Sign up
Title:
Golf facility, concept, and method of operation
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A golf facility comprising of a universal design concept and entities that support this concept are disclosed therein. The universal concept is to stimulate a person's mind, body, and soul by instilling intellectual, physical, and social/emotional values through tangible and intangible design of the present invention. These design elements are inclusive to, but not limited to, a clubhouse area with a plurality of housings containing rooftop miniature golf, a range area containing the “3-Green” concept and a driving range that takes the form of, but not limited to, either an illuminated driving range or an aqua driving range. Batting cages are also included with the makeup of the driving range. The golf course contains a plurality of holes, where each hole contains a concept, that are inclusive to the universal concept. The golf course also includes a plurality of station areas displaced at various locations on the golf course to fulfill the universal concept. A typical golf hole of the present invention comprises of a hole marker structure that supplies the golfer with information and products, the Personal Tee™ system for arranging tees, a middle area between an initial teeing system and the target green, and an artificial target green of various colors encompassing a target structure/cup that displays various flags and combines the play of traditional golf and disk golf. The golf holes contain similar, or different specific par distances from a target structure/cup, and at different directions from a target structure/cup such that the teeing areas are disposed at different angles from the target structure/cup, and encompass different terrain and different trajectories to the target structure/cup therein. A method of operation of the golf facility is also described. The method of randomly participating at the golf facility results in a method of operation that appeals to the mind, body, and soul of the participant through a relatively inexhaustible number of stimulating design concepts therein.


Inventors:
Marshall, Tony (Christiansburg, VA, US)
Application Number:
10/722768
Publication Date:
06/02/2005
Filing Date:
11/28/2003
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/168
International Classes:
A63B69/36; (IPC1-7): A63B69/36
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080274837Slope indicatorNovember, 2008Li
20070225089Man-like dummy player figure as a practicing tool for basketball training, the Basketball Jock, the BJ, the JockSeptember, 2007Jones
20030130074Padded athletic training deviceJuly, 2003Petroskey
20080051207Convertible golf bag base and putting greenFebruary, 2008Leslie
20060172810Golf course and method to play sameAugust, 2006Parra
20080254919Ice ball game and methodOctober, 2008Frink
20070173359Performance arrow vaneJuly, 2007Mowery et al.
20090326688Systems and Methods for Fitting Golfers with Golf ClubsDecember, 2009Thomas et al.
20030190984Volleyball training deviceOctober, 2003Selburg
20060046866Sports shaftMarch, 2006Rigoli
20060211509Aid and golf club for facilitating learning how to play golfSeptember, 2006Bohm
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Tony, Marshall (7936DOMMYBROOK DR.#4, ARLINGTON, VA, 22213-1450, US)
Claims:
1. A golf facility comprising: a universal and fundamental design concept of “mind+body+soul=the total person” according to the embodiments of FIG. 2, and entities that support this concept, wherein said concept stimulates a person's intellectual (mind), physical (body), and emotional (soul) values through tangible and intangible elements and usage of the present invention, and a layout according to the embodiments of FIG. 3, 4, and 5A, that attracts, accommodates, and educates a person through three various experiences: education (mind), competition (body), and recreation (soul).

2. A golf facility according to claim 1, comprising: a clubhouse area containing a plurality of housings, where each said housing includes a plurality of rooms and other entities that support the concept of the said housing, while encompassing activities on the rooftop of the said housing inclusive to, but not limited to, the embodiments of FIGS. 7C, 7D, 7E, and 7F, a plurality of practice greens, where each said practice green includes a specialized activity inclusive to, but not limited to, the embodiments of FIGS. 9A and 9B, a driving range area, where the makeup is of turf, water, or any other form, and where the tee line is divided into two sections by a structure to buffer golf shots from each section inclusive to, but not limited to, the embodiments of FIG. 8C, a driving range area, with a plurality of target greens, wherein at least one, or some, or all of said target greens comprise the concept according to FIGS. 8A and 8B, a plurality of station areas, where each of said station area encompass a concept inclusive to, but not limited to, the embodiments of FIG. 6A, a plurality of golf holes, where each of said golf hole includes a hole marker that serves as informative and assisting the user inclusive to, but not limited to, the embodiments of FIGS. 11A and 11B, a plurality of golf holes, where each of said golf holes includes a plurality of initial teeing areas displaced at similar, or at different specific par distances from a target structure, in which a target green of various shades of colour, various undulations, or any other desired methods of strategy, surround the said alternative golf cup/target structure, such that said plurality types of golfing rounds are played, and encompass different terrain and different trajectories to said target cup inclusive to, but not limited to, the embodiments of FIG. 10A, a plurality of golf holes comprising a border green comprising an area beside and behind said target green in relation to said initial teeing areas, such that said middle playing area and said border green comprise variable terrain of various surfaces, including cut and uncut grass, various contours, flat surfaces, gullies and mounds, and various obstacles including trees, water hazards, boulders and sand traps, a plurality of golf holes comprising a border green comprising an area beside and behind said target green in relation to said initial teeing areas, such that said border green comprises mounds, berms, and any other forms of elements to decelerate the momentum of over-played golf shots inclusive to, but not limited to, the embodiments of FIGS. 10A, 10B, and 10C, a plurality of target greens of various shades of colour, various undulations, and various shapes and sizes encompassing said alternative golf cup/target structure for each said plurality of holes inclusive to, but not limited to, the embodiments of FIGS. 13A, 13B, and 13C, a plurality of target greens of various shades of colour, coordinating with the colour of the said alternative golf cup/target structure, flag, hole concept, or any other preferred additional elements within said golf holes inclusive to, but not limited to, the embodiments of FIGS. 4, 13B, and 14A, and a plurality of alternative golf cup/target structures encompassing the ability to combine disc golf and other types of golf by encompassing a disc target with connected golf cup at the base of the structure.

3. A golf facility according to claim 2, comprising: a plurality of golf holes each having a teeing area, a target green with a alternative golf cup/target structure thereon, and a fairway portion located between said teeing area and said target green, each of said golf holes having a designated par value.

4. The conceptual design of the clubhouse area according to claim 2 and embodiments of FIGS. 7A, 7B, 7C, 7D, 7E, and 7F.

5. A golf facility according to claim 2, wherein said golf course comprises nine (9), eighteen (18), or any other desired number of holes, wherein at least one, or some, or all of said golf holes comprise the concept according to claim 3.

6. A golf facility according to claim 2, wherein at least one, or some, or all of said initial teeing areas qualify for any combination of par 3, par 4, par 5, or any other specific par value.

7. A golf facility according to claim 2, wherein at least one, or some, or all of said initial teeing areas comprise one or more additional teeing areas within said initial teeing area.

8. A golf facility according to claim 2, wherein said one or more additional teeing areas may be a men's tee, a ladies tee, a professional tee, or any other preferred additional teeing area within said initial teeing area.

9. The conceptual design of the golf facility according to claim 2 and embodiments of FIGS. 3, 4, and 5A.

10. A golf facility according to any one of claim 2, wherein said golf course comprises one (1), four (4), or any other desired number of station areas, wherein at least one, or some, or all of said station areas comprise concepts inclusive to, but not limited to, the embodiments of FIGS. 6A, 6B, and 6C.

11. The conceptual design of the station areas according to claim 2 and embodiments of FIGS. 6B and 6C.

12. A golf facility according to any one of claim 2, wherein said driving range comprises three (3), eight (8), or any other desired number of target greens, wherein at least one, or some, or all of said target greens comprise the concept therein.

13. A driving range according to claim 2, wherein said one or more additional teeing areas may be a stacked tee alignment, a circular tee alignment, bi-polar tee alignment, or any other preferred additional tee alignment method within said initial teeing alignment.

14. The conceptual design of the driving range area according to claim 2 and embodiments of FIGS. 8A and 8B.

15. A golf facility according to claim 2, wherein said practice greens comprises two (2), three (3), or any other desired number of practice greens, wherein at least one, or some, or all of said practice greens may take the form of a character, a pattern, a shape, or any other preferred appearance within said area.

16. The conceptual design of the practice greens according to claim 2 embodiments of FIGS. 9A and 9B.

17. A golf hole according to claim 2, wherein said border green comprising an area beside and behind said target green in relation to said initial teeing areas, such that said border green comprises mounds, berms, and any other forms of elements to decelerate the momentum of over-played golf shots.

18. A hole marker according to claim 2, in the form of a computerized kiosk, non-computerized kiosk, or any other forms of stationary structures, wherein said hole marker comprises a shielded bulletin for posting information, and a dispenser for providing items to the user, wherein at least one, or some, or all of said golf holes comprise the concept therein.

19. The conceptual design of the hole marker according to claim 2 and embodiments of FIGS. 11A and 11B.

20. A golf facility according to claim 2, wherein said number of golf holes determine the desired number of golf hole concepts, wherein at least one, or some, or all of said golf holes comprise the concept according to FIG. 4.

21. An alternative golf cup/target structure according to claim 2, wherein at least one, or some, or all of said alternative golf cup/target structures encompass a disc target golf cup connected by male and female attachments inclusive to, but not limited to, the embodiments of FIG. 14B, or any other forms of assembly.

