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Publication numberUS3706452 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 19, 1972
Filing dateSep 11, 1970
Priority dateSep 11, 1970
Publication numberUS 3706452 A, US 3706452A, US-A-3706452, US3706452 A, US3706452A
InventorsSoucie Ronald W
Original AssigneeSoucie Ronald W
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Golf driving range construction
US 3706452 A
Abstract
A golf driving range constructed with a central longitudinally extending ball return conveyor and with the contour of the ball receiving range slanting upwardly and outwardly from both sides of the conveyor to permit the balls driven from the teeing platform to automatically roll into the conveyor. The balls roll under a longitudinally extending conveyor cover which is provided to protect the conveyor from being directly hit by driven balls. The conveyor includes upper and lower runs and shafts which extends between pairs of opposed chains and support the golf balls as they are carried back to the teeing platform. The conveyor carries the balls into a hopper or other suitable receptacle positioned in the club house from which point the balls may be dispensed to the users. The range may preferably be constructed by excavation and building up of the terrain at the site and is provided with a permanent coating of relatively hard material covered with a simulated turf or carpeting to provide a surface which requires no care or upkeep.
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Umted States Patent [151 3,706,452

Soucie 51 Dec. 19, 1972 I54] GOLF DRIVING RANGE CONSTRUCTION [57] ABSTRACT [72] lnventor: Ronald I W. Soucie, 940 A golf driving range constructed with a central lon- Meadowsweet Drive, Corte Madera, gitudinally extending ball return conveyor and with Calif. 94925 the contour of the ball receiving range slanting upwardly and outwardly from both sides of the conveyor [22] Flled' Sept 1970 to permit the balls driven from the teeing platform to [2]] Appl. No.: 71,303 automatically roll into the conveyor. The balls roll under a longitudinally extending conveyor cover which is provided to rotect the conveyor from bein [52] U.S.CI. ..273/35 R, 273/176K directly hit by driveg ha"S The Conveyor include? [51] Int. Cl. ..A63b 67/02, A63b 69/36 upper and lower runs and shafts which extends FIeId 0f Search between pairs of opposed Chains and Support the balls as they are carried back to the teeing platform. [56] References The conveyor carries the balls into a hopper or other UNITED STATES PATENTS suitable receptacle positioned in the club house from which point the balls maybe dispensed to the users. 3,567,223 3/1971 Gentiluomo ..273/20] The range may pr fefably be constructed ex ava 3,314,679 4/1967 373/176 A tion and building upof the terrain at the site and is 3599980 8/1971 Hamfond "273/176 A provided with a permanent coating of relatively hard 3,602,506 8/1971 Gentlluomo ..273/176 A Primary Examiner-George J. Marlo Att0rney-Gordon Wood material covered with a simulated turf or carpeting to provide a surface which requires no care or upkeep.

/ 5 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures PATENTEBUEB 19 I972 3,706,452

sum 2 BF 2 INVENTOR.

fid/V/IL 0 M Joucu;

GOLF DRIVING RANGE'CONSTRUCTION This invention relates to golf driving ranges of the type wherein the golfer is provided with a quantity of balls which are driven from a teeing ground or platform into a range from which they are retumedfor subsequent reuse. Numerous disadvantages exist in presently available golf driving ranges. In most instances such ranges are vacant areas of land into which the balls are driven by the players. When the ground is wet the balls are likely to become lost or to pick up dirt which must be cleaned from the balls before they are used again. Furthermore a considerable amount of labor and time is required to retrieve the balls from the driving range thus interrupting the use of the teeing areas or creating a hazard for personnel retrieving the balls. Whether the ball retrieval operation is carried out manually or by machinery it has heretofore been an expensive operation reducing the effectiveness of the golf range from a profit making point of view. v

The main object of the present invention is to generally improve the construction and operation of the golf driving range both from the standpoint of economy and operation.

Another object of the invention is to provide a golf driving range which is constructed to insure the automatic return of all balls driven from the teeing area-s that no balls are lost and at the same time reducing the expense of retrieving the balls to a minimum.

Another object of the invention is the provision of a golf driving range constructed so that there is no upkeep required in maintaining the range regardless of the type of weather experienced.

Still another object of the invention is the provision of a golf driving range contoured in such a manner as to minimize the construction'costs thereof whether such construction is by excavation and filling or by building the artificial range area by means of lumber or other structural material.

Other objects and advantages will be apparent from the following specification and from the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a greatly reduced top plan view of a typical golf driving range constructed in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a vertical sectional view through the driving range and as taken in a plane indicated by lines 2-2 in FIG. 1. i 1

FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary longitudinal sectional view through the inner end of the range and the associated structure as taken in a plane indicated by lines 3-3 in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a greatly enlarged side elevational view of the outer end of the ball return conveyor.

FIG. 5 is an enlarged view of a portion of the upper run of the conveyor showing some golf balls supported thereon.

' FIG. 6 is an enlarged cross sectional view through the ball return conveyor and its associated structure.

In detail and first with reference to FIG. 1 it will be understood that the area of the range may take any shape but is preferably rectangular in form as seen in FIG. 1 and bounded. by longitudinally extending side lines 1, 2 respectively and the transversely extending outer boundary line 3. The end of the range opposite the outer boundary line 3 includes the teeing area generally designated 4 which may take various forms but is indicated as arcuate in FIG. 1. Although the present invention may be employed regardless of the particular terrain on which it is to be located it is assumed for purposes of illustration that the terrain is generally flat and that the elevation of the range and surrounding land is at the elevation indicated at 6 in FIG. 2. If the terrain selected for the site of the range permits. it is preferable to form the contour of the range by excavating the central portion thereof and filling out the side portions alongside longitudinally extending boundary lines 1, 2 so that a shallow V-shaped cross section is formed as shown in FIG. 2. The surfaces 8, 9 thus provided preferably slant at an angle of about 5 relative .to the horizontal. In most instances a slope of this amount insures that the balls landing on the range area roll downwardly to the lowermost point of the range. The cross section indicatedin FIG. 2 exists along a substantial portion of the length of the range to a point indicated at 11 in FIG. 1. At said point 11 the terrain is slanted upwardly and outwardly at an angle of about five degrees toward the outer boundary line 3 to form a triangular area 12 which intersects with areas 8, 9 at the lines indicated at l4, 15 respectively. A retaining wall 16 may be provided along the periphery of the range to support the filled earth and a fence 17 may be constructed on said wall to prevent balls from being driven out of the range.

From the point 11 a ditch is formed along the longitudinal center line of the range to receive therein an upwardly opening concrete channel generally designated 18 in FIG. 6. Said channel includes a bottom wall 19 and a pair of opposed side walls 20, 21.

At the outer end of channel 18 bearings 22 are provided in side walls 20, 21 for rotatably supporting therein a shaft 23 of idler sprockets 24 of a conveyor. Said conveyor is provided with upper and lower runs 25, 26 respectively and is of the type in which shafts 28 extend between and interconnect pairs of opposed chains 29, 30. As best seen in FIG. 5 the shafts 28 are preferably about three-eighths of an inch in diameter and spaced apart a distance of 1% inches so that a standard golf ball indicated at 33 may be carried between I each pair of rods 28.

The conveyor extends from the point 11 along the longitudinally extending central plane of the range to the teeing area and then, as best seen in FIG. 3, extends slantingly upwardly into a club house indicated at 35. A combination motor and gear reducer 36 may be employed to drive the inner end of the conveyor so that as the balls leave the upper run they fall by gravity into a hopper 37 so that they may be dispensed again to customers. Alternatively the balls may drop from the conveyor into an automatic ball washing device which is well known in the art.

As seen in FIG. 6 the bottom 19 of the channel 18 may be provided at spaced points along its length with drains general designated 40 for the purpose of carrying rain water to the drainage system (not shown). The side walls 20, 21 may be formed with shoulders 41 for supporting thereon the lower run of the conveyor. The upper run may be supported on longitudinally extending angle bars 42 secured to the side walls 20, 21. The entire area of the range including slanting surfaces 8, 9 and l2 is preferably covered, after the earth moving operation has been performed, with a layer of paving material such as asphalt. Said layer is indicated at 45 in l060ll 0017 FIG. 6. Secured to the asphalt by any suitable means such as adhesive is an artificial ground covering or carpeting material indicated at 46. Numerous all-weather outdoor ground covering materials are available and the particular material employed is not critical except that it is preferably sufficiently soft to prevent the balls from being marred when they strike the material. Secured to the upper edges of side walls 20, 21 of channel 18 are a pair of strips 47 wide enough to extend over thechain portions of the conveyor so that the balls 33 roll onto the shafts 28 without engaging the chains.

In order to prevent damage to the conveyor it is preferable to provide an elongated roof 50 along the entire length of the horizontal portion of the conveyor. Said roof may be provided with carpeting 46 on its upper side and is spaced upwardly from the conveyor by means of supports 51 extending upwardly from the side walls 20,21 at space points along the length of the latter. The spacing between the roof 50 and the conveyor is sufficient to permit the balls 33 to roll onto the conveyor without interference. By making the supports 51 circular in cross section any balls striking the same are deflected into the conveyor.

