Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, Inc. (SMR) is pleased to announce that Tom Hughes has been named Director of Polo Operations for the Sarasota Polo Club at Lakewood Ranch. Hughes brings with him 50 years of experience managing polo clubs, including the Oak Brook, Glendale and Naperville polo clubs in Illinois, the Milwaukee Polo Club in Wisconsin, and the Greenwich Polo Club in Connecticut.
Hughes started competitive polo in 1966, and played in the United States Polo Association (USPA) high goal events until 1976, attaining a 5 goal handicap. He has been involved in all areas of polo operations including club, tournament and facilities management for several of the major polo centers in the United States. He served on the Rules, Handicap and Umpire Committees of the USPA, and has umpired all major high goal tournaments in the United States and Great Britain. Hughes will also continue to manage the USPA Professional Umpire Program through July of 2014.
“We are working with the United States Polo Association to implement many of their new polo programs to grow the sport,” Hughes said. “We have one of the best facilities in the country and we are very excited about our new directions.”
The Polo Club has undertaken numerous upgrades in the past three years, including renovations to the Club’s pavilion, clubhouse and landscaping, and installation of a beer garden on the north side of the field. Hughes plans to continue to build on the improvements.
“We plan to expand all phases of polo operations with emphasis on our polo school and new member participation,” he said.
SMR President and CEO Rex Jensen said that Hughes’ involvement in Sarasota Polo is expected to create a new level of excitement for the Club.
“We are extremely excited to have Tom joining our team,” Jensen said. “His vast and varied experience in all aspects of the game, and his ability to attract new players, will help to elevate the Sarasota Polo Club to be one of the best in the country – even better than it is now.”
With 130 acres of perfectly manicured grounds, the Sarasota Polo Club in Lakewood Ranch boasts nine world-class polo fields and a regulation-size arena. Polo leagues and tournaments ranging from 4 to 14 goal are played throughout the winter months. Located in the heart of Florida’s Gulf Coast, the Sarasota Polo Club offers easy access to two international airports and proximity to top-rated white beaches and golf courses. www.sarasotapolo.com