Title:
METHOD AND SYSTEM OF SUBJECTIVE EVALUATION FOR GOLF BALL FITTING ANALYSIS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method and system of subjective evaluation of golf ball performance for golf ball fitting analysis to match a golf ball to a golfer's subjective preferences is described. A golfer subjectively evaluates the performance of one or more golf balls against different subjective criteria. Analysis of the subjective evaluation is used to determine a golf ball that maximizes or most closely conforms to the golfer's subjective preferences. A kit of parts is provided to allow a golfer to subjectively evaluate multiple golf balls to each other to determine a golfer's preference or to recommend another golf ball. The kit includes different types of golf balls and a fitting tool that is used by the golfer to evaluate his or her subjective preferences. The fitting tool can be calibrated to the specific subjective perceptions of a golfer. The fitting tool can also be customized to a specific course.



Inventors:
Ishii, Hideyuki (Portland, OR, US)
Alan, Mark (Portland, OR, US)
Yontz, Nicholas (Portland, OR, US)
Leech, Nicholas A. (Aloha, OR, US)
Application Number:
13/436002
Publication Date:
10/03/2013
Filing Date:
03/30/2012
Assignee:
Nike, Inc. (Beaverton, OR, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/409
International Classes:
A63B37/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20040147333Sliding swing weightJuly, 2004Clark
20070167263Playing Field Obstacle Kit and MethodJuly, 2007Elder et al.
20010018373Solid center type thread wound golf ballAugust, 2001Moriyama et al.
20070123374BASKETBALL GOAL RIM LOCKMay, 2007Jones
20010005696DEVICE AND METHOD FOR ADJUSTING THE TOTAL WEIGHT AND/OR THE SWINGWEIGHT OF A GOLF CLUB SHAFTJune, 2001Hedrick
20070238560Method for manufacturing a sports racquet and a sports racquet obtained therebyOctober, 2007Gazzara et al.
20060154756Dart with adjustable weightJuly, 2006Shao
20080254906INTERCHANGEABLE MEDALLION TABLEOctober, 2008Cartwright
20070275791Golf club head with twisted face angleNovember, 2007Shear
20080004139Sporting equipment with light emitting meansJanuary, 2008Jang
20100031462Portable golf ball damage repair deviceFebruary, 2010Hassfurther



Primary Examiner:
GORDEN, RAEANN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Quinn IP Law/NIKE, Inc. (21500 Haggerty Road Ste 300, Northville, MI, 48167, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of subjective evaluation of golf ball performance for golf ball fitting analysis, the method comprising: selecting at least one golf ball having a first configuration; hitting the selected at least one golf ball with a golf club; evaluating one or more subjective criteria associated with the at least one golf ball when hit with the golf club using a fitting tool; analyzing the evaluation of the subjective criteria associated with the at least one golf ball; and recommending a preferred golf ball based on the analysis of subjective criteria evaluation associated with the at least one golf ball.

2. The method according to claim 1, wherein the preferred golf ball has a configuration that is different than the first configuration.

3. The method according to claim 1, wherein the one or more subjective criteria are selected from a group comprising: sound, feel, flight appearance, roll, and spin.

4. The method according to claim 1, wherein the selected at least one golf ball is a first golf ball having the first configuration, the method further comprising: selecting a second golf ball having a second configuration; and wherein the step of evaluating the one or more subjective criteria includes selecting a subjective preference between the first golf ball having the first configuration and the second golf ball having the second configuration for each of the one or more subjective criteria.

5. The method according to claim 4, wherein the fitting tool includes an option to select a preference between the first golf ball and the second golf ball for each of the one or more subjective criteria.

6. The method according to claim 4, wherein the fitting tool includes an option to select a preference for the first golf ball, an option to select a preference for the second golf ball, or an option to select no preference between the first golf ball and the second golf ball for each of the one or more subjective criteria.

7. The method according to claim 1, wherein the fitting tool is a scorecard.

8. The method according to claim 7, wherein the fitting tool is in an electronic format.

9. The method according to claim 1, wherein the fitting tool is a program configured to be executed on a mobile device.

10. A kit of parts for subjective evaluation of golf ball performance for golf ball fitting analysis, the kit comprising: a first set of golf balls of a first type having a first configuration; a second set of golf balls of a second type having a second configuration, the second configuration being different than the first configuration; a fitting tool, the fitting tool including one or more subjective criteria to be evaluated by a golfer for at least one golf ball of the first type and at least one golf ball of the second type; and wherein the fitting tool includes a correlation guide, the correlation guide comprising a relationship between the one or more subjective criteria and a recommended golf ball having a preferred configuration.

11. The kit of parts according to claim 10, wherein the recommended golf ball includes at least one golf ball of the first type or the second type.

12. The kit of parts according to claim 10, wherein the recommended golf ball includes at least one golf ball of a third type having the preferred configuration, the third type being different than the first type and the second type.

13. The kit of parts according to claim 10, wherein the fitting tool includes an option to select a preference between the golf ball of the first type and the golf ball of the second type for each of the one or more subjective criteria.

14. The kit of parts according to claim 10, wherein the fitting tool includes an option to select a preference for the golf ball of the first type, an option to select a preference for the golf ball of the second type, or an option to select no preference between the golf ball of the first type or the second type for each of the one or more subjective criteria.

15. The kit of parts according to claim 10, wherein the fitting tool is a scorecard.

16. The kit of parts according to claim 15, wherein the fitting tool is in an electronic format.

17. The kit of parts according to claim 10, wherein the fitting tool is a program configured to be executed on a mobile device.

18. The kit of parts according to claim 10, wherein the fitting tool includes a calibration guide.

19. The kit of parts according to claim 18, wherein the calibration guide is configured to evaluate subjective perceptions of a golfer to select an appropriate correlation guide from a plurality of correlation guides.

20. A method of golf-course specific subjective evaluation of golf ball performance for golf ball fitting analysis, the method comprising: selecting at least one golf ball having a first configuration; selecting a location; selecting a golf course associated with the location; hitting the selected at least one golf ball with a golf club at the selected golf course; evaluating one or more subjective criteria associated with the at least one golf ball when hit with the golf club using a customized fitting tool, the customized fitting tool including at least one subjective criteria associated with the selected golf course; analyzing the evaluation of the subjective criteria associated with the at least one golf ball; and recommending a preferred golf ball based on the analysis of subjective criteria evaluation associated with the at least one golf ball.

21. The method according to claim 20, wherein the location includes at least one of a city, state, or zip code for identifying the location.

22. The method according to claim 21, wherein the golf course is selected from a plurality of golf courses associated with the identified location.

23. The method according to claim 20, wherein the customized fitting tool includes a plurality of subjective criteria associated with one or more holes on the golf course.

24. The method according to claim 23, wherein the plurality of subjective criteria are selected from a group comprising: sound, feel, flight appearance, roll, and spin.

25. The method according to claim 20, wherein the selected at least one golf ball is a first golf ball having the first configuration, the method further comprising: selecting a second golf ball having a second configuration; and wherein the step of evaluating the one or more subjective criteria includes selecting a subjective preference between the first golf ball having the first configuration and the second golf ball having the second configuration for each of the one or more subjective criteria.

26. The method according to claim 25, wherein the step of evaluating the subjective criteria further comprises: evaluating a first subjective criteria for the first golf ball on a first hole of the golf course; and evaluating a second subjective criteria for the second golf ball on a second hole of the golf course.

27. The method according to claim 26, wherein the first hole is different than the second hole.

28. The method according to claim 26, wherein the first subjective criteria is different than the second subjective criteria.

29. The method according to claim 26, wherein the first subjective criteria is the same as the second subjective criteria.

30. The method according to claim 20, wherein the customized fitting tool is received from a remote server.

Description:

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates generally to a method and system of subjective evaluation of golf ball performance for golf ball fitting analysis to match golf balls to a golfer's subjective preferences.

With advances in golf ball design, and increasing awareness and proliferation of golf equipment designed for particular levels of play, there has been increased interest in matching a golfer with an appropriate golf ball, i.e., golf ball fitting.

Recent developments in golf ball fitting include having a golfer take swings at a golf ball while being monitored by launch monitors, video devices and other measuring devices. The measurements generally taken range among the club head speed, ball speed, launch angle, attack angle, backspin, sidespin and total distance. In existing golf ball fitting methods, these measurements are considered within a framework of assumptions. It is known that when a golf ball is hit by a driver, fairway metal or long iron, the ball is deformed upon impact, and that large deformation means less spin and longer carries. An example of an assumption of a conventional ball fitting method is that distance is maximized when a ball is selected to provide an appropriate amount of deformation for one's specific golf swing.

However, in addition to these quantifiable measurements and performance characteristics, a golfer may have subjective preferences for qualities associated with a golf ball that are not directly measureable, or that may be capable of measurement, but are subjectively perceived by a golfer in a different manner than measured quantities.

Therefore, there exists a need in the art for a method and system of subjective evaluation of golf ball performance for golf ball fitting analysis to match golf balls to a golfer's subjective preferences. Specifically, a method that will eliminate the need to rely upon measurements from launch monitors, video cameras, or other sensor information for golf ball fitting. There is also a need in the art to compare subjective evaluations of multiple golf balls to each other to determine a golfer's preference or to recommend another golf ball. In addition, there is also a need to provide a system and method of subjective evaluation of golf ball performance for golf ball fitting analysis that may be used or performed by a golfer during actual play, rather than during simulations or practice range sessions.

SUMMARY

In one aspect, the invention provides a method of subjective evaluation of golf ball performance for golf ball fitting analysis, the method comprising: selecting at least one golf ball having a first configuration; hitting the selected at least one golf ball with a golf club; evaluating one or more subjective criteria associated with the at least one golf ball when hit with the golf club using a fitting tool; analyzing the evaluation of the subjective criteria associated with the at least one golf ball; and recommending a preferred golf ball based on the analysis of subjective criteria evaluation associated with the at least one golf ball.

In another aspect, the invention provides a kit of parts for subjective evaluation of golf ball performance for golf ball fitting analysis, the kit comprising: a first set of golf balls of a first type having a first configuration; a second set of golf balls of a second type having a second configuration, the second configuration being different than the first configuration; a fitting tool, the fitting tool including one or more subjective criteria to be evaluated by a golfer for at least one golf ball of the first type and at least one golf ball of the second type; and wherein the fitting tool includes a correlation guide, the correlation guide comprising a relationship between the one or more subjective criteria and a recommended golf ball having a preferred configuration.

In another aspect, the invention provides a method of golf-course specific subjective evaluation of golf ball performance for golf ball fitting analysis, the method comprising: selecting at least one golf ball having a first configuration; selecting a location; selecting a golf course associated with the location; hitting the selected at least one golf ball with a golf club at the selected golf course; evaluating one or more subjective criteria associated with the at least one golf ball when hit with the golf club using a customized fitting tool, the customized fitting tool including at least one subjective criteria associated with the selected golf course; analyzing the evaluation of the subjective criteria associated with the at least one golf ball; and recommending a preferred golf ball based on the analysis of subjective criteria evaluation associated with the at least one golf ball.

Other systems, methods, features and advantages of the invention will be, or will become, apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art upon examination of the following figures and detailed description. It is intended that all such additional systems, methods, features and advantages be included within this description and this summary, be within the scope of the invention, and be protected by the following claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention can be better understood with reference to the following drawings and description. The components in the figures are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention. Moreover, in the figures, like reference numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the different views.

FIG. 1 is a representational flow diagram of an exemplary process for subjective evaluation for golf ball fitting analysis;

FIG. 2 is a representational view of an exemplary embodiment of a subjective evaluation for golf ball fitting analysis;

FIG. 3 is a representational view of an alternate embodiment of a subjective evaluation for golf ball fitting analysis;

FIG. 4 is a representational view of an exemplary embodiment of a comparative subjective evaluation for golf ball fitting analysis;

FIG. 5 is a representational view of an alternate embodiment of a comparative subjective evaluation for golf ball fitting analysis;

FIG. 6 is a representational view of an exemplary embodiment of a weighted subjective evaluation for golf ball fitting analysis;

FIG. 7 is a representational view of an exemplary embodiment of a correlation guide between subjective criteria qualities and specific golf balls;

FIG. 8 is a schematic view of an exemplary embodiment of a kit of parts for subjective evaluation for golf ball fitting analysis;

FIG. 9 is a representational flow diagram of an exemplary process for using a kit of parts for subjective evaluation for golf ball fitting analysis;

FIG. 10 is a schematic view of an exemplary embodiment of using a kit of parts for subjective evaluation of a first golf ball for golf ball fitting analysis;

FIG. 11 is a schematic view of an exemplary embodiment of using a kit of parts for subjective evaluation of a second golf ball for golf ball fitting analysis;

FIG. 12 is a schematic view of using an exemplary embodiment of a fitting tool for comparative subjective evaluation for golf ball fitting analysis;

FIG. 13 is a schematic view of using an alternate embodiment of a fitting tool for comparative subjective evaluation for golf ball fitting analysis;

FIG. 14 is a representational flow diagram of an exemplary embodiment of a process for analyzing subjective criteria qualities for golf ball fitting analysis;

FIG. 15 is a schematic view of an exemplary embodiment of a system for subjective evaluation for golf ball fitting analysis;

FIG. 16 is a schematic view of an exemplary embodiment of a course-specific subjective evaluation for golf ball fitting analysis;

FIG. 17 is a representational flow diagram of an exemplary embodiment of a process for generating a course-specific fitting tool for subjective evaluation for golf ball fitting analysis;

FIG. 18 is a schematic view of an exemplary embodiment of a course-specific fitting tool for subjective evaluation for golf ball fitting analysis;

FIG. 19 is a schematic view of an exemplary embodiment of a plurality of different kits of parts for subjective evaluation for golf ball fitting analysis;

FIG. 20 is a schematic view of an exemplary embodiment of a calibration kit of parts for calibrating a golfer's selection of subjective criteria;

FIG. 21 is a representational view of an exemplary embodiment of a calibration guide for calibrating a golfer's selection of subjective criteria;

FIG. 22 is a representational flow diagram of an exemplary embodiment of a process for calibrating a golfer's selection of subjective criteria;

FIG. 23 is a representational flow diagram of an exemplary embodiment of a process for using subjective evaluation of golf ball preferences to generate a customized golf ball; and

FIG. 24 is a representational view of an exemplary embodiment of a correlation between subjective criteria qualities and golf ball properties/characteristics.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A method and system of subjective evaluation of a golf ball for golf ball fitting analysis is described in the following embodiments and illustrated in the Figures. In particular, in some embodiments, a method of subjective evaluation of a golf ball may include a golfer performing a number of steps in a process to end up with a recommendation of a particular golf ball suited to the golfer's subjective preferences.

In FIG. 1, an exemplary embodiment of a subjective evaluation process 100 of one or more golf balls is illustrated. Subjective evaluation process 100 may include a number of steps that may be performed by a golfer using one or more of the fitting tools and/or kit of parts described below. In a first step 102, a golfer selects his or her choice of golf ball or golf balls to evaluate using process 100. In a second step 104, the golfer evaluates subjective criteria associated with each of the chosen golf balls when hit with a golf club. In some cases, subjective criteria may be qualities associated with a golf ball that are not directly measureable. In other cases, subjective criteria may be qualities that are capable of measurement, but are subjectively perceived by a golfer in a different manner than a measured quantity. For example, subjective criteria may include, but are not limited to: sound and feel of the golf ball when hit, the visual appearance of the flight path or trajectory, the apparent speed of the golf ball when rolling, the apparent spin of the golf ball while in flight and/or upon contact with the ground, as well as other subjective criteria.

In some embodiments, second step 104 may include different types of subjective evaluations of a golf ball or golf balls, as further described below. In each case, at second step 104, the golfer may rate, rank, choose, or otherwise indicate a preference or lack thereof for a particular golf ball with respect to one or more subjective criteria. Using this evaluation of subjective criteria, the chosen golf ball or golf balls may then be analyzed at third step 106 to determine the golfer's subjective preferences. Finally, the analysis of the chosen ball or balls at third step 106 may then be used to recommend a golf ball at fourth step 108 that maximizes or most closely conforms to the golfer's subjective preferences.

In some embodiments, fourth step 108 may include recommending a preferred golf ball selected from the one or more golf balls chosen at first step 102. In other embodiments, however, fourth step 108 may include recommending a different golf ball than either or any of the golf ball or golf balls chosen at first step 102. For example, in some cases, a golfer's evaluation of subjective criteria associated with two differently constructed or configured golf balls may be used to recommend a third golf ball having a third different construction or configuration that will maximize or most closely conform to the golfer's subjective preferences.

FIGS. 2 through 6 illustrate different types of subjective evaluations of a golf ball or golf balls by a golfer. In some embodiments, the subjective evaluations may be performed by a golfer as part of second step 104 of subjective evaluation process 100, described above. In an exemplary embodiment, the subjective evaluations may be performed using a fitting tool. A fitting tool may be a printed or electronic aid that assists a golfer with recording his or her subjective evaluations of a golf ball or golf balls. In some cases, a fitting tool may include a printed or electronic scorecard, questionnaire, table, chart, or other form for receiving a golfer's subjective criteria input. In other cases, a fitting tool may include an application, algorithm, or program executed by a processor or computer that passively receives or interactively guides a golfer to provide the golfer's subjective criteria input.

It should be understood that the embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 2 through 6 are merely exemplary and the exact configuration of the fitting tool used by a golfer to provide subjective evaluation of a golf ball or golf balls may have a different appearance than those shown in the Figures.

Referring now to FIG. 2, a first subjective evaluation 200 is illustrated. In an exemplary embodiment, first subjective evaluation 200 may be a simple subjective evaluation of a single golf ball. In one embodiment, first subjective evaluation 200 may be aided by using a first fitting tool 202. In this embodiment, first fitting tool 202 is a scorecard that may be manually filled out by a golfer. As noted above, however, in other embodiments, first fitting tool 202 may be provided in passive or interactive electronic form on a mobile device or other display screen.

In some embodiments, first fitting tool 202 may include a label or identifier 204 that specifies the golf ball being evaluated. In this embodiment, a first golf ball, referred to as golf ball A is being subjectively evaluated using first fitting tool 202. First fitting tool 202 may include a subjective criteria column or portion 206 containing a list of subjective criteria for evaluation of golf ball A. In an exemplary embodiment, subjective criteria column 206 may be prefilled with a plurality of different subjective criteria. In addition, in other embodiments, additional spaces may be provided to allow a golfer to add other subjective criteria to subjective criteria column 206.

First fitting tool 202 may further include a preference column or portion 208 configured to receive an indicator of the golfer's evaluation of each of the specific subjective criteria in subjective criteria column 206. In this embodiment, subjective criteria column 206 includes sound 210 of the golf ball when hit, feel 220 of the golf ball when hit, flight appearance 230 of the golf ball during its trajectory or flight path, roll 240 of the golf ball upon contact with the ground after flight, spin 250 of the golf ball when hit, as well as other subjective criteria 260.

In this embodiment, first subjective evaluation 200 may be referred to as “simple” because a golfer is provided with an option to indicate a “yes/no” preference under preference column 208 for each of the subjective criteria. For example, a golfer may evaluate his or her subjective preference for the sound 210 of golf ball A by selecting either “yes” box 212 or “no” box 214. The evaluation of each of the subjective criteria in column 206 may proceed in a similar manner for golf ball A. In an exemplary embodiment, a golfer may analyze the results of the subjective evaluation of golf ball A by adding up the number of “yes” selections and the number of “no” selections and determining whether the particular golf ball maximized or most closely conformed to the golfer's subjective preferences.

In some embodiments, the golfer may analyze the results of the subjective evaluation of golf ball A performed using first subjective evaluation 200 to accept or reject golf ball A as a recommended or preferred golf ball for the golfer's subjective preferences. In other embodiments, the golfer may repeat first subjective evaluation 200 with another golf ball, different from golf ball A. Then, the golfer may analyze the results of each of the subjective evaluations to select between golf ball A or the other golf ball. This process may be repeated using different golf balls until the golfer finds a golf ball that maximizes or most closely conforms to the golfer's subjective preferences.

Referring now to FIG. 3, an alternate embodiment of a subjective evaluation of a golf ball is illustrated. In this embodiment, a second subjective evaluation 300 may be used to subjectively evaluate the performance of a golf ball. In an exemplary embodiment, second subjective evaluation 300 may be a scaled subjective evaluation of a single golf ball. A scaled subjective evaluation may provide a golfer with a series of response options along a continuum or range of possible selections to evaluate the subjective criteria. In some embodiments, the scaled subjective evaluation may use a Liked scale, such as a 3-point, 4-point, 5-point, or more Likert scale, or a numeric rating scale, such as a 1-5, 1-10, 1-100, or other numeric rating scale.

In one embodiment, second subjective evaluation 300 may be aided by using a second fitting tool 302. In this embodiment, second fitting tool 302 is a scorecard that may be manually filled out by a golfer. As noted above, however, in other embodiments, second fitting tool 302 may be provided in passive or interactive electronic form on a mobile device or other display screen.

In some embodiments, second fitting tool 302 may include a label or identifier 304 that specifies the golf ball being evaluated. In this embodiment, a first golf ball, referred to as golf ball A is being subjectively evaluated using second fitting tool 302. Second fitting tool 302 may include a subjective criteria column or portion 306 containing a list of subjective criteria for evaluation of golf ball A. In an exemplary embodiment, subjective criteria column 306 may be prefilled with a plurality of different subjective criteria and/or additional subjective criteria, as described above with regard to subjective criteria column 206.

Second fitting tool 302 may further include a preference column or portion 308 configured to receive an indicator of the golfer's evaluation of each of the specific subjective criteria in subjective criteria column 306. In this embodiment, subjective criteria column 306 includes sound 310 of the golf ball when hit, feel 320 of the golf ball when hit, flight appearance 330 of the golf ball during its trajectory or flight path, roll 340 of the golf ball upon contact with the ground after flight, spin 350 of the golf ball when hit, as well as other subjective criteria 360.

In this embodiment, second subjective evaluation 300 may be referred to as “scaled” because a golfer is provided with a continuum or range of three options to indicate a preference under preference column 308 for each of the subjective criteria. For example, a golfer may evaluate his or her subjective preference for sound 310 of golf ball A by selecting between a “too flat” box 312, indicating that the sound of golf ball A is flatter or duller than his or her preference, a “good” box 314, indicating that the sound of golf ball A is preferred or meets the golfer's subjective preferences, or a “too clicky” box 316, indicating that the sound of golf ball A is clicky or sharper than his or her preference. The evaluation of each of the subjective criteria in column 306 may proceed in a similar manner for golf ball A.

In this embodiment, the subjective preference for feel 320 may be selected between a “too soft” box 322, a “good” box 324, and a “too hard” box 326 to allow the golfer to indicate his or her subjective evaluation of the feel of golf ball A when hit. Similarly, the subjective preference for flight appearance 330 may be selected between a “rises too fast” box 332, a “good” box 334, and a “rises too slow” box 336 to allow the golfer to indicate his or her subjective evaluation of the flight path of golf ball A when hit. A subjective preference for roll 340 may be selected between a “too slow” box 342, a “good” box 344, and a “too fast” box 346 to allow the golfer to indicate his or her subjective evaluation of the roll of golf ball A, and a subjective preference for spin 350 may be selected between a “not enough” box 352, a “good” box 354, and a “too much” box 356 to allow the golfer to indicate his or her subjective evaluation of the spin of golf ball A. Any additional subjective criteria listed under subjective criteria column 306 may be similarly scaled, including other subjective criteria 360, having an option in preference column 308 to select between a “less” box 362, a “good” box 364, and a “more” box 366, to indicate the golfer's subjective preference for the given amount of the criteria associated with golf ball A.

In some embodiments, a point value may be assigned to each of the rating options in preference column 308 for each of the subjective criteria. The golfer may analyze the results of the subjective evaluation of golf ball A performed using second subjective evaluation 300 by adding up the total value of points scored by golf ball A. In some embodiments, the golfer may analyze the scored results of the subjective evaluation of golf ball A performed using second subjective evaluation 300 to accept or reject golf ball A as a recommended or preferred golf ball for the golfer's subjective preferences. In other embodiments, the golfer may repeat second subjective evaluation 300 with another golf ball, different from golf ball A. Then, the golfer may analyze the scored results of each of the subjective evaluations to select between golf ball A or the other golf ball. This process may be repeated using different golf balls until the golfer finds a golf ball that maximizes or most closely conforms to the golfer's subjective preferences.

In other embodiments, the golfer may analyze the scored results of second subjective evaluation 300 of golf ball A against a range of score values that are associated with recommending a specific golf ball. For example, a first range of score values may indicate to the golfer that a first alternative golf ball is recommended based on his or her subjective evaluation of golf ball A. A second range of score values may indicate to the golfer that golf ball A is the recommended golf ball that maximizes or most closely conforms to the golfer's subjective preferences. Further, a third range of score values may indicate to the golfer that a second alternative golf ball is recommended based on his or her subjective evaluation of golf ball A. Additional score ranges may be provided that indicate preferences for specific golf balls having characteristics or properties that maximize or most closely conform to the golfer's subjective preferences.

While the present embodiment of FIG. 3 has been shown as a scaled subjective evaluation using a 3-point Likert scale having a choice between three response options, in other embodiments, a scale with additional choices of ratings may be provided. For example, a golfer may be presented with a Likert scale having additional response options, such as a 4-point, 5-point, or more Likert scale, or a numeric rating scale, such as a 1-5, 1-10, 1-100, or other numeric rating scale, to rate the subjective evaluation of the golf ball for each of the subjective criteria in subjective criteria column 306.

FIGS. 2 and 3 have illustrated embodiments of subjective evaluations of a single golf ball. In other embodiments, a comparative subjective evaluation may be provided to allow a golfer to subjectively evaluate a preference for the subjective criteria of two or more golf balls compared to each other. FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate embodiments of comparative subjective evaluations of two or more golf balls.

Referring now to FIG. 4, a first comparative subjective evaluation 400 is illustrated. In an exemplary embodiment, first comparative subjective evaluation 400 may be a simple comparative subjective evaluation between two different golf balls. Accordingly, first comparative subjective evaluation 400 may be similar to first subjective evaluation 200, described above, but configured to allow a golfer to indicate a preference between the subjective qualities of two different golf balls. In one embodiment, first comparative subjective evaluation 400 may be aided by using a third fitting tool 402. In this embodiment, third fitting tool 402 is a scorecard that may be manually filled out by a golfer. As noted above, however, in other embodiments, third fitting tool 402 may be provided in passive or interactive electronic form on a mobile device or other display screen.

In some embodiments, third fitting tool 402 may include a first label or identifier 404 that specifies a first golf ball being evaluated and a second label or identifier 406 that specifies a second golf ball being evaluated. In this embodiment, a first golf ball, referred to as golf ball A is being subjectively evaluated against a second golf ball, referred to as golf ball B using third fitting tool 402. Third fitting tool 402 may include a subjective criteria column or portion 408 containing a list of subjective criteria for evaluation of golf ball A and golf ball B. In an exemplary embodiment, subjective criteria column 408 may be prefilled with a plurality of different subjective criteria and/or additional subjective criteria, as described above with regard to subjective criteria column 206, 306.

Third fitting tool 402 may further include an option or space in each of golf ball A column 404 and golf ball B column 406 configured to receive an indicator of the golfer's evaluation of each of the specific subjective criteria in subjective criteria column 408. In this embodiment, subjective criteria column 408 includes sound 410 of the golf ball when hit, feel 420 of the golf ball when hit, flight appearance 430 of the golf ball during its trajectory or flight path, roll 440 of the golf ball upon contact with the ground after flight, spin 450 of the golf ball when hit, as well as other subjective criteria 460.

