|9thApril 2013 – With the New Year just past, many are re-discovering an eternal truth – maintaining positive, healthy resolutions is no easy task. However, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts’ golf team thinks it can help. And – surprise! They see golf as an important catalyst for developing and maintaining a well-rounded and healthy lifestyle.
“Golf is a physical, mental and social pursuit. Because it allows us to be athletically active outdoors, requires us to be mentally focused and gives us terrific opportunities for social interaction, we believe passionately that golf can be the foundation to an overall healthy lifestyle,” said Justin Wood, Executive Director of Golf & Retail for Fairmont. “Many call golf the game of a lifetime, and it truly can be if we take the steps to address each of those elements. Our golf properties are uniquely suited to helping guests learn how to do just that.”
Woods said the resort properties can do this by helping guests to improve their playing abilities, enhance their athletic performance, reduce physical pain, and provide motivation to keep them going.
“Whether a person is a lifelong player, a returning golfer or entirely new to the sport, our golf resorts provide the perfect opportunities for them to experiment and explore the way golf can be incorporated into their lifestyles and how golf can benefit other aspects of their lives.”
Building a Better Golf Game
A great place to start, according to Woods, is at one of the acclaimed golf schools that have partnered with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. While there are many different operators affiliated with Fairmont, one of the best known and most respected is the Jim McLean Golf School at Mayakoba in the tropical paradise of Mexico’s Riviera Maya. Located at the Fairmont-managed El Camaleon Golf Club, home of the PGA TOUR’s OHL Classic at Mayakoba, and adjacent to the magnificent Fairmont Mayakoba resort, the Jim McLean School offers a wide variety of golf instruction programmes ranging from private lessons to formalised golf schools and on-course playing lessons.
Director of Instruction Marcos Zuazu said the key playing better golf – regardless of a player’s level of experience – is to start with the basics of grip, stance and posture.
“It doesn’t really matter if someone has been playing his or her whole life or if they have never picked up a club before, we have to ensure the foundation is sound before we start making adjustments,” said Zuazu. “This is what Jack Nicklaus did at the beginning of every season while working with his old coach Jack Grout. Obviously it worked for him.”
Afterwards, Zuazu says instruction needs vary from person to person. He said there are some for whom one “tune-up” lesson at the start of every season is enough, while others need more regular attention. The important thing, according to Zuazu is to set realistic goals that work within the framework of an individual’s lifestyle.
“Everyone is different. Some students simply want to play golf well enough to enjoy the game with friends and family members. Others want to compete at a very high level.” said Zuazu. “To be successful, we need to define what it is they really want to get out of the game. We also need to determine if those goals are realistic given the student’s appetite for practice and how much time he or she can devote to the game. Once we have the goals clearly in focus, we can work together to build a game plan to get them where they want to be.”
From an equipment standpoint – especially for new or returning players – Zuazu advises students to focus on the driver. He said modern driver technology provides players with the most “bang for the buck.” His recommendation is for students to consult a trained golf professional and be custom fitted for a new driver that suits their individual golf swings.
“Don’t go by what your friends say or what is written in magazines,” Zuazu said. “Individual swing characteristics play a huge role in how well or poorly a particular driver works for a particular player. Just because your friend loves his or her driver does not mean it will work for you. To make a wise investment you really need the guidance of a professional who understands the technology and who can match it to your golf swing.”
Building a Better You
Of course learning to swing a golf club better is just one part of the equation. The engine that drives the train is the body and mind of the player. This aspect is where the rubber really meets the road, and it is also where Fairmont excels. Through its network of world-renowned spas, Fairmont is a leader in helping guests reset, recharge and reinvigorate their minds and bodies whether guests are passionate about golf or some other pursuit.
A terrific example is the esteemed Willow Stream Spa at The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa in Sonoma, California. Located in the heart of wine country, the resort offers its own natural mineral hot springs as well as playing privileges at the neighboring Sonoma Golf Club, one of California’s most prestigious private clubs.
According to Fitness & Activities Supervisor Sally Stone, a stay at a resort property like The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa is ideal for golfers seeking to learn more about living a healthy lifestyle. She says the availability of a variety of fitness programmes housed in one location – including various forms of Yoga and Pilates classes; fitness, nutritional and metabolic assessments, as well as guided hikes, bike rides and personal training – allow guests to experiment to see which disciplines they enjoy and which best suit their individual needs.
“Generally, we find yoga to be very beneficial to golfers. It helps to increase flexibility and enhances proper breathing which is fundamental for vital energy in all aspects of the game, particularly physical and mental stamina,” said Stone.
Likewise, she said Pilates helps develop the strength and agility needed to increase clubhead speed and maintain accuracy while remaining focused and free from tension. She also said such classes are a key component to helping guests avoid injury and reduce pain.
Certain spa treatments – such as the 60-minute sports massage, the 90-minute total body recovery and the various facials and body wraps – help guests rejuvenate and re-energise their bodies following active days in the gym or on the golf course.
In between spa treatments, Craig Cristello, Physiologist at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, recommends golfers spend 10 to 15 minutes each day improving flexibility and balance with a series of simple stretches and exercises that can be performed at home or while travelling.
