Title:
SIMULATED GOLF GAME
United States Patent 3638944


Abstract:
Indoor game apparatus particularly operative for simulating a regular outdoor game such as golf. The apparatus employs a playing field or golf course having a green-colored translucent plastic sheet simulating the golf course ground surface. Underneath the translucent ground surface sheet is arranged light beam means focused upwardly through the green plastic translucent sheet and exhibiting a small white spot of light on the top surface of the sheet and simulating a golf ball. The game apparatus includes means for guidingly supporting the light beam for movement in a horizontal plane and includes two bidirectionally operative electric motor units operative each motor unit for movement of the light beam in a direction perpendicular to the direction of light beam movement caused by the other motor. The light beam is arrangeable at any horizontal point by coordinated actuation of the two motors. The game apparatus includes selectively operative electric switch means for causing movement of the light beam "golf ball" in a desired direction. The game apparatus also includes selectively operative timer switch means for controlling the duration of movement of the "golf ball" light spot and thus the simulated distance or travel of the "ball." The timer switch means also preferably includes a series of automatically sequentially operative switch elements operative for causing an angular path of "ball" movement.



Inventors:
MCQUEEN JAMES T
Application Number:
04/834035
Publication Date:
02/01/1972
Filing Date:
06/17/1969
Assignee:
GEORGE L. RUSH
JAMES T. MCQUEEN
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
463/51, 463/57
International Classes:
A63F7/06; (IPC1-7): A63F7/06
Field of Search:
273/87,87
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3072410Golf game apparatus1963-01-08Simjian
2961238Football game1960-11-22Waldrop
2894753Indicator for golf practice1959-07-14Simjian
2894751Golf game1959-07-14Simjian
2785941Low-inertia plotting-board drive1957-03-19Macklem et al.
2366772Automatic position locator1945-01-09Ebeling



Primary Examiner:
Pinkham, Richard C.
Assistant Examiner:
Shapiro, Paul E.
Claims:
I claim

1. Golf game apparatus comprising frame structure; a miniature golf course assembly simulating a regular golf course supported on said frame structure and including a translucent horizontal thin planar sheet simulating a ground surface, including means demarcating the ground surface sheet into tee-off areas, fairways, putting greens, obstacles, hazards, and ball cup scoring areas; light beam means for projecting a small strong light beam; means guidingly constraining said light beam means generally in universal horizontal planar movement at a disposition subjacently of said ground surface sheet and at a disposition whereat the light beam of said light beam means projects upwardly through said ground surface sheet and defines a small spot of light on the upper surface of said ground surface sheet simulating a golf ball; first electric motor means, second electric motor means, each of said first and second electric motor means being bidirectionally operative, first bidirectionally operative motion-transmitting means interconnecting said first motor means and said light beam means and operative for causing forward and rearward movement of said light beam means respectively upon bidirectional movement of said first motor means; second bidirectionally operative motion-transmitting means interconnecting said second motor means and said light beam means and operative for causing left and right lateral movement of said light beam means respectively upon bidirectional movement of said second motor means; timer switch means for controlling the length of time of movement of said light means including contact point means for opening a circuit between a source of power and said motor means, spring-loaded hand lever means for setting said timer means, and detent means selectively adjustable for maintaining said contact point means in a closed circuit disposition for a certain selected time interval; primary electric circuit means including said contact point means and said first and second motor means for controlling operation of said motor means, and including ball movement selector switch means hand-actuated for selectively causing said first or second motor means each to run separately in respective modes of bidirectional movement.

2. The golf game apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said ball movement selector switch means includes a slide-type multicontact ball path selector switch unit arrangeable in at least five positions for respectively causing movement of said light beam means relative to said frame structure, longitudinally, leftward oblique, rightward oblique, leftward transverse, and rightward transverse, and includes a double-pole double-throw ball direction switch unit hand-actuated and having contacts arrangeable in series with the contacts of said ball path selector switch, and operative for causing forward or rearward movement of said light beam means relative to said frame at the positions of said ball path selector switch causing longitudinal and oblique movement of said light beam means relative to said frame structure.

3. The golf game apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said primary circuit means includes means for causing said light beam means to move in an angular path, wherein said timer switch means includes first and second contact means and means responsive to unloading movement of said spring-loaded lever means for causing sequential consecutive closing of said first and second contact means of said timer switch means and includes conductor means connecting said first and second contact means in series with said ball movement selector switch means during loading movement of said lever means; sequential closing of said first and second contact means being effective for consecutively energizing one and then both motor means thereby causing said light beam means to move in an angular path beneath said horizontal planar sheet.

4. The golf game apparatus as defined in claim 1 which additionally includes secondary circuit means for selectively placing said light beam means at a desired place on said ground surface sheet of said miniature golf course assembly and including first and second hand-actuated double-pole double-throw switch units connected in series respectively with said first and second motor means and operative each respectively for causing selective clockwise or counterclockwise movement of the first and second motor means and respectively longitudinal or transverse movement of said light beam means relative to said frame structure.

5. The golf game apparatus as defined in claim 1 which additionally includes means for stopping movement of said light beam means when it is substantially directly beneath a hazard, obstacle or scoring cup area of the translucent ground surface sheet of said miniature golf course assembly.

6. The golf game apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said miniature golf course assembly is generally horizontally circular and is mounted for selective rotative positioning relative to said frame structure and additionally includes a plurality of small play pieces; each play piece representing a game player and being adapted for use in marking the location of the light spot "ball" of that player's last shot while the "ball" is in play by another player.

