Conditions update: Peak conditioning at Aspen Lakes comes well ahead of summer

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Summer maintenance program begins as Aspen Lakes
enjoys near-pristine shape

Working a golf course into pristine shape is always a delicate dance each spring. Central Oregon’s winters can be harsh. The spring weather can be unpredictable.

So the Aspen Lakes Golf Course maintenance staff never wants to push the turf too far, too fast, which might make fragile greens susceptible to damage. On the other hand, Aspen Lakes always wants to offer the very best possible conditions.

Aspen Lakes’ staff performs this dance right up until those peak conditions are reached.

With this in mind, do not be surprised if you notice a look of satisfaction on the face of a member of the maintenance staff.

“The greens are right there where we want them for the year,” said Josh Knapp, Aspen Lakes’ superintendent. “The greens are smooth. They are quick. They are in excellent condition.”

Just a week into June and Aspen Lakes is on the cusp of peak condition, which means firm, fast greens in an emerald green setting.

“As hard as we pushed the conditions ahead of the Central Oregon Shootout, I am not surprised that we are in this kind of shape,” Knapp said. “But the course is in peak shape a little earlier than normal.”

More than that, though, the shape of the turf now allows the staff to adjust the conditions as needed. For instance, when Aspen Lakes hosted the annual Golfing for the Guard Tournament recently, Knapp and his crew dialed down the green to about 10.5 on the Stimpmeter for the laid-back scramble. For a best ball the following day, Knapp and his staff were able to quicken the pace to better than 11.

On most days, golfers should expect Aspen Lakes’ putting surfaces to roll at around 11, or even quicker, on the Stimpmeter.

Of course, a superintendent’s job is never done. To prepare for the warm summer weather, Knapp and his staff have already stepped up their watering program.

In the spring, it is typical to water the greens just once in a given week. But as the temperatures rise, so does the need for water, upping to watering twice per week.

Most importantly, Knapp and the crew must slow the growth of the bentgrass greens to protect the root structure.

“You don’t want to push bentgrass to grow in the summer,” Knapp said. “Too much growth can mean root damage.”

Otherwise, the staff is beginning to settle into its summer maintenance program. For them, that means concentrating on the beauty and playability of the golf course.

That includes things like precisely edging the bunkers, and focusing on the mowing heights of the fairways, approach areas and greens.

“So far our golfers have really loved the golf course,” Knapp said. “It has been fun for me to watch the whole crew take pride in the results so far this year.”

Come enjoy summer conditions while Aspen Lakes is still offering spring rates. Through June 9, 18-hole rates are as low as $33. Aspen Lakes’ peak-season rates are as low as $43.

To book a tee time, call 541-549-GOLF or book online at www.aspenlakes.com.

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