Title:
METHOD OF PLAYING A GOLF GAME
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method of managing the real-time play performance and play flow between geographically remote players of a golf type game comprising real golf shots where a hit ball traverses and encounters a real physical surface.



Inventors:
Mcnamara III, Edward J. (Scottsdale, AZ, US)
Application Number:
12/175443
Publication Date:
01/22/2009
Filing Date:
07/17/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B57/00
View Patent Images:
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20030060308Inflatable bunker system kit with impact dampening anchorsMarch, 2003Miller et al.



Primary Examiner:
DOSHI, ANKIT B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Harness Dickey (St. Louis) (St. Louis, MO, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of playing a golf type game between players who are not co-located and are geographically remote from each other, the golf type game comprising: providing a plurality of golf holes at the geographically remote locations on which players engage in real golf course play, where the geographically remote players each play the same like golf hole together at the exact same time from their respective geographic locations; providing real-time visual and audio communication between the geographically remote locations, which communication allows real-time viewing of each player, and communicates play performance and result recognition; and conducting communication of direct images and verbal interactions between the geographically remote players, during every aspect of playing the same like golf hole together at the exact same time from their respective geographic locations.

2. The method according to claim 1, wherein each golf hole comprises a plurality of golf shots corresponding to the par value for the golf hole, and each golf shot involves real golf course play in which a ball hit by a player traverses and encounters a real physical surface that is one of a fairway, rough, sand hazard, or green.

3. A method of playing a golf type game between players who are not co-located and are geographically remote from each other, where the golf type game comprises real golf course play of a plurality of golf holes that each comprise a plurality of separate short-game shots, the golf type game comprising: providing a plurality of golf holes at the geographically remote locations on which players engage in real golf course play, where the geographically remote players each play the same like golf hole together at the exact same time from their respective geographic locations; providing real-time visual and audio communication between the geographically remote locations, which communication allows real-time viewing of each player, and communicates play performance and result recognition; and conducting communication of direct images and verbal interactions between the geographically remote players, during every aspect of playing the same like golf hole together at the exact same time from their respective geographic locations.

4. The method according to claim 3, wherein the remote players are at diverse geographically distant locations which transcend time constraints, and the conducting of communication provides live real-time remote player interaction to permit a shot-by-shot golf course competition between players at geographically remote locations.

5. The method according to claim 4, wherein each golf hole comprises a plurality of different golf shots selected from either a pitch shot, a chip shot a bunker shot, a sand shot, or a putting shot, the number of which corresponds to the par value for the golf hole, and each golf shot involves real golf course play in which a ball hit by a player traverses and encounters a real physical surface that is one of a fairway, rough, sand hazard, or green.

6. The method according to claim 5, where the real-time visual communication of a player's performance at a short-game shot hole is provided by a visual recognition system that comprises video cameras positioned at each hitting area and at each target green on each of the plurality of golf holes, which cameras obtain images of short-game shot hole play that are transmitted to a central transmission equipment system for externally transmitting the images to other course geographically remote locations.

7. The method according to claim 6, where the real-time remote player-to-player audio communication during remote competition play is provided by an audio communication system that is comprised of audio receivers positioned throughout the golf hole play areas as source locations to receive audio input from play action at each hitting area and at each target green area, to obtain sound data of play performance at the same like golf hole within each respective geographically remote golf facility, which audio data is transmitted to a central transmission equipment system for externally transmitting the audio sounds to other course geographically remote locations.

8. The method according to claim 7, wherein the real-time course play images and sound data is communicated to other viewing and communication systems to enable real-time viewing, play performance recognition, and real-time remote player-to-player audio communications, for conducting communication to permit competition play between two or more players at geographically remote locations who are playing on the same like golf hole together at the exact same time from their respective geographic locations, said communication of real-time course play images and sound data being transmitted via one of a fiber-optic, video, digital analog, radio wave transmission medium, to viewing and communication systems that include in-house viewing equipment, in-house observer equipment, in-house instructional training equipment, in-house production equipment, in-house to third-party equipment, external production equipment, external third-party systems, or to external geographically remote play facility visual and audio systems.

9. A method of providing real-time remote course play competition between geographically remote players, via a competition system that comprises video camera devices and audio receiving devices for enabling of remote-to-remote player direct interaction and verbal communication of real golf course play, the method comprising: providing each geographically remote player with a ball to hit on a real golf hole in which a ball hit by a player traverses and encounters a real physical surface that is one of a fairway, rough, sand hazard, or green; and communicating audio and video images via the video camera devices and audio receiving devices to facilitate the real-time remote course play competition, wherein a system synchronizes the visual, audio and scoring activity between competing geographically remote players, such that each competiting player receives instructions to facilitate real-time interaction and receives audio sounds and video images that are managed, synchronized and provided by the competition system.

10. The method according to claim 9, where the players log into the competition system enter personal identification information, identification of their remote competitor and competitor's location, and identification of the course to be played at each respective geographically remote site for player-to-player direct interaction and verbal interaction with their remote opponent.

11. A method of playing a golf type game comprising a plurality of golf holes, wherein each golf hole comprises a plurality of separate short-game shots, the method comprising: providing at least one golf hole for which separate short-game shots are played; establishing play of a first non-putting short-game shot; subsequently establishing play of at least one putting short-game golf shot; and subsequently establishing play of at least one non-putting short-game golf shot.

12. A method of playing a golf type game on a plurality of golf holes that each comprise a hitting area having a plurality of surface types to hit from, the method comprising: determining a surface type from which to hit from for each short shot hole's hitting area, based on factors of the player's performance from the previous short shot hole, which factors include the player's stroke count and the location of the ball relative to the intended target, and based on the starting surface types for the present short shot hole, wherein when the player's performance at the previous short shot hole comprises a stroke count of one and the ball hit on the first hit attempt comes to rest within an inner zone of the hole's intended target area, the player hits from a more favorable surface type at the present short shot hole hitting slot, and when the player's performance at the previous short shot hole does not result in the desired stroke count or the ball coming to rest within the target area, the player hits from the less favorable surface type at the present short shot hole hitting area; and hitting the ball from either a more favorable or less favorable surface type as determined above, where the more favorable surface type comprises one of a turf or putting green surface, and the less favorable surface type comprises one of a sand or rough surface.

13. The method according to claim 12, where the determination of surface type at each short shot hole's hitting area is displayed by visual display indicators provided by an electronic device that directs a player to the physical location of the appropriate surface type to hit from based on their performance on the previous previous short shot hole.

14. The method according to claim 13, where the visual indicators by an electronic device are directly attached to the various surface types at a hitting area, which visual indicators become activated for visual recognition by the player, to thereby direct the player to the appropriate surface type.

15. The method according to claim 14, where the visual indicator is one of either a directional arrow pointing to the specified surface type, a symbolic representation of the surface type, or indicia for indicating which surface type to hit from.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/961,100, filed Jul. 19, 2007. The disclosure of the above-referenced application is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention relates to operational methods which orchestrate, for the players and competing players of this invention, play of, and flow between, the short game golf shots comprising each virtual golf hole of this invention.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Traditional golf course play requires a player to traverse to where each golf shot is hit before they can view the hit ball result and proceed with their next shot for the golf hole. Furthermore, in this traditional framework, a player is not able to observe remote competitors' performance in real-time. The methods of this invention counter and transcend these limitations.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention provides operational methods specifically designed and incorporated for golf course-type games which emphasize the use of only short game golf shots such as pitch, chip, putt, and sand and turf bunker shots. These operational methods are enabling and transitional tools for the play and practice of golf holes constructed, in their array of integrated combinations, to comprise the full complement of par golf holes (i.e., Par 3, 4 and 5 holes, at the least), or virtual golf holes, and where the number of short-game golf shots for each golf hole is established relative to the par of the golf hole. In addition, these methods transcend geographic location constraints for competition by facilitating real-time remote player-interaction (visual and audio) golf course competition, shot-by-shot.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF TIE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the exterior of a golf structure construction for the facilitation of methods according to the principles of this invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the interior of the golf structure construction for the facilitation of methods according to the principles of this invention;

FIG. 3 schematic diagram of a preferred arrangement of an indoor or outdoor golf course specifically adapted for the facilitation of methods according to the principles of this invention; and

FIG. 4 is a profile view of a golf structure construction for the facilitation of methods according to the principles of this invention;

FIG. 5 is a view of a score card for use in playing a golf course game through the execution of methods according to the principles of this invention.

Corresponding reference numerals indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views of the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention provides methods specifically designed and incorporated for the play of golf course-type games which emphasize play of short game golf shots, and where the methods facilitate and automate the decision processes encountered by a player, as well as the play flow, for each short shot hole comprising a golf hole of this invention. Not only are this invention's operational methods employed and exploited within a single facility, but many of the methods manifest live real-time remote player-interaction golf course competition, shot by shot, at multiple facilities around the globe, simultaneously. It is within this global real-time competition framework that a preferred embodiment is presented, below. These methods can be employed at outdoor acreage configurations, but are particularly well suited to be played in an indoor structure, such as structure 20, described below.

