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Golf and Wellness: Enjoy Your Health in Full Swing

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On June 11, 2016, over 3,000 properties in 83 countries will celebrate Global Wellness Day with the objective to touch the hearts and minds of 250 million people. Thousands of wellness activities will be organized, free of charge, by day spas and salons, hotel spas, fitness clubs, yoga/Pilates studios, ballet companies and dance schools, town halls, even golf clubs. Millions of people will be given the opportunity to try new fun and healthy activities, experience new sensations as bodies are pleasantly invited to breathe consciously, stretch to one's heart content, walk the talk, hike to discover new horizons, pack a scrumptious snack on a bike tour, run for miles with a smile, dance to the rhythm of life and swing away!

On Global Wellness Day, Golf courses across the U.S., France and Cyprus, will offer the chance to experience golf as an exhilarating wellness activity. The Sedona Golf Resort in Arizona is spearheading a one-of-a-kind Wellness Golf Tournament in celebration of Global Wellness Day. Whether you are a seasoned golfer, or an avid beginner, the Sedona Golf Resort has planned 9-holes of fitness and wellness activities to exercise your body and mind, in partnership with the Sedona Athletic Club at the Hilton Hotel. The practice range will be open to the public and free of charge, to help motivate people to start swinging into wellness and attract new energy to the game.

Thanks to her contagious positive energy, Mia Mackman, Founder/President of the Arizona Spa & Wellness Association and one the GWD Ambassadors of America, has convinced Jeremy Hayman, GM of Sedona Golf Resort to join the worldwide celebration, that will start at sunrise in New Zealand until sunset in Hawaii, covering all time zones. "Golf is wonderful way to be out in nature and it has incredible and vast wellness benefits. The unique experience of golfing in Sedona with awe-inspiring views creates an everlasting impression. Honoring Global Wellness Day with creative ingenuity and launching the first Integrative Fitness & Wellness Golf Tournament of its kind marks a fun experience for the whole family. It expands the perceived value of the game, celebrates community and gives rise to global wellness and awareness." said Mia Mackman.
Hayman and his team, have planned some surprising and fun activities including Tai Chi, Yoga, Kettle bells, Mountain Biking and Zumba throughout the course, just to name a few. General Manager, Jeremy Hayman said, "The Sedona Golf Resort is excited to be a part of GWD 2016. Year round we get to promote outdoor recreation in the most beautiful place on earth, Sedona, Arizona. So when we heard about GWD, we knew it would align very closely with our mission. The plans we have for activities on June 11th will give us the chance to use the golf course in a fun and energetic way. We can't wait!"

In the same time, Stephanie Rest, co-Founder of the Caribbean Spa Association & GWD Ambassador in the Caribbean, reached out to Billy Casper Golf, the largest operator of daily-fee golf courses in America with 140 properties in 29 states. They have organized 3 options for employees to participate:

1. Run in an outdoor race/event or attend a fitness class at their gym (min of 1 hours in length) on June 11th ; 2. Walk 9-holes at any golf course on June 11th ; 3. Reach 15,000 steps on a personal fitness device on June 11th.

With completion of one of the activities above, full-time Billy Casper Golf employees will receive 100 Vitality points to help them reach a higher Vitality status. Their Vitality status is used to help them achieve incentive plans offered by Billy Casper Golf's company-wide wellness program. With completion of one of the activities above, ALL Billy Casper Golf employees (full-time, part-time and seasonal) will be rewarded with a complimentary round of golf 'token' that can be used towards a future round of golf at any Billy Casper Golf facility and/or given to one of their guests for redemption.

"We are excited to participate in Global Wellness Day 2016," says Peter Hill, Chairman and CEO of Billy Casper Golf, winner of Smart CEO's Healthiest Company Award. "Promoting healthy lifestyles for our employees, club members and golfers is extremely important and aligns well with this initiative."

Meanwhile, in France, three properties are championing Golf as a Wellness activity. Gwenaëlle Levêque, GM of Domaine de Cice-Blossac brainstormed with Elodie Dailland, her Spa Manager, to include their "Signature Guided Relaxation" from the Spa into Golf classes. There will also be a delightfully surprising activity on the golf course: a Signature massage (with clothes on) that defies gravity on a giant inflatable cushion : « la sieste Coton » (the "coton nap").

Near Avignon, Nathanaël Pietrzak-Swirc, GM of Garden Golf is organizing a Speed Golf Competition on June 11, with a Zen Golf approach on the practice range & a Signature warm-up sequence to be performed by most players & members present!

Andrew Spearman, GM Domaine de Manville (Les Baux de Provence) is also including wellness activities with golf classes, oxygenating walks & massages facing the Golf course, with Julie Mauro, Spa Director, coordinating.

