Aspen Lakes Golf Course celebrates Veterans Day by offering free golf to current, former U.S. military members

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Servicemen and women of the U.S. military will have their green fees
waived at Aspen Lakes from Nov. 11-13

Aspen Lakes Golf Course is offering three free days of golf to any current or former member of the U.S. uniformed services in celebration of Veterans Day. From Friday, Nov. 11, through Sunday, Nov. 13, service men and women of the U.S. military, including active duty, reserve, and retired members, can play one free round of golf at the Sisters course.

Aspen Lakes has been offering the popular Veterans Day celebration to active and retired service members for more than a decade. The event can draw more than 100 veterans or active service members in a single day.

“The Veterans Day event is a fun way for all of us at Aspen Lakes to show our gratitude for the wonderful men and women of the U.S. military,” said Matt Cyrus, co-owner of the family-owned golf facility in Sisters. “It has become a popular way for veterans to celebrate their day. We get calls as early as August from veterans wondering if we will be offering free Veterans Day golf again.”

To play, each golfer is asked to call ahead for a tee time, and to wear his or her uniform hat to the golf course. Aspen Lakes will waive the green fee (cart rental and range balls are not included), which is typically $48 during peak times.

In addition to golf on Veterans Day, Aspen Lakes Golf Course has teed off its annual canned food drive. Aspen Lakes is asking golfers to donate at least three cans of nonperishable, unexpired food in exchange for a discounted 18-hole green fee of $30 and nine-hole fee of $20 (cart rental is not included). The 18-hole rate represents an $18-per-round discount from Aspen Lakes’ regular rate. The food Aspen Lakes collects is then donated in support of various Central Oregon charities and food banks in time for the holiday season.

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

 

 

Aspen Lakes’s canned food drive asks golfers to donate to area food banks in exchange for cheaper green fees

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Annual event has raised an average of 2,200 pounds of food per year to support Central Oregon food banks and charities

Aspen Lakes Golf Course will tee off its annual canned food drive on Wednesday, Oct. 19, and golfers will be in line for a significant discount of their green fees. The proceeds will support various Central Oregon charities and food banks.

Each year Aspen Lakes asks golfers to donate at least three cans of nonperishable, unexpired food in exchange for a discounted 18-hole green fee of $30 and nine-hole fee of $20 (cart rental is not included). The 18-hole rate represents an $18-per-round discount of Aspen Lakes’ regular rate. The food Aspen Lakes collects is then donated in time for the holiday season.

The program, which was started by Aspen Lakes nearly 10 years ago, has been a successful one. Since its inception, Aspen Lakes has been able to donate an average of 2,200 pounds of food each year.

“The canned food drive has been one of our favorite ways to help area families in need,” said Pam Mitchell, co-owner of the family-owned golf facility in Sisters. “We take great pride in being able to collect all that food and then donate it to worthy food banks and charities. And the added bonus is that we get to offer Aspen Lakes’ golfers a great deal to play.”

The canned food drive will last into November. The Bethlehem Inn in Bend, Sisters Food Bank, and food banks in both Bend and Redmond will be beneficiaries this year.

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

Perfect storm of fantastic golf on the horizon at Aspen Lakes

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Already in excellent condition, fall rates are now on the horizon

Within each Aspen Lakes golf season comes a sweet spot. A time when peak golf conditions, smaller crowds, fantastically mild weather, and budget-friendly fall rates come together to create a perfect storm of great golf.

By the fall, Aspen Lakes’ peak conditions have been around for months. But now the summer tourist season is a memory. And sunny, pleasant weather is the norm. Beginning on Wednesday, Oct. 12, fall rates kick in, too, creating a narrow window that lasts until the weather turns.

“There really is no better time of the year to come out and play than right now,” said Rob Malone, director of golf for Aspen Lakes. “This is the time of year when we see a lot of local players, because they know well just how good this part of the season can be for golf.”

One of the values of fall golf comes with the adjustment of what constitutes prime time. In the summer, the mornings are the most desirable tee times, obviously as a way to beat the summer heat.

