Title:
Enhanced Golf Ball and Method for Its Construction
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to a new, improved, technologically enhanced golf ball and a method for its construction. The new technologically enhanced golf ball will be an improvement over existing golf balls and will be used in conjunction with other enhanced golf equipment to capture, analyze, score (i.e. using USGA rules), save, archive, track and communicate (e.g. verbal, sound, tactile and/or visual) real-time relevant golf data specific to individual golfers: 1) during practice/lessons; or 2) for every shot on every hole of an entire recreational round of golf. The present invention will be particularly useful in helping to provide an information support structure for the recreational golfer similar to what is routinely available to the tour professional golfer through his caddy, spotters, volunteer laser range finders and other support.



Inventors:
Young, Julius (Sarasota, FL, US)
Application Number:
14/451413
Publication Date:
02/04/2016
Filing Date:
08/04/2014
Assignee:
YOUNG JULIUS
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B43/00; A63B37/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
DENNIS, MICHAEL DAVID
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Julius Young (BRADENTON, FL, US)
Claims:
1. An enhanced golf ball and method for its construction that works as part of a system; said system further comprising: a. a plurality of enhanced components that work in concert as an automated system to capture, analyze, score, save, archive, track and communicate real-time relevant golf data specific to individual golfers; said enhanced components to include a PDA and at least one golf ball, said enhanced components further comprising: i. means for inter-component communications; ii. means for mapped golf course access; iii. means for data processing access; iv. means for virtual caddy access; v. means for virtual trainer access; whereby enabling the communication of information captured by the enhanced components to the golfer during a round of golf, training or practice via the virtual caddy/virtual trainer application software, in the same way routine information such as the ending location of the golf ball once struck, is made available to the tour golfer by his support structure; for example spotters, live caddy or trainer.

2. An enhanced golf ball as recited in claim 1, said enhanced golf ball comprising computing intelligence: a. said computing intelligence encased in said enhanced golf ball comprising: i. at least one microchip; said microchip(s) comprising communications, one or more impact sensor(s), unique identifier, pressure sensor(s), power source(s), antenna circuit(s) and other common computer circuitry as an integral part of the enhanced golf ball; b. a packaged microchip buffer; said packaged microchip buffer comprising said computing intelligence embedded in a protective buffer layer; whereby the computing intelligence is protected during the enhanced golf ball manufacturing process; c. a compression prevention package; said compression prevention package comprising said packaged microchip buffer embedded in a compression prevention layer; whereby the outer layers of the enhanced golf ball are prevented from collapsing on the packaged microchip buffer during ball compression caused by the impact of the golf club; thereby protecting the computing intelligence; d. a core; said core comprising said compression prevention package embedded in a compression layer comprising a highly elastic material; whereby the elastic nature of the core together with the design characteristics of the layers including the a ball cover determine the performance characteristics of the enhanced golf ball; e. at least one antenna.

3. An enhanced golf ball as recited in claim 2, said antenna(s) is located in a mantle layer(s); said mantle layer(s) comprising: a. material with elastic properties selected from the members of the group with elastic properties greater than, equal to and less than the elastic properties of said core; whereby the characteristics of the numerous combinations of core(s), mantle(s) and ball cover(s) could be adjusted to build various models of the enhanced golf ball to target high, mid and low handicap golfers; b. said ball cover with cover properties selected from members of the group plastic, rubber and blend of both.

4. An enhanced golf ball as recited in claim 2, said antenna(s) is located just inside the outer core.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The application for the present invention is related to co-pending U.S. Provisional patent application No. 61/862,104, filed Aug. 5, 2013.

DESCRIPTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a new, improved, technologically enhanced golf ball and a method for its construction. The new technologically enhanced golf ball will be an improvement over existing golf balls and will be used in conjunction with other enhanced golf equipment to capture, analyze, score (i.e. using USGA rules), save, archive, track and communicate (e.g. verbal, sound, tactile and/or visual) real-time relevant golf data specific to individual golfers: 1) during practice/lessons; or 2) for every shot on every hole of an entire recreational round of golf. The present invention will be particularly useful in helping to provide an information support structure for the recreational golfer similar to what is routinely available to the tour professional golfer through his caddy, spotters, volunteer laser range finders and other support.

2. Background of the Invention

A review of public information available on a representative sample of golf balls typically available to golfers reveals that golf balls can be categorized in several meaningful ways to distinguish one from the other and allow a discerning golfer to select the best ball for their level of play and/or their golf practice and learning requirements.

One such category is aligned with the expected performance of the ball when matched with the appropriate skill level of the golf participant; as perceived by one skilled in the art of playing golf and/or one skilled in the art of manufacturing golf balls. These golf ball performance levels are roughly low (i.e. generally for the high handicap golfer; e.g. typically scores over 100), intermediate (i.e. generally for the mid handicap golfer; typically scores 80 to 100) and high performance (generally for the low handicap golfer; typically scores under 80) and are more a measure of the level of play and desired golf ball performance by the golfer than it is the quality of the golf balls. As one moves from low, to intermediate to high performance golf balls, it is generally the case that: a) the golfing skills of the participating golfer increases; b) the participating golfer generally asks more of the golf ball; and c) in order for the ball to deliver more along that performance continuum its construction becomes progressively more complicated. The resultant price of the golf ball goes up as the golf participant's desired level of golf ball performance rises. As already mentioned above, it should be emphasized that in order for the golf participant to realize the true potential performance of the selected golf ball his skills must match the performance level of the ball.

Another way of categorizing golf balls relates to whether the ball consists of two, three or more piece (i.e. multi-piece) construction. In general two piece balls have simpler construction, are easier to make and focuses on one key characteristic to attract the average recreational golfer such as less spin resulting in more “ball distance off the tee” for the golf participant with a low to medium “club head” swing speed. Conversely as one moves from the 2 piece to the 3 piece and on to the higher multi-piece balls the complexity of constructing the golf balls increase dramatically. Generally 3 piece and multi-piece construction allows the manufacturer to simultaneously focus on multiple “desirable” characteristics which can be packaged into the same ball. For example low spin when struck with a driver to improve accuracy and distance “off the tee” and significantly higher spin rates (perhaps 2 to 3 times as high) when struck with a wedge club for better golfer control to stop and spin back the ball thus improving “control around the greens”. Generally 2 piece balls take about a day to build while some 3 piece balls and multi-piece balls can take as long as a month to complete.

Still another way of categorizing golf balls relates to the feedback one receives from the golf ball; e.g. visual, sound and feel of the ball when struck by a golf club. The combination of all of these provides a wealth of information to the golfer. This is particularly true of the tour golfer with a caddy or trainer to observe the golf shot and can therefore provide feedback on the results. In addition during tournament play there are other aids that the tour golfer has such as “ball” spotters to watch and tract the ball to determine where it lands so it is not lost and volunteers with sophisticated laser range finders to capture the distance the ball traveled, as well as other support structures; some are available in real-time while others are available at a later time. The average recreational golfer during a typical round of golf does not have access to a caddy or any of the additional aids that the professional golfer routinely has access to.

However with recent advances in communications, micro-technology and nanotechnology it is possible to provide the recreational golfer with much more feedback about his golf shot at ball address, during “golf ball/club face” impact and after “ball” launch. In addition to the normal visual, sound and feel feedback, a new technology ball will yield additional feedback information, for example: a) it can lead the golfer to its exact location; and b) it can record/communicate how far it traveled and its directional accuracy; using verbal and/or visual communication through a wearable computing device (WCD); of which a smart phone, watch or intelligent glasses are examples.

In light of the extensive support routinely available to the Tour golfing Professional together with its expense, the use of such machines and processes as described above for the average golfer's round is impractical. Therefore there is a need for a fully automated more cost effective machine and method for providing real-time relevant golf data specific to the average golfer when practicing or taking lessons to become a better golfer or to increase the enjoyment of playing a recreational round of golf.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Given the advantage of the professional caddies, spotters, volunteer laser operators, etc. to the tour golfing professional and the complete lack of availability of a similar support structure for the average recreational golfer, it is the object of the present invention to provide an improved golf ball and method for its construction as one of the enhanced golf components of a new generation of enhanced golf equipment. The enhanced golf ball as well as each of the other enhanced golf components will provide an additional measure of support to the recreational golfer and collectively they will overcome the stated issues and provide a sorely needed automated golf support structure for the recreational golfer similar to the support the tour golfing professional has.

The present invention comprises an apparatus or machine with a plurality of components; and includes a new improved technologically enhanced golf ball. The enhanced golf ball is designed to communicate with the golfer using a wearable computing device (WCD; of which a smart phone—PDA, watch, intelligent glasses and lenses are examples) via a plurality of common communications vehicles (of which Global Positioning Systems—GPS, Bluetooth and Radio Frequency Identification—RFID are examples) to enable communications with the ball and determine its location. The centerpiece of the present invention is a new technology enhanced golf ball that works as a part of a system in concert with the other enhanced components. The enhanced golf ball will have at least one microchip, impact sensor, unique identifier and/or pressure sensor as an integral part of the ball, or their equivalent capability in newer technology such as nanotechnology integrated into reengineered versions of these circuits. These enhanced golf balls will work in concert with the other enhanced golf equipment as well as the enhanced GPS system and/or RFID and wearable computing device to automatically 1) lead the golfer to the golf ball once it is struck and travels; e.g. 200 yards or more; 2) capture the golfer's setup/swing; 3) sense when a shot/swing is taken; and 4) capture, analyze, score, save, archive, track and communicate real-time relevant golf data as a “live” caddy would, to the recreational golfer. The enhanced golf balls will be designed to meet or exceed existing performance criteria established by the USGA (at least for recreational play and/or as a training aid).

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of the key components of the present invention.

FIG. 2 shows a perspective view of a 2 piece golf ball with its cover split open to reveal its core.

FIG. 3 shows a diagrammatical layout of the cross sectional view of a typical 2 piece golf ball through its center to reveal how it is constructed.

FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of a 3 piece golf ball with its cover split open to reveal its mantle and core.

FIG. 5 shows a diagrammatical layout of the cross sectional view of a typical 3 piece golf ball through its center to reveal how it is constructed.

FIG. 6 shows a diagrammatical layout of the cross sectional view of an enhanced golf ball through its center to reveal one embodiment of its construction.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to the drawing in FIG. 1 listed above, the first embodiment of the present invention is an apparatus or machine comprising an enhanced GPS and/or RFID, PDA and a new, improved, technologically enhanced golf ball 60 and a method for its construction. The new technologically enhanced golf ball 60 will be an improvement over existing golf balls and will be used in conjunction with other enhanced golf equipment (enhanced golf club 51, golf footwear 80, golf bag 50, golf glove 70 and golf clothing with sensors—not shown) which collectively work together as part of the system to capture, analyze, score, save, archive, track and communicate real-time relevant golf data specific to individual golfers for; a) every shot on every hole of an entire recreational golf round; or b) during training and/or practice.

The first embodiment of the apparatus or machine of the present invention will be described initially and then the method of using the apparatus will be described.

The golfer 10 is assumed to be using the apparatus or machine of the present invention which includes the new technologically enhanced golf ball 60, the use of an enhanced GPS 20 and/or RFID and a wearable computing device 40. The wearable computing device 40 (WCD); of which a smart phone—PDA, watch and intelligent glasses are examples, is used by the enhanced golf ball 60 to communicate its location to the golfer 10; shown in the perspective illustration of FIG. 1 and is comprised of the use of:

    • means for inter-component communications to include PDA 40, enhanced golf balls 60 (with integrated sensors and computing capability) and an enhanced Global Positioning System (GPS) 20 and/or RFID for communicating between the PDA 40 and the other enhanced components including the enhanced golf balls 60;
    • means for mapped golf course access to include PDA 40, operating system and software for accessing, selecting and downloading chosen mapped golf courses 30 from a wide listing of mapped golf courses 30, as well as uploading maps of new golf courses;
    • means for data processing access to include PDA 40, operating system and software to capture, analyze, score, save, archive, track and communicate real-time relevant golf data specific to individual golfers;
    • means for virtual caddy access to include PDA 40, operating system and virtual caddy software for establishing and maintaining communications with the enhanced golf ball 60; and to communicate the resultant applicable golf information to the golfer in a manner consistent with typical information that a “live” caddy communicates to his professional golfer;
    • means for virtual trainer access to include PDA 40, operating system and virtual trainer software for establishing and maintaining communications with the enhanced golf ball 60; and to communicate the resultant applicable training/practice information to the golfer in a manner consistent with typical information that a “live” trainer communicates to his golfer (in training or practice mode).

