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LaDonne out at Rifle Creek

For the second time in six months, Rifle Creek Golf Club pro Steve LaDonne will be looking for a job.

La Donne, 50, and course general manager Pat Hayes were terminated from their positions last week at a meeting of the golf club’s board of directors.

In April, LaDonne, who has been the club’s pro for 22 years, resigned his position, according to Board President John Savage. After discussing the situation with the course’s board of directors, LaDonne returned.



This time, however, the move is permanent.

“We’re looking to rearrange the management of the golf course,” said Savage. “At this time the board felt that we were paying for more management than what we needed.”



Savage said the positions of director of golf pro and general manager of the course will be combined into one position.

Last week’s dismissal cut ties the LaDonne family has had with the North Rifle golf course since its inception.

“My father Jim was one of seven guys who had the dream to start this place.” LaDonne said Monday, while cleaning out his desk. “He operated the course until 1982, when I came back and took it over.”

LaDonne said that he had no idea he was going to be terminated.

“A lot of it revolves around money,” he said.

He said his resignation in April was over management of the club’s pro shop.

“I had an agreement to run it as before, but they wanted to run it,” he said.

Over the years, LaDonne said, he has given up control of the course’s food service and driving range to the golf club.

“I think it’s a lousy deal after 22 years,” LaDonne said of the firing.

“I treat this as a insult and a feeble attempt to keep fees down.”

LaDonne is a lifetime resident of Rifle. He graduated from Rifle High School in 1972 and majored in physical education at Western State College in Gunnison.

Coming out of college, LaDonne envisioned himself becoming a golf coach. He instead opted for the club pro route.

Over the past 22 years LaDonne worked with many of the high school’s golfers and was named head varsity coach for the boys and girls teams in 2002.

“Guys like me have been involved in the community through the good and bad times,” said LaDonne.

“Whoever the board brings in, it will just be another job to them.”

LaDonne’s short-term goal is to stay in the area, but he also wants to stay in the golf industry.

“Right now I’m up in the air,” he said.

“To find a job in the golf industry involves a nationwide search, and it’s not a good market for finding jobs in golf right now.”


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