Title:
Golf scorekeeping and analysis system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf scorekeeping and analysis system (10,11) is provided for facilitating concurrent entry of score data on a handheld computing device (12) during a round of golf and display of a variety of results statistics in numerical and graphical fashions on a display screen (16) at the user's convenience. Data entry and program manipulation is accomplished using only the cursor keys (20). Results comparisons are selectable based on a variety of criteria, particularly including comparison of a golfer's own scoring and shot making averages versus professional statistics. The +/− comparison (94) is used to calculate an optimum practice (106) regimen to facilitate improvement to approach professional statistical values. Each user's data may be separately maintained and a consistency differential for each player is calculated.



Inventors:
Palmer, Peter J. (Saratoga, CA, US)
Back, Niklas L. (Campbell, CA, US)
Dembry, Paul E. (Los Gatos, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/901565
Publication Date:
02/03/2005
Filing Date:
07/28/2004
Assignee:
PALMER PETER J.
BACK NIKLAS L.
DEMBRY PAUL E.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B57/00; A63B71/06; A63B; (IPC1-7): A63B57/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SAGER, MARK ALAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
IPLO-Intellectual Property Law Offices (San Jose, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A golf scorekeeping and analysis system, comprising: a handheld computing device including data entry and information display capability; and embedded software in said handheld device for receiving input from said data entry, collating said input and displaying raw and summarized results relating to said input, including; hole by hole score results on a per player basis; summary score results per type of hole, with said type of hole being defined by different par numbers for the hole; and average putts.

2. The golf scorekeeping and analysis system of claim 1, wherein said embedded software further included multi-round comparison features for comparing rounds of a player on the basis of selection criteria selected from the group of all rounds, all rounds on a particular course; dream rounds and published results.

3. The golf scorekeeping and analysis system of claim 2, wherein: said published results include professional tour statistics.

4. The golf scorekeeping and analysis system of claim 2, wherein said multi-round comparison features include +/− comparison versus said selection criteria

5. The golf scorekeeping and analysis system of claim 4, wherein said +/− comparison versus published results include comparison against published tour statistics for the golfer's type and said +/− comparison is utilized to calculate optimum practice regimens for the golfer to attempt to approach said published tour statistics.

6. The golf scorekeeping and analysis system of claim 1, and further including a remote server for communicating with said handheld device and storing said data for retrieval.

7. The golf scorekeeping and analysis system of claim 6, wherein said remote server provides a source of downloadable modules, including additional course profiles and published professional statistics for comparison purposes.

8. The golf scorekeeping and analysis system of claim 1, wherein said handheld computing device is a cellular telephone and data entry is accomplished by way of a graphical user interface in which only the cursor keys of the telephone are needed to accomplish all command entries.

9. The golf scorekeeping and analysis system of claim 1, wherein the golfer is able to select the detail of data entry desired, ranging form basic scoring data to greater detail including criteria selected from the group including: fairways hit, and direction of miss; shot distance; up and down; sand saves; chip and pitch; oops! factors; and length of putts.

10. The golf scorekeeping and analysis system of claim 1, wherein said embedded software collates data on a per player basis over multiple rounds and calculates and displays a consistency differential for each player.

11. In a computing system for golf scorekeeping and analysis, the improvement comprising: providing a method for concurrent score and shot making detail entry into a portable device accompanying the golfer during a round of golf; a providing data comparison calculating and display capability to permit the golfer to review scoring and shot detail results at leisure, said data comparison capability including the capacity to compare multiple rounds.

12. The improvement of claim 11, and further comprising: a course detail facility for recording hole by hole par data for named courses, wherein the user may select preexisting course profiles or create new custom profiles for use.

13. The improvement of claim 11, and further comprising: download facility for downloading external data to said portable device, said external detail including professional tour statistics on scoring and shot making.

14. The improvement of claim 12, and further comprising: download facility for downloading external data to said portable device, said external detail including preexisting course profiles and professional tour statistics on scoring and shot making.

15. The improvement of claim 13, wherein said data comparison capability includes facility for comparing each golfer's individual scoring and shot making detail data versus said professional tour statistics to create +/− results on each compared statistic.