The fall is different though. With cooler overnight temperatures, the afternoons become more prized with highs that average in the high 60s this time of year.

That syncs well with our rates, which drop by $10 at 1 p.m. and another $16 after 3 p.m.

“I love playing in the afternoons in fall,” Malone said. “The weather is typically great, and the course is at its most beautiful as evening begins to approach. It is a really peaceful time to be out here.”

Aerification, a process that is critical to the long-term health of the turf, of Aspen Lakes greens begins on Oct. 17. Despite its importance to the golf course, the term “aerification” can send chills up the spine of a fall golfer.

But golfers can rest assured that the aerification process at Aspen Lakes is far less obtrusive than it once was.

The Aspen Lakes maintenance staff punches much smaller holes, making the holes less noticeable and more playable when the greens reopen. Plus, the staff now uses a drag brush, which allows the maintenance crew to use less sand to top dress the greens and apply it more evenly than a more conventional metal drag.

Finally, the staff will roll the greens and irrigate well to get the sand into the punched holes and smooth the surfaces.

“Our aerification process is about as nonintrusive as you can get,” said Josh Knapp, superintendent at Aspen Lakes Golf Course. “We always try hard to balance the needs of the turf with the playability of the golf course.”

Aspen Lakes will remain on summer rates through Oct. 11. Beginning Oct. 12, primetime green fees will drop to $48 per round, which is a $30 discount off of Aspen Lakes’ prime summer rates. Nine holes can be played for $28. (Prices do not include cart or GolfBoard rentals.)

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

 

An introduction to Aspen Lakes for the uninitiated

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Sisters golf course to host the Lithia Pacific Amateur Golf Classic this week

Aspen Lakes is in prime shape to challenge hundreds of golfers from around the country and beyond who will be taking part in the 2016 Pacific Amateur Golf Classic.

Being a Pac Am host course is always a fun adventure for Aspen Lakes, and the annual tournament gives us a chance to challenge a varied group of golfers, some of whom have never played the course before. For them, we want to offer a little introduction.

Central Oregon certainly has more than its fair share of heralded golf courses, some of which are hosts to the Pac Am. And Aspen Lakes tends to hold its own with the elite courses of the area. Not only is Aspen Lakes considered one of this country’s Hidden Gems, it is also considered one of the best in Oregon by both national golf magazines AND locals.

Aspen Lakes’ beauty is often cited as among Aspen Lakes’ top attributes, and with good reason. With incomprehensibly gorgeous views of the surrounding Cascade Range from most any point on the golf course and frequent visits from wildlife, the scenery is impossible to forget.

But architect Bill Overdorf designed a beauty, too, and it’s not quite like any other golf course in Central Oregon. So before you tee it up, we would like to share a little knowledge about Aspen Lakes Golf Course.

Here are some things to think about:

  • There is little doubt to what is Aspen Lakes’ signature feature. Our red-sand bunkers are as unique as they are beautiful. They are also nothing to be weary of. The texture of Aspen Lakes’ bunkers is a bit different, especially for the uninitiated. But playing from them is not unlike playing out of more conventional sand. And the sand won’t do any harm to your wedge, either.
  • Aspen Lakes offers a wonderfully fair challenge that most any golfer will enjoy. But that does not make the course easy. In fact, Aspen Lakes provides one of the stiffest challenges in Oregon. Choose your spots to be aggressive, and be careful not to attempt too much. In particular, use sound strategy on Aspen Lakes’ two toughest holes, the par-4 fifth hole and the par-4 14th hole.
  • All four par 5s at Aspen Lakes have teeth, but each provides a unique challenge. From the back tees, the holes stretch from 554 yards (No. 10) to 606 yards (No. 2). Water dictates the second shots on both the second and sixth holes. The approach on No. 10 into a shallow green, which is guarded by water in front and wetlands in back, is among the most difficult shots on the course. The finishing 583-yard 18th hole, was designed to separate two closely matched players.
  • The mountain views from the par-3 eighth hole are pretty spectacular. Make sure to take an extra second to take it all in:

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  • The par-4 11th hole, is pretty gorgeous, too:

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  • The view from the 15th tee box, a 222-yard par 3 played over water and massive bunkers, can be intimidating. The hole also presents a chance for golfers to shake free of their competition.
  • Few golfers walk off of Aspen Lakes disappointed. Something about the combination of beauty, design, top conditioning, and great service tends to endear itself to golfers.

