by Danika Rice
The glitz and glamour often associated with summer in “The Hamptons” of New York’s Long Island has always had a mass media appeal as a spotlight for the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Earmarked for its spot in the social summer scene, Bridgehampton Polo Club has played host to some of the largest and most notably “star-studded” crowds in the country, with last year’s match attendees including the Kardashian sisters, Star Jones and Chase Crawford, along with the polo industry’s polo/model spokesmen Nacho Figueras and Nic Roldan. But as Bridgehampton kicked off its 15th anniversary season, owner Peter Brant is hinting about a club “face-lift.” Promising a new level of sophistication, this year BPC and Two Trees Farm are adding live musical performances, fashion boutiques, notable chefs and specialty bars in addition to the thrill and excitement of the 20-goal polo series. Patron of the White Birch Polo Team, Peter Brant is no stranger to what it takes to be successful in high goal polo, on and off the field. Once the highest rated amateur player in the nation, Peter bought out former partner Neil Hirsch’s (patron for the Blackwatch Polo Team) interest in BPC in an effort to streamline his vision of elegance and summer polo in the Hamptons, with its main focus being not on the celebrities, but rather on the polo and competition itself, and the appeal the sport alone has to offer.
Sidelines: What is it that makes polo such a seemingly integral part of summer in the Hamptons?
PB: Polo in the Hamptons does so well because its proximal location to New York City offers an appealing commercial market for sponsorship. In addition, the physical attributes of the land: sandy, loamy, flat fields lend for great polo fields. The temperature in July and August is ten degrees cooler than in New York City due to proximity to the ocean.
Sidelines: What do you feel are the most important contributing factors to the success of a polo club?
PB: The success of a polo club comes solely from the ownership. First, there is the need to demonstrate stability that the polo club will be there for a long time which in turn, encourages other potential polo players to invest in the area. Second, there needs to be great communication and dialogue with the USPA (United States Polo Association), as they provide valuable assistance with any issue at club. Finally, the club becomes a success when ownership invests into playing surface and club facilities.
Sidelines: You’ve traveled all over the world, where is your favorite place to play polo, and why?
PB: Our favorite places to play are in the Northeast USA. (Greenwich, Connecticut and Bridgehampton, New York): the facilities and polo fields are fantastic and beautifully kept, so close to our home base and the competition is terrific
Sidelines: Who or what has been the most influential part of your journey through polo?
PB: My “journey through polo” is highlighted by my passion and love for horses: there is nothing that they can be compared to. Horses are so generous and giving and they love the game as much as I do. I am also gratified to have played with some of the best players in the world and am proud of having competed at such a high level for so many years. In addition, it is gratifying to see the many young players who’ve played with us go on in their polo careers.
Sidelines: What do you foresee as the future of high goal polo in Bridgehampton?
PB: I think that high-goal polo will only get stronger in the future at Bridgehampton. We will need to have strong support from all of our Sponsors – their being thoroughly involved and supporting the sport, however I feel that the new direction we are taking – that of focusing solely on the game and those who are playing it, is a step in the right direction