US 3814438 A
Apparatus for improving one's golf game, in which the ball is hit from a contact location to a flexible sheet member. The sheet member has a selected flexibility to permit the ball contacted portion thereof to flex and thereby break one of a plurality of light beams directed to photosensitive elements on the side of the sheet member opposite the ball contact location. A readout device is provided for indicating to the player the area of the sheet member where the ball was received and the distance that the ball would have traveled. The registration system is inhibited or prevented from indicating any registration other than that produced by the first hit, in order to eliminate any conflicting registrations arising from secondary flexings of the sheet member wehn the ball strikes the sheet member.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Baron et al.
[ GOLF GAME APPAR US Primary Exa minerGeorge J; Marlo  Inventors: Philip N. Baron, 5333 N. Kenamore Agmm" Sega] Ave., Chicago, II]. 60640; Bernie Schulman, 4250 N. Marine Dr.,  I ABSTRACT ChiCagO Ill 961} Apparatus for improving ones golf game, in which the 2 d: Dec. 16, 1971 ball is hit from a contact location to a flexible sheet [2 l member. The sheet member has a selected flexibility  PP 208,853 to permit the ball contacted portion thereof to flex and thereby break one of a plurality of light beams di-  Us. CL. 273/176 FA 273/185 R 273/18] H rected to photosensitive elements on the side of the  Int Cl 69/36 A63) 67/02 3 sheet member opposite the ball contact location. A [581 Field o'i'il'c'i; 273/181 1 85 176 1 readout device is provided for indicating to the player v the area of the sheet member where the ball was re- 6 References Cited. ceived and the distance that the ball would have traveled. The registration system is inhibited or prevented UNlTED STATES AT T from indicating any registration other than that pro- 2,362,473 ll/l944 Dunham 273/]85 R duced the first hit in rder to eliminate any on- 2,894,752 7/ l'f 273/185 A flicting registrations arising from secondary flexings of igzg'ggg a l the sheet member wehn the ball strikes the sheet opp member 2 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures I T f I 7/c I -i i 1 4 t l /06 M l I x lie I J l l A F x A l l l my I k 134 wk l June 4,1974
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00 162 L116 11 CARRY DECODER DECADEOA 00 DRIVERS 142 14c 15 1 GOLF GAME APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to indoor apparatus which shows a golfer either the area where his ball would have traveled, the distance of flight of his ball, or both.
Indoor golf systems for improving one's golf game and utilizing a computing circuit are known in the prior art. Although certain prior art systems may be useful to determine the distance of flight of a driven golf ball, no indication is given as to where the ball hits the target. Such indication is desirable so that a golfer can know whether his bail travels too low, too high, too far to the BRIEF DESCRIPTIONFOF THEINVENTION'V In accordance with the present invention, there is provided an apparatus for improvingzones golf game. It can be seen that the apparatus of the present invention might be adopted for use in improving one's baseball batting ability. The apparatus comprises a ball contact location with a flexible sheet member or target spaced a predetermined distance from the ball contact location. A pluralityof photosensitive elements and a plurality of light beam providing means are located on the side of the flexible sheet opposite the sideon which the ballcontact location is located.
The plurality of photosensitive elements and the light beam providing means are positioned on opposing-positions adjacent the sheet member, whereby a plurality of light beams traverse the area of the flexible member adapted .for ball contact and are received by strategicallylocated photosensitive elements The flexible sheet member has a selected flexibility to permit aball contacted portion thereof to flex, thereby breaking a light beam and varying the light received by one ofthe photosensitive elements. A control circuit is coupled to readout means for indicating a condition to the player. Means are provided for coupling the photosensitive elements to the control circuit for operating the control circuit in response to the reception of light condition of the photosensitive elements.
In one form of the invention, the photosensitive elements are spaced to form a matrix of ball reception areas on the flexible sheet member. The readout means is coupled through the control circuit for indicating to the player the area of the sheet member where the ball was received.
. In one embodiment of the invention, the ball contact location has a transducer located thereat; The transducer is responsive to the ball contact by the player. The control circuit includes a timing circuit, means for setting the timing circuit to a first condition in response to reception of a signal by the transducer when the player contacts the ball", and means for setting the timing circuit to a second condition in response to reception of a signal from the photosensitive means when the ball contacts the flexible member to break the light beam. In this manner the timing circuit is operable to 2 time the flight of theball from the transducer to the flexible member. Means are also provided for translating the elapsed ball travel time to distance indicia.
