Following trend to lure women golfers, Pinehurst adds golf/spa package

By Tim McDonald, Contributor

PinehurstPINEHURST - Women looking for some luxury along with their golf have more choices than ever - more resorts are offering golf/spa packages to help entice women, either solo or with their families.

For example, the Pinehurst resort in North Carolina , which opened a $12 million spa in March, 2002, believes the spa/golf experience will attract more women to golf.

"This is the first year we've done combination packages, golf and spa," said Janeen Driscoll, of The Spa at Pinehurst. "We've had really favorable results."

The resort doesn't have specific figures, but said women seem to be responding.

"When we opened, the male-to-female ratio was different than it is now," she said. "We've had a five percent increase in the female market after opening the spa for a resort that focuses on golf."

The Spa at Pinehurst, located in the sandhills of North Carolina, has its roots in the 19th century, when the resort was primarily thought of as a "healing retreat."

The Spa at Pinehurst"When people think about Pinehurst, they think 'golf,' and with good reason," said Pinehurst President Patrick A. Corso. "But, before golf took center stage at Pinehurst, our resort was founded as a healing sanctuary, and in many ways this spa represents and honors that vision."

The spa offers 28 private treatment rooms for massage, facials and body treatments, a three-lane lap pool, a full-service salon and image center for hair, scalp and nail treatments, a 1,300 square-foot fitness center and men' s and women's locker rooms with whirlpool, steam and sauna.

The spa also offers body and skin care therapies, hydrotherapies as well as exercise and golf conditioning.

It's those last two that keep visitors, particularly women, coming back to the spa.

The Spa at Pinehurst"The women in the golf school practice in the mornings and in the afternoons, go out for on-course practice," Driscoll said. "People are sore after that day. We're finding a lot of women - and men - are going into the spa just to relieve muscle tension. It's very topical right now, we're definitely seeing an increase in it. Men and women are foregoing 36 holes of golf in one day for 18 holes and a spa treatment."

The golf/spa vacations seem to be particularly attractive to "early baby boomers."

"They're very active," Driscoll said. "They're looking to fill their schedules with all they can. The spa component for them is no longer just something the women do while the men go play golf. It's something couples are doing together."

The resort is part of the Pinehurst Company group of resorts, a division of Dallas-based ClubCorp.

Women looking for pampering along with golf can find a wide range of options.

For example: Spa Finder www.spafinder.com has a section on its web site dedicated to resort spas that cater to golfers, - such as the Chateau Elan in Braselton, Ga., Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club in Lennox, Mass., and The Breakers, in Palm Beach, Fla.

Willow Stream SpaWillow Stream offers a spa program for golfers that includes treatments specifically geared to women golfers, including facial and body drenching massages.

Landsdowne Resorts have "his and hers" package that includes a round of golf and a spa treatment each day.

"We have found that many couples will book for two nights - play golf together one day and get massages together the next," said resort spokesman Josh Herman.

The La Quinta Resort & Club, with five golf courses, offers four golf/spa packages.

For those women just starting golf who might feel intimidated by the men, Golf Digest Schools has an easy answer.

Instructor Dave Maga instructs women to get a glass of iced tea and a lawn chair, and watch the men tee off the first tee of any golf course for an hour.

"He guarantees they will feel more competent and confident than they may have been before," said Golf Digest School's Jennifer Munro. "And, of course, more open to learning and enjoying the game."

Tim McDonaldTim McDonald, Contributor

Veteran golf writer Tim McDonald keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.


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