Nic Roldan - Embracing Opportunity
Photography by Nick Mele
Nicolas Roldan was born on December 4, 1982 in Buenos Aires, Argentina and is an American polo player with an 8-goal handicap rating. Currently, he is Captain of the American Polo Team and is the leading American polo player. Nic is the youngest ever polo player to win the U.S. Polo Open with the Escue Team at the age of 15. His home base is in the U.S. equestrian epicenter Wellington, Florida.
Elevated: With all the changes we experienced over the last year, how was playing polo different during the pandemic?
Nic Roldan: In 2020, our main winter season was stopped in its tracks and the spring season consequently also did not happen. We then started playing in Aspen last summer and the 2021 the season did take place. Naturally the biggest difference was the lack of spectators. Polo embraces its social side and it was weird not only having no spectators, but having to deter people from coming. There was a definite lack of occasion and ambiance and it felt a little like we were just playing practices as a result.
Now that restrictions are starting to be lifted in the U.S., what are you most excited about in reference to polo returning back to normal?
Having spectators, friends and family back and being able to travel again!
What upcoming tournaments are you most looking forward to for 2021?
I’m spending the summer playing at Aspen Valley Polo Club, CO, then return to Wellington, FL to play the Fall season there. Just before Christmas I return to Aspen to play in the Snow Polo which is always a magical way to end the year.
One of your newest ventures, High Goal Gin, is taking the luxury spirit industry by storm. How has the Polo lifestyle influenced the creation of High Goal Gin?
I played in the UK for several years and regularly would meet up with a couple of friends at a local hotel that offers some 200 gins! This fascinated me, could there really be such a difference in taste? I started to learn more about the spirit and gained a real appreciation for it. This was definitely the seed that inspired me when later I had the opportunity together with Matti Anttila and Diego Urrutia to create High Goal Gin. Polo and gin have been intertwined for a long time from the days of British Empire as it’s the perfect drink to enjoy on a summers afternoon whilst watching polo and it was a high time there was an elevated American offering. High Goal Gin’s smooth, light and refreshing taste incorporating Meyer lemon and mint make it uniquely standout and attract a new age consumer of gin. I’m particularly proud that often I get feedback from people saying “I don’t normally like or drink gin but I like High Goal Gin”.
What is your favorite way to drink High Goal Gin?
My favorite High Goal Gin cocktail is called “The Roldan” and it’s made with muddled strawberries (or other berries) and High Goal Gin. However, a unique feature of High Goal Gin is that is can also be enjoyed on the rocks with a slice of lemon and sprig of mint.
Along with being the Top American Polo Player, you’re also an avid golfer. How has your recent collaboration with PXG elevated your golf experience?
I love golf, it’s my way to relax and get away from it all, although “relax” may not always be the right word as it can be so frustrating at times! Having the opportunity to create this partnership with PXG has felt like I’m a kid in a candy store. PXG are an amazing company in so many way, I love their beliefs and as an extremely passionate golfer to be supported by such an incredible brand is an honor. Mr Parsons drive (pun intended) is an inspiration, seeing all he has created. Mrs Parsons does an amazing job not just with the apparel but her eye for detail in the design of Scottsdale National is very similar to my taste. It’s pretty phenomenal seeing all PXG is and stands for. For me the the initial fitting experience was phenomenal and such fun, way above any fitting experience I’ve ever had and all round their team members are in class of their own, above and beyond in every way, 5* does them no justice, they are 6 or 7*. From a playing point of view I really love their drivers as the reduction in dispersion is easy to see.
Where are a few of your favorite places to golf?
My home club is Banyan in Wellington, FL. I’m very lucky to have such an amazing course 5 minutes from my house. In Aspen, CO my favorite course is Maroon Creek and then I was fortunate enough to be invited by Mr and Mrs Parsons to Scottsdale National which, was a whole new golf education. I also got to play their “Bad Little-Nine” course with it’s course designer David Khan at night which was one of the most fun golf experiences I’ve ever had and PXG would say “insane”.
You have been developing real estate properties alongside your mother, Dee, and together have established quite an impressive portfolio. What is the most exciting part about developing these incredible properties from the ground up?
There’s different phases that are exciting, starting off with a blank canvas right through to ultimately seeing the product, handing over ownership to the new owners and seeing them making it their home. If I’m really honest, the whole process excites me. For example, each morning I scour the real estate sites seeing what has hit the market, what opportunities there are to be made etc. In a way it’s a bug that has got under my skin and at the moment I have several projects I’m creating with my team.
What has been your favorite development thus far?
That is tough to say, as each has something unique and special and I have learned a lesson from each one which I’ve taken away.
What upcoming real estate projects are you currently working on?
I’m working on two properties at the moment in the Palm Beach Polo & Country Club, FL. The first is a 3 bedroom condo on Polo Island which I will completely remodel and update. Then earlier in the R&G Design and Development was formed between Tim Gannon, Co-Founder of Outback Steakhouse and myself. Tim was is passionate about polo having won the U.S. Open 5 times and is a good friend. It’s an amazing opportunity for me to partner with someone who in turn I can learn so much from. We are very excited to be working on our first joint project on Blue Cypress Lane, a 5,000 sq ft, 5 bedroom spec house exemplifying the perfect indoor/outdoor living environment. Blue Cypress Lane is the same street on which I earlier built another spec house which sold this year and I intend to start a trend!