Golf and spas treatments for men.
It’s now by no means unusual to see leading golf resorts listing a spa in addition to facilities such as a driving range and a training academy with state-of-the-art swing analysis. Those spas were originally conceptualised as a space for non-playing partners, usually women, to relax and enjoy treatments while the golfers they were accompanying played the course. Increasingly, women are taking up golf and, simultaneously, spas are growing in appeal among men.
SERVING A PURPOSE
Rockliffe Hall Hotel Golf & Spa is a five-star rated leisure resort set among 375 acres of countryside by the River Tees in County Durham, England. It opened in 2009 and was named Visit England’s 2016 ‘Large Hotel of the Year’. Its 7,205m Championshipstandard golf course, designed by Hawtree, is rated among Europe’s most challenging. The 4,645sqm spa and wellness centre features a 20m indoor swimming pool and treatment area with a twin room designed for couples.
“We often find that the first time men come for a treatment here is when they’re with their partner. It’s perfect for men to have their first experience of a spa treatment with their other half as they feel more relaxed. Then often they’ll return for treatments on their own,” says Victoria Rickett, the spa manager. Rockliffe Hall’s range of packages encompasses the Couples Retreat Spa Break, which includes the use of the spa and wellness facilities, a cleansing mud Rasul ritual plus a 45-minute back, neck and shoulder massage for two people.
Treatments aimed at men include the De-Stress Total Body Performance Massage and Pure Performance Facial. “Even the names tell our male guests that the treatments will serve a purpose, which is what men want – whether it’s helping them perform better at work or on the golf course,” explains Rickett.
Many golfers start playing in later life. Bad posture and repetitive stress injuries can mean, by then, players already have pains and strains. Shoulders and lower backs commonly cause problems. Those issues have tendencies to be exacerbated by the mechanics of the golf swing. As a matter of course, Ricketts asks spa guests where their muscles feel tight, often recommending that golfers begin with a full-body massage. Use of the sauna, pool, water jets and igloo room can help alleviate niggling muscle pains.
Analysing an individual’s stance and looking at their strength, stability, flexibility and power can help identify issues that need to be addressed. The result can be recommending spa treatments and exercises to build strength and restore muscle balance. “People think golf is low impact and they’re not going to hurt themselves playing this sport, but if they’re standing wrong even before they pick up a club, that’s when injuries and strains will start to happen,” says Robin Dale who carries out C.H.E.K. Institute-approved biomechanical assessments on golfers at Rockliffe Hall.
Golf was introduced only recently into Bulgaria. St Sofia Golf Club & Spa, the country’s oldest 18-hole course, opened in 2004. A high proportion of the country’s clubs feature quality spas. The challenging, clifftop course of Thracian Cliffs Golf and Beach Resort, at Kavarna in Bulgaria, was designed by Gary Player and opened in 2011. It hosted the 2013 Volvo World Match Play Championship. Overlooking the Black Sea, the undulating, spectacular course is physically challenging.
That makes the hammam, Jacuzzi, hot steam room and ice corner in the Thracian Cliffs’ expansive spa all the more welcoming. The eclectic design of the spa’s exquisite interiors blends Thracian and Moroccan elements. Herbs harvested from an on-site garden are used by therapists, along with Black Sea mud, which has thermal properties that aid the dilation of blood vessels and reduce swelling.
Milena Daskalova, Thracian Cliffs’ spa manager, believes that massage therapy can assist in removing metabolic waste from golfers’ muscles and aid mental focus by reducing stress. “The athletic touch therapeutic massage for golfers concentrates on relaxing the back, hamstrings, hip flexors, shoulders, forearms and wrists to create a bigger shoulder turn, better hip and back flexibility, more powerful torque and a higher finish,” she explains.
That point of view is echoed by Ana Gutiérrez, spa manager at the five-star Finca Cortesin Hotel, Golf & Spa near Marbella, Spain, whose highly rated course hosted the Volvo World Match Play Championship in 2009. The spa’s signature fusion massage blends Swedish techniques with Asianinspired stretching and the application of pressure.
Gutiérrez finds male golfers visit the spa to improve their game, alleviating pain and accelerating their recovery cycle. “If a muscle is stiff because of a long day on the course, getting oxygenated blood to the area rapidly improves its function. When your golf muscles are relaxed they can function more efficiently, reducing the risk of strain,” she says.
Male golfers are, then, benefitting from spa visits through their accessibility at golf clubs. And, unlike out on the course, when it comes to the disposable pants worn during treatments, no golfer wants to get a hole in one.
OPPOSITE PAGE: Increasingly the draw of golf resorts are the opportunities for relaxation beyond the game. THIS PAGE: Rockcliffe Hall Hotel Golf & Spa’s championshipstandard
course is among Europe’s most challenging; Rockcliffe Hall’s luxurious spa is the perfect place to unwind after a day on the green.
MALE GOLF PLAYER PUTTING AT SUNSET./THINKSTOCK