The enhanced golf balls 60 may have at least one microchip, impact sensor, unique identifiers and/or pressure sensor integrated into the balls' structure; or their equivalent capability in newer technology such as nanotechnology integrated into reengineered versions of these products. These enhanced golf balls 60 will work in concert with the other enhanced golf components; such as the GPS 20 system and PDA 40 to automatically 1) lead the golfer 10 to the golf ball once it is struck and travels; e.g. 200 yards or more; 2) capture the golfer's 10 setup/swing; 3) sense when a shot/swing is taken; and 4) capture, analyze, score, save, archive, track and communicate real-time relevant golf data as a “live” caddy would, to the recreational golfer 10. The enhanced golf ball 60 will be designed to meet or exceed existing performance criteria established by the USGA (at least for recreational play and/or as a training aid).

The technological innovations to the enhanced golf ball 60 will manifest itself throughout the ball including deep in its core and will be miniaturized as appropriate (using microchips or use nanotechnology, for example using nano-chips which could store trillions of bits of information in a very small area) so as not to affect the dynamics of the enhanced golf ball 60. The enhancements will be designed to withstand the forces exerted on them during normal play of golf rounds and would be expected to last as long as a typical recreational golf ball of a similar performance level. One of the purposes of the enhanced golf ball 60 will be to work in concert with the PDA 40, Bluetooth, RFID and/or GPS 20 to capture and record golf ball 60 information in real-time when struck; and make that information available to the PDA 40 for communications by the “Virtual Caddy” to the golfer 10 as appropriate. Such information including but not limited to 1) the location of the golf ball 10 after being struck (or if the golf ball 10 is lost or in an inaccessible location, then it should identify where a replacement ball should be dropped); 2) enhanced golf ball 60 dynamics such as spin; 3) starting and ending location of the golf ball 10; 4) distance and direction traveled; 5) distance to the pin; and 6) distance to mapped hazards.

Before moving on to a more detailed discussion of the construction of the enhanced golf ball 60, one should first understand: a) the Rules of Golf as they relate to the tests that a new ball must pass to be approved for placement on “the list of conforming golf balls” by the USGA; and secondly b) one should understand the construction of typical 2 piece and 3 piece balls of today.

Starting with the Rules of Golf as they relate to what ball construction “is” or “is not” approved by the USGA (or R&A) as golf's governing bodies. Here it should be noted that these rules are primarily applied during all professional and amateur tournaments. However it is left up to the local golf club to decide if the local club rules will allow relaxation of certain rules in local tournaments. In general golfers adhere to local club rules when playing a round of recreational golf.

The following relevant ball information from the “Guide to the Rules on Clubs and Balls” was referenced in the book—USGA Rules of Golf:

“The Rules of Golf (”the Rules“) specify the equipment which may be used to play the game. These specifications can be found in Rule 4 and Appendix II for golf clubs and Rule 5 and Appendix III for golf balls. In general, they are “descriptive” and “restrictive” in nature—defining what golf equipment should look like and limiting how golf equipment can perform.”

Specifically, as for the present invention (the enhanced golf balls 60), the applicable part of Rule (General Rule 5-1) reads in part: “Rule 5-1 provides that the ball that a player uses must conform to the Rules and that the use of a ball which does not conform to the Rules will result in disqualification.”

Appendix III lists the remaining guidelines and constraints on golf balls relevant to the present invention. Other than the general provision, all of the specifications listed below are tested and checked under laboratory conditions.

1. General: “The ball must not be substantially different from the traditional and customary form and make. The material and construction of the ball must not be contrary to the purpose and intent of the rules.”

2. Weight: “A ball must not weigh more than 1.620 ounces avoirdupois (45.93 gm.)” There is no minimum weight.

3.Size: “The ball must have a diameter of not less than 1.680 inches (42.67 mm). There is no maximum size.”

4. Spherical Symmetry: “The intent of this rule is simply to ensure that a ball is designed and manufactured to behave symmetrically.”

5. Initial Velocity: “There is a format test procedure carried out on equipment approved by the USGA to check that golf balls meet the Initial Velocity Specification. The intent of this Rule is to limit the speed of the ball off the club face.” Currently this standard is 250 ft./sec. or 170 mph.

6. Overall Distance Standard: “This Rule was introduced in 1976 in order to restrict the overall distance (carry and roll) that a ball can travel under specific conditions. This test protocol is continuously reviewed to ensure that it reflects the game as played with modern equipment.” Currently this standard is 317 yards±3 yards.

The new technologically enhanced golf ball 60 design should allow it to pass all existing USGA golf ball standards required for placement on the USGA's “list of conforming golf balls”.

Before discussing the construction of the enhanced golf ball 60 refer to FIG. 2 which describes perspective view of a typical 2 piece golf ball with its ball cover 140 split open to reveal its core 125. FIG. 3 is a diagrammatical layout of the same 2 piece ball. Similarly FIG. 4 describes a perspective view of a typical 3 piece golf ball with its ball cover 140 split open to reveal its core 125 and mantle 130. FIG. 5 is a diagrammatical layout of the same 3 piece ball.

The construction of a typical 2 piece ball and some simple 3 piece balls is worth noting before describing the nuances of the more complicated 3 piece and multi-piece balls. In terms of the less complicated ball structures, whether making a 2 piece or a 3 piece golf ball, the core 125 is generally the same. The core 125 of the golf ball is made out of pure rubber that is heated and pressurized into a ball that is 1½ inches in diameter. The next step for a 3 piece golf ball is to wind a layer of rubber thread (not shown) around the core 125 of the golf ball. Then the ball cover 140 is applied to both the 3 piece and 2 piece golf balls. Less expensive balls typically have a surlyn® (ionomer) ball cover 140 which is essentially a plastic with very elastic properties. These plastics have some great qualities, like their durability. Balls with ionomer ball covers 140 will typically last significantly longer and be less susceptible to scuff marks than the high performance balls. However in general such covers do not provide the “feel” that other cover materials can provide; e.g. the hard rubber cover which is much softer than its ionomer (plastic) counterpart. As discussed in more detail below such hard rubber covers are usually placed on higher performance balls which are more suitable for low (and some intermediate) handicap golfers.

Returning to the construction of a typical 2 piece ball and some simple 3 piece balls the ball cover 140 of the golf ball is applied to the core through a process called “compression molding.” During this process, two semicircle molds with the dimples already set into the mold are placed around the core 125. The molds are set together using heat and pressure to create a seamless mold around the golf ball core 125. The ionomer plastic ball cover 140 in liquid form is injected into the mold and left to cool and settle.

After the ball cover 140 of the golf ball has cooled, the golf balls are spray painted with two coats of white paint as the ball spins in a circle. As soon as the paint has dried, the golf ball is stamped with the company logo of the manufacturer. The golf ball is then painted with a clear, high-gloss paint to keep scuffs and scratches from becoming visible during play. The golf ball then travels through an industrial dryer with the other golf balls that were made at the same time. The conveyer belt that leads the golf balls through the dryers then drops them into containers for packaging and shipping.

Now for the construction of the more complicated 3 piece and multi-piece golf ball designs that generally fall into the category of intermediate to high performance balls. There is a wide variation in the way a particular golf ball manufacturer may manipulate the golf ball materials to achieve a desired set of golf ball characteristics; such as the type and consistency of the materials, the number of pieces and relative thickness of each piece, the position of each piece relative to the other pieces and so on. For example in higher price 3 piece designs instead of a layer of rubber thread, another solid band of rubber is used as the mantle 130 with a different rubber consistency or made out of a plastic or a combination of rubber and plastic.