22. The conceptual design of the alternative golf cup/target structure according to claim 2 and embodiments of FIGS. 14A and 14B.

23. A method of using a golf facility of the type defined in any one of claims 1 and 2, comprised of a plurality of activities according to claims 1 and 2, that can be played in a plurality of different ways, thereby resulting in a golf facility that allows for the play of a relatively inexhaustible number of different variations of golf thereon, the method of operation comprising: the use of said activities that incorporate education, recreation, and competition according to claim 1, the use of said activities within the clubhouse area, practice greens, driving range area, and golf course according to claim 2, the selection or assignment of a specific sequence of initial teeing areas designated for play at each hole, such that players tee up at a designated initial teeing area for each hole of the golf course layout, playing the holes sequentially by teeing up at the designated initial teeing areas for each hole of said golf course layout based on a golf game commissioned for play, giving the player the option to experience the station areas placed strategically on the golf course therein, players striking a golf ball at each successive hole to attempt to propel it toward the target/cup structure located on the target green of the hole being played, and proceeding sequentially to play the subsequent holes of the course in like manner.

24. A method of use according to claim 23, wherein players tee up at the designated initial teeing areas that comprise the golf course layout to be played, such that the golf course layout can be commissioned by: a golf clubhouse area that administers the golf facility such that various activities can be performed, and a computer system that controls various activities of the golf facility.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a golf facility that offers to stimulate the intellectual, physical, and emotional/social values of its participant; thus offering a method of operation that appeals to the mind, body, and soul of the participant through stimulating design concepts.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

The game of golf is an increasingly popular game in the United States of America and around the world. The game of golf traditionally consists of a playing area, which is a tract of land called a ‘course’ or ‘links’, and is made up of a series of ‘holes’, usually nine or eighteen holes. Each hole is traditionally made up of a ‘tee’, which is the point at which the golfer starts to play that unit of the course, a ‘fairway’ and a target ‘green’ having a ‘cup’ into which the golfer aims to propel the ball. Between the tee and the cup there may be many different obstacles including such hazards as water, tall grass, trees and sand traps. Usually the longer the distance from the tee to the cup, the more obstacles there are, and as a result the more difficult the hole is to score.

Although the game of golf is extremely popular around the world, the traditional game of golf played on traditional golf courses suffers from a number of disadvantages. One major disadvantage is the lack of tangibly making the game universally attractive to all types of participants. Knowing this, a survey was created that dissected a traditional golf course and asked participants from various cultures, ages, genders, skill levels, and physical handicaps, questions to be morphed into attractive and entertaining design ideas. This raw data, complimentary to traditional design background and ideas, resulted in a golf facility that caters to all types of participants. This facility has a strong market for participants of all ages: from low-income to high-income participants, from young to old participants, from beginner to advanced participants, and from inner city to rural participants.

As far as market competition, there are companies and organizations that make golf accessible to participants from all walks of life. Although these companies and organizations have been very successful, the facilities they create still resembles traditional golf course architecture and does not truly ask the participant, “What do you want in a golf course”. Therefore, these alternative facilities appear too monotonous to a great number of participants that want to learn the game. One consistent comment made by the participants surveyed was that a golf course was too monotonous. Knowing this, an easier golf facility, with less land requirements, was created to be stimulating, cultural, educational, fun, and relatable to everyone. This facility still carries a regal standard among golf courses, but with stimulating entities. The difference between this invention and an average miniature golf facility, or other alternative golf facilities, is the commitment to formulate an education/vocation component, a recreation component, and a competition component in the development. From the clubhouse design, to the play of the course, the formulated entities of the invention plays an important part of the total conceptual experience: mind+body+soul=the total person.

DESCRIPTION OF THE RELATED ART

Traditional golf facilities are similar throughout the world. While they may differ in size, number of holes, difficulty of holes and in topography, they are similar in that conventional facilities consist of 1 to 18 golf holes, a driving range, and a clubhouse. The golf course consist of a number of holes which are preconceived to be a specific par. Normally, each hole is designed to be either a par 3, par 4, or a par 5 hole. A par 3 hole is usually a hole with a length of under 250 yards, a par 4 hole is a hole with a length of about 250 to 450 yards, and a par 5 hole is a hole with a length of over 450 yards. Although rare, there are par 6 holes, which have a length of over 600 yards. Generally, golf facilities with 18 holes have a par of 72, that is the par lengths of the 18 holes consist of a combination of par 3, par 4 and par 5 holes that give a par 72 for a game of golf on an 18 hole golf course. For example, a golf facility can have four par 3 holes, ten par 4 holes, and four par 5 holes, to accomplish a par 72 golf course. Although not all facilities have the same amount of entities or number of holes, conventional facilities are uniform in that there is an attempt to create a pleasant golf experience for the golfer. For example, golf facility X and can consist of a clubhouse, 350 yard driving range, batting cages, three par 5 holes, and a par 6 hole, while golf facility Y can consist of a clubhouse, 150 yard driving range, short game practice area, miniature golf course, and nine par 3 holes. Although the number of facility entities may differ, the activities at conventional facilities X and Y are specified as having all of the components for a total golf experience respectively. Although the make-up of the facility differs between course X and Y, golf facility X will always have its initial concept to appeal to the long game player and golf facility Y will always have its initial concept to appeal to the short game player. As a result a golfer playing facility X will be repeatedly playing under the same concept of golf.

There are various prior art proposals that aim to alter or customize the conventional golf facility or the conventional game of golf such that various requirements are considered. Canadian Patent No. CA2303694 issued to Michael A. Power on Sep. 9, 2001 disclose the concept of a junior's only golf course with junior or younger players in mind. The course is to be developed with less yardage but equal playing capability of any regular course. The varying yardage of each hole for each player is to be determined by age. The course is to consist of 6 holes making the game quicker and easier for the younger player. U.S. Patent Publication No. 20020165036 filed May 2, 2001 by Welsh & Flaxman, LLC describes an educational golf facility inclusive to a target chipping zone, at least one inclined chipping/putting lane and a putting zone. The chipping/putting facility includes an extended surface having a striking area in front of which a student may swing a golf club and strike a golf ball. The facility further includes an inclined surface extending from the striking area. The inclined surface is oriented such that balls struck up the inclined surface return to the student standing in the striking area. The striking area includes an enclosure protecting students in the vicinity of the striking area. The enclosure includes a forward horizontal bar and a rear horizontal bar, wherein the forward horizontal bar is positioned to control the permissible back swing of a student utilizing the chipping/putting facility and the rear horizontal bar is positioned to keep other students from getting too close to those students using the chipping putting facility. It is further part of the educational golf facility to provide a system for teaching students the game of golf. The system includes a plurality of stations where students may perform different golf shots. Each station includes targets associated with pre-assigned scores directly related to traditional scoring techniques used in the game of golf. The system may also include the use of scorecards upon which student write scores awarded as they participate at the plurality of stations. U.S. Pat. No. 5,848,940 issued to Masao Yamada on Dec. 15, 1998 disclose a playground golf course with an artificial turf, the greens of which are formed by disposing a thin resilient urethane foam layer below the artificial turf so as to reduce golf ball bounce and hence roll on the artificial turf. The playground golf course is formed by disposing a plurality of greens formed in such a manner in an existing athletic facility. The playground golf course is composed of the greens, a golf club with two club heads formed at both ends of a shaft, a golf ball with reduced flight characteristics, and a golf tee that allows players to easily hit golf balls. U.S. Pat. No. 5,482,278 issued to David Hill and Kurt Paulin on Jan. 9, 1996 discloses a golf course that is accessible to the physically handicapped. A clubhouse is equipped with wheelchair-accessible ramps, wheelchair-accessible toilets and necessary medical supplies and equipment. Rest houses are located on the course to provide rest, refreshment, and medical aid. The course is substantially flat to make it accessible to wheelchairs. It contains no water hazards. The surface of the greens is constructed of artificial turf. Playing hazards include boulders, concrete slabs, and sand traps. The sand traps are of such a size and arrangement so as to allow the manoeuvring of wheelchairs. Blind golfers may play as the holes are equipped with buzzers which emit sounds which allow the determination of the location of the holes and additional buzzers which signal the entry of the ball into the hole. U.S. Patent Publication No. 20030004006 filed Jun. 21, 2002 by William M. Hobby, III describes a method of adapting a golf course for playing golf at night using a glow-in-the-dark golf ball including selecting an elongated flexible light source and placing it around the perimeter of a golf course putting green, fairway, bunkers, and other hazards and anchoring the placed elongated flexible light source to the earth with anchoring stakes. The golf hole may have the rim illuminated and may have a night visible flag. The selected and placed elongated flexible light source is partially buried to provide a smooth surface there over. The elongated flexible light source, such as a plurality of light emitting diodes (LEDS), may be placed in a flexible transparent polymer tube or channel and may be an electro-illuminescent wire or incandescent bulbs or LED spaced within a polymer tube or an elongated fiber optic lighted from one end. Lastly, Japanese Patent No. 05-096038(1993) issued to Daburiyuu Putsukusupan Aabingu and Naoya Yoshikawa on Apr. 20, 1993 disclose to enhance the technique of golf by going round each block and a minicourse which are not restricted so much by a place and time, and also, are not constituted electronically. The location of the golf practice course is on the roof of a building, and constitutes a hitting block, a tip shot block, a pitching block, a putting block and a minicourse, thus a golfer practices in each block of a structure in which he/she can repeat practice of a shot for supposing various play scenes, and a technique of golf is enhanced by learning combination of these various practice shots in the minicourse.