7. The golf game apparatus as defined in claim 1 wherein said means guidingly constraining said light beam means in universal horizontal movement includes a horizontal rail arranged underneath said ground surface sheet and extending longitudinally of said frame, trolley means runningly supported on said rail, mounting said light beam means, and includes forward and rearward horizontal runner means parallel spaced apart, extending respectively transversely of said frame, and runningly bridgingly supporting opposite end portions of said rail.

8. The golf game apparatus as defined in claim 7 wherein said first electric motor means is mounted on said trolley means and wherein said first motion-transmitting means operative for causing forward and rearward movement of said light beam means includes drive roller means runningly frictionally engaging said horizontal rail and includes power transmission speed reduction means drivingly interconnecting said first motor means and said drive roller.

9. The golf game apparatus as defined in claim 8 wherein said second electric motor means is firmly supported from said frame structure and wherein said second motion-transmitting means operative for causing left and right lateral movement of said light beam means includes forward and rearward pulley and string means and with the string means respectively of said forward and rearward string means being secured respectively to the forward and rearward end portions of said rail, and including means connecting said string means to said second motor means for causing bidirectional simultaneous movement of said forward and rearward pulley and string means and respectively leftward and rightward transverse translational movement of said horizontal rail and so respectively leftward and rightward movement of said light beam means.

10. The golf game apparatus as defined in claim 7 which additionally includes means for stopping movement of said light beam means when it is substantially directly below each hazard, obstacle or scoring cup area of the translucent sheet of said miniature golf course assembly and including a hazard cutoff switch mounted on said trolley means and having a contact bearing arm normally spring urged to a closed circuit disposition, said cutoff switch being electrically interposed in said primary circuit means and operative when moved to an open disposition for simultaneously stopping current to said first and second motor means, and including a plurality of lug portions formed on the underside of said ground surface sheet of said miniature golf course assembly and with each lug portion being arranged directly subjacently of a respective obstacle, hazard or cup scoring area and including upwardly facing knob means supported on the distal end of the contact arm of said cutoff switch and adapted for coacting engagement with each lug projection; the relative size and arrangement of parts being such that horizontal movement of said trolley means being operative for causing engagement of said knob means with a lug portion thereby deflecting the cutoff switch arm downwardly opening the contacts of the cutoff switch and stopping movement of the trolley and so stopping movement of the light beam means and the simulated golf ball light spot showing on the translucent ground sheet of the miniature golf course assembly.

11. The game apparatus as defined in claim 10 wherein said light beam means includes an incandescent prefocused-type lightbulb mounted in an upwardly facing direction on the distal end portion of said cutoff switch resilient contact arm and wherein the upper portion of said lightbulb constitutes said knob means adapted for coacting engagement with each lug portion formed on the underside of said ground surface sheet.

12. The golf game apparatus as defined in claim 11 which additionally includes a single-pole single-throw hazard bypass switch hand-actuated and arranged in parallel relation with said hazard cutoff switch; said hazard bypass switch when in a closed disposition negating the action of said cutoff switch thereby permitting current to flow to said first and second motor means for permitting horizontal movement of said light beam means and so movement of said simulated golf ball light spot on the ground surface sheet of said miniature golf course assembly.

Description:
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

It relates generally to indoor-type game apparatus and relates also to game apparatus having means for simulating movement of game object in free travel or flight. The invention relates particularly to golf game apparatus having miniature simulated golf course means and having rules of play corresponding with a regular golf game.

2. Description of the Prior Art

U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,101,947 and 3,366,388 illustrate prior art golf game apparatus having electrical means for operating the games or for indicating or recording certain golf game plays. The golf game disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,101,947 includes a series of cards and pegs adapted to be inserted in one of a multiplicity of holes in a playing board. The game does not include means simulating a ball or other object in free flight and appears to be more a game of chance than of skill. The golf game disclosure of U.S. Pat. No. 3,366,388 is rather large size apparatus adapted for indoor or outdoor use and to be played with conventional golf ball and clubs. The golf game of this patent does not include a full golf course in miniature or a simulated golf course.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The game structure of the present invention may be utilized in playing a complete game of golf and includes miniature structure simulating a complete golf course. The game structure of the invention is not played with conventional golf ball and club equipment but is adapted for embodiment in a small boxlike structure for indoor recreation. The game rules of the invention parallel closely the game rules of a conventional golf game, and this in conjunction with the simulated full golf course causes a player of the game to have much the same interest or feeling in the miniature game as when playing a regular game of golf. The game apparatus includes unique means for causing a simulated golf ball to move in a desired path and also includes means for choosing and determining the distance of travel of a simulated golf ball flight. Such structure as this reduces the chance or luck factor in playing the game and causes the better scoring in the golf game to be made by the players having the most skill at the game. The skill required in playing the game promotes and sustains interest in the game and affords a means of pleasant relaxation.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of the golf game apparatus of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a schematic showing of the mechanical and electrical components of the invention.

FIG. 3 is a vertical plane sectional view taken as on the line III--III of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a vertical plane sectional view taken as on the line IV--IV of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a schematic showing of the electrical components and circuitry of the invention.

FIG. 6 is a schematic showing of simulated golf ball travel obtainable by combined manipulation of the forward-rearward ball direction switch (37) and the ball path selector switch (35).

FIGS. 7A, 7B, 7C and 7D schematically illustrate the ball distance lever.

FIG. 8 schematically illustrates the electrical circuitry of the game apparatus as this relates to the positioning of the ball path selector switch and pivotal movement of the distal lever.

FIG. 9 is an enlarged front view of the ball distance lever.