As mention earlier as a general rule, as the number of pieces or layers of a ball increase so does the complexity of its construction, as well as its performance in the capable hands of an appropriately skilled golfer (which generally translates into a golfer with an intermediate to low handicap); whereby the golfers' skills, including club head speed is appropriately matched to the actual ball characteristics. The separate layers typically have different density characteristics with the firmest material at the center. Balls at higher price points generally have a urethane ball cover 140. This is a rubber that's very similar to the rubber used on some automobile bumpers; however it is much softer than the ionomer cover discussed above. Urethane will really grip with the grooves of your club face and generate a lot more spin. That is why golfers who have the skills to use such high performance balls can stop them so quickly on the green and control the spin back. However, because the material is much softer, the ball will scuff and mark much easier. As a result urethane covered balls do not last as long as ionomer covered balls and they are more expensive to replace. From a playability standpoint, the key differences between ionomer and urethane covered golf balls is the spin the ball generates and the trajectory in which it flies. Softer urethane balls will spin more and fly lower while ionomer balls will spin less and fly higher.

Now with a basic understanding of the construction of the typical 2 piece and 3 piece golf ball we can move on to a more detail discussion of the design of the first embodiment of the present invention (refer to the drawing in FIG. 6). First regarding the manufacturing techniques used for the assembly of the enhanced golf ball 60. The techniques used will likely depend on the materials used and will extend across the entire spectrum of fabrication techniques available on the market, including: a) the same traditional techniques described above for the 2 piece and 3 piece balls; namely using proven heat, pressure and compression molding techniques. Using these proven techniques assumes that microchips and traditional golf ball manufacturing materials (such as highly elastic plastics and hard rubber) are going to be the raw materials for building the prototype of the enhanced golf ball 60; b) use the somewhat newer nano manufacturing techniques if nano materials are going to be used as the raw materials to fabricate the prototype of the enhanced golf ball 60; c) and possibly 3D printing could be used to build all or part of the enhanced golf ball 6o.

The construction of the multi-piece technologically enhanced golf ball 60 can be accomplished by many different combinations of the traditional layered pieces that makeup the construction of a typical multi-piece ball. One such implementation is to integrate a plurality of computing intelligence within the enhanced golf ball 60 on at least one microchip 90; such microchip(s) 90 will include one or more of the following circuits: impact sensor(s), unique identifier, pressure sensor(s), power source, antenna circuit(s) and other common computer circuitry as an integral part of the enhanced golf ball 60; and/or their equivalent capability in newer technology such as nanotechnology integrated into reengineered versions of these circuits. Antennae structures and external access to the microchip 90 for programming should be accommodated.

If the microchip is not already protected then prior to assembly into a ball structure the microchip(s) 90 should be placed in a protective buffer layer 100 resulting in a packaged microchip buffer 105 (preferably spherical shaped) which protects the microchip(s) 90 from damage during assembly of the enhanced golf ball 60. While the shape of the protective buffer layer 100 does not have to be spherical, if the buffer is spherical it will likely make the task of ensuring that the completed ball's Spherical Symmetry standard is somewhat easier to achieve. Alternatively the microchip 90 may have a layered design and perhaps be made available as a “spherical” chip. Meeting the USGA's Spherical Symmetry standard for constructing golf balls is one of the milestones the enhanced golf ball(s) 60 must achieve to be approved for placement on the list of conforming golf balls.

Care must also be taken to ensure that the weight distribution of the resultant packaged microchip buffer 105 remains in balance; and that any over/under weight shift of the packaged microchip buffer 105 for a given packaged microchip buffer 105 volume during assembly are minimized and tracked. This is to ensure that weight adjustments can be made in later layers of the assembly of the enhanced golf ball 60 to ensure that the completed enhanced golf ball 60 does not exceed the established USGA Weight standard. The Weight standard is another milestone the enhanced golf ball 60 must achieve to be approved for placement on the list of conforming golf balls. Note that the weight distribution among the pieces or layers of the enhanced golf ball 60 will vary depending on the specific golf ball performance characteristics one is constructing into the ball. It will be consistent for each specific golf ball type/model.

With the microchip(s) 90 safely protected in the protective buffer layer 100 the rest of the assembly can proceed by placing the resultant packaged microchip buffer 105 into another protective layer called a compression prevention layer 110 resulting in a compression prevention package 115 to prevent the outer layers of the ball from collapsing on the microchip because of the ball compression caused by the impact of the golf club 51 with the enhanced golf ball 60; see FIGS. 1 and 6.

