Familiar faces welcome thousands to Pinehurst

Familiar faces welcome thousands to Pinehurst (Image 1)

For most people who visit Pinehurst, Frolin Hatcher and Larry Goins provide their first impression of the small golf community.

“Really, it’s a hideaway,” said Hatcher, who began working at Pinehurst after graduating from high school 46 years ago. “It’s laid back.”

That hideaway is where golfers and other visitors will find Hatcher and Goins front and center, which is where they’ve been for a combined 81 years.

Most days the pair is at the clubhouse, greeting and helping people drop off their bags.

“That’s where you’re going to meet the club, and your carts and your caddy,” said Goins, who began working at the resort 35 years ago when he was 16 years old.

Hatcher and Goins typically work 6 days a week, and on any given busy day, they could meet a thousand golfers. And over the years, they’ve gotten to know almost every one of them by name.

“I know if I ever see your face one time, I can almost remember your name,” Hatcher said.

Goins added that it’s easy for people to remember his and Hatcher’s names because it’s just the two of them. Still, “when you have a whole crew coming in backwards and forward, and your mind’s going like this, it’s hard — very hard.”

With their third U.S. Open at Pinehurst now underway, there are even more faces and names for the pair the recall.

“You get a chance to holler at some of the pros that you see on TV and stuff,” Hatcher said.

“Celebrities,” Goins chimed.

“Yeah,” Hatcher said, “it’s just different, you know?”

While their work is never done, Goins said there’s no “better place to work,” which Hatcher said keeps them coming back — day in and day out.

Ultimately though, they said, the real benefit is those thousands of people they meet every day.

“The more people, the merrier it is to me,” Hatcher said. “I love it, so send ’em on.”

Having met so many good golfers and even some of the best golfers, surely they have picked up some pro tips. Not so much, they said.

“Never have [played],” Hatcher said. “After six days a week, you see enough of it.”

Goins added, “I just enjoy seeing other people play. … Putting and driving range — that’s all I ever did.”

So when it comes time to retire, does that mean they won’t be hitting the links? Probably not. But retirement also isn’t in the cards for them at this point.

“I’m 72 now and I’m enjoying it,” Hatcher said. “Why go home and sit down and die when you’re doing something you like?”

“I don’t know about him, but I’m going to try to stay as long as they’ll let me,” Goins said.

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

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