The particular structure employed for the teeing area is not critical but as shown in FIG. 3 a row of open ended rooms 55 maybe built on a platform 56at an elevation equal to the highest elevation of the golf range surfaces. Said rooms 55 may be provided with automatic teeing devices (not shown) and mats 57 from which the players may drive the golf balls. Said rooms 55 may be approached by longitudinally extending walkway 58 and on the opposite side of the walkway from the teeing area the club house structure 35 may be provided.

The above described driving range lends itself to operation by a minimum of personnel since it is apparent that the retrieval of the golf balls is done automatically. In fact the golf balls may be dispensed to the players from a coin operated machine as is .well known in the art.

It will be understood that the particular angle at which the range surfaces are slanted may be varied depending upon the particular surface covering employed. The angle need not be greater than that required to let a golf ball roll from a stationary position. As notedabove the present invention also contemplates the building up of the range surfaces by any suitable building material including lumber. However it is desirable to provide an upper layer of fairly hard material such as asphalt and, for the protection of the golf balls, to provide an upper surface soft enough to prevent the balls from becoming damaged.

Also contemplated by the invention is the elimination of the horizontal portion of the conveyor. In such a case the channel 18 or similar conduit is slanted downwardly toward the club house so that the balls are conveyed by gravity to a station below the club house at which point they are-conveyed by a vertically'extending conveyor to the club house level.

I claim:

1. In a golf driving range,

a teeing platform,

a relatively large ball receiving range adapted to receive balls driven from said teeing platform, said range being open throughout l s lateral width and longitudinal depth to permit a struck ball to take a curved path of flight observable by the player,

said range including a relatively narrow ball return area extending longitudinally and centrally of said range, said ball return area including means for returning balls to said teeing platform,

said range including surfaces slanting upwardly from said ball return area away from both sides of the latter to the longitudinally extending sides of said range'whereby balls landing on saidv range roll by gravity into said ball return area and to said ball return means,

a cover extending longitudinally and centrally of said range and spaced upwardly from saidball return area for deflecting balls driven from said platform and thereby preventing said driven .balls from directly striking and damaging said ball return means, and means for supporting said cover above said ball return means in a manner such that the opposite sides of saidcover are spaced above the lower edges of said slanting surfaces so that golf balls may roll from said surfaces and under the opposite sides of said cover to said ball return means.

2. A golf driving range according to claim 1 wherein said range includes an area remote from said teeing platform and slanting downwardly toward said platform to the remote end of said ball return area.

3. A golf driving range according to claim 1 wherein said ball return means includes a conveyor provided in said ball return area for carrying balls along said ball return area toward said teeing platform.

4. A golf driving range according to claim 3 wherein said conveyor includes upper and lower runs, said upper run including transversely extending longitudinally spaced apart ball supporting elements.

5. A golf driving range according to claim 4 wherein the length of said ball supporting elements is sufficient to receive a plurality of balls on a pair of adjacent elements.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3314679 *Mar 27, 1964Apr 18, 1967Kolln Norman AGolf driving range
US3567223 *Jan 20, 1967Mar 2, 1971Gentiluomo Joseph AGolf range ball handling means
US3599980 *Nov 22, 1968Aug 17, 1971Smith Jack OConcentrated golf game
US3602506 *Dec 6, 1968Aug 31, 1971Joseph Arthur GentiluomoGolf range
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3863922 *Apr 2, 1973Feb 4, 1975Peeples Maurice EGolf practice range and method of retrieving balls hit thereon
US3897947 *Oct 11, 1973Aug 5, 1975Jr Russell H HeffleyGame apparatus
US4726589 *Jun 16, 1986Feb 23, 1988Grigas Peter DGolf course
US5901833 *Apr 11, 1997May 11, 1999Yokoyama; YoshioGolf ball conveyor
US6497625Jan 16, 2001Dec 24, 2002Richard W. NewbyApparatus and method for returning a golf ball to a desired location
US7556565 *Jan 30, 2007Jul 7, 2009Si-Myung KimGolf ball conveying apparatus for use on driving ranges
US20070178984 *Jan 30, 2007Aug 2, 2007Si-Myung KimGolf ball conveying apparatus for use on driving ranges
WO2001010516A1 *Nov 11, 1999Feb 15, 2001Daemok Engineering Co., Ltd.Apparatus for practising golf putts
Classifications
U.S. Classification473/166, 473/168
International ClassificationA63B47/02, A63B47/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B47/025
European ClassificationA63B47/02E