US20100285903A1 - Apparatus for Measuring the Stimp and Other Characteristics of a Putting Green - Google Patents

Apparatus for Measuring the Stimp and Other Characteristics of a Putting Green Download PDF

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Publication number
US20100285903A1
US20100285903A1 US12/772,730 US77273010A US2010285903A1 US 20100285903 A1 US20100285903 A1 US 20100285903A1 US 77273010 A US77273010 A US 77273010A US 2010285903 A1 US2010285903 A1 US 2010285903A1
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element
apparatus
golf ball
inertial
speed
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Abandoned
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US12/772,730
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Harry E. Nicodem
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Nicodem Harry E
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Priority to US21510209P priority Critical
Application filed by Nicodem Harry E filed Critical Nicodem Harry E
Priority to US12/772,730 priority patent/US20100285903A1/en
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B57/00Golfing accessories
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B37/00Solid balls; Rigid hollow balls; Marbles
    • A63B37/0003Golf balls
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B37/00Solid balls; Rigid hollow balls; Marbles
    • A63B37/0003Golf balls
    • A63B37/0023Covers
    • A63B37/0024Materials other than ionomers or polyurethane
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B43/00Balls with special arrangements
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B71/00Games or sports accessories not covered in groups A63B1/00 - A63B69/00
    • A63B71/06Indicating or scoring devices for games or players, or for other sports activities
    • A63B71/0619Displays, user interfaces and indicating devices, specially adapted for sport equipment, e.g. display mounted on treadmills
    • A63B71/0622Visual, audio or audio-visual systems for entertaining, instructing or motivating the user
    • A63B2071/0625Emitting sound, noise or music
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2102/00Application of clubs, bats, rackets or the like to the sporting activity ; particular sports involving the use of balls and clubs, bats, rackets, or the like
    • A63B2102/32Golf
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2220/00Measuring of physical parameters relating to sporting activity
    • A63B2220/20Distances or displacements
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2220/00Measuring of physical parameters relating to sporting activity
    • A63B2220/30Speed
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2220/00Measuring of physical parameters relating to sporting activity
    • A63B2220/40Acceleration
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2220/00Measuring of physical parameters relating to sporting activity
    • A63B2220/80Special sensors, transducers or devices therefor
    • A63B2220/803Motion sensors
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2220/00Measuring of physical parameters relating to sporting activity
    • A63B2220/80Special sensors, transducers or devices therefor
    • A63B2220/83Special sensors, transducers or devices therefor characterised by the position of the sensor
    • A63B2220/833Sensors arranged on the exercise apparatus or sports implement
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2225/00Other characteristics of sports equipment
    • A63B2225/50Wireless data transmission, e.g. by radio transmitters or telemetry
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B37/00Solid balls; Rigid hollow balls; Marbles
    • A63B37/0003Golf balls
    • A63B37/005Cores
    • A63B37/0051Special materials other than polybutadienes; Special construction
    • A63B37/0055Special materials other than polybutadienes; Special construction with non-spherical insert(s)
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B47/00Devices for handling or treating balls, e.g. for holding or carrying balls
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B57/00Golfing accessories
    • A63B57/505Hole information stands, e.g. tee-boxes
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B69/00Training appliances or apparatus for special sports
    • A63B69/36Training appliances or apparatus for special sports for golf
    • A63B69/3676Training appliances or apparatus for special sports for golf for putting
    • A63B69/3688Balls, ball substitutes, or attachments on balls therefor
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B71/00Games or sports accessories not covered in groups A63B1/00 - A63B69/00
    • A63B71/06Indicating or scoring devices for games or players, or for other sports activities
    • A63B71/0619Displays, user interfaces and indicating devices, specially adapted for sport equipment, e.g. display mounted on treadmills
    • A63B71/0622Visual, audio or audio-visual systems for entertaining, instructing or motivating the user

Abstract

An apparatus for measuring the rolling resistance and other characteristics of a golf course putting green is disclosed herein. The present invention can be incorporated into a golf ball housing and used by golfers, greens keepers, and other persons to measure the green speed or stimp, and other characteristics, of a putting green on a golf course.

Description

    PRIORITY STATEMENT
  • This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/215,102, filed May 1, 2009.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to an apparatus for measuring various characteristics of a section of turf, and more particularly, the present invention can be used by golfers, greens keepers, and other persons to measure the green speed or stimp, and other characteristics, of a putting green on a golf course.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Golf is a popular game, which is played on golf courses. Generally, these golf courses are made up of a series of unique holes, each hole being comprised of a teeing area, a fairway, and a putting green. Each putting green has a hole or cup and during the game or round of golf, each player using a variety of golf clubs, attempts to hit a golf ball from the teeing area to the green and into the cup with the least amount of shots or strokes.
  • Once a player is on the putting green, he or she is said to be putting. Putting is a uniquely challenging part of the golf game. Unlike the other shots that the player will make, the putt leaves the golf ball in substantially continuous contact with the grounds surface as it travels. Because of this contact the path and ultimate destination of the golf ball is heavily influenced by the properties and characteristics of the green.
  • The green is comprised of closely trimmed turf, which is sloped at varying angles across its surface. In addition to slope, the green's moisture content, turf length, and other factors can affect the rate at which a golf ball travels across the green. These factors (and others) can be used to determine the coefficient of friction of the green, more commonly known as the speed of the green or the stimp.
  • Different greens may exhibit different speeds; however, it is desirable and the objective of many greens keepers to maintain the speed of all the greens in a given course at approximately the same speed. To aid in this endeavor, the stimpmeter was developed. The stimpmeter measures the speed of the green and gives a quantifiable means to express the speed of the green.
  • The traditional stimpmeter is a track having a v-shaped groove and a notch near the top. A golf ball is placed in the notch and the end of the stimpmeter is raised until the golf ball is released from the notch at approximately 20 degrees. The golf ball then rolls down the v-shaped groove onto the golf course and the distance the golf ball travels is measured. This process is repeated several times and the average distance that the golf ball traveled in feet becomes the stimp of the green.
  • This reading allows greens keepers to better maintain a constant speed on their greens. In addition, it allows players to better predict how their golf ball will travel across the green. However, the traditional stimpmeter does have some disadvantages.
  • The traditional stimpmeter is a relatively large and cumbersome device with several pieces required. As such, it is not practical for a golfer to take with him or her. Further, when the ball transitions from the stimpmeter track to the greens surface, the ball may bounce creating an inaccuracy in the measurement.
  • Certain inventions have tried to improve on the traditional stimpmeter. Some of these inventions have included new mechanical embodiments of the stimpmeter—such as a stimpmeter that releases multiple balls at once to reduce the need for repeated testing, or a stimpmeter that has a curve near the bottom of the track so that the golf ball makes a smoother transition to the surface of the green.
  • Other inventions have included electronic embodiments of the stimpmeter. Generally, the electronic embodiments time the progress of the ball as it passes a set of electronic eyes. By using electronics, these stimpmeters are generally much smaller than their mechanical equivalent and are thus easier for a greens keeper or player to take with him or her.
  • However, the current electronic embodiments have several disadvantages, such as the need to sense the ball at a number of finite points, usually two, and the current embodiments rely on the total distance of the ball traveled. These disadvantages manifest themselves in multiple ways. One, because they use a limited number of location measurements, their accuracy is also limited. Two, because they calculate stimp using the total distance the ball traveled, it is still necessary for the user to measure the distance the ball traveled and input it to the stimpmeter. Three, the ball must be ejected at a standard speed in order to calculate the distance, and thus, the stimp may only be measured over the distance that the ball rolls after emission from the traditional stimpmeter at the standard speed.
  • For all the above reasons, there is a need for a stimpmeter that can provide more measurements of the ball at multiple points along its path or calculates the stimp in a way that does not require the user to input the distance the ball traveled, does not require the user to carry and implement a cumbersome device, and allows the user to measure stimp over a wider variety of distances. The present invention satisfies this need.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention is directed towards an apparatus for measuring the stimp of a putting green. The apparatus comprises a sensor element, power storage element, and a housing element. In certain embodiments, the apparatus may optionally comprise a processor element, a base element, a power source element, a display element, a speaker element, an output element, and/or an input element.
  • The sensor element measures the acceleration of the apparatus in one embodiment with the use of a single or multiple axis accelerometer. The accelerometer can measure the acceleration or deceleration of the apparatus through an internal process. The accelerometer could take several measurements during the movement of the apparatus or could take one acceleration measurement at the initial movement of the apparatus.
  • In an embodiment that operates by taking a measurement at the initial movement of the apparatus, the sensor element would also include a time measurement device. The time measurement device would time the movement of the apparatus from the time when the movement begins to the time the movement ends.
