Title:
Golf course and method of playing golf
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides a golf course having one or more holes equipped with multiple launching positions. The user may choose one of the launching positions to play from commensurate with his or her desired level of difficulty. Each launching position of the present invention provides a distinct playing path to the green independent of the other launching positions. In one embodiment, the level of difficulty associated with each launching position is enhanced through the use of topographical features located between each launching position and the green. In another embodiment, one or more launching positions of the present invention are equipped with difficulty-enhancing terrain such as sand, rough-cut grass and/or uneven surfaces. The golf course of the present invention is ideally suited to provide each individual golfer with an enjoyable and challenging experience, regardless of his or her expertise level.



Inventors:
Graham, Scott (San Antonio, TX, US)
Application Number:
10/217735
Publication Date:
02/13/2003
Filing Date:
08/13/2002
Assignee:
GRAHAM SCOTT
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/36; (IPC1-7): A63B67/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GRAHAM, MARK S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SCOTT GRAHAM (SAN ANTONIO, TX, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A golf course having a plurality of golf holes, each having a par value, said course having one or more of said golf holes comprising: at least one fairway having a first end and a second end; at least one putting green located at said second end of said fairway; at least one golf ball cup positioned upon said putting green; a first launching position placed upon said first end of said fairway; said first launching position being generally located a first direction from said green; and a first area located substantially between said first launching position and said green, said first area defining a first level of difficulty and providing a substantially straight playing path substantially free of obstacles between said first launching position and said green.

2. The golf course of claim 1, wherein said one or more of said golf holes further comprises: a second launching position placed upon a difficulty enhancing terrain adjacent to said fairway; said second launching position being generally located a second direction from said green; and a second area located substantially between said second launching position and said green, said second area having one or more topographical features defining a second level of difficulty associated with said second area, said second area defining a second playing path from said second launching position to said green such that said first area and said second area provide two separate and distinct routes to said green.

3. The golf course of claim 2, wherein said difficulty enhancing terrain is selected from the group consisting of rough cut grass, sand, and uneven surfaces.

4. The golf course of claim 3, wherein said first launching position and said second launching position are substantially the same distance from said green.

5. The golf course of claim 3, wherein said second level of difficulty requires greater skill than said first level of difficulty.

6. The golf course of claim 3, wherein said topographical features are selected from the group consisting of water, sand, shrubbery, trees, brush, out of bounds markers, undulations, contours, obstacles, obstructions, vegetation, varying grass texture, and varying grass height.

7. A golf course having a plurality of golf holes, each having a par value, said course having one or more of said golf holes comprising: at least one fairway having a first end and a second end; at least one putting green located at said second end of said fairway; at least one golf ball cup positioned upon said putting green; a first launching position placed upon said first end of said fairway; said first launching position being generally located a first direction from said green; and a first area located substantially between said first launching position and said green, said first area defining a first level of difficulty and providing a substantially straight playing path being substantially free of obstacles between said first launching position and said green.

8. The golf course of claim 7, wherein said one or more of said golf holes further comprises: a second launching position placed upon said first end of said fairway, said said second launching position generally located a second direction from said green; and a second area located substantially between said second launching position and said green, said second area having one or more topographical features defining a second level of difficulty associated with said second area, said second area defining a second playing path from said second launching position to said green such that said first area and said second area provide two separate and distinct routes to said green.

9. The golf course of claim 8, wherein said one or more of said golf holes further comprises: a third launching position placed upon a difficulty enhancing terrain adjacent to said fairway; said third launching position being generally located a third direction from said green; and a third area located substantially between said third launching position and said green, said third area having one or more of said topographical features defining a third level of difficulty associated with said third area, said third area defining a third playing path from said third launching position to said green such that said first area, said second area, and said third area provide three separate and distinct routes to said green.

10. The golf course of claim 9, wherein said difficulty enhancing terrain is selected from the group consisting of rough cut grass, sand, and uneven surfaces.

11. The golf course of claim 10, wherein said first launching position, said second launching position, and said third launching position are substantially the same distance from said green.

12. The golf course of claim 10, wherein said second level of difficulty requires greater skill than said first level of difficulty and said third level of difficulty requires greater skill than said second level of difficulty.

13. The golf course of claim 10, wherein said topographical features are selected from the group consisting of water, sand, shrubbery, trees, brush, out of bounds markers, undulations, contours, obstacles, obstructions, vegetation, varying grass texture, and varying grass height.

