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Scottsdale Where golf travel and fitness collide

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If the Phoenix/Scottsdale area isn't golf Nirvana, I don't know what is. Not only are there more than 200 golf courses in the area, but there are dozens of resorts and spas where you can rejuvenate your game and your well being, too.

Spa treatments are often the best part of golf travel. And while massages, especially after golf, are great, there are other treatments available, like facials and pedicures and some that are even less obvious. For example, the Golden Door Spa at the Boulders Resort, one of the greatest spas of the Southwest, offers acupuncture for golf. It's called the 'Pin to Pin' treatment, created exclusively for golfers. The 80-minute procedure blends acupuncture, hot stone therapy and therapeutic massage with a concentration on the golf muscles.

'I believe in core and arm rotation to deliver the clubhead smoothly from a fluid swing,' said Donald Crawley, director of golf instruction at the Boulders.  'Any muscle restrictions can be eased and relieved by acupuncture treatment, and the Pin to Pin service helps increase and improve your range of motion. This can help you feel the swing more easily and perhaps increase your clubhead speed.'If this sounds like voodoo, consider that Fred Couples uses the technique to ease his chronic back pain, and he had a pretty good year last year.

Of course, if acupuncture isn't your style (or the $270 fee is more than you'd like to spend), you can never go wrong with a massage, and Scottsdale has plenty to great resorts and spas such as the Phoenician, the Four Seasons at Troon North, the JW Marriott Camelback Inn, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess or the Hyatt Regency at Gainey Ranch, just to name a few.

Or if you're in Scottsdale for a week or so, starting a golf fitness program like the Westin-Kierland's ForeMax workout isn't a bad way to get into 2011. Although it seems innocent enough, Fore-Max is pretty intense. My fantasy for my golf game and overall health would be to take a month off and spend it going through Fore-Max, which is sort of like a golf boot camp.

Run by the Western Kierland Director of Wellness Steve Heller, a typical Fore-Max training session lasts about 90 minutes and includes stretching, core-strengthening exercises, cardiovascular work and weight work. Combine it with a diet regimen, and you've really got something.

A number of tour players have gone through the program, and ordinary golfers have not only reported increased distance and a better golf game, but have they have lost weight and gained significant strength as well. Plus, even if you only have a few days, Heller can set you up with a DVD and a program to continue at home, which would make for a pretty good New Year's resolution.