US 3861680 A
A golf driving range is provided that may be used in different weather conditions. Thus, a stall has a front viewing window through which the range can be seen, which can be opened in hot weather or closed in cold weather. A bottom doorway section permits driving the ball when the window is closed. The range has a set of inclined screens forming ball receiving troughs at various specified driving distances from the stall and a conveyer system returns balls. Several stalls are placed as side by side cubicles in a hut which may be left unattended and is thus operable from coin actuated mechanisms for access, heat, balls and conveyer return.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Mowrer [111 3,861,680 [451 Jan. '21, 1975 DRIVING RANGE  Inventor: William F. Mowrer, 402 W.
Commercial St., East Rochester, NY. 14445  Filed: July 19, 1973  Appl. No.: 380,609
 U.S. Cl. 273/35 B, 273/182 R, 273/176 K  Int. Cl A63b 69/36  Field of Search 273/176, 182, 35
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,310,310 3/1967 McKee 273/182 R X 3,464,703 9/1969 Vallas 3,599,980 11/1968 Harmond... 3,620,536 11/1971 Lau 273/176 A Primary ExaminerGeorge .l. Marlo Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Laurence R. Brown  ABSTRACT A golf driving range is provided that may be used in different weather conditions. Thus, a stall has a front viewing window'through which the range can be seen, which can be opened in hot weather or closed in cold weather. A bottom doorway section permits driving the ball when the window is closed. The range has a set of inclined screens forming ball receiving troughs at various specified driving distances from the stall and a conveyer system returns balls. Several stalls are placed as side by side cubicles in a hut which may be left unattended and is thus operable from coin actuated mechanisms for access, heat, balls and convcyer return.
8 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures PATENTEIJJAHZI I975- ,SHEET 2 or 2 FIGS.
CONVEYOR MOTOR ACCESS DOOR DRIVING RANGE This invention relates to golf driving ranges and more particularly it relates to automated golf driving ranges which may be used in cold weather.
In an attempt to winterize golf driving ranges they have been provided with air curtains, for example. However they may produce air currents which interfere with the normal flight and behavior of the ball. Also for access to driving ranges in cold weather, the requirement for one or more attendants may become uneconomical because of lower frequency of use, particularly when coupled with the requirement for retrieving balls.
Accordingly it is the objective of this invention to provide improved year-round driving ranges, which are simple in construction and require little operator attentron.
Thus, in accordance with the invention there is provided a driving stall transparent front viewing window which may be selectively opened or closed for wintersummer use, and a range target structure having screens arranged to accumulate and deliver balls to a conveyer type ball return.
Further features, objects and advantages of the invention will be found throughout the following more detailed description which refers to the accompanying drawing, wherein:
FIG. 1 is an elevation sketch of a driving range afforded by this invention;
FIG. 2 is a plan sketch of the driving range;
FIG. 3 is an elevation front view of a hut cubicle taken along lines 3-3 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a-plan view sketch of a ball conveyer sectron;
FIG. 5 is a schematic diagram of coin operated features of the range; and
FIG. 6 is a plan view of the stall taken along lines 6-6 of FIG. 3 showing player safety features.
As may be seen from FIGS. 1 to 3, a hut 10 has a plurality of individual stalls 11, etc., located in the front portion thereof and each having a transparent front window portion 12 with a lower window opening 15 through which a golf ball 16 may be driven out in'a trajectory path 17 which will take it toward a target structural arrangement 18.
The target has a plurality of screen sections 19, 20, etc. in the order of ten to yards long, each inclined from horizontal to provide a series of peaks 21 and troughs 22. The screens are spaced in the troughs 22 enough to permit the accumulation of the balls in conveyer channels which are located in troughs 22 and returned into a conveyer return web 25 by gravity or powered conveyer. On each side of the target screens is a side screen extending high enough to receive any hooks or slices as the ball tends to curve off the target structure.
The hut window has a glass or transparent plastic doorway section of A lengththat can fold back as suggested by dotted line 31 when the weather is warm thereby leaving a full length open front section with opening 15. A further closure for opening 15, may be provided as shown at 32, which is moved out of the way to get access to the driving range by an operator or automatically with a coin controlled mechanism, if desired. For winter use the 9 door 12 is closed and a radiant heater 35 over the golfer is connected when the stall 11 is in use.
