New pro Scott Ballif ready to make mark at Yampa Valley Golf Course
Patrons of Yampa Valley Golf Course have a new face in store as the head of the pro shop.
Scott Ballif began as the new course professional at YVGC, taking on the position previously held by Jeff Harnasch.
Harnasch began with the course in spring 2018, though he announced to the board of YVGC in January he would be resigning to move back to Arizona.
Harnasch said his reason for leaving is that he will be starting a family. He aided the course staff in getting YVGC ready for the spring and summer season as well as weighing in on his replacement.
“I was involved with his hiring, checking references and all that, but it was really the board that had the final say,” Harnasch said.
Harnasch will be working with Ballif in a transitional period for this month before leaving Northwest Colorado.
Ballif, whose first day was June 5 after being hired in May, has already spent a few days on the job. He comes to Craig from St. George, Utah, and he expects after being in the southwest corner of the state near Nevada and Arizona, a new locale is more than welcome.
Ballif was with Conestoga Golf Club from 2009 to 2018 and at Oasis Golf Club — both in Mesquite, Nevada — for five years prior, as well as 10 years with St. George’s Red Hills.
“I’ve been in the desert for 25 years, so I could use a change of climate,” he said. “I like the smaller community, no more commute traffic. I love the outdoors, a lot of hunting, fishing, hiking.”
Ballif said his golf experience has been primarily course management through Professional Golf Association.
“There’s two sides to the PGA, the tour side and course management,” he said. “The tour side requires a lot more playing but a lot more money. You need a lot of sponsors to get you going.”
As he gets to know the course and its layout, Ballif said one of his primary focuses will be working on restoring parts of the grounds that were hit hard by cold weather.
“We had a lot of winter kill on those greens,” he said. “It definitely has a lot of potential to come back from that.”
Harnasch said one of the strong points of Ballif is “he won’t just just somebody behind a desk.”
“He’s got a lot of maintenace experience,” Harnasch said.
Ballif said he has worked with the agronomy side of course management for 15 years, which involves steps as simple as water usage to determining soil’s viability.
“The big challenge out here is the clay and the soil in the river bottom,” he said. “You need consistent maintenance practices and aerification. We can improve conditions, and it’s already got great scenery and wildlife. That’s such a positive point of the golf course.”
In addition to working on the physical attributes of YVGC and arranging upcoming events — such as the Friends of Coal Tournament, the Cottonwood Classic, and the Silver Bullet Classic — to name a few, Ballif said he looks to increase clientele.
“We really want to build up the junior program and get more ladies out here,” he said.
A learn-by-doing methodology was on display Friday at the Loudy-Simpson Park pond as Moffat County High School science students learned quickly whether or not they had a future in engineering.