Title:
Golf ball selection assisting method and selection assisting apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This invention provides a golf ball selection assisting method to be executed by a server which is connected to a client computer to allow communications with each other. This invention includes a step of sending display data for prompting a user of the client computer to select one of first and second selection assisting modes to the client computer, and a step of receiving the selection result of the selection assisting mode from the client computer. When the first selection assisting mode is selected, a recommended golf ball is selected based on shot data of a golf ball by the user. On the other hand, when the second selection assisting mode is selected, a recommended golf ball is selected based on user's answers to predetermined questions.



Inventors:
Tayama, Shunsuke (Covington, GA, US)
Sowell, Brandon (Covington, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/826115
Publication Date:
01/15/2009
Filing Date:
07/12/2007
Assignee:
Bridgestone Sports Co., Ltd.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B67/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LEIVA, FRANK M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SUGHRUE MION, PLLC (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A golf ball selection assisting method to be executed by a server which is connected to a client computer to allow communications with each other, comprising: a step of sending display data for prompting a user of the client computer to select one of first and second selection assisting modes to the client computer; a step of receiving a selection result of the selection assisting mode from the client computer; an acquisition step of acquiring, when the selection result indicates the first selection assisting mode, shot data of a golf ball by the user; a step of selecting at least one model of golf ball from predetermined models of golf balls based on the acquired shot data; a step of sending information associated with the model of golf ball selected based on the shot data to the client computer; a step of sending, when the selection result indicates the second selection assisting mode, display data of a plurality of questions to the user and options of answers to the questions to the client computer; a step of receiving a selection result of the options from the client computer; a step of selecting at least one model of golf ball from the predetermined models of golf balls based on the received selection result of the options; and a step of sending information associated with the model of golf ball selected based on the selection result of the options to the client computer.

2. The method according to claim 1, wherein said acquisition step comprises: a step of sending display data for prompting the user to input the shot data to the client computer; and a step of receiving the shot data input by the user to the client computer from the client computer.

3. The method according to claim 1, wherein the shot data includes a head speed of a driver of the user.

4. The method according to claim 1, wherein the questions include: a gender of the user; an average score of the user; an average driver distance of the user; and a performance of a golf ball that the user is looking for.

5. A golf ball selection assisting apparatus connected to a client computer to allow communications with each other, comprising: means for sending display data for prompting a user of the client computer to select one of first and second selection assisting modes to the client computer; means for receiving a selection result of the selection assisting mode from the client computer; acquisition means for, when the selection result indicates the first selection assisting mode, acquiring shot data of a golf ball by the user; means for selecting at least one model of golf ball from predetermined models of golf balls based on the acquired shot data; means for sending information associated with the model of golf ball selected based on the shot data to the client computer; means for, when the selection result indicates the second selection assisting mode, sending display data of a plurality of questions to the user and options of answers to the questions to the client computer; means for receiving a selection result of the options from the client computer; means for selecting at least one model of golf ball from the predetermined models of golf balls based on the received selection result of the options; and means for sending information associated with the model of golf ball selected based on the selection result of the options to the client computer.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a method and apparatus, which provide information associated with a golf ball that fits each individual golfer to him or her online.

2. Description of the Related Art

In general, each golfer selects and purchases a golf ball that fits himself or herself based on information described in a brochure or the like. However, there are a plurality of models of golf balls, which respectively have different distance performances, spin performances, feels, and the like. Therefore, it is not always easy for a golfer to select a golf ball that fits himself or herself.

Japanese Patent Laid-Open No. 2002-315860 discloses a method of automatically selecting a golf ball that fits a given golfer based on actually measured data of a head speed and the like, which were obtained when that golfer actually hit golf balls with a golf club in a golf shop or the like. With this method, since a golf ball is selected based on the actually measured data, a golf ball that fits the actual golfer's skills can be suggested more objectively to a golfer. However, with this method, a golfer must go to a service site such as a golf shop or the like having measurement equipment that can obtain actually measured data. Therefore, this method is not suitable for a golfer living in an area remote from any service site having measurement equipment or a golfer who wants to find a golf ball that fits himself or herself more easily. Also, golf ball data must be updated for each service site.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,672,978 discloses a method of automatically selecting a golf ball that fits a given golfer based on answers of that golfer to predetermined questions. With this method, since a golf ball is selected based on the golfer's answers, the golfer can relatively easily find a golf ball that fits himself or herself. However, with this method, selection of a golf ball depends on the golfer's answers to the questions, i.e., his or her subjectivity. It is not easy for a golfer to accurately understand his or her skills. Therefore, the golfer's answers do not always reflect his or her actual skills.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to meet demands for both a golfer who wants to find a golf ball that fits himself or herself more objectively, and a golfer who wants to find a golf ball that fits himself or herself more easily.

