Grand Champions Polo Club’s Melissa Ganzi Participates In Polo 29 Round Table At Coach House

Feb 19th, 2014 | By | Category: English Polo News

19th Feb 2014


Grand Champions Polo Club owner and Flight Options player Melissa Ganzi was among polo’s movers-and-shakers invited to participate in the Polo 29 Round Table held Saturday at the Coach House.

Hosted by Honolulu-based Patrick Brent, creator of, an information resource for the polo community, a panel of players, umpires and other key figures in polo discussed a wide variety of topics from instant replay to horse safety.

Its purpose was to try and improve polo by exchanging ideas and opinions of those present for the 90-minute discussion.

Brent has hosted polo round tables throughout the world including The Guards Polo Club in Surrey, England; Shanghai Polo Club, El Dorado and Empire Polo Clubs in Indio, Calif. and Honolulu Polo Club.

Melissa Ganzi

Ganzi, a member of the USPA Board of Governors and only woman on the panel, was joined by USPA CEO Peter Rizzo, announcer and historian Tony Coppola, players Fred Mannix, Carlucho Arellano and Tommy Biddle, umpires Steve Lane and Alex Roldan, Gene Fortugno, a former polo manager, player and umpire; and Mario Mendoza, an attorney, polo player and enthusiast.

The opening topic was instant replay which Ganzi talked about extensively since her club has played a major role in its debut in Wellington.

Grand Champions is the first polo club worldwide to introduce an instant replay pilot program with state-of-the-art technology. The club has been using instant replay during its Saturday feature games since January with the use of three cameras and hopes to expand it with the assistance of a tethered blimp which will serve as a fourth camera.

“We have had success with it,” Ganzi said. “It was great for the umpires in the first game. The first day we implemented it the umpires were 100 percent correct. Both teams were incorrect on their challenges. Subsequently, we have had some challenge calls made and the team captain was correct.”

Added Lane, who has been working with the video team, “The three different camera angles make it very quick and also the film crew has been very good. They just hit a button where it rewinds 15 seconds and you can view the film. All the ones that have been done so far takes about 35 seconds.”

Coppola explained that in Argentina polo officials have been using replays without challenges for the last two to three years.

Mannix, Canada’s top pro and 2013 Argentine Open finalist with Alegria, who is playing for Grand Champions- based pro teams Flight Options and Audi in the 20-goal season, said he appreciates the use of replays in Argentina.

Freddie Mannix plays for both Flight Options and Audi. Photo by Scott Fisher.

“It’s well-done, it’s quick and decisive,” Mannix said. “The third man has a little box that he looks at and ESPN will show the replay. It’s done at every game. It’s a value for sure.”

Among other topics discussed were player conduct in games, player riding skills, umpiring today’s game, helmet face guards, penalty-ones, hitting cages, horse and player conditioning and future of the game.

Ganzi, who breeds horses and maintains stables in Ocala and Wellington, was also asked to talk about horse safety.

“I actually think we have done a lot to improve horse safety,” Ganzi said. “We’ve implemented appropriate use of medication. We randomly drug test. I think in general people in polo take excellent care of their horses, moreso than other equine disciplines.”

The final topic was the future of the game and where polo is headed.

“I am very optimistic about the future of polo,” Ganzi said. “I watch all the young kids that are playing now, from lead line to the higher level of polo and they are enjoying it. They are enthusiastic. They do have the spark and passion.

“I think the future of polo is bright and we are going to see some more American high-goalers be developed,” Ganzi said.

For game recaps, news, features and photos of Grand Champions Polo Club-related events, go to


JANUARY 30-FEBRUARY 23: Wednesday, Semifinals, El Cabure vs. Lechuza Caracas, 1 p.m., Valiente vs. Las Monjitas, 3 p.m.; Sunday, Ylvisaker Cup Finals.

FEBRUARY 16-23: Thursday, Flight Options vs. Audi, 1 p.m.; Faraway vs. CT Energia, 3 p.m.; Sunday, George Haas Cup Final, noon.

FEBRUARY 21-MARCH 2: C.V. Whitney Cup-Friday, Orchard Hill vs. Lechuza Caracas, 10 a.m.; Crab Orchard vs. Flight Options, noon; Valiente vs. Audi, 2 p.m.; Alegria vs. Coca-Cola, 4 p.m.; FEB. 26, Semifinals 1, 3 p.m.; FEB. 27, Subsidiary semifinals, 1, 3 p.m.; MARCH 2, Subsidiary final noon, Championship Final, 3 p.m.

FEBRUARY 28-MARCH 8: Iglehart Cup-FEB. 28, CT Energia vs. Palm Beach Illustrated, 1 p.m.; Casablanca vs. Los Machitos/Heathcote, 3 p.m.; MARCH 5, Semifinals 1, 3 p.m.; MARCH 8, Final, 1 p.m.

MARCH 5-23: USPA Piaget Gold Cup

MARCH 26-APRIL 20: 110th Maserati U.S. Open Polo Championships


FEBRUARY: Halo Polo Trophy (5 Goals); USPA Cyril R. Harrison Trophy; USPA Sieber Memorial Trophy.

MARCH: Madelon Bourdieu Memorial (5 goals); The Limited Edition 8-Goal Series; USPA Regional President’s Cup (8 goals); $50,000 National 12-Goal Tournament; The Top Pony 12-Goal Series; Santa Rita Abierto (16 goals).

APRIL: Las Acacias (5 goals); USPA Association Cup (8 goals); Museum of Polo & Hall of Fame Challenge Cup (12-goals); John T. Oxley Memorial Trophy (16 goals).


TUESDAY: USA vs. United Kingdom Juniors Game, 4 p.m.

MARCH 9: Great Futures Celebrity Polo Match, 10 a.m., benefitting the Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys & Girls Club of Wellington.

MARCH 17: Buzz Welker Memorial Tournament

APRIL 4-5: Fifth annual Gay Polo League International Tournament

APRIL 8-12: Women’s Championship Tournament


WHERE: 13444 Southfields Road, on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Lake Worth Road, Wellington, 33414.

Source: Phelps Media Group