Next, the assembled compression prevention package 115 is embedded in the compression layer 120; and collectively these layers are referred to as the core 125 of the enhanced golf ball 60. The compression layer 120 is typically made of hard rubber (but some plastics with very elastic properties could be used) and usually makes up the largest portion of the core 125. Note that there are varying degrees of hard rubber material and the actual hardness used, depends on the ball performance characteristics one is trying to achieve. The core's 125 design characteristics together with those of the remaining layers including the ball cover 140 and its dimple design determine the ball's performance characteristics such as the distance and spin of the ball when struck. For example the firmness or softness of the core 125 relative to the remaining layers including the ball cover 140 and its dimple design will determine such ball characteristics as: a) the spin of the ball off the tee which affects both the trajectory and the distance the ball will travel for tee shots; and b) the spin of the ball for wedge shots which affects how quickly the ball will stop on the green as well as control of backspin. The design characteristics for a specific enhanced golf ball 60 will depend on whether its target market is for the high, mid or low handicap golfer; which translates into low, intermediate or high performance enhanced golf balls 60. The design of the enhanced golf ball 60 is not static, but is adjusted to deliver a specific level of performance via a series of enhanced golf ball 60 models that will deliver at least one ball to golfers in each key category of high, mid and low handicap golfers.

The nominal thickness of the core 125 is about 1.5 inches which is consistent with many of the balls on the market today; but it could be slightly more or less depending on the number of mantle(s) 140 and/or core(s) 125 and their relative thickness along with the type and thickness of the ball cover 140 and its dimple design. Note that the minimum diameter of the completed enhanced golf ball 60 cannot be less than 1.680 inches based on USGA rules under its current guidelines.

Next layer is the antenna mantle layer 135. The antennae mantle layer 135 serves the dual purpose of: a) housing the antennae for the communications circuits in the microchip(s) 90 encased in the core 125 of the enhanced golf ball 60; and b) performing the function of a mantle. The antennae mantle layer 135 contains a plurality of antennae so that it can handle GPS reception for location information, 802.11 for transmission of its location information and other two way communication back to the PDA 40, and blue tooth or equivalent for close in two-way communications with the PDA 40; all such communications levels or equivalents may be needed to accurately locate the ball to within a foot (the ideal design target criteria for this invention) of its location; for programming the ball and to communicate information back to the PDA 40 for use by the Virtual Caddy/Virtual Trainer as appropriate.

The actual location of the antennae could be anywhere in the ball's structure, including the ball cover 140. However one skilled in the art of equipment communication will generally locate its antennae so that it has an unobstructed access to the sky. That means that since the orientation of a golf ball once it lands is random, having the entire surface of the ball perform the dual purpose of both a ball cover 140 and antennae is the ideal. However if the requirement that the surface meet the performance requirements established for the enhanced golf ball 60 including that it must be rugged enough to withstand the rigors of a standard golf ball, interferes with its antennae function then the next best thing is to locate the antennae as part of an internal layer as close to the surface as possible; for example the antennae mantle layer 135 of FIG. 6 located just under the surface cover of the ball which can serve the dual purpose of an antennae and still perform the function of a mantle 130 of FIG. 5.

The final layer in this embodiment of the construction of the enhanced golf ball 60 is the golf ball cover 140. As discussed earlier the golf ball cover 140 with its dimple design plays an important role in the performance of the enhanced golf ball 60 as does the core 125 and antennae mantle layer 135. For example if the target market is the high to mid handicap golfer then frequently a plastic ball cover 140 such as ionomer will be adequate in combination with a softer core 125 and a firm antennae mantle layer 135. This combination would essentially give the characteristics of a distance ball for a relatively low swing speed golfer. On the other hand if the target market is the mid to low handicap golfer, then a rubber ball cover 140 such as urethane with firmer core 125 gives better feel around the green (quick stop and controlled back spin) using a wedge; while its characteristics off the tee would be low spin, high launch trajectory and extra distance. One could adjust the firmness of the mantle to deliver better performance using other clubs; for example certain fairway woods.