A more detailed explanation of the invention is provided in the following description and claims, and is illustrated in the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a fragmentary, perspective view of a selfimprovement apparatus constructed in accordance with the principle of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is afront viewof readout to indicate to the player the area of the targetwhere the ball was received and the projected distance of flight of the ball;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary, perspective view of therear of the target of FIG. 1, showing the photosensitive elements in' position therewith;
FIG. 4a is the left-hand side'of'a block diagram of a control circuit constructed in accordance with the print ciples of the'present invention;
FIG. 4b is'therighbhandside of a block diagram of a'co'ntrol circuit constructed in accordance withn the principles of the'present invention, with FIGS. 4a and DETAILED DESCRIPTION or THE ILLUSTRATIVE EMBODIMENT Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown an indoor golf apparatus comprising a target 1 bounded by ceiling 2,- side'walls 3 and 4, and floor 5. Located on floor 5 is a mat 6 having thereon'simulated' grass 7 upon which a tee 8 is position. 1
Target 1 is formed of a flexible Sheet member suspended by springs 9. The flexible sheet member is preferably formed of a'canvas material andhas a selected flexibility to permit a ball contacted portion thereof to flex. Positioned behind sheet member 1 is a'rectilinear frame 10 carrying anumber of spaced horizontal light beams providing means 11a, llb, 11c, 11d, and 1 1e. These light beam directing means directbeams of light to respective horizontally spaced photocells 10a,v 10b, 10c, 10d and 10e. Frame 10 also carries a number of vertically spaced light beam providing means 13a, 13b, 13c, 13d and l3e which provide light beams to respective vertically spaced photocells 30a, 30b, 30c, 30d and The light beams emitted by'means ll horizontally traverse the rear side of target 1 to be receivedby the respective photocells. Likewise, the vertical beams provided by means l 3-vertically traverse the rear of target I to be received by'photocells 30.
When a portion of target-l is hit by the ball, that portion will flex and-break one of the beams traversing the rear thereof. The breakage of such beam will be transmitted to a control circuit whichis coupled to each of the photocells and the control circuit will operate a readout device 15 which will indicate to theplayer. the
area of the target that has been hit by the ball and the ring to FIG. 2, the control circuit will compute the posijected flight distance of the ball, which will be com puted by thecontrol circuit that isv discussed in detail below. v I
Referring to FIGS. 40 and 4b, a number of equally spaced-horizontal indication sensors are provided. The indication sensors comprise spaced photocells a, 10b, 10c, 10d and 10e. For'brevity. the multiplicity of identical'elements which are represented in the drawings with the referencenumerals and small letters will sometimes be referred. to by the reference numeral alone. Photocell 10 is connected through Schmidt trigger 12 to inverter 14 which is connected to one of the inputs of NAND gate 16. The output of NAND gate 16 is connected to the preset, junction of FLIP FLOP 18. The 0 output of FLIP FLOP 18 is connected to the inputxof an inverter 20,- the output of which is connected to a positive driver 22 which comprises a PNP transistor having a base input, and the collector of the transistor is connected to readout matrix which will be described in more detailbelow,
The vertical indentation sensors are similar to the junction anda O-level signal at its Q junction; When a.
horizontal sensors and comprise a number'of equally spaced photocells each of which is connected through a Schmidt trigger 32 to inverter 34, the output of which is connected to one of theinputs of NAND gate 36. The output of NAND gate. 36 is connected to the preset junction of FLIP FLOP 38, the Q junction of which is connected to the base of NPN- transistor 40, forming a negative driver. The collector of transistor 40 is connected to readout matrix 24.
The sub Q junctions of FLIP FLOP 18 are each con-.
44 feeds back to an input ofeach of NAND gates 36.
A signal is provided from the distance system (which is discussed below) via line to the other input of NAND gates 16 and 36.
