The course of the future has arrived: New flexible Trilogy Golf Club in Ocala, Florida

Finally, the golf course of the future has arrived.

Golf industry leaders have been talking incessantly for two decades about the need for innovative, time-saving and playable courses for all skill levels.

Whether it's millennials who only want to devote a couple of hours to a round or seniors who don't have the inclination or stamina to play 18 holes, the need for non-traditional layouts with flexible routings has been requested by those who want golf's popularity continue.

Trilogy Golf Club at Ocala Preserve in Ocala, Fla. -- which opened in February 2016 -- is a revolutionary routing arrangement built on 50 acres that can be played in multiple configurations.

Trilogy Golf Club: The setting

A design collaboration by Oklahoma-based architect Tripp Davis and PGA Tour and Champions Tour star Tom Lehman, the course is set in Ocala Preserve, a 623-acre, master-planned community in the rolling hills about a mile and a half west of I-75. The area surrounding Ocala Preserve on Highway 27 is dotted with lush horse farms.

Ocala Preserve's 25,000-square-foot clubhouse is expected to open early 2017. Currently, the course operates from the Tack House, a beautifully appointed, 4,500-square-foot building that has a small golf shop and grill room.

Trilogy Golf Club: Course design

"Our vision was to create a course that has lots of variety and great character," said Lehman, a two-time Major Championship winner and former Ryder Cup Captain. "Based on comments from those who've played it, I think we succeeded in accomplishing those goals."

Some of Lehman's more notable designs include Encanterra Country Club in Arizona, the Prairie Club in Nebraska and Lake Jovita in Florida.

"Trilogy reduces environmental impact and gives players the opportunity to play an accessible, challenging and time-saving routing," Lehman said.

The course is designed in a visually appealing, park-like setting with quick access from greens to the next tee. Trilogy is a walking-only course, and push carts are available as well as the Golf Skate Caddy -- the unique apparatus that's one part individual golf cart, one part skateboard and one part Segway.

"Players shouldn't be fooled by the size or scope of the Trilogy course," said Davis, whose design resume includes Cherokee Hills Golf Club and Belmar Golf Club in Oklahoma and redesigns of Brook Hollow Golf Club in Dallas and Wichita Country Club in Kansas. "There is real shot value and design integrity on display throughout the routing."

Trilogy Golf Club: Strategy

"The appeal of Trilogy is its playability for all skill levels," Lehman said. "While I'm biased, of course, I've played it, and you can select as much risk and reward on each hole as you desire."

Trilogy Golf Club can be played in a variety of ways. These include:

The Players' Loop: A six-hole, par-24 routing with one par 3, four par 4s and one par 5. Holes vary in length from 155 to 520 yards. It typically takes about 90 minutes to complete.

The Player's Course: By playing the Players Loop three times with multiple tee complexes, it provides an 18-hole, par-72, 6,700-yard routing.

The Gallery Loop: A six-hole, par-18 course that can be played in less than an hour.

The Skills Course: An 18-hole, par-54 layout with holes varying in length from 63 to more than 200 yards.

Horse Course: A match-play option allowing players to select the tees and holes they wish to play in a golf version of the popular basketball game, H-O-R-S-E.

Trilogy Golf Club: Final thoughts

While some golfers might consider the course and routing gimmicky because it's not a traditional 18-hole layout, that's an erroneous assessment. The quality of design, shot values and maintenance standards are impressive. Innovative bunkering and superb greens give the course a tournament quality feel.

Trilogy is open to members and guests Sundays through Thursdays and shared with the public on Fridays, Saturdays and holidays. Members will play $7 daily with public rates ranging from $20 to $35 depending on the season.

If you're looking for a time-saving, first-rate golf experience and a place to seriously refine your short iron game, Trilogy is the perfect place to tee up. As golf industry experts have suggested, this type of routing is also a great venue for beginners and juniors, who represent the future of the game.

Ed Schmidt, publisher of The Golf Travel Guru Blog, is the author of two books on Florida golf and more than 2,500 articles and columns on golf resorts, courses and destinations around the world. Follow Ed on Twitter at @golftravelguy.
Commented on

Definitely an interesting concept. I'm curious to see how it plays out.I see play is shared with the public on Fridays and Saturdays.  I wonder how confusing things will get if some groups are playing the full 18 Player's Course, others are playing the six-hole par-3 Gallery Loop and and others are hopping around to the Players' Loop, the six-hole, par-24 layout. With different teeing grounds and the potential of groups coming from different areas, playing at different speeds, in different formats, I imagine there's at least the potential for some major confusion. Although I'm used to packed golf courses in the Northeast US, so maybe it won't be much of a factor in Ocala... Thinking outside the box though, I like it.

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The course of the future has arrived: New flexible Trilogy Golf Club in Ocala, Florida