FIG. 10 is an enlarged fragmentary top view of the miniature golf course assembly taken as on the line X--X of FIG. 4.

FIG. 11 is an enlarged top view of the play spinner means of the game apparatus.

FIG. 12 is a vertical plane sectional view of the spinner means taken as on the line XII--XII of FIG. 11.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The golf game apparatus of the present invention is indicated by numeral 11 and basically includes rectangular frame structure 13; a miniature simulated golf course assembly 15 mounted on frame 13 including a translucent simulated ground surface sheet 17; light beam means including an incandescent light bulb 19 arranged underneath golf course assembly ground surface sheet 17; means arranged underneath the ground surface sheet guidingly constraining light bulb 19 in substantially universal horizontal movement including a rail 21 extending horizontally and longitudinally of frame structure 13, and forward and rearward horizontal parallel spaced-apart runners 23, 23' extending transversely of frame structure 13; first electric motor means 25 operative for moving light bulb 19 longitudinally of frame structure 13; second electric motor means 27 operative for moving light bulb means 19 transversely of the frame structure; timer switch means 29 including a spring-loaded hand-actuated distance lever 31, spring-urged to an upward disposition; detent means for releasably detaining distance lever 31 in a downward disposition including a triggerlike play lever 33; selectively operative ball movement switch means including a slide-switch-type ball path selector switch unit 35 and a forward-rearward ball direction selector switch unit 37; and ball placement switch means for selectively placing the simulated light beam means ball spot at a desired position on translucent ground surface sheet 17 including a first switch unit 39 adapted for positioning light bulb 19 at a desired place relative to the longitudinal extension of frame structure 13, and a second switch unit 41 adapted for selectively positioning light bulb 19 at a desired position transversely of the golf game frame structure.

Miniature golf course assembly 15 preferably is disklike in horizontal configuration and is removably supported in a generally circular upwardly opening aperture 43 formed in horizontal upper wall 45 of the game apparatus frame structure. Golf course assembly 15 preferably is fabricated entirely of plastic material and includes means demarcating ground surface sheet 17 into tee-off areas 47; putting green 49 and fairways 51; obstacle or hazards including sand traps 53, wooded areas 55, and lake or water hazards 57; and ball cup scoring areas 59.

Ground surface translucent sheet 17 preferably is formed of green-colored plastic sheet material and forms base structure for supporting tee-off areas 47, putting greens 49, obstacle or hazard structure 53, 55, 57, and the ball cup scoring areas 59 indicated generally by pennant flags 61. Fairways 51 are integrally formed of the green translucent ground surface sheet 17 and are defined respectively generally by the remaining surface excluding putting greens 49 and obstacle and hazard structure 53, 55, 57. Tee-off areas 47 and putting greens 49 preferably are formed of plastic sheet translucent material having a degree of translucency sufficient for permitting light beam 63 of bulb 19 to be transmitted to the upper surface 65 of sheet 17 and define a white circular light spot 67 (see FIGS. 1 and 4).

Light bulb 19 preferably is the prefocused type having an upwardly projecting knob end 69 defining lens means for focusing the light rays into the sharp strong light beam 63. Tee-off areas 47 and putting greens 49 are laminatingly secured on upper surface 65 of sheet 17 and the light from beam 63 is diffused upwardly through the double thicknesses of plastic sheet material and is visible as sharply defined white spot 67 which represents the golf ball of the game. Tee-off areas 47 are arranged along the circular periphery of ground surface sheet 17 and with each tee-off area 47 has a corresponding ball cup scoring area 59. As an example, tee-off area 47a has a corresponding ball cup scoring area 59a, tee-off area 47b has a corresponding ball cup area 59b, etc. Each tee-off area 47 and corresponding scoring area 59 preferably are provided with corresponding indicia (not shown); as an example, flag 61a of scoring area 59a may be indicated "1" which represents the first hole of the golf course and tee-off area 47a correspondingly may be indicated "1." Tee-off areas 47 each are preferably provided also with indicia (not shown) indicating the par value of each hole or indicating the par number of strokes for each hole as in a regular golf game.

Golf course assembly 15 preferably is turnably mounted on frame structure upper wall 45; ground surface sheet 17 of golf course assembly 15 preferably is provided with diametrically spaced-apart tabs 71 providing finger grip means for turnably manipulating the golf course assembly.

Each tee-off area 47 preferably has an angular or point-shaped margin 73 which is pointed generally toward the direction of tee-off towards the forward end of frame structure 13. As an example, pointed margin 73a of tee-off area 47a, when positioned properly for tee-off from that tee, is pointed away from the player towards the forward end of the frame structure. Thus, turnably manipulating and positioning golf course assembly 15 permits the general "ball" movement or general direction of play to be toward the forward end of the game apparatus. Ground hazards such as sand traps 53, wooded areas 55, and lake areas 57 may be formed of sheet plastic material laminatingly secured on the upper surface of ground surface sheet 17. The size, shape and placement respectively of obstacles 53, 55, 57 may be as desired, and miniature plastic simulated trees or other vertical obstructions may be positioned at wooded areas 55.