14. A method of playing golf comprising the steps of: providing a golf course having a plurality of golf holes each having a par value, said course having one or more of said golf holes comprising: at least one fairway having a first end and a second end; at least one putting green located at said second end of said fairway; at least one golf ball cup positioned upon said putting green; a first launching position placed upon said first end of said fairway; said first launching position being generally located a first direction from said green; and a first area located substantially between said first launching position and said green, said first area defining a first level of difficulty and providing a substantially straight playing path being substantially free of obstacles between said first launching position and said green; a second launching position placed upon a difficulty enhancing terrain adjacent to said fairway; said second launching position being generally located a second direction from said green; and a second area located substantially between said second launching position and said green, said second area having one or more topographical features defining a second level of difficulty associated with said second area, said second area defining a second playing path from said second launching position to said green such that said first area and said second area provide two separate and distinct routes to said green. determining a desired level of difficulty; choosing said first launching position or said second launching position according to a desired level of difficulty; dropping a golf ball upon said first launching position or upon said second launching position according to said desired level of difficulty. if said first launching position is chosen, utilizing a golf club having a loft of 13 degrees or more, and without the aid of a golf tee, hitting said golf ball a first time toward said green such that said golf ball lands within said first area or upon said green; if said first shot is made from said first launching position, and said first shot does not result in said golf ball landing upon said green, utilizing a golf club having a loft of more than 13 degrees, and without the aid of a golf tee, hitting said golf ball a second time from said first area onto said green; if said second launching position is chosen, utilizing a golf club having a loft of 13 degrees or more, and without the aid of a golf tee, hitting said golf ball a first time toward said green such that said golf ball lands within said second area or upon said green; if said first shot is made from said second launching position, and said first shot does not result in said golf ball landing upon said green, utilizing a golf club having a loft of more than 13 degrees, hitting said golf ball a second time from said second area onto said green; and utilizing a putter, putting said golf ball into said cup.

15. The method of claim 14, wherein said difficulty enhancing terrain is selected from the group consisting of rough cut grass, sand, and uneven surfaces.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein said second level of difficulty requires greater skill than said first level of difficulty.

17. A method of playing golf comprising the steps of: providing a golf course having a plurality of golf holes each having a par value, said course having one or more of said golf holes comprising: at least one fairway having a first end and a second end; at least one putting green located at said second end of said fairway; at least one golf ball cup positioned upon said putting green; a first launching position placed upon said first end of said fairway; said first launching position being generally located a first direction from said green; a first area located substantially between said first launching position and said green, said first area defining a first level of difficulty and providing a substantially straight playing path being substantially free of obstacles between said first launching position and said green; a second launching position placed upon said first end of said fairway, said second launching position being generally located a second direction from said green; and a second area located substantially between said second launching position and said green, said second area having one or more topographical features defining a second level of difficulty associated with said second area, said second area defining a second playing path from said second launching position to said green such that said first area and said second area provide two separate and distinct routes to said green. a third launching position placed upon a difficulty enhancing terrain adjacent to said fairway; said third launching position being generally located a third direction from said green; and a third area located substantially between said third launching position and said green, said third area having one or more of said topographical features defining a third level of difficulty associated with said third area, said third area defining a third playing path from said third launching position to said green such that said first area, said second area, and said third area provide three separate and distinct routes to said green. determining a desired level of difficulty; choosing said first launching position, said second launching position, or said third launching position according to said desired level of difficulty; dropping a golf ball upon said first launching position, said second launching position, or said third launching position according to said desired level of difficulty. if said first launching position is chosen, utilizing a golf club having a loft of 13 degrees or more, and without the aid of a golf tee, hitting said golf ball a first time toward said green such that said golf ball lands within said first area or upon said green; if said first shot is made from said first launching position, and said first shot does not result in said golf ball landing upon said green, utilizing a golf club having a loft of more than 13 degrees, and without the aid of a golf tee, hitting said golf ball a second time from said first area onto said green; if said second launching position is chosen, utilizing a golf club having a loft of 13 degrees or more, and without the aid of a golf tee, hitting said golf ball a first time toward said green such that said golf ball lands within said second area or upon said green; if said first shot is made from said second launching position, and said first shot does not result in said golf ball landing upon said green, utilizing a golf club having a loft of more than 13 degrees, hitting said golf ball a second time from said second area onto said green; if said third launching position is chosen, utilizing a golf club having a loft of 13 degrees or more, and without the aid of a golf tee, hitting said golf ball a first time toward said green such that said golf ball lands within said third area or upon said green; if said first shot is made from said third launching position, and said first shot does not result in said golf ball landing upon said green, utilizing a golf club having a loft of more than 13 degrees, hitting said golf ball a second time from said third area onto said green; and utilizing a putter, putting said golf ball into said cup.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein said difficulty enhancing terrain is selected from the group consisting of rough cut grass, sand, and uneven surfaces.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein said topographical features are selected from the group consisting of water, sand, shrubbery, trees, brush, out of bounds markers, undulations, contours, obstacles, obstructions, vegetation, varying grass texture, and varying grass height.

20. The method of claim 18, wherein said second level of difficulty requires greater skill than said first level of difficulty and said third level of difficulty requires greater skill than said second level of difficulty.

Description:

[0001] This utility application claims priority from a U.S. Provisional Application entitled “Golf Game and Golf Course Design,” Serial No. 60/311,628, having a filing date of Aug. 13, 2002.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates generally to an improvement to the game of golf and, more particularly, to an improved golf game and golf course layout capable of providing all types of golfers with an enjoyable golfing experience while, at the same time, reducing the time and expense associated with a traditional round of golf.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] The length of time required to complete a traditional 18-hole round of golf on a full-length golf course is an area of concern for virtually every golfer. The amount of time required to play a round of golf may be a barrier to those who would like to take up the game. Typically, it takes between four and six hours to play a round of golf on a full-length golf course. Thus, the number of rounds that the average golfer can play is limited. Accordingly, the amount of time required to play a traditional round of golf is a primary reason for golfers to quit playing the game.

[0004] Many factors contribute to the length of time it takes to play a round of golf. Key factors include: the physical distance players must travel during a round, the length and difficulty of the course, how effectively the golf course managers marshal round times for each group, the time spent looking for lost golf balls, the distance between the green and the next tee box and the time a golfer takes to execute each individual shot. A careful review of these factors reveals that the distance and/or difficulty associated with a traditional 18-hole golf course is to blame for golfer frustration.

[0005] The tee shot required on nearly every par 4 and par 5 is a prime reason for the large amount of time associated with the traditional game of golf. First, for most golfers, the tee shot takes a great deal of time to execute. Second, the driver is the most difficult club to use and the quality of each tee shot significantly affects the golfer's play to the hole. As discussed further below, an errant tee shot will influence the relative position of the golfer's second shot and perhaps the third shot as well. Aside from putting, tee shots are the most frequent shots during a traditional round of golf and can have a devastating impact on individual scores.

[0006] Unplayable second and/or third shots caused by inaccurate tee shots lead to scores that may be multiple strokes above par. Large scores result in golfer frustration, loss of confidence and, ultimately, a less enjoyable golfing experience. This problem is compounded for those who are just beginning to learn the game.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] Accordingly, the present invention provides a golf course and a method of playing golf capable of reducing the expense, time and frustration associated with the traditional game of golf. Specifically, the present invention provides a golf course having one or more holes equipped with multiple launching positions. The user may choose one of the launching positions to play from commensurate with his or her desired level of difficulty.

[0008] Each launching position of the present invention provides a distinct playing path to the green independent of the other launching positions. In one embodiment, the level of difficulty associated with each launching position is enhanced through the use of topographical features located between each launching position and the green. In another embodiment, one or more launching positions of the present invention are equipped with difficulty-enhancing terrain such as sand, rough-cut grass and/or uneven surfaces. The golf course of the present invention is ideally suited to provide each individual golfer with an enjoyable and challenging experience, regardless of his or her expertise level.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] A more complete appreciation of the invention and many of the attendant advantages thereof will be readily obtained as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawing; it being understood that the drawings contained herein are not necessarily drawn to scale; wherein:

[0010] FIG. 1 illustrates a par 3 golf hole in one embodiment of the present invention having a first launching position and a second launching position.

[0011] FIG. 2 illustrates a par 4 golf hole in one embodiment of the present invention having a first launching position and a second launching position.

[0012] FIG. 3 illustrates a par 3 golf hole in one embodiment of the present invention having a first launching position, a second launching position, and a third launching position.

