47 years and counting, Frolin welcomes Pinehurst guests with a smile

By Sarah Campbell
Pinehurst Resort

He’s not a celebrity, but nearly everyone who visits Pinehurst can call him by name.

As Frolin Hatcher drives a golf cart around the main clubhouse a man calls out to him – “Froooolin, hello there my friend,” he says, waving wildly.

A woman reaches out her hand the give him a high five.

“How’s it going, Frolin?” another man yells out.

This isn’t a fluke. People know Frolin because he’s been greeting guests with a smile six days a week since 1968. That makes 47 years today.

“This job has never been hard to do,” he said. “I love people and I get to meet different people from all over the world every day.”

Of course, not everyone he meets is the “best person in the world,” but he lives by the mantra “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”

“It’s easier to just keep on smiling,” he said.

Before Frolin became Pinehurst’s unofficial greeter, he worked at the Carolina Hotel. But he doesn’t include those 5 years in his anniversary because he left for a while to serve in the Vietnam War. If he did, his total time at Pinehurst would equate to 52 years.

“I cleaned ashtrays, served ice water in the card rooms, shined shoes and handled luggage coming in and out,” he said.

“I love people and I get to meet different people from all over the world every day.”

Maybe he doesn’t count that time because it simply can’t top his current gig. As the clubhouse’s morning front doorman, he spends his days inhaling the pine-scented air and warmly welcoming people to Pinehurst.

At 73, he rises each day at 4:30 a.m. to shave before arriving for his 6 a.m. shift. He works until 1 p.m. Monday through Saturday. On Sunday, you might find him sneaking off the N.C. State Fair with fellow front doorman Larry Goins, who has been here four decades.

“A few years ago, we drove all the way there, had a sausage dog and came back,” Frolin said with a snicker.

He and Larry, who started working at Pinehurst’s Donald Ross Grill as a busboy at age 15, are such good friends Frolin vowed to keep working alongside him until he was ready to retire.

Frolin3WEB“We’ve been working together so long, I know what he can do and he knows what I can do,” Frolin said. “He’s really great to work with.”

When Frolin moved to Pinehurst from Newark, New Jersey, he felt at home, despite not knowing a soul.

“I got tired of living up there amongst all those buildings,” he said.

During his 47 years at Pinehurst, Frolin married wife Helen and together they raised seven children. He’s been here for all three U.S. Open championships and countless amateur tournaments.

“There’s something going on all the time,” he said. “I’ve met so many people.”

One of his favorite memories is the day President Gerald Ford arrived at Pinehurst for the World Golf Hall of Fame Tournament in September 1974.

“I remember a guard running beside the car as they pulled into the circle,” he said. “Police were everywhere, even up in trees.”

But it’s not just famous faces Frolin remembers. He knows nearly every Pinehurst Country Club member by name and makes it a point to recognize guests.

“I know who it is as soon as I see their car pull up,” he said. “God blessed me with a good memory.”

But he can’t attribute the gesture to memory alone.

“It’s all about caring,” he said.

Sarah Campbell is the resort’s content & social media specialist.