Electric motor unit 25 is of DC type and is bidirectionally operative. Motor unit 25 is supported in a trolley assembly 75 mounted on horizontal rail 21 and provides power means for forward and rearward movement of the trolley assembly along the rail (see FIGS. 2 and 4). Trolley assembly 75 is pendantly runningly supported by cylindrical guide rollers 77, 79, 79 and a drive roller 81 frictionally drivingly engaging the top surface of horizontal rail 21. Cylindrical rollers 77, 79, 79 each are preferably formed of hard plastic material and idly stationarily journaled in parallel arrangement between side plates 83, 83 of trolley assembly 75. Power transmission means including worm and spur gear means 85, 87 and belt and pulley means 89 drivingly interconnect electric motor output shaft 91 and drive roller 81. Contradirectional movement of output shaft 91 through speed reduction means 85, 87 89 is operative respectively for causing forward and rearward movement of trolley-mounted light beam means 19.

Electric motor means 27 is operative through speed reduction gearing unit 93 and forward and rearward string and pulley means 95, 95' for causing translational lateral bidirectional movement of horizontal rail 21. Forward and rearward runners 23, 23' are fixedly supported on frame structure 13 in parallel coplanar arrangement and provide runway means for bridgingly supporting opposite end portions of the rail in translational lateral movement. Paired parallel journaled rollers 97, 97; 97', 97' journaled respectively on opposite end portions of horizontal rail 21 runningly engage upper surfaces respectively of forward and rearward coplanar runners 23, 23' and provide runway means for movement of light beam 63 fully across the underside of miniature golf course assembly 15. A long drive shaft 99 is stationarily journaled in longitudinal extension along the left side of golf game frame structure 13 at forward and rearward bearing positions 101, 101'. Forward and rearward drive pulleys 103, 103' fixed respectively on opposite end portions of shaft 99 runningly drivingly engage string elements 105, 105' respectively of pulley and string means 95, 95'. Each endless string element 105, 105' is guidingly constrained in rectangular configuration respectively by idler pulleys 107, 107' stationarily journaled in generally rectangular configuration from frame structure 13 (a portion of forward string element 95 and idler pulleys 107 not being shown in FIG. 2 or in the drawings).

The upper horizontal reaches 109, 109' respectively of string elements 105, 105' are fixedly secured, each at an intermediate or mean portion thereof respectively to an end portion of horizontal rail 21. A bottle-stopperlike anchor projection 111, 111' fixed on and projecting upwardly respectively from opposite end portions of horizontal rail 21 provides anchor means for firmly engaging an intermediate portion respectively of upper runs 109, 109' respectively of forward and rearward string elements 105, 105'. Anchor projections 111, 111' each are diametrically slotted upwardly and firmly receive string elements 105, 105'. A loop of wire, as wire loop 113' in FIG. 4, preferably is tightly twisted about the upper portion of each anchor projection 111, 111' and frictionally firmly clamps respectively anchor projections 111, 111' on string elements 109, 109'. Contradirectional rotative movement of second electric motor means 27 is operative for causing bidirectional translational lateral movement of horizontal rail 21 and thus trolley 75 and light beam means 19. By actuation of motor means 27 light beam means 19 and white spot "ball" 67 is caused to move laterally of frame structure 13 and golf course assembly 15.

As may readily be determined, clockwise or counterclockwise movement respectively of first and second motor means 25, 27 is operative for causing light beam means 19 to move forwardly or rearwardly, right or left, or obliquely forwardly rearwardly leftward or rightward. FIG. 6 illustrates generally the upwardly facing face panel of ball path selector slide switch 35, preferably having nine positions, and laterally slidable contact means slidable by hand button 115. At the left-hand side of FIG. 6 is shown also a schematic illustration of ball direction selector switch 37.

When thumb lever 117 of switch 37 (see FIG. 1) is moved to a forward position (see FIG. 6), selected positioning of hand button 115 of slide switch 35 at a desired one of the nine positions of switch unit 35 causes movement of the ball or light beam 63 in the direction indicated by the arrow of that position. As an example, considering ball path slide switch 35 is arranged as shown in FIG. 6 and with button 115 in the first position (as shown), and considering that lever 117 of direction switch 37 is in the forward position, the movement of first motor 25 will be clockwise and thus move trolley 75 and light beam 63 forwardly as indicated by the upper arrow at position No. 1. Should thumb lever 117 be in a rearward position, and button 115 be at the first position, first motor 25 will be energized counterclockwise and light beam 63 moved rearwardly as indicated by the lower arrow of position No. 1 in FIG. 6. With button 115 of switch 35 moved rightward to the No. 2 position, and with thumb lever 117 of switch 37 in a forward position, both motors 25, 27 will be energized clockwise and light beam 63 will move obliquely forwardly and leftward (see upper arrow at position No. 2 in FIG. 6). With button 115 of switch 35 still in position No. 2, and with thumb lever 117 of switch 37 in a rearward position, motor 25 will be energized counterclockwise and motor 27 clockwise, thereby causing rearward leftward movement of light beam 63 and corresponding movement of light spot 67 on ground surface sheet 17 of golf course assembly 15. With button 115 of switch 35 arranged in positions No. 4 or 5, forward-rearward ball direction switch 37 is ineffective and motor 27 will move clockwise or counterclockwise respectively causing leftward or rightward movement of light beam 63.

By selective manipulation of ball placement switches 39, 41 light spot "ball" 67 may be positioned at a desired point on golf course assembly sheet 17 irrespective of the positioning of slide switch unit 35 or forward-rearward switch unit 37. Each motor 25, 27 is controlled respectively by current passing directly through one or the other of switches 39, 41 when these switches are used for selectively positioning the light spot "ball" 67 at a desired position on golf course assembly translucent ground surface sheet 17.