According to the present invention, there is provided a golf ball selection assisting method to be executed by a server which is connected to a client computer to allow communications with each other, comprising: a step of sending display data for prompting a user of the client computer to select one of first and second selection assisting modes to the client computer; a step of receiving a selection result of the selection assisting mode from the client computer; an acquisition step of acquiring, when the selection result indicates the first selection assisting mode, shot data of a golf ball by the user; a step of selecting at least one model of golf ball from predetermined models of golf balls based on the acquired shot data; a step of sending information associated with the model of golf ball selected based on the shot data to the client computer; a step of sending, when the selection result indicates the second selection assisting mode, display data of a plurality of questions to the user and options of answers to the questions to the client computer; a step of receiving a selection result of the options from the client computer; a step of selecting at least one model of golf ball from the predetermined models of golf balls based on the received selection result of the options; and a step of sending information associated with the model of golf ball selected based on the selection result of the options to the client computer.

According to the present invention, there is provided a golf ball selection assisting apparatus connected to a client computer to allow communications with each other, comprising: means for sending display data for prompting a user of the client computer to select one of first and second selection assisting modes to the client computer; means for receiving a selection result of the selection assisting mode from the client computer; acquisition means for, when the selection result indicates the first selection assisting mode, acquiring shot data of a golf ball by the user; means for selecting at least one model of golf ball from predetermined models of golf balls based on the acquired shot data; means for sending information associated with the model of golf ball selected based on the shot data to the client computer; means for, when the selection result indicates the second selection assisting mode, sending display data of a plurality of questions to the user and options of answers to the questions to the client computer; means for receiving a selection result of the options from the client computer; means for selecting at least one model of golf ball from the predetermined models of golf balls based on the received selection result of the options; and means for sending information associated with the model of golf ball selected based on the selection result of the options to the client computer.

Further features of the present invention will become apparent from the following description of exemplary embodiments with reference to the attached drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a network system which can implement a golf ball selection assisting method according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a flowchart showing the processes of a server 100 and client computer 2;

FIG. 3 is a flowchart showing the processes of the server 100 and client computer 2 upon selection of an advanced version;

FIG. 4 is a flowchart showing the processes of the server 100 and client computer 2 upon selection of a quick version;

FIG. 5 shows an example of a window displayed on the client computer 2;

FIG. 6 shows an example of a window displayed on the client computer 2;

FIG. 7 shows an example of a data sheet;

FIG. 8 is a view showing an example of a measurement system that measures shot data;

FIG. 9 shows an example of types of golf balls;

FIG. 10 shows an example of a golf ball selection algorithm upon selection of the advanced version;

FIG. 11 shows an example of a window displayed on the client computer 2;

FIG. 12 shows an example of a window displayed on the client computer 2;

FIG. 13 shows a grouping algorithm of users upon selection of the quick version;

FIG. 14 shows an example of a window displayed on the client computer 2;

FIG. 15 shows an example of a window displayed on the client computer 2;

FIG. 16 shows an example of a golf ball selection algorithm upon selection of the quick version;

FIG. 17 shows an example of a golf ball selection algorithm upon selection of the advanced version; and

FIG. 18 shows an example of a window displayed on the client computer 2.

DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

<System Arrangement>

FIG. 1 is a block diagram showing a network system which can implement a golf ball selection assisting method according to one embodiment of the present invention. A network 1 is typically the Internet. Client computers 2 include a personal computer of a golfer or a computer equipped in a golf shop. Each client computer 2 comprises a computer main body, display, and input devices such as a keyboard, mouse, and the like, and has a communication function capable of accessing the network 1. The client computer 2 comprises a browser that allows the user to browse Web pages distributed on the network 1.

A server 100 provides a Web site associated with golfing equipments on the network 1. In this embodiment, the server 100 serves as a golf ball selection assisting apparatus which is connected to the client computers 2 via the network 1.

The server 100 is a general server computer, which comprises a CPU 101, ROM 102, RAM 103, HDD (Hard Disk Drive) 104, and network interface 105. The CPU 101 executes a program associated with a golf ball selection assisting method to be described later. This program is stored in the HDD 104.

The HDD 104 stores product information of golfing equipments such as golf balls, golf clubs, and the like, information associated with members of the Web site, display data of windows to be displayed on the display of each client computer 2, golf shop information, information of a site operating company, and the like. Note that these data may be stored in storage means other than the HDD 104 or may be stored in another server that the server 100 can access. In any case, the server 100 can uniformly manage information of golfing equipments, especially, golf balls, and can provide latest information to users.

<Processing of Server 100>

The golf ball selection assisting processing executed by the server 100 will be described below. The selection assisting processing starts when the client computer 2 accesses a predetermined Web page (selection assisting page) provided by the server 100. FIG. 2 is a flowchart showing the processes of the server 100 and client computer 2.

In step S101, the client computer 2 sends a send request of the selection assisting page to the server 100 by user's operations at the client computer 2. Upon reception of the send request, the server 100 sends display data of a mode selection window in step S201. The display data of the mode selection window makes the user of the client computer 2 select one of first and second selection assisting modes.

In step S102, the client computer 2 displays the mode selection window based on the received display data. FIG. 5 shows a display example of the mode selection window displayed on the client computer 2. In the example of FIG. 5, two selection assisting modes, i.e., an advanced version and quick version are displayed as selection assisting mode options.

The advanced version is a selection assisting mode that selects a golf ball that fits a golfer (as the user of the client computer 2) based on shot data of a golf ball. The quick version is a selection assisting mode that selects a golf ball that fits a golfer based on answers he or she gives to predetermined questions.

On the selection window shown in FIG. 5, the user who wants to use the advanced version clicks a button b1. On the other hand, the user who wants to use the quick version clicks a button b2. Referring back to FIG. 2, if the user clicks one of the buttons b1 and b2, the client computer 2 sends the user's selection result of the selection assisting mode to the server 100 in step S103. For example, the client computer 2 sends a Web page send request to a link destination associated with each of the buttons b1 and b2.

Upon reception of the selection result of the selection assisting mode, the server 100 checks in step S202 if the user selects the advanced version or quick version. If the user selects the advanced version, the process advances to step S203 to execute processing for the advanced version. On the other hand, if the user selects the quick version, the process jumps to step S204 to execute processing for the quick version.

As described above, according to this embodiment, the user can select the advanced version or the quick version. The advanced version is suited for a golfer who wants to find a golf ball that fits himself or herself more objectively since a golf ball that fits the user is selected based on shot data. Meanwhile, the quick version is suited for a golfer who wants to find a golf ball that fits himself or herself more easily since a golf ball that fits the user is selected based on answers to questions. Therefore, this embodiment can meet demands of both types of golfers.

<Advanced Version>

FIG. 3 is a flowchart showing the processing of the server 100 and client computer 2 upon selection of the advanced version, i.e., the processing to be executed by the server 100 in step S203 in FIG. 2.

In step S205, the server 100 sends display data of an input window of shot data. Upon reception of the display data, the client computer 2 displays an input window based on the received display data in step S104. FIG. 6 shows an example of the input window of shot data displayed on the client computer 2.

Referring to FIG. 6, an input field c1 is used to input a model of golf ball that the user currently uses. An input field c2 is used to input the gender of the user. An input field c3 is used to input the age of the user. An input field c4 is used to input an average score of the user. An input field c5 is used to input the number of rounds the user makes per year. Data input to these input fields c1 to c5 are mainly used to tally various statistics of a golfer.

An input field c6 is used to input a model of golf ball used in a trial session. An input field c7 is used to input a swing speed (head speed) in the trial session. An input field c8 is used to input an initial speed of a hit ball in the trial session. An input field c9 is used to input a launch angle of a hit ball in the trial session. An input field c10 is used to input an amount of back spin of a hit ball in the trial session. An input field c11 is used to input the distance of a hit ball simulated based on the trial result.

A button b3 is used to input an instruction to request the server 100 to send display data of a data sheet that records shot data. The user who does not have any data to be input to the input fields c6 to c11 acquires a data sheet by clicking the button b3, brings it into a service site such as a golf shop or the like having a measurement system of shot data, and makes a trial session. The user enters the data obtained as a result of the trial session in the data sheet, and then accesses the advanced version again. A button b4 is used to input an instruction to send the input data to the server 100 upon completion of entries in the input fields c1 to c11.

Referring back to FIG. 3, the client computer 2 checks in step S105 if the user clicks the button b3. If YES in step S105, the process advances to step S106; otherwise, the process jumps to step S108. In step S106, the client computer 2 sends a send request of display data of the data sheet to the server 100. Upon reception of the send request, the server 100 sends the display data of the data sheet in step S206. Upon reception of the display data, the client computer 2 displays a window of the data sheet based on the received display data. After that, when the user inputs a print instruction to the client computer 2, a printer (not shown) connected to the client computer 2 prints out the data sheet onto a paper sheet.

FIG. 7 shows an example of the data sheet. The data sheet includes a date of session field c12 used to enter a date of a trial session, a location field c13 used to enter the location (service) of the trial session, and a use ball field c14 used to enter a model of golf ball that the user currently uses. The data sheet also includes trial session fields c15.

The trial result fields c15 include an “H/S” field used to enter a head speed, a “B/V” used to enter an initial speed of a hit ball, an “E/R” field used to enter an efficiency of hitting, an “L/A” field used to enter a launch angle of the shot, a “B/S” field used to enter an amount of back spin of a hit ball, a “S/S” field used to enter a amount of side spin of a hit ball, and a “Dist.” field used to enter the simulated distance of a hit ball. Note that the efficiency of hitting=the initial speed of a hit ball/the head speed. The simulated distance of a hit ball is calculated by simulation based on the initial speed, launch angle, amount of back spin, and amount of side spin of a hit ball as the trial results.

FIG. 8 shows an example of the measurement system that measures shot data. A golf club used to measure shot data is basically a driver. The measurement system shown in FIG. 8 comprises a tee 11 that supports a golf ball 12 to be hit. A plurality of marks 12a are printed on the surface of the golf ball 12.

A measurement unit 13 is arranged at a position which is located slightly behind the tee 11 with respect to a target line direction d1, and is separated away from the tee 11 in a direction perpendicular to the target line direction d1. The measurement unit 13 comprises a pair of sensors 13a and 13b which are separated apart in a direction parallel to the target line direction d1. The sensors 13a and 13b are, for example, optical sensors each including a light-emitting element and light-receiving element. The sensors 13a and 13b respectively detect the passage of a golf club.

Cameras 14 and 15 are arranged at a position which is located slightly in front of the tee 11 with respect to the target line direction d1, and is separated away from the tee 11 in a direction perpendicular to the target line direction d1. The cameras 14 and 15 are set to be separated apart in a direction parallel to the target line direction d1. The cameras 14 and 15 respectively capture an image of a hit ball (golf ball 12).

The detection result of the measurement unit 13 and the captured image data of the cameras 14 and 15 are input to a computer 16. The computer 16 measures a time period from when the sensor 13a of the measurement unit 13 detects the passage of the golf club head until the sensor 13b detects the passage of the golf club head. The computer 16 then calculates the head speed of the user's driver based on the measured time period and the distance between the sensors 13a and 13b.

Also, the computer 16 calculates a time period required for the hit ball to pass the cameras 14 and 15 based on the captured images of the cameras 14 and 15. The computer 16 calculates the initial speed of the hit ball based on the calculated time period and the distance between the cameras 14 and 15. Furthermore, the computer 16 calculates the launch angle, amount of back spin, and amount of side spin of a hit ball based on changes in position and direction of images of the marks 12a included in the captured images of the cameras 14 and 15.

In this way, the computer 16 measures the head speed, and the initial speed, launch angle, amount of back spin, and amount of side spin of the hit ball. The computer 16 calculates the efficiency and distance of the hit ball based on these measurement results.

A printer 17 prints out the calculated data onto a paper sheet. The user enters the model of the golf ball used in the trial session, and data of the trial results in the data sheet shown in FIG. 7, and then accesses the advanced version.

Referring back to FIG. 13, the processing of the advanced version will be further explained. The client computer 2 checks in step S108 if the user clicks the button b4 on the window shown in FIG. 6. If YES in step S108, the process advances to step S109; otherwise, the process returns to step S105. In step S109, the client computer 2 sends the data input to the input fields c1 to c11 on the window shown in FIG. 6 to the server 100.

