Title:
Golf Course Du Jour
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system is provided for a golf course wherein a golf course comprises a course of land with a plurality of tee areas and a plurality of greens, each tee area being selectively associated with at least two selected greens. Preferably, the course has six greens.



Inventors:
Oakley, William J. (Mooresville, NC, US)
Application Number:
11/383014
Publication Date:
03/29/2007
Filing Date:
05/12/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/36
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Primary Examiner:
GRAHAM, MARK S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RONALD L. HOFER (MOORESVILLE, NC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A golf course system having a course of land with a plurality of tee areas and a plurality of greens, each tee area being selectively associated with at least two selected greens.

2. The golf course system of claim 1 wherein said system has six greens.

3. The golf course system of claim 1, wherein each tee area is selectively associated with a selected green by GPS guidance to guide the player from tee to selected green.

4. The golf course system of claim 1, wherein each tee area is selectively associated with a selected green by a computer software program.

5. The golf course system of claim 4 wherein said software program drives a display of tee areas, green locations, and fairways therebetween.

6. A computer program containing data of a golf course of land with tee areas, green locations, course requirements, and a plurality of fairways between said tee areas and green locations and operative to apply selected course criterion to said data to generate a course of play between selected tees and selected greens.

7. A method of designing a plurality of golf courses on a plot of land, said method including the steps of: (A) inputting locations of tee areas, green locations and course areas into a computer data base; and (B) programming a computer program with a golf course design program for selectively choosing tee areas and associated greens in response to criteria selected by the designer.

8. The method of claim 7 wherein said course design is inputted into a device on a golf cart having a GPS device to provide course information to a golfer.

Description:

REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of the filing date of provisional U.S. application Ser. No. 60/680,842 filed May 12, 2005.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to golf courses. More particularly, the present invention relates to a system which facilitates the changing of golf courses and the play thereon.

Golf is generally played on conventional golf courses of nine or eighteen holes. Although conventional golf courses are very popular and generally have been successful, conventional golf courses are subject to several limitations. Some of the limitations are related to efficiencies and other limitations are related to convenience of use.

For example, a conventional golf course generally does not make efficient use of the land. A conventional golf course occupies a substantial amount of real estate and is expensive to build and to maintain. This expense is generally passed on to the golfer who must pay a relatively high fee to play the course. Furthermore, conventional golf courses are limited in the sense that changes to the golf course play are usually limited to slight changes of location of the tee boxes and to moving the cup position on the greens. Substantial changes of tee box location and moving the greens themselves are normally too expensive to undertake and would involve inconvenience to the users of the course if undertaken during the golfing season. Thus, most of the variety of playing a conventional golf course is dependant upon inconsistent shots provided by the player himself. The golf course remains the same from month to month and simply does not offer much variety to the play of the course. Also, since the course remains the same, players tend to follow the same cart pathways from tees to greens, which can lead to excessive wear and tear on the pathways.

Furthermore, a considerable percentage of the land occupied by a conventional golf course is not utilized for golf play. The land may be aesthetically pleasing, but may be considered underutilized. Sometimes weddings, receptions, parties or the like are held on golf course land, but generally such events interfere to a great extent with the use of the golf course and so they are not cost efficient or the best use of the land. Walking paths suffer a similar disadvantage and are generally not available on golf courses The choice of which golf course to play is usually limited to courses which are located nearby. Hence, most golfers have a limited number of golf courses available for play. Many golfers play the same course many times until the course becomes routine and uninteresting. Again, it should be noted that the managers of conventional golf courses are able to change their play only with difficulty and at considerable expense.

Another limitation concerning conventional golf courses relates to their convenience. As mentioned above, since golf courses tend to remain static, a player desiring a variety of courses must travel a distance to find different courses. Also, play on a conventional golf course is often slow, particularly if the course is crowded with average players. Play may be slowed because of players looking for lost balls. Furthermore, some golf courses have limited signage and navigation from green to the next tee could be facilitated. Similarly, strangers to a course may have difficulty ascertaining which green is to be played from a particular tee.

Thus, it would be advantageous if a system were provided which could increase the efficiency of use of the land occupied by a golf course. It would be particularly desirable if the cost of, and/or time required for, a round of golf were reduced. Of course, it would also be desirable if one course could be readily modified to provide different play at the same handicap or different handicap so that golfers could play the same course without repetition. It also would be desirable if speed of play could be increased by reducing the time spent looking for lost golf balls. Still further, it would be desirable to reduce times that players are confused regarding the correct cart path to follow. And it would be beneficial if wear and tear on the grass of a golf course were reduced by controlling the pathways used by carts on the grass areas.