Timer switch means 29 is connected in series with switch units 35, 37, and is operative for controlling the "distance" of the "ball" when a play is being made; a primary purpose of timer switch means 29 is for selectively determining the run or duration of running time for each or both motor units 25, 27. Another function of timer switch means 29 is for causing angular movement of the "ball" as indicated by the arrows in positions No. 6-9 of slide switch 35 (see FIG. 6). On-off mercury-type switch elements 117, 119, 121, 123 are mounted on movable distance lever 31 and respectively are actuated upon pivotal upward or downward movement of the distance lever. Sequential operation of respective ones of mercury switch elements 117, 119, 121, 123 is in effect when light spot "ball" 67 is moved as shown in one of the positions No. 6-9 of FIG. 6.

Timer switch means 29 includes timer mechanism 125 including a torsion spring 127 yieldably urging distance lever 31 upwardly, gear train means 129 connected through ratchet means (not shown) to distance lever 31 and operative when the lever is moving upwardly, and air fan governor means 131 arranged at the high-speed output end of gear train means 129 for governing the energy release of spring 127. Manual pivotal downward movement of lever 31 tensions spring 127; release of lever 31 and pivotal upward movement of the lever, acting through ratchet means (not shown) energized gear train means 129 and through the ratio arrangement of the gear train and by means of air fan governor 131, lever 31 is moved upwardly substantially at a uniform rate of travel.

The upward spring tension unloading movement of distance lever 31 is operative for causing sequential actuation of certain ones of switch elements 117, 119, 121, 123, and in conjunction with selector switch means 35, 37, is effective for causing light beam 63 to move generally in a straight path as a selected path shown in FIG. 6 at positions No. 1-5; or in an angular path as shown in positions No. 6-9 of FIG. 6. It will be understood that timer switch means 29 in conjunction with slide switch 35 is operative for controlling the time interval of movement of light beam 63 and controls also sequential actuation of motor means 25, 27 for causing angular movement of the light beam during a selected time interval.

Mechanically operative detent means 133 (see FIG. 3) including play lever 33 is operative in permitting selective pivotal setting of distance lever 31 and thus the time interval duration of movement of light beam 63, and also play lever 33 provides trip release means for releasing the spring-loaded distance lever at the initial movement of light beam 63. The rearward wall 135 of golf game frame structure 13 is provided with a vertically slotted opening 137 through which distance lever 31 outwardly projects and in which it is adapted for pivotal upward and downward movement. A vertical series of horizontally opening slots, as slots 139a, 139b, 139c, 139d is formed in rearward wall 135 of frame structure 13 and along one side of vertical slot 137. Distance lever 31 is right angular in transverse section and includes a horizontal flange portion which is adapted for selective engagement respectively with a selected one of the slots indicated 139a-139d. Lever 31 is adapted to be cocked against the tension of spring 127 of the timer mechanism 125 by pivotally moving the lever downwardly and then horizontally into a selected slot of slots indicated 139a-139d.

The means for trip releasing lever 31 from a selected one of the slots 139a-139d preferably includes a flattened L-shaped member 141 shiftably mounted in flatwise engagement against the inward side of rearward wall 135 of game frame structure 13 (FIG. 3 is a view as viewed from the interior of the frame structure and the inward side of frame structure rearward wall 135). L-member 141 is guidingly constrained in horizontal bidirectional shifting movement; horizontal and vertical leg portions 143, 145 of L-member 141 are guidingly constrained respectively by guide members 147, 149 stationarily secured respectively on the inward side surface of frame structure rearward wall 135. Horizontal leg 143 of L-member 141 slidingly engages the undersurface of frame structure top wall 151; L-member 141 is guidingly constrained against upward and downward displacement respectively by top wall 151 and horizontal guide members 147. A helical tension spring 153 is interposedly connected between L-member 141 and frame rearward wall 135 respectively by anchor means 155, 157; the rearward edge 159 of L-member vertical leg 145 displaceably abuts against guide portions 149 by tension of spring 153.

Play lever 33 is generally angular configured and includes a vertical shaft portion 161 and an upturned crank portion 163. Play lever 33 is pivotally supported from frame structure 13 with vertical shaft portion 161 fulcrumed through a vertical aperture 165 formed in top wall 151. Crank portion 163 of lever 33 is received in the eye portion of an eye screw 167 horizontally secured in L-member horizontal leg 143. Hand pulling rearwardly on play lever 33 shiftably moves L-member 141 to the right (as viewed in FIG. 3) and against the tension of spring 153. Pulling rearwardly on lever 33 causes inward vertical edge surface 169 of L-member vertical leg 145 to be moved horizontally across the vertical series of slots 139a-139d; vertical edge 169 of L-member 141 is adapted to engage the spring-loaded distance lever 31 received in a selected one of slots indicated 139a-139d, thereby shiftably moving the distance lever from the selected slot and permitting unloading pivotal upward movement of the lever by spring means 127.

It will be understood that the time interval or the duration of time that one or both motors 25, 27 are energized is determined by the particular slot of slots 139a-139d that lever 31 is stopped in; in cocking or loading timer switch means 29, the further downward that lever 31 is moved and dogged in slots indicated 139a-139d, the longer will be the duration of run for respective motors 25, 27. As an example, the distance lever dogged and released from slot 139a will cause motor means 25 and/or 27 to be energized a much shorter period than when the distance lever is dogged and released from slot 139d. Distance lever 31 is adapted to stop at its full upward travel at each setting of the lever; the duration of run of timer mechanism 125 and thus motors 25, 27 is selectively adjusted by determining the starting point of the lever relative to its stopping point.

