Title:
Golf Advertising System
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf advertisement system is provided. The system includes a driving range mat having promotional material on a substantially uniform surface thereof. Preferably, the promotional material is disposed on a removable section which can be replaced with other promotional material. A golf dispensing device is provided, and preferable serves as a tee divider. The dispensing device includes further promotion material, which is preferably removable and replaceable. The device can be used in conjunction with the mat, and can dispense the golf ball on or over the promotional material on the mat for added focus on the material. In various embodiments, the dispensing device includes an electronic display panel, an audio output device, or a video camera to record a golf'swing, or a seating area. The display panel can provide further promotional material, and optionally provides feedback related to the golfer swing. An optional mirror is provided for a golf to view the swing. A plurality of such device can be couple via a network and central computing device.



Inventors:
Pathross, Gavin Gerard (Singapore, SG)
Quek, Yu Jin Gerald (Singapore, SG, SG)
Application Number:
11/568314
Publication Date:
07/19/2007
Filing Date:
12/10/2004
Assignee:
Pathross, Gavin Gerard
Quek, Yu Jin Gerald
OUT OF THE BOX PTE. LTD. (Singapore, SG)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/36; A63B47/00; G09F23/00; A63B57/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20050124439Football kicking holderJune, 2005Simon
20050288123Golf club handle gripDecember, 2005Su
20040038758Performance adjusting attachment for a ball bat and method of using sameFebruary, 2004Guenther
20070072711Baseball bat with reinforcement through a portion thereof and method for making sameMarch, 2007Mallas
20080248897NONCONTACT PRINTING ON SUBSURFACE LAYERS OF TRANSLUCENT COVER GOLF BALLSOctober, 2008Morgan et al.
20030220159Ball activity area and activity centers thereforeNovember, 2003Hamons et al.
20070155519Convertible game tableJuly, 2007Panzica
20060084530Heated warm-up device for an athletic instrumentApril, 2006Cheeseman



Primary Examiner:
GRAHAM, MARK S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW GROUP LLP (SAN JOSE, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A golf driving range mat comprising: a substantially uniform top surface, and promotional material disposed on said substantially uniform top surface.

2. The golf driving range mat according to claim 1, wherein said top surface comprises a simulated grass surface.

3. A golf driving range mat comprising: a main body having a first top surface, and a removably attachable section having a second top surface, wherein promotional material is disposed on said second top surface of said removably attachable section.

4. The golf driving range mat according to claim 3, wherein said first top surface and said second top surface form a substantially continuous and uniform combined top surface when said removably attachable section is attached to said main body.

5. The golf driving range mat according to claim 3, wherein said main body is configured to receive said removably attachable section in at least two alternate locations.

6. The golf driving range mat according to claim 5, wherein said alternate locations are side edges of said main body.

7. The golf driving range mat according to claim 5, wherein said alternate locations are corner sections of said main body.

8. The golf driving range mat according to claim 3, wherein said removably attachable section is configured to interface with a side edge of said main body.

9. The golf driving range mat according to claim 8, wherein the side edge of said main body comprises a toothed edge which is configured to interface with a toothed side edge of said removably attachable section.

10. The golf driving range mat according to claim 8, wherein the side edge of said main body comprises receiving cavities configured to receive protruding components extending from a side edge of said removably attachable section.

11. The golf driving range mat according to claim 8, wherein a side edge of said removably attachable section comprises receiving cavities configured to receive protruding components extending from the side edge of said main body.

12. The golf driving range mat according to claim 3, wherein said removably attachable section comprises a substantially triangular corner piece configured to interface with a corner of said main body.

13. The golf driving range mat according to claim 12, wherein said corner piece comprises an interior pocket portion configured to envelop the corner of said main body.

14. The golf driving range mat according to claim 13, further comprising three additional corner pieces interfaced with three additional corners of said main body.

15. A modular golf driving mat system comprising the golf driving range mat according to claim 3, further comprising a replacement removably attachable section having further promotional material on a top surface thereof.

