The polo mallet is an L-shaped stick that is used to strike the polo ball while riding a pony. The mallet is an essential equipment which serves a vital role in scoring. Each manufacturing factor plays a decisive role while aiming to pass the ball between the goal post. The polo mallets vary widely in size and mass depending on the material, type of game and height of the player and their ponies. The mallets are manufactured by using natural materials such as rattan cane and hardwood. The polo mallet is also regarded as a polo stick in British English.
The construction and the material for a polo mallet manufacturing influence its performance a lot. The mallet heads are generally 9¼ inches long. The heads are manufactured from a hardwood known as tipa and weigh around 160 g to 240 g (5.6 oz to 8.5 oz). The length of the mallet widely depends on the player’s arm length and pony’s height. It is usually 2 feet 6 inches long and is available in a range of 127 cm (50 inches) to 134 cm (53 inches) length. The mallet’s shaft is manufactured from cane wood and is equipped with a rubber grip and a wooden cigar-shaped head. Depending on the materials used for mallet manufacturing, these are classified as cane mallets and composite mallets. Generally, top-ranked players don’t prefer composite mallets as it is unable to absorb any vibrations.
The earlier mallets have arc-shaped heads or were equally straight on both sides. In places like Japan and Byzantium, the sticks had a racquet attached on the top instead of the mallet head. The cane mallets are the most popular and have been used for decades. With current deforestation and other ecological disturbances, the excellent quality canes are deteriorating. The manufacturers have no other option than using substitutes for mallet manufacturing. These new mallets are easily breakable and are less durable. Hence, the composite mallets and hybrid mallets are introduced to overcome the issues of cane mallets. Nowadays, hybrid mallets are widely used by the players. It consists of a short cane which is fitted to the lower section of the fibercane shaft. The shafts of hybrid mallets are lighter in weight and easily repairable.
With advances in modern technology, fibercane mallets have also been introduced. They are stronger, lighter in weight and have a foam-filled tapered shaft. The shafts are tubular and made from resin infused composite fibers like carbon. The head weighs around 200 grams and the average weight of the whole mallet is around 525 grams.