If desired the screens 19, etc., which receive the balls can have distance markers thereon or impact detectors indicating to the user the length of each'drive. The incline facing toward the hut which receives the impact because of the ball flight path is visible and the flight of the ball may be observed to determine the length of the drive without visual aids other than a diagram of the distance to each such inclined screen portion 19. Thus with a 2% yard screen width, each 5 yard increment could be indicated over the span of the range, etc.
In order to assure return of all the balls striking the range without clogging, a positive web conveyer drive with a steel net web 40 and angle type conveyer paddles 41 is driven by a motor (not shown) and confines balls 16 between side panels 42. Preferably for ready access the conveyer is of the open'type mounted on crossbars 42 for suitable height and support, but may have covers for keeping out debris.
In operation, the foregoing arrangement can be made partly or completely automaticin operation without attendants by incorporation of some of the features shown in FIG. 5. Thus, a coin 50 may be used to close switch 51 in a typical coin operated mechanism to actuate a timer switch 52 set for the desired access time to a particular stall 11. In cold weather the heater 53may be controlled by closing switch 54 either in the control center or by a further coin operated device. In addition the ball return conveyer motor 54 is actuated, and an access door may be opened such as one covering driving opening 15 in the stall by an appropriate mechanism 55, for example to give access to the stall for drivv supplies balls in reservoir 62 which feeds into supply outlet pipes 63 in each stall, a desired number of balls 64 may be selected and released by solenoid operated gates 65 and 66. Thus a solenoid coil 66 is actuated by switch 61 and when partially opening gate 65 to discharge balls 64 into receptacle 68 operates switch 69 to introduce stop gate 66 into the pipe 63 to await the end of the dispense cycle before gate 65 is reintroduced and gate 66 is withdrawn to meter out another batch of balls 64. Capacitor 70 or other control means may be used on solenoid 66 to permit all the balls to be dispensed before the cycle ends.
As may be seen in FIG. 2, a clubhouse section 70 extends into a walkway 71 which permits access into the individual stalls 11, etc., having a layout as seen from the plan view of FIG. 6.
The tee 72 is placed on a mat 73 for driving out the opening 15 in a suitable position so that the golfer may view the driving range. Since the tee 72 is preferably a distance back of the front transparent wall 78, angular protective fenders 75, 76 are provided to guide errant balls through the doorway opening 15 and prevent the possibility of richocheting balls within the stall. Thus paths 79, 80 are typical of those that may occur with an improper driving stroke.
What is claimed is:
l. A year round golf driving range comprising in combination, a clubhouse with attached enclosure containing a walkway providing access into a plurality of individual stalls each having a partially closed transparent front window with a lower doorway opening for egress of a golf ball driven from inside the stall and each adapted to be heated individually, a driving range provided with a plurality of target areas arranged at different distances from said clubhouse to receive balls driven through said opening by a person inside said stall and a teeing mat positioned within the stall in a position aligned with the opening and the driving range such that a golfer may freely swing a club to impact a ball on the teeing mat and send it out said opening toward said range while the person has unobstructed view out said transparent front window.
2. A driving range as defined in claim 1 wherein said driving range comprises a target structure with a plurality of ball receiving inclined screens arranged to provide a continuous series of peaks and troughs disposed in generally inverted V relationship with inclined faces disposed at visually identifiable specified distances from said stalls to receive balls driven from said stalls.
3. A driving range as defined in claim 2 including means communicating with said troughs to accumulate balls and return them to said clubhouse.
4. A driving range as defined in claim 3 including a motorized conveyer system for moving balls from said target to said clubhouse with control means at said clubhouse for selectively energizing the conveyer system for a predetermined time when a golfer is driving balls.
5. A driving range as defined in claim 2 wherein the target structure has a width in the order of 20 to yards and including a pair of side screens disposed along the ends of said target structure of a height greater than the peaks to intercept balls which may tend to curve outside the target area width.
6. A driving range as defined in claim 1 wherein said stalls include a radiant heat unit positioned at a height sufficient to be above a golfer inside said stalls, and coin operated means for operating said unit a predetermined time.
7. A driving range as defined in claim 1 wherein said front window includes a doorway section which may be folded back to provide an open front in good weather conditions,
8. A driving range as defined in claim 1 wherein an gular protective fenders are provided on each side of the doorway opening to guide errant balls through said doorway opening.