16. The improvement of claim 15, wherein said +/− results are utilized to calculate optimum practice regimens.

17. The improvement of claim 11, wherein said data comparison provides comparison of multiple round scoring data for each golfer and calculation of a consistency differential for each.

18. The improvement of claim 11, wherein said shot making detail includes facility for entering and comparing data on criteria selected from the group including: fairways hit, and direction of miss; shot distance; up and down; sand saves; chip and pitch; oops! factors; and length of putts.

19. The improvement of claim 11, wherein default score and shot making detail information is provided in the system, based on hole type and score entry, in order to streamline concurrent data entry.

Description:

The following claims priority from a provisional patent application Ser. No. 07/490,826, filed 28 Jul. 2003 to the same inventors.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates generally to scorekeeping systems and software for use in golf and by golfers, particularly for electronic and wireless use.

BACKGROUND ART

Golf is a field of sport/entertainment/obsession which captures the minds and souls of many. It is an endeavor which, while sometimes being a form of relaxation, is more frequently seen by the player as a major challenge. While there are many casual golfers, there are also a great number of those who are obsessed with the game and will do whatever they can to improve their scores. Millions of hours and billions of dollars are expended by golfers who practice every detail of the game and try new equipment, lessons and techniques in the pursuit of the perfect swing, putting style, technique or the like.

Those golfers who wish to analyze their games in detail and to truly focus on aspects of the process have found numerous methods to work on this. Of course, nearly every golfer utilizes some form of handicap system to keep track of their overall relative skill level, and most participate in a larger scale organization, such as the USGA, in reporting scores and establishing handicaps which are consistently calculated for all participants. However, this is not enough for many zealots, who wish to know more detail.

Painstaking scorekeeping, notes on the scorecard, even keeping a journal for each round have been tried. Various scorekeeping aids, special books for recording details and even software programs have been utilized. However, it is very difficult to take the time to record all the relevant details during a round of golf, at least without totally disrupting concentration and annoying playing partners (and following groups). Memory is often insufficient to fill in all the details later. Accordingly, a need remains for scorekeeping, record keeping and analysis systems which are easy to use, concurrently available on the course, relatively non-disruptive to players and usable later to return valuable information.

DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a golf scorekeeping and statistic analysis system which is relatively non-disruptive to use during playing a round of golf.

Another object of the invention is to provide a system which provides data entry capabilities during the play experience, but permits data analysis at a time of the player's leisure.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide a golf statistic analysis system which allows a player to optimize practice time and efforts to work on the aspects of the game which are causing the greatest problems.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a data entry interface through cellular telephones or other compact handheld devices ordinarily carried by the golfer.

An additional object of the present invention is to provide a menu based entry system which is easy to use and permits ready entry of detail while waiting for other players to take their shots.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a wide scope of detail selection, with the player being able to enter data on all or any subgroup of statistical areas. A yet further object of the present invention is to provide a method of “Oops!” analysis which permits the golfer to understand problem areas.

Another object of the invention is to provide a golf scorekeeping and analysis system which allows the golfer to build up a history of play at multiple courses and over protracted periods of time, while providing output in graphical formats which are useful for skill and practice analysis.

Briefly, one preferred embodiment of the present invention is a golf scorekeeping and analysis system which may be implemented on a handheld device, such as a cell phone, which is carried along with the golfer during the round of golf. The system involves software installed (downloaded) into the handheld device and which may be accessed using the typical input keys (cursor keys: arrows; select; and backspace) on the cell phone. The system provides a framework and user interface for entering score information and various additional details, at the user's discretion, for each hole played on a round of golf, as the round progresses. The system provides a system of entry screens which allow the user to enter the relevant data, and provides default values reflecting typical data in order to save time and effort. The entered data is stored and may be retrieved either concurrently or at a later time to provide analysis of the round and the efforts of the player. The analysis is presented in numerical and graphical formats and may be used by the golfer to study trends and to optimize practice efforts. Analysis is sorted by criteria including: last round, all rounds, custom rounds, course rounds, professional statistics (Tour); and dream (eclectic) rounds and may include data on any of the scoring entries or Detail entries provided by the golfer.