The output of AND gate 46 is connected via line 62 and 64 to a timing circuit which includes a resistor 48 connected to the base of N PN transistor 50. The emitter of transistor 50 is connected to ground and the collector is connected to the emitter of unijunction transistor 66. A timing capacitor 68 is connected between the emitter of unijunction transistor 66 and ground and a series resistor 70 and potentiameter 72 are connected between the emitter of unijunction transistor 66 anda positive voltagesource. The resistor 74 is connected between base one of unijunction transistor 66 and ground and a resistor 76 is connected between basetwo of unijunction transistor 66 and the positive voltage source. An output from unijunction transistor 66 is connected via line 78 through inverter 80 to the clear input junctions of FLIP FLOPS 18 and 38.
OPERATION OF THE REGISTRATION SYSTEM The horizontal photocells 10 are equally spaced across the ball receiving target I in a horizontal direction and the vertical photocells 30 are equally spaced across the target 1 in a vertical direction. Assume now that-the golf .ball hits the center of the target. The inden'tation of the target will block the light to photocells 10c and 300. When the light to photocell .100 is blocked, a l-level signal-is fed to Schmidt trigger which emits a O-level signal to the input of inverter '1 40. A l-level pulse is fed from theoutput of inverter 14c to an input of NAND gate 160. If the distance system isv ready to count, as will be described in detail below, line 60 is feeding a -l-level pulse to another input of NAND gate 160. In its normal state, a l-level pulse is being fed to the other inputs of gate 16c. Hence when by NAND gate 16c to preset junction of FLIP FLOP' 180. At rest, FLIP FLOP has a l-level at its sub Q O-level pulse is applied to the present junction of FLIP FLOP 18c, FLIP FLOPreverses states thereby produc ing a l-level signal at the Qjunction and a O-level signal,
at the Q junction. v
The l-levelattheQ junction'is inverted by inverter 26 and applied as a 0-level turn-on signal to the base of PNP transistor 22c. When transistor 220 is conductive, a signal is fed to a'diode readout matrix "2 4.
Like the horizontal system, when the target is indented by a golf ball striking it at the center thereof, the light to'photocell 300 will be blocked thereby producing a l-level input signal to Schmidt trigger 320 which producesa O-level signal to the input of inverter 340, which O-level signal is inverted and applied as. a l-level pulse to an input of NAND gate 36c. The other inputs .of NAND gate 360 normally have a l-level, pulse applied to them and. when NAND gate36creceives a 1- level pulse from inverter 340, a O-level pulse will be applied to thesaid junction of FLIP FLOP 38c. The sub .0 junction of FLIP FLOP 38c is normally at a llevel and the Q junction of FLIPFLOP 380 is normally at a O-level. When the O-level pulse is applied to the preset junction of FLIP FLOP 380, the states will reverse and a l-level tum-on pulse will be applied to the base of NPN transistor 40c. Thus NPN transistor 400 will be conductive and current will. be fed via line 70 to diode readout matrix 24 at the same time that current is being fed via line 72 from the horizontal system to readout matrix 24. A signal lamp will indicate that the central current will flow via lines 720 through lamp 800, diode 82c, and line 700 to thereby energize lamp 80c thereby indicating that the ball has hit the center of the canvas. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that other photocells will react to the ball hitting other portions of the target to energize other. lamps in the matrix 24 in the same manner that lamp 800 is energized when the light to photocells c and 300 is blocked due to the ball hitting the center of the target. To eliminate any conflicting registrations arising from secondary flexings of the canvas when the ball strikes the canvas, the registration system is inhibited or prevented from indicating any registration other than that produced by the first hit. To this end, although NAND gate 26 normally has all l-level pulses at its inputs, as soon as'a O-level pulse is received at any of the inputs of NAND gate 26, a llevel pulse will be emitted at its output, will be inverted. and a O-level pulse will be fed via line 84 to an input of NAND gates 16. In this manner the l-level signal must remain at the outputs of NAND gate 16 thereby preventing any of the FLIP FLOPS other than the one which has changed states, from changing state.
Likewise, the inputs to NAND gate 42 are normally at l-level and the O-level signal from one of the sub Q junctions of one of the FLIP FLOPS 38 will cause NAND gate 42 to produce a l-level signal at its output, which signal is inverted to'produce a O-level signal via line 86 to an input to each of NAND gates 36. As before mentioned, this will prevent all of theF LIP FLOPS 38 except for the one which has already changed state, from changing states.
