Those who play during Central Oregon’s shoulder season will often find the best golf of the season
The scene at Aspen Lakes Golf Course is idyllic.
The suddenly snow-capped Cascade peaks pop in the distance under the bright September sun and against the blue sky. The turf, still touched by summer, glistens a deep emerald green. The golf course bustles with golfers taking advantage of some of the best golf of the season.
For those golfers who know, September and early October can be an unexpectedly prime time to travel to Aspen Lakes.
“This can be one of our busiest months for groups,” says Rob Malone, Aspen Lakes director of golf. “The kids are back to school. The weather is usually great. So it tends to be a great time to travel.”
What is that draws these golfers?
For many it is relief from the long, hot summer while still playing a course in peak summer condition.
“The weather is so pleasant,” says Aspen Lakes member Gary Pogalies as he practices his putting just off the first tee. “It’s clear. There is just a little crispness in the air. The (aspen) trees are changing color.”
Groups tend to gravitate toward Aspen Lakes after Labor Day for good reason. The area restaurants are just a little less busy. A great Sisters hotel room is often not as difficult to find as during the peak summer tourist season.
Don’t forget about the weather. Friday was 70 degrees and sunny. And only sunny weather lays ahead.
“For myself, it’s the perfect temperature,” says Darrin Rayl, a Portland-area resident, just before teeing off. “It’s not too hot. The older you get the hotter temperatures (of summer) affect you. I don’t get to golf a lot. … But it’s a beautiful area. So for myself it’s the perfect time.”
Dennis Spangler has been coming to Central Oregon each September for more than 30 years. The Moses Lake, Washington, resident has grown fond of the region during that time.
“I love this area,” Spangler says as he practices his putting stroke.
Playing in a group event over the weekend, Spangler says that the weather tends to be mild this time of year. And that makes it ideal for a round of golf at Aspen Lakes.
“This is going to be gorgeous weather the next three days. It’s going to be perfect.”
Is there a downside to playing in September? Well, maybe a few.
“You get a frost delay this time of year,” Pogalies says. “But usually it doesn’t last that long.”
Yep. Just a few minutes delay early in the morning. Then again, good things do come to those who wait.