Polo Handicaps & Line of the ball

Line_of_the_ball_IMG_2033_600x451A polo handicap is a system like golf. It was created by Henry Lloyd Herbert, first president of the United States Polo Association, at the founding of the USPA in 1890. The most basic concept in the sport of polo is the line of the ball. Join our game and become a polo expert!


The concept caught on in the colonies as well as in England and in India. It is not an estimate of the number of goals a player might score in a game, but rather of the player’s worth to their team. It is the overall rating of a player’s horsemanship, team play, knowledge of the game and strategy. Players are rated on a scale from -2 to +10 (-2 is assigned to a new player, while a player rated at +10 is a superstar). There are less than 15 polo superstars in the world. The majority of players are rated at +2 or less. Currently, all +10 are Argentine, except of David Stirling who was born in Uruguay, although he plays in Argentina. The polo scene in Germany is still relatively small compared to the larger playing nations such as Argentina, Great Britain and the US. The best German players are ranked +4 to +5. Such a ranking is important for the setting up of polo teams as the handicaps of the four players are added up to derive the ‘team handicap’. Handicap tournaments range from ‘Low Goal’ to ‘High Goal’ with the relative restrictions and handicap limits.

Line of the ball

The most basic concept in the sport of polo is the line of the ball, a right of way established by the path of a travelling ball. This line may not be crossed by an opponent. When two players ride to the ball, both hoping to hit it, they must ride on either side of the line so that both will have access to the ball. This line determines the strict rules about how players can approach and attack the ball and each other, ensuring that the players and horses do not collide resulting in injury.


The Engel & Völkers Polo Cup - get information here: www.engelvoelkers.com/polocup

Posted in Company | Polo School.