These and other advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following specification and claims taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the present invention, a system is provided for a golf course. A preferred golf course system comprises a course of land with a plurality of tee areas and a plurality of greens, each tee area being selectively associated with at least two selected greens. Preferably, the course has six greens.

In another preferred embodiment of the present invention, the golf course system includes a course of land having a plurality of tee areas and a plurality of greens, each tee area being selectively associated with at least two greens and course play is determined by GPS devices which guide the player around the course. Optionally, and preferably, the course and/or each golf cart is provided with golf ball tracking devices which display the golf ball path on the golf cart to facilitate location of the golf ball on the course.

In still another preferred embodiment, a selected golf course design is generated by use of a compute. The computer has a data base of possible tee areas, cart paths, green locations, course area, and course requirements. The course design is selectively programmed by use of the computer and then used to program navigation devices located on each players cart so that each player has guidance to each tee area and associated green in sequence. Optionally, acceptable cart paths are programmed into the data base by using a GPS equipped cart which can be driven along acceptable paths while its route is input into the computer database.

In accordance with the method of the present invention, a golf course is designed by:

    • (A) inputting locations of tee areas, green locations and course areas into a computer data base;
    • (B) programming a computer program with a golf course design program for selectively choosing tee areas and associated greens in response to criteria selected by the designer; and
    • (C) programming the course design into a navigation device on each golf cart to provide guidance to each golfer.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a plan view diagram of a preferred embodiment of a golf course of the present invention utilizing an elongated section of real estate;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged view of a portion of the course of FIG. 1 indicated by circle 2 in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged view of a portion of the course of FIG. 1 indicated by circle 3 in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged view of a portion of the course of FIG. 1 indicated by circle 4 in FIG. 1;

FIGS. 5 to 7 are each plan view diagrams of alternative designs of preferred golf courses of the present invention, each design utilizing the same real estate as the golf course of FIGS. 1 to 4;

FIG. 8 is a plan view diagram of a preferred embodiment of a golf course of the present invention utilizing a generally parallelogram shaped piece of real estate; and

FIGS. 9 to 16 are each plan view diagrams of alternative designs of preferred golf courses of the present invention, each design utilizing the same real estate as the golf course of FIG. 8; and

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

As shown in FIG. 1, a golf course of the present invention is indicated generally by the numeral 10. Course 10 is intended to represent a typical piece of land suitable for golf course use and is shown as having a hazard, creek 12, out of bounds limit 14, roughs 16 and trees 18. Golf course 10 also has general fairway area 20. Six greens, G1, G2, G3, G4, G5, and G6 are positioned on general fairway area 20. Golf course 10 also has general tee area 22 extending around the outer perimeter of fairway area 20. Selectively positioned on general tee area are tee boxes T1, T2, T3, T4, T5 and T6, each of which is associated respectively with a corresponding green as explained in more detail in the following.

The design of golf course 10 with six greens allows for play of a round of golf of 6 holes in a relatively short period of time. Of course, more or less than six greens can be employed within the scope of the present invention. However, selecting six holes can be advantageous as explained in more detail in the following.

It is intended that the tee boxes of golf course 10 will be relocated on a regular basis to provide a variety of playing conditions for golfers on the course. Thus, tee boxes T1, T2, T3, T4, T5 and T6 are shown in the locations indicated in FIG. 1 for play on respective fairways F1, F2, F3, F4, F5 and F6 to respective greens G1, G2, G3, G4, G5, and G6. This course arrangement or configuration is referred to as configuration 1.

As best illustrated in FIG. 2, play from tee box T3 to green G3 along fairway F3 is indicated by pathway P3. It is intended that a par golfer will hit first shot to point A, second shot to point B and third shot onto green G3. Then two putts would be for par 5.

As best illustrated in FIG. 3, play from tee box T5 to green G5 along fairway F5 is indicated by pathway P5. It is intended that a par golfer will hit first shot to point C and then a second shot to the green G5 where two putts would be for a par 4.

As best illustrated in FIG. 4, play from tee box T6 to green G6 along fairway F6 is indicated by pathway P6. It is intended that a par golfer will hit first shot to point D and then a second shot to green G6 where two putts would be for a par 4.