[0013] FIG. 4 illustrates a par 4 golf hole in one embodiment of the present invention having a first launching position, a second launching position, and a third launching position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0014] Referring to the accompanying Figures, the present invention is herein described as a golf course having a plurality of golf holes, each having a par value, and as a method of playing golf. The present invention provides an alternative to the traditional game of golf and a unique golf course design capable of providing a pleasurable and successful golfing experience for all types of golfers while still retaining the challenge and intrigue that experienced golfers demand.

[0015] Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the golf course of the present invention is equipped with one or more golf holes (10). Each golf hole (10) of the present invention provides a fairway (12) having a first (12A) and a second end (12B), a putting green (14) generally positioned at the second end of the fairway, and a golf ball cup (16) positioned upon the green. In one embodiment, each golf hole (10) is equipped with a first launching position (18) located generally upon the first end (12A) of the fairway (12). The first launching position (18) is located a first direction from the green (14) such that a first area (18A) is defined between the green and the first launching position. In one embodiment, the first launching position (18) is placed upon fairway cut grass such that a substantially level surface is provided upon which to drop a golf ball for play by the user.

[0016] In one embodiment, the first area (18A) between the green (14) and the first launching position (18) is substantially free from obstacles such that the user is provided with a substantially straight playing path from the first launching position to the green. Golf holes (10) having a first launching position (18) are ideally suited for beginning golfers wishing to experience a straight and relatively easy fairway shot to the green (14).

[0017] In one embodiment, another launching position is provided for inclusion upon one or more golf holes (10) of the present invention. This second launching position (20) may be utilized to provide an enhanced level of difficulty for more experienced players.

[0018] In one embodiment, the second launching position (20) is not placed directly upon the fairway (12) but, instead, is placed adjacent thereto at a direction varying from the direction of the first launching position (18) with respect to the green (14). Further, the second launching position (20) may be equipped with difficulty-enhancing terrain (24) such as uneven surfaces, sand, rough-cut grass, and/or other vegetation. In one embodiment, the area (20A) located substantially between the second launching position (20) and the green (14) may be equipped with one or more topographical features (22) designed to increase or decrease the level of difficulty associated with starting the golf hole (10) at the second launching position. In one embodiment, the level of difficulty associated with the second launching position (20) requires greater skill on the part of the user due to the combined use of topographical features (22) and difficulty enhancing terrain (24).

[0019] The relative placement of the second launching position (20) and the use of topographical features (22) provides the user with a second playing path (20P) to the green. Thus, a user utilizing the first launching position (18) will traverse a distinct and separate playing path (18P) than that experienced by a user starting from the second launching position (20). In one embodiment, the first and second launching positions (18 and 20, respectively) are positioned at substantially the same distance from the green (14).

[0020] Unlike traditional golf courses where distance is the primary element to increase difficulty on a given hole, the present invention utilizes a unique blend of direction, topographical features (22), and difficulty-enhancing terrain (24) to provide the user with a greater degree of difficulty. This feature of the present invention allows individuals of varying ability to play together in the same group while still being challenged individually. For example, User No. 1, a beginner to the game of golf, may choose to start from the first launching position (18) while User No. 2, an experienced golfer, may choose to start from the second launching position (20). In one embodiment, topographical features (22) may be any feature, whether man made or naturally occurring, capable of adding to the difficulty associated with a golf hole (10). In one embodiment, topographical features (22) include, but are not limited to, water, sand, shrubbery, trees, brush, out-of-bounds markers, undulations, contours, obstacles, obstructions, vegetation, varying grass textures, and varying grass height. This also enables users with similar levels of golfing skills, but different physical strength, to more equally compete with each other by beginning the hole (10) from the same launching position (18 and 20, respectively).

[0021] In addition to providing a challenging golf game, the golf holes (10) of the present invention are ideally suited to provide instruction to individuals wishing to increase their golf abilities. Instead of utilizing a driving range which is incapable of providing the look and feel of a golf course, the present invention allows instructors and/or students to choose a level of difficulty for practice shots consistent with the individual's grasp of the game. Because users of the present invention play from a specific area within what may resemble a minute portion of the second shot hitting area on a traditional golf hole, architects can design approaches to the green which force users to hit a specific type of shot.

