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Publication numberUS2694573 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 16, 1954
Filing dateApr 13, 1951
Priority dateApr 13, 1951
Publication numberUS 2694573 A, US 2694573A, US-A-2694573, US2694573 A, US2694573A
InventorsWalker Neville E
Original AssigneeWalker Neville E
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method of illuminating golf courses
US 2694573 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Nov. 16, 1954 N. E. WALKER METHOD OF ILLUMINATING GOLF COURSES 2 Sheet-Sheet 1 Filed April 15, 1951 INVENTOR- NeViZZe E. a Zkez Nov. 16, 1954 N'. E. WALKER METHOD OF ILLUMINATING GOLF COURSES 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed April 13. 1951 Unite States Patent 2,694,573 Patented Nov. 16, 1954 TETHOD UF HLLUMENATBNG GULF COURSES Neville E. Walker, Portland, Oreg.

Application April 13, 1951, Serial No. 222,959

2 Claims. (Cl. 27332) This invention relates to a game, and particularly to the game of golf as it is played after sundown or when visibility otherwise is impaired.

A particular object of my invention is to provide a method for playing golf upon a standard golf course under conditions affording insufiicient natural illumination.

A further object is to provide illumination and marking means which together will indicate a preferred course of play in a golf game and which together will allow the visual observation and location of the golf ball as it follows or deviates from that course of play.

Many public or pay as you play golf courses are marginal sources of revenue. During the summer, almost all of these courses prove profitable; during the early fall and late spring, many of them just break even; and the remainder of the year, they operate at a loss. Accordingly, the owners and operators of these courses continuously are searching for added sources or increased rates of income. The instant invention, in its most broad aspect, is directed toward a method calculated to produce added income for the conventional golf course by allowing play to continue after darkness falls. Furthermore, as my detailed description hereinafter will indicate, this invention seeks to remove the operational ceiling which, because of darkness, hitherto has limited the operating hours of a golf course. In addition, such removal is to be accomplished with a minimum expenditure of capital whereby the benefits of my invention quickly can be made available to the great mass of golfers.

Referring now to previous attempts to play or practice golf after dark, the prior art may be said to include the well-known floodlighted driving ranges, lighted miniature golf courses and so-called pitch-and-putt courses. Each of these previous attempts, it will be noted, provides a golf course of less than ordinary length. Furthermore, most of these games require a modification or synthesis of the rules of the game of golf. These are prime disadvantages immediately apparent to the average golfer and tend to limit the popular acceptance of the games. Secondly, economic and physical factors limit both the revenue earning capacity and the practicality of these prior art golf games or practice devices. For example, the cost of providing adequate illumination over an entire golf course is quite high, if not prohibitive. Frequently, the cost of installing and maintaining sufficient floodlights and the cost of supplying the necessary electrical energy to keep such lights illuminated more than balances off the revenue to be derived from the operation of the venture. Floodlights, to provide adequate illumination, must be mounted rather close to the ground. Thus, the teeing grounds, fairways, and putting greens must be provided with light of sufficient intensity to allow continuous visual observation of the golf ball during play. Experience has shown, particularly on fairways, that prior illumination has not been adequate and has not served the purpose for which it was intended. Thus, a driven golf ball will rise in the air to a considerable altitude. This altitude oftens exceeds the ceiling or effective illumination area of the conventional floodlight and visual observation of the entire flight becomes impossible. On descending once more into the illuminated area, the flight pattern often is not picked up due to the fact that the vision of the golfer has been interrupted momentarily. This results in numerous delays, to the economic detriment of the operator of the course.

I attribute a major share of the above listed disadvantages to the high initial and maintenance cost of floodlights. Accordingly, one object of my invention is directed toward the provision of a method of playing golf after darkness wherein few if any .costly floodlights need be installed about or upon either the teeing ground or along the fairway. This is in sharp contrast to those methods hitherto practiced.

