20+ Differences Between Golf And Polo

Certain sports are looked at as sports of the affluent and the sophisticated. It is convenient to think like that because these are played mainly by them. Among such sports, two of them that are notoriously famous for such perspectives are golf and polo.

Golf and polo are notably different from each other in many ways. One requires the player to walk, and for the other, one needs to play while riding a horse. Apart from the obvious one just mentioned, there is more to notice.

Key Differences Between Golf And Polo
ParametersGolfPolo
The Objective of the GameThe goal is to get the ball inside the hole at a minimum shots.The team must score higher than the other team before six chukkers are over.
The Number of the PlayersGolf can be played between two individuals or two teams with each having two members.Polo requires eight players divided into two teams of four members.
The EquipmentGolfers use a set of clubs, tee pegs, and resin balls.Polo players use mallets and plastic balls. They also require a horse.
Indoors or OutdoorsGolf is only played outside.Polo is played outside and inside(as arena polo).
Variation in the Play AreaTwo golf courses will differ from each other.Two polo fields will look identical because of the set dimensions and uniform plane. 
The Length of the MatchGolf matches last for days.Polo matches can finish in an hour or two.
Scoring PointsPlayers score when they hit the ball inside the hole within the expected number.Players score every time they hit a goal.
The General PerspectivePeople view golf as a game for older age groups.People view polo as an energetic sport full of thrill and danger,
The Risk FactorLess physical risk because there is no room for gameplay or while traveling.More physical risk, which includes damage to the horse and the player. 

Major Differences Between Golf And Polo 

What Is Golf?

Golf is a sport played on a well-maintained course with varying terrains.

Players, also known as golfers, hit the ball using a set of specialized clubs. A standard golf course would have eighteen holes all around the area. The golfer must strike the ball and get it inside the target hole in minimum shots.

People in the Roman Empire used to play a golf-like game called paganica which became popular in the first century BC.

The earliest record of modern golf dates to fifteenth-century Scotland, when King James II banned the game because it hindered his archery practice. James IV removed the ban in 1502 when he began playing golf. 

What Is Polo?

Polo is played between two teams on horseback. Each team has four members who play the game using polo mallets and a ball.

The polo field is about six times the size of a football field. In polo, the player scores for the team by hitting the ball through the other team’s goal.

Polo dates back to the period between the sixth century BC and the first century AD when the nomads of Persia played many games on horseback.

The modern game is an evolution of ‘pulu’; a horseback game played in India which became popular in the nineteenth century during the British Regime.

Golf Vs Polo All You Need To Know

Contrast Between Golf And Polo

The Objective Of The Game

  • Golf- In golf, the players need to hit the ball towards the green zone where the hole lies. Once the ball enters the hole, the game completes. A typical golf match has eighteen holes all around the course, and the match finishes once the player puts the ball in all eighteen holes.
  • Polo- In polo, the players win points by hitting the ball through the other team’s goal while riding the horse. The team aims to build a score higher than the other team before the time runs out.

The Number Of Players

  • Golf- Golf can have as many as 180 players when they play in teams of three or four members. 
  • Polo- Polo is a sport that has team play in its conception. There will always be two teams, each with four individuals on horseback.

The Equipment

  • Golf- The golfers play golf with a set of golf clubs and a ball made of synthetic resin. Other pieces of equipment include tees-pegs used for initiating the game, gloves to maintain grip, and golf shoes.
  • Polo- Polo is a horseback sport, so players wear safety gear, including helmets and knee guards. The mallet is made of wood, and the ball is made of hard plastic. Players also wear gloves and boots.

The Variation In Play Area

  • Golf- The golf course has different ground textures at different parts of the course. One golf course will not be exactly like the other. Golfers play golf outdoors because golf courses are enormous.
  • Polo- A polo field has a uniform texture, with the ground being flat and grassy at all places. Two polo fields can look the same because a polo field has dimensions of 300 yards(270 meters) x 400 yards(150 meters). 
The Setup Golf Vs Polo

Scoring The Points

  • Golf- To score points in golf, the players must hit the ball inside the hole in minimum shots. The golfer can win more points if he gets the ball inside the hole in less than the expected number.
  • Polo- The only way to score points in polo is to hit the ball in the goal. You are in a winning position if you score more goals than the opponent team.

The Length

Golf- A golf match can go on for days, depending on the type of match. In some cases, it can finish in a day, whereas in others, it can even take four days for a match to finish.

Polo- Polo is a more time-bound sport. A regular polo match would finish in a couple of hours.

The Perspective Of The Masses

  • Golf- To most people, golf looks like a sport that caters to either the wealthier sections of society or the elder masses. It is easy to think of the latter because the game is relatively slow-paced and more relaxed.
  • Polo- Polo is popularly known as the sport of the kings despite having more common origins. However, unlike golf, people look at it as an energetic sport full of excitement and danger.

The Probability Of Injuries

  • Golf- In terms of risk, golf is easily one of the least dangerous sports. Players mostly walk on foot or use golf carts to go around. The gameplay also poses no physical risk. The risk can occur only from highly uncommon events.
  • Polo- Polo has a lot of risks when it comes to injuries. It included all the risks that can occur while horse riding and other injuries from the mallet or the ball if it hits the horse or the player. These can be serious and even fatal at times.
The Overall Gameplay Golf Vs Polo

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What makes polo too costly to be played by ordinary people?

Professional polo can get very expensive, with a majority of the expenses concerning the horse, also known as a polo pony.

The equipment, the maintenance expenses, the club fees, and the medical/veterinary expenses make this sport expensive. However, some clubs do provide lessons for a lower fee.

Q2. What is a tee-off in golf?

Tee-off in golf is synonymous with the phrase kick-off. The starting area is called the teeing area. The player puts a tee peg in this area and makes his first shot to start the game. This shot is called tee-off.

Q3. How do teams play golf?

Golf can be a team sport too. Four golfers play in teams of two. The two members alternate shots until the ball reaches the hole. This type of game is also called a ‘foursome’ game.

Q4. What are chukkers in polo?

Chukker refers to a period of 7 minutes in which polo is played. In a polo match, there are six chukkers in total.

If the scores tie, a tie-breaker chukker begins, where the team that scores the first wins the match.

Q5. Is it true that the polo players change their horses?

In a typical polo chukker, a horse would run a distance of about one mile or two miles.

This requires the horse to take some rest after a chukker. However, some players would use the same horse in another chukker and change them after that.


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