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Trilogy at Ocala Preserve
By Scott Kauffman
The new Shea Homes community in Ocala, Fla. unveiled its unique new Tom Lehman/Tripp Davis-designed “loop” courses to members and the media on Feb. 2, 2016.
Tom Lehman, the 1996 British Open winner and 2006 Ryder Cup captain, led guests on an unveiling tour of the new Trilogy at Ocala Preserve golf course in Ocala, Fla., including myself and approximately 10 other members from the media. The unique facility is one that industry-watchers say could serve as a more cost-efficient and environmentally sustainable model for golf communities around the world.
Lehman and his co-designer Tripp Davis, a course architect noted for his attention to environmental impacts, each played holes with guests at the 50-acre course they co-designed in the midst of the new Shea Homes community.
“I think when it’s all said and done, when people finally understand what is available out here, it’s going to be a really, really popular thing,” said Lehman after hitting his tee shot onto the green of the 149-yard, par-3 first hole.
The course is open to the public and makes use of multiple routings around a six-hole loop. The five configurations range from a six-hole, par-18 “Gallery Loop” that can be played in less than an hour, to a “Players’ Course” with an 18-hole, par-72 routing that covers more than 6,700 yards, to a “Horse Course” for a shot-matching contest modeled on the playground basketball game.
Play will be open to all residents and non-resident members of the club daily for an access fee of $7; to guests of members for $15 daily; and to members of the public on Fridays, Saturdays and holidays for an access fee of $35 from February to May and $20 from June to September, the Ocala Star-Banner reported. Play is limited to a maximum of 28 players daily.
In a VIP meet-and-greet event on February 1 at Trilogy of Ocala’s Tack House that included club members and media, Davis and Lehman explained their approach to designing the course, which sits on a fraction of the area of an 18-hole championship facility typically spanning 200 acres.
Among the guests at Trilogy's festivities on Monday and Tuesday were writers from golf publications and industry representatives. With the LPGA Coates Golf Championship being staged little more than five miles away, Scott Kauffman of Clermont and Dave Daubert of Kissimmee were both featured by the Ocala Star-Banner.
Kauffman described himself as “a leading expert on golf course real estate worldwide,” according to the Star-Banner report, and said many in the industry are watching Trilogy at Ocala. He said traditional 18-hole courses are “a tremendous strain on communities and owners to maintain.” The Trilogy at Ocala model is cheaper to maintain, leaves more room for homes and encourages wider participation in the game.
“This is a game-changer, in my opinion,” Kauffman told Star-Banner business editor Richard Anguiano.
Daubert, a writer with eSouthernGolfZine.com, said Trilogy at Ocala “might be a new model for courses to come.”
“This is what we used to do before the economy dropped, Daubert said as he prepared to tee off Tuesday morning. “We had a media day every month. They were opening golf courses like this. Now they're closing them. So this model will hopefully change that tide, or show people what they can do with less land.”