If These Flags Could Talk

Provo Golf Club turns 25 years old.

Story & Photos By Tim Cotroneo

Clubhouse newcomers at Provo Golf Club find it impossible to not look up. That’s because they are greeted with 240 flags dancing from the rafters like multicolored acrobats. The flags represent many of the most famous (and infamous) golf courses from around the world. Like everything and everyone you meet here, there’s a story behind each and every flag.

If flags could talk, the 240 mounted in Provo Golf Club would have many tales to tell!

For nearly 25 years, Provo Golf Club has been a magnet for golfers who’ve heard about Providenciales’ amazing island golf setting. In fact, the golf course’s harmonious mix of vacationers and long-time club members include nationalities ranging from Argentina to New Zealand, and at least a dozen countries in between. These members and returning players hoist flags to Providenciales in the hopes of merging their stories with the ones that rose before them.

Golf, laugh and bond
Almost since the golf course opened in 1992, Director of Golf Dave Douglas has steered the Provo helm. Douglas and his wife Denise turned a six-week 1993 winter vacation from their native Sarnia, Ontario into a career, two daughters, and more island stories than you can tell over 18 holes.
In 1996, a few years after Douglas arrived, fellow Canadian Sean Wilson came on board during a whirlwind tournament weekend at the Provo Golf Club. “I no sooner showed up at the golf course and Dave’s boss asked me to fork over $500 to help cover event expenses. At the time, that was just about my life savings. Luckily the next evening I won that same amount back in a putting tournament that ran into the wee hours,” Wilson said. For Wilson the overachiever, the stories started on day one.
Whether you’re visiting with Douglas, Wilson, one of the caddies, or a fellow vacationer at the Fairways Bar and Grill, the Provo Golf Club is a place where people relax, savor a Turk’s Head beer and find a way to weave their hometown values into the fabric of island life. There seems to be something magical about golfing within a wedge of Grace Bay Beach that makes you want to share stories, laugh and bond.

Provo Golf Club’s stately clubhouse is 25 years old.

Every golf flag tells a story
The golf flag tradition began when Douglas and Peter Boyce, Provo’s initial golf professional, pondered what they should do with the two flags Douglas brought to Providenciales from his home courses in Canada. “I asked Peter if I should hang my Strathroy Bear Creek and Greenhills Country Club flags in the clubhouse restroom,” Douglas laughed.
Boyce eventually hoisted these first two flags on the ceiling above the bar area. Before long, a steady stream of golfers brought flags of their own. Quite by accident, a tradition began. The back stories of these colorful banners range from funny, mysterious, and even sad.
Today’s array of flags is a wonderful mix of golf’s “Who’s Who” perched next to “Who’s That?” On one row you’ll find iconic names like the Open Championship at Royal Troon, the 2000 Masters Championship, and the 2010 Ryders Cup. Amidst this portfolio of golf’s finest stands a tattered flag from San Pedro, CA. This flag represents The 19th Hole at Mule’s Sports Bar and Social Club. “Kenny Carpenter showed up in 1997 during one of our Turks & Caicos Amateur tournaments. He didn’t golf, but he agreed to volunteer for the festivities. A few hours after the tournament ended, Kenny died of a heart attack. The Mule’s flag is our way of honoring Kenny,” Douglas said.

Counting flags
Douglas and Wilson both guessed low when a frequent Providenciales vacationer inquired how many flags are now on display. The Canadian dynamic duo were surprised to learn that 240 flags, from eight countries, were on hand to greet the next golfer to gaze skyward.
In 2017, Provo Golf Club turns 25 years old. The island of Providenciales has grown in so many ways since the golf course opened for business in 1992. The rainbow of flags hanging from Provo’s clubhouse ceiling are a time capsule linking Providenciales’ early days prior to Grace Bay Beach becoming a tourism household word.
Many past and recent Provo golfers have promised to be on hand when the golf course celebrates its 25th birthday in November. The nostalgic Douglas and Wilson offered a challenge for those visiting the clubhouse for the very first time. When you walk through the clubhouse doors, try not to look up.

Tim Cotroneo is a freelance writer specializing in Caribbean travel, business and golf.

Provo Golf Club Real Estate
By Kathryn Brown, Director, ERA Coralie Properties

Not only is there an 18 hole championship golf course, Provo Golf Club also offers an opportunity to enjoy “golf club living” in a friendly and tranquil environment. This residential community is very family-oriented, incorporating townhomes, condominiums and private homes. Along with golf there are also tennis courts with an active tennis club.
Living on the course is casual and relaxing with great views of the greens. The golf course is centrally located to schools, shopping, and restaurants and, best of all, you are approximately a five minute walk from award-winning Grace Bay Beach.
There are a total of six townhome/condo developments along the 1st, 10th and 18th fairways. Each development has its own pool, parking and common lawn areas. All are well maintained with some of the older units now being bought and totally renovated, making them brand-new again.
In comparison to other areas on Providenciales, the golf course is considered very affordable living. Strata (condo) fees are some of the lowest per square foot on the island.
The first development was The Fairways, built in 1995 bordering the 18th fairway. There are 15 townhomes, each with two bedrooms, ensuite baths and a powder room. Next was The Palms, with another 15 units bordering the 1st fairway. In 1999, The Retreat added another 12 units along the 1st fairway.
In 2003, Enclave 1 was completed with 18 units, 5 being three-bedroom, the rest the traditional two- bedroom. Enclave 2 followed within a couple of years.
The condo-style Villas, located along the 18th fairway, were completed in 2007. With each new development there were slight alterations to layouts or interiors.
Over the years individual units have sold and increased in value as each owner improves and/or maintains their home. Many units are occupied by owners, some have long term tenants, and some have vacation tenants; all that live in the community enjoy it immensely.
There are also about 100 lots with homes built on about 15. These are all privately owned and built to owners’ wants and needs. There is still much opportunity to be a part of this great little community.
Other advantages include security gates at the entrance, with on-site guards nightly. Roadways are paved and have delightful names—Pebble Beach, Augusta, Muirhead, Turnberry. A central water system and power are ready at each lot for building. Landscaping is done professionally, and on a stroll along the roads you will enjoy the sounds of many birds, the smells of jasmine and the sight of flowering trees and bushes.
This lovely community is much sought-after, as it is welcoming to all, safe and a great place to live. Currently there are over 100 families enjoying residence in the area surrounding the Provo Golf Club—we look forward to those of you who wish to join us.

1 Comment

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Judian Cooney
Jun 23, 2017 12:46

Loved your article on the Golfing on Provo! I represent 3 properties on Provo including three great Villas..and need all the info on Golf that I can get!! So thanks so much..

Warmest regards,
judian Cooney
Enchanting Hideaways

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