Conditions report: Evolving maintenance program at Aspen Lakes continues to pay dividends

GO-0609Crew shifts its focus over the summer to maintaining peak conditioning

Just as the warm, dry Central Oregon summer weather appears, Josh Knapp’s life becomes a little simpler.

It’s not that the work of Aspen Lakes’ superintendent gets easy. Far from. Instead the maintenance work this time becomes more routine and predictable.

That might not sound like much. But for Josh Knapp, who changed many of Aspen Lakes’ maintenance practices two years ago when he was promoted to superintendent, it is a reflection of the hard work he and his staff have put in.

“We finally have the golf course right where we want to keep it, and that is a pretty good feeling,” Knapp said. “We are in our usual summer maintenance program, which is sort of like auto-pilot. And hopefully it will be that way until the end of the golf season.”

Yes, with July now in full bloom, Aspen Lakes is showing its true red-sand and emerald-green colors.

For golfers that means greens rolling at between 10.5 and 11 feet on the Stimpmeter, a perfect speed for greens to instill confidence in most average players while challenging the better golfers.

The fairways are immaculate, too. The tee boxes are well-manicured.

About the only immediate item on the Aspen Lakes maintenance staff’s to-do list is a round of fertilizer, something that has not happened since early spring.

One of the maintenance practices that has really taken hold at Aspen Lakes is the deep and infrequent irrigation program. Instituted by Knapp, the program calls for longer but fewer waterings each week.

The infrequent watering program helps turfgrass grow deeper roots and overall fosters a healthier plant. And Knapp can see clear signs that the program is working.

“The turf does need quite as much water and the water we use is draining better, which tells me that the roots are indeed taking a deeper hold,” Knapp said.

Of course, this is Central Oregon so the weather can’t always be predictable, even in the summer.

The temperatures have already soared near 100 degrees at times. And this weekend, Sisters is expected to enjoy a relatively significant cool down (that might just be perfect for golf!).

Despite the unseasonably cool weather, and perhaps even a touch of rain, Knapp said the turf is healthy enough that it needs no adjustment.

“It has been a really up-and-down year so far in regard to weather,” Knapp said. “But no matter what Mother Nature has thrown at the course, the turf has handled the challenge beautifully.”

Come enjoy the conditions. Aspen Lakes’ peak-season rates are as low as $43.

To book a tee time, call 541-549-GOLF or book online at



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