TURNER — A standard golf flag is 14×20 inches, and the United States Golf Association recommends its placed on a seven-foot flag pole.

The flag represents a hole 4¼-inches in diameter, the target  on the green toward which golfers from the tees and fairways shoot.

At Turner Highlands, one of those flags — that which was once on the 17th hole — has become far more than standard.

The flag took a life of its own in 2015. One morning in May of that year, owner George Chiasson noticed the flag on the course’s penultimate hole was missing.

“It wasn’t the first time it happened,” Chiasson said. “I got ugly for a second, and then just moved on and got another flag. It happens.”

Chiasson had lost a flag on the 17th before — the hole is located right off the road. He replaced it like any other time.


Life went on without the red flag until a Facebook profile of the “Turnah Flag” popped up on June 1.

The Turnah Flag’s first post said: “My last day at work. I quit a few weeks ago and made my escape. I’m off to find new adventures. Goodbye Turner Highlands.”

According to the profile, the Turnah Flag considered itself retired from flag duties.

No one knew who created the profile.

“Within a week or so, the Turnah Flag created a Facebook account,” Turner Highlands club member Eric Dutill said. “So everybody who started following the Turnah Flag was able to see where (it) was or where (it had been), all the golfers and celebrities that were signing the flag.”

A few weeks went by before it appeared at the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut. There, the personified flag started acquiring photos and signatures with professionals.


The first photo was with Keegan Bradley, who won the 2011 PGA Championship. It also spent time with Stewart Cink, who won the 2009 British Open Championship.

A member of the Chiassons’ family who lives in Connecticut noticed the flag behind one of the tee boxes during a clip in a local newscast.

A few more weeks went by before it went on its next trip: to New York, where Today Show host Matt Lauer put his John Hancock on the flag. Then it went to Yankee Stadium.

For the rest of the summer it made trips to Pittsburgh, Ohio, Fenway Park, and to Atlanta for the PGA Tour’s Tour Championship at East Lake Country Club. It made a trip to a PGA Tour event in Sea Island, Georgia in November.

Chiasson started to realize that whoever took the flag was doing it for a good reason.

“It turned into a good feel thing,” Chiasson said.


When the Facebook posts started to start showing up Chiasson would take a peak on the spots and celebrities it has visited. He admitted it was more of his wife Donna who was keeping up on the flag’s social media presence.

Then the posts stopped. The flag went into hibernation for the winter. When it came out of hibernation in the spring of 2016, it was ready to “party,” as it showed up to one of the PGA Tour’s marquee events of the season, the Arnold Palmer Invitational during St. Patrick’s Day weekend, where it acquired more signatures from PGA Tour stars.

In early April, it got a signature from the NFL’s all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith, and it stopped by a Champions Tour event in Mississippi. On that trip, it met legendary drummer Roger Earl of the band Foghat at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Biloxi. Its last trip was also to Mississippi in early June of this summer.

Chiasson thought he could pinpoint who was taking the flag to all these places.

“At first I thought I knew, then somebody was just here, but the flag was there,” Chiasson said. “That happened a couple of times, so I didn’t know, but then things kind of of happened that I might have figured it out.”

On June 7, the Turnah Flag announced it would return “home” for the Turner Highlands Scholarship Tourney and Auction on June 11, where it would be auctioned off as the proceeds go to Turner Highlands members’ with children attending college.


“Early on, there was no idea what was going to happen to it,” Dutill said. “I want to say it was well into the winter before we heard from a couple of different people that the intention once the signatures were collected was to auction it off at the scholarship tournament they hold each year out here.”

Dutill was the winning bidder with a bid of $2,500.

He wanted to make sure the flag stayed close to home.

“Once I found out what was going on and all the signatures that had been collected on the flag, we certainly wanted to stay local,” Dutill said. “I certainly wanted to have it at my house.”

He said he would have paid whatever it took to acquire the flag, but also said he was hoping the price wasn’t going to go as high as it did.

The flag has signatures of golfers who have combined to win 200 PGA Tour events, including 20 majors. Dutill’s favorite signature is current British Open Champion and Olympic silver medalist Henrik Stenson. Chiasson’s favorite signatures include 2015 British Open Champion Zach Johnson and Vijay Singh who has three major championships.


Dutill finally found out the identity of the person who was taking the flag to these locations, but isn’t about to spill the beans.

“There’s a handful of us that do know, but we are sworn to secrecy,” Dutill said. “Obviously the reason I know is because I am now the owner of it.”

After the flag spent the summer at the Turner Highlands clubhouse for members and guests too see, Dutill has brought it to his home to officially “retire.”

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