16. A golf driving mat system comprising the golf range driving range mat according to claim 1, and further comprising a golf ball dispensing device positioned and configured wherein a golf ball dispensed from said dispensing device stops rolling over a promotional material region on said mat.

17. The golf driving mat system according to claim 16, wherein said golf ball stops rolling over said promotional material.

18. The golf driving mat system according to claim 16, wherein said dispensing device comprises an activation lever for triggering the dispensing of a golf ball, said lever having promotional indicia on a surface thereof.

19. A golf driving mat system comprising the golf range driving range mat according to claim 1, and further comprising a golf ball dispensing device positioned and configured wherein a golf ball dispensed from said dispensing device travels over and past a promotional material region on said mat.

20. The golf driving mat system according to claim 19, wherein said golf ball travels over and past said promotional material.

21. The golf driving mat system according to claim 19, wherein said dispensing device comprises an activation lever for triggering the dispensing of a golf ball, said lever having promotional indicia on a surface thereof.

22. A golf ball dispensing device comprising: a ball holding area for containing a plurality of golf balls, an activation lever for triggering one of said plurality of golf balls to be dispensed, a dispensing mechanism for allowing one of said plurality of golf balls to be dispensed upon activation of said lever while restraining the remaining ones of said plurality of golf balls, removable promotional material disposed on a surface of said dispensing device.

23. The golf ball dispensing device according to claim 22, wherein said surface of said dispensing mechanism is a front surface, and wherein said promotional material is disposed on said front surface via a removable panel.

24. The golf ball dispensing device according to claim 23, wherein said removable panel is slidably inserted via a receiving channel within said front surface.

25. The golf ball dispensing device according to claim 24, wherein said promotional material comprises a plurality of promotional material sections disposed on said removable panel.

26. The golf ball dispensing device according to claim 25, wherein said plurality of promotional material sections are removably attached to said panel.

27. The golf ball dispensing device according to claim 22, wherein a front surface of said golf ball dispensing device is sized and configured to serve as a tee divider for a golf driving range.

28. The golf ball dispensing device according to claim 27, wherein said front surface is a substantially flat surface positioned in a plane which is angled away from an individual standing in front of said device.

29. The golf ball dispensing device according to claim 28, wherein said plane is positioned at approximately 60 to 70 degrees from the horizontal.

30. The golf ball dispensing device according to claim 28, wherein said device is substantially configured in the shape of a triangular prism.

31. The golf ball dispensing device according to claim 30, wherein said device comprises a hinged back panel for accessing and refilling said ball holding area.

32. The golf ball dispensing device according to claim 22, wherein said dispensing device further comprises an audio output device.

33. The golf ball dispensing device according to claim 32, wherein said audio output device emits audio promotional material.

34. The golf ball dispensing device according to claim 22, wherein said device comprises a visual display panel.

35. The golf ball dispensing device according to claim 34, wherein said display panel provides promotional material.

36. The golf ball dispensing device according to claim 35, wherein said promotional material is in video format.

37. The golf ball dispensing device according to claim 34, wherein said device further comprises a video camera oriented to record a swing of a golfer standing on an associated golf driving range mat, and wherein said display panel provides output associated with said swing.

38. The golf ball dispensing device according to claim 37, wherein said output is a video recording of said swing.

39. The golf ball dispensing device according to claim 37, wherein said output is swing analysis information.

40. The golf ball dispensing device according to claim 34, wherein said panel further comprises a protective cover to protect said panel from damage from golf balls.

41. The golf ball dispensing device according to claim 37, wherein said camera is triggered by a sensor.

42. The golf ball dispensing device according to claim 37, wherein said camera is triggered by a lever on said dispensing device.

43. The golf ball dispensing device according to claim 37, wherein said display panel further provides promotional material.

44. The golf dispensing device according to claim 34, wherein said device is one of a plurality of such devices coupled via a network, wherein promotional material provided by said panel is controlled via a central server.

45. The golf dispensing device according to claim 22, wherein said device comprises a mirror positioned to enable a golfer to view a golf swing.

