A stretch of mild temperatures has Aspen Lakes off on the right foot
The maintenance staff at Aspen Lakes Golf Course has worked hard to improve just about about every facet of the course’s conditioning.
So when superintendent Josh Knapp sees the course in fine shape as it begins to spring to life — as it has over the last week during a warm stretch that has often left temperatures in the 70s — he can’t help but feel a sense of pride.
“It’s kind of fun to watch,” Knapp says. “It lets you know that all the work we put in last year has really helped the course out this spring. Really, what you do in the fall is really going to determine how your course emerges in the spring.”
Aspen Lakes is enjoying its first real stretch of Central Oregon’s famed warm, dry weather, and when that happens it does not take long for the course to show its beauty.
How the course reacts to the warm up often portends to the condition of the course into the peak of the season. So how does it look?
“It is coming out of winter pretty good,” Knapp says. “It got REALLY green over the past several days because of the 70-degree weather. It looks good.”
Aspen Lakes greens came out of winter in excellent shape, with little to no offseason damage. And Knapp and his staff have already top-dressed and verticut the greens, giving golfers a nice, uniform putting surface to enjoy.
In addition, winter cleanup of pine needles and pine cones is nearly complete. And Aspen Lakes is beginning to settle into the in-season routine that keeps the turf healthy, including fertilization and irrigation schedules.
In fact, Knapp and his staff this week fertilized the turf for the first time this season.
“That should really help out the conditions,” Knapp said. “We’re getting summer-like. We still have a ways to go, but not much farther. Every day that passes the greens get getting better and better.”
Aspen Lakes is not quite in peak condition yet, of course. That would be impossible so early in the golf season.
But Knapp and his staff will continue to speed the greens up over the course of the next few weeks, with the goal of having the surfaces as close to peak condition as possible ahead of the Central Oregon Shootout, which tees off on April 21.
The staff will also continue to add fine red sand, to the fairway bunkers (a must nearly every year) and edge every bunker. That will give Aspen Lakes’ most famed attribute a sharper, cleaner appearance as summer nears.
Temperatures seem to be cooperating, too. The forecast shows that overnight temperatures are rising. That is great news for golfers.
Once overnight lows begin to settle above freezing then the turf begins to thrive.
“When it stops frosting overnight than the grass will really takes off,” Knapp said. “But for this time of year and having just about a week of good weather so far, the turf is actually in really good shape. The golfers are happy and they are coming out.”
Golfers can play Aspen Lakes, recently ranked by Golfweek magazine as among the top 10 golf courses in Oregon, for the lowest price of the season. Through April 16, walk 18 holes at Aspen Lakes for as little as $38 or play nine holes for as little as $23. (Carts are an additional $17 per person for 18 holes; GolfBoards cost $25 per person.)