An advantage of the present invention is that the system permits entry of data quickly and easily, on hardware already typically carried by the golfer.

Another advantage of the present invention is that the data may be grouped in various configurations, including time delimited and course delimited arrays, as well as schemes using other sort parameters.

Still another advantage of the present invention is that the user may create “dream rounds” or “eclectics” by combining the best results on each hole on a particular course from the history of multiple rounds on that course played by the golfer.

A further advantage of the present invention is that compiled results on “oops” factors, and problems using particular clubs, or on particular types of shots, may be considered in a manner which allows the golfer to use the information to optimize practice time.

Another advantage of the present system is that the golfer may use it to automatically compare personal statistics against established averages, such as published Tour averages on various performance aspects.

Yet another advantage of the present invention is that it permits the golfer to calculate a consistency differential defining the reliability of the “handicap” which has been established.

An additional advantage is that the present invention is may be used at varying levels of detail, with true zealots being able to access a full range of capabilities, while more casual golfers may choose a lesser subset.

Still another advantage of the present invention is that centralized online storage of data avoids potential overloading of local storage capacities.

Yet another advantage of the present system is that it allows simultaneous data entry for multiple players (such as a twosome or foursome), with varying degrees of detail being individually selectable for each player.

A further advantage of the system is that, with the optional WagerPro module, various wagers among golfers may be simultaneously tracked and calculated.

These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will become clear to those skilled in the art in view of the description of the best presently known modes of carrying out the invention and the industrial applicability of the preferred embodiments as described herein and as illustrated in the several figures of the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The purposes and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description in conjunction with the appended drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a stylized plan view of a hand held unit displaying the main menu for a deluxe embodiment of the inventive system;

FIG. 2 is a diagram showing the series of screenshots involved in playing a new round;

FIG. 3 is a diagram showing the series of screenshots displaying the string of analyzing the facts of a round utilizing the deluxe system (GolfAntix StatPro);

FIG. 4 is a diagram showing the series of screenshots displaying the string of analyzing the summary details of a round utilizing the basic system (GolfAntix);

FIG. 5 is a diagram showing the series of screenshots displaying the string of analyzing the summary details of a round utilizing the deluxe system (GolfAntix StatPro);

FIG. 6 is a diagram showing the series of screenshots displaying the string of analyzing the plus/minus statistics of a round utilizing the deluxe system (GolfAntix StatPro);

FIG. 7 is a diagram showing the series of screenshots for a calculated optimized practice regimen based on the results of a previous round;

FIG. 8 is a plan view of a hand held unit displaying one of the screens of FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a diagram showing the series of screenshots displaying the string of analyzing the trends established over a series of rounds utilizing the deluxe system (GolfAntix StatPro); and

FIG. 10 is a plan view of a hand held unit displaying one of the screens of FIG. 9.

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

A preferred embodiment of the present invention is a system for entering golf scorekeeping and detailed play characteristic data while playing a round of golf. As illustrated in the various drawings herein, and particularly in the view of FIG. 1, a form of this preferred embodiment of the inventive system is depicted by the general reference character 10. The present invention is described herein in the form of both a basic embodiment (GolfAntix) 10 including a lesser subset of features and a deluxe embodiment (GolfAntix StatPro or WagerPro) 11 which has a more robust set of features. The deluxe embodiment 11 incorporates all of the aspects of the basic embodiment 10. In one current preferred embodiment, only the deluxe embodiment 11 is provided, but it has a data switch in the extras menu to permit setting to basic functions or deluxe functions.

The system 10, 11 is in the form of a software array which is programmed for use in a hand held unit 12. In the preferred embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1, 8 and 10, the hand held unit 12 is an enhanced cellular telephone 14, but in other embodiments it may be a dedicated unit, specifically adapted for storage in or on a golf bag and for on-course use by a golfer. The present embodiments utilize Java-enabled cellular telephones.