46. The golf dispensing device according to claim 35, wherein said promotional material comprises a plurality of promotional advertisements which are displayed sequentially.

47. The golf dispensing device according to claim 22, wherein said device further comprises an integral seating area.

48. The golf dispensing device according to claim 47, wherein said device further comprises at least one drink holder.

49. A golf tee divider comprising: a tee divider barrier, and a reflective surface disposed on said divider configured to enable a golfer to view at least a substantial portion of the golfer's swing while driving a golf ball in an appropriate orientation relative to said tee divider barrier.

50. A golf dispensing device comprising: a golf ball dispensing mechanism, and a reflective surface disposed on said dispensing device configured to enable a golfer to view at least a substantial portion of the golfer's swing while driving a golf ball in an appropriate orientation relative to said tee divider barrier.

51. The golf dispensing device according to claim 22, wherein said dispensing mechanism operates to dispense a ball upward from underneath a golf driving mat through a hole in said golf driving mat.

52. A golf driving range advertising system comprising a golf driving range mat and a strip of material disposed substantially adjacent said mat, said strip of material having promotional material on a surface thereof.

53. The golf driving range advertising system according to claim 52, wherein said surface is substantially horizontal.

54. The golf driving range advertising system according to claim 52, wherein said surface is slanted upward in the direction of a golfer standing on said mat.

55. A golf driving range advertising system comprising a golf driving range mat, a tee divider, and an advertising platform having promotional material on a viewable surface thereof, wherein said advertising platform is disposed in the space between said mat and said tee divider.

56. The golf driving range advertising system according to claim 55, wherein said advertising platform is substantially adjacent to said mat on one side, and substantially adjacent to a base of said tee divider on another side.

57. A golf driving range advertising system comprising a golf driving range mat, a golf ball dispenser, and an advertising platform having promotional material on a viewable surface thereof, wherein said advertising platform is disposed in the space between said mat and said golf ball dispenser.

58. The golf driving range advertising system according to claim 57, wherein said advertising platform is substantially adjacent to said mat on one side, and substantially adjacent to a base of said golf ball dispenser on another side.

59. A golf driving range advertising system comprising a driving range mat, and an advertising medium having promotional material on a surface thereof, wherein said advertising medium is disposed within 30 cm of said mat.

60. The golf driving range advertising system according to claim 59, wherein said surface is slanted upward toward a golfer standing on said mat such that it is substantially within a golfer's peripheral vision while a golfer is focusing on a teeing location.

61. The golf driving range advertising system according to claim 59, wherein said advertising medium is a tee divider.

62. The golf driving range advertising system according to claim 61, wherein a base of said tee divider is substantially adjacent to said mat.

63. The golf driving range advertising system according to claim 59, wherein said advertising medium is a golf ball dispenser.

64. The golf driving range advertising system according to claim 63, wherein a base of said golf ball dispenser is substantially adjacent to said mat.

65. A golf driving range tee divider unit comprising: a tee divider section configured to block stray golf balls hit from a teeing area, and an integral seating area within said unit.

66. The golf driving range tee divider unit according to claim 65, further comprising an advertising surface on said unit, and promotional material disposed on said advertising surface.

67. The golf driving range tee divider unit according to claim 66, wherein said promotional material is removably attached to said surface.

68. A tee divider apparatus comprising: a tee divider section configured to block stray golf balls hit from a teeing area, and an advertising surface positioned with a base near the ground and angled upward toward a golfer standing in a teeing area, wherein promotional material on said advertising surface is substantially within the peripheral vision of the golfer while focusing on a teeing area.

69. A golf ball dispensing device comprising: a golf ball holding area, a mechanism for dispensing a golf ball, and an activation lever for activating the dispensing device, wherein said activation lever comprises promotional material disposed on a viewable surface thereof.

70. A golf ball dispensing device comprising: a golf ball holding area, a mechanism for dispensing a golf ball, an activation lever for activating the dispensing device, and a viewable display for displaying a time of day disposed on said device having time keeping or time signal receiving means.

