Unique Tripp Davis/Tom Lehman design in Florida to offer max flexibility with multiple routings

OCALA, Fla. -- Architect Tripp Davis is collaborating with former PGA Tour player Tom Lehman to create one of the most creative and unique short courses in America. The new course, the Trilogy at Ocala Preserve, is scheduled to open this fall, and developers say it can play in at least a dozen configurations.

The course, which is being built on just 50 acres as opposed to around 200 for a full-sized golf course, will be an 18-hole, par-54, par-3 course in its straight configuration. But it can also be divided into six-hole loops, using alternate tee boxes to create other configurations. It will be offered as an amenity to Shea Home's Trilogy active adult community, but will also be open to the public.

Davis, who is based in Oklahoma, said he and Lehman were directed to "come up with something unique," and they did. There's nothing really quite like it in the country, although the Origins Course at Watersound Resort in Panama City, Fla., has a couple of different configurations. The Davis Love III design can be played as a regulation six-hole course or a 10-hole par-3 course.

Davis said he hasn't seen Watersound, but drew inspiration from a couple of other short courses, including the practice facility he's designed for the University of Oklahoma.

The idea, said Davis, was to create the shot values you would get from an 18-hole regulation course.

"We wanted it to have the flexibility to play a lot of different ways."

How the Trilogy at Ocala Preserve will work

Among the Trilogy at Ocala Preserve's offerings will be something called a Target Loop, an integrated six-hole short-course option that can be played in less than an hour, and the Skills Loop, an integrated six-hole, par-24 loop that can be played in less than an hour in any of four different configurations. All of this, however, will depend on how busy the course is and what time of the week or day it is.

For example, there will be times that it will just be an 18-hole, par-3 course. At other times, players will be able to play the first six holes while another group takes on another six-hole configuration that starts on no. 7. The idea would be to play that loop three times for an 18-hole regulation golf experience that plays a little more than 6,600 yards.

Golfers will also have the flexibility at times to drop or tee the ball anywhere they want, to create ideal practice conditions that would include different types of lies.

One hole, which has a 100-yard-wide teeing area, can also serve as driving range for the course during certain configurations, especially early in the morning before players have reached the fifth tee.

Course to have upscale look

As for the appearance of the golf course, Davis says the $3 million course will have an Australian Sandbelt look, set amid gently rolling hills in the heart of Florida's horse country. It will also be heavily landscaped. There will be about 45 bunkers, most of them for framing, and the greens will be on the large side. The first six will average around 5,500 square feet, the next 12 around 7,000 square feet since they will pull double duty for not only par-3 holes, but par 4s and a par 5.

It will be grassed in 419 Bermuda throughout, except for the greens. Currently, officials are considering either Champion or MiniVerde on the greens.

The golf course is just one of many five-star amenities planned for Trilogy at Ocala Preserve. The community will also feature a club that will include a fitness center, dining, resort pool, tennis and a trail system to be used by hikers, bikers, walkers and runners.

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.
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Unique Tripp Davis/Tom Lehman design in Florida to offer max flexibility with multiple routings