Cristal's Blog


March 4, 2024

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Welcome to a realm where sporting elegance meets timeless tradition – the esteemed Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club. Established in 1911, this iconic institution encompassing 87 acres stands as a beacon of excellence in the world of polo. Boasting a heritage rich in history, passion, and unparalleled competition. Nestled between the majestic Santa Ynez Mountains and the expansive Pacific Ocean, the club has been graced by distinguished figures over the years, including Prince William and Princess Catherine, formerly known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with American royalty like Douglas Fairbanks, Will Rogers and Charlie Chaplin. More recently, Prince Harry has been reported to be a frequent player at the club, adding to its illustrious aura.

A birds eye view of the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club with the sandy beach in front and the majestic mountains in the background.

The Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club

The Sport of Kings has always embodied a captivating duality. Amidst the spirited clash of players and ponies, champion horses gallop across the field, their thundering hooves harmonizing with the clinking of champagne flutes enjoyed by spectators from the luxurious field-side cabanas. And for those fortunate enough to call Santa Barbara home, our very own Polo Club stands as a source of pride; a testament to the timeless allure of equestrian sports. As the preeminent polo club in the western United States and the third oldest polo facility in the country, the Club's four meticulously manicured polo fields have borne witness to some of the most exhilarating matches and prestigious tournaments in the sport's history.

A vintage black and white photo of 10 men on horseback at the Santa Barbara Polo Field.

The Rich History

During the late '20s and mid '30s, the Santa Barbara Polo Club reached its golden era, attracting teams, horses, and players who arrived by train, unloading from stock cars, and parading through downtown Santa Barbara en route to the Club. Sundays became iconic social events, drawing spectators adorned in the latest fashions, picnicking on the fields with large blankets, and enjoying lavish midday meals served by attentive staff. Against the backdrop of scenic mountain views and the soothing sounds of the nearby ocean, riveting, fast-paced polo games enthralled guests as players showcased their skills on the field.

Due to historical events, however, February of 1942 brought an unexpected suspension of polo activities. The first enemy bombardment on American soil since the War of 1812 occurred in nearby Goleta when a Japanese submarine attempted to target a large oil storage tank close to the beach. As the community rallied behind the war effort, the Club's polo fields were repurposed to station and train soldiers until 1946.

Despite the challenges posed by the war years, the 1950s sparked renewed interest in polo with the arrival of several avid polo families, leading to a resurgence of the sport at the Club. This momentum culminated in hosting the U.S. Open tournament in 1963 and 1966, drawing impressive foreign teams. Subsequent decades witnessed further developments, including renovations in the 1970s and the promotion of polo leagues and public lessons in the 1980s, ensuring the enduring legacy of the Santa Barbara Polo Club.

A group of happy people holding up their drinks at the Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club.

Membership Opportunities

For those captivated by the allure of polo along with the pleasurable social scene of the Club, membership offers an unparalleled opportunity to become an integral part of this storied institution. Membership benefits include access to exclusive events, preferred pricing on facilities and services, and the chance to participate in polo matches and tournaments at all skill levels.

A close up of 3 polo players running on horseback during an exciting polo match.

Polo Season

The excitement of polo season at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club is the main event for both players and spectators alike. From the opening matches in spring to the thrilling finals in late summer, each polo season is filled with anticipation, camaraderie, and unforgettable moments on the field.

Polo season typically kicks off in May and continues through October, with a calendar packed full of tournaments and events. Don't miss the excitement of Friday happy hour matches, where the thrill of the game is enhanced by the camaraderie of friends and the setting sun. And on Sundays, witness a spectacle of fashion as polo enthusiasts done hats of all shapes and sizes, some rivaling the best of British millinery, adding a touch of glamour to the timeless tradition of polo.

A close up shot of a tennis ball and racquet.

A Haven of Luxury and Leisure

The Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club is more than just a polo destination; it's a haven of luxury and leisure. From its state-of-the-art stabling facilities and renowned Stick & Ball polo shop to its prestigious Polo School, the Club offers a plethora of amenities designed to cater to every discerning taste. Tennis enthusiasts will delight in the Club's eight pristine championship hard courts, which can be lit for night play, as well as the beautiful Tennis Clubhouse and its accompanying facilities.

The benefits of membership extend far beyond the polo fields and tennis courts. Members also have access to swimming pools, fitness centers, and a variety of social events and activities throughout the year. From elegant soirées and themed parties to family-friendly gatherings and community fundraisers, there's always something exciting at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club.

Embracing the Community

While membership certainly has its privileges, the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club welcomes visitors and non-members to experience the magic of polo firsthand. Anyone can join the fun by cheering from the sidelines, enjoying a leisurely picnic on the polo grounds, or attending one of the Club's renowned social events.

Looking Toward the Future

Today, the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club remains steadfast in its commitment to preserving and promoting the rich heritage of polo for generations to come. Through initiatives aimed at elevating the sport's profile on the global stage, the Club is poised to write the next chapter in its illustrious history.

Two lounge chairs on the patio of a luxurious condo that overlooks the Santa Barbara Polo Field with the ocean in the distance.

Luxurious Polo Field Condo

My Luxurious Polo Field Condo listing puts you right at the center of all the action, as you can see from the image above. Besides offering breathtaking views of the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club and the Pacific Ocean, this 3 bedroom, 2 bath beauty epitomizes the area's casually sophisticated lifestyle. The inviting floor plan includes a spacious living area, high vaulted ceilings, wood floors, and walls of glass all situated in an exclusive gated community, combining privacy with convenience.

Whether you're drawn to the adrenaline-pumping action on the polo field, the refined elegance of the Club's social scene, or the camaraderie of the tennis courts, there's something for everyone at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club. And for those considering a move within Carpinteria to be near the Club or to one of the charming neighboring communities, I invite you to reach out for a complimentary consultation. Contact me at (805) 886-9378 or at to discuss your selling and buying needs in this idyllic coastal paradise.

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“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch