The club where I work, Puesto Viejo, is considered a mid to medium level club. As you probably know, there is a handicap system in polo, similar to golf, from 0 to 10, 10 being the highest. When describing a player, one usually says “he has 1 goal” or “he is a one goaler”, even though this does not refer to any actual amount of goals. There are only maybe 20 10 goalers in the world, all from Argentina, except one Uruguayan. In our club, the highest ranked player has 6 goals. We have tournaments both in the spring (“big season”) and the fall (“small season”), a total of 12 a year. Now in the fall season, we have six tournaments between February and May. Tournaments are organized by level, designating how many goals a team can have combined. For instance, there is currently a ten goal tournament going on, which means that each team can add up to a maximum of ten goals. This afternoon, a team made up of a 0, a 2, a 3 and a 5 met a team of two 1s, a 2 and a 6.
We also host games for larger tournaments or circuits; on Monday a 20 goal game was played here (our team won!) and yesterday a 12 goal game, which actually was between two internal teams. Sort of like a hometown derby, I guess! People often ask if there is a specific Puesto Viejo team, but since there are many different tournaments, both internal and external, the teams often change and there can be more than one Puesto Viejo team. For instance, Monday’s 20 goal game required a different set of players than today’s 10 goal game.
The length of the games also differs depending on the level. From what I have seen, games of 6 goals or under have 4 chukkers (7 minute periods) and after that 6 chukkers. The very highest level plays 8 chukkers.
Puesto Viejo Polo Club has about 35 members. Many keep their horses here, others have their own campo and bring the horses here for practices and games, and a few rent horses from the club. There are around 200 horses here, 45 belong to what we call the school, which means they are used for hotel guests and those who want to rent horses. 10 belong to the owners and the rest to the members. We have practices four times a week, or more when we have polo guests who come here to train, then we organize practices every day.