A system is provided for determining the length of time in which the registration and distance indication to the operator will be energized. At the same time that 0-level signals are being fed from inverters 28 and 44 via the respective feedback line to an input of gates 16 and 36, the O-level pulses are also being fed to the inputs of AND gate 46. This results in an O-level output of AND gate 46 which turns off NPN transistor 50. When NPN transistor 50 is not conductive, timing capacitor 68 will charge. Potentiameter 72 is set so that after a predetermined period of time, say seconds, unijunction transistor 66 will be rendered conductive and emit a l-level pulse which is inverted through inverter 80 to reset the system by placing a 0-level pulse at the clear junctions of all of the FLIP FLOPS l8 and 38.
As stated below, the inputs to NAND gates 26 and 42 are normally at one level, thereby producing O-level outputs which are inverted by inverters 28 and 44, thereby producing a l-level input at each of the inputs to AND gates 46. This produces a l-level output from AND gate 46 thereby rendering NPN transistor conductive to prevent capacitor 68 from charging until the ball is hit to activate the horizontal and the vertical photocells, thereby causing one of the horizontal and one of the vertical FLIP F LOPS to change states and thereby turning off NPN transistor 50.
DISTANCE RECORDATION SYSTEM When the ball is hit and exits the tee, a transducer L1 is activated 'by the club passing it, thereby providing a pulse to Schmidt trigger 100. The trigger 100 provides a negative square wave to the preset junction of FLIP FLOP 102, the sub Q junction of which is connected to a delay timer 104 which is conducted through an inverter 106 to the preset junction of a FLIP FLOP 108. The Q junction of FLIP FLOP 108 is connected to input I of log timer 110 which produces output pulses of varying length via output line 112 to the input of a decade counter 114. Counter 114 is a unit decade counter and is connected to a unit decoder 116, the
outputs of which are connected through driver transistors 118 to indicating lamps 120. Nine lamps 120 are provided, each of which correspond to 10-yard dis tances of the golf ball travel. For example, lamp 120a corrsponds to 10 yards travel, lamp 120!) corresponds to 20 yards travel, lamp 120C corresponds to 30 yards travel, etc., while lamp 120i corresponds to yards travel.
Thelast output 1161' of decoder 116 (which is connected to driver 118i and lamp 120i) is also connected to carry line 124 to the input of tens decade counter 126, the outputs of which are connected to a tens decoder 128. Tens decoder 128 has four outputs, the first of which is connected to line 130 which feeds a signal to inverter 132, the output of which is connected to an input of NAND gate 16 and 36 via line 60. When the system is at rest, the decoder 128 provides a l-level pulse which is inverted by inverter 132 to provide a 0- level pulse to the inputs of NAND gates 16 and 36. In other words, registration can only occur if the distance function is operating. The second output of decoder 128 is connected through a driver to an indicating lamp 142 for indicating a 300-yard distance. The third output of decoder 128 is connected through a driver 144 to an indicating lamp 146 for indicating a ZOO-yard distance. The fourth output-of decoder 128 is connected through driver 148 to an indicating lamp 150 for indicating a lOO-yard drive.
At rest, the decade counters are held at the 0-level so that no lamps are illuminated. Holding the decade counters at the O-level is achieved by a l-level signal from the sub Q junction of FLIP FLOP 108 which is fed via line 152 to the reset junctions of decade counters 114 and 126.
The first pulse to the unit decade counter 114 is translated by the decoder 116 to change the signal from the 00 junction of decoder 116 to the 116i junction of decoder 116 permitting 120i (90 yard) to be energized. Simultaneously, a pulse fed by carry line 124 will be translated by decoder 128 to transfer the signals from the 000 level, (line 130) to driver 140 which energizes lamp 142 (300 yards). Changing the signals from the 00 level of the unit counter and the 000 level of the tens counter to energize lamps 120i and 142 can only occur when FLIP FLOP 108 changes its state to provide 0- level pulse at the sub Q junction thereof. Pulses from log generator 110 via line 112 cause the decade counters 114 and 126 to rate in the conventional manner to change the energization of the lamps 120 and 142, 146, 150, via decoders 116 and 128, respectively. As the pulses from pulse generator 110 proceed, first lamp 120i and lamp 142 will be energized.