There are also various prior art proposals that aim to alter or customize individual components of a conventional golf facility or the conventional game of golf such that various requirements are considered to complement the overall concept of a golf facility. U.S. Pat. No. 5,993,322 issued to Gary J. Consalvi on Nov. 30, 1999 disclose a golf driving range for use with floating balls including a water reservoir having a front edge, a rear edge, and two side edges; a plurality of practice tees along the front edge; a plurality of island greens in the reservoir. Japanese Patent No. 09-075502(1997) issued to Masao Yamada on Mar. 25, 1997 disclose a playing ground with various features capable of suitably control golf ball bouncing, preventing wheel tracks by wheels of a wheel chair ridden by a handicapped person, avoiding elongation and contraction of artificial lawn by difference of temperature in summer and winter to prevent wrinkling the surface, etc. U.S. Pat. No. 5,029,856 issued to Irving W. Bookspan on Jul. 9, 1991 disclose a golf cup for artificial greens comprising a golf cup having a cylindrical layer of a compressible substance secured to the upper internal end of the golf cup which extends for a portion of the internal length of the cup from the upper end thereof. U.S. Patent Publication No. 20010033057 filed Jun. 21, 2001 by Todd N. Hathaway describes a disc golf target assembly. A plurality of chain segments is suspended from a support member by generally U-shaped attachment loops. The attachment loops have upwardly and outwardly sloped side portions, so that the energy of the disc is absorbed and dissipated by spreading and lifting the chain segments as the disc strikes the target assembly. The support member, attachment loops and chain segments may be mounted on a vertical support, and the assembly may include a basket that is mounted beneath the support and chain segments for receiving the disc therefrom. Finally, U.S. Patent Application No. 20030018533 filed Jul. 17, 2001 by St. Onge Steward Johnston & Reens, LLC describes a method of providing a golf course with flags decorated with advertising from multiple advertisers, who are willing to purchase the rights to place their advertising on flags marking holes on the golf course in return for submitting funds to the golf course.

Although, there are many variations in the prior art that propose to alter the golf facility or the method of play, there is no teaching of the specific arrangement of concepts disclosed by the present invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a golf facility that provides a universal and fundamental design concept and entities that support this concept. The concept is to stimulate a person's intellectual, physical, and emotional values through the tangible and intangible elements of the present invention. The golf facility is designed as such in order to attract, accommodate, and educate a person through recreation, education, and competition. Throughout the experience of the present invention, there are various design elements to attract the mind, body, and soul of the golfer. This idea is based on two sets of competencies for youth development. Having youths succeed as adults requires building sufficient attitudes, behaviors, and skills in both sets of these competencies (Definitions of Youth Development, National Youth Development Information Center). The first set of competencies for youth development are in five basic areas: health; personal/social skills; knowledge, reasoning, and creativity; vocational awareness; and citizenship (A New Vision: Promoting Youth Development, Testimony of Karen Johnson Pittman, Director, Center for Youth Development and Policy research, before the House Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families, Sep. 30, 1991). The second set of competencies for youth development target goals that youth development programs seek to build: cognitive competencies; social competencies; physical competencies; emotional competencies; and moral competencies (Building Resiliency, pp. 11-14, National Assembly, 1994; and Position Statement on Accountability and Evaluation in Youth Development Organizations, p. 1, National Collaboration for Youth, 1996).

The three fundamental elements of the total person, being of mind, body, and soul, give an opportunity for many youths to have a well-rounded experience within the present invention. Generalizing the two sets of competencies into these three main areas allows simplicity, as well as balance, to the design. The facility experience is also categorized into the three main areas. They match-up as follows: educational/vocational=mind, competitive=body, and recreational=soul. Nevertheless, any of the three experiences from the present invention will achieve a good balance of the three fundamental components, which will enhance the person's basic developmental needs.

The subject of “mind” concerns the person's intellectual development as it coincides with the function of the present invention. Youth development competencies that fall into this category are: cognitive competencies, vocational awareness, and knowledge, reasoning and creativity. These three elements, taken from the two sets of competencies of youth development, set the mental capacity of the person. Cognitive competencies and knowledge, reasoning, and creativity take on a broad base of knowledge with the ability to be creative. This is inclusive to learning abilities and written, oral, and problem-solving skills. Vocational awareness is inclusive to taking on a broad sense of understanding the options life has to offer, and taking the proper steps in making these life-long choices.

“Body” is the person's physical components and needs for lifelong fitness as it relates to the present invention. Usability of the facility is a nice general statement for this element of the total person. Development competencies that fall into this category are health, and physical competencies. Usage of the present invention, inclusive to playing the course, and walking the site, fulfills these competencies. Health and physical competencies are two elements that deem critical in maintaining a consistent well-being. This can be accomplished through proper nutrition intake, exercise, and awareness of the results of unhealthy practices.

“Soul”, the third and final element of the total person, nurtures the emotional values and cultural depth that identifies the person's character. Development competencies that are placed in this area are personal/social skills, citizenship, moral competencies, emotional competencies, and social competencies. Personal/social skills are divided into two areas intrapersonal skills and interpersonal skills. The intrapersonal skills are the processes of practicing self-discipline and understanding emotions, while interpersonal skills deals more with building standing relationships through friendships, negotiation, and other people skills. Citizenship and moral competencies involve grasping the functionality of systems at the community and national levels. Gaining ethical values and understanding different cultures and its history and values plays an important role as well. Emotional competencies are inclusive to giving the person a sense of personal identity and independent decision-making skills. Social competencies deal with all types of people skills, family and work, while covering the basics of communication, problem-solving, and life skills.

The present invention takes somewhat a form of previous golf facilities, with the exception of pushing the concept of attracting more kids to golf. Normally speaking, the golf course of the invention will comprise 18 or 9 holes, but the invention is not limited to this number. However, if desired, only some or a few of the holes (even a single hole) may be modified, with the balance of the holes being equivalent to conventional golf course holes. The present invention also provides a method of operation that offers variety and challenge with each game of golf for all golfers, regardless of skill level, experience, or background. The ideas, stemmed from the fundamental concept, create benchmarks, or goals, to build upon for pushing the concept even further. The more critical, reasonable goals must be established and accomplished first in order to establish and accomplish more complex goals. The critical goals are inclusive to: making golf accessible to kids of all backgrounds, allowing more opportunities to learn various trades within the golf industry, familiarizing more youths with golf by enhancing their knowledge of the game, creating a permanent location for various youth related activities and programs, creating a facility that will give its community a sense of pride, and enhancing the minds of the youth by creating a enjoyable and educational facility. Accomplishing these goals will set a positive tone for the local youths to the present invention, thus setting more complex goals: helping children find their niche in society by giving them new avenues to explore, building bridges between non-profit organizations of similar interests, and aiding in the reduction of local crime and poverty rates, as well as other frightening youth statistics. These two groups of goals are important in that they are needed to obtain the overall goals: to create a new area of research and employment in the golf industry, and to set a prototypical process that can be used globally within any setting.

The purposes for experiencing the present invention assist in building a strong foundation of the present invention's fundamental concept. The concept of mind, body, and soul is strongly carried through by researching, in depth, the three main visiting components. This would be educational/vocational for the mind, competition for the body, and recreation for the soul. Overall, the kids, regardless of their purpose for playing, should be placed within the same environment in order to allow exposure to different backgrounds. This will aid in expanding the depth of a person's mind and character.