71. A tee divider apparatus comprising: a tee divider section configured to block stray golf balls hit from a teeing area, and a viewable display for displaying a time of day disposed on said device having time keeping or time signal receiving means.

72. A golf ball dispensing device comprising: a golf ball holding area, a mechanism for dispensing a golf ball, an activation lever for activating the dispensing device, and a cooling system for directing airflow toward a golfer.

73. The golf ball dispensing device according to claim 72, wherein said cooling system comprises at least one fan.

74. A tee divider apparatus comprising: a tee divider section configured to block stray golf balls hit from a teeing area, and a cooling system for directing airflow toward a golfer.

75. The tee divider apparatus according to claim 74, wherein said cooling system comprises at least one fan.

76. A tee divider apparatus comprising: a tee divider section configured to block stray golf balls hit from a teeing area, and an integrated golf club head washer within said apparatus having an opening for inserting a golf club head.

77. The tee divider apparatus according to claim 76, wherein said tee divider apparatus further comprises an advertising surface on said apparatus, and promotional material disposed on said advertising surface.

78. A golf ball dispensing device comprising: a golf ball holding area, a mechanism for dispensing a golf ball, an activation lever for activating the dispensing device, and an integrated golf club head washer within said device having an opening for inserting a golf club head.

79. The golf ball dispensing device according to claim 78, wherein said golf ball dispensing device further comprises an advertising surface on said device, and promotional material disposed on said advertising surface.

80. The golf ball dispensing device according to claim 39, wherein said output is swing analysis information is provided by golf swing analysis software running on an associated computing device.

81. The golf ball dispensing device according to claim 80, wherein said software is run on an individual computing unit within said device.

82. The golf ball dispensing device according to claim 80, wherein said software is run on a central computing unit which is operably connected to said device.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to golf ball driving range operations, and more specifically to driving range tee mats having removable advertising portions, as well as golf ball dispensing devices having advertising thereon and also golf ball dispensing devices which can also serve as tee dividers.

BACKGROUND

The world wide golf industry is one of the largest, if not the largest, sports industries in the world. Golf operations extend from local equipment shops to driving ranges, to public golf courses, to private country clubs. Golfers typically come from the middle to upper socioeconomic ranges of society, and are highly sought after by advertisers because of relative levels of disposable and investable income. Therefore new modes of delivering advertising content to golfers are continually being sought. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,443,870, issued to Lurie et al., discloses a golf ball hitting mat designed to simulate conditions on a golf course. On the mat there a two sections of artificial grass, one section has longer artificial grass and a simulated hill. The other section is flat and has shorter artificial grass. The two sections are separated by a grass-free area that may be used for advertising. The grass-free area is not designed for hitting a golf ball therefrom. Furthermore, the grass-free area, and any advertising thereon, is integral to the rest of the mat, preventing removal or changing of the advertising material over time.

Other golf mats have markings thereon, but do not provide for advertising space, particularly removable or interchangeable advertising portions. See, for example, U.S Patent No. 5,333,875, issued to Wilson, which discloses a golf ball driving and hitting mat having first and second stripes in a side-by-side, generally parallel relationship at or near the location at which the golf ball placed, for enabling the visual alignment of the golf club head relative to the stripes on the golf ball. See also, U.S. Patent No. 4,000,905, issued to Shirhall, which discloses a mat for guiding golfers in addressing the ball, on which are indicated positions and angles for the feet, placement of the ball, and guide lines to indicate the proper direction to be traversed by the club. Similarly, Published U.S. Patent Application, Pub. No. US 2001/0036869, by Grabowski, discloses a golf mat having a plurality of foot print patterns of different colors and club numbers associated to each foot and club to be used, where the patterns are positioned in the proper locations for a particular club to be used based on horizontal and vertical center lines of the golf ball so as to assist a golfer in addressing the golf ball properly.