A further object of my invention is to provide and to manipulate a reflective type spotlight which projects a concentrated beam of light surrounded by an aureole of vagrant rays. With this spotlight, I illuminate each drive and each approach shot by arranging the beam of light generally behind the point from which a shot is to be made. Since the concentrated beam of light is quite intense, suflicient vagrant rays are emitted to light up the area surrounding the ball with suflicient intensity to make play possible. Firstly, the concentrated beam is projected down the fairway in the general direction in which a shot is to be made. Secondly, the shot is made and the beam is manipulated and directed to pick up the golf ball in flight and to follow this flight until the ball strikes the ground and comes to rest. In so doing, the beam illuminates the back half of a spherical golf ball, which half is the portion seen by the player and other members of his foursome. Thus, the beam of light is effective to trace the flight pattern of the struck golf ball and to allow visual observation of the ball from the moment it leaves the teeing area, throughout the flight pattern, and until and after the ball comes to rest. In actual tests, this concentrated beam has proven effective to pick out a golf ball resting on the fairway 250 yards from the teeing ground.

Yet another object of my invention is to provide a game, such as golf, in which a beam of light is projected over the ball before it is struck. At preselected intervals over the playing area or down the fairway, reflective markers are arranged to define a projected path of play; Prior to the time the ball is struck, the beam of light picks up these markers and indicates to the player not only the course over which he is to play, but also the relative distance he can hope to achieve. Thus, the reflective markers serve to indicate both the preferred path of play and the length of each shot so that the player, his contenders, and the gallery, after a shot is made, are provided with an indicia by which, mentally, they may mark the point at which the ball comes to rest.

Still another object of my invention is to provide a vehicle or buggy upon which a dirigible spotlight is mounted. This vehicle may be self-propelled and carry an electric generator as a source of energy for the spotlight. By providing proper steering and speed regulating devices, the vehicle can be made to follow a desired path of travel over undulating terrain such as is found on most golf courses. In addition, the vehicle may be provided with carrying means for transporting golf bags, clubs, balls and other golf paraphernalia.

In conjunction with the above mentioned vehicle, it is a further object of my invention to mount a vertical standard thereupon, such a standard to have universal movement or mounting means supporting a dirigible spotlight. A pistol grip handle is joined to the spotlight to allow a caddy or attendant readily to maniplate the beam of light which will be projected therefrom during a golf game. Furthermore, the spotlight and handle are balanced upon the standard so as to assume a generally horizontal position in general accord with the desired projection direction during the initial phases of play. Yet further. A novel locking means is provided adjacent the upper end of said standard selectively to hold and to latch the spotlight against movement.

Another object of my invention is to provide one or more portable floodlights for putting greens, such floodlights to be combined with actuation means for controlling the illumination in response to the projection of an intense beam of light upon a photoelectric cell placed adjacent the floodlight. That is to say, I prefer to construct and to arrange these floodlights so they will provide a high level of illumination for a putting green.

Photoelectric cell devices are arranged to actuate these floodlights when a beam of light, such as the aforemen tioned concentrated beam, is projected upon the cell.

Furthermore, by providing adjustment means selectively to vary the light intensity to which said photoelectric cell will respond, I am able to predetermine the distance from which said beam of light must be projected to provide sufficient intensity to actuate said fioodlights. Thus, at each hole of a golf course, the putting green floodlights are preadjusted so the concentrated beam of light will turn on the fioodlights only when the golfer approaches a point from which it is reasonable that he may expect to reach said putting green on his next shot.

In conjunction with the last named inventive object, diverse economic factors have bounded my inventive thinking and experimentation. Thus, a putting green should be illuminated with a diffused light at a high level of intensity so that undulation and unevenness of the green may be visualized and observed by the players. However, if such a high intensity of light is provided when the green is not in use, the light and power is wasted. Furthermore, fioodlights for night time golf offer some obstacles to play which are undesirable when they are not needed. For example, if a golf course is to be subject to play both by day and by night, it is best that the fioodlights be so constructed that they can be removed during the daytime. Accordingly, I prefer to utilize portable fioodlights so they can be moved away from the putting green during the daytime. Another factor in the provision of adequate lighting equipment is the method of actuation thereof. Thus, by providing a distant actuation means for the fioodlights, I can eliminate entirely all costly cables, conduits, and multiple switches which normally must be stretched along the fairway between the teeing ground and the putting green. However, to prevent my fioodlights from being actuated inadvertently by beams projected from other fairways by other foursomes, said actuation means are shielded and are directed or pointed down the fairway. Thus, I have achieved the twin advantages of low operating cost and efiicient operation.

Other and more detailed objects of my invention hereinafter are described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Fig. l is a side view of my motor-driven vehicle and generator showing the dirigible or articulated spotlight which is carried thereon and indicating, in dashed outline, one position to which the spotlight may be pivoted;

Fig. 2 is a detail plan or top view of the spotlight in Fig. 1, showing a second pivotal movement thereof and more particularly indicating the locking means by which the spotlight may be latched or locked against movement;

Fig. 3 is a side view of the portable floodlight which is used to light a putting green and this figure shows the photoelectric cell which is mounted upon the vertical standard and which is directed at an oblique angle to the direction in which the floodlight beams are projected;

Fig. 4 is a schematic diagram indicating the electric circuit for actuating the floodlight of Fig. 3 and indicating the photoelectric cell, locking type relay, and battery in series with said floodlight;

Figs. 5 and 6 are related top and side views, respectively, indicating diagrammatically the use of my various inventive mechanisms and the method of playing a game of golf in accord with my invention; and

Fig. 7 is a side view of a golf ball in flight over the fairway better to indicate the manner in which only that half of the golf ball which faces the teeing ground is illuminated.

In accord with the particular object of my invention, to provide a method of playing golf under conditions affording insufiicient natural illumination, I have shown in Figs. 1 to 4 inclusive, a plurality of mechanisms or types of equipment which may be utilized to practice the steps of said method. To this end, I provide a selfpropelled vehicle 1 having a tubular chassis 2 upon which is mounted a gasoline or other motor-propelling means 3. To allow the vehicle to traverse the undulating terrain of a golf course, a dirigible front wheel 4 and two spaced back wheels 5 are provided. The front wheel 4, in turn, pivotally is carried by the chassis 2 on a bifurcated fork member 6 rotating vertically, and having an elongated, telescopic steering post 7. This steering post 7 is journaled, as at 8, to allow the entire post to be swung either forwardly or rearwardly. Thus, the vehicle 1 may be jockeyed about either by pushing or pulling upon the handle 9 and the steering post 7.

Mounted intermediate the ends of the steering post 7,

I provide a speed control lever 10 and a clutch control lever 11. The speed control lever 10 is joined to the motor 3 in conventional manner through a Bowden wire connection. The clutch control lever 11, on the other hand, is joined to a link 12 by means of a similar Bowden wire selectively to engage or disengage the clutch mechanism 13. The driven shaft 14 of the clutch 13, in turn, rotates a pulley or chain drive 15 to rotate the back wheels 5 when the clutch is engaged.

As best shown in Fig. 1, a hollow vertical standard 16 is secured to the chassis 2 by means of twin brackets 17. This standard 16 is carried to one side of the vehicle in order to provide a wide, flat area across the top of the chassis 2 as at 18. This wide, flat area may be utilized to carry golf bags and other paraphernalia. Optionally, clamps, straps or hooks may be provided to secure the paraphernalia to the chassis.

Adjacent the upper end of the vertical standard 16, I prefer to mount a ball-and-socket type pivot mechanism 19, the ball of which carries a shaft 20. This shaft 20, in turn, is joined to a triangular frame member 21 upon which one or more spotlights 22 may be mounted. In addition, the triangular frame member or handle 21 may terminate in a pistol grip portion 23 for ready pivotal movement of the dirigible spot light 22 while a golf ball is in flight.

A mechanism, by means of which a caddy or attendant may lock the spotlights 22 in any desired pivotal position is provided as indicated by a screw 24 and handle 25. The screw 24 bears upon the ball portion of the balland-socket mechanism 19 to define a locking means. The handle 25 is joined to this screw to turn the same in complementary threads. Thus, if the spotlights are pivoted from the full line to the dashed line position of Fig. 2, the caddy may lock the spotlights in the latter position by swinging the handle 25 clockwise as seen in said figure. This swing of the handle extends the screw into frictional engagement with the ball.