The hand held unit 12 includes a display screen 16 and a series of input keys 18, including cursor keys 20 and alphanumeric input keys 22. In the preferred system 10, 11 the program is menu driven and the alphanumeric keys 22 are not utilized, with all selections being made using the cursor keys 20. However, for some purposes and in some embodiments the alphanumeric keys 22 may be utilized to provide data entry and editing. The cursor keys 20 utilized include an up arrow key 24, a left arrow key 25, a down arrow key 26, a right arrow key 27, a select key 28 (also sometimes referred to as an accept or enter key), and an escape key 30 (also sometimes referred to as an exit or a backspace key).

The scorekeeping and analysis system 10, 11 is menu driven and the user interface is almost entirely involved in the user pressing one of the cursor keys 20 to move a visual cursor 32 (usually a shaded area) on the display screen 16, and then pressing the select key 28 to make a selection of a particular action. The interface is driven by a menu system 34 with the various menu entries appearing on the display screen 16 (with it being occasionally necessary to scroll though multiple screens to find the information).

The menu system 34 is encountered once the program is activated and a main menu 36 appears, as shown in FIG. 1. The main menu 36 includes a variety of principal submenus, which deal with various aspects of the scorekeeping and analysis operations of the system 10, 11. The principal submenus include a Play submenu 38, an Analyze submenu 40, a Manage submenu 42 and an Extras submenu 44. Additional selections on the main menu include a select bar 46 and an exit bar 48.

The principal submenu which the golfer will utilize most frequently is the Play submenu 38. A schematic illustration of a series of screenshots involving typical use of the Play submenu 38 is shown in FIG. 2. In the drawing of FIG. 2 the typical progress off recording a round of golf on the deluxe system 11 is diagrammatically illustrated.

Once the user selects Play from the main menu 36, by moving the visual cursor 32 to the “play” line and pressing the select key 28, the first screen which appears is a round selection screen 50. The round selection screen 50 provides the user with an opportunity to resume a round in progress, to start a new round or to add a new course to the system. When the hand held unit 12 is a cellular telephone 14, the system 11 is programmed to recognize that the user will be unlikely to have courteously deactivated the telephone aspect during play. Therefore, it is likely that the round will be interrupted by incoming or outgoing calls. Other interruptions may also occur, such as when the entry process has been interrupted or the hand held unit 12 has been accidentally turned off. Accordingly, the “resume round” is the top menu item as it is expected to be utilized most frequently.

New courses may be added from this menu by selecting the “add” entry. Entry of new course information is typically accomplished with alphanumeric entries being selected by scrolling through the alphabet for each character, and then selecting. Details on a new course will also be added through this menu, as described in more detail in the User Guide which is attached hereto as Attachment A, which also provides illumination on other features not discussed in detail herein. It is also possible to add new courses by downloading the information or by installing through other input means (data cards or the like).

The entry on the round selection screen 50 which will initiate data entry when playing a round of golf will be “new round” which when selected results in display of a course selection screen 52. This screen shows the various courses which have been previously entered into the system (either globally as part of the programming provided, or individually as added by the user). The user then selects the particular course on which the round is to be played and proceeds to a tee selection screen 54. This screen allows the user to select which set of tees will be played on the particular course (names of tee positions differ from course to course and may be edited and added through the Manage submenu 42).

Once the course and tees have been selected the user is then ready to begin entering results from actual play of the holes. A hole selection screen 56 allows the user to select which hole on which that particular round begins (often useful for “shotgun” starts where a group may begin the round on a hole other than number one). Once the hole number is selected, it is time to deal with what actually happened on that hole, and a hole data screen 58 is activated. At this point the user has several choices, and the system 10, 11, in the preferred embodiment, provides default answers to the queries, which may be overridden by the user.

