With a long and illustrious history, Cowdray Park is recognized worldwide as the Home of British Polo. Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty within Viscount Cowdray's 16,500 acre estate in West Sussex, the game of polo has been played at Cowdray for close on a century - the first competitive tournaments being recorded in 1910. By the 1920s a whole series of competitions with dedicated cups and trophies was firmly established, although the sport in the UK was to all but die out during the Second World War.
Cowdray Park Polo Club's significance in the re-establishment of polo in England following the Second World War cannot be underestimated. This was largely due to the efforts of a legendary name in the history of polo, John, 3rd Viscount Cowdray, who died in 1995. Father of the present Viscount, he turned Cowdray Park into one of the most famous polo clubs in the world - firmly establishing its place at the very pinnacle of the sport both nationally and internationally.
During the early post-war years John Cowdray, who had maybe ten or twelve ponies still alive, built up the country's leading string of polo ponies. He was generous in his offers of loaned ponies to increase the number of potential players participating in the sport. Beginning with Cowdray, polo was gradually revived on a small scale at other clubs around the country. Although he had lost his left arm at Dunkirk, this did not keep the 3rd Viscount from continuing to be part of the sport he loved. With help from Churchill, his gun makers, he had an artificial arm adapted at the Roehampton Limb-Fitting Centre so that he could hold the reins with a hook.
By 1948, visiting Argentines Jack Nelson and Luis Lacey were sufficiently impressed by the re-launch of British polo to invite John Cowdray to take a team to compete in Buenos Aires the following year. The visit by the English team in 1949 was a huge success and marked a significant step in the recovery of British polo.
In 1953 Cowdray Park played host to England's first big post war international tournament, the Coronation Cup, first presented in 1911 to celebrate the coronation of King George V. Teams from England, the U.S.A, Argentina and Chile competed and the finals drew a crowd of more than 10,000 people, including HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. In 1956 the country's premier High Goal tournament, the Cowdray Park Gold Cup was inaugurated.
The Gold Cup continues to be the highlight of the polo season at Cowdray. Sponsored since 1995 by leading champagne house Veuve Clicquot, the Gold Cup welcomed its Golden Jubilee in 2006 with due celebration.