Project to turn area into a grass bunker should open up par 4
Any golfer who knows Aspen Lakes well, knows the large waste bunker that protects the dogleg around the gorgeous pond on the par-4 11th hole.
That bunker, which has helped keep wayward golf balls from the water since Aspen Lakes opened in the late 1990s, will be the focus of the course’s most noticeable spring project. Superintendent Josh Knapp and his staff will begin the work next week to remove the bunker in its current form, and turn the hazard into a grass bunker that is a bit more amiable to players.
“The people who have been playing here for a while I think will appreciate that one,” says Knapp. “It will really open the hole up.”
Starting next week, Aspen Lakes will begin to remove the cinder inside the bunker. The maintenance staff will then create a drainage bed and place a layer of top soil. Finally, it will be seeded with new turf and staked off as ground under repair.
Knapp said he is aiming for the grass bunker to be ready to go before the Central Oregon Shootout tees off on April 22.
“We had a decision to make: Either make it a standard bunker or do it as a grass bunker,” says Rob Malone, the director of golf at Aspen Lakes.”And I think the grass bunker makes the most sense.”
No. 11 is easily one of the great holes at Aspen Lakes, praised for being brutally beautiful. But over the years the waste bunker has caused confusion among players.
For one, often golfers often could not distinguish whether the No. 11 hazard was a waste bunker or sand bunker. (It happens to the best of us. Just ask Dustin Johnson in the 2010 PGA Championship.) The rules are different for waste bunkers, which are unmaintained areas where golfers have the freedom to ground your club before the shot or to move loose impediments around the ball.
Initially the bunker on No. 11 was created to keep balls from rolling into the water. But because golfers often treated the bunker on No. 11 as a sand bunker, it turned out to be more punitive than the original design had intended.
And because the bunker was an unmaintained area, Aspen Lakes golfers have voiced concern about the coarseness of the sand in that particular bunker.
This project solves both those issues.
“By growing grass in there that is going to be rough length, it’ll keep that same design feature (by keeping balls from running into the water) but eliminate the confusion over what type of bunker it really is,” Malone says. “It’s really addressing an issue that I have gotten multiple comments on over the years.”
The project on No. 11 is just another example of how Aspen Lakes continually tries to improve what is already considered among the very best golf courses in Oregon.