For example, the first entry item is a score selector 60. By placing the visual cursor 32 over this selector and activating the select key 28 the user activates the score entry aspect. Various numbers appear on the screen, with the par on the hole, in this case 5, being initially highlighted. To accept that score the user uses the select key 28, or uses the up arrow 24 to select a higher score, or the down arrow key 26 in the event that an excellent effort has been made and a birdie or eagle has been achieved. When the correct score is highlighted by the visual cursor 32, the select key is activated and the score is entered into the system 10 and the display returns to the hole data screen 58 for further detail. Of course, if the user made a par, the default entry would already exist and no effort need be made on the score selector 60 at all.

The next potential area of entry is a Putts selector 62. Here the user enters the number of putts taken on the green for the particular hole, with the default number being 2. Entry is made in a similar manner to that used on the score selector 60 screen.

If score and putts are the only items of concern to the golfer, or if nothing out of the ordinary occurred on the hole, the user may then highlight a hole done selector 66, which confirms the entered (or default) selections and sends the data on the hole into storage (either locally in the hand held device 12 or online to a central data repository maintained by the provider).

For those interested in greater specificity of various aspects of the game, a Details selector 64 is provided. Selecting the Details entry from the hole data screen 58 brings up the details selector screen 62 which provides an opportunity to enter data on fairway 70 (FW), Up & Down 72 (U&D), Sand 74 and Penalties 76. In each of these cases further detail may be provided, depending on the results of the particular golfer on the hole. For fairway 70 (FW), the toggle answers are yes (tee shot ended up in the fairway) or no (default entry). For up & down 72 (U&D) the result is the same, with the system 10 defaulting to a no answer, assuming that the golfer did not save par after missing the green with an approach shot. Sand 74 refers to a sand save, that is where a player is able to hole out in two shots from a sand trap. Here again the default is no, and the player will only change the answer to yes when indeed a successful up and down from a bunker has been achieved. The penalties 76 field is a numeric entry utilized in those unfortunate circumstances where the golfer has incurred a penalty stroke (or more than one). Penalty strokes occur when a ball has gone out of bounds, been lost, entered a water hazard or some other occurrence where the rules of golf impose a penalty stroke. In the case of the penalties field 76 the default entry is 0, but the player may select higher numbers when necessary.

The deluxe system 11 is actually ordinarily programmed to be highly intuitive and to presume answers to queries and to change default entries, depending on previously entered information. For example, if the score entered on a hole is a par, and the putts are two, then it is presumed that the tee shot was in the fairway (default changes to yes). Going even further, the system assumes that, with this combination of shots, it is impossible to have an up and down, penalty or a sand save, so these entries may not even appear on the details screen 64. Similarly, if a bogey score is entered, the default on fairway 70 is no and the opportunities to enter data on the other aspects will appear. Other embodiments may suppress the intuitive aspect for golfers who wish to provide details on unusual situations, such as driving the green on a par four, or the like.

Once the golfer has completed all the desired entries on the details screen 64 the hole done selector 66 is activated and a hole summary screen 78 appears, providing a basic analysis of the results on that hole (along with some running analysis of the round, so far). When the golfer has seen all of this screen that is desired, they activate Done and proceed to a continue screen 80 which allows activation of the next hole or, after all of the holes have been played, a Round Complete selection. After the round is completed a round summary screen 82 appears. This screen provides details on how the golfer played on that round, including score, putts and results on holes of various par values (vertical scrolling accesses more details).

The Penalties field 76 is ordinarily defaulted at 0, but this can also be changed by earlier entries. For example, one option provided under the fairway 70 selector is OB (out of bounds). This option appears, along with “right”, “left” “short” and “hazard” when the “no” entry for fairway is selected. If OB is selected under fairway 70, the Penalties field immediately defaults to 1, so the user need not specifically enter the penalty stroke.

Referring now to the illustration of FIG. 3, it may be seen that data has been collected from a variety of additional fields, including choice of club off the tee, driving distance, direction of missing fairway, shots to the green, approach shots, including type and success rate, short game, sand and putting. FIG. 3 shows these aspects in terms of later analysis of a round, which is reached by accessing the analyze submenu 40.

