HAMILTON, BERMUDA - Spas have come up with all sorts of gimmicks to lure men into a female-dominated world. The most effective – short of naked female therapists – has proven to be the golf massage, one of the best of which is administered at this colorful island’s pink beauty known as the Fairmont Southampton Hotel.
Now don’t expect to start hitting the ball like Tiger Woods, himself a big fan of massages, after a treatment. Golf massages only promise to give you more agility, not ability.
But the people at the Southampton’s award-winning Willow Stream spa have come up with a trinity of treatments that will at least make you feel better when you arrive at the first tee. And afterwards, you can test out the results on one of the eight championship courses that make this a treasured island for golfers. Included in that mix is the Southampton’s own stunning par-3 course; a regular winner of many golf magazine awards.
The three treatments the Willow Stream staff recommends for golfers are the “performance treatment”, “golf facial” and the “up to par body experience”, designed for those who don’t make many pars.
The performance treatment was developed by a Fairmont therapist in Scottsdale, Ariz., with the help of a golf professional. The twosome broke down the golf swing and developed a massage treatment that helps stretch the particular muscles used during the golf swing. The massage helps make you more flexible and relives the pain experienced during a swing – especially the bad ones, which most amateur golfers are only too familiar with.
Left: After a spa, dine on the beach. Right: The Fairmont Southampton is one of the first to offer men’s treatments.
The treatment, which consists of massage, stretching and acupressure, has been endorsed by such golf luminaries as famed instructor David Leadbetter and some PGA Tour stars.
Golfers don’t get off easy during this treatment. Male instructors need their cooperation to ensure the best results. So clients are supplied with short pants because a main part of the treatment involves stretching the legs.
Making male clients feel comfortable during a session is paramount. The majority of men, after all, are still homophobic when it comes to the spa world.
The session begins with the rubbing of toes and feet and the instructor ordering you to “push back” when he applies pressure. That part of the treatment is designed to help golfers with their balance.
Better flexibility is achieved when the instructor stretches out your legs and hips before proceeding to arms and hands. All the benefits of a deep tissue rub are realized without the pain usually associated with that treatment.
The "performance massage" feels more like a physiotherapy session and its benefits lasts up to four hours – about the time it takes to play a round of golf. Golfers are advised to have the 60-minute massage before each round, by the way.
The Willow Stream's other golf treatments, the "facial" and "up to par body experience," help deal with the damage sun can inflict during a round. The hydrating facial is designed to moisturize, repair and protect a golfer's skin from the sun.
Most golfers report back that their swing and hip movement are far more fluid during a round and the $160 charged by the Willow Stream usually results in better scores – and that’s the most satisfying feeling.