The operational methods of this invention can be executed within a structure 20 which comprises a central core section 22, and first and second domed sections 24 and 26 on either side of the central core section. In this embodiment, the central core section 22 has a front 28, a back 30, and left and right sides 32 and 34. The central core section 22 is preferably divided into a forward portion 36 for housing retail, customer relations, administrative and other support functions, and a rearward portion 38 for housing the play surface area of this invention. The central core section 22 preferably has multiple levels or floors, represented by 100, and each floor is open on the left side 32 to the first domed section 24, and on the right side 34 to the second domed section 26.

The domed section 26 contains three longitudinally extending tiers 52, 54, and 56, each containing a plurality of target green areas (57, 58, 59, 106), and at least some hitting slots (84, 107) where some player performance can occur. The tier 52 is closest to the central section 22, and the tier 56 is furthest from the central section. Similarly, the domed section 24 contains three longitudinally extending tiers configured in the same manner as under domed section 26. In an alternative embodiment, the number of tiers under a dome can be other than three, and they can be in some other orientation besides longitudinal.

The floors 100 within the center section 227 which are arranged one above the other, each contain side sections 96R and 96L, and a middle section 102, where, on these floors 100, most play of this invention's golf course game is performed by the players. There is a plurality of hitting slots (84, 107) along the right side 96R of each of the floors 100, adjacent the dome 26, from which players can hit balls toward the target green areas (57, 58, 59, 106) under the dome. In an alternative embodiment, players could hit from these hitting slots to target green areas in section 102. The hitting slots on the right side 96R are each assigned to a particular target green area on the tiers 52, 54, and 56, in the domed section 26. The hitting slots (84, 107) on the left side 96L of the floor 100 are each assigned to a particular target green area (57, 58, 59, 106) on the corresponding tiers in the domed section 24. There is a plurality of hitting slots (84, 107) on the middle section 102 of each floor 100 from which players can hit balls toward the target green areas (57, 58, 59, 106) that are either in section 102 or on the tiers.

The short shot hole types, which are combined to create a golf hole of this invention, are pitch, chip, bunker, sand, and putting short shot holes. (P22) Each of these short shot holes has at least one hitting slot. Each hitting slot (84, 107) of a short shot hole on floor 100, or on one of the tiers, preferably has either a turf surface or a sand surface on which a ball can be placed to hit toward a target green area (57, 58, 59, 106) that is assigned to that hitting slot. The hitting slot turf can be natural or artificial, and the hitting slot sand can be natural or artificial. Alternatively, there can be several hitting slots assigned to each target green area. The length of the turf varies at the turf hitting slots, for example, short turf for a fairway grade shot, medium turf for a rough grade shot, and high turf for a deep rough grade shot. Alternatively, each short shot hitting slot can be provided with sections of the different lengths of turf, so that different grades of shots can be played from the same hitting slot. The depth of the sand bunker varies at the sand short shot hitting slot, for example, a shallow-depth bunker for a less difficult shot, a medium-depth bunker for a more difficult shot, and a deep-depth bunker for an even more difficult shot. One embodiment of the invention can have, at a short shot hitting slot, multiple depths of bunkers. Alternatively, the grade of the sand varies at the sand hitting slots, for example, fine light-weight sand or coarse heavy-weight sand. The turf bunker short shot holes can be played from turf hitting slots with shallow, intermediate, or deep bunker depths to simulate regulation golf course conditions (or each turf bunker hitting slot can have all or some combination of, these different bunker depths). Additionally, the grade of the turf can vary in length (short, medium, long) for each turf bunker shot, and a single turf bunker hitting slot can contain all variations of turf length for shot selection by a player. The chipping short shot hitting slots can have varying turf lengths, and their starting points can also have differing turfs to simulate chipping from the apron of the green, the fairway, or the rough. The putting short shot hitting slots can have varying lengths and different turfs to simulate putting from starting points on the rough, apron, fringe, and on the green, and alternatively, the putting short shot holes can be comprised of sand.

In this embodiment, each of the target green areas (57, 58, 59, 106) preferably comprises at least inner and outer zones, although additional zones could be provided, if desired. The inner zone could correspond to the entire surface of the target green area, or alternatively, there could be multiple inner zones within the target green area, such as target green areas 57 and 59 on tiers 54 and 56, respectively, and on section 102 short shot holes 6b and 8B, respectively, and as target green area 106 for target green area 10B on section 102. The outer zone could correspond to a portion of the area surrounding the target green area, or alternatively, the outer zone could be all of the area outside of the inner zone. Another alternative could have different outer zones assigned to each tier or section outside of, and surrounding, the target green area. In other embodiments, the inner and outer target zones could be coextensive with the target green. Alternatively, at least some of the target green areas (57, 58, 59, 106) could be comprised of sand, or some other surface type other than turf. As shown schematically in FIG. 3, the inner zone can correspond to an area clearly delineated for the player and shown schematically as a circle (although the inner zone does not have to be circular, and could have some other non-circular shape, and there could be multiple inner zones, as shown by target green area 57 on Tier 54, and by target green area 59 on Tier 56, and by target green areas 6B and 8B on play surface area 102).

Play surface area 102 comprises, for at least some of the short shot holes, a putting short shot hole 108, comprising a turf surface and a target green area 106 preferably comprising at least inner an outer zones that the ball is hit toward. The inner zone corresponds to the surface area closest to, and encompassing, the hole cup, and where the outer zone is outside the inner zone. Alternatively, the inner zone corresponds to the hole cup solely, and where the outer zone is outside the inner zone. This turf can be natural or artificial. Preferably, the length of the turf varies at the putting short shot holes 108, for example, very shot length turf (e.g., putting surface grade) encompassing around, and including, the target green area 106, simulating the surface of a golf course putting green, and short length turf (e.g., fringe grade) surrounding the very short length turf, and for at least some putting short shot holes 108, having increasingly longer turf lengths (corresponding to apron and rough grade) surrounding the target green area 106. Each putting hole 108 includes one or more starting points 107 associated with it, on which a player can position a ball to hit it toward the cup of the target green area 106. The starting points 107 can be located on the rough, apron or fringe grade turf and on the putting surface grade turf, or a combination of surface grades.

Generally, in an embodiment of the methods of this invention, regarding the short shot holes comprising a golf hole of this invention, a plurality (preferably 9 or 18, paralleling traditional golf) of golf holes are played (par 3, par 4, and par 5 hole play, at the least, paralleling traditional golf) through the incorporation of this invention's methods as the focal operational aspect of the course play, and where the scoring is comprised of strokes taken for striking at a ball, and of penalty stokes. Each of these golf holes comprises one or more short shot holes, where there is a first short shot hole followed by at least one subsequent short shot hole. There is emphasis in this invention that a putting short shot hole can be experienced anywhere in the sequence of short shot holes comprising a golf hole (i.e., it can be the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, etc., short-shot hole comprising a golf hole). Additionally, there can be multiple putting short-shot holes comprising a single golf hole of this invention in conjunction with other short shot holes, or by themselves. Each short shot hole (pitch, chip, bunker, sand trap, putting) preferably has a hitting slot with a primary starting point and one or more secondary starting points. The primary starting point is preferably more favorable/less difficult than the secondary starting points, for example having a more favorable surface (e.g., shorter turf), or having a more favorable location (e.g., a shallower bunker). Each short shot hole also has a target green area (preferably, a separate target green area for each separate hitting slot, however, there can also be a many-to-one and one-to-many association between hitting slots and target green areas) with at least inner and outer zones, where the inner zone is closest to, and encompasses, a hole cup (in an alternative embodiment, the hole cup can comprise the entire inner zone).

Play on each golf hole of the golf course, comprising the golf game, begins with play at its first short shot hole's hitting slot where the ball is hit toward the first short shot hole's target green area. The surface type to hit from at this first hitting slot, of which there can be multiple, can be pre-determined or it can be derived by some means. Significance is placed on the first hit attempt of the ball at this, and at every, hitting slot of every short shot hole of this invention, where the result of the first hit attempt at the hitting slot of a short shot hole directly influences play at a subsequent short shot hole by being a determining factor as to the surface type to hit from. Because of the significance placed on this first hit attempt at a short shot hole, the scoring frame for each short shot hole contains a position in which is placed an ‘On-Target’ check mark to signify that the first hit attempt of the ball came to rest within the inner zone of the short shot hole's intended target green area. So, upon completing play at the first short shot hole (to include placing an ‘On-Target’ check mark in the frame, if appropriate), scoring for this first short shot hole is accomplished. Play proceeds at the subsequent short shot hole comprising the golf hole. Referencing the previous short shot hole's scoring frame for an ‘On-Target’ check mark, the determination establishes the starting point surface type from which the ball is played at this subsequent short shot hole. Upon positioning the ball, the player attempts to hit the ball toward the specified target green area for this subsequent short shot hole. This subsequent short shot hole play sequence, along with scoring and placement of an ‘On-Target’ check mark, when appropriate, repeats until the last short shot hole comprising the golf hole is played. Scoring is accomplished at the conclusion of play at each short shot hole comprising the golf hole, and then each short shot hole's score is tallied to establish the golf hole's total score. Play proceeds to the next golf hole until all of the golf holes comprising the golf course game have been played.

Exemplary Operational Methods

The primary methods of this invention are: a) hit shot result visual recognition method; b) real-time remote course play competition method; c) hitting surface type determination and locator method; d) automated scoring system with subsequent shot type determination method; e) surface clearing method; f) interactive short shot hole play procedure instructional method; and g) automated information system on the facility activities, schedules, and standings and statistics of individual and team leagues/tournaments. Referencing FIG. 3 and FIG. 4, the following table presents at least some of the unique operational method features of this invention for the play of this invention's golf course game which uses only golf's short game shots to comprise golf holes:

TABLE 1
Facility Operational Method Features
MethodFeatureDescription
aClosed-CircuitAt least some target green area (58, 106) has
Cameras at Targetmultiple video/digital closed-circuit cameras
Greenspointed at it from different angles.
Used for player viewing and for general in-
facility viewing by visual assistance systems,
and for commercial communications feeds.
aClosed-CircuitAt least some hitting slots (84, 107) have
Cameras at Hittingmultiple video/digital closed-circuit cameras
Slotspointed at it from different angles.
Used for player training and instruction, and for
general in-facility viewing by visual assistance
systems, and for commercial communications
feeds, and for remote real-time course play
competition.
aClosed-CircuitAt least some hitting slots (84, 107) have a
Monitorsviewing apparatus to observe and discern the
result of their hit ball, and for viewing during
training and instruction sessions.
Used for player viewing and for general in-
facility viewing by visual assistance systems,
and for remote real-time course play
competition.
aClosed-CircuitCommunication equipment providing view of
Communicationsplayer activity to professional communication
Feed to Professionallinks for telecasting over their networks.
Networks
aHit Ball IdentificationMeans to differentiate between hit balls by
Differentiationplayers in the same group at a hitting slot (84,
107) through the use of various identification
methodologies (multi-colored balls, electronic
signature balls, optical signature balls, at the
least).
bIntra and Inter-FacilityChampionship play-offs with live real-time direct
Playoff Programsplayer competition where players are not co-
located:
Intra-league.
Intra-facility.
Inter-facility.
Regional.
National.
International.
bPer-Round PlayThere will be a system with informational
Systeminput/retrieval at each hitting slot and short-
game shot hole throughout the facility for player
scoring and player awareness interaction.
Information types: Use of facility offerings; pace
of play; instant prize availability; play and
attendance awards; notification means; at the
least.
In one embodiment of this invention, this
competition management system is also used
for in-house and inter-facility league, tournament
and open course play competition (live or
delayed play performance comparison)
information processing.
bLeague &An automated system to handle league and
Tournament Playtournament play description parameters, and to
Management Systemmanage league and tournament play results
both within a single facility and inter-facility
competition.
cSurface Type to HitAt each hitting slot (84, 107) throughout the
From Identifierscourse play area of this invention, there is an
identifier apparatus that indicates the surface
type to hit from in relation to the player's
previous hitting performance.
This identifier apparatus assists players in
identifying the surface type to hit from, either in
its absolute application, or specifically
dependent on the player's hitting performance at
a previous short-game shot (whether ‘previous’
relates to the immediately preceding short-game
golf shot for the current golf hole, or to some
other preceding short-game golf shot, which
could include the preceding golf hole).
This identifier apparatus can be dynamically
controlled to be altered for use in specialty golf
course games where the result of the player's
hit ball at the preceding short-game shot hole
(which can span to the a preceding golf hole) is
unknown so as to provide uncertainty for players
engaged in the specialty “fun” golf course game,
and where the determination process to identify
the surface type to hit from can be an alternating
selection or can be a random selection.
The use and implication of this identifier
apparatus is depicted in FIG. 5 with diagrams
618 and 624.
dAutomated ScoringAt least at some short-game shot holes' hitting
Systemslot, and at least at some target green areas,
there is an automated scoring system
equipment device used by the players to record
their hit stroke count, penalty strokes, and hit
ball location result relative to the intended target
green area (see FIG. 5, diagrams 618 and 624,
and the use and implementation of the ‘On
Target’ marking and play determination
methodology), for each short shot hole
comprising a golf hole of this invention.
This is integrated with the Player/Member
System and with an automated Handicapping
System.
eBall Removal SystemTilting (hydraulics, electronics, manual, water-
affected, air-affected, at the least) of target
green areas (58, 106) (individually or as a set) to
cause balls that are resting on the target green
areas to roll toward and into ball receptacle
devices (500).
Alternatively, a sweeping device for push/pull
movement of the balls, air-blowing device,
vacuum device, extracting device (above or
below the surface), or a vibrating device, is used
to move balls toward and into ball receptacle
devices (500). Lastly, manual gathering of balls
is conducted where a human protective device
is employed for safety.
eAlert SystemA light, sound, or motion indication that the ball
Preceding Ballremoval system is going to be activated for a
Removaltarget green (58, 106), or for some other
moveable surface or set of surfaces.
fAutomated CourseThis provides informational instruction on game
Play Informationplay (how it is played, what different aspects
Systemmean and their use, at the least); it provides
procedural directions for hitting and continued
play per short-game shot hole type; logistical
assistance to direct a player from short-game
shot hole to the next throughout the facility; etc.
Provide course play description and instruction
using direct personal methods, and using
various mediums (video, audio, virtual reality,
holographic, at the least)
gPlayer/MemberA Player/Member identifier system will be
Systemoperational throughout the facility.
It will contain player/member profile information;
It will contain a picture of the player/member;
It will produce identification Cards;
It will contain payment methods.
Will record:
Player activity within the facility.
Open Course Play, Tournaments and League
Play performance; accumulative play attributes
recording; at the least
a, b, c, d, e,Control RoomThe centralized control room oversees
f, gFunctionality (502)operations throughout the facility to include the
ball removal system; camera use and data
distribution internal to the facility and to external
sources; lighting; environment control; audio and
video distribution; retail structure; at the least.

In an embodiment of this invention, a method provides source-viewing means of short-game shot golf hole play to local and remote visual assistance systems, recording systems, and commercial broadcasting equipment devices. This hit-shot result visual recognition system method provides a view to players (local and remote), to instructional trainers (local and remote), and to patron observers (local and remote), of play action and performance for the hitting occurrences and the resulting resting location of hit balls. In one embodiment of this invention, video/digital motion cameras and audio receivers are positioned throughout the course play areas, floors (100) and tiers (52, 54 and 56), as source points to receive and collect play action at each hitting slot area (84, 107) and at each target green area (57, 58, 59, 106), and which is transmitted via dedicated lines/circuits or via air waves to a central transmission collection equipment management system (504) for re-distribution internally throughout the structure and for image and sound storage, and also, externally to other course locations, and other business locations for subsequent product editing and production, via other communication transmission means (dedicated lines/circuits, internet, cellular, modular, etc.). Course play image and sound distribution can be to either optical or electronic visual and audio assistance systems (light waves, video, digital, holographic, virtual reality, analog, radio wave, high definition, or some other format). The course play image and sound distribution becomes transmission feed to other viewing and communication systems, such as: in-house player viewing equipment; in-house observer equipment; in-house instructional training equipment; in-house production equipment; in-house to third-party commercial equipment; external to other like-kind play facility remote visual and audio assistance systems; external to other production equipment; external to third-party professional and commercial equipment systems.

In an embodiment of this invention, there is a method to synchronize visual imaging and audio mechanisms between both locally disjoined competing players and remotely competing players that allow viewing of performance play of each other at the appropriate play positions within the respective golf courses. This means that competing players can view the proper play position of their remote opponent as play traverses throughout the golf course at their respective remote locations.

In one embodiment, a closed circuit video system (source data generated and managed within a facility structure of this invention) is provided with cameras directed at the various hitting slots and target green areas, and monitors (or other visual imaging devices) are positioned throughout the golf course of this invention for viewing by the players so that they can accurately assess and score their shot result relative to where their hit ball comes to rest. Alternatively, some form of tracking system, such as an optical or electronic tracking system, could be provided to help players locate and score their shots. There is alternatively a rack with golf balls in at least four different colors (to accommodate play in foursomes) associated with each hitting slot, so that each player can play with a different colored ball. The colors can vary from each group of hitting slots so that stray balls at the target green areas from adjacent groups can be readily distinguished.

In one embodiment of this invention, there is a device at each hitting slot and target green area that contains an automated score system for use by the players where they record their performance and score upon completion of each short shot hole comprising a golf hole of this invention, and where the scorecard of the automated scoring system receives input for strokes take and stroke results (where stroke results include any penalty strokes assessed, and are identified by use of the ‘On-Target’ check mark).

In one embodiment of this invention, there is, at each hitting slot, a mechanism that directs the player to the appropriate surface type to hit from based on the player's previous short shot hole stroke results. This mechanism takes into account two factors of player performance at the previous short shot hole (stroke count and ‘On-Target’ registration), and one factor from the present short shot hole (surface makeup—turf/bunker/sand/green). When the player's performance at the previous short shot hole comprises a stroke count of one (“1”) and a check mark is registered in the ‘On-Target’ box, the player hits from the more favorable surface type at the present short shot hole hitting slot. When the player's performance at the previous short shot hole does not meet these stroke count and ‘On-Target’ box criteria, the player hits from the less favorable surface type at the present short shot hole hitting slot. The directional mechanism can be, but not limited to, verbiage such as, “Hit on this surface type if the ‘On-Target’ check mark is present at your previous short shot hole,” with an arrow ‘↓’ or ‘↑’ pointing to the specified surface location; or, it can be entirely symbolic in representation. Regardless of the mechanism apparatus, or whether the stroke results were inputted into the automated scoring system or the determination information is provided in some other means, some visual methodology imparts direction. This surface type determination system can operate in conjunction with the automated scoring system, or it can operate independently, or both, simultaneously.

Preferred Operational Methods

In the preferred embodiment of this invention, a method provides hit shot result visual recognition system at intended hitting destinations for which a player will not physically travel to, nor retrieve their ball from. The video/digital motion cameras, in conjunction with the visual assistance equipment (89) at the play areas, provide the visual recognition image to the players. This method is a significant aspect of this invention, as it enables precise visual determination by a player of their resulting hit ball performance while not being co-located at the resting location of the ball, which, in turn, allows scoring by the player for the short shot hole comprising the golf hole of this invention. Additionally, this method facilitates this inventions course play and competition by players both within the immediate structure confines and remotely at diverse geographic locations.

In the preferred embodiment of this invention, a method provides real-time remote course play competition system between players, through the enactment of remote-to-remote player direct interaction and inter-verbalization facilitated via visual and audio systems, where the striking of the ball play and the hitting result of the ball for every short-game shot hole play of this invention is experienced by the players in real-time, remotely, simultaneously. This competition management system (CMS) method affords the ability to conduct play competition between two or more players, each not co-located, who are playing the same short shot hole at their respective sites, comprising a like golf hole of this invention, at the exact same time for each hit of each short shot hole, including the execution of golf ‘honors’ for hitting order, the execution of golf match-play ‘conceding’ rules, and all of the inter-communication interaction associated with stroke play, match play, Stableford-type play, or other scoring-type play. This method incorporates the synchronization of visual and audio mechanisms between remote players to allow viewing and sound of play performance of each other at the appropriate play positions within their respective facilities, thus being able to view the correct play position (hitting slot, fairway, target green area, putting green area, etc.) of the remote opponent as play traverses throughout the golf course at the remote location. This method also includes the wearing, by the players, of a miniature camera device which provides its local view to the remote player(s) through visual assistance systems either as a stand-alone monitor-type equipment piece, or as a miniature screen device held or worn by the player(s). Additionally, this method incorporates the use of audio devices that are synchronized and used (even worn) by competing remote players. In all, this method accomplishes real-time remote player-to-player visual and audio inter-communications during direct competition of this invention's golf course game. In an alternative embodiment of this invention, this method can provide real-time course play competition through the enactment of player-to-player direct interaction and inter-verbalization facilitated via visual and audio systems, where the players are competing on the same golf course, but are on different golf holes, where striking of the ball play and the hitting result of the ball for every short-game golf shot is experienced by the players in real-time, simultaneously. Additionally, this application of the method facilitates direct competition at different time periods or intervals.

In the preferred embodiment of this invention, a method provides automated scoring system equipment at each short-shot hole's hitting slot (84, 107) and at least at some target green areas (57, 58, 59, 106) of this invention which record (using manual input, or voice input recognition, or optical input recognition, or ball censor motion recognition, or visual sign recognition) a player's hit stroke count, any penalty stroke count, and most importantly the hit ball resulting resting location relative to the short shot hole's intended target green area, referenced as ‘On Target’ scoring, for each short shot hole segment comprising a golf hole of this invention. The score recording of the ‘On-Target’ value is the significant information piece on every short shot hole as it has direct impact and implication on the play, by the player, at the next, or subsequent, short shot hole as a determinant for the player's hitting surface type to hit from at the subsequent short shot hole of the golf course.

In the preferred embodiment of this invention, a method provides a surface type determination system that is present at each short shot hole's hitting slot, referenced as the ‘Surface Type to Hit From Identifier’, which operates with direct inter-relationship with ‘On Target’ scoring (defined and discussed above). This method is used as an integral aspect to the flow of play on this invention's golf course through determination management and direction of surface-type-to-hit-from at each next, or subsequent, short shot hole. This described determination methodology is shown graphically in FIG. 5 with diagrams 618 and 624, and it correlates to player decision making as indicated, for example, at golf hole 11, where the surface type to hit from at the first hitting slot 310 is dependent on whether an ‘On Target’ check-mark is present or not in box 307; and where the surface type to hit from at hitting slot 314 is dependent on whether an ‘On Target’ check-mark is present or not in box 312, and so on. The application of this surface-type-to-hit-from determination logic at each short shot hole's hitting slot manifests into display indicators or electronic equipment devices expressing and directing a player to the physical location of the appropriate surface type to hit from based on their previous ‘On-Target’ scoring. Interaction with the indicators or devices is automated, inputted, or visually accessed. In one embodiment of this method, there are visual indicators, or devices, directly attached to the various surface types at a hitting slot that become activated for recognition by the player in response to the player's ‘On-Target’ scoring. The procedure and affect of this ‘surface-type to hit from identifier’ method is incorporated into the Automated Scoring System which immediately applies this method and determines the surface type to hit from for the players, and this method can be applied manually on a scorecard using information data on the scorecard, such as frames 600, 606, 618 and 624. This method drives the operational implementation of the ‘On Target’ scoring, and is an integral tool for the play and flow of this invention's golf course.

In the preferred embodiment of this invention, a method provides a ball removal system method comprising moveable surfaces for target green areas (57, 58, 59, 106), and their surrounding surface area, for hitting slots (84, 107), and their surrounding surface area, and for fairway, rough and hazard areas, and their surrounding surface area. This surface clearing system method includes an automated ball retrieval system that removes balls from surfaces and directs the balls into a ball receptacle system feeding to a centralized collection area. This method comprises moveable surfaces that tilt to cause balls to move toward, and into, the ball receptacle system. An alerting system fore-warns players of the surface movements. The enacting of the movable surfaces is accomplished from a central control room, from players on the course, from remote controls, from motion sensing devices, or from time elapse mechanisms. This aspect of the invention's operational method is integral for managing the play surfaces, as well as play flow, by eliminating interference for hit ball performance on the short shot holes by keeping the surfaces cleared of previously-hit balls, and by allowing the players to more-readily view and determine, via the visual assistance equipment systems, the resulting resting place of their hit ball. This ball removal system method promotes a quicker pace of play.

In the preferred embodiment of this invention, a method provides an interactive course play instructional system. Due to the uniqueness of this invention's golf course play game, an interactive automated course play information system is made available using visual viewing and audio equipment systems throughout the course play areas, the observer areas, and the customer service areas. Each instance of a hitting slot surface type decision; each hitting slot procedural play definition; the interpretation of hit ball results at a hitting slot and at a target green area; each scoring procedure (stroke count, penalty strokes); and all procedures relating to real-time remote course play competition, which are provided, as well as the interaction of ‘What If?’ scenarios for any of the aforementioned play aspects. This method is integral to this invention's course play as it gives immediate and precise play direction to a player for each situation encountered for each short shot hole type, thus promoting proper play, accurate scoring, and improved pace of play by eliminating delays due to player uncertainty of course play and competition progression.

In the preferred embodiment of this invention, there is an automated information system method that is the consolidation schema for all member and player information. This method is integral to the interaction of each person that enters a facility site through attendance, participation, play, competition and performance statistical analysis. Accessibility to the compiled information of this method is through local equipment, remote competition equipment, online communications equipment, and through hardcopy published materials.

Thus, through employed operational methodologies of this invention, players play and score a golf game that emphasizes the use of only short game golf skills such as pitching, chipping, putting, and bunker shots, to accomplish full golf course play of the golf hole par spectrum. Various embodiments of the methods of this invention benefit the player through immediate play and performance feedback (visual, audio, informational, and competition comparison) at each stroke of a ball, as well as through the ability to compete remotely with players while viewing each hit and result of all players in real-time, and exercising play etiquette amongst all players in real-time. Various embodiments benefit the golfing community through increased pace of play which is facilitated with automated play direction systems and course play procedural information systems.

Below are two tables defining an environment and some conditions against which the methods of this invention are described. Table 2 shows one possible arrangement of 9 golf holes of this invention (which can be played separately, or could be incorporated into an 18-hole golf course configuration):

TABLE 2
9 Golf Hole Environment
1st Short Shot Hole2nd Short Shot Hole3rd Short Shot Hole4th Short Shot Hole
StartingTargetStarting SlotTargetStarting SlotTargetTarget
GolfSlot (84)/Green(84)/Green(84)/GreenStartGreen
Hole(107)(58)/(106)(107)(58)/(106)(107)(58)/(106)(84)/(107)(58/106)
1010A10A10B10BPuttingPutting
Par 4(hit untilHole 10CHole10C
in)(107)(106) (hit
until on)
11*PuttingPutting11B11B11C11C11D11D
Par 5Hole 11AHole 11A(hit until(sand)(hit
(107)(106) (hiton)(hit onceonce
until in)only)only)
12*12A12A12B12B
Par 4(sand)(hit until
in)
13*PuttingPutting13B13B
Par 3Hole 13AHole 13A
(107)(106) (hit
until on)
1414A14APuttingPutting
Par 4Hole 14 (107)Hole14
[long](106) (hit
until in)
15*15A15APuttingPuttingPuttingPutting15D15D
Par 5(hit onceHole 15BHole 15BHole 15CHole15C(hit
only)(107 fringe)(106)(107)(106) (hitonce
(hit untiluntil on)only)
in)
1616A16APuttingPutting
Par 4(sand)Hole 16 (107)Hole16
(Fringe/Rough)(106) (hit
[long]until in)
17PuttingPutting17B17B17C17C
Par 3Hole 17AHole 17A(hit once only)(sand)
(107)(106) (hit(hit once
until on)only)
1818A18APuttingPutting
Par 4Hole 18 (107)Hole18
(long)(106) (hit
until in)
*Surface type to hit from at 1st Short Shot Hole is determined by the first hit attempt of the ball at the immediately preceding Short Shot Hole: For Golf Hole 11: The first hit attempt at Putting Hole 10. For Golf Hole 12: The first hit attempt at Starting Slot 11C. For Golf Hole 13: The first hit attempt at Starting Slot 12B. For Golf Hole 15: The first hit attempt at Putting Hole 14.

Table 3 enumerates a list of unique short shot hole play conditions that help emphasis the use and application of this invention's methods to play and traverse the short shot holes comprising the golf holes of this invention:

TABLE 3
Unique Short Shot Hole Play Conditions
Ref#Unique PlayApplied At
1Multiple short shot holesShort Shot Hole 10B
comprising a golf hole, where at
least one of the short shot holes
is a non-putting hole and is
not the finishing short shot
hole comprising the golf hole,
where the target area
comprises at least inner and
outer zones, where the inner
zone is closest to, and
encompasses, the hole's cup,
and where the ball is hit until
it comes to rest in the hole's
cup within the inner zone.
2Multiple short shot holesShort Shot Hole 10C
comprising a golf hole, where
the finishing short shot hole is a
putting hole, where the target
area comprises at least inner
and outer zones, where there is
no hole cup, even in the inner
zone, and where the ball is hit
until it comes to rest within
the inner zone.
3First short shot hole comprisingShort Shot Hole 11A
a golf hole is a putting short
shot hole, where the surface
type to hit the ball from is
determined by the result of
the first hit attempt of the ball
at the starting point of the
previous golf hole's last short
shot hole comprising the golf
hole, which was a putting
short shot hole, and where
play at this putting first short
shot hole comprises hitting until
the ball comes to rest in the
hole's cup.
4Last short shot holeShort Shot Hole 11D
comprising a golf hole is a
non-putting hole where no
putting is performed for the
short shot hole, where the ball is
hit from the starting point, and
where the number of strokes
assessed for this last short shot
hole depends on where the ball
finishes landing relative to the
target zones.
5First short shot hole comprisingShort Shot Hole 12A
a golf hole is a non-putting short
shot hole, where the surface
type to hit the ball from is
determined by the result of the
first hit attempt of the ball at the
starting point of the previous
golf hole's last short shot hole
comprising the previous golf
hole, which was a non-putting
short shot hole.
6First short shot hole comprisingShort Shot Hole 13A;
a golf hole is a putting shortShort Shot Hole 13B
shot hole, where the surface
type to hit the ball from is
determined by the result of
the first hit attempt of the ball
at the starting point of the
previous golf hole's last short
shot hole comprising the golf
hole, which was a non-putting
short shot hole, and where
play at this putting first short
shot hole comprises hitting
until the ball comes to rest
within the inner zone (not
required to end up in the
hole's cup).
7Second short shot hole
[withcomprising a golf hole is a non-
#6]putting short shot hole, where
the target area comprises at
least inner and outer zones,
where the inner zone is closest
to, and encompasses, the hole's
cup, and where the ball is hit
toward the inner zone (Not
required to end up in the
hole's cup).
8Multiple short shot holesShort Shot Hole 15B
comprising a golf hole, where
other than the first and last
short shot hole is a putting
hole.
9Multiple short shot holesShort Shot Holes
comprising a golf hole, where15B & 15C
at least two of the short shot
holes are putting holes.

Method of Play

One embodiment of a method of playing a golf-type game in accordance with the methods of this invention, is described with reference to the exemplary indoor/outdoor golf course layout 110 depicted in FIG. 3. However the invention is not limited to this, or any particular golf course layout, and methods could by employed, and the game could be played, on some other indoor/outdoor golf course layout, or in an indoor structure such as indoor structure 20, or some other indoor structure.

This embodiment is best understood with reference to the score card 200 shown in FIG. 5, which is specifically configured for play on the golf course layout 110 in FIG. 3, and with reference to Table 2, above, which further details each short shot hole description comprising the golf holes identified on score card 200, and within which is incorporated some of the distinct short shot hole attributes enumerated in Table 3, above. Play of golf holes 10-15, as identified in Table 2 above, will be described for representation of the embodiment of this invention. Additionally, to best represent the preferred embodiment of this invention, the described execution of golf course play is performed by competing players who are geographically remote from each other and who are each playing on a golf course layout of this invention which is similar in construct. The number of concurrent real-time competing players in this configuration can be from two to unlimited, and there can be multiple co-located competing players who are participating in the competition with remote players, however, for the purposes of representation and description here, the number of remote competing players is two.

Unlike video and virtual reality golf course play competition of remote players where results of a hit ball are computer-generated extrapolations that are displayed as visual imagery, this is real golf course play where the player's hit ball traverses and encounters a real surface (fairway, rough, hazards, greens) which then presents the resulting resting place of their hit ball. In this embodiment of this invention, competing players view, in real-time, the real performance and result of their competitor's hit ball, not computer-generated imagery.

In the framework of a ‘Competition Management System’, which synchronizes the visual, audio and scoring activity between competing remote players, the players log into the system and identify themselves (various means can be used, such as, a username, a member ID, etc.); they identify, or select, their remote competitor and the competitor's location; the course to be played at each respective site is identified, or selected; then, the competitors each receive and put on assigned equipment to facilitate real-time interaction and inter-communications. The assigned equipment, which is managed, synchronized and operated as part of the Competition Management System (CMS), consists of one or many devices, such as visual camera devices and audio devices.

Arriving at the first short shot hole comprising the first golf hole to play of this invention (as stated above, for description purposes of this embodiment, the first golf hole to play is Hole 10 of Table 2) at the competitors' respective sites, the players activate the Automated Scoring System for themselves and identify the remote competition to be played; the players activate their visual and audio inter-communications equipment and communicate with each other while viewing each other in real-time; then, the competing players establish who will hit first, in golf language—who will have ‘hitting honors’.