The screens accessed in the analyze submenu 40 for the deluxe version of the system 11 include a analyze round selector screen 84 which provides choices of analyzing only the last round, a customized (user selected) set of rounds, all rounds on a particular course, the rounds used in handicap calculation and dream rounds 86. The dream round 86 feature provides a composite or eclectic result of multiple rounds played on the same course. For the dream round 86 the system 11 calculates the best score for the golfer on each hole from among several rounds and presumes that all of these results were obtained on a single “dream” round. This is pure fantasy, but the sort that golfers love.

The customized round selector is particularly useful for golfers who play at differing frequencies. One common use is to select only those rounds played in a given time frame (this month, this season, etc.) in order to view the current status of the golfer's game. The default selection here is “all rounds” but the custom rounds can be set to specified numbers of rounds or the like to fit the particular golfer's habits.

In FIG. 3 the golfer has selected the last round from the analyze submenu 40 (analyze round selector 84) and finds a choice screen 88 displayed. The choice screen 88 provides a golfer with a choice of the type of analysis desired, with the possible choices including summary 90, trend 92, +/− shots 94, facts 96 and practice 98. FIG. 3 particularly illustrates an analysis of the facts 96 (details) of the particular round, including many of the additional details described above.

FIGS. 4 and 5 show similar analysis of the same round, as shown on the basic system 10 in FIG. 4 and the deluxe embodiment 11, as shown in FIG. 5. The same round is analyzed in lesser detail (FIG. 4) and greater detail (FIG. 5) with some of the results being common, and others only appearing in the deluxe embodiment. For example, each embodiment provides a scoring summary 100, a stats summary 102 and an oops! summary 104. In each case it is noted that some of the analysis screens have more detail than can be displayed at one time and thus have subscreens (labeled as 1/3, 2/3 and 3/3 in the scoring summary 100 situation).

The details provided by the system 10 and 11 for the scoring summary 100 is relatively standard and accomplished by simple calculation. One unusual feature is the breakdown of analysis by type of hole, so the results are reported separately for par 3, par 4 and par 5 holes. This degree of analysis provides the golfer with insight on the types of holes played best (or worst).

The facts summary 102 is considerably different between the embodiments 10 and 11 and FIG. 5 illustrates that more aspects of the game are analyzed in the GolfAntix™ Pro version 11. Additional information, such as driving distance, direction of missing the fairway/green, and sand play are displayed. The deluxe system 11, in particular, provides details on various aspects, and intuitively uses earlier data in the string to affect later analysis. For example, fairway 70 data includes details on left, right and the like and, in addition to percentage of fairways hit, the facts display 96 includes percentage left and percentage right to allow the golfer to see where they are prone to err. Similarly, the type shot to the green entered (long pitch, short pitch, chip, bunker, etc.) remaining after the approach shot indicates how badly the green was missed and is used to reflect approach shot quality. The length of the first put (entered as an approximate numerical entry under putts 62 in the deluxe embodiment 11) reflects the efficacy of the shot hit to the green. Second putt length, when necessary, shows how well the golfer lags.

The Oops! summary 104 is a unique aspect of the system which provides separate analysis of the things which infuriate golfers the most; the extra strokes that “should not have happened”. The system calculates and displays the numeric analysis of such problem areas as three putts, duffs and penalty strokes. These results help the golfer to understand where things went wrong and why the score is not more desirable.

FIG. 6 shows the deluxe embodiment 11 in the further use of the analyze submenu 40 to look at +/− shots 94. This allows the golfer to compare results versus established standards. Some of these may be based on published statistics (tour average), the player's own overall history (player average), and the player's particular history on the same course (course average). Using the +/− shot analysis 94 the golfer is able to tell what areas were better (or worse) than the established standards. The system download capability provides the capacity to update exterior data, such as the published Tour averages. Many players enjoy keeping up with professionals and want to know how they stand individually versus the best in the world. In particular, comparison on a type of shot basis (e.g. FW, Chip, Sand etc.) provides a very useful direct comparison and provides a basis for calculating practice time optimization. The +/− analysis 94 permits this sort of comparison.

