If you’re a golf enthusiast, the Straits course at Whistling Straits—in all its past PGA Championship and Ryder Cup glory—is what draws you to Kohler, Wisconsin. And if you’ve already experienced the wonders of what Destination Kohler provides, you know that the resort’s three additional, though lesser-known, championship layouts are an equally strong lure to bring you back.
Even for the most avid players, a golfing getaway to Kohler is much more than the rolling fairways, the sprawling—and sometimes cavernous—bunkers, or the immaculately manicured greens. More specifically, a number of wellness offerings exist that are intended to enhance golfers’ overall stays at the resort, not to mention their rounds out on the course.
Ashley Kohler, the resort’s director of wellness, acknowledges that the biggest wellness draw for golfers is Kohler Waters Spa, a facility that embraces the restorative powers of mineral-rich waters. The spa’s hydrotherapy circuit, for example, includes a whirlpool soak, a brief dip in the cool plunge pool, and a longer stay in the steam room or sauna. When repeated a handful of times, the circuit can reduce muscle tension, relieve pain, rehabilitate injured muscles, relieve stress, and boost the immune system. Ashley also highlights a new treatment, Fire and Ice, which combines the use of Kohler’s custom Vichy shower with exfoliating treatments and the use of peppermint-infused ice spheres.
Still, she points to the spa’s CBD Massage as the most popular treatment for golfers. “If they’ve been on the golf course all day and have tired muscles or are just feeling fatigued,” Ashley says, “that’s a go-to experience for golfers.”
Despite that, Destination Kohler is doing more to bring wellness initiatives to golfers in concert with their rounds. The resort has experimented with bringing a massage table out onto the driving range to assist in pre-round warmups, for example, and guests can book appointments with yoga instructors who will join them on the driving range for pre-round stretching and meditation. “Mindset is very important for golfers,” Ashley says. “You want to go into your round with a positive mindset, feeling really good about the day.”
Of course, she recognizes that for some golf travelers, post-round recovery simply involves a few cold beers and a plate of fried cheese curds. You won’t find those offerings intermingling with the healthy cuisine offered at the spa, of course, but Ashley isn’t one to refute their place in a golfer’s choice of post-round activities. “That’s why we pitch wellness your way,” she says. “If that’s some guests’ form of self-care and that brings them joy and happiness, we’re all for it.”
You want to go into your round with a positive mindset, feeling really good about the day.”
Some Destination Kohler guests, however, are visiting the Wisconsin property exclusively for more traditional wellness experiences, which is why the resort produces a handful of Kohler Wellness Retreats that are offered throughout the year.“We usually do four a year,” Ashley says, “and each one has a specific theme. We’ve done some in the past on longevity or nutrition. Each one has a very specific focus, which makes it more interesting and intriguing for our guests.”
As Ashley explains, the next retreat, scheduled September 29 to October 1, is tailored to highlight the restorative powers of being outdoors and immersed in nature. Activities include Harvest Moon meditation, hikes and outdoor yoga sessions, as well as reflective journaling and traditional treatments at the spa. Later in the year (November 12 to 16), the resort will host a Power of Water and Relaxation retreat, which emphasizes more of the unique hydrotherapy treatments offered at the spa.
“People want even more self-care in their lives,” she says, adding that the resort continues to see an uptick in guests who are coming just for wellness experiences, especially in the wake of the recent pandemic. “They want time away where they can decompress and have time for themselves. It’s only going to continue to grow. We’ll see more and more travelers coming specifically for wellness.”
As more travelers make Kohler their destination for that purpose, the resort will continue to broaden its suite of services and amenities, making sure that it can offer guests the perfect escape for the self-care that they desire—even if it’s as simple as a thrilling round of golf followed by a cold beer and fried cheese curds.