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Publication numberUS20060030433 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/197,066
Publication dateFeb 9, 2006
Filing dateAug 4, 2005
Priority dateAug 4, 2004
Publication number11197066, 197066, US 2006/0030433 A1, US 2006/030433 A1, US 20060030433 A1, US 20060030433A1, US 2006030433 A1, US 2006030433A1, US-A1-20060030433, US-A1-2006030433, US2006/0030433A1, US2006/030433A1, US20060030433 A1, US20060030433A1, US2006030433 A1, US2006030433A1
InventorsJeff Horsley
Original AssigneeJeff Horsley
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Golf course location and distance measuring system
US 20060030433 A1
Abstract
A portable device measures the distances between a golfer and features located on a golf course based on global position data and predetermined location of features. The portable device includes a global positioning receiver to receive global position data and a wireless interface to communicate with a base device. The portable device couples to the base device to recharge and to record use. The base device may monitor the location of the portable device as the portable device traverses a golf course.
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Claims(23)
1. A golf distance measuring system, comprising:
a hand-held, portable device, including
a processor,
a global positioning system in electrical communication with the processor to receive global positioning data,
a memory in electrical communication with the processor to store hole position data and including a distance computation module to determine current distance to a hole based on global positioning data and hole position data,
a rechargeable battery in electrical communication with the processor,
a docking interface in electrical communication with the rechargeable battery to receive power,
a display in electrical communication with the processor, and
an input device in electrical communication with the processor; and
a base device including,
a processor,
a memory having stored thereon hole position data downloadable to the portable device, and
a port to couple with the docking interface to deliver power to the portable device.
2. The system of claim 1, wherein the base device include an accounting module stored on the memory to monitor coupling of the portable device with the base device and record use of the portable device.
3. The system of claim 1 further comprising:
a plurality of portable devices, and
wherein the base device further includes a plurality of ports, each port to couple to a portable device to deliver power.
4. The system of claim 1, wherein the base device further includes a network interface to enable communication with a network.
5. The system of claim 1, wherein the portable device includes a wireless interface to enable wireless communication, and the base device includes a wireless interface to enable wireless communication with the portable device.
6. The system of claim 5, wherein the wireless interface of the portable device is further to transmit global positioning data to the wireless interface of the base device, the global positioning data indicative of the current position of the portable device.
7. The system of claim 6, wherein the base device includes a base display in electrical communication with the base processor, the display generating a graphical representation indicative of the location of the portable device.
8. The system of claim 1, wherein the memory is further to store additional golf course data and the distance computation module is further to determine current distance to additional golf course features based on global positioning data and golf course data.
9. A method for measuring the distance between a golfer and a hole located on a golf course, comprising:
providing a hand-held, portable device, including,
a processor,
a global positioning system in electrical communication with the processor,
a memory in electrical communication with the processor,
a docking interface,
display in electrical communication with the processor, and
an input device in electrical communication with the processor;
providing a base device including,
a processor,
a memory having hole position data stored thereon, and
a port;
the portable device receiving hole position data from the base device;
the global positioning system receiving global position data; and
the portable device computing a distance to a hole based on the hole position and the global position data.
10. The method of claim 9, wherein receiving hole position data includes coupling the docking interface of the portable device to the port of the base device.
11. The method of claim 9, wherein the portable device includes a wireless interface and the base device includes a wireless interface to enable wireless communication with the portable device.
12. The method of claim 11, wherein receiving hole position data includes transmitting the hole position data from the base device wireless interface to the portable device wireless interface.
13. The method of claim 11, further comprising, storing the hole position data on the base device including,
positioning the portable device to a location approximately corresponding to a hole,
transmitting a hole number to the base device, and
transmitting global position data associated with the hole to the base device.
14. The method of claim 9, further comprising monitoring the coupling of the docking interface and the port to record use of the portable device.
15. The method of claim 9, further comprising:
the portable device receiving additional golf course data from the base device; and
the portable device computing a distance to additional golf course features based on the golf course data and the global position data.
16. A hand-held, portable device for use in measuring the distance to a hole on a golf course, including
a processor;
a global positioning system in electrical communication with the processor to receive global positioning data;
a memory in electrical communication with the processor and including,
hole position data received from the base device, and
a distance computation module to determine current distance to a hole based on global positioning data and hole position data;
a rechargeable battery in electrical communication with the processor;
a docking interface in electrical communication with the rechargeable battery to receive power from the base device;
a display in electrical communication with the processor; and
an input device in electrical communication with the processor.
17. The portable device of claim 16, further comprising a wireless interface in electrical communication with the processor to enable wireless communication with a base device.
18. The portable device of claim 17, wherein the wireless interface of the portable device is further to transmit global positioning data to a wireless interface of the base device, the global positioning data indicative of the current position of the portable device.
19. The portable device of claim 17, wherein the distance computation module further determines current distance to the base device.
20. The portable device of claim 17, wherein the display illustrates a graphical representation of a golf course and an indicator of the current location of the portable device relative to the golf course.
21. The portable device of claim 16, further comprising:
the display automatically showing a hole number and a distance to a hole when the portable device is within a predetermined proximity to the hole; and
the display automatically showing the next hole number and a distance to the next hole when the portable device is within a predetermined proximity to the next hole.
22. The portable device of claim 16, further comprising:
the display showing a hole number and a distance to a hole in response to a user entry into the input device; and
the display automatically showing the next hole number and a distance to the next hole in response to a user entry into the input device.
23. The portable device of claim 16, wherein the memory further includes additional golf course data received from the base device, and the distance computation module further determines current distance to additional golf course features based on global positioning data and golf course data.
Description
    RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application claims priority to U.S. patent application No. 60/599,124 filed on Aug. 4, 2004 and entitled “Golf Course Location and Distance Measuring System” and which is hereby incorporated by reference.
  • TECHNICAL FIELD
  • [0002]
    The invention relates generally to the field of global positioning and range finding systems.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0003]
    A more particular description of the invention briefly described above will be rendered by reference to the appended drawing. Understanding that this drawing only provides information concerning typical embodiments of the invention and is not therefore to be considered limiting of its scope, the invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings, in which:
  • [0004]
    FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating a system of the present invention.
  • [0005]
    FIG. 2 is flow diagram illustrating a process of the present invention.
  • [0006]
    FIG. 3 is a plan view of an embodiment of a portable device.
  • [0007]
    FIG. 4 is a graphical representation that may be generated in accordance with the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0008]
    The presently preferred embodiments of the present invention will be best understood by reference to the drawings, wherein like parts are designated by like numerals throughout. It will be readily understood that the components of the present invention, as generally described and illustrated in the figures herein, could be arranged and designed in a wide variety of different configurations. Thus, the following more detailed description of the embodiments of the apparatus, system, and method of the present invention, as represented in FIGS. 1 through 4, is not intended to limit the scope of the invention, as claimed, but is merely representative of presently preferred embodiments of the invention. Specific examples are given to illustrate aspects of the invention, but those of skill in the relevant art(s) will understand that other examples may also fall within the meaning of the terms used, and hence within the scope of one or more claims. Important terms maybe defined, either explicitly or implicitly, here in the Detailed Description and/or elsewhere in the application file.
  • [0009]
    Referring to FIG. 1, a block diagram is shown of components of a system 100 of the present invention. The system 100 includes a base device 102 that may be embodied, in part, as a computer such as a general purpose computer workstation, laptop computer, disconnectable mobile computer, server, mainframe, cluster, or a combination thereof. The base device 102 includes a processor 104 that may include a general purpose device such as a 80.times.86, Pentium (mark of Intel), 680.times.0, or other “off-the-shelf” microprocessor. The processor 104 may include a special purpose processing device such as an ASIC, PAL, PLA, PLD, Field Programmable Gate Array, or other customized or programmable device. The processor 104 is in electrical communication with a memory 106 which may include static RAM, dynamic RAM, flash memory, ROM, CD-ROM, disk, tape, magnetic, optical, or other computer storage medium.