In this embodiment, first comparative subjective evaluation 400 may be referred to as “simple” because a golfer is provided with an option to indicate a preference for either golf ball A or golf ball B under the appropriate column 404 or 406 for each of the subjective criteria. For example, a golfer may evaluate his or her subjective preference for the sound 410 of golf ball A by selecting box 412 under golf ball A column 404 or may evaluate his or her subjective preference for the sound of golf ball B by selecting box 414 under golf ball B column 406. The evaluation of each of the subjective criteria in column 408 may proceed in a similar manner. In an exemplary embodiment, a golfer may analyze the results of the comparative subjective evaluation of golf ball A and golf ball B by adding up the number of selections for each of golf ball A and golf ball B and determining whether one particular golf ball maximized or most closely conformed to the golfer's subjective preferences.

In some embodiments, the golfer may analyze the results of the comparative subjective evaluation of golf ball A and golf ball B performed using first comparative subjective evaluation 400 to accept one of golf ball A or golf ball B as a recommended or preferred golf ball for the golfer's subjective preferences. In other embodiments, the golfer may repeat first comparative subjective evaluation 400 with one or more additional golf balls, different from golf ball A and/or golf ball B. Then, the golfer may analyze the results of each of the comparative subjective evaluations to select between golf ball A, golf ball B, or any of the additional golf balls. This process may be repeated using any number of different golf balls until the golfer finds a golf ball that maximizes or most closely conforms to the golfer's subjective preferences.

In some embodiments, an alternate embodiment of a comparative subjective evaluation between two or more golf balls may be a scaled subjective evaluation. Referring now to FIG. 5, a second comparative subjective evaluation 500 may be used to subjectively evaluate the performance of two or more golf balls. In an exemplary embodiment, second comparative subjective evaluation 500 may be a scaled subjective evaluation of two or more golf balls. A scaled subjective evaluation may provide a golfer with a series of response options along a continuum or range of possible selections to evaluate the subjective criteria, as described above in regard to second subjective evaluation 200. In addition, second comparative subjective evaluation 500 may use any of the scale options discussed above.

In one embodiment, second comparative subjective evaluation 500 may be aided by using a fourth fitting tool 502. In this embodiment, fourth fitting tool 502 is a scorecard that may be manually filled out by a golfer. As noted above, however, in other embodiments, fourth fitting tool 502 may be provided in passive or interactive electronic form on a mobile device or other display screen.

In some embodiments, fourth fitting tool 502 may include a first label or identifier 504 that specifies a first golf ball being evaluated and a second label or identifier 506 that specifies a second golf ball being evaluated. In this embodiment, a first golf ball, referred to as golf ball A is being subjectively evaluated against a second golf ball, referred to as golf ball B using fourth fitting tool 502. Fourth fitting tool 502 may include a subjective criteria column or portion 508 containing a list of subjective criteria for evaluation of golf ball A and golf ball B. In an exemplary embodiment, subjective criteria column 508 may be prefilled with a plurality of different subjective criteria and/or additional subjective criteria, as described above with regard to subjective criteria column 206, 306, 408, discussed above.

In this embodiment, subjective criteria column 508 includes sound 510 of the golf ball when hit, feel 520 of the golf ball when hit, flight appearance 530 of the golf ball during its trajectory or flight path, roll 540 of the golf ball upon contact with the ground after flight, spin 550 of the golf ball when hit, as well as other subjective criteria 560.

In this embodiment, second comparative subjective evaluation 500 may be referred to as “scaled” because a golfer is provided with a continuum or range of three options to indicate a preference for either golf ball A under column 504, golf ball B under column 506, or may select an option indicating no preference between the two golf balls under column 505 for each of the subjective criteria. For example, a golfer may evaluate his or her subjective preference for the sound 510 of golf ball A by selecting box 512 under golf ball A column 504 or may evaluate his or her subjective preference for the sound of golf ball B by selecting box 516 under golf ball B column 506. Furthermore, in contrast with first comparative subjective evaluation 400, second comparative subjective evaluation 500 allow a golfer to evaluate a neutral preference between golf ball A and golf ball B by selecting box 514 under “no preference” column 505. The evaluation of each of the subjective criteria in column 508 may proceed in a similar manner.

In some embodiments, point values may be assigned to each of the three options of column 504, column 505, and column 506 for each of the subjective criteria. For example, in one embodiment, a positive point value may be assigned to the selection of a box under golf ball A column 504, a zero point value may be assigned to the selection of a box under “no preference” column 505, and a negative point value may be assigned to the selection of a box under golf ball B column 506. The golfer may analyze the results of the comparative subjective evaluation of golf ball A and golf ball B performed using second comparative subjective evaluation 500 by adding up the total value of points.

In some embodiments, the golfer may analyze the scored results of second comparative subjective evaluation 500 of golf ball A and golf ball B against a range of score values that are associated with recommending a specific golf ball. For example, a positive range of score values may indicate to the golfer that golf ball A is recommended or preferred based on his or her subjective preferences. Similarly, a negative range of score values may indicate to the golfer that golf ball B is recommended or preferred. Further, a third range of score values between the positive and negative ranges may indicate to the golfer that an alternative golf ball, different than golf ball A and/or golf ball B, is recommended or preferred having characteristics or properties that maximize or most closely conform to the golfer's subjective preferences.

In other embodiments, including embodiments using different scales, additional ranges may be provided to recommend or indicate a preference for specific golf balls having the desired qualities. Furthermore, in some embodiments, an algorithm or program may be used to assist with analyzing the scored results of second comparative subjective evaluation 500.

A golfer may have subjective preferences for specific qualities associated with a golf ball's performance that are more or less important to that golfer. That is, not all subjective preferences may be as important to every golfer. Accordingly, in some embodiments, subjective criteria may be weighted for the purposes of performing any of the various subjective evaluations described above. Referring now to FIG. 6, a weighting scale 600 may be selected or ordered by a golfer for use with any type of subjective evaluation. In this embodiment, weighting scale 600 may be in the form of a table or chart 602 that includes a subjective criteria column 604 and a weight column 606. In an exemplary embodiment, table 602 may include an entry for each subjective criteria listed in subjective criteria column 604 and a corresponding weighting factor for that criteria in weight column 606.

In this embodiment, subjective criteria column 604 includes one or more of the subjective criteria discussed in the embodiments above, including sound 610 of the golf ball when hit, feel 620 of the golf ball when hit, flight appearance 630 of the golf ball during its trajectory or flight path, roll 640 of the golf ball upon contact with the ground after flight, spin 650 of the golf ball when hit, as well as other subjective criteria 660. A golfer may then assign a weighting factor to each of the subjective criteria that reflects the importance of that criteria to the golfer's subjective preferences.

In this embodiment, a golfer has assigned a sound weighting factor 612 a value of two to reflect a higher importance or weight to sound 610 in evaluating his or her subjective evaluation of a golf ball or golf balls. Similarly, the golfer has assigned a feel weighting factor 622 a value of one to reflect a normal or lower importance or weight to feel 620 as compared with sound 610. In this embodiment, the golfer has assigned a flight appearance weighting factor 632 a value of two, to reflect a similar importance to flight appearance 630 as to sound 610. Whereas, the golfer has assigned a roll weighting factor 642 and a spin weighting factor 652 the same values of one to reflect the same relative importance of roll 640 and spin 650 to each other, but a lower importance of each of these qualities relative to sound 610 and flight appearance 630.

In addition, in some embodiments, a golfer may assign a zero weighting factor to any subjective criteria that hold no interest to the golfer in evaluating his or her subjective preferences. For example, as shown in FIG. 6, a golfer may assign an other subjective criteria weighting factor 662 a value of zero to reflect that other subjective criteria 660 are not to be used in determining the golfer's subjective evaluation of a golf ball or golf balls.

It should be understood that the values used for the weighting factors shown in FIG. 6 are merely exemplary and any values may be used, including whole numbers, fractions, decimals, positive or negative values, and values greater than or smaller than the examples used herein. In addition, in this embodiment, weighting scale 600 is in the form of table 602, however, in other embodiments, weighting scale 600 may be implemented as an electronic spreadsheet or as inputs in an algorithm or program used for subjective evaluation.

In some embodiments, a fitting tool, including any of the fitting tools described herein, may be provided with a correlation guide to determine the relationship between the subjective evaluation of a golf ball or golf balls and a recommended or preferred golf ball for the golfer. Referring now to FIG. 7, an exemplary embodiment of a subjective correlation guide 700 is illustrated. In some embodiments, subjective correlation guide 700 may be used to analyze the results of any of the various embodiments of subjective evaluations described above to recommend a specific golf ball having a construction or configuration that is associated with characteristics or properties that maximize or most closely conform to the golfer's subjective preferences. In this embodiment, subjective correlation guide 700 may be aided by using a correlation table 702. In this embodiment, correlation table 702 is a table or chart that lists a relationship between each subjective criteria and specific golf balls that exhibit less or more of that subjective quality. In other embodiments, correlation table 702 may be provided in electronic format or input for use by an algorithm or program.

Correlation guide 702 may include a subjective criteria column or portion 704 containing a list of subjective criteria that may be correlated to specific golf balls. In an exemplary embodiment, subjective criteria column 704 may include any of the different subjective criteria and/or additional subjective criteria, as described above with regard to subjective criteria column 206, 306, 408, or 508. In this embodiment, subjective criteria column 704 includes sound 710 of the golf ball when hit, feel 720 of the golf ball when hit, flight appearance 730 of the golf ball during its trajectory or flight path, roll 740 of the golf ball upon contact with the ground after flight, spin 750 of the golf ball when hit, as well as other subjective criteria 760.