Vertically arranged indicia, generally indicated 170, is formed on rearward wall 135 adjacent vertical slotted opening 137 for indexing lever 31 respectively with vertical series of slots 139. The upper markings of indicia 170 in horizontal registry respectively with the upper ones of slots 139 preferably is in the form of words "putt" and "chip shot" in tabular arrangement. Arranged directly underneath these markings, and in tabular form, preferably are markings representing various yardage or representing golf ball drive shots of various yardage. As an example, beginning with slot 139c and ending with 139d, the yardage marking indicia may read "75 yards," "100 yards," "125 yards," etc., and "250 yards" indexed on slot 139d. It will be understood that the putt shot or chip shot may be obtained by moving lever 31 in a selected upper one of slots 139 and the longer drive shots are obtained by releasably dogging lever 31 in one of the lower ones of slots 139.

The game apparatus includes also means for stopping movement of light spot "ball" 67 when it is substantially below a hazard or obstacle 53, 55, 57 or a ball cup scoring area 59 of miniature golf course assembly 15. Such function simulates a regular golf game wherein the path of the golf ball is hindered by obstacles and the forward travel of the ball is stopped upon the ball being received in the scoring cup. The means for stopping movement of the "ball" when it engages an "obstacle" or when it is received in a scoring "cup" includes basically a single-pole single-throw hazard cutoff switch 171 mounted on trolley 75 and a series of lug projections 173 formed on the underside of translucent ground surface sheet 17 of miniature golf assembly 15 (see FIGS. 2 and 4). Hazard cutoff switch 171 is interposedly arranged in the primary circuit means energizing motor means 25, 27 and includes stationary and movable contacts 179, 181 supported on post structure 183, supported in turn on top wall 175 of trolley housing 177. Switch 171 normally is in a closed disposition, energizing motor means 25, 27, and until an obstruction or "ball" stoppage occurs.

Mounted also on trolley 75 and directly above cutoff switch 171 is a single-pole single-throw monitor light switch 185 controlling current to a monitor lamp 187 mounted on frame structure top wall 151 (see FIGS. 1, 4 and 5). Monitor light 187 serves a twofold function in (1) apprising the player when the light spot "ball" 67 is in a hazard 53, 55, 57 or (2) when the ball is in a scoring area or cup 59. Monitor switch 185 and cutoff switch 171 function alternately and substantially simultaneously oppositely: When cutoff switch 171 opens and stops travel of trolley 75, switch 185 closes and energized monitor light 187. Conversely, when switch 171 is closed, switch 185 will be open and monitor light 187 deenergized. Monitor switch 185 includes stationary and movable contacts 189, 191 cantilever supported from post structure 183 supported on trolley top wall 175. Contact 191 of switch 185 is fixed on the underside of resilient bladelike contact arm 193 fixed cantilever fashion by rivets 195 on post 183. Arm 193 is resiliently sprung upward and with contacts 189, 191 being in normally open disposition (see FIG. 4).

The distal end portion of monitor switch arm 193 is provided with a vertical through aperture which frictionally threadedly receives upwardly projecting incandescent light bulb 19. Horizontal movement of trolley 75 is operative in causing engagement of knobbed upper end 69 of light bulb 19 with a lug projection 173 on the underside of sheet 17 thereby deflecting monitor switch arm 193 downwardly and actuating switches 171, 185 oppositely (see broken line illustration in FIG. 4); downward deflection of light bulb 19 substantially simultaneously opens cutoff switch 171 stopping movement of trolley 75 and closes monitor switch 185 lighting monitor lamp 187.

Each of lug projections 173 preferably is formed of sheet plastic material and laminatingly secured on the undersurface of ground surface sheet 17. Each of the lug projections 173 is preferably of outline configuration corresponding with the outline configuration of a respective obstacle fixed directly above the upper surface of sheet 17. By way of example, the outline configuration of lug projection 173b on the undersurface of sheet 17 corresponds substantially with the outline configuration of obstacle sand trap 53b arranged on the upper surface of sheet 17 (see FIGS. 4 and 10). In like manner, the outline configuration of lug projection 173b' corresponds with the outline configuration of wooded area 55b. Such corresponding arrangement of the hazard lug projections (173b, 173b') and the respective hazard areas (53b, 55b) causes stoppage of trolley 75 and thus light spot "ball" 67 at the precise time the "ball" visually intersects a respective hazard and in a manner accurately simulating a regular golf game.

The lug portions 173 arranged underneath respective golf ball scoring cup areas 59 are different in structure and function from lug portions 173 arranged underneath hazard areas 53, 55. Each lug projection arranged directly underneath a respective cup area 59 is generally small circular and functions for stopping movement of trolley 75 and therefore light spot "ball" 67 when the "ball" is in a ball cup scoring area 59, and functions also for lighting monitor lamp 187 indicating the ball is in the cup or scoring area (see FIGS. 4 and 10 showing lug projection 173b" arranged underneath scoring cup area 59b).

A hazard bypass switch means 197 preferably is provided for permitting movement of trolley 75 and thus light spot "ball" 67 when the "ball" is in a hazard area and cutoff switch 171 is in an open disposition (see FIGS. 1 and 5). The single-pole single-throw hand-operative bypass switch 197 is mounted on top wall 151 of golf game frame 13 and provides means for permitting the simulated golf ball spot 67 to be moved through or out of a hazard area when cutoff switch 171 is open (see broken line illustration in FIG. 4).

