Getting Into the Swing of Things in San Diego, Plus a Recipe for Amaya Parker Rolls with Rescue Hive Honey Butter


San Diego is a great getaway for golfers, spa seekers, and foodies alike. Photos: Golf Course at Fairmont Grand del Mar, San Diego. (Corey Weiner/Courtesy of Fairmont grand del Mar, San Diego); Inset: Chef Bryn McArthur's Parker Rolls (Photo: Courtesy of Fairmont Grand del Mar, San Diego)

It was when I had to ask my golf partners to tee up my ball for me that I knew it was time. I couldn’t imagine no longer playing my favourite sport. I called the surgeon’s office and asked them to book my hip replacement.

For several years I had put off surgery despite having two severely arthritic hips, one which gave me constant pain. I did know that hip replacement surgery is pretty much a modern medical miracle. Everyone I talked to who underwent the procedure raved about the results. No more pain, a lot more mobility, they told me. Even a friend who had major complications and had to have the hip ‘redone’ said it was worth it in the end.

However, I was determined to try all other solutions before I went under the knife. It is major surgery after all. The thought of someone, no matter how skilled, slicing open my leg, chopping out some of my bones and replacing them with metal (titanium in my case), gave me the heebie-jeebies. I bought books such as Hip Osteoarthritis CAN be Cured, tried all sorts of special exercises, physiotherapy, massage therapy, pain creams and recommended supplements and vitamins. Despite all that my pain increased and my mobility decreased steadily over time.

I was okay with using aids to put on socks, pick up things off the floor and slip on loafers, but not being able to bend enough to push a tee into the ground was humiliating — and painful. I promised myself after I’d had the surgery that I’d get back into the swing of things within a couple of months. Dr. Amir Khoshbin, my surgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, does the minimally invasive direct anterior hip arthroplasty. No muscles are cut with that procedure and if there were no complications, I could walk out of the hospital the same day.

And I did. Not to say recovery was a cakewalk. There was pain, but it was from the wound: the cut nerves, the swelling and the muscles and tendons that were wrenched to do the surgery. My hip joint on the other hand had no pain for the first time in three years. If I did my exercises (minimum three times a day), kept my wound infection free and healed, I could be back to sports and travelling in six weeks.

As an incentive I set my sights on returning to the Fairmont Grand del Mar just outside of San Diego. I’d been there about 10 years previous and it ticked off all my desires in a vacation. It had a great Tom Fazio-designed golf course on the property, a lovely spa, several pools, spacious and elegant accommodation and a fabulous two-star Michelin restaurant, Addison under chef William Bradley.


Fairmont Grand
A guest room at Fairmont Grand del Mar, San Diego. Photo: Corey Weiner/Courtesy of Fairmont San Diego


I made it there about three months after my surgery. In between I had two conferences in New York and about three weeks of business travel, so I had the travelling down pat and now I’d get to test out my golf. My first task upon arrival however was to get a reservation at Addison. It was fully booked during my stay but as a guest on the property I had first dibs on any cancellations. I got in that night and good thing. While I was there, Addison got awarded a third Michelin star, one of only 14 in the entire U.S. (It will be near impossible to get a reservation there now.) Needless to say the multi-course tasting menu was beyond memorable.

The next day, I went out to the golf practice area. It was perfect for getting back in the game post-surgery. I checked out my chipping and sand play in the short-game practice area. Sank putt after putt on the 4,200-square-foot putting green and swung away on the practice range. I was still a little nervous about my game so put off playing the course until the next day.

One of southern California’s most dramatic and challenging 18-hole courses, it has spectacular fairways that wind through the scenic valleys of the rugged Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. Opened in 1999, it spans 380 acres and recently underwent significant improvements, adding a cascading water feature and 18-foot waterfall. More significant for me, it was more female friendly, with forward tees that eliminated long carries. Plus, they still had the caddy program for players.


The golf course at Fairmont Grand del Mar has spectacular fairways that wind through the scenic valleys of the rugged Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. Photo: Corey Weiner/Courtesy of Fairmont San Diego


Caddies are a great help to any golfer on an unfamiliar course. In my foursome, we had Judd one day and Alan the next. They gave tips on where to play the ball, racked the sand traps for us, cleaned our balls and clubs as we went along and more. I was more than thankful that they placed the ball on the tees for me as I was still working to regain my range of motion. With their guidance, I even managed to birdie a hole.

Post games, I indulged in the Golf Revitalization treatment and other body care at The Fairmont Spa & Wellness, the hotel’s 21,000-square-foot spa. My time at the Grand del Mar really helped bring back my confidence that I was ready to swing again. I know I’ll be teeing up my own balls come next spring.


San Diego
The author, mid-swing, at Fairmont Grand del Mar golf course. Photo: Courtesy of the author



A Taste of San Diego: Amaya Parker Rolls with Rescue Hive Honey and Honey Butter

“The honey bees of the Fairmont Grand del Mar are particularly special guests; each colony is the result of a live honey bee rescue and relocation. Bees are key to our environment, climate change and sustainability, as they are responsible for pollinating nearly 85 per cent of our food crops. Support your local bees with this sweet recipe.”  —Bryn McArthur, executive chef, Fairmont Grand del Mar, San Diego


Parker Rolls
Photo: Courtesy of Fairmont San Diego


Honey Butter Ingredients:

½ cup butter
1 tbsp honey
Pinch sea salt

Honey butter Method:

  1. Whip butter until soft.
  2. Add honey and salt.

Brioche Ingredients:

4 ¼ cups flour
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
¼ cup water
¼ cup honey
5 tbsp grapeseed oil
3 tbsp fresh yeast
1 tbsp salt

Parker Roll Method:

  1. In a bowl, crumble the fresh yeast into the flour.
  2. In a stand mixer bowl, add buttermilk, water, honey and oil. Add flour/yeast mixture and salt on top.
  3. Use dough hook attachment and mix for 10 minutes on speed one.
  4. Put mixer on speed two and keep mixing for 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Divide dough in half and place into two containers. Let rest overnight in a cool place.
  6. Pull the dough and then let it proof for 1 hour.
  7. Divide dough into 4oz pieces and shape into rolls. 
  8. Spray desired pan and place rolls in pan. Let proof for 2 hours. When dough has risen to top of pan, it is ready to bake. 
  9. Preheat oven to 150 C/310 F and bake for approximately 40 minutes. 
  10. Serve brioche buns warm with honey butter and honey. 


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