Aspen Lakes is family-owned and operated, and we are proud of our heritage. That includes the naming of our Brand 33 restaurant, which is named after the Cyrus families’ brand that dates back to the 19th century.

We want every golfer to have a great visit to Aspen Lakes. Enjoy the course!

Of course, you don’t have to be a participant in the Pac Am to enjoy Aspen Lakes. To book a tee time, call 541-549-GOLF or book online at www.aspenlakes.com.

 

Conditions report: Aspen Lakes expected to be in peak golf shape at least through September

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Greens at Aspen Lakes won’t be aerified until Oct. 17,
leaving smooth surfaces for weeks to come

With less than two weeks before summer officially ends, the march to fall is upon us here in Central Oregon. But you might not notice it by gazing at Aspen Lakes Golf Course.

At Aspen Lakes, the turf is emerald green and the firm and fast conditions are optimal for golf. And the best news is that the course will be that way for the foreseeable future.

“It is in pretty great condition,” said Josh Knapp, the superintendent for Aspen Lakes Golf Course. “We are at the point that we can safely say that we will make it through the season really well. We are in the last month of play and I expect us to be in peak condition through September and beyond.”

The conditions are so good that the Aspen Lakes maintenance crew has decided to hold off on aerating the greens until Oct. 17, allowing the bulk of the season play out with smooth putting surfaces.

“Right now we are not going to think of putting anything to bed,” Knapp said. “After the Pacific Amateur Golf Classic next week we will start thinking about winterizing more. But until then, overall, we will be in really good condition.”

That is not to say that the seasonably mild weather has not changed the maintenance practices.  Chief among those changes is that the staff has cut back water usage by a significant amount. In fact, Thursday marked the first course watering in nine days.

That made a noticeable impact on the playability of the golf course.

“It really firmed up the golf course and gave it those firm and fast conditions that every golfer seems to want,” Knapp said. “It made the course more playable.”

Of course, firm and fast applies to the greens, too. In fact, at one point last week the greens were so quick that they were nearly rolling at a speedy 13 on the Stimpmeter. Since, the greens have been throttled down a touch, Knapp said.

The pace of the greens are a sign of health and an inevitable result of the maintenance staff’s ongoing program to improve turf condition, especially on the putting surfaces. That program include tighter mowing, rolling the greens every day during the summer months, and the regular use of a drag brush.

“The greens certainly create a lasting impression,” Knapp said. “Really, we have been getting a lot of compliments.”

The uninformed may think the golf season ends after Labor Day, but the savviest among us know that September really is the best month of the year to play Aspen Lakes. And we have the peak conditioning to prove it.

Don’t let the finale of the golf season pass by without a trip to Aspen Lakes. To book a tee time, call 541-549-GOLF or book online at www.aspenlakes.com.

 

Tip: It takes more than just hitting golf balls to make perfect

Aspen Lakes professional says simple drills will help get the most out of a practice session

The scene on the Aspen Lakes Golf Course practice range is a familiar one: Golfers in line sending golf ball after golf ball into the blue Central Oregon sky, then watching as the white spheres come crashing down on their emerald-green resting place.

Golfers working on their games like this can be seen at most any practice facility. But for Howie Pruitt, Aspen Lakes PGA director of player development, he sees a different kind of practice session … something less productive.

“I walk the line and ask what they are working on, and I usually get a blank stare from golfers,” Pruitt said. “But for a practice session to be productive, you can’t just be spraying balls down the range. Every shot has to have a purpose.”