Correlation guide 702 may further include a preference column or portion 706 configured include the relationship between each of the specific subjective criteria in subjective criteria column 704 and specific golf balls that exhibit the specific subjective quality. In one embodiment, the preference column 706 may be arranged so that each listed golf ball exhibits the subjective quality in a range ordered based on increasing amounts of that quality. In other words, preference column 706 lists one or more golf balls for each subjective criteria that are correlated from less of given subjective quality to more of the given subjective quality.

For example, with regard to sound 710, a correlation between a range of golf balls exhibiting a flat sound 712 and a clicky sound 714 may be provided under preference column 706. In this embodiment, golf ball A may have characteristics or properties that cause it to exhibit a generally flat sound 712. Additional golf balls may be associated with an increasingly less flat sound, including golf ball B and golf ball C, until reaching the opposite end of the range where golf ball D may have characteristics or properties that cause it to exhibit a generally clicky sound 714.

For example, if a golfer subjectively evaluates golf ball B using one of the subjective evaluations described above and has evaluated sound 710 of golf ball B to be “too clicky,” then using correlation guide 702, golf ball A may be recommended to the golfer as having a sound quality that is flatter or “less clicky” than golf ball B and falls in the range of exhibiting a generally flat sound 712. On the other hand, if the golfer has evaluated sound 710 of golf ball B to be “too flat,” then using correlation guide 702, a different golf ball, such as golf ball C or golf ball D, may be recommended to the golfer as having a sound quality that is sharper or “more clicky” than golf ball B. In this example, golf ball D may fall in the range of exhibiting a generally clicky sound 714, whereas golf ball C may be located in between the amount associated with golf ball B and golf ball D. Thus, a golf ball more suited to the golfer's sound preferences may be recommended.

In a similar manner, correlation guide 702 may include a relationship in column 706 for each of the other subjective criteria listed in column 704. For example, feel 720 may be correlated to a range between a generally soft feel 722 and a generally hard feel 724 that is associated with golf ball B, golf ball C, golf ball A, and golf ball D in order of increasing hardness. Flight appearance 730 may be correlated to a range between a generally slow rise 732 and a generally fast rise 734 that is associated with golf ball C, golf ball D, golf ball B, and golf ball A in order of increasing rise quality. Roll 740 may be correlated to a range between a generally slow roll 742 and a generally fast roll 744 that is associated with golf ball D, golf ball A, golf ball B, and golf ball C in order of increasing roll speed. Spin may be correlated to a range between generally less spin 752 and generally more spin 754 that is associated with golf ball B, golf ball D, golf ball C, and golf ball A in order of increasing amount of spin. Relationships of this type correlating each subjective criteria may be established for all subjective criteria, including other subjective criteria 760 correlated to a range between less amount of a quality 762 and more amount of a quality 764 that is associated with golf ball D, golf ball C, golf ball B, and golf ball A in order of increasing subjective quality amount.

With this arrangement, a golfer's preference for more or less of a subjective quality associated with a golf ball that has been subjectively evaluated as described above, may be used to recommend a different golf ball that has a construction or configuration that is associated with characteristics or properties that maximize or most closely conform to the golfer's subjective preferences.

FIGS. 8 through 15 illustrate a kit of parts and a system of subjective evaluation of golf ball performance for golf ball fitting analysis to match golf balls to a golfer's subjective preferences. Any of the kits and/or systems described herein may include any of the embodiments of fitting tools described above for subjective evaluation of a golf ball or golf balls.

Referring now to FIG. 8, a schematic view of an exemplary embodiment of a kit of parts 800 for subjective evaluation for golf ball fitting analysis is illustrated. In this embodiment, a golfer may obtain kit of parts 800 to allow self-accessed subjective evaluation of one or more golf balls to select a recommended or preferred golf ball suited to the golfer's subjective preferences. In an exemplary embodiment, kit of parts 800 is configured to be used by a golfer during regular play on a golf course. In other embodiments, however, kit of parts 800 may be used on a range or other practice environments. Kit of parts 800 may include a number of components, not all components are included or necessary in every embodiment, some components may not be included in kit of parts 800 and other components may be added to kit of parts 800.

In an exemplary embodiment, kit of parts 800 for subjective evaluation for golf ball fitting analysis may include a container 802 for holding one or more components of kit 800. Container 802 may be sized and dimensioned so as to correspond to the contents of kit 800. Kit 800 may further include one or more sets of golf balls. In one embodiment, kit 800 may include a first set of golf balls 804 that include a first type of golf ball 806, referred to as golf ball A. In cases where a comparative subjective evaluation is to be made between two or more golf balls, kit 800 may also include a second set of golf balls 808 that include a second type of golf ball 810, referred to as golf ball B. In an exemplary embodiment, first type of golf ball 806 may have a different construction or configuration from second type of golf ball 810, such that golf ball A and golf ball B exhibit one or more different subjective qualities. In other embodiments, more or less types of golf balls may be provided with kit 800. In still other embodiments, kit 800 may be configured to be used with a golfer's existing golf ball of choice.

In some embodiments, kit of parts 800 includes a fitting tool 812. Fitting tool 812 may include any of the embodiments of fitting tools described above, including first fitting tool 202, second fitting tool 302, third fitting tool 402, fourth fitting tool 502, and/or any combination thereof. For example, in some embodiments, multiple fitting tools may be provided within kit 800 to allow a golfer to select the type of subjective evaluation that the golfer would like to perform.

In this embodiment, fitting tool 812 may be substantially similar to third fitting tool 402, described above, to allow the golfer to perform first comparative subjective evaluation 400 between first type of golf ball 806 and second type of golf ball 810. In addition, fitting tool 812 may also include a subjective correlation guide, including correlation guide 702, described above, to use the results of the subjective evaluation to determine a recommended or preferred golf ball based on the golfer's subjective preferences.

Referring now to FIG. 9, a flow diagram of an exemplary process 900 for using kit of parts 800 for comparative subjective evaluation for golf ball fitting analysis is illustrated. In some embodiments, process 900 may be configured to be performed by a golfer during actual play, rather than during simulations or practice range sessions. With this arrangement, kit of parts 800 does not require the golfer to have access to any specialized equipment, sensors, or monitors, to subjectively evaluate the golf balls included in kit 800.

In a first step 902, a golfer plays golf ball A, which may be first type of golf ball 806 included in kit 800. The golfer then plays golf ball B, which may be second type of golf ball 810 included in kit 800, at second step 904. Next, the golfer uses a fitting tool, such as fitting tool 812, at third step 906 to score each of the played balls from step 902 and step 904. Golf ball A and golf ball B may be then be subjectively evaluated at step 908 to determine the relationship between the golfer's subjective preferences and the performance of each of the golf balls. Finally, at step 910, a preferred or recommended golf ball may be obtained, using any of the methods of analyzing the subjective evaluation results described above, including using a subjective correlation guide 700, such as correlation guide 702, described above.

FIGS. 10 through 13 illustrate an exemplary embodiment of process 900. In FIG. 10, a golfer 1002 is shown performing step 902 of process 900. In this embodiment, at a first hole 1000 on a golf course, golfer 1002 plays golf ball A. Golfer 1002 may observe and self-access the subjective performance of golf ball A from an initial position 1004 through a flight path 1006 and to a final position 1008 on first hole 1000. In FIG. 11, golfer 1002 is shown performing step 904 of process 900. In this embodiment, at a second hole 1100 on a golf course, golfer 1002 plays golf ball B. Golfer 1002 may observe and self-access the subjective performance of golf ball B from an initial position 1102 through a flight path 1104 to a final position 1106 on second hole 1100. In some cases, first hole 1000 and second hole 1100 may be different holes on the same golf course. In other cases, however, a golfer may wish to subjectively evaluate different golf balls under the same conditions and first hole 1000 and second hole 1100 may be the same hole on a golf course.

Referring now to FIG. 12, golfer 1002 is shown performing step 906 of process 900. In this embodiment, golfer 1002 is using fitting tool 812 from kit of parts 800, such as third fitting tool 402, described above, to manually score the performance of each of golf ball A and golf ball B using first comparative subjective evaluation 400. In other embodiments, however, different fitting tools and different subjective evaluations, described in the embodiments above, may be used at step 906.

For example, FIG. 13 illustrates an alternate embodiment of a fitting tool 1300 that may be used at step 906 to subjectively evaluate the performance of golf ball A and golf ball B. In this embodiment, fitting tool 1300 may in the form of an application or program on a mobile device 1302. In different embodiments, mobile device 1302 may be a cell phone, smart phone, computer, including a laptop computer, netbook computer, or tablet computer, or any other portable or mobile computing or processing device. An application or program on mobile device 1302 may be configured to provide second comparative subjective evaluation 500, described above. In this embodiment, the golfer may use his or her finger to move an indicator 1306 along a sliding scale 1304 corresponding to the golfer's subjective preference for each of the subjective criteria. The results of the subjective evaluation may be analyzed using a scaled score, as described above with regard to second comparative subjective evaluation 500.

