Golf can be cruel. Spas never mistreat you. They’re a balm for an ego-bruising game. At these nine luxe properties, the golf might beat you up, but thanks to their world-class spas, you’ve always got an excellent chance at recovery.
Big Cedar Lodge
Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris built this Ozarks beauty, a rustic-chic resort that’s home to three great courses and a spa that people fall for hook, line and sinker. Its distinctive design evokes the spirit of the surrounding mountain region, with hand-hewn timber ceilings, natural stone floors and stained glass accents. The treatments are meant to be immersive, too. They range from soothing facials and fireside massages to a unique indulgence called the Ozarks Rain Experience. Slip on a bathing suit, and step into a shower as therapeutic water from eight showerheads cascades over you. It’s like basking in a welcome summer rain, except that a spa therapist is busy exfoliating your skin. $140 for 50 min.
San Martin, Calif.
Set in vineyard-latticed hills an hour south of San Francisco, this cushy resort has a topnotch Robert Trent Jones Jr. track that will host the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open. It also has a winery and a spa that makes good use of the fruit of the vine. One of its signature treatments is called Vineyard Vitality, which starts with a grape-seed scrub to smooth and nourish the skin, then moves on to a massage with grape-seed oil and vanilla body butter. If that doesn’t get you limber, nothing will. $200 for 60 min.; $240 for 90 min.; $320 for 120 min.
The Big Island, Hawaii
Black lava salt. Hibiscus. Crushed macadamia nuts. Sounds like you’ve got the makings of a killer cocktail, though they also work as essences in scented oils from which you get to choose when you customize your treatment at this resplendent retreat. Nestled in a landscape of lush island greenery, dotted with plunge pools and spliced by a stream, the spa looks every bit a tropical idyll. May we recommend a stone massage in one of the new secluded hales (picture a hut fit for Hawaiian royalty). It’s even better than sipping an umbrella drink on the beach. Hualalai has two courses, including Jack Nicklaus’ first Hawaii design, host of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship on the Champions Tour. $90 for 50 min.; $260 for 80 min.; $260 for 105 min.
Mukul Beach Golf and Spa
Guacalito de la Isla, Nicaragua
When in Nicaragua, do like the ancient Nicaraguans, who were partial to a purifying ritual in which they caked their bodies in volcanic clay. Spa therapists at this coastal resort do the same to you — and more — when they treat you to a Volcanic Clay Body Scrub. They start by coating you in mineral-rich clay, which relaxes muscles and drains impurities from your skin. Once the clay has dried and you’ve showered it off, they apply the final flourish: a replenishing rubdown with sage oil. Mukul is home to a stunning David Kidd course, which teeters along bluffs and winds through tamarind and mango trees. Too bad your game’s not as pure as you. $240 for 90 min.
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn
Location, location, location. This Spanish Mission-style inn sits atop an ancient thermal mineral spring, born from a source more than 1,000 feet below. Native Americans revered the spring for its healing power, and guests at the spa appreciate it, too. The spa covers 40,000 square feet and features mineral baths, an inviting fireplace and an array of tranquil treatment rooms. But one of the signature indulgences occurs outdoors. It’s called a Watsu treatment. A Wat-now? It’s a floating massage in a spring-fed pool, the water maintained at a constant 98-degrees. Resort guests enjoy access to Sonoma National Golf Club, a former Champions Tour venue. $189 for 60 min.
Sea Island, Ga.
Any spa at a golf resort worth its salt offers some sort of sports-specific treatment. The Spa at Sea Island takes the practice to another realm. Among the offerings at this upscale seaside sanctuary is whole body cryotherapy, a futuristic sports recovery technique that is gaining popularity with top athletes around the world, including Sea Island-based Tour pros Jonathan Byrd and Davis Love III. The treatment involves a short plunge in a cold bath. And we mean cold. Nitrogen vapors cool the air around the body to Arctic temperatures. Not only is it safe, it’s also restorative, especially when paired with a post-cryotherapy massage. Single cryotherapy session: $70; or three for $140.
The spa at this tranquil high desert resort gazes out at an otherworldly landscape studded with 12 million year-old boulder formations. That ought to put your game in historical perspective. But just in case, there’s always meditation in an authentic tipi, which is intended for exactly that. Other spa treatments draw heavily on Native American traditions, including a Turquoise Wrap, which is based on the ancient belief that the color turquoise creates a sense of peace and well being. It includes a hydrotherapy bath in turquoise oils; a blue corn meal scrub; and a wrap in ionized turquoise clay. $210 for 80 min.
PGA National Resort & Spa
Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Sanitas per aqua. That means health via water, and it hints at what awaits you when you ease into the spa at this famous, freshly renovated Florida resort. Its centerpiece is a feature called Waters of the World, a constellation of soaking pools infused with healing salts imported from the Dead Sea in Israel and the Salies de Bearn in France. Bathe in them, and you feel their salubrious effects. Water plays a different role elsewhere on the property, which has 90 holes of golf, including the Champion Course, host site of the Honda Classic. Its notorious closing stretch is known as the Bear Trap, where it’s not nearly as relaxing to get wet. Access to the Waters of the World is complimentary for guests who spend $50 or more in the spa.
Mayakoba’s acclaimed Greg Norman-designed layout is called El Camaleon, but if you really want to see a transformation, spend some downtime in Willow Stream Spa. Set in the heart of a tropical jungle, on grounds ornamented by mangroves and lagoons, it offers a range of replenishing treatments inspired by Mayan culture, including a cacao body wrap and a cleansing soak in a purifying herbal flower bath. And if chocolate and flowers aren’t up your alley, there’s also a strong-pressure deep tissue massage that targets soreness brought on by stress and tension. You know, those things you experience on the course. $189 for 60 min.; $275 for 90 min.