In addition to the motor 3, I prefer to mount an electric generator 26 upon the chassis 2 of the vehicle 1. This generator is operatively joined to and driven by the motor 3 to provide electrical energy for the spotlight 22. To this end, a switch 27 and an outlet plug 28 are carried on top of the generator 26. An electric cord or conduit 29 leads from the outlet plug 28 upwardly and through the hollow interior of the standard 16, out a hole in the top thereof, and laterally to each of the spot lights 22. By this means, I derive a dual electrical generation and propelling function from the gasoline engine or motor 3.

At this point, it is best to examine the exact structure of the spotlights 22. I have determined that these spotlights, in combination, must supply at least 400,000 beam candlepower suflicient to illuminate a fairway and a golf ball during play. In the drawings, I have shown two spotlights, each of 200,000 beam candlepower intensity and, preferably, of the sealed beam type. However, a single one million beam candlepower sealed beam unit recently has come upon the market and this single beam may be substituted for the two spotlights and the convergent beams shown. In either event, however, the spotlight or spotlights should include a parabolic reflector designed to project a concentrated beam of light such as is diagrammatically illustrated at 30 in Fig. 1. In addition and since the filament in any light occupies a substantial area rather than a point, a plurallty of vagrant rays will define an aureole of light of low intensity surrounding the beam 30. I have indicated this aureole schematically in Fig. l by the dashed lines 31. If the two-spotlight construction is used, the concentrated beams 30 should be focused so as to converge and define one concentrated beam of light. If but one high intensity spotlight is utilized, the parabolic reflector thereof will produce but one beam 30 and one aureole of vagrant rays 31. Thus, whichever structure is employed, the vagrant rays 31 are available to light up the teeing ground at the same time as the concentrated beam of light 30 is employed to light the fairway and to follow the flight pattern of a golf ball.

Progressing to the putting green of a golf course, I have shown two fioodlights of the distant actuated type whereby a high intensity of lighting will be generated. To this end, each floodlight includes a base member 32 with a telescopic, vertical support 33 projecting thereabove. Ad acent the upper end of the telescopic support 33, an electric floodlamp and reflector 34 is mounted. Current may be supplied to this floodlamp through a cord 35 deriving electrical energy either from a storage battery 36 or from the lines of a public utility (not shown). Intermediate the top and bottom of the support 33, I mount a photoelectric cell 37 having a tube-like shield 38 surrounding the same.

Referring more particularly to the schematic wiring diagram of Fig. 4, I have shown the electric circuit means and actuation means utilized in conjunction with each of the floodlights 34. This actuation means includes a locking or one way movement type relay 39 joined in series with the floodlight 34 and the battery 36. One

end of the relay core projects, as at 40, to define a push button. In addition, I have shown an adjustment knob extending from the side of the photoelectric cell 37. This knob adjusts the sensitivity of the cell 37 either, mechanically, by closing and opening an iris diaphragm or, electrically, by increasing or decreasing the resistance of a variable rhcostat.

Since the locking type relay 39 and photoelectric cell 37 are conventional structures in and of themselves, I have not encumbered this disclosure with a detailed description of each wire, bolt and nut therein contained. As to their function, however, the knob 41 is adjusted to preselect the light intensity to which the photoelectric cell 37 will respond. Thereafter, a light of this preselected or of greater intensity will actuate the locking type relay 39 to close a switch and join the floodlight 34 electrically to the battery 36 through the electric conduits shown. I have correlated the movements of this relay 39 to the position of the push button 4% so the push button will project from the side of the relay housing when the floodlight 34 is on. Accordingly, the floodlight is turned off by manually pushing the button 40 to reset the relay 39 and open the switch controlling the floodlight. The use of this mechanism in playing golf will be described hereinafter. At this point, however, it should be noted that the photoelectric cell 37 and the floodlight 3dare mounted upon the support 33 so as to face in different directions. Thus, the light beams or rays emitted by the floodlight 34 will illuminate the putting green as shown. The direction of this light projection, however, is disposed at an oblique angle to the direction in which the photoelectric cell faces. In other words, the cell faces down the fairway toward the teeing ground whereas the floodlight faces at an angle thereto toward the green.

