VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. -- It's certainly possible to play 36 holes of golf each day and still be in fighting shape. It's just so much easier if a spa treatment or even two or three are thrown into the mix. And you can have it if your destination is the Pinehurst Resort.
The Spa at Pinehurst is an impressive 31,000-square-foot facility located adjacent to the east wing of the stately Carolina hotel. From the time you walk through the door and put yourself in the hands of one of its competent therapists, you start decompressing.
You begin forgetting the missed putts, lost balls and miserable bunker shots. The colors -- soft whites, grays -- and the sound of water tumbling and flowing from fountains and the long pristine lap pool soothe.
Browsing through the spa menu, the greatest dilemma you may face is which one to choose, especially if your time is limited. Some sound like fancy bar drinks like the Herbal Mint Julep Wrap and the Carolina Peach Nourisher.
Others just sound hedonistic like Pure Indulgence, where the name says it all. For $470 you have three hours of nonstop luxury with a nourishing body treatment, hot stone massage, hydrating facial, manicure and pedicure. After this, you'll be ready to tackle Pinehurst No. 2, where you'll get a sneak preview of the course that will host both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open in 2014.
If you can only have one treatment, the two-hour Golfer's Hole in One at $210 will help banish aches and pains from your last round of golf. It includes a Pine Salt Scrub, Golfer's Massage and Bath Escape.
I opted for the Champion's Massage ($155), where the therapist used hot stones on the back and feet (these are hot, not sizzling) combined with a full body massage and a foot scrub. She asked if the pressure was okay and it was perfect, strong enough to work out the tension. Note: Whenever you are having a massage, speak up if you need more or less pressure. You want to enjoy the treatment, not find yourself grimacing in pain.
I also want to stay awake. When I have to shell out an average of $100-$150 per treatment, I do not want to fall asleep and miss one second of the soothing strokes performed by expert therapists.
If your feet are weary, you might try the spa's Foot Refresher (30 minutes/$70) or go for Reflexology. Pinehurst's 50-minute treatment ($50) includes wrapping your feet in their signature Pine Blend, then massaging your feet to stimulate reflex points.
Once you've scheduled your spa appointment, schedule in as much time as you can before and after your treatment. You want time to relax and unwind in the spa's sanctuary.
Although complimentary robe and slippers are provided, you'll want to bring your bathing suit so you can enjoy the lap pool, whirlpools, and steam and sauna areas.
If you want to share your spa experience with a special person before or after your treatment, the lap pool is perfect with lounges all around. Couples massages are available in special treatment suites.
If you plan on having a golf-free day and spending several hours at the spa, you can order a light snack from their cuisine menu and enjoy it on the outside veranda or by the pool.
Or if you just want to warm up before your game, try their Golfer's Stretch (30 minutes/$70) with a personal trainer or learn about golf conditioning fundamentals with their Golf Conditioning Workout designed to improve flexibility, core strength and endurance (50 minutes/$110). All the better to put you in good shape to tackle Pinehurst's eight courses. Good stuff.
At The Spa at Pinehurst tranquility prevails. That means no smoking, pagers, cell phones or alcohol. And no one has complained of withdrawal symptoms.
And, oh yes. The Spa shop. Gotta stop there on the way out. Or in.