Rifle Creek Golf Course super chips in wherever he’s needed
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
RIFLE ” The front nine holes at Rifle Creek Golf Course and their stately cottonwoods remind John Wolff of some of the older courses in Denver.
There’s minor elevation changes and straight fairways. But the back nine remind him of the deserts of Arizona.
The different backdrops are as different as the varying tasks of his job. Working as the superintendent of the course for about seven weeks now, Wolff wears many hats.
“Right now I’m an irrigation tech, a spray tech, a mechanic and a ditch digger,” he said.
Working at a course like Rifle Creek, which isn’t a course with a multi-million dollar budget, reminds him a bit of being a rancher. Sometimes it takes a little duct tape or bale wire, but you get the job done.
An aging irrigation system, part of it more than 30 years old, contributed to some rough and dry conditions on the course. But one Rifle Creek golfer, James Bradford, said Wolff has made tremendous improvements and transformed parts of the course.
The labor pool at the course is unique, too. Rifle Creek Golf Course is eligible to receive employees through the Garfield County Department of Community Corrections because it’s a nonprofit. That’s a good thing to Wolff because competition for employees is tough against industries like oil and gas and construction.
There are usually about four or five workers coming from community corrections program on a given day. Wolff said it’s worked well. Many come back regularly and prefer to do the same jobs or tasks. There’s also about two other full-time employees during the golf season plus a number of part-time employees.
Wolff got the job by responding to a job ad on the Internet. Before that he lived in Grand Lake and worked his way upward in the Grand Lake Metropolitan Recreation District and golf course. Wolff fell in love with Colorado and the mountains after spending time at Lowry Air Force Base while serving in the Air Force. He’s originally from New Jersey and got into the Air Force after high school.
He obtained a professional golf course turf management degree from Rutgers University. He’s been in Colorado since about 1975.
He lives in Parachute with his wife, Carol. Their eldest daughter recently graduated from Fort Lewis College in Durango and their youngest daughter will enter her third year at the University of Wyoming.
Wolff’s hobbies include Nordic skiing, which he’s coached at the high school and junior level, and golf, kayaking and biking.
“My other hobby is digging ditches for irrigation,” he joked.
Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121
Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO
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