GREAT GOLF AND SPA RESORTS: Properties that offer the best of both worlds

August 1, 2017

Studies show that physical and mental well-being directly correlate with job performance. Planners can make the most of that evidence by choosing to meet at top-notch golf resorts with luxurious spas. Here are a few exemplary facilities that assist groups in incorporating their leisure offerings into the agenda.

AMERICAN CLUB KOHLER, WIS.

It’s hard to say what the 241-room American Club (americanclubresort.com) is better known for, its unique and challenging golf courses or state-of-the-art relaxation oasis known as the Kohler Waters Spa.

Chief among the golf layouts is the Straits at Whistling Straits, the British Isles-worthy links that hosted the 2015 PGA Championships and will be home to the 2020 Ryder Cup. It’s a true test for the best players in your group; the resort’s three other layouts will wow pros and dufers alike.

For a fun reception, the Kohler Swing Studio can be set up with food and drink while participants compete on golf simulators for closest-to-the-pin and longest-drive prizes. A PGA teaching pro also can be on hand to give mini-lessons. In the summer, the resort offers Big Cup express golf, an after-dinner competition featuring six 40- to 60-yard holes. It’s quick and fun for players of all levels.

The 25,000-square-foot Kohler Waters Spa lures guests with 21 treatment rooms, a 30-foot relaxation pool and a secluded rooftop deck with a fireplace, a sauna and plunge pools. Group activities include stretching and posture sessions, stress-management programs, aromatherapy breaks and healthful-cooking demonstrations. Another option: Turn a breakout room into a mini spa.

Groups visiting the American Club have more than 21,000 square feet of meeting space to choose from, as well as five dining outlets.

FOUR SEASONS KAILUA-KONA, HAWAII

A 28,000-square-foot spa on the Big Island would be serene just for the setting, but this Four Seasons (fourseasons.com/hualalai) ups the relaxation quotient with tropical gardens and 19 spa treatment rooms. The spa menu includes apothecary therapy (one treatment uses volcanic mud and deep-sea clay), a Hawaiian rain forest scrub and Hawaii’s traditional lomi lomi massage.

Groups can take over the whole facility for an after-hours “sparty” The setup features a bar, desserts, late-night snacks and other refreshments for guests in the Wailea Garden, and mini treatments in the garden or in open-air structures called hales.

The Jack Nicklaus-designed Hualalai Golf Course is a 7,100-yard layout carefully carved out of the landscape, some holes framed by the Big Island’s signature black lava. Groups can play foot golf (using a soccer ball) or glow-in-the-dark night golf. Cocktails, concerts and dinners are held on the driving range.

The 243-room property also features seven pools, three restaurants and more than 23,000 square feet of meeting space.

HYATT REGENCY HILL COUNTRY RESORT & SPA SAN ANTONIO

More than 200 acres at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country were carved by architect Arthur Hill into 27 holes of championship golf–three mix-and-match nines to challenge all who tee up.

Group outings at the 500-room resort come with a shot of whimsy: This past April, the driving range hosted a “glow” party, with an LED dance floor, laser tag and glow-in-the-dark¬†puttputt¬†golf. “All-sport” one-hole golf events incorporate balls and equipment from a number of sports (soccer, tennis and lacrosse, for example), finishing with a hockey stick to get a golf ball into the hole.

The property’s Windflower Spa, with 21 treatment rooms, incorporates native ingredients into the potions used for massages and facials. For a fun event, the Hyatt will set up an herbal-blend bar, allowing participants to create their own concoctions to drop in a bath.

The resort features 54,000 square feet of meeting space, as well as outdoor courtyards, pavilions and lawns for variety. Amenities include seven food-and-beverage options and a five-acre “water playground” with a lazy river, a waterfall and a Texas-shaped pool.

MONTAGE PALMETTO BLUFFS BLUFFTON, S.C.

Set on the Harbor River waterway that leads to Hilton Head Island, the Montage Palmetto Bluff (montagehotels. com/palmettobluff) features a top spa and a 7,171-yard Jack Nicklaus Signature Course, as well as a nature preserve, hiking trails and a marina.

The Inn at the Montage opened last year with 74 of the resort’s 200 rooms, as well as the 13,000-square-foot Spa Montage Palmetto Bluff, which aims to bring the soft Southern outdoors inside treatment rooms. Pampering options include the Signature High Cotton Massage and the Warm River Stone Massage. The facility also has outdoor patios, eucalyptus steam rooms, a whirlpool and cold-plunge pool, and redwood saunas.

Caddies are required, as golfers play the course through the May River Forest; several holes also run along the Harbor River. The practice facility offers more than the typical driving range: A special fairway has been contoured down the middle to help players target their shots. The facility also features a five-acre short-game practice area with three regulation-sized greens for sharpening wedge shots, chips and putts.

Seven F&B options are on-site, including Fore & Aft on the waterway by the Inn’s pool.

The resort offers 16,000 square feet of meeting space, including the 6,700-square-foot Wilson Ballroom and a Lowcountry riverfront event pavilion.

OMNI MOUNT WASHINGTON BRETTON WOODS, N.H.

The historical Omni Mount Washington Resort, with 200 guest rooms in the 1902 main hotel and 34 at the 1896-built Omni Bretton Arms Inn, has an equally storied golf course. It was laid out in 1915 by America’s first true golf architect, Donald Ross. Omni restored the course in 2008.

Sitting in the shadow of the tallest peak of the Presidential Mountain Range as well as the entire Northeastern United States, the Mount Washington Course once again follows Ross’ original plan. The resort also features the Mount Pleasant Course, a nine-hole executive layout perfect for shorter outings and casual competitions for players of all abilities.

Treatment rooms at the 25,000-square-foot spa look out at the mountains. The facility’s Mount Washington Signature Body Ritual features the Vichy-massage shower’s seven jets, no less than a triple exfoliation and a soothing scalp massage.

The resort features 30,000 square feet of event space, including a 20,000-squarefoot conference center that was added in 2009. Among other recreational amenities are indoor and outdoor pools, resort stables for horseback-riding and carriage rides, and an on-site zipline.