Dave Iannotti and his sister, Donna Chiasson, along with her husband, George, not pictured, have decided to sell Turner Highlands Golf Course. Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover

TURNER — George and Donna Chiasson and Donna’s brother, Dave Iannotti, bought the Turner Highlands Golf Course as an investment in 2004 with a rough idea they would run it and the course restaurant for about 15 years.

They listed it for sale with Malone Commercial Brokers last month for $1.75 million.

“We’ve built it up and it’s the best time for someone to buy it,” Iannotti said Tuesday. “The membership is up, the number of rounds is up, the outside tournament schedule is up, the restaurant is doing (well), we have an awesome chef, great crew. It’s just time.”

Included in the price is 143 acres, the Fore Seasons restaurant, the 7,000-square-foot clubhouse and pro shop and three rental units.

The course first opened with nine holes in 1993 on former apple orchard land, according to the Sun Journal archives. It expanded to 18 holes four years later. The Chaissons, Iannotti and his then-wife bought it from co-founder and original owner Steve Leavitt.

George and Donna have both worked at the business full time, he as a groundskeeper and superintendent and she running the eatery, pro shop and events. Iannotti, an electrical contractor, has worked in the restaurant several nights a week.

Turner Highlands employs 25 people in the summer. It will stay open and everything will keep running as they look for a buyer, they said.

The public course hosts six leagues, and golf teams from Leavitt Area High School in Turner and Spruce Mountain High School in Jay play there.

“Our hope is the next buyer continues to be involved in the community,” Iannotti said.

They would also like to see the annual college scholarship for members’ children and grandchildren, a tradition that goes back to the late 1990s, maintained.

He said it is unlikely to be bought by someone looking to develop the property for something other than golf. When the town approved 35 roughly one-acre housing lots at the course, the lot size was smaller than typically allowed because it was offset by all of the surrounding green space on the course.

“So if somebody was to do that, they’d have to maintain a certain percentage of green space,” he said, adding, “I think this area needs a golf course. Some courses are closing and golf needs to be maintained in the area. People need places to play.”

Iannotti said they tried to sell last year on their own and attracted some national interest.

The course has more than 200 members, a number that has grown 25% since they have owned it.

Donna Chaisson said they have also expanded the pro shop, adding more lines of clothing and golf clubs, and last year hired pro Rick Carlton part time.

Turner Highlands is also going live soon with a new website and online tee booking.

Chaisson said she will miss the excitement of tournament days and weddings.

“I’ve probably overseen 200 weddings,” she said, “and at the end of the wedding, if that bride is happy, that’s rewarding.”


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