Updated: May 29, 2015
Aspen Lakes Golf Course Review:Central Oregon offers some incredible golf with snow capped mountains as the backdrop on many of these courses. If you are planning trip near Sisters, OR or Bend, Oregon, consider playing at Aspen Lakes golf course. The course is different than most you have ever played with red sand bunkers that make the green fairways seem even greener and outlining mountains truly stand out. The course is located about 3 miles east of Sisters on Hwy 126. I've been playing this course for about 5 years now and it is slowly growing on me. The high desert feel on the course seems strange when you look out at peaks that are 10000 feet high. The new clubhouse finally adds the finishing touches on this course. The new GPS golf carts are another feature that will make me want to play as well.
The course is open for almost half the year as the sun shines in central Oregon with temperatures creeping into the high 90's during July and August. You can book your tee times online at Aspenlakes.com or by calling 541-549-GOLF. Summer rates are $70 with some mid-day, early bird, and twilight specials. A cart is NOT part of the green fees. The walk between holes can be a little long on some, so we recommend a cart on those hot days. Be sure to enjoy the views as you walk or ride along the course as there are multiple mountains to see. Many people that I take out here to play are afraid of the red bunkers. They think it will either hurt their clubs or permanently stain them. This is not true at all, although you will need to wash your clubs after a round if you end up in the bunkers. The bunkers are definitely not soft, so expect hard bunkers. There is a decent practice facility on site with homes popping up along the fairways, although there are still dozens of home sites available. The course is fun to play and pretty fair along the way. There is no lodge or accommodations on site, so you'll have to stay in Sisters, Bend, or potentially Black Butte Ranch and drive over for the day. There are group rates allowed, so if you have a large party, give them a ring. As for the course, I have included some key holes below with a description and what to expect.
Aspen Lakes Golf:Hole #1 - Really a great hole to start with. A downhill par 4 that is quite short giving you a chance at birdie or a par. Direct your tee shot to the right side of the fairway for the best angle into this green. Aim towards the bunker on the right side with your tee shot. There are bunkers on the left side and back of this green. Your 2nd shot will be a downhill shot towards the green, so adjust your club selection accordlingly. The green is sloped from back to front so be careful with any downhill puts.
Hole #2 - An uphill par 4 that plays fairly easy. There is a grass swail that may catch your tee shot to the left of the fairway, but the green is approachable no matter what. There are no bunkers around the green, but it is really wide leaving some long putts depending on the hole position and where your approach lands. Par is a good score on this hole.
Hole #3 - A long par 5 with some technical aspects for your 2nd shot. The tee shot is wide open with your aiming point being to the right side of the fairway. Bunkers lurk along the left side and could catch your tee shot making your layup even harder. The layup on this hole is tough because you are going to be looking at about 200 yards to get past the little stream that flows all the way across the fairway. If you can leave yourself right before the stream, you'll only have about 145 yards into the hole. The hole itself is well protected on the left with bunkering, but pretty open on the right. The green has some huge slopes and swails, so be prepared for a wild ride. A par is a great score here.
Hole #4 - Short par 3 that plays over a reed filled water way. You will need to carry your tee shot all the way to the green to eliminate going into a large bunker that fronts the green. Depending on the hole position, you could be looking at a nasty sidehill putt that will break several feet. Birdies are available, but a par is still good.
Hole #5 - With trees to the left and bunkers waiting on the right this is a demanding tee shot. The green is 2 tiered to your approach will need to be accurate as well. All in all, a very hard hole. If you can avoid the hazards off the tee, aim for the middle of the green or just short of it. Eventhough there are no bunkers around the green, it is still difficult to place your chips shots.
Hole #6 - One of the more techical holes on the course, this par 5 takes 3 good shots. The tee shot needs to be left or else you have zero look to get over another stream that crosses the fairway for your 2nd shot. Bunkers are also out on the right side of the fairway. You can layup short of the stream and still have a short iron in. The question is where to layup. The hole doglegs to the right past the stream making the angle even more severe. With a good tee shot, you can carry the stream easily and have no more than a sand wedge into this tough green. There are bunkers to the right of the green and far back to the left. Tough slopes on this green, but definitely a good chance at par with quality play.
Hole #7 - Narrow approach is all we can say on this hole. Tee shot is pretty easy, but when the pin is up front, it's hard to commit to the shot with bunkers on the left and a swail to the right. You only have about 15 yards to land the ball in. Short is another option as it will leave a good angle up to the pin.
Hole #8 - Another short par 3 with a good chance at birdie. The green is pretty flat and any shot onto the green will leave a fairly routine par and the opportunity for a 2.
Hole #10 - Start the back nine with a tough par 5. Tee shot is not that hard, but you need to layup short of the small lake or take your 2nd shot to the far left for the best angle. You will still be left hitting into a very small green with bunkers both in front and back. You'll need an accurate third shot to score here. I've seen lots of pars but also many double and triple bogeys.
Hole #11 - The back is definitely harder than the front and the 11th is a great example of that. This hole winds around another lake with a dogleg left shape. Your tee shot needs to be in the middle or down the right. Anything left is dead. The green is pretty well guarded by bunkers, but the front is open. With a good tee shot a par is possible, otherwise you will be scrambling for bogey.
Hole #14 - A long par 4 that goes downhill. The key to this hole is the tee shot. At about 255 yards the fairway runs out and goes into a hazard. Make sure you stay short of the hazard off the tee and then you'll still have a 200 yard shot into the green. The green has some tough slopes on it so make sure you don't go over the green or else the up and down is nearly impossible. Stay short if you have to of the green for an easy chip up the hill and 1 putt. Par is an excellent score here.
Hole #15 - Fun par 3 over water and a huge bunker in front of the green. The green is very long from front to back, but birdies are available here. Enjoy the scenery on this one.
Hole #16 - Ok, get ready for a tough hole. The tee shot is not too bad, but the 2nd shot is straight up the hill to a well protected green. The place NOT to miss is off to the right of the green in the large grass hollows. You are better off in the bunker to the above the green. I was stuck in the hollows hitting a blind shot and ended up with triple bogey. If you can salvage a par you are doing well.