In step S207, the server 100 receives the data sent from the client computer 2, and saves them in the HDD 104. Of the data input to the input fields c1 to c11, those input to the input fields c1 to c5 are used to tally various statistics of a golfer, as described above. The data input to the input fields c6 to c11 are used to automatically select a golf ball that fits the user. Especially, this embodiment selects a golf ball that fits the user based on the swing speed (head speed) input to the input field c7 and the amount of back spin input to the input field c10.

In this embodiment, the server 100 acquires the shot data in this way. However, another method of acquiring the shot data by the server 100 is also available. For example, when the client computer 2 is a member of the Web site provided by the server 100, the server 100 allows the client computer 2 to register and save the shot data in the HDD 104 in association with that user. Then, the server 100 can acquire the shot data of that member by reading out the stored data from the HDD 104. In this case, the user need only input the shot data once. For example, upon renewal of models of golf balls, if the user wants to select a golf ball using the advanced version, he or she need not input the shot data again.

In step S208, the server 100 executes processing for selecting a golf ball that fits the user. This embodiment selects one golf ball optimal to the user. However, a plurality of golf balls that fit the user may be selected, and the user may select an optimal golf ball.

FIG. 9 shows an example of models of golf balls. In the example of FIG. 9, five models of golf balls are listed, and have different hardness levels of golf balls as a whole, hardness levels of cover materials of golf balls, or their combinations. When a golf ball is hard as a whole, a golfer of a low head speed cannot make that golf ball sufficiently deform at impact, and can hardly obtain a maximum distance. Conversely, when a golf ball is soft as a whole, a golfer of a low head speed can easily obtain a maximum distance. However, a golfer with a high head speed makes that golf ball deform too much, and cannot often obtain a maximum distance. When a golf ball is hard as a whole, the amount of back spin of a hit ball is relatively high; otherwise, it is low. When a golf ball has a hard cover, the amount of back spin of a hit ball is relatively low; otherwise, it is relatively high.

FIG. 10 shows an example of a golf ball selection algorithm upon selection of the advance version. In the example of FIG. 10, a case will be exemplified wherein a golf ball optimal to the user is selected in terms of the distance performance based on the shot data of the head speed and amount of back spin. A line L1 indicates an ideal amount of back spin with respect to the head speed. A calculation method of an ideal amount of back spin is as follows.


Ideal amount of back spin=head speed k1+k2

where k1 is a predetermined numerical value ranging from, e.g., −50 to −30, and k2 is a predetermined numerical value ranging from, e.g., 3700 to 5100.

The selection algorithm shown in FIG. 10 is designed to select golf balls which are relatively hard as a whole for a golfer of a high head speed, and golf balls which are relatively soft as a whole for a golfer of a low head speed. Also, the algorithm selects golf balls which are relatively soft as a whole or golf balls with relatively hard covers for a golfer whose amount of back spin of the shot data is higher than the ideal amount of back spin. Furthermore, the algorithm selects golf balls which are relatively hard as a whole or golf balls with relatively soft covers for a golfer whose amount of back spin of the shot data is lower than the ideal amount of back spin.

For example, in case of a user whose head speed and amount of back spin of the shot data are indicated by a point P1, the head speed is relatively high, and the amount of back spin is relatively high. Therefore, golf balls which are relatively hard as a whole are suitable for such user in term of the head speed. Also, golf balls which are relatively soft as a whole or golf balls with relatively hard covers are suitable for that user in terms of the amount of back spin. Hence, “BS37-S” which has middle hardness as a whole and cover hardness is optimal to that user. The data of the selection algorithm shown in FIG. 10 is stored in, e.g., the HDD 104.

In this embodiment, a golf ball optimal to the user is selected based on the head speed and amount of back spin. Also, in consideration of the amount of side spin and the launch angle of a hit ball, a more optimal golf ball can be selected.

Referring back to FIG. 3, the server 100 executes a trajectory simulation of the shot in step S209. The trajectory simulation is executed for a case based on the shot data, and that based on ideal data using the golf ball selected in step S208. The trajectory simulation based on the shot data is executes based on the data input to the input fields c7 to c10, and a coefficient of lift CL, coefficient of drag CD, weight Mg, and the like of the golf ball which is input to the input field c6 in the window shown in FIG. 6 and is used in the trial session. Note that numerical values of these data are stored in the HDD 104 in advance.

