Rain does Aspen Lakes Golf Course some good

Central Oregon’s weather has been, well, atypical of late. In fact, sustained periods of rain recently might have a visitor wondering if he or she made a wrong turn in the Cascades only to wind up in the Willamette Valley.

“We were just talking about it today how I don’t think we’ve seen the sun for about two weeks,” says Josh Knapp, the superintendent at Aspen Lakes.

“In the eight years I have been in Central Oregon, I have never seen cloud cover with moisture last this long,” he adds.

Knapp has been a busy man of late, adjusting his work to the unexpected dose of rain

that has brought about nearly an inch of rain in the last 10 days (that is high here in the High Desert), according to the National Weather Service.

But what has been a bummer for golfers in the short term will be a boon for the conditioning of Aspen Lakes in the long term. It might seem obvious, but rain (as long as it is not too much rain) does a golf course good.

“There is no better irrigator than Mother Nature, that is for sure,” Knapp says. “She is pretty uniform across the golf course.”

The benefits of the rain are more than just the obvious. After a relatively dry offseason, the moisture levels in the soil fell below what is normal for this time of year.

“During the winter we had a lot of dry, windy weather,” Knapp says. “And before this rain came we were getting a lot of wind with no moisture.”

That could spell trouble in July when Central Oregon’s dry season inevitably hits. But the recent rain has helped those soil moisture levels return closer to normal, which will help foster a stronger root system. That will pay dividends later this summer, Knapp says.

And as disappointing as the rain can for anxious golfers ready to go full bore into the season, keeping course traffic low in mid-May can help the course more quickly recover from the offseason, setting up a spectacular peak golf season.

The benefits of all this moisture are already noticeable, particularly in the rough.

“It’s growing like crazy,” Knapp says. “If we only mow once a week, by the end of the week it looks like we didn’t even mow it. And everything is just uniformly green.”

The good news looks to be getting better, too. The weather forecast actually calls for a turn in the weather this Memorial Day Weekend. Finally the sunshine that is more familiar around these parts appears ready to return.

The recent moisture coupled with a dose of sunshine means golfers who visit Aspen Lakes soon will get a chance to play conditions that are pretty close to the best of the early season.

“I would say probably by midweek and to the end of the next week will probably the best little slot for course conditions,” Knapp says. “The sun will green everything up, firm things up, speed the greens up. And because of the rain, it will do it without burning anything up.”

Take advantage of the conditioning with early season rates that last through June 9 at Aspen Lakes. A golfer can play 18 holes at Aspen Lakes for as low as $39. To book a tee time, call 541-549-GOLF or book online at www.aspenlakes.com.

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