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November 2019

Two Operators, Two Questions with Carr Crowe and Jeff Williams

By Steve Eubanks

November and December can be perfect golf months in many parts of the country. But a lot of areas in the Southeast, Southwest and Midwest deal with frost delays, even on days that warm into beautiful afternoons.

Carr Crowe
Head Golf Professional
Sequoia National Golf Club
Cherokee, North Carolina

Jeff Williams
Director of Golf
Brickyard Crossing
Indianapolis, Indiana

What do you do operationally to be proactive on days when you anticipate frost? 

Carr Crowe: Because of the way our course is laid out, we really can’t go with shotgun starts on those days. But we know frost days are coming. Throughout most of November and December, we get frost almost every morning when it’s not overcast, so we pay close attention to the forecast and don’t book tee times before about 10 a.m. There’s just no reason to book a time when you know you likely can’t get people out. They might have other time commitments where pushing them back is not an option. We’d rather leave those times open and then, if it looks like the weather will be better and we can get them out earlier, we’ll open up some times between 9:30 and 10:00, last minute, and work back from there.

Jeff Williams: The best practice is to communicate early and often, which we do. When someone books at time that we think will probably be affected by frost, we let them know, up front, that there is a good possibility of a frost delay and that, if that happens, those times will be pushed back. We’ve found that people are very understanding as long as you are up front and in constant communication with them.

What do you do with the players who do show up on days when you have a longer frost delay than expected?

Crow: Obviously, if there’s frost, it’s cold. So we do things like offer some free coffee to people who are delayed and we make sure there are plenty of food options for them. We also might offer a 20 percent discount on all outerwear that morning as a gesture of goodwill, to let them know that we understand their frustration.

Williams: We make sure there is food and coffee and all the things that players want. But we also educate people on why we can’t open with frost. Most people don’t realize that if the ground itself is frozen you really can’t hurt it, but frost freezes the blades of grass. If you step on them, they’ll shatter and die. Once you explain that to people and let them know what the plan is for getting them out as soon as possible, we find that they’re very understanding.

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