Care must be taken that the diameter of the completed enhanced golf ball 60 must not be less than the USGA's established Size requirement (currently 1.680 inches). Meeting the USGA's Size requirement as it relates to constructing a new golf ball is one of the milestones the enhanced golf ball(s) 60 must achieve to be approved for placement on the list of conforming golf balls.

The Overall Distance Standard is one of the 5 key USGA ball standards that the enhanced golf ball 60 must achieve to be approved for placement on the list of conforming golf balls. Essentially it is the overall distance a ball is allowed to travel when struck by a defined force under strict laboratory testing conditions. Currently that distance is 317 yards±3 yards. With the addition of new golf equipment every year this standard is monitored and it can change. Note that all of the USGA standards for balls are tested and checked under laboratory conditions.

It should be noted that additional mantles 135 and/or cores 125 with the same or different characteristics such as materials, relative densities and thicknesses to each other could be designed into the multi-piece ball in order to shape the characteristics of the ball to better accommodate a golfer's skills to exploit his clubs' strengths and capabilities (for example drivers vs. wedges and fairway woods vs. irons). Also for some golfers, for example some with low club head speed the number of pieces in the multi-piece design of the present invention could be reduce; for example a) the compression layer 120 and the compression prevention layer 110 could be combined since the extra compression prevention layer 110 is not needed for such golfers.

That completes the description of the major components of the first embodiment of the invention. Now attention will be focused on how to use the first embodiment of the present invention. The present invention was born out of the applicant's frustration with learning to play golf. In particular the complete lack of readily available reliable information on how to: a) given one's skills and imperfections, “make the best shot possible, with good results” for every shot during a golf round with the goal of improving one's golf scores over time; b) “train and practice” as well as track one's improvement, without a massive amount of time, expense or manual effort. The applicant imagined “what if during a golf round or during golf instruction and practice” one could automate the entire process of gathering, processing and communicating the applicable golfing information and support via a Virtual Caddy (Trainer) to the recreational golfer in the same way a PGA Tour Golfer communicates with and is supported by his Caddy and Trainer; using a plurality of components that work together as a system through built-in distributed computing technology integrated into each component. The components of the system comprising a WCD, an enhanced GPS and a plurality of “computing enabled” enhanced golf equipment (clubs, balls, gloves, shoes, body sensors); all components containing intra- computing capability and inter-communicating with each other, including Bluetooth, GPS and/or RFID positioning communications capability.

There are many ways the present invention could be used; but they primarily fall into two categories: a) during a round; b) during golf instruction and/or practice. Following is an example on how it would be used during a round.

During a round of golf: imagine you are standing on the par 4 hole of the 425 yard 2nd hole of your favorite golf course and you “tee off” and see your ball drop about 250 yards down the fairway and bounce 2 to 3 times. You think “Great, it is in the fairway or just off, along the fringe of the fairway; but playable”. You and your cart-mate jump in your cart and head down for your 2nd shot into the green with your 3 wood. However you arrive in the vicinity of where you last saw the ball bounce; but you cannot find it after looking for it for the typical 3 minute allotment you usually give for finding your ball. Frustrated, not only because you were unable to find your ball, but also because of the time wasted in looking for it. You drop a ball to replace the lost ball and proceed to take your shot into the green. Even if you make it to the green in regulation (i.e. 2 shots for the par 4; not counting the penalty for taking the drop) and sink the putt on the 1st attempt, you are annoyed because your score for that hole is 5 (a bogey) instead of a 3 (a birdie). You think “if I had the good fortune of having a caddy, spotters and volunteers with sophisticated laser range finders that tour golfers routinely have available to support them; my ball would not have been lost in plain sight”. Of course such support for the average recreational golfer would be cost prohibitive; however if the golfer was using the present invention—the new technologically advanced golf ball together with the use of GPS, Bluetooth and/or RFID and his “smart” phone, the “virtual caddy” would have been able to lead the golfer to his ball located in the fringe just off the fairway. He would then take his shot and sink his putt and walk away happy with a birdie. The time saved over 18 holes in avoiding looking for balls would be nearly an hour. For most golfers that would likely be a saving of over 1½ hours on average. Now that kind of improvement in “pace of play” would be of tremendous interest to Course Operators!