In addition to golf mats, driving range tee dividers have not been used in conjunction with advertising material in efficient and synergistic manners. Typical golf tee dividers are disclosed in U.S Pat. No. 5,482,269, issued to Scott et al. (“Scott”), and U.S. Patent No. 5,586,942, issued to Wittek et al. (“Wittek”). In Scott, the tee divider has a frame, and a deflector sheet that is secured to upper and lower portions of the frame by a fastening rope. The tee divider separates adjacent golfers at a driving range and blocks golf balls hit by one golfer from hitting another golfer. The tee divider in Wittek accomplished the same goal as the tee divider in Scott, but has a unitary construction and includes pockets for holding a bucket of golf balls, and grooves for holding golf clubs. Neither Scott nor Wittek have provisions for removably mounting advertising material as part of the tee divider.

Automatic dispensing devices are also being more widely used at driving ranges. Generally there are two types of dispensing devices: dispensing devices that raise the ball up from under the mat and those that place the ball on the mat from the side. For an example of a dispensing device that raises the ball from below, see German Patent No. DE1 9603543, which discloses a golf mat on which the player depresses a lever using a golf club, which allows a golf ball to roll out from a feed shaft onto a tee. Upon releasing the lever, the golf ball is carried upward to the plane of the mat. Published U.S. Patent Application, Publication No. US 2003/0162598, by Eckard Jr. et al., discloses another dispensing device where a lever is depressed, which lowers a tee below the surface of a golf mat to a lower position, a golf ball feeding device loads a ball onto the tee, and upon release of the lever, the teed ball is raised so that it is in position to be hit by the golfer. A disadvantage of dispensing devices that tee the ball from below the mat is that after repeated use, the mat becomes worn and needs replacing. Replacing a mat that is an integral component of the dispensing device can be a costly endeavor for the driving range operator.

Dispensing devices that tee a golf ball from the side are also common and avoid the costs associated with replacing portions of the dispensing device when the mat is worn. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,685,575, issued to Anderson, discloses a portable device capable of placing a golf ball on a tee without interaction from the user. The device uses sensors to determine when a new ball is needed and lowers a ball onto the tee with an arm. U.S. Pat. No., 5,282,628 issued to Komori et al., discloses an automatic golf ball dispenser for driving or directly to a mat. Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 5,996,839, issued to McLinn, discloses a golf ball dispenser. However, none of these devices eliminate the need for a separate tee divider, and thus require a driving range operator to purchase and maintain separate tee dividers and golf ball dispensing devices.

Unfortunately, none of the devices described above taps into available advertising streams by providing for removable and interchangeable areas for advertising on golf mats, tee dividers, and golf ball dispensers. Furthermore, none of the golf ball dispensers described above are integrated into a tee divider. And lastly, while each of the devices mentioned above may work independently there are no systems that include a golf mat, a tee divider, and a golf ball dispenser to work cooperatively to improve driving range operations while providing coordinated advertising space.

Therefore, there remains a need for a system that allows for removable and interchangeable advertising on a golf mat. There remains a need for a tee divider that incorporates an integrated golf dispensing unit. There remains a need for an integral tee divider and dispensing device that cooperatively works with a golf mat having removable and interchangeable advertising portions, and which has various other features and advantages.

SUMMARY

In view of the deficiencies described above, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved golf advertising system with various features and advantages.

The present invention includes a golf driving mat having advertising material on a portion thereof. Advertising material may be any promotional messages or displays or advertisements. The advertising material is applied such that it is on a section of the mat which is substantially uniform with the rest of the mat. The advertising material is preferably applied on a removable section of the mat to allow for replacement of the section with another section containing different advertising material.

Various options for attaching such removably attachable sections are contemplated, however, any suitable means for removably attaching such sections is intended within the scope of the present invention.

In an enhanced embodiment of the present invention, a golf dispenser unit is provided. Preferably, the dispenser unit may additionally serve as a tee divider. The dispenser unit includes a surface which is oriented toward the golfer and serves as a medium for advertisement material. The advertisement material is preferably removable such that it can be replaced with other advertisement material.

Various embodiments of the dispenser unit of the present invention include advertisement appearing on the activation lever itself. Various further embodiments include an electronic display panel. The electronic display panel can be used to provide advertisement material via a visual display. Such material can be provided in the form of still pictures or video. An audio component can be included as well. In various embodiments, still pictures can rotate on said display.

In other embodiments, a video camera can be included in the dispenser unit. The camera can be activated either by the golfer, or via a sensor such as a motion sensor or heat sensor. The camera is used to record at least a portion of the golfers swing. The display can be used to display either a recording of the swing, an animation of the swing, or other swing analysis information or instructional information associated with an analysis of the swing.

The dispenser unit can also include a reflective surface or mirror oriented such that the golfer is able to see his/her own swing.

The dispenser unit of the present invention can be provided in conjunction with the mat of the present invention in a unique system which provides a synergistic advertising effect. The ball can be dispensed such that it rolls over or stops on an advertisement region or the advertisement material, thus providing focus of attention onto this region. The ball may also be dispensed from underneath the mat through a hole in the mat. An integral seating area and optional drink holders may be provided. Furthermore, a plurality of the units described above can be assembled and coupled via a server or central computing unit which controls the display panels.

One general objective of the present invention is to target a golfer with advertisement material effectively while the golfer is in a state of focus on the golfer's activity. This state is sometimes known in particular sports as the “zone.” A golfer in this state may be engrossed in the activity and highly focused on a practice swing at a driving mat, being oblivious to most of the surroundings. When a golfer steps onto the driving range, he/she goes through the motions of practicing the swing. The focus is invariably on the grip, the swing, and fmally the ball. While addressing the ball, the golfer's eyes are on the mat where the ball is disposed. One intent of the present invention to place advertising material in a manner in which it will be taken in by a golfer who is in this psychological state. The advertising material disposed on the mat may create a desirable “swing line”. Furthermore, the interactive ball dispenser may include advertising material on its surface. In such an embodiment, each time the golfer presses the lever for a ball, the golfer sees the promotional material on that lever. This effect can have a substantial impact from an advertising stand point. Interactive instructions, tips and tricks of the week may also be prominently displayed on the area near/around the dispenser or the mat.

Other features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the following drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the present invention, showing the advertisement material on the mat.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the present invention, showing one manner of attaching the removable section.

FIG. 3A is a perspective view of another embodiment of the present invention, showing another manner of attaching the removable section.

FIG. 3B is a perspective view of another embodiment of the present invention, showing another manner of attaching the removable section.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the present invention showing another manner of attaching the removable sections.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the present invention showing the dispenser unit and mat arrangement.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the present invention showing the removable advertisement material on the dispenser unit and the dispenser unit and mat arrangement.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a removable advertisement assembly having removable panels comprising replaceable advertisement sections.

FIG. 8A is a front view of the dispenser unit of the present invention showing the dispensing mechanism.

FIG. 8B is a front view of the dispenser unit of the present invention showing the dispensing mechanism.

FIG. 9 is a rear perspective view of one embodiment of the present invention showing a hinged panel of the dispenser unit of the present invention for providing access to the ball storage area.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the present invention showing the dispenser unit and mat system.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the system of the present invention.

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the system of the present invention showing the dispenser unit and mat arrangement.

FIG. 13A is a perspective view of another embodiment of the system of the present invention showing the dispenser unit and mat arrangement.

FIG. 13B is a perspective view of another embodiment of the system of the present invention showing the dispenser unit and mat arrangement.

FIG. 14 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the system of the present invention showing the dispenser unit with integrated seating area.

FIG. 15 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the system of the present invention showing the dispenser unit with under mat dispensing path.

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the system of the present invention showing the dispenser unit with seating area and angled advertising surface.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

While this invention is susceptible of embodiments in many different forms, there are shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail preferred embodiments of the invention with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered as an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the broad aspect of the invention to the embodiments illustrated.

The present invention is a golf advertising system. One aspect of the system includes a golf driving range mat 10. The mat 10 preferably includes a substantially uniform top surface 20, which may be any suitable surface for driving golf balls, such as artificial grass or any other suitable material. The mat 10 comprises promotional material 30 disposed on the top surface 20.