When desired, however, the course play can be substantially changed by moving the tees to new locations as illustrated in FIG. 4 and indicated at T1a, T2a, T3a, T4a, T5a and T6a to provide play on corresponding new fairways. And, of course, play can be substantially changed again by moving the tee boxes again as is further illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7. There are an infinite number of possible positions along tee area 22 for tee boxes and, hence, an infinite number of possible course configurations. Thus, alternative golf courses utilizing the same real estate as the golf course 10 are shown in FIGS. 5 to 7 and indicated generally by the numeral 100, 200 and 300. Golf courses 100, 200 and 300 well illustrate just three of the many golf course designs which are available in accordance with the present invention.

As further illustration of the present inventive concept, FIG. 8 shows a golf course having a somewhat parallelogram shape with intermediate rough grass areas 402, out of bounds limit 404, and a plurality of trees 406. Golf course 400 also has a plurality of fairway areas F. Six greens G are positioned on respective fairway areas. Golf course 400 also has general tee area 408 extending around the perimeters of the fairway areas. Selectively positioned on the general tee area 408 are tee boxes T.

The tee boxes T of golf course 400 can be readily repositioned as desired to provide for a plurality of new courses. Further examples of a variety of golf courses which can be designed using the present invention are illustrated in FIGS. 9 to 16, each of which represents a different golf course utilizing the same real estate as the golf course of FIG. 8.

It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the present concept provides for a wide variety of golf courses on one plat of real estate. It is contemplated that in one preferred embodiment of the present invention, each player will have available for his or her use a GPS (Global Positioning System) driven graphic display which will set forth the specific course to be played. Of course, it may be necessary to employ WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) assisted devices for sufficient navigation accuracy.

Each selected course can be readily designed on a computer and then downloaded to the GPS driven displays which may be, for example, attached to golf carts. The display can show the path to the first tee, the path from the first green to the second tee, the path to the second green, and so forth. Furthermore, each golf cart may be equipped with a GPS locating device which reports its position to a central computer which then adjusts the cart paths of each cart to minimize tracking of carts over the same grass. In this way, wear and tear on the course can be minimized. Also, with position reporting, the location of each players' cart can be known to a course manager who can locate the progress of each player and make adjustments to tee times or the like to speed play.

It would be further desirable and is within the scope of a preferred embodiment of the present invention to have a system for following or predicting the paths of golf balls struck by the golfer. Such a system could be set up on the course itself by, for example, utilizing a multiplicity of digital cameras connected to a central computer or could be set up on each golf, for example by utilizing sensors for determining the velocity vector of each ball struck by a golfer. The velocity vector, taken in combination with the characteristics of the particular ball, wind, topography, etc. can be provided to a computer for calculating the location of the landing area of the ball. Then, the display can show the golfer the path from the present position to the landing area. This information would be of great help in reducing the number of lost golf balls and the time spent by golfers looking for balls. Play of the golf course would be faster than conventional play and the enjoyment of the golf course by the average player would be increased because the player would waste little or no time looking for golf balls. With this system, each cart could be programmed to select unused paths to go from its present position to the location of the landing area of the ball just hit. Still further, the appropriate paths could be programmed into the computer by driving a golf art on acceptable paths and recording the path on the golf cart or the central computer. Still further, this system could be utilized to record game statistics, for example, the lengths of drives, the longest drive, the average drive, the number of drives on the fairway, the score for each hole, etc.

It will also be appreciated that to manually design so many golf courses would require substantial time and effort. Thus, it would be highly desirable to design courses using the aid of a computer and such design method is contemplated to be within the scope of the present invention.

It is contemplated that use will be made of a computer software program for generating course design. A suitable program will have tee areas, green locations, course area, and course requirements programmed therein. Then a course design can be selectively programmed by use of the computer software and then used to program navigation devices located on each players cart so that each player has guidance to each tee area and associated green in sequence.

In accordance with the method of the present invention, a selected golf course design is made by the method of:

    • (A) inputting locations of tee areas, green locations and course areas into a computer database;
    • (B) programming a computer program with a golf course design program for selectively choosing tee areas and associated greens in response to criteria selected by the designer; and
    • (C) programming the course design into a navigation device on each golf cart to provide guidance to each golfer.

While specific preferred embodiments of the present invention have been described, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the present invention is subject to modification without departing from the spirit of the invention. Therefore, it is intended that the scope of the invention be limited only by the following claims.





 
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