Just how do you make polo, the sport of kings, even more glamorous? According to the success of the Tianjin Goldin Polo Club, which just hosted the 2012 Snow Polo World Cup, you add 90,000 square meters of artificial snow. Tianjin’s massive polo stadium is known on the international circuit, particularly for its state-of-the-art facilities and amenities.
Polo is becoming more and more popular in China, thanks in part to the international events Goldin Polo Club has started to host. In an attempt to foster the growth of equestrian sports, the Tianjin Goldin Polo Club offers riding and polo lessons. Their state-of-the-art facilities include rubber-floored, air-conditioned stables filled with ponies worth around $20,000 each. With club membership costing between $60,000 and $1.6 million, the complex and its posh events are testaments to China’s ability to reinvent old school style. The luxury of the club not only reflects China’s growing love of horses – it suggests the exponential growth of Chinese cities as villa-style residential complexes crop up around town.
“The rental for premium office space in Beijing is very, very high and the new Shanghai-Beijing high-speed rail will stop in Tianjin,” explains Edmund Ting, executive director of Goldin Properties Holdings Limited. “It’s similar to the relationship between New Jersey and Manhattan. We anticipate that a lot of people will move here and work here.”
In addition to developing the polo club in Tianjin, Goldin Properties has also created 2,000 residential complexes and a central business district that will boast a 600-meter, 117-story office tower, making it officially the ninth tallest building in the world.
The polo complex is the pièce de résistance of Tianjin, not only attracting the cream of the crop in China, but from around the world as well. “It’s probably one of the biggest single developments in China at the moment,” says Ting.
But, as the great riders in Tianjin know, it’s all about horses for courses. As former professional polo player and head of polo for the Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Club Derek Reid says, polo is becoming more popular in China but, ultimately, the sport of kings will remain exclusive to the upper echelons of society. He insists to participate, “You’ve got to have a bit of sugar behind you.”
photo credit: dean irvine, cnngo, goldin properties holdings