  • [0010]
    The memory 106 includes applications to enable features of the present invention such as software, firmware, and drivers that may be Windows® compliant. Suitable software disclosed herein to assist in implementing the invention is readily provided by those of skill in the pertinent art using the teachings presented here and programming languages and tools such as Java, Pascal, C++, C, database languages, APIs, SDKs, assembly, firmware, microcode, and/or other languages and tools. Suitable signal formats may be embodied in analog or digital form, with or without error detection and/or correction bits, packet headers, network addresses in a specific format, and/or other supporting data readily provided by those of skill in the pertinent art.
  • [0011]
    The processor 104 is in electrical communication with a docking station 108 that includes one or more docking ports 110 for electrically interfacing with and charging a portable device 112. The docking ports 110 may further enable the transfer of data and instruction code to update the portable devices 112 as needed. The base device 102 may include a wireless interface 114 to enable wireless communication with a portable device 112. Wireless communication may be based on a proprietary communication protocol.
  • [0012]
    The base device 102 also includes input device(s) 116 that may include a keyboard, mouse, touch screen, light pen, tablet, microphone, sensor, or other hardware with accompanying firmware and/or software. The base device 102 includes output device(s) 118 that may include a monitor or other display, printer, speech or text synthesizer, switch, signal line, or other hardware with accompanying firmware and/or software.
  • [0013]
    The base device 102 may further include a network interface 120 such as a router, network card, modem, or the like to enable network communication between the base device 102 and a central server and/or remote devices. The network interface 120 is suitable for communication across a local area network, wide area network, metropolitan area network, and/or “Internet” or IP networks such as the World Wide Web, a private Internet, a secure Internet, a value-added network, a virtual private network, an extranet, an intranet. One suitable network includes a server and several clients; other suitable networks may contain other combinations of servers, clients, and/or peer-to-peer nodes, and a given computer may function both as a client and as a server.
  • [0014]
    To minimize installation issues at a customer location, the network interface 120 may be embodied as a cellular data modem. The cellular data requires no external phone connections and provides a highly reliable communication system. It would also allow more flexible placement of the base device 102 in a golf shop or club house.
  • [0015]
    The base device 102 may be further embodied with a floppy drive, tape drive, optical drive, magneto-optical drive, or other means to read a storage medium. A suitable storage medium includes a magnetic, optical, or other computer-readable storage device having a specific physical configuration. Suitable storage devices include floppy disks, hard disks, tape, CD-ROMs, DVDs, PROMs, random access memory, flash memory, and other computer system storage devices. The physical configuration represents data and instructions that cause the computer system to operate in a specific and predefined manner as described herein.
  • [0016]
    The memory 106 includes instruction code to perform in accordance with the operations discussed herein. Specifically, the memory 106 includes an operating system 122 and an accounting module 124. The accounting module 124 includes an algorithm to monitor use of each portable device 112 and calculate a royalty for a system provider based on use.
  • [0017]
    The base device 102 may also include a Global Positioning System (GPS) 25 to receive global position data. The base device 102 may use the global position data to establish the location of the base device 102 relative to portable devices 112 and holes on the golf course.
  • [0018]
    A portable device 112 may be embodied as a hand-held device that is configured for ergonomic convenience. The portable device 112 is designed for outdoor environments in temperatures ranging from 0° C. to 70° C. and are water resistant. A portable device 112 includes a housing 126 to contain the components thereof. Each portable device 112 includes a GPS receiver 128 such as a Wide Area Augmented System (WAAS) enabled GPS receiver for communicating with one or more GPS satellites 130. The WAAS signal was originally developed for the FAA to reduce the positional error of a traditional GPS receiver so that its performance is adequate for commercial aircraft instrument landing systems. Unlike traditional Differential GPS (DGPS), the WAAS signal is broadcast on the same frequencies as the GPS signals. This eliminates the need for a separate and expensive dedicated DGPS receiver.