If the experience chosen is educational/vocational, then a great deal of the experience is located within the clubhouse area. The circulation of the present invention is structured so that it begins and ends at the clubhouse area. The circulation paths connect all of the main activity areas to each other. As a result, the clubhouse area is designed to fulfill the fundamental concept by creating three major housings that coalesce to accommodate the three main facility experiences. Within the clubhouse area, there is a museum whose theme is to preserve and enlighten the game of golf's past, present, and future. Historical facts and statistics, cultural impacts, and pictures that influenced the game of golf, are a few of the many items on display at the golf museum. Other areas that contribute to the educational experience are the library/computer lab for research/homework, and the mini-theater for initial class meetings, or guest speaker activities. Also located in the clubhouse area are classrooms for vocational classes. The golf facility hosts various vocational activities in which specialists come to aid in teaching kids a trade, such as turf management, horticulture, course maintenance, and golf operations. If the user extends his/her visit to play the course, there are numerous design elements that will educate him/her about the game, the environment, and the world. There is a scavenger hunt that coincides with the miniature course, and golf course rounds. It also coincides with the usage of the main areas of the facility. Various elements, from plantings and wildlife to carvings and natural art, are waiting to be discovered and learned about from the scavenger hunt. For example, one item on the scavenger list may entail to spot out a unique tree or landform from the driving range. A brief description of the natural element will be given at the scavenger location. This approach will mentally stimulate the person and result in a better attention span in relation to the golf course. Before a first time visitor plays the course, there is a short quiz that must be completed and passed for ease of playability. This quiz entails basic rules of the game so the young golfer will not get confused while playing the course. For example, one question may state, “After putting your ball or disc in the hole, you prepare to tee off at the next hole. You notice that other golfers are on the green of this hole. What should you do?” Questions of this caliber will help the person better understand the game and allow faster, yet safer play. The miniature golf course, located in the clubhouse area, is a good way to work on the short game. The miniature course and golf course are similar in that there is a hole marker, tee, green, and cup. When playing the golf course, the hole-markers entail critical data that informs the golfer about the playability of the hole, and provides tips for one to follow. Suggestions about which club to use are included, along with a description of the flag located at the end of the hole. Also included are inspiring quotes from different known golfers and/or historical data. For the duration of the golf course, there are educational stations placed strategically after every couple of holes to allow mental stimulation for the golfer. This process is continued until the last station, located near the clubhouse, is reached.

If the experience is competition, then the user is either training, or being taught by the local golf pro. The classroom will be the most popular initial stop during the trainee's arrival. It is here that the individual or group is to be briefed about his/her activities for the day. The next stop is a choice of the training room, mini-theater, or outdoor training area. The training room consists entities such as a swing analyzer, practice nets, indoor putting green, and exercise/weight machines in order to properly train the golfer. Locker rooms and showers are also added to accommodate their extensive training. The mini-theater is used to show tapes of the trainee's form, shots, and matches. The theater is also used as a briefing station, or to show instructional videos and golf matches. The outdoor training area consists of the “3-Green” practice area, driving range, and practice hole. As a result, these training elements are placed in close proximity to the clubhouse area for better accessibility, thus helping to refine the golfers overall skills.

If the experience is recreational, then the young golfer will have many options. The recreational aspect is the most common form of usage that pushes the design more than the others. After checking in at the front office of the main clubhouse area, there will be a plethora of activities that one can choose from. The game room includes an arcade, indoor-putting green, and practice nets. There is also access to a virtual driving range and virtual golf course for those who would rather play with no weather conditions. The pro shop entails a wide range of junior golf merchandise, from golf clubs to golf gadgets. This is the best haven to market any ideas related to junior golf, or new age golf ideas. The pro shop is also the location of equipment rentals, locker rentals, scavenger list/instructions, and golf/miniature golf reservations. The miniature golf course is located on the rooftop of the clubhouse area. There are many elements on the miniature course that stimulate the five senses, and as a result, give a strong recreational background. Some of these elements are gardens, flowing water, music, and garden life forms. The play of the miniature course is the primary recreational component, while the secondary recreational component entails the golf course. There are many stimulating recreational elements that are within the golf course, such as the education stations. The concept of the golf course entails beating “Par” with the assistance of tips from the present invention. The museum, library, mini theater, and computer lab are activities available for the visitor if he/she would rather take in some golf culture, read about golf related topics, watch some golf on the big screen, or surf the web. The clubhouse area's restaurant is home to various multi-cultural entrees. Some of these foods and beverages can be served on the golf course as well. The recreational experience is also extended into the use of the facilities outside of the clubhouse area. This area can be reached by entering into the courtyard area. The courtyard area is located in an area that is centralized between the clubhouse area, driving range, and practice area. This space is used for eating, socializing, and course preparations. Adjacent to the courtyard area is the “3-Green” practice area. Located a few yards away are the batting cages, and the driving range. Just the play of the course is enough to attract kids, but there is much more to experience. The golf holes, from the first to the last, add to the recreational experience ranging from its “walking course” status, to its great views, attractive water features, natural landscapes, and inviting wildlife. The stations are also a great feature on the golf course. For example, they will consist of many state-of-the-art entities like: amazing overlooks, a wondrous healing garden, an inviting maze garden, and an interactive discovery garden that further entertain the golfers during their round of play.

The maintenance facility is a component of the clubhouse area. As a result, it is placed in close proximity to the other two clubhouse components for better accessibility. The maintenance facility consists of an office, lab, and classrooms, and storage for different types of maintenance equipment. The selected equipment is very user friendly, so that youths at appropriate ages can operate it. The kids will be supervised while operating the various types of maintenance equipment, as they learn a respective trade to build character and expand their knowledge (e.g. push mowers, gardening, trash pick-up). Thus, the maintenance area is also used for vocational classes and research related to golf course development.

Items, like golf training/rental equipment, classroom material/equipment, and clubhouse merchandise and foods, are stored at the other two clubhouse components for practicality. In addition, other items, like American Disabilities Association equipment, class/lab equipment, facility signage and equipment, and excess golf clubs, balls and discs are retained at the maintenance facility for convenience of facility upkeep. Overall, most of the equipment on-site is state-of-the-art, and relates to either golf or youth development. As a result, the present invention can potentially be the Mecca for experimenting equipment and/or processes relating to these two areas.

The present invention takes a step away from traditional golf course architecture, yet preserves the integrity of the game by offering many tangible and intangible advantages. Some tangible advantages are: a shorter course that will result in faster play, a multipurpose clubhouse, a safe and inviting habitat for wildlife, and other substantial elements that assembles an entertaining and educational golf facility. Being that a facility of such stature is also low maintenance, less water and little to no pesticides will be needed, which will reduce the amount of contamination to the land. Lastly, the facility creates an aesthetically pleasing visual, which increases property values to the surrounding properties. While tangible advantages create a positive impact on the youth, an extensive amount of intangible advantages will create a greater long-term impact. There is potential to significantly attract youths of all ages, cultures, and skill levels, especially non-golfers. The facility is also capable of attracting and exposing kids to golf at an early age, thus resulting in the development of many personal relationships that will broaden a person's world.

From an environmental point of view, the potential impact of the present invention is minimal. In fact, it invites local wildlife and vegetation the opportunity to come live and grow. The facility also has little impact on land use. A majority of the landscaping is native, which reduces costs in upkeep. Also, more artificial turf means less landscape maintenance, including water and pesticides. Due to the demand for a maintained landscape, the golf course adds a great visual for adjacent property and adds an aesthetically pleasing element to the community. As a result, the present invention composes a great natural screen, and would be an immense addition to urban areas as well as rural and suburban areas. Brownfield, Greenfield, redevelopment of existing parks and golf courses, Native-American reservations, and Appalachia areas can be included as potential sites for better accessibility to various people, especially the youth.

The present invention caters to many forms of usage. The primary form of usage involves young golfers of all backgrounds having a place to grow in golf, the community, and life. Golf camps and competitions, and special programs sponsored by the various professional organizations and its representatives, would have the potential to encourage a permanent home at the present invention. In addition, a state-of-the art facility of this stature would have the option to offer a permanent location to various community programs; vocational classes that relate to the golf industry can be held, nonprofit organizations can shuttle kids to and from the facility, after school activities and field trips can be coordinated, and juvenile programs can be held in which the main objective is to maintain the upkeep on the facility. To ensure that all kids have the opportunity to experience the facility, the American Disabilities Association accessibility is also incorporated. Although many programs and possible partnerships have the potential to enrich lives and leave a positive impact on the youth, the present invention is not just limited to the usage of youths. Adults considered as well by providing the gold tees on the course. The gold tees contain an average yardage that sits between the average men's tees (usually the white tees on a regular course) and the women's tees. As a result, family rounds can be played and older, more advanced golfers can come to work on their short game. Sharing the versatility of the present invention simply demonstrates a plethora of endless possibilities with golf and youth development.

The idea of providing a facility that caters to kids has endless possibilities. This state-of-the-art concept can possibly bridge a many political, social, and economic gaps, but the primary responsibility is to bridge the gap between children and golf. Finally, more popular sports like football, basketball, and baseball will have a new competitor in the ranks of being the pet sport for America's youth.

“Children use play and the power of their imagination to establish their place in this world. Play is the best place to try out different roles, and through their imagination, kids make their play world real: They don't pretend to be a doctor; they are the doctors. This is the model you should follow when you introduce your child to golf—let them ‘be the golfer’. Remember that it's play, it needs to be fun, and it needs to be artistic—something they create. Kids need to become immersed in the playing of the game, not in the swinging of the club or perfection of the shot or even the score”.

