US 20020077164 A1
A computerized golf game to be played on a computer and including information relating to at least one golf course. The golf course information can be displayed on a display screen in the form of a map of the course, and the player can select an appropriate club and mark the spot at which he intends the ball to land. The player then executes a stroke, and the game determines where the ball actually lands. The computerized golf game can also include statistical information relating to the player's game on actual golf courses, and it is programmed to calculate the result of the player's strokes on the basis of the statistical information.
1. A computerized golf game to be played on a computer and including golf course layout information, said game comprising:
a) data storage means for storing golf course layout information for an actual golf course and for storing statistical information concerning a golf player's game and results of his execution of golf strokes using different golf clubs based upon the golfer's previous performance on actual golf courses;
b) display means for displaying the layout of a selected actual golf course and for receiving a desired ball position input from the golf player;
c) indicator means for indicating on the display means the player's desired ball position input;
e) means for selecting a particular golf club and for executing a golf stroke; and
f) calculating means for calculating a result of a player's golf stroke based upon the stored statistical information.
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11. A method for playing a computerized golf game said method comprising the steps of:
a) providing a computer having a data storage means, data entry means, calculating means and a display means;
b) storing in the data storage means golf course layout information for an actual golf course and statistical information concerning a golf player's game and results of his execution of golf strokes using different golf clubs based upon the golfer's previous performance on actual golf courses;
c) executing a golf stroke based upon a particular golf club selected by the player for playing a particular stroke on a particular hole of a particular golf course; and
d) calculating a result of a player's golf stroke based upon the stored golf course layout information and the stored statistical information.
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 1. Field of the Invention
 The present invention relates to a golf computer game particularly intended for use by active golfers in practicing on “existing” golf courses included within the computerized game, at a time prior to and as a complement to playing on the actual course.
 2. Description of the Related Art
 Computerized games of golf that include maps of golf courses that exist in reality and where the player himself/herself selects an appropriate club and strikes a golf ball by pressing a key on a keyboard or some corresponding device are known to the art. In all of those computerized games, by appropriate key selection, mouse clicking or some corresponding action, the player is able to choose the direction of the shot played and the force with which the ball is struck. The game is thus more or less sophisticated, although despite those possible variations in the game, the result of the golf stroke is determined by parameters included in the computer program, parameters that are influenced to some extent by the information entered by the player. The golfing expertise and strategic ability of the player can thus influence the results to some degree, although the actual prowess of the player on the actual golf course has no influence on the result of the game, which depends solely upon the ability of the player to operate the computer program. Consequently, the game gives no actual feedback to the player with respect to how he/she should strike the ball in order to improve the result.
 There is known, inter alia, from International Patent Application PCT/SE00/01319, a golf player indicator with which a golfer is able to record his/her strokes during a round of golf. That indicator includes an apparatus that has a map of the golf course concerned and, with the aid of a built-in GPS receiver, is adapted to display the map on its display screen and to store in the apparatus the place where the golf ball has landed, in response to activation of the apparatus by the user in order to show his position on the course and the place where the golf ball has landed. The user is also able to make fine adjustments to the displayed location. The stored results can then be retrieved and shown to a trainer or coach, a so-called professional, who is then able to advise the player of how the shot should have been played in order to achieve a better result.
 Such an apparatus enables the results of many rounds of golf to be saved, so that the trainer or coach is able to see and compare the results and thereby follow the development of the player and give him/her further advice. However, the apparatus is unable to help the player improve his skills.
 The object of the present invention is to provide a novel golf computer game that overcomes the drawbacks noted above to enable a golfer to practice prior to actually playing on a real golf course, by playing on the same course in the computerized game, and thereby obtain a feel for how he/she should play if the game was being played on the real golf course.
 This object of the invention is achieved with a computerized game of golf that is intended to be played on a computer and that includes information relating to at least one golf course. The golf course information can be displayed on a screen in the form of a map of the golf course selected, and the player is able to select an appropriate golf club and mark the spot at which he/she intends the ball to land. The player then executes a golf stroke. In accordance with the invention, the computerized game can also include statistical information relating to the player's game on actual golf courses, and it is adapted to calculate the result of the player's golf stroke on the basis of that statistical information.
 The computerized golf game thus enables the player to obtain an idea of what his result would have been if he had played on the actual course instead of playing the computerized game. It thereby enables the player to test other clubs and/or stroke directions, so that he can more readily decide which club to use and in which direction the ball should be struck, and, with the aid of the computerized golf game, the distance through which the ball should be driven on the actual golf course in order to overcome the hazards and traps that are in play.
 The inventive computerized golf game is thus designed to enable the actual game of the player stored in the aforesaid apparatus to be entered into the computerized golf game as a statistical basis for the golf computer, so that the result of a golf stroke made in the computerized game can be calculated.