During the time interval that the ball is hit by the operator and the instant the ball hits the target, the pulses being produced by generator 110 will cause lamps 120 to be energized from left to right in sequence, and after lamp 120a has been energized, the next pulse lamp 142 will be de-energized and lamp 146 will be energized. Lamp 120i will then be energized and again the lamps will be energized in sequence going from left to right (with respect to FIG. 4b) and after lamp 120a is energized, lamp 146 will be de-energized and lamp 150 will be energized. It can therefore be seen that as the time passes between the time that the ball is hit by the operator and it his the target, the lamps will indicate a smaller distance of the ball travel because of the length of time that the ball takes to reach the canvas.
During the counting function, the output from the QA and OD junctions of decade counter .114 and the output from the QA and OD junctions of decade counter 126 are such that NAND-gate 160 willhave randon inputs thereto (not all at one level) so that a I- level signal will be produced at the output of NAND gate 160 during counting. When countingis completed so that the decoder has achieved an energization of lamp 150 and a output with respect to the units driving system, all of the inputs to NAND gate 160 will be at one level, thereby producing a O-level signal from NAND gate 160 which is fed via line 162 to reset log pulse generator 110 and to clear FLIP FLOPS 102 and 108. Therefore, the illustrative embodiment permits indication of distance that a" ball travels-from "390 to I00 yards. I Y The reset pattern of the distance metering section always functions in this described manner. In the event provides the O-level reset signal, by the conditions described.
Once the ball is hit, and the clubpasses transducer L1 to register, delay timer 104 provides a 60"millise'cond delay beforeit begins firing. The delay timer may be of any conventional type, such as the capacitorunijunction transistor type timer illustrated inconnection with the registration system. After the 60 milliseconds has passed, lamps 142 and 120i will be energized to indicate 390 yards. The log pulse generator 110 is providing pulses of unequal length. In this manner, for example, after milliseconds the 300-yard lamp 142 will be energized, after 40 additional milliseconds the 200-yard lamp 146 will be energized, and after 120 ,additional milliseconds, the IOO-yard lamp 150 will be energized. In other words, the lampsare energized in accordance with the exponential relationship of the time of travel anddistance traveled.
As explained above in connection with the registration systemnhe output of AND gate 46 is normally at a O-level. When the registration system is'operating, this indicates that a distance indication is being achieved (i.e., the distance system is counting). When there is a score during the counting, line 170, which normally is at l-level, changes to O-level to prevent an output signal from log pulse generator 110. In other words, the counters of the distance system commence counting 60 milliseconds after the club swings adjacent to transducer L1 and when the ball hits the target, the log pulse generator 110 is prevented from having an output by putting a 0-level pulse on line 170. The operation of the log pulse generator-is shown most clearly in FIG. 6. Referring to FIG. 6, it is seen that line 109 from FLIP FLOP 108 is connected to one of the inputs of AND gate 180. A l kilohertz oscillator 182 is connected to another input of AND gate 180 and line 170 is connected to the third input to AND gate 130. Normally, line 109 is at O-level so there is-O-level output at AND gate 180. After the 60 millisecond delay has occurred, FLIP FLOP 108 will change its state to provide a l-level pulse at the center input of AND gate 180 to permit AND gate 180 to follow the levels of oscillator 182. Oscillator 182 turns AND gate 180 on I ,000' times per second. I
A FLIP FLOP 184 is provided,'normally having a 1- level output at its sub O junction, which is fed to the input of AND gate 186. Therefore, AND gate 186 follows the fluctuations from AND gate 180 on line 188. The output of AND gate 186 is connected to theinput of a divide-by-two FLIP FLOP 190, the Q junction of which is connected to the inputof a divide-by-lO FLIP FLOP 192. The output'of the divide-by-lO FLIP FLOP 192 is connected to the input of FLIP FLOP 184 so that AND gate 186 will be turned off when 20 counts have been recorded. The x purpose of AND gate 186 and FLIPFLOPS 184, 190 and 192 is to provide l0 2- millisecond pulses to the previously described counter circuitry. The pulses are fed via dual input gate 194 to line 112 which feeds the input of decade counter 114.