    • The Golf Doctor, Today's Golf, Dec. 7, 2001

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of the invention will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a layout for a typical configuration of a prior art golf facility;

FIG. 2 is a diagram of the fundamental concept for the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a diagram of the relationships between the fundamental concept of the present invention and the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a diagram of an example for a golf facility's configuration according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 5A is a plan view of a golf facility according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 5B is a Southeast perspective view of FIG. 5A according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 5C is a Southwest perspective view of FIG. 5A according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 6A is a diagram of the varied concepts for a golf facility's stations according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 6B is a plan view of an example of concept #1 in FIG. 6A for a golf facility's stations according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 6C is a plan view of an example of concept #2 in FIG. 6A for a golf facility's stations according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 7A is a plan view of a golf facility's clubhouse area according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 7B is a perspective view of FIG. 7A according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 7C is a rooftop plan of FIG. 7A according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 7D is a floor plan of FIG. 7A according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 7E is a front elevation view of FIG. 7A according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 7F is a section elevation view of FIG. 7E according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 8A is a plan view of a golf facility's turf driving range area according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 8B is a plan view of a golf facility's aqua driving range area according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 8C is a plan view of a golf facility's batting cages and driving range tees according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 9A is a plan view of an option for a golf facility's practice green area according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 9B is a plan view of an option for a golf facility's practice green area according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 9C is a perspective view of FIG. 9A according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 10A is a plan view of an example for a golf hole layout according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 10B is a perspective view of an example for a golf hole layout according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 10C is a perspective view of an example for a golf hole layout according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 11A is an elevation view of a hole marker structure for a golf facility according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 11B is a section elevation view of a hole marker structure for a golf facility according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 12 is a plan view of a layout for a prior art tee system of a golf course;

FIG. 13A is multiple plan views of an example for a green system of a golf course according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 13B is a perspective view of an example from FIG. 13A according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 13C is a perspective view of an example from FIG. 13A according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 14A is a section elevation view of a target/cup structure for a golf facility according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 14B is an section elevation view of FIG. 14A attachments according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention; and

FIG. 14C is a perspective view of FIG. 14A according to the preferred embodiments of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein. It should be understood, however, that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention, which may be embodied in various forms. Therefore, the details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limited, but merely as the basis for the claims and as a basis for teaching one skilled in the art how to make and/or use the invention.

Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown a layout for a prior art golf facility, which includes a clubhouse (10), driving range (9), short game practice area (8), 9-hole pitch and putt course (7), and 9-hole par 3 course (1). The golf holes consist of a teeing area (6), fairway (5), and a target green (3) at a distance from the teeing area. Between the teeing area (6) and the green (3) there may be located a number of obstacles, including tree areas, water hazards (2), and sand traps (4). In the golf course of the prior art, the teeing area for each hole can be located at different distances for each hole.

FIG. 2 illustrates the Fundamental Concept Diagram. Based on two sets of competencies for youth development, the concept of mind+body+soul=the total person was developed.

FIG. 3 illustrates the concept of mind, body, and soul is relayed through different entities of the golf facility according to embodiments of FIG. 2. The three major conceptual components are categorized as education (mind), competition (body), and recreation (soul). Facility usage, its users, and the clubhouse are discussed in relation to the facility concept. Also, opportunities that the practice/range area, golf course, and educational/recreational stations create are discussed in relation to the concept. Lastly, the ideas that facility circulation, tangible facility elements, intangible facility elements, and programmatic facility elements offer are discussed through the concept.

FIG. 4 illustrates an example of the types of concepts to be expected at the present invention, along with how each conceptual entity will interrelate with each other according to embodiments of FIG. 3. This 9-hole golf course example is an executive-style course with a par of 30. The first, middle, and last golf hole on the course are Par 4 holes, and the rest of the golf holes are par 3 holes. Each golf hole has a concept of providing the educational and recreational experience of various concepts, which will vary. There are also options to experience the station areas placed strategically after every two golf holes. The type of station areas selected for each facility will vary.

FIG. 5A, 5B, and 5C illustrates an example overall view of the facility according to embodiments of FIG. 3 and FIG. 4. As you enter the site, the clubhouse area (20) is first to be experienced. The clubhouse area consists of various pods that serve as clubhouse annexes (20). Beyond the clubhouse area is the courtyard area (21), which is adjacent to the 3-green practice area (22). The driving range (25) is experienced next, with the batting cages (24) placed within the driving range tee line. The course meanders around the driving range and back to the clubhouse area. Station areas (23, 19, 16, 12) are placed strategically according to the embodiments of FIG. 4. The user circulation, according to embodiments of FIG. 3, is structured so that it begins and ends at the clubhouse area. The circulation paths are structured in that all of the main activity areas are in close proximity to each other. The paths are created to help direct the traffic of the golf course and to accommodate the disabled.

FIG. 6A illustrates the station concepts that are to be used for developing the station areas. Concept No. 1 (26) discloses a sequence of stating the problem, solving the problem, finding guidance, and reflecting on the experience. An example of this concept is disclosed according to embodiments of FIG. 6B. The summation of experiencing a station area under this concept is an attempt to connect the golfers to their inner selves, by which the golfer will be more in tune with his/her external self. This will help place the golfer in perspective with his/her surroundings on and off the golf course, so that he/she may become a better golfer as well as a better citizen. Concept No. 2 (27) discloses a sequence of appealing to the four human senses of sight, sound, touch, and smell. An example of this concept is disclosed according to embodiments of FIG. 6C. The summation of experiencing a station area under this concept is to bring the golfer closer to nature by creating a multi-sensory experience. Furthermore, the two disclosed concepts are not to be interpreted as limited, but as a resource in developing unlimited concepts for developing other station areas.

FIG. 6B illustrates examples of station areas according to embodiments of FIG. 3, 4, 5A, and 6A. The sizes of the station areas are, but not limited to, approximately {fraction (1/4)} of an acre. They are placed strategically after every couple of holes on the golf course (23, 19, 16, 12), thus adding more substance to the golfer's playing experience. FIG. 6B is known as a healing garden. This concept is based on healing gardens that are currently used to help rehabilitate hospital patients. The average golfer that uses this facility may not be physically or mentally ill, but may need spiritual healing. This station assists the golfer in becoming touch with his/her inner-self by providing various rooms that allow the golfer to be coherent, yet imaginative by experiencing the space with nature. “When the doctors can't heal anymore, your heart and your soul still need to be healed, and this is the place for it” (Deborah Burt, mother of a hospital patient speaking on the Leichtag Family Healing Garden at the San Diego Children's Hospital, Anatomy of a Healing Garden, pp. 64-72, Landscape Architect and Specifier News, February 2001). Healing gardens also provide options for meditation, which is another good way for the golfer to connect his/her spirituality with nature. For example, the healing garden consists of elements whose scale, textures, colors, and shapes are communicated through the eyes of the child. There are four main areas that set the tone of the garden: the outdoor initial room (state problem), outdoor fountain room (solve problem), outdoor compass room (find guidance), and outdoor classroom (reflect). Centrally located in the outdoor fountain room are three “healing” fountains (31) each appealing to healing the mind, body, or soul of the golfer. The fountains served as focal point by gently shooting streams of water into a shallow pool (29). Furthermore, the disclosed station area is not to be interpreted as limited, but as a resource in developing unlimited station areas for the present invention.

FIG. 6C illustrates examples of station areas according to embodiments of FIG. 3, 4, 5A, and 6A. The sizes of the station areas are, but not limited to, approximately {fraction (1/4)} of an acre. They are placed strategically after every couple of holes on the golf course (23, 19, 16, 12), thus adding more substance to the golfer's playing experience. FIG. 6B is known as a four-senses garden. The concept of this station is to engage the golfer in as many different ways as possible where the garden itself would speak directly to him/her. As a result, the golfer would be educated on various plants, animals, and other natural elements (42, 43). The interaction between man and nature played a significant role in the development of this station area. This was accomplished by creating a series of nodes, within the limited space, that translated into natural interactive spaces for the golfer to experience. Through local plants (48) and wildlife (42, 43), these spaces catered to four of the golfer's senses: sight, sound, touch, and smell. The four-senses garden is developed to bring the golfer closer to nature by creating a multi-sensory experience. There are pathways (40), pavilions (37, 45), fountains (46), bridges (39) with windows (e.g. bubble panels), and seating that incorporate the concept of education and recreation. Furthermore, the disclosed station area is not to be interpreted as limited, but as a resource in developing unlimited station areas for the present invention.

Other station areas that can be applied, according to embodiments of FIG. 3, 4, 5A, and 6A, are in the form of a maze garden and an overlook garden. The maze garden received its inspiration from topiary maze gardens that are grown and maintained. Colorful plantings and seating areas, canopied by aesthetically pleasing vegetation, was added half way through the maze to encourage the golfer to finish the experience. As a safety measure, the plantings that compose the walls of the maze are manicured to stand about three feet high so that the total space can be viewed from the perimeter. The plantings in the maze garden are spaced accordingly to create natural windows, and directional arrows are placed within the garden, so the young golfers will not find themselves lost. There is only one way in and one way out of the maze experience, thus relating the space to golf. In relating the maze garden to playing a round of golf, there are three basic similarities that connect the two. Between the first tee (maze entry) and the last putt (maze exit) of the round, there will be many paths to take. Some options may be frustrating, but nevertheless, keep on moving and eventually one will find a way to complete the course (the maze experience). The overlook garden is a garden overlook of the entire golf facility. This area serves as a great location to identify various elements at the present golf facility according to the embodiments of FIG. 3, 4, and 5A. Pace of play and locating certain holes can be viewed. Various elements on the adjacent properties can be viewed as well. If the golf facility is placed in rural locations, wildlife and vegetation can be observed on a regular basis. There is also signage within the garden that entails a description of the main elements that can be viewed form the overlook garden. Furthermore, the two disclosed station areas are not to be interpreted as limited, but as a resource in developing unlimited station areas for the present invention.

