by Shane North

signingsThere has been an on going mystery through out the summer at a central Maine golf course. Earlier this year a flag from the Turner Highlands Country Club in Turner, Maine, disappeared. The flag has since been spotted at various places, often with popular PGA golfers and even NBC’s Today Show host Matt Lauer.

Each May the Turner Highlands club holds a tournament to raise money for a scholarship fund created for young members that are continuing they’re education beyond high school. A few days after the scholarship tournament last May, a red flag from the 17th hole disappeared. Course co-owner George Chiasson was not happy, and at the time had put the word out he would like who ever took the flag to return it, or at least return the pole it was hanging from.

Then a few weeks after the red Turner Highlands flag disappeared, the flag was spotted, on Facebook. In early June the flag appeared on Facebook with its own page, listed as ‘Turnah Flag’. A photo with a post by the ‘Turnah Flag’ stated, “My last day at work. I quit a few weeks ago and made my escape. I’m off to find new adventures. Good bye Turner Highlands.”

And the mystery began.

keeganWord began to circulate around the course of the missing Red Flag. There were reports circulating that a red flag was spotted in a black convertible at the Highlands around that time. The course owners were quizzed daily on who had the flag, but they had no answers. Chiasson just continued to say he wanted his flag stick back.

Then one of the club members reportedly had contact with the Turnah Flag on Facebook. She was told the Flag was going to return eventually in time for the next Scholarship Tournament, with hopes of raising money for the scholarship fund. Of course the person making contact with the flag became a ‘suspect’. She has denied having any knowledge of the flag’s where abouts, but remains a ‘person of interest’.

There have been no other direct communications reported with ‘Turnah Flag’. The flag has not responded to my efforts to talk. Course co-owner Donna Chiasson has not been able to determine the flag’s identity, but hears the rumors and suspects names.

I have been asked a hundred times this summer, who has the flag, but I really don’t know,” she told me by phone last week. “I have heard rumors and it has been fun, but nobody really knows for certain. There have been a few people that were strongly rumored, but just as someone appears to be the person, somebody else becomes a suspect. Maybe one day we will know for sure.”

The Turnah Flag went on to have a busy summer by posting photos and comments from many events and places through out the country. First came photos from the Travelers Championship PGA event that took place in Hartford, CT, in late June. There were several photos posted from the event, including with popular PGA golfers including Keegan Bradley and Stewart Cink, who were also among the golfers that signed the flag.

lauerThen came a report the flag was on a road trip and a photo taken with NBC Today Show host Matt Lauer was posted. Next came photos from an Atlanta Braves game at Turner Field in Atlanta, GA.

As attention grew for the flag, rumors persisted at the course. Reports of the flag being spotted were circulating, from being seen in a black convertible to one report of the flag pulling out of the Highlands on a Harley Davidson. Photos would begin to appear with the flag spotted at various homes around the course, with denials all around on who was hosting the flag. “It’s not me,” was the answer to many accusations. Nobody could be pinned down, as each time somebody was suspected, the flag would appear somewhere else.

The flag has been photographed at events ranging from a Steelers game in Pittsburgh, PA to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park in Boston and recently at a Blue Angels air show. It has been seen on the local news and even a local news broadcast in Hartford, Connecticut.

While at the Bridgestone Invitational PGA event in Akron, Ohio last August it was photographed with more golfers including Patrick Reed and 3 time PGA Major Champion Padraig Harrington, who also signed it.

Through out the summer the flag was photographed with many other golfers including British Open winner Zach Johnson, 21 time PGA Champion Davis Love, III, 34 time PGA winner VJ Singh and more. The flag is full of signatures from golf greats. The golfers reported to have signed the flag have combined to win well over 100 PGA events.

To this day, despite reports of sightings, many rumors and accusations of who has the flag, nobody has confirmed or have been proven to have it. The course owners report there are four or five good suspects, but each of them have repeatedly denied being involved.

So the Turnah Flag mystery continues. In fact the latest post on the Flag’s Facebook page shows the flag on the Downeaster Train going on yet another road trip. Stay tuned to see where the flag ends up next!