 The entered statistical information is not used “immediately” in the golf game. The game will preferably include some form of random number function that selects a stroke distance and a stroke direction on the basis of information obtained with respect to a usual stroke distance and a usual stroke direction, and in that way it generates a probable stroke for the player concerned. If the player normally has a wide variation in the distance achieved with the club selected, the result in the golf game will also show a wide variation in stroke distance, although in the vicinity of the values normal for the player concerned. The same applies to a player who normally has a wide spread in his stroke angle relative to the intended angle. On the other hand, if the player is normally more even with respect to the result in his/her game, the results obtained in the computerized game will also be more even. The results can then be used by the player/golfer to try different clubs, different stroke directions and different distances on one and the same hole, so as to establish which of those parameters would be most suitable for him to reach the hole in the fewest number of strokes.
 The invention will now be described in more detail with reference to a non-limiting embodiment and with reference to the accompanying drawing, FIG. 1, which illustrates schematically the various components of the game.
 When the player plays a round of golf on the actual golf course 1, he notes each stroke in his indicator 2, the indicator suitably being of the kind described in the aforesaid publication PCT/SE00/01319, the entire disclosure of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference to the same extent as if fully rewritten. The results entered in the indicator can be used conventionally by the trainer/coach to analyze the round played by the golfer, and can, furthermore, be transferred directly from the indicator to a PC 3 belonging to the golfer/player, or via another computer owned by the trainer, or the like.
 Stored in the player's PC 3 is a game program that includes software for playing a golf game. The program can initially include information relating to different golf courses, including maps over respective holes and other information, such as hazards, traps, slopes, surface variations, etc. That information is combined to provide pictures of the golf course and is shown on the display screen of the PC 3. In the case of simpler versions, the picture or image of the golf course can be a two-dimensional image, although it will preferably be possible to zoom-in on the area of the course in which the golfer/the game is located at that moment in time. In more advanced versions, the image of the golf course can be a three-dimensional image that illustrates the appearance of the course from that place in which the game is being played. Such versions, however, require considerably more basic information relating to the course concerned.
 The player can conventionally make an appropriate club selection, mark the spot at which he intends to his ball to land, and then carry out a golf stroke, all with the aid of keys and/or other activating means. Marking of the spot at which the player intends his ball to land will preferably be done on the display screen with the aid of the mouse or some other pointer or reference means. The game program then calculates where the ball will land on the basis of the given assumptions and with the aid of a calculating algorithm, and presents the result of that calculation to the player, who then continues with his next stroke from the calculated landing point, and thereafter continues in a corresponding manner until the ball drops into the cup.
 As opposed to previously-known computerized golf games, the inventive game does not calculate the result of a golf stroke purely on the basis of the information entered by the player and on the basis of other data belonging to the program. Instead, the game program uses data taken from the indicator 2 and data relating to earlier rounds of golf played by the player on the actual golf course concerned, when such data are available. If no such data are available, there are used instead data from earlier shots played by the player/golfer with the same club that he has now chosen to use, but on other courses. Calculations are not based solely on the results from earlier play and a certain spread is preferably sought. The program will conveniently include a computing function in this respect, controlled by a random number generator, for instance. The more results the player has on one and the same golf course or with one and the same club, the more these results will influence the result of the stroke that is calculated by the game program. And the more even the earlier results of the player when playing on the actual golf course, the more uniform the result will be when playing on the computerized golf course. Consequently, such a computing function will conveniently be included in the computerized game program, so that the skill of the player in his game on the actual golf course will be reflected in the result of his play on the computerized golf game. This results in a probability assessment of where the ball struck by the player would have landed in reality, and places the result of the stroke at that spot.
 Play can be continued in this way until the ball drops into the cup, and then continue with the next hole until all holes on the golf course have been completed. As will be understood, the player can, of course, play the same hole on the course several times and test different club selections and/or different strategies as to how the ball should be struck, so as to see which modifications can be made to his game on the course in which he is interested to test his game in reality and to improve the result.
 The computerized golf game can also be programmed to assign to the player a handicap that differs from his own handicap, in which case the program will be adapted to calculate instead the result of the golf stroke from the handicap assigned, so that the player will obtain an understanding of how his game would appear in reality if he improves his handicap.
 Data can be transferred from the indicator 2 to the PC 3 via cable connections between those units or by saving data/information from the indicator 2 in the computer owned by the trainer, and by downloading the information onto a disk, via the Internet, or sent as an attached file to the player.
 The computerized game can also include the game results of established players, so that the player is able to test himself and his expertise against the expertise of the established players.
 Golf course data that are required for the computerized game and that are not included in the basic game data can be obtained on a disk or downloaded from a server 4 via the Internet or some other suitable network. Information concerning respective golf courses for use in the inventive computerized golf game can, for instance, be obtained from the respective golf courses.
 It can be particularly advantageous to collect information relating to the appearance of the golf course via the Internet or some other network when the appearance of the golf course can vary from day to day and when information concerning the state of the golf course on a particular day is made available, e.g., on the Internet, thereby enabling the player to download relevant information for a particular day and to test play the golf course in the computerized golf game prior to going out onto the actual course. The weather data relevant to that day can be entered into the computerized game so that the player will also be influenced by the weather conditions when playing the course on his computer.
 Although particular embodiments of the present invention have been illustrated and described, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit of the invention. It is therefore intended to encompass within the appended claims all such changes and modifications that fall within the scope of the present invention.