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Guards Polo Club

Guards Polo Club is the most prestigious polo club in the world[1] and is the polo club most closely associated with the British Royal Family. HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh has been President of the club since its formation in 1955 and HM The Queen is its Patron.[2]

It is based at Smiths Lawn, in Windsor Great Park, near Windsor Castle, England where the club has ten polo pitches on 53 hectares (130 acres) and stables, paddocks and training facilities four miles away at Flemish Farm. HM The Queen and HRH Prince Philip opened a new, purpose-built clubhouse and Royal box in front of an invited, VIP selection of Club members at Smiths Lawn on Sunday 26 April 2009.

Under the 25-year stewardship of Commander of the Household Cavalry Colonel William Gerard Leigh (1915 - 2008) as both player and from 1955, Chairman, the Household Brigade Polo Club changed its name in 1969 to the Guards Polo Club.[3]

The name derives from the Guards Division of the British Army. Guards officers are exempt from the playing members' entrance fee, which is £17,000 in addition to the annual subscription of £5,450 (as at 2009).[4]

It claims on its website to have the largest membership of any polo club in Europe, in spite of its perceived exclusiveness[5] and the difficulty in becoming a member (it has a very long waiting-list) and is one of the four polo clubs in the United Kingdom that stage elite High Goal tournaments (the others being the Cirencester Park, Cowdray Park and Royal Berkshire polo clubs).[2]

The most prestigious day on the Guards Polo Club's calendar is the Hurlingham Polo Association's International Day (currently known for sponsorship reasons as the Cartier International). Always held at the end of July, it is a highlight of the British Social Season and attracts crowds of over 30,000 people.[6][7]

The club's main official tournaments are the Queen's Cup (High Goal), Royal Windsor (Medium Goal) and the Archie David (Low Goal), all of which take place in June.

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