Cyprus proves to be a true Wellness destination with George Tavelis spearheading nationwide activities as President of the Cyprus Spa Association & GWD Ambassador. Following the rally cry of "Wellness for everyone" award-winning Aphrodite's Hills Resort, Spa & Golf will organize a full-day of wellness activities, enchanting guest, members, staff & locals on & off the golf course. Maro Kazepi, Golf Tourism Coordinator at Cyprus Tourism Organisation is delighted to support GWD as Wellness is already deeply rooted in the DNA of the country with all year round generous sun, relaxing sandy beaches, healthy gastronomic delights, lush nature to explore & a rich culture of hospitality dating from thousands of years with a tradition of healing waters in Hot springs. Golf is truly a "Fairway to Heaven" as it can be a rejuvenating experience starting with a sunrise Yoga and swim in the sea, and concluding the Golf game at the 19th Hole with a taste of local food & wine as the sun goes down. Perfect Golf and Wellness Bliss!!!

These passionate professionals are truly making a difference in the way people perceive golf as a game, sport & lifestyle, to fully enjoy "W.O.W" moments, in the sense of "Wonders Of Wellness".

Robert Redford in «The Legend of bagger Vance» unveiled the fact that every stroke is about finding a way for a perfect shot to express itself. Selecting the appropriate club to cover the distance, adjusting to the terrain with the right posture, getting a firm grip, letting go of unnecessary tensions in the body & jaw, softening the knees. Breathing long and slow as the body pivots, raising the club. Feeling that sweet moment when time stands still allowing for the movement to invert, with the swing of the pendulum, coming back square on the ball, following through and facing towards the flag, with one's heart fully open.

Usually, the confirmation of an effortless & perfect shot comes with the clear sound that the ball makes as it soars through the air. That moment is worth all the hours on the driving range & the putting green. In the vein of "Wellness for Everyone", that moment is accessible to all, if only you set yourself in motion to explore how your body works & how you can find your swing both on the course, and in life.

Surely, one can perceive a golf course as a "challenge course" with sand bunkers, water obstacles, trees, thick grass, wind & rain to try your patience... Yet, the real challenge is not outside, it is within. The purpose of golf is not merely to « hit a small ball without touching the giant ball underneath »... It is a relentless invitation to find one's pace through life, one's swing, clearing one's mind from its chatter, energizing the body with enhanced flexibility & muscle tone, while strengthening & pacifying one's heart, with reduced stress and anxiety.

Not only is walking 5 miles (about 7 kilometers) on courses as large as 200 acres excellent exercise in itself but, Neil Wolkodoff, researcher at Rose Center for Health and Sports Sciences reports that walking the 9-hole course actually helps you burn calories. According to the article, golfers who walk and carry their own bag burn 721 calories, golfers using a pull cart burn 718 calories, golfers walking with a caddie burn 613 calories and golfers riding in a golf cart burn 411 calories on average.

Research presented in the article, claims that burning 2,500 calories a week can greatly reduce the risks of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. As such, it is easy to see how hitting the links frequently can factor into a healthy lifestyle, especially while exposure to sunlight (with sun screen) allows the body to soak up vitamin D, promoting bone growth in youth and reducing the risk of depression.

(Tallahassee.com article by Becky Sauers)
Golf Fitness Laboratory at Pitt Medical Center's Center for Sports Medicine, highlights the fact that those who play golf four times a week and walk the course expend nearly 8,000 more calories a week than golf cart riders. That translates to a possible loss of nine pounds (4 kg) over three months!

Furthermore, the Walker Research Group reports that walking 18-holes of golf, blood glucose levels fall by up to 20 percent for the young, 10 percent for the middle-aged, and 30 percent for the elderly players, and body

weight is slightly reduced for all groups.

Clearly, walking, carrying and swinging is excellent for your « ticker », increasing heart rate and enhancing blood flow to the brain, which can stimulate and improve nerve cell connections. Naturally, this will lower risks for heart diseases and decrease levels of "bad" cholesterol.

It also comes as no surprise that exercise, with a great intake of oxygen & chlorophyll, golfers tend to fall asleep faster and sleep more profoundly, remaining in a deep sleep for longer periods of time, which helps the body to regenerate cell and repair muscles and tissues.

Even better news, the Karolinska Institute (Sweden) estimates that the death rate for golfers is 40 percent lower than for other people of the same sex, age and socioeconomic status. This equates to a 5-year increase in life expectancy for regular golfers. (The study was published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports and is based on data compiled from studying 600,000 Swedish golfers.

As a highly social activity, golf fosters relationships, keeping in touch with friends, meeting new people, connecting with a community, even closing business deals!

With health being the true wealth, what if, on June 11 2016, Global Wellness Day helped you realize that trying out golf for the first time, or dusting off your old set of clubs, could help you close the best deal of your life: balancing vitality & serenity as you Grow your Wellness Daily.