Play begins on the tenth golf hole (at each player's respective site), a par 4 (basically comprised of three short shot holes), with its first short shot hole at a hitting slot area, or starting slot, 84 labeled “10A”, having a corresponding target green area 58 labeled “10A” on tier 54. If needed, the target green area surface clearing system method is activated, and if play procedure for the short shot hole “10A” is needed, the player can activate the interactive course play instructor system method. The player with honors begins by positioning a ball onto the indicated surface type of the starting slot (scorecard frame 298 and its corresponding surface type frame indicate fairway turf grade, whereas, the ‘surface-type to hit from identifier’ method could be employed and based on the player's first hit attempt performance at the last short shot hole comprising golf hole 9 of this invention). Once the ball is positioned, the player hits the ball toward target green area “10A”. This hitting process by the first player is observed in real-time by the remote competitor by means of the Competition Management System's visual and audio functionality, and then, both players observe the performance result of the hit ball by means of the hit-shot result visual recognition system method. The first player identifies the final resting place of the hit ball relative to the inner and outer zones for target green area “10A”. Using this method, the first player's resulting stroke count score for this first short shot hole of the tenth golf hole is entered in box 298 of the Automated Scoring System where, if the first hit attempt of the ball by the player comes to rest within the inner or outer zones on tier 54, then the player scores “1” in the corresponding box 298, and if this first hit attempt of the ball comes to rest within the inner zone of target green “10A”, then the “On-Target” box 300 is also checked. If the first hit attempt of the ball by the player fails to leave the starting slot 84, the player continues to attempt hitting the ball toward the target green area labeled “10A”, adding a stroke count for each hit attempt, until the ball successfully leaves the starting slot 84, or a predetermined maximum hit attempts (e.g., 4) is reached, at which time, the player picks up the ball, and the player may also be assessed one or more penalty strokes that get added to their tally for this first short shot hole of the tenth golf hole. If the hit ball that leaves the starting slot does not come to rest within the inner or outer zones on tier 54, the player may also be assessed one or more penalty strokes. Then, this process is accomplished by the remote competitor at the first short shot hole of the tenth golf hole at their respective site. [Note: Competition procedure rules can be employed where each competitor maintains a separate scorecard on their opponent for scoring validation purposes at the end of the round. It is most important to remember that golf is a game of honesty and integrity.]

Play on the tenth golf hole then continues with the players moving to the second short shot hole, at their respective sites, at the hitting slot area, or starting slot, 84 labeled “10B” on the play surface area 100. Hitting honors are determined, based on the players' scores and ‘On-Target’ registering, where the scores (stroke count and penalty strokes) for short shot hole “10A” in box 298 are used first in the determination, and when the scores are equal, a registered mark in the ‘On-Target’ box 300 gains hitting honors, and when each player has a registered ‘On-Target’ mark, then the player that had hitting honors at the immediately preceding short shot hole retains the hitting honors. Play by the first player at this second short shot hole is directed by the ‘surface-type to hit from identifier’ method. This method informs the player, based on the player's performance at the previous short shot hole, which surface type to hit from at the present short shot hole. This determination process is accomplished for each of the competing players, and after they communicate with each other to confirm who hits first, the player with ‘hitting honors’ is the first to position their ball on the appropriate surface type at this short shot hole which, through the assistance of the ‘surface type determination system’, is readily identifiable. Once the ball is positioned on the appropriate surface type, the player attempts to hit their ball toward the target green area 106 labeled “10B” on the play surface area 100. This target green area is preferably divided into at least inner and outer zones, the inner zone corresponding to the target green area closest to, and encompassing the target green cup, and the outer zone corresponding to the area outside the inner zone, but still on play surface area 100. The uniqueness of this first short shot hole is that the objective is to putt the ball into the target green's cup even though this is not the finishing short shot hole of the golf hole. If the first hit attempt of the ball by the player comes to rest within the inner zone, then the “on target” box 304 is checked. Then, the remote competitor accomplishes the same process at hitting slot “10B” at their site. After these first hit attempts by the competing players, play continues, and using inter-communications via the Competition Management System method, determination is made through the use of the ‘visual recognition system method as to which of the players is ‘out’ (furthest from the target green's cup) and they hit next, and where play proceeds thusly until each player's ball comes to rest in the target green's cup in the inner zone, or until the predetermined maximum hit attempts (e.g., 4) is reached, at which time, the player picks up the ball, and the player may also be assessed one or more penalty strokes that get added to their tally for this short shot hole of the tenth golf hole. Each player's resulting score, inclusive of any penalty strokes, for this second short shot hole of the tenth golf hole is entered in box 302 of their respective Automated Scoring System device, as well as manually on their hardcopy scorecard, if it is being used.

Play on the tenth golf hole then continues with the players moving to the third short shot hole, at their respective sites, at putting hole 108 labeled “10C” on play surface area 100. Through inter-communication, the competitors agree on who has ‘hitting honors’, and the first player, using the ‘surface to hit from identifier’ method and the ‘surface type determination system’, positions their ball on the appropriate surface type for this short shot hole, either the more favorable surface type (putting green-grade turf) or the less favorable surface type (fringe-grade turf). Play on this finishing short shot hole “10C” of the tenth golf hole is unlike traditional putting greens used to finish a golf hole by hitting the ball into the target green's cup. At this finishing short shot hole, the players hit toward the cup (or cup designation spot) until their ball comes to rest within the designated inner zone of the target green, not necessarily in the target green's cup. This target green area is preferably divided into at least inner and outer zones, the inner zone corresponding to the target area closer to the hole's cup 106 (or cup designation spot), and the outer zone corresponding to the area outside the inner zone. If the first hit attempt of the ball by the player comes to rest within the inner zone, then the player scores “1” in the corresponding box 306, and the “on target” box 307 is also checked. If the first hit attempt of the ball by the player fails to leave the starting point 107, the player continues the hit attempts until it does leave the starting point. Then, the remote competitor accomplishes the same process at hitting slot “10B” at their site. Through the use of the ‘visual assistance system’ competitors observe each other's performance, and through inter-communication, they establish the next-to-hit sequence through adherence to ‘furthest out’ golf protocol, and thusly, if a player's hit ball did not come to rest within the target area inner zone, the player continues to attempt hitting the ball toward the target area inner zone, adding a stroke count for each hit attempt, until the ball successfully comes to rest within the inner zone, or a predetermined maximum hit attempts (e.g., 3) is reached, at which time, the player picks up the ball, and the player may also be assessed one or more penalty strokes that get added to their tally for this third short shot hole of the tenth golf hole. Each player's resulting score, inclusive of any penalty strokes, for this third short shot hole of the tenth golf hole is entered in box 306 of their respective Automated Scoring System device, as well as manually on their hardcopy scorecard, if it is being used. The total stroke counts, including any penalty strokes assessed, are recorded for this tenth golf hole in box 308 (add together box 298, and box 302, and box 306).

Play moves to the eleventh golf hole (at each player's respective site), a par 5 (basically comprised of four short shot holes), with its first short shot hole at putting hole 108 labeled “11A” on play surface area 100, having hitting slots 107 and target green area 106. Through CMS inter-communication, the competitors agree on who has ‘hitting honors’, and the first player, using the ‘surface to hit from identifier’ method and the ‘surface type determination system’, positions their ball on the appropriate surface type for this short shot hole. The uniqueness of this first short shot hole is a) its dependency for surface type determination being associated with the first hit attempt at the previous golf hole's last short shot hole, which in this embodiment is short shot hole “10C”, where the short shot hole type is a putting short shot hole; and, b) that it is a putting short-shot hole at which the objective is to putt the ball into the target green's cup even though this is not the finishing short shot hole of the golf hole, but rather, the first short shot hole of the golf hole. Upon determination (i.e., if the player has a check mark in the “on target” box 307), the first player positions a ball on either the more favorable surface type at hitting slot 107 (putting green-grade turf) or the less favorable surface type at hitting slot 107 (fringe-grade turf) and hits the ball toward the target green area's cup. This target green area 106 is preferably divided into at least inner and outer zones, the inner zone corresponding to the target green area closer to, and including, the target green's cup, and the outer zone corresponding to the area outside the inner zone. If the first hit attempt of the ball by the player comes to rest within the inner zone, the “on target” box 312 is checked. If the first hit attempt of the ball by the first player fails to leave the starting point 107, the player continues to attempt hitting the ball until it leaves the hitting slot. Then, the remote competitor accomplishes the same process at hitting slot “11A” at their site. Through the use of CMS and the ‘visual assistance system’ competitors observe each other's performance, and through CMS inter-communication, they establish the next-to-hit sequence through adherence to ‘furthest out’ golf protocol, and thusly, if a player's hit ball did not come to rest within the target green area's cup, the player continues to attempt hitting the ball toward the target green area's cup, adding a stroke count for each hit attempt, until the ball successfully comes to rest within the cup, or a predetermined maximum hit attempts (e.g., 3) is reached, at which time, the player picks up the ball, and the player may also be assessed one or more penalty strokes that get added to their tally for this first short shot hole of the eleventh golf hole. Each player's resulting score, inclusive of any penalty strokes, for this first short shot hole of the eleventh golf hole is entered in box 310 of their respective Automated Scoring System device, as well as manually on their hardcopy scorecard, if it is being used.