In an exemplary embodiment, mobile device 1302 may include a processor configured to execute an algorithm or program to analyze the subjective evaluation, such as correlation guide 700, discussed above, and provide a recommended or preferred golf ball. In addition, in some embodiments, one or more steps of process 900 may be performed in whole or in part by one or more computers or processors located remotely from the golfer.

Referring now to FIG. 14, a system 1400 that includes a remote server 1404 for performing one or more steps of process 900 is illustrated. In this embodiment, mobile device 1302 may be used by a golfer to enter his or her selection of subjective criteria for each golf ball at step 1410. In some cases, mobile device 1302 may include a passive or interactive electronic form or application to aid selection of the subjective criteria, as described above. In other cases, a manual scorecard may be filled out by the golfer and mobile device 1302 may be used to capture an image or copy of the scorecard.

In this embodiment, the subjective criteria input into mobile device 1302 may be sent to remote server 1404 at step 1412. In one embodiment, mobile device 1302 may send the subjective criteria over a wireless communication network 1402 to remote server 1404. In other embodiments, however, mobile device 1302 may send the subjective criteria to remote server 1404 over a wired or wireless connection, including over the internet, to remote server 1404. Once the subjective criteria is received by remote server 1404, one or more computers, including computer 1406, may analyze the subjective criteria at step 1414. In some cases, remote server 1404 may include a database or memory 1408 in communication with computer 1406 that may be used to store information to assist with the evaluation of subjective criteria at step 1414, including one or more of the fitting tools, described above. In other cases, subjective criteria sent to remote server 1404 by a golfer may be associated with the golfer using a name or user id and saved in database 1408 for later retrieval or comparison of other golf balls.

Referring again to FIG. 14, at step 1416, remote server 1404 may determine a recommended or preferred golf ball based on the analysis of the subjective criteria from step 1414. As noted above, subjective evaluation results may be analyzed in order to determine a golf ball that is associated with characteristics or properties that maximize or most closely conform to the golfer's subjective preferences. Once remote server 1404 has determined the recommended or preferred golf ball at step 1416, the result may be sent to the user of mobile device 1302, which may be the golfer, at step 1418 over communication network 1402 or other connection. The results that include the recommended or preferred golf ball based on the golfer's subjective preferences may then be presented or displayed to the golfer on a display screen of mobile device 1302 at step 1420.

In some embodiments, supplemental information may be obtained and used as part of a method and system of subjective evaluation of a golf ball for golf ball fitting analysis. In some cases, supplemental information may be environmental factors or other measured or calculated data that may affect the subjective evaluation of a golf ball or that may be otherwise relevant to the evaluation of the subjective criteria. Referring now to FIG. 15, a system 1500 for subjective evaluation for golf ball fitting analysis may optionally include other data inputs to supplement subjective criteria 1502 evaluated according to the methods described herein.

In some embodiments, supplemental data may include global positioning system (GPS) data 1504. GPS data 1504 may be obtained from a GPS receiver included in mobile device 1302, or may be provided by another device having geographic location determination capability. GPS data 1504 may include information associated with a time and location of the golfer to associate subjective criteria 1502 with a particular golf course or location on a specific day or time. In some cases, a golfer's subjective evaluation of a golf ball may be affected by the location or time chosen to perform the evaluation. Accordingly, by providing supplemental GPS data 1504 to system 1500, location and time, as well as other information provided by a GPS receiver, may be taken into consideration when analyzing subjective criteria 1502 during golf ball fitting analysis.

In some embodiments, supplemental data may include additional environmental data 1506. Environmental data 1506 may include information associated with the golfing environment, such as the golf course or range, where subjective criteria 1502 was gathered. Some examples of environmental data 1506 include, but are not limited to, altitude or elevation, moisture content or humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed, temperature, or specific landscape characteristics. Environmental data 1506 may be obtained using sensors associated with mobile device 1302, or may be provided using other devices configured to obtain weather information and other environmental data, including third-party weather service providers. As with GPS data 1504, environmental data 1506 may also affect a golfer's subjective evaluation of a golf ball. Accordingly, by providing supplemental environmental data 1506 to system 1500, weather conditions, as well as other environmental information included in environmental data 1506, may be taken into consideration when analyzing subjective criteria 1502 during golf ball fitting analysis.

In some embodiments, subjective criteria 1502, as well as any of the optional supplemental data, including GPS data 1504 and/or environmental data 1506, may be provided to mobile device 1302, as described above. In an exemplary embodiment, mobile device 1302 may be configured to analyze the results of the subjective evaluation of criteria associated with a golf ball, together with any of the supplemental GPS data 1504 and/or environmental data 1506, either using a processor included in mobile device 1302 or by sending data to a remote server, as described above, to provide a result 1520 of a recommended or preferred golf ball.

In some embodiments, any of subjective criteria 1502, GPS data 1504, environmental data 1506, and/or result 1520 may be stored in a memory 1508, either included in mobile device 1302 or remotely located. In some cases, the various inputs from subjective criteria 1502, GPS data 1504, environmental data 1506, and/or result 1520 may be stored separately for later processing. In other cases, the various inputs from subjective criteria 1502, GPS data 1504, environmental data 1506, and/or result 1520 may be stored together and be associated with a name or id for the particular golfer performing the subjective evaluation. With this arrangement, subjective evaluation of a particular golf ball or golf balls, together with any optional supplemental data, and/or a recommended or preferred golf ball may be accessed by the golfer at a later time for retrieval or for comparison with additional subjective evaluations.

In addition, in some embodiments, subjective criteria 1502 may be further combined with objective criteria 1510, including measurement data obtained from one or more launch monitors, video cameras, or other external sensors 1512, to be used for matching a golf ball to a particular golfer using golf ball fitting analysis. One method and system that uses both subjective criteria and objective criteria for golf ball fitting analysis is described in co-pending and commonly-owned U.S. Application Publication No. 2011/0009215 to Ichikawa et al., entitled “Method and System for Golf Ball Fitting Analysis,” filed on Jul. 7, 2009, which application is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

In some embodiments, the subjective evaluation of a golf ball or golf balls may be performed by a golfer under actual play conditions on a golf course of the golfer's choosing. Typically, the characteristics and play conditions differ from one golf course to another. As a result, a golfer's subjective evaluation may be influenced, at least in part, by the golf course the golfer has chosen. Some of the conditions may be taken into account using GPS data and/or environmental data, discussed above. However, subjective criteria may be affected in different ways by different golf courses. For example, some holes at a particular golf course may be better suited to evaluate specific subjective criteria than other holes. In addition, when performing a comparative subjective evaluation of two or more golf balls, some holes on a golf course may be substantially similar to each other so as to provide similar testing conditions for subjective evaluation of each of the golf balls under nearly identical conditions. Therefore, in some embodiments, a golf course-specific subjective evaluation for golf ball fitting analysis may be provided.

Referring now to FIG. 16, an exemplary embodiment of a golf course-specific subjective evaluation 1600 for golf ball fitting analysis is provided. In some embodiments, golf course-specific subjective evaluation 1600 may include entering information into an application, program, or website, in order to generate a customized fitting tool that includes specific subjective evaluation criteria that has been selected based on the golfer's choice of golf course. In this embodiment, golf course-specific subjective evaluation 1600 is performed using a computer, such as a desktop computer having a display screen 1602, a keyboard 1604, and a mouse 1606, however, in other embodiments, inputs from the golfer to generate a customized fitting tool for golf course-specific subjective evaluation 1600 may be entered on a mobile device, such as mobile device 1302, discussed above.

In this embodiment, a golfer may use keyboard 1604 and/or mouse 1606 to input information into an input screen or questionnaire 1608. Input screen 1608 may include a number of categories of requested information associated with the golfer, the golf ball or golf balls to be subjectively evaluated, and the golfer's location and golf course selection. For example, input screen 1608 may include an player information input 1610 to gather name and/or id information for the particular golfer, a first ball selection input 1612 to gather information associated with a first golf ball to be evaluated, and a second ball selection input 1614 to gather information associated with a second golf ball, if any, to be evaluated. Input screen 1608 may further include a location input 1616 for gathering location information, such as a country, city, state and/or zip code of where the subjective evaluation is to take place, and a golf course selection input 1618 that may provide a pre-filled selection of golf courses located within a predetermined or chosen distance from the location entered by the golfer in location input 1616. Additional information not shown on input screen 1608 may also be gathered to be associated with the golfer or the subjective evaluation of one or more golf balls.

In an exemplary embodiment, the information provided by the golfer in one or more of the inputs shown on input screen 1608, including golf course selection input 1618, may then be used to generate a customized fitting tool 1620 for golf course-specific subjective evaluation 1600. Customized fitting tool 1620 may include golf-course specific instructions or golf-course specific subjective criteria selections or ratings based on the selection of golf course provided in golf course selection input 1618.

Referring now to FIG. 17, a system 1700 for providing a customized fitting tool for golf course-specific subjective evaluation is illustrated. In this embodiment, system 1700 includes a remote server 1404, including computer 1406 and/or database 1408, described above, for performing one or more steps of generating the customized fitting tool based on a golf course selection. It should be understood that one or more steps of the process illustrated in FIG. 17 may be performed using either a local computer, remote server 1404, or a combination of both.

