Aiken has long had the monopoly on South Carolina polo, but Amy Vann Flowers is working to change that. On Sunday, Hyde Park Farm and Polo, which has been in Flowers’ family since 1896, was the setting for an exhibition polo match. Families, couples, and groups of young people decked out in everything from sundresses to jeans gathered to enjoy the pastoral beauty of the Lowcountry and enjoy the match between local teams Hyde Park Polo Club and High Cotton. Along the sideboards, tents were set up, picnics spread, and bottles of champagne uncorked.

“This is our dress rehearsal for the spring polo series that we are going to have every Sunday in May,” said event promoter Jessica Reid of Charleston Bliss.

Hyde Park’s Grounds Manager Alejandro Ferreyros confirmed that while Aiken is known for fall polo, they plan to “make spring the Charleston polo season.”        

Enthusiasm for the event was contagious. George Prioleau, III, a dapper gentleman from Kiawah Island and longtime polo aficionado, followed the action up and down the field with his three young children in tow. “We’re here trying to support Charleston getting a real polo team,” he said.

The 20-mile drive from downtown Charleston did little to deter attendance. Out on the field, S.C. Rep. Chip Limehouse took turns hitting the ball along with Flowers, the undeniable star and top-scorer of the day.

“It was hard to decide polo over football today, but after being in the sun and watching the match for a while I got into it,” Matthew Arout admitted between sips out of a plastic champagne glass. “You don’t have to have a lot of knowledge of polo to watch and enjoy the match.”