FIG. 7A, 7B, 7C, 7D, 7E, and 7F illustrates the clubhouse area according to embodiments of FIG. 2, 3, 4, and 5A. Each clubhouse housing has four sides, set 90 degrees adjacent to one another, that slope inward to form a shape similar to the base of a pyramid. The top of the building develops into a plane primarily, topped with a pavilion (49). The rooftop base (88) sits on top of the building, while the rest of the building sits above and below ground level (86). A miniature golf course (51, 52, 53) is placed on the rooftop, along with edging around the perimeter for safety. Entry to the facility is through one of three entries in the clubhouse area (57, 64, 80, 83, 84, 85, 89). The main entry (64, 84, 89) will be the most used, as it's housing was customized to cater to recreation-based experiences (soul). The entry (80, 83) of the housing to the right of the main housing was customized to cater to education-based experiences (mind). The entry (57, 85) of the housing to the left of the main housing was customized to cater to competition-based experiences (body). As one enters the golf facility from the clubhouse area's main entry (64, 84, 89), there is also the option to enter the two housing areas from the main housing. The courtyard area (50), located behind the clubhouse area, can be used for activities like eating, socializing, and making preparations to play the course. The courtyard area can also be entered from the housing located to the right and left of the main housing (75). The initial spaces that are experienced within the main housing are the lobby (65) and main offices (63). Referencing back to the embodiments of FIGS. 2 and 3, the clubhouse area is divided into three forms of experience: educational/vocational (mind), recreational (body), and competition (soul). The pavilions located on top of the clubhouse housings (49) are used as shelter and a beginning and end station for miniature golf (51, 52, 53). The miniature course can either be accessed from inside the clubhouse or alongside the walls of the clubhouse. They consist of three areas for play that are connected by bridges (54, 81, 82, 87). Cameras can also be placed also placed on top of the pavilions for adequate surveillance of the entire facility. The maintenance facility is inclusive to the housing used for education, Thus, is also used for vocational classes and research related to golf course development.

Items, like golf training/rental equipment, classroom material/equipment, and clubhouse merchandise and foods, are stored at the clubhouse area for practicality. In addition, other items, like ADA equipment, class/lab equipment, facility signage and equipment, and excess golf clubs, balls and discs are retained at the clubhouse area for convenience. Most of the equipment at the present invention relates to either golf or youth development. As a result, the present invention can potentially be the Mecca for experimenting with equipment and/or processes relating to these two areas. Furthermore, the disclosed clubhouse area is not to be interpreted as limited, but as a resource in developing unlimited forms of clubhouse areas for the present invention.

FIGS. 8A and 8C illustrates the driving range area according to embodiments of FIG. 2, 3, 4, and 5A. The driving range will vary depending on the type of land acquired. For example the driving range can appear in the form of a traditional range (93) with the illuminated concept. It sits close to the clubhouse and contains left-handed tees (98) and right-handed tees (97) that are stacked for better usability. The lower tees can be placed beneath a shelter that is constructed to accommodate the upper tees as well. The shelter also provides protection from various elements of the weather. Audio equipment with adjusted volume can be placed in each tee stall. There will be lights that illuminate around the prototypical target greens at night (95), and glowing golf balls will be used to hit these targets. There are also illuminated markers that label the distance of the yardage. Batting cages (96) are placed centrally between the left and right tees to buffer the golfer's slice-shots from other golfers. The hitting direction of the batting cages faces the range area. These stalls (99) could include audio equipment with adjusted volume as well. Furthermore, the disclosed driving range is not to be interpreted as limited, but as a resource in developing unlimited forms of driving ranges for the present invention.

FIGS. 8B and 8C illustrates the driving range area according to embodiments of FIG. 2, 3, 4, and 5A. The driving range will vary depending on the type of land acquired. For example the driving range can appear in the form of an aqua range (94) with the illuminated concept. It sits close to the clubhouse and contains left-handed tees (98) and right-handed tees (97) that are stacked to accommodate more users. The lower tees are placed beneath a shelter, whose rooftop is constructed to accommodate the upper tees. The shelter also provides protection from various elements of the weather. Audio equipment with adjusted volume can be placed in each tee stall of the upper and lower tees. The driving space at aqua range is made entirely of water, and the greens are islands. There will be lights that illuminate around the island target greens at night (95), and glowing golf balls will be used to hit these targets. There are also illuminated markers that label the distance of the yardage. Batting cages (96) are placed centrally between the left and right tees to buffer the golfer's slice-shots from other golfers. The hitting direction of the batting cages faces the range area. These stalls (99) could include audio equipment with adjusted volume as well. Furthermore, the disclosed driving range is not to be interpreted as limited, but as a resource in developing unlimited forms of driving ranges for the present invention.

FIGS. 9A and 9C illustrates the practice greens according to embodiments of FIG. 2, 3, 4, and 5A. The practice greens are also called the 3-Green concept. This area primarily consists of a putting green, chipping green, and a disc-putting green for disc golf. These three greens are designed to coordinate with each other. For example, the concept can appear as a character formation. In the character formation, the greens assimilate with paths, plantings, and bunkers to form a figure of a character. The disc green (106) and putting green (107) serve as the “feet” of the character, and the chipping green (102) serve as the “head”. The paths are interpreted as the neck, body, legs, and arms (105), while the plantings are interpreted as the flagpole. The point where the character holds the flagpole is interpreted as a node consisting of a gazebo surrounded by plantings (104), and the flag is interpreted as water (101). Lastly, the bunker is interpreted as the character's ball cap (100). Furthermore, the disclosed practice greens are not to be interpreted as limited, but as a resource in developing unlimited forms of practice greens for the present invention.

FIG. 9B illustrates the practice greens according to embodiments of FIG. 2, 3, 4, and 5A. The practice greens are also called the 3-Green concept. This area primarily consists of a putting green, chipping green, and a disc-putting green for disc golf. These three greens are designed to coordinate with each other. For example, the concept can appear as a circular formation. In the circular formation, paths (110) used to create a circular form divide the putting green (112), disc-putting green (111), and chipping green (108). Each green takes the form of a yin-yang pattern, with the chipping bunker (109) for the chipping green (108) set alongside its outside perimeter. Furthermore, the disclosed practice greens are not to be interpreted as limited, but as a resource in developing unlimited forms of practice greens for the present invention.

FIG. 10A, 10B, and 10C illustrates a prototypical golf hole according to embodiments of FIGS. 4 and 5A. The hole marker is the first element to be approached (120). Not far from the hole-marker is the set of tees (119), which is selected according to the golfer's skill level. The tee boxes each covers approximately thirty-two hundred square feet of land. The tee boxes can retain a traditional, square formation that points to the green, and can be composed of natural or artificial turf. Between the tee (119) and the green (114), is the fairway (118), which contains, but is not limited to, sand traps (117), water, berms, mounds, vegetation, and all other forms of golf obstacles and hazards. The fairways (118) are open and wide, and the greens (114) are, but not limited to, an artificial or natural composition, and are in a variety of color shades. In addition, there will be an adequate amount of space to enter and exit the green from a golf cart due to ADA regulations. Berms and/or mounds (115) are placed along the back perimeter of the greens as a backstop to decelerate the momentum of long, and over-played shots. The hole target/cup (116) carries a new concept of combining traditional golf and disc golf as well, resulting in traditional golf and disc golf rounds being played simultaneously. Furthermore, the disclosed golf hole is not to be interpreted as limited, but as a resource in developing unlimited forms of golf holes for the present invention.

FIGS. 11A and 11B illustrates the hole marker according to embodiments of FIG. 10A. Golf graphics are placed within each hole-marker (125), along with other relevant information. There are golf comics, statistical golf data, tips on which club to use, and hole profiles (125) just to name a few. Other information provided will be detailed particulars on the flag at the end of the hole. For example, if the flag at the end of the hole is a national flag, the information to be placed in the kiosk is inclusive to the flag's home country, continent location, and the country's positional direction from the hole-marker. The hole-markers are kiosks with a cork-based bulletin (124), so that information on the golf hole and general information can be posted and changed. As protection from elements of weather and potential vandalism, a fiberglass cover (126) shields the posted information. Also built into the kiosks are coin-operated dispensers, used to provide items ranging from candy to golf balls. The items to be dispensed are installed from the cap/cover (121), in which the items eventually descend to the dispenser tray (129). The items to be dispensed pass through the dispenser opening (122), down to the inclined plane (130) which directs the items to one of the two dispensers (129). The items are retrieved by an outside mechanism (127) that controls an internal lever (128), releasing the items to be dispensed to the dispenser tray (129). Furthermore, the hole marker is not to be interpreted as limited, but as a resource in developing unlimited forms of hole markers for the present invention.