[0022] Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, in another embodiment, the present invention provides three or more launching positions (18, 26 and 28, respectively) from which a user may begin. The golf holes (10) of the present invention may be designed to accommodate three or more separate and distinct playing paths (18P, 26P, 28P, and 28P′, respectively), each providing a different level of difficulty for the user.

[0023] The first launching position (18) of this embodiment is substantially the same as described in detail above. Specifically, the first launching position (18) is placed upon fairway cut grass at substantially the first end (12A) of the fairway (12). The location of the first launching position (18) coupled with the lack of obstacles within the first area (18A) allows novice players to enjoy a substantially straight and unobstructed shot toward the green (14).

[0024] In one embodiment, one or more of the golf holes (10) of the present invention are equipped with a second launching position (26) placed at substantially the first end (12A) of the fairway (12). The area located substantially between the second launching position (26) and the green (14) is equipped with one or more topographical features (22) designed to increase the level of difficulty associated with starting at the second launching position. The second launching position (26) of this embodiment of the present invention is intended to provide the user with a moderate degree of difficulty.

[0025] The third launching position (28) of this embodiment of the present invention is positioned adjacent to the fairway (12) in order to provide the user with a greater level of difficulty than may be attained by either playing path (18P and 26P, respectively) associated with the first or second launching positions (18 and 26, respectively). In one embodiment, the third launching position (28) of the present invention is equipped with difficulty-enhancing terrain (24) such as uneven surfaces, sand, rough-cut grass, or vegetation. Further, the area (28A) located substantially between the third launching position (28) and the green (14) contains one or more topographical features (14), as described above, designed to increase the difficulty associated with playing from the third launching position. In one embodiment, the level of difficulty associated with the third launching position (28) requires greater skill on the part of the user as compared to the first or second launching positions (18 and 26, respectively) due to the combined use of direction, topographical features (22), and difficulty enhancing terrain (24).

[0026] Thus, in this embodiment of the present invention, three distinct and separate playing paths (18P, 26P, and 28P, respectively) are provided to the user, depending on his or her desired level of difficulty. The launching positions of the present invention may be positioned substantially the same distance from the green; however, each launching object, such as a golf club, to adjust the location of the ball if the ball had landed in a divot, so long as the ball remains within six inches of its original landing point and so long as the ball remains upon the launching position.

[0027] When addressing a legally dropped ball for the purpose of putting it into play on a hole, users need not stand upon the launching position. Users are permitted to ground their clubs when addressing the ball located upon a launching position, with the exception that if the user's chosen launch position is located in a hazard, such as a sand bunker, the player may not ground his or her club.

[0028] Once the user addresses a legally dropped ball with the intent of putting it in play, any contact the club makes with the ball that results in any movement of the ball is considered a stroke. Should a user put a ball in play that was not struck from a launching position, the player is assessed a two-stroke penalty in stroke play and loss of the hole in match play. Should a user make illegal contact with the ball once it has been legally dropped, a one-stroke penalty is assessed on the hole.

[0029] The user, without the aid of a golf tee, hits the golf ball from the chosen launching position such that the ball lands within the area associated with the launching position or upon the green. If the user fails to reach the green, he or she would continue hitting the ball until it is positioned upon the green. The golf ball would then be placed in the golf cup utilizing a putter. To illustrate, if the user chooses to play from the first launching position (18), he or she would drop the golf ball upon the ground designated as the first launching position, hit the ball toward the green such that it lands either within the first area (18A) or upon the green (14). If the ball does not reach the green (14), the user will continue hitting from the first area (18A) until the ball is positioned upon the green. Once positioned on the green, the golf ball maybe putted into the golf cup (16).

[0030] USGA approved clubs are legal for play with the golf game of the present invention, except that no golf club with a loft of less than 13 degrees may be used. An exception is the putter which may be used for any shot in the golf game of the present invention. In one embodiment, golf tees may not be utilized for any shot of the present invention.

[0031] Both stroke and match play scoring may be used while playing the golf game of the present invention. Player handicaps are calculated in similar manner as they are in traditional golf. The golf course of the present invention may be given course and slope ratings for handicapping purposes.

[0032] Although the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments, this description is not meant to be construed in a limited sense. Various modifications of the disclosed embodiments, as well as alternative embodiments of the invention, will become apparent to persons skilled in the art upon reference to the description of the invention. It is, therefore, contemplated that the appended claims will cover such modifications that fall within the scope of the invention.