FIG. 7 shows the use of the practice analysis 98. Here the system 11 calculates where the golfer went wrong in the previous round (or combination of rounds from the analyze submenu 40). Using formulae developed by the inventors the system 11 calculates and displays the optimum practice regimen to be followed by the golfer, depending on which areas of the game appear to need the greatest improvement. The practice analysis screen 98 shows the optimum practice regimen 106 both in terms of percentage 108 of practice time and in the minutes per hour 110 of practice. This sort of analysis is particularly valuable to teaching professionals and the like.

FIG. 8 illustrates a hand held device 12 showing one of the screens of optimum practice regimen 106 provided in the practice analysis 98, showing the percentage 108 of time the golfer should spend on putting, hitting tee shots, hitting approach shots, chipping and putting and sand.

FIG. 9 illustrates the trends analysis 82 which is available to the user of the GolfAntix® StatPro system 11. The trends analysis 92 optimally only applies to a group of rounds, rather than a single round, although a single round may be graphically displayed as well, such as when comparing a single round to the golfer's average round. In the illustration of FIG. 9 the collection of rounds played by the golfer on a single course is analyzed by the system 11 and the trends are graphically displayed on the screen. A typical screen shot displayed on a hand held unit 12 is shown in FIG. 10 for the trend of twenty rounds on a particular course. In this example illustration, the golfer scored between 75 in the most recent round and 96 in the second oldest round. A calculated running average 112 for the course over the course of the rounds is also displayed, along with the individual data points for the rounds. In this case, the golfer is improving over time, as shown by the decreasing average 112 from the earlier rounds (shown at the left) to the more recent rounds appearing on the right.

A feature of the system is maintenance of a “consistency differential” for each player. Consistency differential is a measure of how many of the rounds played are approximately at the player's handicap. Typical handicap calculations (e.g. USGA) use only a portion of the scores, such as the ten best of the past twenty rounds. For some players there will be little difference between the ten best and the ten worst (discarded) rounds. For others, the discrepancy may be more pronounced, as the player is more erratic from round to round. The former player would have a “solid” handicap while the latter would have a “weak” handicap.

Consistency differential may be used to quantify this by providing a calculation based on the average of the better half of scores out of a selected number (e.g. ten or thirty) previous rounds versus the average of the discarded (worse) rounds. The golfer may look at the consistency differential and see that if the number is small they have a solid handicap, while if the number is large (e.g. 5.0 or higher) they may be an erratic player. Consistency is usually desirable, so this may be a good incentive to practice and improvement. Further, this comparison might be useful in wagering.

The aspects of the manage submenu 42 and the extras submenu 44 are described without accompanying drawings and are shown in the User Handbook provided with the system. Several of these features are of great interest to the golfer.

One feature of the Manage submenu is the entry and manipulation of courses and course statistics. The golfer may add a new course under Course Name, using the keys to select the letters. The golfer may add Notes on the particular course, as well (e.g. city, personal comments on enjoyment, etc.). The Tees are designated, as is the course Rating and Slope. Under the Holes submenu the golfer sets up the course by entering the par for each of the holes, thus readying the system for efficient score entry for the course during the first round to be played on that course. Note: it is also possible to download statistics for a particular course.

The Manage submenu can also be used to Edit players, such as by adding new players, deleting old ones, correcting names or inserting information such as a handicap index. The golfer may also Edit rounds by changing details or deleting the round entirely. Course details may be edited as well.

The Extras portion of the Manage submenu is used for data services such as Backup and Restore where the user's data is saved to the server for later retrieval or restoration. The Extras submenu is also used to analyze a player's recreational handicap and the consistency differential rating. Finally, the Extras submenu is used to manage all of the “backend” aspects of the system, such as account settings, menu preferences (modes), server communication and memory status functions.

A newly added feature of the system is an add-on identified as WagerPro™. This add-on module may be downloaded, or included in deluxe versions, and facilitates the normal sort of wagering which takes place within a group during a round of golf. The WagerPro module is preprogrammed to automatically calculate certain selected games between the selected players, including Nassau, Skins, Trash and the like. Scoring analysis is provided for medallist, Stableford and customizable methods. Current status of all wagers can be viewed in terms of whatever “units” the players select. The module allows simultaneous tracking and comparison for up to five players.

