The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa
It’s late afternoon on a prime autumn day at the westin Kierland resort & Spa’s expansive outdoor
courtyard, dreamweaver’s Canyon. Bagpiper extraor-
dinaire michael mcClanathan has just completed a
soulful, heart-tugging rendition of amazing Grace
on his 130-year-old Great highland aerophone. the
Kodacolor sunset is beginning to wane, a slight chill
is gripping the evening air and my goblet of chardon-
nay is nearly ready for a refill.
alas! another day of heaven-on-earth is pass-
ing in Scottsdale, where my must-do bucket list has
notched a professionally guided fitness class; group
lesson at a top-ranked golf academy; comprehensive
and customized golf club fitting; playing 27 holes of
golf aboard an insanely fun, specially outfitted Seg-
way; then sunbathing, sliding and floating at a rau-
cous, kid-friendly water park.
all in one day, all without leaving the resort. pretty
cool, huh? heaven knows I need energy to treat my
wife wendy to a romantic dinner. “man up, baby!”
she teases. Not that her day was any less complete or
exhaustive: after our intensive exercise class and golf
activities, she joyfully squeezed in a specialty treat-
ment at the westin’s agave Spa while I was lounging
poolside. Still, mr. mcClanathan’s stirring Scottish
melodies are proving the perfect tonic, and we are on
our way to a favored resort restaurant that is but a
few minutes' walk from our current locale.
after perusing a heady collection of artwork by
Cuban-born Nelson Garcia-miranda at the westin
Kierland’s award-winning deseo, aromatic scents of
Nuevo Latino cuisine result in a 911-order of lobster
ceviche and the eatery’s signature “muddle” cocktail,
a fabulous concoction of fresh fruits, herbs and spirits.
while awaiting the main course, wendy and I begin to
compare notes of the preceding 10 hours.
her favorite activity, no surprise, was the early morn-
ing fore-maX Golf training class. resort fitness di-
rector Steve heller’s one-of-a-kind fitness program in-
volved an hour of thorough stretching and core-muscle
drills, followed by an hour of aerobic conditioning.
for golfers, the program can result in an average
increase of 15-20 yards off the tee and an 8-10 mph
boost in clubhead speed—but benefits are not limit-
ed to the links. one 40-something classmate told me
that his flexibility and overall fitness have exploded
after just a few months of fore-maX training: “I’m
kicking younger players’ butts in basketball, and for
the first time my back doesn’t hurt after a round of
golf. this stuff absolutely works,” he said.
Golf is my passion, and I am a big fan of the wes-
tin Kierland’s golf program. first, there is the LaBauve
Golf academy, directed by husband-wife mike and
Sandy LaBauve, both top 100 GoLf magazine in-
structors. Second, the on-site, outdoor profIt shop
offers complete grip-to-loft club fitting, a service pre-
viously available only to golf professionals. and third,
the Scott miller-designed, 27-hole golf course is an
absolute winner: the club’s verdant layout formerly
was board-flat desert before 1. 3 million cubic yards
of earth were bulldozed and sculpted into scrump-
tious elevations changes, generous fairways and co-
pious plantings of indigenous trees and shrubs.
highlighting our golf outing was the rental of
battery-powered Segway Gts—those uber-cool,
two-wheel people movers—to safely transport us
and our clubs up and down steep hills, across ar-
royos and from tee to green. fun doesn’t begin to
describe the experience.
as for dinner at deseo? wendy is feasting on the
white sea bass with toasted pasta, while I am in
full-carnivore mode, dissecting the chili-marinated
Kurobuta pork tenderloin. Like I said—this is heaven
the last of the contiguous states
to be admitted into the union
(only alaska and hawaii followed),
arizona gained statehood on
february 14, 1912.