Maintaining focus on employing the methods of this invention on unique short shot hole play as outlined in Table 3 above, play description on the eleventh golf hole has the competing players transitioning to (skipping over short shot holes “11B” and “11C”) the fourth short shot hole at the tee zone, or starting slot, 84 labeled “11D”. The significance and uniqueness of this short shot hole “11D” (as identified in Table 3, above) is its use as a finishing short shot hole even though it is a pitching short shot hole, and where the performance and resulting scoring for this short shot hole is based on a single hit attempt of the ball, thus, unlike play at any other finishing segment for a golf hole, at this short shot hole there is not the effort of continued hitting of the ball after the first hit attempt of the ball. The surface clearing system method is activated for target green area “11D”, if needed. Hitting honors are determined, based on the players' scores and ‘On-Target’ registering, where the scores (stroke count and penalty strokes) for short shot hole “11C” in box 318 are used first in the determination, and when the scores are equal, a registered mark in the ‘On-Target’ box 320 gains hitting honors, and when each player has a registered ‘On-Target’ mark, then the player that had hitting honors at the immediately preceding short shot hole retains the hitting honors. Play by the first player at this fourth short shot hole is directed by the ‘surface-type to hit from identifier’ method. This method informs the player, based on the player's performance at the previous short shot hole, which surface type to hit from at the present short shot hole. This determination process is accomplished for each of the competing players, and after they communicate with each other to confirm who hits first, the player with ‘hitting honors’ is the first to position their ball on the appropriate surface type at this short shot hole which, through the assistance of the ‘surface type determination system’, is readily identifiable. Once the ball is positioned on the appropriate surface type, the player attempts to hit their ball toward the target green area 58 labeled “11D” on tier 56. This target green area is preferably divided into at least inner and outer zones, the inner zone corresponding to the target green area closest to, and encompassing the target green cup, and the outer zone corresponding to the area outside the inner zone, but still tier 56. If the first hit attempt of the ball by the player comes to rest within the inner zone, then the “on target” box 324 is checked. Then, the remote competitor accomplishes the same process at hitting slot “11D” at their site. Through the use of the ‘visual assistance system’ competitors observe each other's performance. After these first hit attempts by the competing players, their scores (stroke count and penalty strokes) are assessed and placed in scorecard box 322. Thus, if a player's hit attempt of the ball came to rest on tier 56, a ‘1’ is placed in box 322, and if a player's hit attempt of the ball left the hitting slot but did not come to rest on tier 56, a “2’ is placed in box 322 (1 stroke and 1 penalty stroke), and if a player's hit attempt of the ball did not leave the hitting slot, a ‘3’ is placed in box 322 (1 stroke and 2 penalty strokes), at which time, the player picks up the ball, and the player may also be assessed one or more other penalty strokes that get added to their tally for this fourth short shot hole of the eleventh golf hole. Each player's resulting score, inclusive of any penalty strokes, for this fourth short shot hole of the eleventh golf hole is entered in box 322 of their respective Automated Scoring System device, as well as manually on their hardcopy scorecard, if it is being used. The total stroke counts, including any penalty strokes assessed, are recorded for this eleventh golf hole in box 326 (add together box 310, and box 314, and box 318, and box 322).

Play moves to the twelfth golf hole (at each player's respective site), a par 4 (basically comprised of two short shot holes), with its first short shot hole at the tee zone, or starting slot, 84 labeled “12A”, and having target green area 106 labeled “12A”, all on play surface area 100. Through CMS inter-communication, the competitors agree on who has ‘hitting honors’, and the first player, using the ‘surface to hit from identifier’ method and the ‘surface type determination system’, positions their ball on the appropriate surface type for this short shot hole. The uniqueness of this first short shot hole, being a sand bunker short shot hole, is its dependency for surface type determination being associated with the first hit attempt at the previous golf hole's last short shot hole, which in this embodiment is short shot hole “11D”, where this last short shot hole type is a pitch, or non-putting, short shot hole. Upon determination (i.e., if the player has a check mark in the “on target” box 324), the first player positions a ball on either the more favorable surface type at hitting slot 84 (shallow sand bunker depth) or the less favorable surface type at hitting slot 84 (deep sand bunker depth) and hits the ball toward the target green area's cup. This target green area 106 is preferably divided into at least inner and outer zones, the inner zone corresponding to the target area closer to, and including, the hole's cup, and the outer zone corresponding to the area outside the inner zone. If the first hit attempt of the ball by the player comes to rest within the inner zone, the “on target” box 330 is checked. If the first hit attempt of the ball by the first player fails to leave the starting point 84, the player continues to attempt hitting the ball until it leaves the hitting slot. Then, the remote competitor accomplishes the same process at hitting slot “12A” at their site. Through the use of CMS and the ‘visual assistance system’ competitors observe each other's performance, and through CMS inter-communication, they establish the next-to-hit sequence through adherence to ‘furthest out’ golf protocol, and thusly, if a player's hit ball did not come to rest within the target green area's cup, the player continues to attempt hitting the ball toward the target green area's cup, adding a stroke count for each hit attempt, until the ball successfully comes to rest within the cup, or a predetermined maximum hit attempts (e.g., 5) is reached, at which time, the player picks up the ball, and the player may also be assessed one or more penalty strokes that get added to their tally for this first short shot hole of the twelfth golf hole. Each player's resulting score, inclusive of any penalty strokes, for this first short shot hole of the twelfth golf hole is entered in box 328 of their respective Automated Scoring System device, as well as manually on their hardcopy scorecard, if it is being used.

Maintaining focus on employing the methods of this invention on unique short shot hole play as outlined in Table 3 above, play description has the competing players transitioning to (skipping over short shot hole “12B”) the thirteenth golf hole, a par 3 (basically comprised of two short shot holes), with its first short shot hole at putting hole 108 labeled “13A” having hitting slots 107, and having target green area 106 labeled “13A”, all on play surface area 100. The uniqueness of short-game shot play for this golf hole of this invention is the entire golf hole, where the short shot holes (for this specific golf hole, both the first short shot hole and the second short shot hole) combine to produce uniqueness through the absence of the requirement to hit the ball into a target green's cup on any of the short shot holes comprising the golf hole of this invention. The first short shot hole “13A”, being a putting short shot hole, with its dependency for surface type determination being associated with the first hit attempt at the previous golf hole's last short shot hole, which in this embodiment is short shot hole “12B”, where this last short shot hole type is a pitch, or non-putting, short shot hole, has the intended objective of hitting the ball into the inner zone of the target green area “13A” (i.e., it is not a requirement to hit the ball into the target green's cup), and where the second short shot hole “13B”, having surface type to hit from based on the first hit attempt at short shot hole “13A”, has the intended objective of hitting from the starting point toward the designated target green area's inner zone. Through CMS inter-communication, the competitors agree on who has ‘hitting honors’, and the first player, using the ‘surface to hit from identifier’ method and the ‘surface type determination system’, positions their ball on the appropriate surface type for the short shot hole “13A”. Upon determination (i.e., if the player has a check mark in the “on target” box 334), the first player positions a ball on either the more favorable surface type at hitting slot 107 (putting green-grade turf) or the less favorable surface type at hitting slot 107 (fringe-grade turf) and hits the ball toward the target green area's cup. This target green area 106 is preferably divided into at least inner and outer zones, the inner zone corresponding to the target area closer to, and including, the hole's cup, and the outer zone corresponding to the area outside the inner zone. If the first hit attempt of the ball by the player comes to rest within the inner zone, the “on target” box 340 is checked. If the first hit attempt of the ball by the first player fails to leave the starting point 107, the player continues to attempt hitting the ball until it leaves the hitting slot. Then, the remote competitor accomplishes the same process at hitting slot “13A” at their site. Through the use of CMS and the ‘visual assistance system’ competitors observe each other's performance in real-time, and through CMS inter-communication, they establish the next-to-hit sequence through adherence to ‘furthest out’ golf protocol, and thusly, if a player's hit ball did not come to rest within the target green area's inner zone, the player continues to attempt hitting the ball toward the target green area's cup, adding a stroke count for each hit attempt, until the ball successfully comes to rest within the inner zone, or a predetermined maximum hit attempts (e.g., 4) is reached, at which time, the player picks up the ball, and the player may also be assessed one or more penalty strokes that get added to their tally for this first short shot hole of the thirteenth golf hole. Each player's resulting score, inclusive of any penalty strokes, for this first short shot hole of the thirteenth golf hole is entered in box 338 of their respective Automated Scoring System device, as well as manually on their hardcopy scorecard, if it is being used.

