Haller retires after 27 years at Rollingstone Ranch; McDaniel takes over as superintendent
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — After 27 years as the superintendent at Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club, John Haller is retiring. Taking over for him is his assistant of 10 years, Graham McDaniel.
“It was humbling to work with someone like John,” said Rollingstone Ranch Director of Golf James McDougall. “He knows the golf course very well. His operation always ran smoothly.”
McDaniel has been visiting Steamboat Springs since he was little and moved here after college in 2006. He got his start at Rollingstone after answering an employment ad in the newspaper. He started raking bunkers, and it quickly dawned on him that working on a golf course felt like something he wanted to do as a career. After a few years and a few other positions at the course, he was given the opportunity to be Haller’s assistant.
“In 10 years as his assistant, I’ve had plenty of time to shadow him,” McDaniel said. “He embraced me and taught me so much here. When it was time for him to retire, I felt like I was ready to move up.”
Haller not only taught McDaniel how to maintain a golf course but encouraged him to take a two-year turf management at Penn State to add to his degree in natural resources, which he earned at Colorado State University.
At least a half dozen Rollingstone staff members went on to further their careers in the turf management industry over the years that Haller was there.
“He inspired people to be better and do better all the time,” McDaniel said.
Haller, a “private person,” according to McDaniel, elected not to speak on his nearly three decades at Rollingstone Ranch and instead wanted to focus on his predecessor.
As the new superintendent, McDaniel, 38, hopes he can inspire employees as well to continue in the industry, or at least, be the best workers they can be at Rollingstone.
He said whatever he does at Rollingstone will be an extension of Haller’s work with an eye toward continuing his legacy, since McDaniel learned everything he knows from Haller.
When McDaniel first started at the golf course, he had a love for the sport but knew very little about what went into maintaining a quality golf course.
It required early mornings, staying one step ahead of the guests and golfers and working long days. To take the best care of the 18-hole course, every employee — from the spray technician, the irrigation technician and more — have to stay in communication and be on the same page.
“I know it’s not an easy role to fill, the superintendent position, and we’re just so lucky to have Graham who’s been there so many years under John,” McDougall said. “The golf course is in great hands with him, and I’m confident we’ll have a seamless transition.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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The iconic cone-shaped building on the corner of Yampa and 11th streets in downtown Steamboat Springs was once a wood-waste burner before being moved to become the home for Sore Saddle Cyclery and Moots Bicycles.