The Grand Champions Polo Club is looking forward to an exciting season utilizing its very own Chukker.TV station, where games can be viewed live, on instant replay or on demand from anywhere in the world.
“We have a full range of goal levels, we’ll be playing from six-goal to 16-goal,” owner Melissa Ganzi said. “We have a ton of teams interested and playing in all levels, but the majority of our teams are entered in the 12-goal level, so that’s going to be a really competitive level of polo.”
The club, located at the corner of Lake Worth Road and South Shore Blvd., will continue with its 3 p.m. Saturday games, which will be streamed live on Chukker.TV.
“We’re currently the only club in America, if not the world, to offer instant replay, especially for all levels of polo, so we’re excited about that,” Ganzi said. “It’s something that’s new to the sport. Grand Champions was the first club to implement instant replay, and we’ll continue to host it, so we’re excited about that.”
Chukker.TV is a web site that features player interviews in addition to streaming games and special events. It began with Grand Champions but has expanded to cover games at other venues.
Another innovation Grand Champions is featuring is its newest focus: polo on demand.
“Besides all of the levels of polo that we offer, if somebody wants to come and have a polo experience, we can set that up,” Ganzi explained.
For example, she said, if you’re visiting Florida for a few weeks, Grand Champions can create a custom polo experience. “Anything that you can dream up, we can do it for you,” she said. “It’s creating tailor-made polo experiences for people of all ages.”
Traveling, especially to Florida, provides the perfect opportunity to do something such as follow a dream, Ganzi said, noting that both their Florida and Aspen, Colo., clubs offer the custom experience.
Through traveling, Ganzi noticed that many hotels and resorts offer tailor-made experiences with golf, swimming or tennis, but the concept is new to polo.
“We are in a unique situation,” she said, because Grand Champions has staff and professionals working year-round, as well as horses that excel at the beginning level, the professional level and every level in between. “We’re trying to expand what the norms are in polo. We’ve taken our club to the next level by having the infrastructure that we have.”
The United States Polo Association recently named Ganzi as the Florida Circuit Governor, which adds another layer of prestige to Grand Champions.
“I feel really fortunate and proud and honored to represent a circuit in the United States Polo Association that has every level of polo,” she said.
Grand Champions’ 2015 season begins with the Limited Edition 12 Goal Series, the Aspen Valley Cup and Metropolitan Cup in January, followed by the USPA Sieber Memorial Trophy, the $50,000 National 12 Goal Tournament, the USPA Cyril R. Harrison Trophy and the Halo Polo Trophy in February.
March holds the Top Pony 12 Goal Series, the Limited Edition 8 Goal Series, the USPA Regional President’s Cup, the Madelon Bourdieu Memorial and the Santa Rita Abierto. Finishing off the season in April is the Museum of Polo & Hall Of Fame Challenge Cup, the USPA Association Cup, Las Acacias and the John T. Oxley Memorial Trophy.
While Ganzi looks forward to all of the tournaments, one that is extremely competitive, she said, is the $50,000 National 12 Goal Tournament, because it is a single-elimination tournament where every round is essentially a final.
In addition to the various special events hosted at Grand Champions during the season, Ganzi is excited about the Great Futures Boys & Girls Club Polo Day, which takes place Sunday, March 15 at Grand Champions and the International Polo Club Palm Beach. The day serves as a way to further introduce polo to the community and benefits the Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club in Wellington.
“We feel privileged that [they] wanted to hold it at our fields again this year. It was such a great day. The kids from the Boys & Girls Club — there were so many of them — they lined the fields and they really were cheering the teams on,” Ganzi said. “It was quite exciting.”
As it has previously, Grand Champions will also be hosting two tournaments in conjunction with the Polo Training Foundation, the Joanna Monaco Memorial on Jan. 19 and the Buzz Welker Memorial on March 16.