Personalisation of Mallets
Making Iconic Statements Many brands have taken the symbol of the mallet to show their association with the sport.
A mallet is used in Polo to hit the ball. It consists of 3 parts--cane shaft, sling and the head. The cane is naturally made from Rattan cane or the best viable alternative macau cane/malacca or Manila cane (as it is known in different states). In the advanced age of composite mallets, many still prefer to use cane mallets because they absorb vibrations better than composite material. Slings are the thermoplastic grip of cotton on strong polypropylene handles. The mallet head is usually made of hardwood tipa. It's 9 ¼ inches long and weighs in between 160g (5.6 oz) - 240g (8.5oz).
Mallet basics to watch out for
Strength and size of a player and horse is a key factor taken into consideration while choosing a mallet. For higher horses, 52'',53", 54" sticks can do wonders. While for the short horses 51" does the magic. Particularly for Manipur horses 45",46",47" is highly suitable and for Ladakh horses 44",42" is usually preferred. The weight of a Polo stick ranges between 400-500g. Some players prefer 550g of Polo stick.The player's hitting style and playing position determines the selection of the mallet.Other factors such as ground conditions can't be ignored.Handicap level is an important factor as well.Female players prefer lighter mallets for easy handling and smooth movement of arms.
Players often prefer mallets between 127cm to 134cm. Cane should be flexible below 40 inches. The flexibility allows a little sling which facilitates hard strikes on the ball and takes the shape of the flick of the wrist.
Over the years, mallets have seen a ground-breaking evolution, from arc shaped heads to cigar shaped. Japan and Byzantium sticks had racquet attached on top instead of mallet heads.
Fine quality cane mallets have been deteriorating over the years due to deforestation and ecological disturbances. Macau cane is getting eliminated from the Amazon forests and thus it is becoming unavailable.
Amidst all this, new mallets manufactured are breakable and less durable. Many manufacturers find solace in hybrid mallets which have substituted cane mallets to a large extent. These hybrid mallets are lighter and easy to repair. Fiber-cane mallets are strong & light and have a foam filled tapered shaft with resin-infused carbon fiber.
Brands and mallets
Brands such as Ralph Lauren, USPA, HACKETT, Lacoste, Tommy Hilfiger, Jaeger LeCoulture have been designing exclusive range of polo apparels such as t-shirts, watches etc. Their brand logos more or less involve a mallet at the core centre, in an attempt to portray their association with the sport. HACKETT polo shirts’ trademark logo of two mallets in cross position has also appealed to players. Many brands have been associated with the sport. For example, Jaeger LeCoultre was the official timepiece sponsor for the German Polo Tour in 2019. They gifted a Reverso Classic Large Small Seconds to the winner of the tour.
Sporting groups such as the Suneendra Group own a polo team and have invested in horses and polo players. “Polo is a great platform for people to get their brands tagged with the most elitist sport in the world,” says Kanna Phaneendra, co-owner of the team and polo player.
Brands have customized, designed and advertised their clothing apparels and other tangible goods in a way that makes polo players enjoy an exclusive vibe.