Play uniqueness on the thirteenth golf hole then continues with the players moving to the second short shot hole, at their respective sites, at the tee zone, or starting slot, 84 labeled “13B”, and having target green area 58 labeled “13B”. Through CMS inter-communication, the competitors agree on who has ‘hitting honors’, and the first player, using the ‘surface to hit from identifier’ method and the ‘surface type determination system’, positions their ball on the appropriate surface type for this short shot hole. Upon determination (i.e., if the player has a check mark in the “on target” box 340), the first player positions a ball on either the more favorable surface type at hitting slot 84 (rough-grade turf) or the less favorable surface type at hitting slot 84 (deep rough-grade turf) and hits the ball toward the target green area's cup. This target green area 58 is preferably divided into at least inner and outer zones, the inner zone corresponding to the target area closer to, and including, the hole's cup, and the outer zone corresponding to the area outside the inner zone. If the first hit attempt of the ball by the player comes to rest within the inner zone, the “on target” box 344 is checked. If the first hit attempt of the ball by the first player fails to leave the starting point 84, the player continues to attempt hitting the ball until it leaves the hitting slot, or a predetermined maximum hit attempts (e.g., 3) is reached, at which time, the player picks up the ball, and the player may also be assessed one or more penalty strokes that get added to their tally for this second short shot hole of the thirteenth golf hole. Then, the remote competitor accomplishes the same process at hitting slot “13B” at their site. Through the use of CMS and the ‘visual assistance system’ competitors observe each other's performance in real-time. Each player's resulting score, inclusive of any penalty strokes, for this second short shot hole of the thirteenth golf hole is entered in box 342 of their respective Automated Scoring System device, as well as manually on their hardcopy scorecard, if it is being used. The total stroke counts, including any penalty strokes assessed, are recorded for this thirteenth golf hole in box 346 (add together box 338 and box 342).

Maintaining focus on employing the methods of this invention on unique short shot hole play as outlined in Table 3 above, play description has the competing players transitioning to (skipping over many short shot holes) the fifteenth golf hole, a par 5 (basically comprised of four short shot holes), where play description picks up with its second short shot hole at putting hole 108 labeled “15B” having hitting slots 107, and having target green area 106 labeled “15B”, all on play surface area 100, with an expected stroke count of 2. The uniqueness of short-game shot play for this golf hole of this invention is directed toward the short shot holes encapsulated by the first and the last short shot holes comprising this golf hole of this invention, where the short shot holes (for this specific golf hole, being the second short shot hole and the third short shot hole) combine to produce uniqueness by both being putting short shot holes, and where the finishing hole is not a putting hole for the golf hole of this invention. Play description resumes with the second short shot hole “15B”, being a putting short shot hole, with its dependency for surface type determination being associated with the first hit attempt at the previous short shot hole “15A”. Through CMS inter-communication, the competitors agree on who has ‘hitting honors’, and the first player, using the ‘surface to hit from identifier’ method and the ‘surface type determination system’, positions their ball on the appropriate surface type for this short shot hole “15B”. Upon determination (i.e., if the player has a check mark in the “on target” box 360), the first player positions a ball on either the more favorable surface type at hitting slot 107 (fringe-grade turf) or the less favorable surface type at hitting slot 107 (rough-grade turf) and hits the ball toward the target green area's cup. This target green area 106, labeled “15B”, is preferably divided into at least inner and outer zones, the inner zone corresponding to the target area closer to, and including, the hole's cup, and the outer zone corresponding to the area outside the inner zone. If the first hit attempt of the ball by the player comes to rest within the inner zone, the “on target” box 364 is checked. If the first hit attempt of the ball by the first player fails to leave the starting point 107, the player continues to attempt hitting the ball until it leaves the hitting slot. Then, the remote competitor accomplishes the same process at hitting slot “15B” at their site. Through the use of CMS and the ‘visual assistance system’ competitors observe each other's performance, and through CMS inter-communication, they establish the next-to-hit sequence through adherence to ‘furthest out’ golf protocol, and thusly, if a player's hit ball did not come to rest within the target green area's cup, the player continues to attempt hitting the ball toward the target green area's cup, adding a stroke count for each hit attempt, until the ball successfully comes to rest within the cup, or a predetermined maximum hit attempts (e.g., 4) is reached, at which time, the player picks up the ball, and the player may also be assessed one or more penalty strokes that get added to their tally for this second short shot hole of the fifteenth golf hole. Each player's resulting score, inclusive of any penalty strokes, for this second short shot hole of the fifteenth golf hole is entered in box 362 of their respective Automated Scoring System device, as well as manually on their hardcopy scorecard, if it is being used.

Play on the fifteenth golf hole then continues with the players moving to the third short shot hole, putting hole 108 labeled “15C”, having hitting slots 107, and having target green area 106 labeled “15C”, all on play surface area 100, and with an expected stroke count of 1. The uniqueness of this third short shot hole, being a putting short shot hole, is two-fold, first, is its positional sequence among the short shot holes comprising this golf hole of this invention, where this putting short shot hole is not the first short shot hole nor is it the last short shot hole comprising the golf hole of this invention (as was expressed for short shot hole “15B”, above); but secondly, and most importantly, it is a second putting short shot hole comprising the golf hole of this invention. Through CMS inter-communication, the competitors agree on who has ‘hitting honors’, and the first player, using the ‘surface to hit from identifier’ method and the ‘surface type determination system’, positions their ball on the appropriate surface type for this short shot hole. Upon determination (i.e., if the player has a check mark in the “on target” box 364), the first player positions a ball on either the more favorable surface type at hitting slot 107 (putting green-grade turf) or the less favorable surface type at hitting slot 107 (rough-grade turf) and hits the ball toward the target green area's cup. This target green area 106 is preferably divided into at least inner and outer zones, the inner zone corresponding to the target area closer to, and including, the hole's cup, and the outer zone corresponding to the area outside the inner zone. If the first hit attempt of the ball by the player comes to rest within the inner zone, the “on target” box 368 is checked. If the first hit attempt of the ball by the first player fails to leave the starting point 107, the player continues to attempt hitting the ball until it leaves the hitting slot. Then, the remote competitor accomplishes the same process at hitting slot “15C” at their site. Through the use of CMS and the ‘visual assistance system’ competitors observe each other's performance, and through CMS inter-communication, they establish the next-to-hit sequence through adherence to ‘furthest out’ golf protocol, and thusly, if a player's hit ball did not come to rest within the target green area's inner zone, the player continues to attempt hitting the ball toward the target green area's inner zone, adding a stroke count for each hit attempt, until the ball successfully comes to rest within the inner zone, or a predetermined maximum hit attempts (e.g., 3) is reached, at which time, the player picks up the ball, and the player may also be assessed one or more penalty strokes that get added to their tally for this third short shot hole of the fifteenth golf hole. Each player's resulting score, inclusive of any penalty strokes, for this third short shot hole of the fifteenth golf hole is entered in box 366 of their respective Automated Scoring System device, as well as manually on their hardcopy scorecard, if it is being used.

Through the use of CMS and the ‘visual assistance system’ competitors observe each other's performance in real-time, and through CMS inter-communication, the remote players compete in play on their respective courses against each other to the finish of golf hole 18, as outlined in Table 2, above, where each player's score for golf holes 10 through 18 is totaled and entered in box 410 of their respective Automated Scoring System device, as well as manually on their hardcopy scorecard, if it is being used. Then, when competition is for the full complement of 18 holes, each player's score for all eighteen golf holes is totaled and entered in box 412 of their respective Automated Scoring System device, as well as manually on their hardcopy scorecard, if it is being used.

Through the use of CMS and the ‘visual assistance system’ competitors observe each other's scorecard, both within the Automated Scoring System and hardcopy (if used), and through CMS inter-communication, the remote competing players agree upon and approve each other's scorecard which is formalized within the Automated Scoring System (through use of a signature methodology) and the CMS for league or tournament standings (or for open course remote competition play, if so used).

While the methods have been described in the context of a particular course layout and score card, with a particular arrangement of golf holes, the methods of this invention are not so limited. The methods can be incorporated into various other course layouts, and golf holes could be formed and played while being some number more or less than eighteen golf holes, yet thus not limiting or hindering the application and use of the methods of this invention. The variety of embodiments of the methods of this invention provides the foundation for real-time remote global competition of golf course play. An alternative embodiment of this invention could incorporate a methodology for programmed recorded delay of remote competitor performance which is integrated into shot-by-shot competition of the golf holes of this invention. The application of the methods of this invention are emphasized and exploited through the integration of play on the golf holes of this invention, which are comprised exclusively of short shot holes, where the methods of this invention (the Competition Management System inter-communications, the Visual Assistance System, the Surface Clearing System, the Automated Scoring System, and the Interactive Course Play Instructional System) provide and enable unprecedented real-time global golf course play competition.