The most significant improvement in years to Aspen Lakes red cinder bunker is now under way.
Aspen Lakes started a project this week to add 300 cubic yards of fine cinder to its bunkers, which should help play from the golf course’s unique signature feature. In fact, the new cinder should help the bunkers feel much softer than what has been the case in recent years.
“It’s about as close to USGA specifications as we are going to get with cinder,” says Josh Knapp, superintendent at Aspen Lakes. “It’s a lot finer material than is in there now.”
The project calls for the addition of about 4 inches of fine cinder to every greenside bunker, and whatever remains of the cinder will be added to Aspen Lakes’ fairway hazards.
Like Aspen Lakes’ original bunker material, the cinder comes directly from the farm of the Cyrus family (which owns Aspen Lakes) that sits across McKenzie Highway. That cinder then was shipped to Latham Excavation in Bend, where it was crushed into tiny 2-millimeter pieces.
The crushed cinder was then piled on a section of Aspen Lakes’ parking lot. Fro there, crews will work into next week, scoop by scoop, to complete the project.
“The players who have hit out of it so far, they love it,” Knapp says. “They get a little more fluffy lie, so they love it.”
Golfers who have experience with Aspen Lakes’ bunkers know that the red cinder bunkers play a fraction differently than more conventional sand. But the addition of the new sand should be clearly noticeable.
“It won’t play like white sand, but it will be as close as we can get it with the cinder,” Knapp says.
This is the most important step in a season-long program to improve the play of Aspen Lakes’ signature feature. For instance, Knapp and his crew have actually been raking the bunkers less this year, which has helped to lesson compaction.
The reaction has been positive.
“We have been getting feedback that this year the bunkers have not been as hard as they were in the past,” Knapp says.
Now good is getting even better.