While various embodiments have been described above, it should be understood that they have been presented by way of example only, and not as limitation.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

The present invention is adapted for use by individual golfers and by teaching professionals working with a golfer to improve the quality of the game. Anyone with a programmable handheld device with input capability can use the invention to enter information relating to the game of golf and then use that information to provide a basis for improving the quality and enjoyment of the game.

The typical user will begin the process by downloading/installing the software kernel (or entire program) into the handheld device. For a java enabled cellular phone or pda this is a simple matter of connecting to the appropriate website and following the menu options. This will result in the program appearing on the menu of possible applications. The user will click to open the program and be faced with the menu screen of FIG. 1. Here the choices begin. To start, the entry for a new round is selected.

First, a course must be selected (or created). For previously played, manually entered, or downloaded courses the hole information (par) will be already in the system. For a new course the user enters the name and the hole information on a hole by hole basis. The par for each hole sets the default values for certain items.

Assuming the player is at the Blackhorse course (See FIG. 2), he/she will select that, select the tees and then select Start Hole 1. After completing the hole, the inputs on screen 58 are modified form their default settings to reflect actual results. That is, the sore (defaulted at par) is adjusted up or down to the actual score. Putts (defaulted at 2) are also adjusted. Then details may be added including fairway hit, up and down, sand saves and penalty strokes. The same information is added each hole until the round is completed. If multiple players are involved, this process is followed for each member of the group.

The users of the deluxe GolfAntix® Pro version of the software can add in substantially more details when playing. These aspects are found on the Details menu (see FIG. 2, 58 and 64) and include FW 70 (fairway hit with tee shot), U&D 72 (up and down in 2 strokes from off the green), Sand 74 (up and down in 2 strokes from a sand trap/bunker) and Penalties 76 (penalty stokes assigned, without actually striking the ball, as from out of bounds, lost ball or dropping from a hazard).

Details are only available after the score, including putts, has been entered. Therefore, the program starts with default values for the scores, so that details can be input, even if no changes are needed. It is noted that some of these details do not apply for certain holes or if certain score results are entered. For example, the FW detail may not be available on par three holes. Similarly, U&D, Sand and Penalties are not available if a par with two putts is entered. Shortcuts such as these save valuable programming space in limited capacity devices, such as cell phones.

Some default entries for Details also change when score data is entered. For example, if a par is entered, the FW default is Yes, while it is No for higher cores.

The deluxe version also lets the golfer enter the club hit off the tee [default of driver (1W) for par four and five holes and five iron (5i) on par threes]. The user may also enter distance of the tee shot, or more details as to why the fairway was missed (e.g. No left, or No OB/lost). On putts, the deluxe version also lets the golfer enter the length of the putt (in feet) for each put. Also, on U&D the type of chip/pitch can be entered, along with an indication of success or failure.

After completing the round, the player can access the summary of that round, showing a variety of results, such as shown on FIG. 4. The user then can review summary results which compare various aspects of the round with against defined standards, such as the tour average and idealized dream rounds.

With the GolfAntix® StatPro™ features activated, the user will be able to track scores, putts, shot details and Stableford points for up to five players and to analyze a wide variety of details. The player may analyze based on the types of rounds (single, all on same course, Handicap, Dream or all). Summaries are available based on scoring, statistics, distances, and errors (Oops!) and with trends of each of these over time. A popular feature is comparing the player's results on a +/− basis against published Tour averages, as well as compiled individual and course averages.

Those using the deluxe system 11 will be able to view numeric and graphic data on tee shots, approach shots, chipping and Pitching, Sand shots and putting (see FIG. 6). These can be used with the Practice Analysis summaries (see FIG. 7) to attempt to optimize practice efforts by noting the areas where the most strokes are lost. All of this information can be used by the golfer to improve his or her game.

Because of the ease of use, and the ubiquitous availability of the handheld devices (such as Java enabled cell phones), as well as the obsessive characteristics of many golfers, the industrial and commercial utility of the present invention is expected to be widespread and long lasting.