The trajectory simulation based on the ideal data calculates an ideal initial speed, launch angle, and amount of back spin of a hit ball based on the head speed of the shot data input to the input field c7. The example of the calculation method of an ideal amount of back spin is as described above. The ideal initial speed and launch angle of a hit ball are calculated, for example, by:


Ideal initial speed of a hit ball=head speed k3

where k3 is an ideal efficiency of hitting (E/R), and is a numerical value ranging from, e.g., 1.3 to 1.5.


Ideal launch angle of a hit ball=head speed k4+k5

where k4 is a predetermined numerical value ranging from, e.g., −0.4 to −0.2, and k5 is a predetermined numerical value ranging from, e.g., 25 to 31.

Subsequently, three-dimensional velocity vectors that change momentarily are calculated based on these ideal data, and the coefficient of lift CL, coefficient of drag CD, weight, and the like of the golf ball selected in step S208, thereby calculating the distance and trajectory of the shot (refer to, e.g., Japanese Patent Laid-Open No. 10-230024 for the coefficients of lift and drag). Note that the numerical values of the coefficient of lift CL and the like of the golf ball are stored in advance in the HDD 104.

In step S210, the server 100 sends display data required to display the selection result of the golf ball in step S208 and the trajectory simulation result in step S209 on the client computer 2 to the client computer 2.

In step S110, the client computer 2 displays a window based on the received display data. FIG. 11 shows an example of the window that shows the selection result of the golf ball displayed on the client computer 2. Referring to FIG. 11, display fields c16 to c206 display the data (head speed, initial speed, launch angle, amount of back spin, and distance of the hit ball) input to the input fields c7 to c11 in FIG. 6. Display fields c21 to c24 display the ideal initial speed, launch angle, amount of back spin, and distance of a hit ball based on the head speed of the shot data, which are calculated in step S209. A display field c25 displays the trajectory simulation result calculated in step S209.

A display field c26 displays a comment about the need to be improved for the user. A display field c27 displays the model of golf ball recommended to obtain the ideal shot displayed in the display fields c21 to c24 and c25. The example of FIG. 11 displays an image of the package of the recommended golf ball. Note that when the model of golf ball input to the input field c6 in FIG. 6 is the same as the recommended model of golf ball, a comment indicating that the golf ball used in the trial session is optimal may be displayed on the display field c26 together with the comment of the need to be improved.

In this way, since the advanced version selects a golf ball that fits the user based on the shot data, the user can find a golf ball that fits himself or herself more objectively. Since the advanced version provides various data and the trajectory simulation result to the user, the user can obtain more detailed information about his or her swing.

<Quick Version>

FIG. 4 is a flowchart showing the processing of the server 100 and client computer 2 upon selection of the quick version, i.e., the processing to be executed by the server 100 in step S204 in FIG. 2.

In step S211, the server 100 sends display data of a window including a plurality of questions to the user and options of answers to the questions to the client computer 2. Upon reception of the display data, the client computer 2 displays a window based on the received display data in step S111. FIG. 12 shows an example of the window displayed on the client computer 2.

The example of the window shown in FIG. 12 displays three questions Q1 to Q3, and also options of answers to the respective questions together with check boxes. The question Q1 asks about the user's gender, the question Q2 asks about an average score of the user, and the question Q3 asks about an average distance of a driver of the user. The user checks a check box of one of options to each question. In the example of the window shown in FIG. 12, the user checks the option “male”. In the example of the window shown in FIG. 12, a button b5 is used to instruct to send the selection results to the server 100 upon completion of selection of the options of the answers to the respective questions.

Referring back to FIG. 4, upon clicking of the button b5, the client computer 2 sends the user's answers (the selection results of the options) to the server 100 in step S112. In step S212, the server 100 saves the answers sent from the client computer 2 in the HDD 104. The received answers are used to select a golf ball that fits the user, and also to tally various statistics of a golfer. In step S213, the server 100 determines based on the received answers one of predetermined five groups to which the user belongs.

FIG. 13 shows an example of the grouping algorithm of the user. The example of FIG. 13 is the algorithm for determining which of, e.g., groups I to V the user belongs. Groups I to III are male groups. Groups I and II include skilled players; group I includes golfers who can gain larger driver distances, and group II includes those who cannot gain larger driver distances. Group III includes average players and beginners. Groups IV and V are female groups. Group IV includes golfers who can gain larger driver distances, and group V includes those who cannot gain larger driver distances.

