home to Oxford University Polo Club)
Constructed 1 polo ground and installed a private water supply to pony paddocks.
2003 Kirtlington Polo Club, Kirtlington, Oxfordshire
Re-levelled and de-stoned polo ground.
2004 Birdlip, Gloucestershire (now home to Longdole Polo Club, patronised by The Royal Princes Harry and William Windsor)
Designed and built 2 full size polo grounds (fully drained).
2002 Model Farm, Apsley End, Shillington, Herts
Construction of full-size polo ground and grass exercise track.
2003 Barton Lodge Polo Farm, Winkfield
Designed and constructed polo ground No 3, No 2, stick and ball area, irrigation, and reservoir/ornamental Lake. Home to the Cadenza polo team.
2004 Royal Berkshire Polo Club, Ascot, Berks
Drained one full ground, including laying sand carpet.
2002 Stud Farm, Wendlebury, Oxon
Constructed stick and ball field.
2002 Chantilly polo club, Chantilly, France
Created detailed pitch design proposal and detailed specification, subsequently constructed by French contractors.
2002 Inglesham Polo Club, Swindon, Wilts
Constructed fully drained polo ground.
2003 Ladyswood Sherston, Wiltshire
Drainage and levelling of polo ground and construction of exercise track.
Other grounds benefiting from Robert’s advisory services include:
- Ashe Park Polo Club
- Billingbear Park
- LesLions Polo Club
- Rugby Polo Club
- Ham Polo Club
- Chowdrey Park Polo Club
- Cirencester Park Polo Club
- Dubai Polo club, Windsor, construction of new ground & irrigation reservoir and distribution network.
- Sydmonton Estate Newbury (construction of private ground – Andrew Lloyd Weber)
- Great Oaks Polo Club
- Ranelagh Farm Polo Club – design and construction of polo ground, wood fibre exercise track, and stick and ball area, spectator mound and horse exercise swimming pond
- 12 Oaks Polo, Windlesham, Surrey – drainage of polo ground, construction of stick and ball area
- Anningsley Park Polo, Ottershaw, Surrey – levelling and drainage of polo ground, expansion of irrigation reservoir, annual maintenance and renovation advice and activities. Perenco holdings polo
Polo ground construction
Standard requirements for a polo lawn:
HPA Standard 300 yards by 160 yards, approx 10 acres or an area of five football pitches approx.
Field of play
275 m goal to goal, 180 m wide unboarded, 140 m wide boarded.
Almost 5 hectares.
The ground is a prepared surface with a necessary focus on safety for all involved – players and ponies. The playing surface should be levelled, consolidated, and intensively drained. It is usual to introduce a 50 mm sand carpet into the upper pitch profile during construction. The pitch once prepared is then seeded with specific blends of cultivars to provide dense grass cover, good colour, high wear tolerance, and drought resistance.
Polo field options
Irrigation system, reservoirs – boreholes etc, polo (playing boards), pony lines, exercise track and pony paddocks etc.
All newly established polo grounds will require intensive on-site maintenance facilities to enable successful and crucial ‘grow in period’.
The native topsoil should be relatively stone free to avoid injury to ponies and riders. Measures to mitigate stone should be incorporated during construction practices.
Uniformity and evenness are crucial to the success of a newly constructed ground. Tolerances should be precise to permit fluid play and true ball roll upon the grass surface. Many ‘high goal’ facilities prefer to reduce mowing heights to a minimum 10-13 mm, and evenness will prevent ‘scalping’ of the surface during mowing operations.