Having described the preferred equipment which is utilized in conjunction with my game of golf, attention is now directed to Figs. 5, 6, and 7. In these figures, I have shown a teeing ground 42, a putting green having a hole 43, a golf player 44, a caddy or attendant 45, and a gallery or group of spectators 46. Down the length of the fairway, intermediate the teeing ground and the putting green, I locate a plurality of reflective markers 47. These markers define a projected path of play and are spaced, one from another, at selected intervals (say, 50 yards) so the player may gauge the shot have a mental indicia of the lay of the ball after his drive.

The various holes on a standard golf course vary in the length of the path traversed, the terrain covered and the obstructions to be avoided. For purposes of illustration, however, I have shown a relatively short hole, such as a par 3 hole, in the play of which the average amateur golfer will execute a drive or an approach shot, and two putts. On a par 4 hole, the floodlights 34 initially will be out and the green will be dark. This is for the reason that the player normally does not expect to reach the putting green in one stroke and, until he is within range of the green, a saving of electrical energy can be effected by keeping the floodlights off.

With the player 44 addressing the golf ball 48 (see Fig. 5) upon the teeing ground 42, the caddy 45 will throw the switch 27 to illuminate the spotlights 22. With a right-handed golfer, the vehicle 1 will be located just behind and to the right of the teed ball. With a southpaw, the location should be shifted a little to the left. In either event, the vehicle should be clear of the swing of the club but the lights should be as close to the ball as possible.

To begin the play, the caddy grasps the pistol grip 23 and manipulates the spotlight to project the concentrated beam generally over the ball and down the fairway.

As shown in the drawings, the projection of the beam is generally in a horizontal plane so the beam of light 30 will pick up the reflective markers 47 and indicate to the player the projected path of play. At the same time, the vagrant rays 31 will project an aureole of light to illuminate the entire teeing ground and the ball 48, yet the light from the beam itself will not blind the player. If necessary, the player can wear a conventional eye shade or cap. When the player swings his driver and str kes the ball, as when driving from the tee, the ball Wlll lift in flight and normally can be expected to leave the aureole and enter the beam of light per se almost instantaneously.

At this point, an additional factor governing the manipulation of the beam of light 30 should be noted. Thus, the rules of golf, as published by the United States Golf Association, require that a golf ball be constructed in accord with certain rigid specifications. One of these specifications limits the compression and winding of the ball so the initial velocity thereof, upon impact will not exceed 250 feet per second when measured at 75 Fahrenheit. Two hundred fifty feet per second is approximately 170 miles per hour and some skilled players can drive a golf ball at a velocity approaching this limit. Accordingly, a well-hit golf ball can be expected to travel well over feet in the first second of flight. This high velocity requires that the caddy be alert and that he respond quickly to manipulate the spotlights 22 in accord with the flight of the-ball. Furthermore, this velocity requires that the spotlights 22 be capable of universal pivotal movement about both a horizontal and a vertical axis as provided by the balland-socket mechanism 19. For example, should the player slice or hook his shot, the caddy immediately must pivot the spotlights 22 to one side or the other. Furthermore, should the player top his shot, the caddy must lower the concentrated beam to follow the ball as it skips along the ground.

Assuming that the player hits the ball in accord with the conventional flight pattern (shown by the arrows in mg. 6), the beam of light 30 will illuminate that half of the ball which faces the player (see Fig. 7). Thus, by directing the beam of light upon the moving golf ball, the player, the caddy, and the gallery visually can observe the golf ball as it traverses the flight pattern. In the actual play of golf at night, I have found that the ball can be followed more easily with this method and with the use of this equipment than it can during the daytime. Furthermore, since the beam of light illuminates that half of the ball facing the tee rather than the top half as would floodlights, observations is enhanced materially. In addition, the player more accurately can gauge the lay of his shot from the teeing ground since the reflective markers 47 provide an indicia. I have found that these two illumination and indicia factors make the game much more interesting to a gallery since they can observe the flight and gauge the worth of the shot at the same time.