Cristello is part of the elite team of professionals that make up Fairmont Scottsdale Princess’ revolutionary new Well & Being at Willow Stream Spa, which provides medically guided, personalised and fully integrated wellness programmes. Of particular interest for golfers is Well & Being’s Total Immersion Golf Performance Experience which provides a comprehensive programme designed to help guests improve their golf games on every level – mindful, physical and natural.
To help golfers limber up, Cristello suggests seated hamstring stretches, spinal twists and trunk side stretches for flexibility. For balance he recommends golfers take their normal stances and make a practice swing, holding the finishing position at the top for eight to 10 seconds. This simple exercise allows the body to find its own balance point, improving your performance on the golf course.
“Just performing these exercises for a few minutes each day has the potential to help players improve their performance and receive more enjoyment from the game,” said Cristello.
Of course, proper nutrition also is important to achieving optimal results. Dr. Chrissy Barth, nutritionist at Well & Being at Willow Stream, recommends golfers eat a balanced breakfast before heading to the course as well as an energy-boosting snack (such as trail mix, bananas and almonds or natural peanut butter and jelly on whole grain bread) every fourth hole. Hydration also is key, especially in warm environments. Barth suggests players drink at least 455ml (*16 Ounces) of fluid one hour before their rounds and 115ml to 230ml (four to eight ounces) every hole or 57ml (two ounces) during the round.
In It for the Long Haul
The final piece is to help guests maintain their passion for golf and their dedication to a healthy lifestyle over the long term. Doing so requires motivation. With its collection golf courses – included beloved historic courses, acclaimed modern designs and PGA TOUR venues – as well as numerous opportunities year round to enjoy one-of-a-kind golf experiences, Fairmont has many arrows in its quiver to help golfers sustain motivation.
Obviously, a very important means of motivation from Fairmont’s standpoint is giving guests the opportunities to enjoy once-in-a-lifetime golf travel experiences. Exactly how those experiences are defined varies from traveller to traveller, but a trip to The Fairmont Banff Springs and the chance to play its celebrated Stanley Thompson Golf Course provides a great example.
For the uninitiated, The Fairmont Banff Springs, lovingly known as the “Castle in the Rockies,” sits in the heart of Canada’s majestic Banff Springs National Park, and this year marks its 125th birthday. Surrounded by snow-capped peaks and rushing rivers, the Stanley Thompson Course at The Fairmont Banff Springs is widely considered among North America’s best golf courses. A golf trip here is near the top of many discerning players’ bucket lists, and of course they’d like to play their best. So, preparation for such a trip provides great motivation at home.
According to Director of Golf at The Fairmont Banff Springs Steven Young, such preparation necessarily involves tuning up one’s game, building strength, stamina and flexibility and acquiring the proper gear to ensure the most enjoyable golf experience possible.
Because of the elevation (Banff sits a mile above sea level) wind and weather are often factors out on the golf course. To prepare, he recommends players spend some time working on knockdown shots for playing into the wind and bump-and-run shots for downwind.
“Depending upon where they live, these shots may be somewhat unfamiliar to many players,” said Young. “But here, you’ll need them much more often than not. Otherwise, the wind can really be a significant factor. It’s best to practice these at your home course – even asking for assistance from your local pro – prior to arrival. Doing so will give you a physical and mental edge over your playing partners.”
Players should work on stamina and flexibility for several weeks before arrival, as well.
“The air is definitely thinner up here. Those coming from lower elevation will feel it, especially if they plan to walk the golf course – which is a wonderful way to experience it,” said Young. “And, playing multiple rounds over the course of a few days can cause little-used muscles to really start barking. Players who spend some time walking or doing other cardiovascular work as well as flexibility exercises will fare much better than those who do not.”
Guests also should limber up before and after their rounds. Young advises a trip or two to the sauna or a massage in the spa can help relieve soreness and tension after playing. He also stresses the need for hydration and sun protection when playing at altitude.
While Young speaks specifically about his course in Banff, his advice is sound no matter the destination of choice. Whether travellers are headed to the Canadian Rockies, Fairmont’s property in St Andrews Scotland, one of the PGA TOUR host courses at Fairmont properties in Scottsdale, Arizona or Mayakoba, Mexico, or elsewhere around the globe, players can use the planning an epic golf trip with friends or family members as motivation to maintain a healthy approach to life. Doing so promises to provide years of enjoyment and countless fond memories, as well as helping to individuals keep up those pesky resolutions.
*28ml = 1 ounce
For more information or reservations, please call 00 800 0441 1414 or visit www.fairmont.com.
|ABOUT FAIRMONT HOTELS & RESORTS
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is a celebrated collection of more than 60 luxury properties around the globe, including Shanghai’s Fairmont Peace Hotel, The Plaza in New York and Makkah Clock Royal Tower in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The luxury brand’s distinctive hotels offer a sense of heritage and sophistication, warm, engaging service and culturally rich experiences. A community and environmental leader, Fairmont is also recognised internationally for its responsible tourism practices and award-winning Green Partnership programme. Fairmont is owned by FRHI Holdings Limited, a leading global hotel company with over 100 hotels under the Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel brands. The company also manages Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel branded luxury private residences club, whole-ownership residences and serviced residences properties.
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