8 Golf Courses with Unique Pin Flags

Landmand Golf Club is oversized in a great many ways, with the King-Collins design sprawling across 588 acres of Nebraska farmland—almost four times the size of an average 18-hole golf course. The bunkers are fearsomely large, the greens massive. And to fit the scale of the putting surfaces, the pin flags are oversized as well.

They’re also not your standard fare when it comes to flags—Landmand instead boasts yellow windsocks on its flagsticks.

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Landmand’s windsocks (photo by Erik Matuszewski)

Much larger than the standard pin flag, Landmand’s windsocks help identify the direction and strength of the wind, of course, but also provide helpful scale on a gargantuan property that sits high atop silty hills several hundred feet above the surrounding farms in Homer.

“When it’s blowing, it’s certainly easier to hit with a rangefinder,” says Landmand General Manager Adam Fletcher.

Landmand is among a few North American golf courses that have embraced non-traditional pin flags—those that aren’t a standard rectangle of nylon or polyester fabric. Here are a handful of examples, including another within the Cornhusker state.

(photo by Erik Matuszewski)

Cabot Cape Breton (Inverness, Nova Scotia, Canada)

The first property in the growing Cabot golf portfolio, Cabot Cape Breton has a wooden sailing ship, a lobster, and a nest on the flags for its three coastal courses in Nova Scotia. But more distinctly, all the flags are in a “swallowtail” form often flown on the mast or crow’s nest of naval ships. In fact, Cabot’s original logo—a depiction of the ship that brought John Cabot to North America—features a swallowtail flag.

(photo courtesy Cabot Cape Breton)

Friar’s Head (Riverhead, N.Y.)

The flagsticks at this private club on the north shore of Long Island, hard on the Long Island Sound, appropriately feature double nautical signal flags. Both red and white, they represent the International Code of Signals for the initials at Friar’s Head: F and H, or Foxtrot and Hotel in INTERCO lingo.

Lost Rail (Omaha, Neb.)

Nebraska has a rich railroad heritage that extends to one of its newest private courses on the outskirts of Omaha. One of the signature elements at Lost Rail is a stretch of tracks from a long-abandoned railroad and the club adopted a double flag that ties into that history.

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Lost Rail’s double flags (photo by Erik Matuszewski)

Merion (Ardmore, Pa.)

Perhaps the most readily identifiable on this list, the red wicker baskets at Merion have long been the signature of this private course outside Philadelphia. Their origin remains somewhat of a mystery, with perhaps the most popular tale being that course designer Hugh Wilson, a Scottish immigrant, adopted the look of baskets used on the staffs of shepherds who were trying to keep their lunch out of reach of their flocks. You will also find the red wicker basket used on the flags of the Seaside course at Sea Island Resort in Georgia.

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A wicker basket flagstick is seen on the 17th hole during the 113th U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Pinehurst No. 3 (Pinehurst, N.C.)

The small triangle flags you’ll find at Pinehurst No. 3 are unlike any other at the resort, by intent. The par-68 course is no pushover, a true Donald Ross design with tough turtleback greens—a mini-No. 2 course in some respects. To celebrate its diminutive nature, the wooden flagsticks, and the yellow flags themselves, are a little bit smaller as well.

The flags at Pinehurst No. 3 (photo courtesy Pinehurst Resort)

Plainfield Country Club (Plainfield, N.J.)

Originally designed by Ross and restored/renovated by Gil Hanse, Plainfield has been a previous host site for the PGA Tour playoffs, the U.S. Women’s Open, and the U.S. Amateur. It also features a distinctive forked pennant flag that’s emerged as a popular secondary logo for the private club.

White Bear Yacht Club (White Bear Lake, Minn.)

This club northeast of the Twin Cities boasts a rich golf history but was originally founded in 1889 as a sailing club. To this day, it holds regular regattas while its golf course has gained increasing acclaim in golf architecture circles. It’s small pennant pin flags, meanwhile, have become readily identifiable with one of the unique logos in the game.

Which other unique flags have you come across in your golf travels?