In various preferred embodiments, the mat 20 is formed of a main body section 40 having a first top surface 50 and a removably attachable section 60 having a second top surface 70. Promotional material 30 is disposed on the second top surface 70 of the removably attachable section 60. Thus, the removable section 60 can be removed, and optionally replaced with a section having different promotional material 30. When attached, the top surfaces 50 and 70 form a substantially continuous and uniform combined top surface 20.

Preferably, mat 10 is configured to receive the removably attachable section 60 in at least to locations, such as two sides or edges. For example, it could be received on two, three, or four possible sides. Optionally, additional sides or locations are configured this way in the event the mat has more sides than four, such as in an eight sided mat. The means for attachment can be a toothed edge, as shown in FIG. 2, or a prong and slot arrangement, as shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B, however, any suitable manner of attachment can be used. In the prong and slot method, cavities 80 receive protruding components 90, which can be respectively located on either the main section 40 or the removable section 60, in either order.

Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 4, the removable sections 60 may be corner pieces, such as triangular sections. Such an arrangement can provide a framed area for a golfer to use on the mat 10. The triangular sections preferably comprise interior pocket portions configured to envelop the corners of the main body section 40. One, two, three, or four such triangular sections 60 may be used. Such sections 60 can be used in lieu of other advertising material, or in addition thereto.

In another embodiment of the system, a dispensing device 100 for dispensing golf balls is provided. In various embodiments, the mat 10 described above is provided in conjunction with the dispensing device 100. The system is configured, preferably, such that a golf ball dispensed from the dispensing device 100 stops rolling over a promotional material region on the mat 10. The promotional region is an area surrounding the promotional material 30. Alternatively, the ball may stop on the promotional material 30 itself, as shown in FIG. 13A, or its path may pass over the promotional material 30, as shown in FIG. 13B. In any of these manners, additional focus from the golfer is placed on the promotional material 30. Additional promotional material or instructional material 280 is optionally further provided. In other embodiments of the present invention, the dispensing device 100 dispenses a golf ball from underneath mat 10 via a hole 350 in the mat 10.

In various further embodiments of the present invention, the dispensing device 100 has an activation lever 110. Lever 110 optional includes promotional material directly on a surface thereof. Thus, the golfer is provided with yet another opportunity to focus on promotional material in an active manner.

The dispensing device 100 of the present invention preferably includes a ball holding area 120 for containing a plurality of golf balls. An activation lever 110 is provided for triggering one of the plurality of golf balls to be dispensed. An internal mechanism having prongs allows a single ball to be dispensed, while restraining the remaining balls. However, any suitable method for dispensing golf balls can be used in conjunction with the device, and is contemplated to be within the scope of the present invention.

The dispensing device 100 preferably includes promotional material 130 on a surface visible to the golfer. The promotional material 130 is preferably removable such that it can be replaced with other promotional material 130. Any suitable means for attaching removable such material is intended to be within the scope of the invention. An example would be a removable panel 140 placed in a channel 150, as illustrated in FIG. 6. The panel 140 optionally includes a plurality of sections, each having removable panels 160, as shown in FIG. 7. Thus, individual advertisements can be placed in each section, and replaced as desired.

Ideally, the dispensing device 100 is sized and configured to serve as a tee divider for a golf driving range. A front surface 170 is angled away from an individual standing in front of the device 100. In one preferred embodiment, the surface is positioned at approximately 60 to 70 degrees from the horizontal, in order to deflect balls in a safe manner. In various preferred embodiments, the device 100 is substantially configured in the shape of a triangular prism, optionally with rounded corners. A hinged back panel 180 is provided for accessing and refilling the ball holding area 120. The device 100 optionally includes an integral seating 300 area for an individual to sit, and may include one or more drink holders 310. In such an embodiment, a hole 320 for loading golf balls may be provided. The integral seating area 300 may be solely used in conjunction with a tee divider or a ball dispensing unit, or both.