The server 100 determines based on the answer to the question Q1 if the user is a male or female. If the user is a male, the server 100 determines based on the answer to the question Q2 if the average score is less than 80 or 80 or higher. If the average score is 80 or higher, the server 100 determines group III as the group of the user. If the average score is less than 80, and if the server 100 determines based on the answer to the question Q3 that the average driver distance is 240 yards or more, it determines group I as that of that user; if the average driver distance is less than 240 yards, it determines group II.

If the user is a female, and if the server 100 determines based on the answer to the question Q3 that the average driver distance is 240 yards or more, it determines group IV as that of the user; if the average driver distance is less than 240 yards, it determines group V.

Referring back to FIG. 4, in step S214 the server 100 sends display data of a display window of the next question determined in advance for each of groups I to V based on the group determination result in step S213 to the client computer 2. In step S113, the client computer 2 displays a window based on the received display data.

FIG. 14 shows an example of the display window of a question for the user who belongs to group I or II. Referring to FIG. 14, a question Q4 asks about a ball performance that the user wants. Options of answers to the question Q4 are roughly classified into those for maximum distance performance oriented, and those for spin performance oriented, and in either case, the answer is further classified into two options. The user checks a check box of one of these options. A button b6 is used to instruct to send the selection result to the server 100 upon completion of selection of the option of the answer to the question Q4.

FIG. 15 shows an example of the display window of a question for the user who belongs to group III or IV. Referring to FIG. 15, a question Q4 asks about a ball performance that the user wants. Options of answers to the question Q4 are roughly classified into those for maximum distance performance oriented, and those for spin performance oriented. In case of the maximum distance performance oriented, the answer is further classified into four options. Also, in case of the spin performance oriented, the answer is further classified into two options. A button b7 is used to instruct to send the selection result to the server 100 upon completion of selection of the option of the answer to the question Q4.

Referring back to FIG. 4, upon clicking of the button b6 or b7, the client computer 2 sends the user's answer (the selection result of the option) to the server 100 in step S114. In step S215, the server 100 receives the answer sent from the client computer 2, and saves it in the HDD 104. The received answer is used to select a golf ball that fits the user, and also to tally various statistics of a golfer.

In step S216, the server 100 executes processing for selecting a golf ball that fits the user from those shown in FIG. 9 based on the received answer. This embodiment selects one golf ball optimal to the user. However, a plurality of golf balls that fit the user may be selected, and the user may select an optimal golf ball.

FIG. 16 shows an example of a golf ball selection algorithm associated with the user who belongs to group I or II. Since the user of group I is a skilled player (male) who can gain a larger driver distance, golf balls (BS37 and BS37-S) which are relatively hard as a whole are recommended, and one recommended golf ball is selected in accordance with the performances (feels, amount of spin) that the user is looking for. The user of group II is a male who is a skilled player but cannot gain a longer driver distance. For this reason, a golf ball (X-6) that allows a powerless golfer to maximize a distance is added to options in addition to the recommended golf balls (BS37 and BS37-S) for the user of group I, and one recommended golf ball is selected in accordance with the performances (feels, amount of spin) that the user is looking for.

FIG. 17 shows an example of a golf ball selection algorithm for the user who belongs to one of groups III to V. The user of group III is a male and is an average player or beginner. A user of this group who is looking for a maximum driver distance often hits unstable shots. Therefore, for the user who is looking for a maximum driver distance, a golf ball (X-6) that minimizes a hook or slice or a golf ball (X-5) that allows a high ball flight is recommended. For the user who is looking for high spin performance, golf balls (BS37 and BS37-S) that allow the user to acquire more spin are recommended.

Users of groups IV and V are females, and options of recommended golf balls include a golf ball (Lady YIII) for females. Since a user of group IV can gain a longer driver distance, options include BS37 for the user who is looking for the spin performance.

Referring back to FIG. 4, in step S217 the server 100 sends display data that makes the client computer 2 display the selection result of the golf ball in step S216 to the client computer 2. In step S115, the client computer 2 displays a window based on the received display data. FIG. 18 shows an example of the window which is displayed by the client computer 2 and shows the selection result of the golf ball. A display field c28 displays a comment of the recommended golf ball together with an image of the package of the recommended golf ball.

In this way, with the quick version, the user can find a golf ball that fits himself or herself by only answering questions, and can easily find a golf ball that fits himself or herself and, especially, a golf ball which has a performance that the user is looking for.