In this embodiment, golf course-specific subjective evaluation 1600 is generated by a golfer using a computer to enter his or her selection of inputs, as described above in regard to FIG. 16, at a step 1702. In an exemplary embodiment, the selections input at step 1702 may include at least a golf-course selection. In this embodiment, the input selections may then be sent to remote server 1404 at step 1704. In one embodiment, wireless communication network 1402, or any other communication network, as described above, may be used to send the input selections to remote server 1404. Once the input selections are received by remote server 1404 at step 1706, optionally including specific golf ball options or selections 1708 to be subjectively evaluated and a golf course selection 1710, one or more computers, including computer 1406, may analyze the received selections. In some cases, remote server 1404 may include a database or memory 1408 in communication with computer 1406 that may be used to store information to assist with the analysis of the received selections at step 1706, including, for example, a database of golf courses.

Referring again to FIG. 17, at step 1712, remote server 1404 may correlate the choice of golf balls, if provided, to the specific golf course selection. Next, using information associated with the specific golf course selection received 1710, remote server 1404 may generate a customized golf-course specific fitting tool at step 1714. As noted above, subjective evaluation of one or more golf balls may be customized to the specific characteristics of the golf course selected to generate golf course-specific subjective evaluation 1600 with the customized fitting tool. Once remote server 1404 has generated the customized fitting tool at step 1714, the customized fitting tool may be sent to the user of system 1700, which may be the golfer, at step 1716 over communication network 1402 or other connection. The customized fitting tool in the form of a scorecard that may be printed out by the golfer, or an application or program to be used in connection with a mobile device, such as mobile device 1302, may then be received at step 1718.

FIG. 18 illustrates an exemplary embodiment of a golf course-specific fitting tool 1800 for golf course-specific subjective evaluation 1600 for golf ball fitting analysis that may be generated using system 1700 and the process described with reference to FIG. 17. In this embodiment, golf course-specific fitting tool 1800 is a customized scorecard 1802 that may be manually filled out by a golfer. Customized scorecard 1802 may be generated as discussed above for a subjective evaluation of two golf balls on a specific golf course. As noted in previous embodiments of various fitting tools, however, golf course-specific fitting tool 1800 may be provided in passive or interactive electronic form on a mobile device or other display screen.

In some embodiments, customized scorecard 1802 may include information provided by the golfer using input screen 1608. For example, in this embodiment, customized scorecard 1802 includes a name or id label 1804 of the golfer. In addition, customized scorecard 1802 may also include a golf course label 1806 that identifies the specific golf course for the golf course-specific subjective evaluation 1600. In some embodiments, customized scorecard 1802 may include information typically found on a conventional scorecard, including, but not limited to holes listed under hole column 1808, par values for the corresponding holes listed under par column 1812, and a space to allow the golfer to enter his or her scores for each hole under score column 1814.

In an exemplary embodiment, customized scorecard 1802 also includes information or instructions that have been specifically selected for the golf course to allow the golfer to perform a subjective evaluation of a golf ball or golf balls. In this embodiment, customized scorecard 1802 includes a column 1810 that instructs the golfer as to which golf ball being subjectively evaluated is to be used on each hole. In FIG. 18, two golf balls, golf ball A and golf ball B, are being subjectively evaluated against each other. Accordingly, column 1810 identifies to the golfer which golf ball should be hit on each hole. As discussed above, some holes at a particular golf course may be better suited to evaluate specific subjective criteria than other holes. In addition, when performing a comparative subjective evaluation of two or more golf balls, some holes on a golf course may be substantially similar to each other so as to provide similar testing conditions for subjective evaluation of each of the golf balls under nearly identical conditions.

In this embodiment, customized scorecard 1802 includes a preferences column 1816 that allows a golfer to choose or select his or her subjective evaluations or ratings of the particular golf ball on each hole. In an exemplary embodiment, different subjective criteria, including, but not limited to any of the subjective criteria previously discussed, may be evaluated at one or more holes on the golf course. In some embodiments, golf ball A and golf ball B may be rated on subjective criteria using any of the evaluation methods previously described, including a simple or scaled rating. In different embodiments, a combination of ratings may be used on different holes or to evaluate different subjective criteria, including taking into account weighting factors, as described above.

In some embodiments, customized scorecard 1802 may include additional portions that allow the golfer to indicate a general preference for one ball or the other in portion 1818 and/or to enter any relevant notes in portion 1820 regarding the environmental conditions or other information that may affect the subjective evaluation of the golf balls.

FIG. 19 illustrates embodiments of various kits of parts that may be provided for different golfers. Golfers may have a range of different skills, experience, and/or ability levels. As a result, different subjective preferences of the golfer may depend on the individual golfer's skill, experience, and/or ability level. In addition, subjective preferences may vary by other characteristics associated with a golfer, including, but not limited to age and/or gender. Therefore, different kits of parts may be provided for different golfers.

In an exemplary embodiment, a set of kits of parts 1900 may include a plurality of kits of parts that are different from each other. Each kit of parts in set of kits of parts 1900 may be similar in one or more respects to kit of parts 800, described above. However, each of the kit of parts in set of kits of parts 1900 may vary from each other in one or more ways. For example, in some cases, the golf balls to be used for subjective evaluation included in the kit of parts may be different in each of the kits. In other cases, a different fitting tool may be provided that has a different rating scale, subjective criteria weighting, or a different correlation between subjective criteria and golf ball recommendations.

In this embodiment, set of kits of parts 1900 includes three different kits of parts. A first kit of parts 1910 may be provided for a first golfer type. In an exemplary embodiment, first kit of parts 1910 may be substantially similar to kit of parts 800, described above. In one embodiment, kit of parts 1910 for subjective evaluation for golf ball fitting analysis for a first golfer type may include a container 1912 for holding one or more components of kit 1910. Container 1912 may be sized and dimensioned so as to correspond to the contents of first kit 1910. First kit 1910 may further include one or more sets of golf balls. In one embodiment, first kit 1910 may include a first set of golf balls 1914 that include a first type of golf ball 1915, referred to as golf ball A and a second set of golf balls 1916 that include a second type of golf ball 1917, referred to as golf ball B. In this embodiment, first kit of parts 1910 also includes a first golfer type fitting tool 1918. First golfer type fitting tool 1918 may include any of the embodiments of fitting tools described above.

Set of kits of parts 1900 may further include a second kit of parts 1920. Second kit of parts 1920 may be provided for a second golfer type. In an exemplary embodiment, second kit of parts 1920 may include one or more components that are substantially similar to kit of parts 800 and/or first kit of parts 1910. However, in order for second kit of parts 1920 to be configured for subjective evaluation for golf ball fitting analysis for a second golfer type, one or more differences may be provided. In some cases, a different number or type of golf balls may be provided or a different number or type of fitting tools may be supplied. Second kit of parts 1920 may include a container 1922 for holding one or more components of second kit 1920.

In one embodiment, second kit 1920 may include second set of golf balls 1916 that include second type of golf ball 1917, referred to as golf ball B, as also provided in first kit of parts 1910. However, in this embodiment, second kit of parts 1920 may include a third set of golf balls 1924 that include a third type of golf ball 1925, referred to as golf ball C, that is different than golf ball A and/or golf ball B. In some embodiments, second kit of parts 1920 also includes a second golfer type fitting tool 1926. Second golfer type fitting tool 1926 may include any of the embodiments of fitting tools described above. In some cases, second golfer type fitting tool 1926 may be different than first golfer type fitting tool 1918, to provide a different subjective evaluation analysis for each type of golfer.

With this arrangement, second set of golf balls 1916, third set of golf balls 1924, and/or second fitting tool 1926 provided in second kit of parts 1920 may be configured to present an improved subjective evaluation to a second golfer type than would first set of golf balls 1914, second set of golf balls 1916, and/or first fitting tool 1918 provided in first kit of parts 1910. For example, where sets of kits of parts 1900 are provided for types of golfers having differing levels of skills, experience, and/or abilities, first kit of parts 1910 may be configured to present an improved subjective evaluation to a professional golfer, whereas second kit of parts 1920 may be more suited for a subjective evaluation by an amateur or novice golfer.

In addition to providing different kits of parts for different golfer types, set of kits of parts 1900 may further include a third kit of parts 1932 that is configured to be used by multiple golfer types. In an exemplary embodiment, third kit of parts 1930 may be provided for use by two or more different golfer types. In some embodiments, third kit of parts 1930 may include one or more components that are substantially similar to kit of parts 800, first kit of parts 1910, and/or second kit of parts 1920. However, in order for third kit of parts 1930 to be configured for subjective evaluation for golf ball fitting analysis by two or more golfer types, one or more differences may be provided. In some cases, a plurality of different types of golf balls may be provided or different numbers or types of fitting tools may be supplied. Third kit of parts 1930 may include a container 1932 for holding one or more components of third kit 1930.

In an exemplary embodiment, third kit of parts 1930 may include an assorted set of golf balls 1934. Assorted set of golf balls 1934 may include one or more golf balls of a plurality of different types, including different constructions and/or configurations. In this embodiment, assorted set of golf balls 1934 includes first type of golf ball 1915, referred to as golf ball A, second type of golf ball 1917, referred to as golf ball B, third type of golf ball 1925, referred to as golf ball C, described in regard to first kit 1910 and/or second kit 1920 above. Furthermore, assorted set of golf balls 1934 may include one or more additional golf balls not included in either of first kit 1910 and/or second kit 1920. In this embodiment, assorted set of golf balls 1934 includes a fourth type of golf ball 1935, referred to as golf ball D, a fifth type of golf ball 1936, referred to as golf ball E, and/or a sixth type of golf ball 1937, referred to as golf ball F. While in this embodiment, six different types of golf balls are provided in third kit of parts 1930, in other embodiments, a smaller or larger number of different types or configurations of golf balls may be included.