  • [0019]
    A portable device 112 further includes a processor 132 and a memory 134 that are in electrical communication with the GPS receiver 128 to receive global position data. Both the processor 132 and memory 134 may be implemented in any number of ways including the embodiments discussed in reference to the base device 102. The memory 134 includes an operating system 136 to perform the necessary instructions to enable interaction of the portable device 112 with a GPS to thereby allow users to determine geographic position. The memory 134 further includes a distance computation module 138 to determine distance to terrain features and holes as discussed below. Each portable device 112 may further include a wireless interface 140 to enable two-way communication with the wireless interface 114 of the base device 102.
  • [0020]
    The portable device 112 may include a rechargeable battery 142 that is in electrical communication with the processor 132 and a docking interface 144. The docking interface 144 is to couple with a port 110 to recharge the battery 142.
  • [0021]
    The portable device 112 includes a display 146 that may be embodied as any number of devices including LCD, LED, and the like. The portable device 112 further includes an input device 148, such as a keypad, that allows for golfer input to enable various functions of the portable device 112. The number of keypad buttons is preferably limited to reduce golfer confusion. In order to compensate for the limited keypad, the portable device 112 may provide an intuitive GUI to facilitate operation.
  • [0022]
    The base device 102 may be resident at a golf course, such as in a club house. A golfer may request and rent a portable device 112 for a fee. Portable devices 112 are coupled to respective docking ports 110. The coupling allows the portable devices 112 to recharge their batteries 142 and allows for data transfer. Data transfer between a base device 102 and a portable device 112 may also be achieved through a wireless communication.
  • [0023]
    During data transfer, the portable device 112 may receive golf course data to assist in locating a golfer's position relative to holes, greens, hazards, bunkers and other pertinent information regarding the play of a golf course. Thus, golf course data may include hole position data to identify the location of each hole. Golf course data may further include the locations and dimensions of greens, hazards, bunkers, and so forth. Golf course data may further include data specific to each green such as slope of the front, center, and back of each green regardless of a golfer's angle of approach. Green data is therefore relevant to a golfer who is on the fairway and to a golfer who is 45 degrees to the right after experiencing a slice. Golf course data may further include information about the characteristics of each hole that are important to game play.
  • [0024]
    As golf course terrain and features may change, the golf course data must be updated in the base device 102. Hole positions routinely change, and hole position data must be reentered into the base device 102. Golf course data may be entered manually into the base device 102 through an input device 116. Alternatively, a user may position a portable device 112 to the approximate location of a hole or other golf course feature. The user then enters a hole number into the portable device 112 and stores corresponding global positioning data which becomes the hole position data. This technique is performed for each hole. The portable device 112 may communicate the hole position data to the base device 102 through either wireless communication or direct coupling. A golf course facility may daily send an employee through the course with a portable device 112 to ensure the accuracy of the hole position data. As can be appreciated, rented portable devices 112 are precluded from updating hole position data.
  • [0025]
    Referring to FIG. 2, a flow diagram illustrates a process 200 performed by the system 100. A portable device 112 is charged 202 by docking the device 112 with the base device 102. The base device 102 transfers 204 golf course data including hole position data to the portable device 112 through a docking interface or through wireless communication. The portable device 112 is released 206 from its corresponding docking port. The accounting module 124 registers 206 the release of the portable device 112 and records the time. The accounting module 124 may further register the return and time of a portable device 112. After a certain time period, the accounting module 124 considers the released portable device 112 to be an income event. Each income event may be recorded to determine revenue generated by the system for each day, week, and so forth. A summary of income events may be transmitted through the network interface 120 to a remote location for accounting purposes. A system manager is in this way informed of the system use and licensing royalties that are due.
