White Horse finish Guards’ New Polo Lawns at a Canter

Guards Polo Club is one of the most prestigious and well-renowned polo clubs in the world. Founded in 1876, Guards Polo Club is nestled in the heart of Windsor Great Park, Berkshire. Home to some of the best Polo lawns in the world, 2 of which White Horse Contractors have had the privilege of recently constructing.

The lawns are situated within the grounds of Windsor Great Park, providing members with picturesque countryside views. As well as being a hub for competitive Polo where you can enjoy the best polo facilities and surroundings in the world, Guards Polo Club is also a social club where members can enjoy fine dining and exclusive events within their highly sought-after membership
Guards Polo Club, James Neighbour, Chief operating officer of guards polo club, testimonial

White Horse Contractors selected to complete works on 2 new Polo lawns

Following a competitive tender process, White Horse Contractors were selected to deliver a design and build solution including full earthworks, drainage, attenuation and cultivation works. These works had to be delivered during the height of the summer Polo season and finished before the Autumn of 2022.

For Guards Polo Club, their Polo lawns are used as the training ground and match grounds, meaning they must support than 500 games played each season, averaging 10/15 per day. To achieve these requirements a true and trusted surfaces is essential despite the wear and tear on the lawns by the clattering of the hoofs.

Challenges faced whilst constructing the Polo lawns

After the initial ground investigations, the White Horse Contractors’ mobilised the site with their fleet of specialist machinery and began the extensive earthworks phase of the project. Due to the topography of the site, careful planning was given to move over 120,000 tonnes of subsoil and topsoil to create the new lawns, whilst tying in sympathetically with the pristine existing landscapes.

During the earthworks phase a perched water table was found on the lower plateau, ground 8. High levels of ground water caused issues with the heavy machinery used in the first phase of the works. Utilizing our in-house specialist designers, along with our industry leading fleet of drainage trenchers (20/15 delivered link) A solution was designed and installed within a matter of days ensuring that the tight program was adhered to.

With the earthworks phase complete White Horse Contractors then installed a comprehensive draining system. The drainage system comprised of 25,000 linear meters of primary drainage pipe work, installed laterally across the width of the lawns at 6-metre intervals. This primary drainage network connects into carefully designed and installed collector and perimeter drains. All drainage installations were undertaken using our company owned and operated 20/15 Mastenbroek Trencher and specialist back-fill hoppers. This specialist plant is fitted with a GPS system to ensure consistent depth of drains throughout the network, maximising the efficiency and effectiveness of the drainage system. As part of the site wide drainage plan a wetland area was constructed to attenuate the drainage water form the new Polo lawns, before discharging to the wider park water infrastructure.

Secondary drainage was then installed to support the primary drainage network, offering a positive hydraulic connection from the grass surface to drainage infrastructure. This important addition helps ensure a consistent and efficient removal of surface water from the grass surface and helps maintains the integrity of the playing surface.

Once the drainage system infrastructure was completed, the cultivation and soil improvement phase began. The White Horse Contractors’ fleet of highly specialised machinery was mobilised to carry out the soil improvement and cultivation. 3000 tonnes of specially selected sports sand were spread to complete this phase of the project.

The next challenge required is to ensure a careful and expert decision was made to select the optimum mix of grass plants. The ideal mix for an elite Polo field is 50% Smooth Stalk Meadow Grass and 50% Perennial Ryegrass, however this can vary depending on climate and British weather conditions. White Horse Contractors in-house agronomist and Technical Director, James Welsh, employed his skills and experience during the design and planning phase to help deliver the high-quality grass sward for the high performance that Guards Polo Club desired.
Guards Polo Club, Antony Fanshawe, director of Polo, testimonial

Maintenance of a Polo lawn is considerable due to the sheer size and dimensions of the playing surface. A facility of this scale cannot be irrigated using conventional automated irrigation systems, only manual irrigation using specialist heavy duty self-travelling sprinkler units can be carried out. Guards Polo Club have a dedicated Grounds team who carryout regular irrigation and maintenance on the lawns, including correcting the damage sustained from the hooves, stick and balls after matches and competitions. White Horse Contractors have made regular visits to the club throughout the establishment phase to advise and support the club over the following months as the lawns grow in.

Successful delivery of the lawns to Guards Polo delight

Guards Polo Club in Windsor has been delighted with the successful delivery of 2 new, spectacular lawns. The world-renowned club will be able to continue to host international competitions as well as top-level training for 2023 and beyond. The new lawns are already being used for training and practice and will be officially opened this coming season. This is another step forward for Guards Polo Club, ensuring the longevity and the high-quality performance that the club is renowned for.

White Horse Contractors are extremely proud to have planned, designed and constructed the lawns for Guards Polo Club and wish them all the best for the coming season.

For more information call 01865 736272 or email whc@whitehorsecontractors.co.uk