In various additional embodiments, the device 100 may comprise an audio output device 190, such as to output promotional material in audio format. In other embodiments, the device 100 comprises a visual display panel 200. Visual display panel 200 can be any suitable display panel, such as an LCD, or other screen or monitor. The panel 200 is ideally protected by a protective cover 210 to prevent damage from golf balls or other impacts. The display panel 200 can provide promotional material in video format, or using still pictures or text. For example, promotional material may be provided in still pictures and may rotate from one to the next, sequentially.

In yet further embodiments of the invention, the device 100 further comprises a video camera 220, which may be protected by a cover 230 if necessary, oriented to record a swing of a golfer standing on an associated golf driving range mat 10. The display can provide various output options, such as a recording of the swing, or an animation of the swing, or various other information stemming from analysis of the swing. Such output may be feedback or instructions related to an analysis of the swing. Such output may be generated by swing analysis software which is either run on an internal computing unit, such as a PC or notebook computer, or a central computing unit networked to the device. In order to begin the recording of the camera, a sensor 240, such as a heat sensor, motion sensor, or other suitable sensor can be used. Alternatively, the golfer could activate a switch or lever to trigger the recording, such as a lever 270 suitable for activation with a golf club. Once the feedback has been displayed, the promotional material may be continued on the display panel 200.

In various embodiments of the system, a plurality of such devices 100 are coupled via a network, as illustrated conceptually in FIG. 11. A central server or computing device 250 controls the output of the devices.

In another useful aspect of the system, a reflective surface 260 is provided, as illustrated in FIGS. 13A and 13B, positioned to enable a golfer to watch his or her own swing. The reflective surface 260 can be a mirror or mirror-like surface, or any other surface with sufficient reflective properties to enable a golfer to view his or her reflection. The reflective surface 260 can be used in connection with a tee divider alone, or with a golf ball dispensing device.

Further features and combinations of features are additionally contemplated within the scope of the present invention. For example, in certain embodiments, a golf driving range advertising system includes a golf driving range mat 10 and a strip of material 60 disposed substantially adjacent the mat 10, which may or may not be connected to the mat 10. The strip of material 60 includes promotional material 30 on a surface thereof. The surface may be substantially horizontal, or it may be slanted upward in the direction of a golfer standing on the mat 10. Next, the space between the mat 10 and the associated device, whether a tee divider, dispensing unit, or both, is utilized as an advertising platform which is disposed in the space between the mat 10 and the tee divider or dispensing unit. It may be adjacent the mat 10 and unit base, or it may be in close proximity to each.

The system of the present invention may be simply a golf driving range advertising system comprising a driving range mat 10, and an advertising medium having promotional material on a surface thereof, wherein the advertising medium is disposed within 30 cm of the mat. Thus, the proximity brings greater focus on the advertisement by the golfer than is possible in conventional arrangements. Ideally, the advertising surface 140 is slanted upward toward a golfer standing on the mat such that it is substantially within a golfer's peripheral vision while a golfer is focusing on a teeing location. The advertising medium may be a tee divider, a dispensing unit, or both. In either case, the device is optionally substantially adjacent to the mat 10.

The tee divider apparatus may comprise a tee divider section configured to block stray golf balls hit from a teeing area, and an advertising surface positioned with a base near the ground and angled upward toward a golfer standing in a teeing area, wherein promotional material on the advertising surface is substantially within the peripheral vision of the golfer while focusing on a teeing area.

The golf ball dispensing device may comprise an activation lever for activating the dispensing device, wherein the activation lever comprises promotional material disposed on a viewable surface thereof. In another variation, the dispensing device or tee divider optionally includes a viewable display for displaying a time of day disposed on the device having time keeping or time signal receiving means, such as a digital clock which can have an internal time keeping mechanism, or can receive a radio signal providing the time information. The device may also comprise a cooling system for directing airflow toward a golfer, such as one, two, or more fans, 340. In another embodiment, the device may include an integrated golf club head washer 360 within the apparatus having an opening for inserting a golf club head.

While the specific embodiments have been illustrated and described, numerous modifications come to mind without significantly departing from the spirit of the invention, and the scope of protection is only limited by the scope of the accompanying claims.