The Fascinating World of Polo in Aiken, South Carolina

Aiken, South Carolina is a charming southern city known for its equestrian culture and rich history. Among the many equestrian events that take place in Aiken, polo is one that stands out.


has been a part of Aiken's culture for over a century and has become a beloved tradition for both locals and visitors alike.

The History of Polo in Aiken

The origins of polo in Aiken can be traced back to the late 1800s when wealthy northerners began to flock to the city for its mild climate and beautiful landscape. These wealthy individuals brought with them their love for polo, a sport that was gaining popularity in the United States at the time. One of the first polo clubs in Aiken was established in 1882 by Thomas Hitchcock, a prominent figure in the sport.

The Hitchcock Woods, a 2,100-acre forest located in the heart of Aiken, became the perfect setting for polo matches. The Woods provided ample space for spectators to watch the matches and for players to showcase their skills. Over the years, polo continued to grow in popularity in Aiken, attracting some of the best players from around the world. Today, Aiken is home to several polo clubs and hosts numerous tournaments throughout the year.

The Annual Whitney Cup

One of the most prestigious polo events in Aiken is the annual Whitney Cup. This tournament has been held every year since 1907 and is named after William C.

Whitney, a prominent businessman and polo player who helped establish the sport in Aiken. The Whitney Cup is a highly anticipated event that draws large crowds from all over the country. It is a week-long tournament that features some of the best polo players in the world. The matches are held at the historic Whitney Field, which is located in the heart of Aiken's downtown area. Aside from the thrilling polo matches, the Whitney Cup also includes a variety of social events such as cocktail parties, dinners, and a traditional tailgate picnic. These events provide an opportunity for spectators to mingle with players and learn more about the sport.

The Aiken Polo Club

The Aiken Polo Club is one of the oldest and most prestigious polo clubs in the country.

It was founded in 1882 and has been a major contributor to the growth of polo in Aiken. The club is located in the Hitchcock Woods and has four fields for polo matches. The Aiken Polo Club hosts several tournaments throughout the year, including the Whitney Cup and the USPA Governor's Cup. The club also offers polo lessons and clinics for those interested in learning more about the sport.

The Tradition of Tailgating

One of the most unique traditions associated with polo events in Aiken is tailgating. Tailgating at polo matches is a long-standing tradition that dates back to the early days of the sport in Aiken.

Spectators gather around their cars or trucks, set up tables and chairs, and enjoy a picnic while watching the matches. Tailgating at polo events is not just about food and drinks, it is also a way for people to socialize and connect with others who share their love for the sport. It is a family-friendly activity that adds to the overall experience of attending a polo match in Aiken.

The Impact of Polo on Aiken's Economy

Polo has had a significant impact on Aiken's economy over the years. The sport has brought in a steady stream of tourists and has helped boost the local economy. The annual Whitney Cup alone brings in millions of dollars to the city, with visitors spending money on accommodations, dining, and shopping. In addition to the economic impact, polo has also played a role in preserving Aiken's rich history and culture.

The sport has become an integral part of the city's identity and has helped put Aiken on the map as a top equestrian destination.

In Conclusion

Polo sporting events in Aiken, South Carolina are more than just a game, they are a celebration of the city's rich history and equestrian culture. From the annual Whitney Cup to the tradition of tailgating, these events bring people together and create lasting memories. Whether you are a seasoned polo fan or a first-time spectator, attending a polo match in Aiken is an experience like no other.

Lucille Putty
Lucille Putty

Freelance travel geek. Friendly tv enthusiast. Subtly charming internet junkie. Freelance pop culture evangelist. Evil music fanatic.