Third kit of parts 1930 may further include a multiple golfer type fitting tool 1938. Multiple golfer type fitting tool 1938 may include one or more of the embodiments of fitting tools described above. In some cases, multiple golfer type fitting tool 1938 may include a plurality of different fitting tools to allow a golfer to select from the appropriate fitting tool based on the golfer type and/or the selection of golf ball types from third kit 1930 that are being used by the golfer. In addition, in some embodiments, third kit of parts 1930 may further include a guide or instructions for selecting a particular fitting tool and/or golf ball type based on the golfer type or the type of subjective evaluation desired by the golfer. With this arrangement, multiple golfer types may use the same third kit of parts 1930 to perform a subjective evaluation that may be different for each type of golfer, depending on the choices made between the components included in third kit 1930.

Besides having different preferences for the subjective criteria associated with a hit golf ball, individual golfers may have different perceptions of the subjective criteria itself. That is to say, two golfers hitting the same golf ball under substantially the same conditions, including golf clubs and golf swing properties, may have different perceptions of the subjective criteria associated with the golf ball. For example, one golfer may perceive a golf ball to have a sound that sounds to that golfer to have a subjective quality of being too sharp or clicky. Whereas another golfer, listening to the same golf ball hit under substantially identical conditions, may perceive the golf ball to have a sound that sounds to that golfer to have a subjective quality of being good or being too flat or dull. Therefore, in order to recommend a golf ball that maximizes or most closely conforms to a golfer's subjective preferences, the golfer's perception of subjective criteria may be matched or calibrated to that golfer.

FIGS. 20 through 22 illustrate an exemplary embodiment for matching or calibrating a golfer's subjective perceptions to the evaluated subjective criteria to recommend a golf ball that maximizes or most closely conforms to a golfer's subjective preferences. Referring now to FIG. 20, a calibration kit of parts 2000 may be configured to calibrate a golfer's selection of subjective criteria. Calibration kit 2000 may include one or more components that are substantially similar to kit of parts 800, described above.

In one embodiment, calibration kit of parts 2000 may include a container 2002 for holding one or more components of kit 2000. Container 2002 may be sized and dimensioned so as to correspond to the contents of kit 2000. Calibration kit 2000 may further include one or more sets of golf balls. In one embodiment, calibration kit 2000 may include a first set of golf balls 2004 that include a first type of golf ball 2005, referred to as golf ball A, and a second set of golf balls 2006 that include a second type of golf ball 2007, referred to as golf ball B. Each set of golf balls may have known average or consensus subjective qualities. For example, to a majority of golfers, golf ball A may sound flatter than golf ball B. Similarly, additional subjective qualities of first type of golf ball 2005 and/or second type of golf ball 2007 may also be known.

In this embodiment, calibration kit of parts 2000 also includes a calibration guide 2008. Calibration guide 2008 may be configured to allow a golfer to access his or her subjective perceptions of the subjective qualities of golf ball A and/or golf ball B. Using calibration guide 2008, the golfer's perceptions may then be compared with the known average or consensus subjective qualities for each of the golf balls to calibrate the golfer's selection of subjective criteria.

Referring now to FIG. 21, an exemplary embodiment of calibration guide 2008 for calibrating a golfer's selection of subjective criteria is illustrated. In this embodiment, calibration guide 2008 is provided as a questionnaire or scorecard 2100. In other embodiments, however, calibration guide 2008 may be provided in passive or interactive electronic form or an application on a mobile device or other display screen. In this embodiment, scorecard 2100 includes a list of questions regarding the golfer's perception of specific subjective criteria, including any of the subjective criteria previously discussed. Scorecard 2100 presents the golfer with a choice between golf ball A and golf ball B for each of the subjective criteria to select which golf ball the golfer perceives as exhibiting more of the given subjective quality.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 21, calibration guide 2008 includes questions regarding the golfer's perception of the sound 2110 of the golf ball when hit, feel 2120 of the golf ball when hit, flight appearance 2130 of the golf ball during its trajectory or flight path, roll 2140 of the golf ball upon contact with the ground after flight, spin 2150 of the golf ball when hit, as well as other subjective criteria 2160. The golfer may then select which golf ball provided in calibration kit 2000 the golfer perceives as exhibiting more of the given subjective quality by making a selection in a box corresponding to golf ball A or golf ball B. For example, with regard to sound 2110, calibration guide 2008 may ask the golfer which golf ball he or she perceives as sounding more clicky. The golfer selects box 2112 for golf ball A or box 2114 for golf ball B. Each subjective criteria may be similarly treated.

FIG. 22 is a representational flow diagram of an exemplary embodiment of a calibration process 2200 for calibrating a golfer's selection of subjective criteria based on the selections provided by the golfer on calibration guide 2008. In an exemplary embodiment, a golfer may use calibration kit of parts 2000 to perform calibration process 2200. Calibration process 2200 may begin with the golfer hitting each of the types of golf balls provided in kit 2000. First, at step 2202, the golfer may hit golf ball A, which may be a golf ball of first type of golf ball 2005 having known average or consensus subjective qualities. Next, at step 2204, the golfer may hit golf ball B, which may be a golf ball of second type of golf ball 2007 having known average or consensus subjective qualities.

At step 2206, the golfer may then use calibration tool 2008, as described above, to rate the golfer's perception of each of the subjective criteria. After the golfer has rated his or her perceptions at step 2206, then the golfer's perceptions of the subjective criteria may be analyzed at step 2208. In an exemplary embodiment, step 2208 may include comparing the golfer's perceptions of the subjective qualities of golf ball A and golf ball B to the known average or consensus subjective qualities associated with golf ball A and golf ball B. Using this comparison at step 2208, the golfer may then be categorized according to one of a plurality of different types of golfers, including a golfer type X 2210, a golfer type Y 2212, and/or a golfer type Z 2214. Each golfer type may correspond to a perception of a subjective quality that is different or non-standard when compared with the known average or consensus subjective qualities associated with golf ball A and golf ball B. For example, golfer type X 2110 may correspond to a golfer that perceives the sound of golf balls to be sharper or more clicky than most other golfers. Accordingly, by categorizing the golfer as golfer type X 2210, this difference in perception by the golfer may be taken into account to recommend a golf ball that maximizes or most closely conforms to a golfer's subjective preferences, as perceived by that golfer.

In some embodiments, calibration process 2200 may also include a selection of the appropriate correlation chart, such as a subjective correlation guide 700, described above, that has been modified to take into account the particular difference or non-standard perception of a subjective quality. In this embodiment, a first correlation chart 2220 may be selected to take into account the perceptions of golfer type X 2210, a second correlation chart 2222 may be selected to take into account the perceptions of golfer type Y 2212, and/or a third correlation chart 2224 may be selected to take into account the perceptions of golfer type Z 2214. Each of the correlation charts may be similar to subjective correlation guide 700, described above, with changes made to the golf balls that fall within a range of a subjective quality to take into account the different or non-standard perception of that golfer type.

In some cases, a golfer's subjective preferences may not be maximized or may not closely conform to the characteristics of any available golf ball. Accordingly, in some embodiments, a method may be provided to manufacture a customized golf ball that maximizes or most closely conforms to a golfer's subjective preferences.

Referring now to FIG. 23, a representational flow diagram of an exemplary embodiment of a customization process 2300 for using subjective evaluation of golf ball preferences to generate a customized golf ball is illustrated. In this embodiment, customization process 2300 includes a first step 2302 of obtaining a subjective evaluation of a golf ball to determine a golfer's subjective preferences. Any of the subjective evaluations described in the previous embodiments may be used to determine the golfer's subjective preferences at step 2302. Next, a step 2304 includes correlating the golfer's subjective preferences from step 2302 to specific properties and/or characteristics of a golf ball that are predominantly or partly responsible for causing the golf ball to exhibit a given subjective quality.

An example of a correlation that may be used at step 2304 is illustrated in FIG. 24. In FIG. 24, subjective criteria qualities 2304 and golf ball properties/characteristics 2402 are matched with a corresponding relationship or correlation 2404. In this embodiment, a subjective criteria preference related to the sound and/or feel quality may be related to a cover hardness of the golf ball with a relationship such that an increase in cover hardness corresponds to an increase in the subjective “clickiness” of the sound of the golf ball. Similar relationships or correlations may be provided as shown in FIG. 24 for additional subjective criteria.

Referring back to FIG. 23, once the correlation between the golfer's subjective preferences and the specific properties and/or characteristics of a golf ball that are predominantly or partly responsible for causing the golf ball to exhibit a given subjective quality are determined at step 2304, a customized golf ball may be generated or manufactured at step 2306. The customized golf ball made at step 2306 may specifically constructed so that it exhibits subjective qualities that maximize or most closely conforms to a golfer's subjective preferences. A customized golf ball may be manufactured using a method and system described in co-pending and commonly-owned U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/512,538 to Kabeshita et al., entitled “Method and System for Developing a Golf Ball Design,” filed on Jul. 28, 2011, which application is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

While various embodiments of the invention have been described, the description is intended to be exemplary, rather than limiting and it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that many more embodiments and implementations are possible that are within the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is not to be restricted except in light of the attached claims and their equivalents. Also, various modifications and changes may be made within the scope of the attached claims.