Bypass switch 197 is arranged in parallel relation with switch 171 and when switch 197 in in a closed disposition, electric motor means 25, 27 may be energized optionally through the primary circuit means of timer switch 29, ball selector switch 35 and ball direction switch 37; or motor means 25, 27 may be energized through hand-operative ball placement switches 39, 41 and ball direction switch 37. Closing bypass switch 197 permits energizing motor means 25, 27 and thus movement of the "ball" either in a play through timer switch means 29 and distance lever 31 or permits spotting or placement of the ball through actuation of ball placement switches 39, 41.

One hundred ten-volt AC electricity is supplied to a stepdown transformer 199 through an on-off master switch 201 (see FIG. 5). A diode 203 rectifies 110-volt AC current from stepdown transformer 199 and provides 12-volt DC voltage for operation of the game. The secondary winding of transformer 199 preferably is tapped by leads 205, 207, 209 for providing low voltage for light bulb "ball" 19 and monitor lamp 187. Small resistor units 211, 213 may also be arranged in the circuit of light bulb 19 and monitor lamp 187 for obtaining the desired voltage. Ball direction switch 37 and ball placement switches 39, 41 are preferably of telephone-key-type switches, each being of the double-pole double-throw type, and with forward-rearward selector switch 37 having position lock means in both ways.

Slide-type ball path selector switch 35 preferably is a nine-position switch having simultaneously operative paired wiping contacts 215, 217 (see FIGS. 2 and 5). Switch button 115, fixed on wiping contacts 215, 127 provides means for selective positioning of the wiping contacts. Selective transverse bidirectional movement of button 115 arranges wiping contacts 215, 217 in closed circuit disposition with two pairs of fixed contacts of switch 35. For example, when switch button 115 is in position No. 1 (see FIG. 5), wiping contacts 215, 217 will be in closed condition respectively with fixed contacts 219, 221 and 223, 225. In like manner, wiping contacts 215, 217 may be arranged in closed engagement with the paired fixed contacts of the other switch positions of switch 35.

For clarity in description, pivotal movement of distance lever 31 will be considered as being divided into lower, intermediate and upper sectors (see FIGS. 7A, 7B, 7C, 7D). At each downward cocking movement or upward unloading movement of distance lever 31, mercury switch elements 117, 119, 121, 123 will always be arranged respectively mechanically open or closed substantially at the same pivotal position. Mercury switch elements 117, 119 and 121, 123 are arranged respectively in pairs (117, 119 and 121, 123) and with the contacts of each pair of switch elements being substantially simultaneously operative respectively to mechanically open or closed dispositions: In the lower sector position of distance lever 31, switch elements 117, 119 each are closed and switch elements 121, 123 each are open (see FIGS. 7B and 8). When distance lever 31 is in the intermediate sector of travel, switch elements 117, 119, 121, 123 each are in a mechanically closed condition (see FIGS. 7C and 8). When distance lever 31 is in the upper sector of travel, switch elements 117, 119 are in a mechanically open condition and switch elements 121, 123 are in a mechanically closed condition (see FIGS. 7D and 8).

By way of explanation, suppose a player desires to cause light spot "ball" 67 to move in a straight path forwardly (as shown by the upper arrow of position No. 1 in FIG. 6) and desires also that the "ball" be moved a long distance, as in a "drive" shot. For this play, the player will arrange button 115 of path selector switch 35 in position No. 1 (as shown in FIG. 6); will place ball direction selector switch 37 in a forward disposition; will move distance lever 31 pivotally fully downwardly to a cocked disposition and latch the lever in slot 139d. The above switch arrangements and manipulations set up the ball game apparatus for the desired play or desired path and movement of the "ball." The player will then pull rearwardly on play lever 33 thereby transversely shifting L-member 141 against lever 31 thereby dislodging the lever from slot 139d and permitting upwardly pivotal travel of the lever under the tension of timer mechanism spring 127. Simultaneously with the release and upward movement of play lever 31, play switch 227 is closed (see FIGS. 3 and 5); voltage passes through closed mercury switch element 117, energized motor 25 in a clockwise direction, and causes forward movement of light spot "ball" 67 (see FIGS. 5, 7B and 8). As the distance lever moves upwardly into and through the intermediate sector of travel, voltage will continue to flow through mercury switch element 117, motor means 25 will be continuously energized clockwise and the "ball" will continue forward movement. As lever 31 moves into the upper sector of travel and to a full upward stopped disposition, mercury switch 117 will open, deenergizing motor 25 and stopping movement of light spot 67. Play lever 33 may then be released, permitting shifting movement of L-member 141 under influence of spring 153, and opening of play switch 227.

A single-pole single-throw safety switch 229 (see FIGS. 3 and 5) preferably is arranged in the primary circuit means for disconnecting ball path selector slide switch 35 from voltage as play lever 33 is released or when it is in a released disposition. Safety switch 229 opens after play lever 33 is released at the end of each play and safeguards against short circuiting of switch 35 by selective movement of wiping contacts 215, 217.

FIG. 8 schematically illustrates the different actions mechanically of mercury switch elements 117, 119, 121, 123 at the various sectors of travel of lever 31 and at different positions of ball path slide switch 35. It will be noted that at different instances during the upward movement of distance lever 31, and at different positions of switch 35, that only certain ones of mercury switches 117, 119, 121, 123 whether open or closed are operatively in the circuit. In FIG. 8 hatch marks have been used to indicate that the switch elements 117, 119, 121, 123 are inoperative, i.e., not in a circuit, for the various positions of switch 35 and as lever 31 moves upwardly to its upper sector and stopped disposition.

