Singapore Polo Club
The idea behind the formation of the Singapore Polo Club was first initiated in early 1886 when a group of civilians and several officers of the "BUFFS" (a regiment from Kent who were responsible for manning the British garrison in Singapore), decided that playing polo be established in Singapore.
The Singapore Sporting Club, the predecessor of today's Singapore Turf Club (STC) had graciously agreed to allow for polo playing at the centre portion of their racecourse at Farrer Park.
Apart from his patronage, the Sultan of Johor also made available the field in his 65-acre Royal Palace in Singapore known as Tyersall. For many years, the Singapore Polo Club used this beautiful Tyersall grounds for polo games, paper chases, gymkhanas (miscellaneous sports and races on horseback) and equestrian activities.
The beginning of the 20th century saw the strength of the club wane due to the frequent “comings and goings” of British regiments, a source through which many of the players of the polo playing fraternity were derived.
In Jan 1913, the Singapore Sporting Club rescinded its consent for polo playing on its grounds. Polo playing was to shift to the Sultan's palace grounds at Tyersall. By 12th Mar 1914 the Club's committee announced the site of a new club in an area bounded by McNair Road and Balestier Road. A grand opening was held on 13th April 1914.
The increasing popularity of polo prompted the club to search for a new and suitably sized ground, resulting in the selection of 3 acres of land (later to be supplemented by a further 24 acres) at the corner of the Thomson Road and Mount Pleasant Road. This new facility had a full-sized ground, a forty-foot exercise track, a practice ground, stables, a riding/training school and a comfortable clubhouse.
Fortunately for the SPC, the grounds at Thomson/Mount Pleasant Roads survived the war years from 1941-45 despite being badly damaged by the ravages of war as well as having been dug badly for use as vegetable plots by squatters. On the orders of Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia, the club's grounds were restored to playing condition soon after the war ended.
Club members passionately restored the grounds and tremendous amounts of work went into resurrecting the ravaged Polo Club to make it playable again. Also about this time, the club sanctioned the building of a new clubhouse. Finally in 1947, play would resume once again although it would be only in 1948 that inter club tournaments got underway.
The newly built clubhouse was opened only in 1955 and consisted of a building of substantial size and proportions, providing for changing and showering rooms, a covered veranda for viewing purposes, an attractive bar and a hall for social events.
Today, the old clubhouse has been replaced by a spanking new multi-million dollar complex comprising a foyer, administrative offices, changing rooms, toilets, a long bar, billiards room, committee room, tennis and squash courts and a swimming pool. This new clubhouse can accommodate 700 members and guests within its exquisite Mount Pleasant Road location.
The Singapore Polo Club, in comparison to other sporting and social clubs in Singapore , will always be considered a smaller and select club by virtue of the rather “exclusive” nature of the game of polo.