FIG. 12 illustrates the tee system according to embodiments of FIGS. 5A and 10A. The distance and categorization for the tees were based on the U.S. Kids™ Golf's Personal Tee™ Golf Learning Program. The Personal Tee™ Golf Learning Program separates the tees and distances accordingly for a traditional 18-hole golf course. The first set of tees is the beginner's tee, or the Green Tee (131). It usually sits within 100 yards from the green, with a total yardage of 1,800 yards. The next set of tees is the intermediate tee, or the Yellow Tee (132). It sits about 200 yards from the green with a total yardage of 3,600 yards. The next two sets of tees are special in that they serve two main purposes: to accommodate the developing golfer, and to accommodate the parents. The advanced set of tees, or the Red Tee (133) is equivalent to the Women's Tee on a regular golf course. These tees usually sit about 278 from the green with a total yardage of 5,000 yards. The last set of tees, called the Gold Tee (134), is the next level up from the Red Tees. They sit just short of the white tees equivalency on a regular course. The Gold Tee sits about 306 yards from the green with a total yardage of 5,500 yards. The last three sets of tees are referenced from the traditional golf course. The consist of the White Tee (135) with a total yardage of 6,000, the Blue Tee (136) with a total yardage of 6,500, and the Black Tee (137) with a total yardage of 7,000. By using this system, young golfers can play to their maximum ability without being discouraged. Family rounds can also be played, and more experienced golfers can come to work on their short game. This system of tees is also used for disc golf. Furthermore, the disclosed tee system is not to be interpreted as limited, but as a resource in developing an unlimited tee system for the present invention.

FIG. 13A, 13B, and 13C illustrates the “green” according to embodiments of FIGS. 5A and 10A. The “green” serves the same purposes as the natural “green”, with the exception of using all colors as well as green. Although the color may change, the element is still called a “green”. The system used to create the color green on artificial turf should be used to create other forms of artificial “greens” with an unlimited choice of colors. Furthermore, the disclosed greens are not to be interpreted as limited, but as a resource in developing unlimited forms of greens for the present invention.

FIG. 14A, 14B, and 14C illustrates the alternative golf cup/target structure according to embodiments of FIG. 4, 10A, and 13A. The alternative golf cup/target structure carries a new concept of combining traditional golf (139) and disc golf (140) as well, resulting in both types of rounds being played simultaneously. The model for the hole cup is constructed in a pattern where the lower post of the disc hole structure (145) is connected to the bottom of the traditional hole cup (146), thus expanding the diameter of the cup for three main objectives: adequate putting, accommodating the centrally placed pole of the disc target, and accommodating the golf ball. The disc golf course and the traditional golf course are combined together by a structure that acts as a golf cup as well as a disc target. By creating this structure, the golfer has two options of play. As a result, the cup diameter must be expanded. The proposed cup below the disc target is expanded in diameter to accommodate the centrally placed pole of the disc target, and the golf ball. This total structure is surrounded by a putting green (144). The best option to add durability to the structure is to separate the base into three parts: the original disc target (143, 145), the cup structure (142, 146), and the target base (141, 147). Having either a male or female attachment connects the three parts. For example, the disc target can have a female attachment (145), the golf cup can have both male and female attachments (146), and the target base can have a male attachment (147). The target base is reinforced with a robust base to reduce tilting (141, 147). To expand the variety of play, two or more permanent locations for hole-placement are implanted into the greens. Various flags (138) are placed at the top of the alternative golf cup/target structure, and the aesthetic combination of the disc target structure coordinates with the chosen color shades of the chosen flag and green. Furthermore, the disclosed alternative golf cup/target structure is not to be interpreted as limited, but as a resource in developing unlimited forms of alternative golf cup/target structures for the present invention.

The development of the present invention will be open-ended, meaning any ideas that fit within the concept of the present invention will be considered. The present invention is providing an educational, physical, and cultural experience for the golfer. For example, within these facilities, golf programs, golf merchandise, for-profit provisions, vocational classes, new venues for community service (facility maintenance, classes, lectures, etc.), and usage of the facility is provided. The present invention somewhat takes the form of previous existing facilities, with the exception of pushing the concept of attracting more people to golf. The embodiments will create benchmarks, or goals, to build upon for pushing the concept even further. The more critical, reasonable goals are: making golf more accessible to people of all backgrounds, allowing more opportunities to learn various trades within the golf industry, familiarizing more people with golf by enhancing their knowledge of the game, creating a permanent location for various community activities and programs, creating a facility that will give its community a sense of pride, and enhancing the minds of people by creating a enjoyable and educational facility. Accomplishing these goals will set a positive tone for the local community, thus setting secondary goals: helping people find their niche in society by giving them new avenues to explore, building bridges between non-profit organizations of similar interests, and aiding in the reduction of local crime and poverty rates, as well as other negative statistics.

The present invention takes a step away from traditional golf course architecture, yet preserves the integrity of the game by offering many tangible and intangible advantages. Some tangible advantages are: a shorter course that will result in faster play, a multipurpose clubhouse, a safe and inviting habitat for wildlife, and other substantial elements that assembles an entertaining and educational golf facility. There is potential to significantly attract youths of all ages, cultures, and skill levels, especially non-golfers. The facility is also capable of attracting and exposing kids to golf at an early age, thus resulting in the development of many personal relationships that will broaden a child's world. From an environmental point of view, the potential impact of the present invention is minimal. In fact, the facility can be inviting to local wildlife and vegetation. The facility also has little impact on land use. Also, more artificial turf means less landscape mowing and chemicals, including water and pesticides. The present invention can compose a natural screen, and would be an immense addition to urban areas as well as rural and suburban areas. Recycled wasteland, redevelopment of existing parks and golf courses, Native-American reservations, and Appalachia areas can be included as potential sites for better accessibility to various people.

The present invention caters to many forms of usage. The primary form of usage involves golfers of all backgrounds having a place to grow in golf, the community, and life. Golf camps and competitions, and special programs sponsored by various organizations and its golfers, would have the potential to encourage a permanent home at the present invention. In addition, the present invention would have the option to offer a permanent location to various community programs; vocational classes that relate to the golf industry can be held, community programs and non-profit organizations can shuttle kids to and from the facility, after school activities and field trips can be coordinated, and juvenile programs in which the main objective is to maintain the upkeep on the facility can be held. To ensure that all people have the opportunity to experience the facility, ADA accessibility is also incorporated. The ideas developed from the embodiments of FIG. 2 and FIG. 3 can be unlimited. The concept can possibly bridge many political, social, and economic gaps, as well as bridge the gap between people and golf.

Furthermore, contrary to the golf facility of the prior art in which golfers play different variations of golf, players on the golf course of the present invention can play even more of variations.

Referring now to FIG. 4 and FIG. 5, there is shown an embodiment of an entire golf facility according to preferred embodiments of the present invention, including a clubhouse area (20), practice greens (22), driving range (25), and a golf course. The golf course illustrated comprises 9 holes of the type illustrated conceptually in FIG. 4 that includes a succession of holes numbered #1 through to #9, and that are arranged with station areas after every other golf hole, with the target green of one hole lying adjacent to the teeing area of the hole bearing the next higher number. No hole overlapping any part of the terrain is associated with any other hole. FIG. 4 illustrates that, in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, each hole of the present golf course can be comprised of the same method of operation. For example, the golfer would interact with the hole marker, proceed to his/her teeing area, play to the green, score, and then proceed either to the next golf hole or a station area.

Since the golf facility according to the present invention consists of shortened holes, a golf facility of the present invention may require a smaller amount of land. The smaller land requirement can be viewed as an advantage that the present invention can offer, for example, smaller land requirements means more possible locations. There is a high probability that members/visitors at a golf facility according to the present embodiment would have better access to it.

In accordance with the present invention, a golf course may consist of a limited number of holes, such that there is not a larger land requirement for a golf course of the present invention. For example, a golf course according to the present embodiment that is comprised of six holes, can be consecutively played three times, such that with each rotation of the six holes, thereby resulting in an equivalent 18-hole golf game. A golf course according to the present embodiment that could also reduce the land requirement could be, for example, a nine-hole golf course that is consecutively played twice, thereby resulting in an 18-hole golf game.

The golf course according a preferred embodiment of the present invention can consist of an 18-hole golf course, however, the present invention is not limited to 18 holes. That is, a golf course of the present invention can comprise a plurality of holes and is not limited to being a golf course of 18 holes. A golf course according to the present invention may comprise a plurality of holes some or all of which consist of the preferred embodiments of the present invention. For example, another embodiment of the present invention can consist of an addendum course to an existing regulation golf course comprised of 18 holes. Furthermore, another embodiment of the present invention is a golf course comprised of any number of holes that serve as an addendum to the existing golf course.

The variety and challenge that the present golf facility can offer would encourage and generate a large membership base of players that want to remain members at a golf facility that offers a well-rounded concept in the different games of golf that can be played. The variety and challenge offered at a golf facility of the present invention would further justify a higher membership fee since the presently disclosed golf facility is unique to all prior art courses since it offers unlimited variety and challenge in the possible games of golf that can be played, and would accordingly be attractive to avid golfers who want to improve their golf game.