What’s a golfer to do to get more out of a session? Well, Pruitt suggests a few easy drills.

It starts with a simple training aid: driveway markers. With driveway markers, or at least a suitable replacement, golfers can:

  • Practice their alignment by setting up a single stick to align the stance.
  • Set two markers up, one for your stance and another set up parallel to the first stick, create a target path for each shot.
  • Set up two sticks perpendicular to one another to check ball position.

In addition, golfers should set two golf tees along the line of the range and then place a golf ball between the two tees. Then golfers should practice hitting the ball with the goal of not touching either tee. As a golfer improves, the tees should be moved closer to one another until it is at a width just longer than the clubface.

The idea of each drill is to retrain yourself to think differently on the range.

“You want to get away from thinking about the results of the swing, and instead focus on the process of the swing,” Pruitt said. “That is where real improvement can be made.”

Of course, every golfer should devote more time to practice their short games.

“I see so many golfers go to the range, hit balls, and then walk right past the putting green,” Pruitt said. “That is a mistake.”

Remember what Vince Lombardi said: “’Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.”

Private, group lessons, classes and clinics with Pruitt are all available through the Aspen Lakes PGA Learning Center. Call the Aspen Lakes pro shop at 541-549-4653 for more information. To book a tee time call the golf shop or book online.

 

Late August a prime time at Aspen Lakes

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Aspen Lakes is in peak condition, the summer crowds are thinning, and the weather remains spectacular

The dog days of summer are well underway here at Aspen Lakes. But like most every August, things are just a bit quieter around here than the rest of the summer.

June, July, and the first part of August teem with golfers looking for a postcard-beautiful golf experience under the famously warm, dry summer sun here in Central Oregon. With the kids back in school in September, the golfers typically return en masse with an eye on the mild Indian summer that so often visits the High Desert.

Each August before Labor Day, though, brings with it a narrow window where Aspen Lakes quiets just a bit while the weather remains near perfect. Call it a Central Oregon phenomenon that makes the final weeks of August perhaps the primest of the peak golf season.

“For whatever reason, right about now turns into the perfect time to play,” said Rob Malone, Aspen Lakes director of golf. “The crowds tend to be a bit smaller, so you have more choices on tee times and play tends to be a bit quicker. You have a better chance to get on one of our GolfBoards.

“There are not many better times of year for golf then right now.”

How can that be when the weather in Sisters is so ripe for golf?

Well, August tends to be a time for family-oriented vacations. And while Aspen Lakes prides itself on being friendly to families, family time can also mean less time on the course.

Also, longer midsummer days allow for more tee times, spreading golfers across the tee sheet. Typically, that provides a bit more freedom for a golfer to play at his or her own pace.

More than that, though, the August window makes it easier to grab a prime morning tee time or to snag a bargain. Our popular discounted early bird tee times ($42 before 7 a.m.; $48 between 7 a.m. and 7:50 a.m., Monday through Thursday; $53 between 7 a.m. and 7:50 a.m., Friday through Sunday) are just a bit more open this time of year.

Another insider’s tip: The late afternoons and early evenings are particularly beautiful at Aspen Lakes. Oh, and those times are discounted, too ($68 between 1 and 3 p.m., $52 after 3 p.m., and $43 after 5 p.m.).

“My absolute favorite time is when I make the turn at around 6 p.m.,” Malone said. “ It is JUST GORGEOUS. You miss the hottest part of the day. The does are out with their fawns. The sun begins to set. There is no other time quite like it.”

The late-August window closes quickly, though. September after labor Day weekend is usually among the busiest times of the golf season. Larger groups of golfers travel to Central Oregon. And empty nesters hit the road once the kids are back in school.

All the more reason to get some rounds in while the course is still in peak condition and the crowds are relatively thin.

“Right now the golf experience is spectacular,” Malone said. “Plus, you have the Brand 33 Restaurant that is open every day, seven days a week. You can come out watch the sunset and enjoy a drink on the patio.”

Click here or call 541-549-4653 to book a tee time.