As the game progresses, the golf bags and other equipment are carried by the vehicle 1 to the point on the fairway where the ball has come to rest. Thereafter, the procedure of illuminating the projected path of play, striking the ball (as with an approach shot), and pivoting the beam of light in accord with the movement of the ball is repeated. Prior to this time or at any other time when the play progresses to a point where the player reasonably can expect to reach the putting green in one stroke, the caddy flashes the beam of light 30 upon the photoelectric cell 37 to turn on the floodlights 34. This illuminates the entire putting green with a high intensity of light and allows the player to observe the undulations and the conditions of the green in accord with accepted practice. In professional golf matches, this observation and inspection is very important and often approaches a ritual. After the player holes out, the golfing equipment once more is loaded upon the vehicle l and the button 40 is pushed to turn off the floodlights 34 before the play progresses to the next hole. Thereafter, the vehicle is driven to the next teeing ground while the players and caddy walk behind to allow the spotlight to light their way (note that the vehicle is steered from behind).

It will now be seen, in accord with my inventive objects, that I have provided a method for playing golf upon a standard golf course under conditions affording insuflicient natural illumination. This method includes the sequential manipulative steps of arranging a plurality of reflective markers intermediate a teeing ground and a putting green to define a projected path of play, providing a golf ball at rest upon said teeing ground, providing a light which projects a concentrated beam surrounded by an aureole of vagrant rays, directing said concentrated beams generally along said projected path of play to illuminate said markers while, at the same time, illuminating the golf ball with a portion of said vagrant rays, projecting said golf ball along a path substantially in accord with said path of play, and pivoting said concentrated beam in accord with the movements of the projected golf ball to illuminate that half of the ball facing the teeing ground or player. Further in accord with my inventive objects, I have provided a novel selfpropelled vehicle, a portable spotlight, and a portable fioodlight having distant actuation means, as preferred examples for use in practicing the steps of my inventive method. The practice of this method and the use of this equipment should provide a hitherto untapped source of revenue for both public and semipublic golf course operators by allowing play to continue after darkness. Furthermore, because of the simplicity and low cost of the disclosed equipment, this invention will require a minimum capital expenditure whereby the benefits thereof will flow to the great majority of golf course operators and to the great mass of amateur golfers.

I claim:

1. In the game of golf, the method of illuminating a golf ball progressively as play proceeds from a teeing ground, over a fairway and toward a putting green, comprising illuminating said teeing ground by projecting a beam of light from a point behind the teeing ground out along the projected flight path of a golf ball over said fairway, providing an electric fioodlight having a light sensitive actuation means, arranging said fioodlight adjacent said putting green, and directing said beam of light over said fairway and upon said light sensitive actuation means when a golf shot is to be made toward said putting green with a reasonable expectancy of reaching the same.

2. In the game of golf, the method of marking the course of play and illuminating a golf ball progressively as play proceeds from a teeing ground, over a fairway and toward a putting green, comprising providing and arranging reflective markers along said fairway to indicate a desired course of play, shining a pivotal beam of light upon said markers from adjacent said teeing ground to make them visible to a player, illuminating said teeing ground by projecting a beam of light from a point behind the teeing ground out along the projected flight of a golf ball over said fairway, providing an electric fioodlight having a light sensitive actuation means, arranging said fioodlight adjacent said putting green, directing said beam of light over said fairway and upon said light sensitive actuation means when a golf shot is to be made toward said putting green with a reasonable expectancy of reaching the same, and adjusting the sensitivity of said actuation means to prevent inadvertent actuation thereof.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 850,570 Frankenberg Apr. 16, 1907 1,365,279 Ryan Jan. 11, 1921 1,934,576 Watts Nov. 7, 1933 1,944,751 Lyle Jan. 23, 1934 2,078,677 Long Apr. 27, 1937 2,181,388 Wells Nov. 28, 1939 2,230,458 Hummert Feb. 4, 1941 2,360,420 Hill Oct. 17, 1944 2,483,615 Benson Oct. 4, 1949 FOREIGN PATENTS Number Country Date 740,476 France Nov. 4, 1932

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Referenced by
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US2899540 *May 4, 1956Aug 11, 1959 electric lantern
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U.S. Classification315/151, 473/409, 362/1
International ClassificationF21S9/04
Cooperative ClassificationF21W2131/10, F21S9/04
European ClassificationF21S9/04