In addition to providing a golf facility according to the above-described embodiments, the present invention also provides a method of operation that offers variety and challenge to each individual player, regardless of skill level, experience, and/or background. The method of operation according to the present invention involves one of three experiences inclusive to education (mind), competition (body), or recreation (soul). Members and/or visitors can play and participate in golf-related activities at the present invention in numerous locations around the world regardless of their skill level or experience.

FIG. 2, 3, 4 and 5A illustrates the usage of the primary concept. The three elements of the total person, mind, body, and soul, give an opportunity for many visitors to have a well-rounded experience at the proposed facility. Placing the two sets of development competencies, according to embodiments of FIG. 2, into one of three primary areas allows simplicity, as well as balance, to the present invention. The facility visitations are also placed into one of three primary areas: educational/vocational is placed in the “mind” category, competitive is placed in the “body” category, and recreational is placed in the “soul” category.

The subject of “mind” concerns the person's intellectual development as it coincides with the function of the facility. According to embodiments of FIG. 2, development competencies that fall into this category are: cognitive competencies, vocational awareness, and knowledge, reasoning and creativity. These three elements, taken from the two sets of competencies of youth development, set the mental capacity of the child. Cognitive competencies and knowledge, reasoning, and creativity take on a broad base of knowledge with the ability to be creative. This is inclusive to learning abilities and written, oral, and problem-solving skills. Vocational awareness is inclusive to taking on a broad sense of understanding the options life has to offer, and taking the proper steps in making these life-long choices. If the choice is to experience the educational/vocational aspect of the facility, a great deal of the experience is located within the clubhouse area. Within the clubhouse area, there is a museum whose theme is to preserve and enlighten the game of golf's past, present, and future. Historical facts and statistics, cultural impacts, and pictures that influenced the game of golf, are a few of the many items on display at the golf museum. Other areas that contribute to the educational experience are the library/computer lab for research/homework, and the mini-theatre for initial class meetings, or guest speaker activities. Also located within the clubhouse area are classrooms for vocational classes. The golf facility hosts various vocational activities in which specialists come to aid in teaching kids a trade, such as turf management, horticulture, course maintenance, and golf operations. As a result, the maintenance area is placed incorporated into the clubhouse area for better accessibility. If the member/visitor extends his/her visit to play the course, there are numerous design elements that will educate him/her about the game, environment, and world. There is a scavenger hunt that coincides with the miniature course, and golf course rounds, as well as other parts of the facility. Various elements, from plantings and wildlife to carvings and natural art, can be discovered and learned about from the scavenger hunt. For example, one item on the scavenger list may entail to spot out a unique tree or landform from the driving range. A brief description of the natural element will be given at the scavenger location. This approach will mentally stimulate the person and result in a better attention span in relation to the golf course. Before a first time visitor plays the course, there is a short quiz that must be completed and passed for ease of playability. This quiz entails basic rules of the game so the young golfer will not get confused while playing the course. For example, one question may state, “After putting your ball or disc in the hole, you prepare to tee off at the next hole. You notice that other golfers are on the green of this hole. What should you do?” Questions of this caliber will help the person better understand the game and allow faster, yet safer play. The miniature course, located on top of the clubhouse area, is a good way to practice before playing the golf course. The miniature course and golf course are similar in that there is a hole marker, tee, green, and cup. When playing the golf course, the hole-markers entail critical data that informs the golfer about the playability of the hole, and provides tips for a more educated round. Suggestions about which club to use can be included, along with a description of the flag located at the end of the hole. Also included are inspiring quotes from different known golfers and/or historical data. During the course round, there are stations areas placed strategically after every couple of holes to allow mental stimulation for the golfer.

The subject of “body” concerns the person's physical development and needs for lifelong fitness as it coincides with the function of the facility. According to embodiments of FIG. 2, development competencies that fall into this category are health, and physical competencies. These two elements, taken from the two sets of competencies of youth development, set the physical capacity of the child. Usage of the present invention, inclusive to playing the course, and walking the site, fulfils these competencies. Health and physical competencies are two elements that deem to be critical in maintaining a consistent well-being. This can be accomplished through proper nutrition intake, exercise, and awareness of the results of unhealthy practices. If the choice is to experience the competition aspect of the facility, the user is either training, or being taught by the local golf pro. The classroom can be the most useable initial stop during the golfer's arrival. It is here that the individual or group would be briefed about his/her activities for the day. The next stop would either be the training room, mini-theatre, or outdoor training area. The training room can consist of a swing analyser, practice nets, indoor putting green, and exercise/weight machines in order to properly train the golfer. Locker rooms and showers were also added to accommodate their extensive training. The mini-theatre can be used to show tapes of the trainee's form, shots, and matches. The theatre can also be used as a briefing station, or to show instructional videos and golf matches. The outdoor training area consists of the 3-Green practice area, driving range, and practice hole. As a result, these training elements are placed in close proximity to the clubhouse area for accessibility, and will help to refine the golfer's overall skills.

The subject of “soul” nurtures the person's emotional values and cultural depth that identifies the person's character as it coincides with the function of the facility. According to embodiments of FIG. 2, development competencies that are placed in this area are personal/social skills, citizenship, moral competencies, emotional competencies, and social competencies. Personal/social skills are divided into two areas intrapersonal skills and interpersonal skills. The intrapersonal skills are the processes of practicing self-discipline and understanding emotions, while interpersonal skills deals more with building standing relationships through friendships, negotiation, and other people skills. Citizenship and moral competencies involve grasping the functionality of systems at the community and national levels. Gaining ethical values and understanding different cultures and its history and values plays an important role as well. Emotional competencies are inclusive to giving the child a sense of personal identity and independent decision-making skills. Social competencies deal with all types of people skills, family and work, while covering the basics of communication, problem-solving, and life skills. If the choice is to experience the recreational aspect of the facility, then the golfer will have many options. The recreational aspect can be the most common form of usage for the present invention. After checking in at the front office, there will be a plethora of activities the member/visitor can choose from. The game room can include an arcade, indoor-putting green, and practice nets. There is also access to a virtual driving range and virtual golf course for those who would rather play with no weather conditions. The pro shop entails a wide range of junior golf merchandise, from golf clubs to golf gadgets. This can be the best haven to market any ideas related to juniors or golf, and/or junior golf. The pro shop is also the location of equipment rentals, locker rentals, scavenger list/instructions, and golf/miniature golf reservations. The miniature golf course can be accessed and exited from either the pro shop, or from walking up the outside walls of the clubhouse. There can be many elements at the miniature course that stimulate the five senses, and as a result, give a strong recreational background. The play of the miniature course is the primary recreational component, while the secondary recreational component entails the golf course. There are many recreational elements that are inclusive to the golf course, such as the station areas. The museum, library, mini theater, and computer lab are activities available for the member/visitor if he/she would rather take in some golf culture, read about golf related topics, watch golf-related elements at the theater, or use the internet. The clubhouse area's restaurant is home to various multi-cultural entrees. Some of these foods and beverages can be served on the golf course as well. The recreational experience is also extended into the use of the facilities outside of the clubhouse. This area can be reached from the courtyard area. The courtyard area is located in an area that is centralized within the clubhouse area. This space is used for eating, socializing, and course preparations. Adjacent to the courtyard area is the 3-Green practice area. Located a few yards away are the batting cages, and the driving range. Adjacent to the driving range is the path that leads to the first tee of the golf course, which can also serve as the practice hole. The golf holes, from the first hole to the last, add to the recreational experience ranging from its “walking course” status, to its views, water features, landscapes, and wildlife. The stations areas can also be a recreational feature on the golf course. According to embodiments of FIGS. 4, 6A, 6B, and 6C, they can consist of overlooks, a healing garden, an maze garden, and an four-senses garden that can further entertain the golfers during their round of play.

All three purposes for using the present invention will help to build a strong foundation of the present invention's concept. The concept of mind, body, and soul is strongly carried through by researching, in depth, the three main visiting components. This would be educational/vocational for the mind, competition for the body, and recreation for the soul. The members/visitors, regardless of their purpose for playing, are placed within the same facility setting in order to allow exposure to different people and environments. This will aid in expanding the depth of a person's mind and character.

It is understood that the present invention is not limited to the various embodiments described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims. For example, additional embodiments could be such that the present invention is applied to a miniature golf course or any other specialized course. Furthermore, the scope of the present invention is not limited only to the game of golf or to any other physical games, instead the concepts of the present invention may also be applied to a wide range of other games, such as electronic games, for example, Nintendo®, Sony®, Sega®, Microsoft®, Macintosh®, or other electronic based games, computer games, CD ROMS, video games, Internet games, board games, or any other game, whether physical or virtual, in which the spirit and principles of the present invention can be applied. While preferred embodiments have been shown and described, it will be understood that there is no intent to limit the invention to such disclosure, but rather it is intended to cover all modifications and alternate constructions falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the claims.