When ball path slide switch is in position No. 3, and a play is being made by movement of play lever 33, both motors 25, 27 will be energized continuously until play lever 31 reaches the upper sector of travel whereat the motors 25, 27 will be stopped by opening of switch elements 117, 119. As indicated in FIG. 6, positioning of ball path slide switch 35 in positions No. 1-5 during upward unloading movement of lever 31 is operative for producing straight flight path of light beam "ball" 67. These positions (1- 5) may be used selectively for producing drive shots, short putt or chip shots, determined substantially by the timer mechanism 125 of timer switch means 29; the further downward the lever is latched in a selected one of slots 139 the longer will be the travel of simulated golf ball 67.

Positioning button 115 of slide switch 35 in positions No. 6-9 is operative for producing long angled drive shots and causes one motor and then both motors 25, 27 to be consecutively energized as lever 31 moves upwardly to its stopped position. This is partially brought about by causing switch elements 121, 123 each to be respectively connected in series with switch elements 117, 119 during the intermediate sector of travel of lever 31. For example, with ball path slide switch 35 arranged in position No. 7 and forward-rearward switch 37 arranged in the forward disposition, pulling play lever 33 and releasing lever 31 will first energize motor 25 clockwise during the lower sector of travel of lever 31; then, at the intermediate sector of travel of the lever, motor 25 will continue to be energized through switch 117, and motor 27 will be energized by switches 119, 123 arranged in series; at the upper sector of travel, switches 117, 119 will be opened, motors 25, 27 deenergized and movement of ball spot 67 stopped.

Golf game apparatus is played by two or more players and played in accordance with rules corresponding substantially to the rules of a regular golf game. In the following description of procedure in playing the game, the light spot 67 will be referred to as "ball" or "golf ball" and further, ball cup scoring areas 59 will be referred to as a "hole" and with each "hole" being designated further by the number appearing on the flag 61 of that hole. For example, ball cup scoring area 59a will be referred to as hole No. 1. Moreover, tee-off areas 47, putting greens 49 and fairways 51, will be referred to generally as first, second, third tee-off areas, putting greens, fairways respectively.

In playing the golf game, the game is plugged into an electrical power source and master switch 201 is closed. The several players take turns at the game and in placing the ball in play. A player may play the first hole in the following manner: Miniature golf course 15 is rotated by means of finger grip tabs 71 until the first tee-off area is arranged rearwardly or toward the player (toward the right in FIG. 1) and until the pointer 73 of the tee-off area is pointing forwardly. Ball spotting or placement switches 39, 41 controlling respectively longitudinal and transverse movement of the ball are then manipulated to place the ball on the first tee-off area 47a. The player then prepares for a play shot, and a shot most preferred in direction and duration for making the first hole. The player will move ball direction switch 37 to the forward position and will select a desired ball path (indicated in arrows on switch 35) by placing button 115 of switch 35 at a selected one of the nine positions. The player then determines the duration of ball movement or the distance of the shot by cocking distance lever 31 downwardly and lodging it in a desired one of yardage slots 139. The player then pulls play lever 33, thereby releasing distance lever 31 and causing the ball to move toward the intended path of travel. Should the ball remain in the first fairway, it will move along the intended path until distance lever 31 reaches its full upward position as shown in FIG. 1. Should the ball leave the fairway and intersect a hazard or obstacle, the ball movement will be stopped with the ball being in the hazard or "rough." The next player may then take his turn at the game after first marking the position of the first player's ball with a small flat-bottomed playpiece or marker 231. Each player is provided with a marker 231 having identifying indicia or color for marking the ball position of each player.

Each tee-off area is preferably provided with indicia indicating the par value of the hole of that tee-off area. For example, the tee-off area of hole No. 1 may be provided with indicia indicating a par 4 value for hole No. 1. Should a player's ball be in the rough or in a hazard area, he may stroke out of the hazard area by closing hazard bypass switch 197 (which permits the ball to be moved) and by manipulating switches 39 and 41 to place the ball just outside the hazard, at which time light 187 will go out to indicate the ball is outside of the hazard. Various rules of play pertinent to the game structure of this invention may be made to make the game more interesting. For example, a rule may be that a player may remove his ball from the hazard area for a better shot at a hole but with the penalty being the loss of one or more strokes for that hole.

In certain embodiments of the game apparatus, it may be desirable to provide a small spinner 233 for increasing the element of chance in the game and for bracketing or separating the turns of the players of the game. Spinner 233 may be in the form of a disk freely turnably mounted horizontally on a pin 235 fixed in frame structure top wall 151. Spinner disk 233 is formed of opaque material except for a clear transparent sector window 237. A circular series of numbers are formed on the upper surface of top wall 151. The numbers 1-9 (representing the nine positions of ball path slide switch 35) are arranged concentrically of and directly underneath spinner disk 233 and so that only one of the numbers may be viewed through spinner window 237. The spinner disk is spun by hand and allowed to coast to a stop and the number which is then viewed through sector window 237 indicates a corresponding number for the positioning of ball path slide switch button 115.

Spinner disk 233 preferably is spun for the first stroke by each player for each hole. The use of the spinner adds interest and humor to the game and may be used in the following manner: After a player has set up the game apparatus for a desired stroke or after he has selected a desired position of slide switch button 115 and has positioned distance lever 31, and in effect is ready to make the play by pulling play lever 33 he is required to then spin disk 233 which dictates the positioning of slide switch 35 (the position of the distance lever remains the same). Should the number viewed through spinner window 237 correspond with the selected position number of slide switch 35, the player may pull play lever 33 and make the play as previously intended. However, should the number viewed through spinner disk window 237 be other than the selected position number of slide switch 35, the player must reposition the slide switch to correspond with the number indicated by the spinner disk and make the play accordingly.