  • [0026]
    A golfer traverses a golf course with the portable device 112 and has access to the golf course data. The portable device 112, through its GPS receiver, receives 208 global position data and continuously updates its location. The portable device 112 may communicate 210 its location through the wireless interface 140 to the base device 102. The base device 102 may receive the locations of each portable device 112 on the course.
  • [0027]
    The distance computation module 138 computes 212 the distance to holes proximate to the golfer based on hole and global position data. The distance computation module may further compute 214 the distance to other features such as hazards, the perimeter and center of a green, bunkers, and so forth. The portable device 112 may display 216 all such distance computations to the golfer. Information specific to a green and hole may also be stored in the portable device 112 and retrieved as requested. Thus, a golfer's position relative to a hole, green perimeter, green center, fairway, hazard, and bunker is accessible at all times.
  • [0028]
    As a golfer reaches a certain distance to a hole, the portable device 112 may automatically display the hole number and associated distance. The portable device 112 may further automatically display the distance to hazards and/or bunkers and information on the green. The distance computation module 138 may include an algorithm to automatically display information associated with a hole that a golfer is likely playing. Once a golfer passes a hole and traverses a certain distance, the computation module 138 may automatically display the next hole and associated information. Automatic, sequential advancement to the next hole conveniently allows a golfer to review distance without entering the current hole being played. Alternatively, a golfer may enter a hole number and the portable device 112 responds by displaying the associated information. The portable device 112 may further update the displayed distance as the golfer proceeds. Upon completion of a hole, the golfer may enter the next hole number and receive its associated information. In one implementation, the portable device 112 may automatically display hole distance or require user entry based on a selected option.
  • [0029]
    The base device 102 may also transmit distance between the base device 102 and the portable device 112. If desired, the portable device 112 can display base device proximity to the golfer. Upon game completion, the golfer returns the portable device 112. The portable device 112 is once again coupled 218 to a docking port 110 for recharging. The accounting module 124 may record the return and update its associated records accordingly.
  • [0030]
    Referring to FIG. 3, a plan view of one embodiment of a portable device 300 is shown. A display 302 illustrates the hole and associated distance and options such as a return to menu or unlock. A keypad 304 may provide a few keys with an intuitive interface to facilitate user operation. A display 302 and keypad 304 may be implemented in various designs, all of which are within the scope of the invention.
  • [0031]
    Referring to FIG. 4, an embodiment of a graphical representation 400 is shown that a base device 102 may generate. The representation 400 illustrates a golf course with the location of each portable device 402 on the course. An operator can monitor the progress of golfers throughout the course. If desired, the base device 102 can include a display for observers in a clubhouse to monitor the progress of golfers. Golfers may be identified based on portable device identification and assigned a name for viewing purposes. In some embodiments, the portable device 112 may also provide a similar overview of the course with the golfer's location on the course.
  • [0032]
    The system described herein provides an accurate and reliable method for golfers to receive relevant distances and other course information during game play. A base device is able to communicate with portable devices to recharge and update information. A base device is further able to record use for accounting and monitor portable device locations throughout a golf course.
  • [0033]
    It will be obvious to those having skill in the art that many changes may be made to the details of the above-described embodiments without departing from the underlying principles of the invention.
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Referenced by
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US8142304Oct 11, 2006Mar 27, 2012Appalachian Technology, LlcGolf round data system golf club telemetry
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Classifications
U.S. Classification473/407
International ClassificationA63B57/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B2220/13, A63B2220/20, A63B57/00, A63B71/06, A63B2225/50, A63B2071/0691, A63B2220/12, A63B2220/14, A63B2102/32
European ClassificationA63B57/00, A63B71/06
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 5, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: QUICKCADDY LLC, UTAH
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:HORSLEY, JEFF;REEL/FRAME:017061/0122
Effective date: 20030915