After the 10 pulses have been recorded, FLIP FLOP 184 changes its state to present a contact O-level at the output of AND gate 186 and to present'a l-level pulse to the input of AND gate 200. AND gate 200 is now responsive to the pulses via line 188 and will activate di-" ,vide-by-fou'r FLIP FLOP 202 whichis connected to divide-byl O FLIP FLOP '204 which is connected to FLIP FLOP 206. The purpose of the section including AND gate 200 and FLIP FLOPS'202, 204 and 206 is to provide l0 4-millisecond pulses for a timed duration of 40 milliseconds to exclusive OR gate 196 and positive NOR gate 194 to line *112. 'After 10 4-millisecond pulses have been recorded, FLIP FLOP 26 will change its state to provide a O-level pulse to the input AND gate 200 thereby providing a O-level pulse to the input AND gate 200 thereby providing a constant O-IeveI pulse at the output of AND gate 200 and Q junction of FLIP FLOP 206which will provide a l-level pulse to the input of AND gate 208. The other input of AND gate:208 which is connected to line 1 88, will cause AND gate 208 now to follow the pulse on line 188 to activate a divide-by-l2 FLIP FLOP 210. FLIP FLOP 210 is utilized to provide 10 l2-millisecond pulses over a 120 millisecond time period ,via positive NOR 194 which provides asignal via line 112 to decade counter As explained above,'when 180 milliseconds have expired, the decade counters'1l4 and 126.have arrived at l-levels so that the input to NAND gate 160 are at I- level thereby providing a O-level pulse via line 162 to clear FLIP FLOP 102, FLIP'FLOP 108, and to reset log pulse generator 110. Summarizing with respect to the log pulse generator 110, it is seen that after 60 milliseconds have expired from the time the club is swung, a first stage a will provide 10 2-millisecond pulses over a 20 millisecond time period. After that 20 millisecond time period has expired (for a total of 80 milliseconds) stage ll0b will provide l0 4-millisecond pulses for a 40 vmillisecond time period. After the 40 millisecond time period has expired (for a totalof milliseconds) stage 1100 will prove 1O l2-millisecond pulses for a time period of 120 miliseconds. After a 120 millisecond time period has expired (for a total of 240 milliseconds) the counter circuitry resets and is placed in condition for determining the distance for the next ball that is hit.
Although an illustrative embodiment of the invention has been shown and described, it is to be understood that various modifications and substitutions may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the novel spirit and scope of the present invention.
-What is claimed is:
1. In a apparatus for improving ones golf game or the like, wherein a screen is spaced a predetermined distance from a ball contact location; the improvement comprising, in combination: said screen being formed of a flexible sheet member; a plurality of horizontally and vertically disposed photosensitive elements; a plurality of horizontally and vertically disposed light-beam providing means; said photosensitive elements and said light-beam providing means being located on the side of said flexible sheet opposite the side on which said ball contact location is located, said photosensitive elements and said light-beam providing means being located on opposing positions adjacent said flexible sheet member whereby a plurality of light beams traverse the area of said flexible sheet member adapted for ball contact and are received by strategically located photosensitive elements to form a matrix of ball reception areas on said flexible sheet member; sand flexible sheet member having a selected flexibility to permit a ball contacted portion thereof to flex thereby breaking a light beam and varying the light received by one of said photosensitive elements; a control circuit coupled to readout means for indicating to the player the area of said sheet member where the ball was received; said control circuit including means for permitting transmission of a signal in response to the light beam breakage received by a first horizontal-vertical photosensitive elements combination and for inhibiting transmission of additional signals thereafter in response to the light beam breakage received by other horizontal-vertical photosensitive elements combinations; and means for resetting said transmission-inhibiting means.
2. Apparatus as described in claim 1, said ball contact location having a transducer located thereat, said transducer being responsive to the ball contact by the player, said control circuit including a timing circuit, means for setting said timing circuit to a first condition in response to reception of a signal by said transducer when the player contacts the ball, means for setting said timing circuit to a second condition in response to reception of a signal from said photosensitive means when the ball contacts the flexible member to break a light beam, said timing circuit thereby being operable to time the flight of the ball from the transducer to the flexible member; and means for translating the elapsed ball travel time to distance indicia.