  • With either the multiple acceleration measurements or the single acceleration measurement and the time measurement, the deceleration experienced by the apparatus as a result of rolling resistance can be calculated. In the embodiment of a golf ball, the deceleration of the golf ball may be related to the “stimp” measurement through physics. The “stimp” measurement is also known as the speed of the green and is quite useful for understanding the characteristics of a putting green.
  • In another embodiment, the sensor element could comprise a transmitter that is read by one or more receiver elements at locations outside the apparatus. The measurements regarding the relationship between the receiver elements and the transmitter, if taken several times during the movement of the apparatus, could be used to calculate the locations by triangulation. Then, the several locations along with their intermediate time intervals could be used to calculate the stimp.
  • Also using a form of triangulation calculation in another embodiment, the sensor element could be a GPS receiver. The measurements of location by the GPS receiver by accessing the GPS satellites at several times during the movement of the apparatus could be used to calculate the stimp.
  • The power storage element is connected to the processor element and/or the sensor element in such a way to store and transfer power to other elements. The power storage element may comprise a battery, capacitor, coils, some combination thereof, or other. The power storage element may also be rechargeable.
  • The housing element can be any structure sufficient to contain and protect the sensor element, the power storage element, and possibly some other elements in that embodiment. In one embodiment, the housing element would be a golf ball. In this embodiment, the golf ball could be the same size, shape, weight, and have the same surface elasticity and other properties as a golf ball commonly used by golfers.
  • Of course, the present invention can be used for various functions relating to other sports and industries. As such, in alternative embodiments, the housing element could be, for example, a basketball, baseball, baseball bat, football, tennis ball, tennis racket, racket ball, volleyball, tennis racket, croquet ball, badminton shuttlecock, cricket ball, cricket bat, soccer ball, bowling ball, lacrosse ball, billiards ball, billiards cue, water polo ball, or others.
  • The invention may optionally comprise additional elements. One such optional addition is the processor element, which would be connected to or in communication with the sensor element in such a manner that allows it to receive the velocity, location, time, and/or acceleration information from the sensor element. The processor element would be programmed to convert the raw measurements from the sensor element into deceleration, acceleration, stimp, another calculation, and/or another output.
  • For example, by comparing the location of the apparatus at three or more times, the deceleration of the apparatus can be calculated. Alternatively, by comparing the speed imparted by the initial impact and the time it took to stop, the deceleration of the apparatus can be calculated. Further, in the case of a golf ball embodiment, the deceleration of the apparatus can be used to calculate the green speed on the golf course, or stimp.
  • The base element would be an element of the apparatus outside of the housing element. The base element could comprise some of the other elements (e.g. display element, speaker element, output element, input element), a power supply (e.g. batteries, AC wall unit, both, or other), inductive coils for non-contact power transfer or other method of transferring power to the power storage element within the housing element, and other characteristics useful to the practice of this invention. Further, the apparatus may be configured to be taken apart to replace batteries or to accept a connection for charging.
  • A display element could visually represent the calculated stimp, measurement or other data to the user. Other embodiments may provide navigation prompts for the golfer to program the apparatus. Alternative embodiments may present other information to the user through the display element.
  • Similarly, a speaker element would audibly convey the calculated stimp, measurement or other calculated figure to the user. The speaker element could also audibly convey navigation prompts or other information as well.
  • An input element would provide a way for the user to enter information or commands into the apparatus. For example, the input element might detect a pattern of pressure on the housing of the apparatus to turn the apparatus “on” or “off” or another command. Also, the input element might comprise a microphone to detect speech patterns or another way of inputting the information.
  • An output element would convey measurement, stimp, or other information to the user. For example, the output element might send a signal to an external unit (e.g. the base element, an external communication protocol like a Bluetooth, Zigby, modulation of a non-contact inductive charging circuit or other). In another embodiment, the output element might vibrate, change color, change shape, or in some other way convey a message to the user.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with regard to the following description, appended claims, and accompanying drawings where:
  • FIG. 1 shows a cross section of an embodiment of the golf ball in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 shows a cross section of an embodiment of the golf ball and base unit in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 3 shows a cross section of an embodiment of the golf ball and base unit in accordance with the present invention; and
  • FIG. 4 shows an embodiment of the golf ball and charging and display base unit in accordance with the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention is an apparatus 10 for measuring various characteristics of a section of turf. The apparatus can be used by both greens keepers and golfers to determine the speed of a golf green without a cumbersome set of equipment, without inputting the distance the ball traveled, and calculating the green speed over a smaller or larger distance than a Stimpmeter requires.
  • FIG. 1 shows one embodiment of the apparatus 10. The illustrated embodiment comprises a sensor element 12, power storage element 14, and housing element 16.
  • The sensor element 12 measures the acceleration or deceleration of the apparatus as defined by the housing element 16, or takes other measurements from which the acceleration or deceleration can be calculated. The sensor element 12 may be an accelerometer. The accelerometer may take a measurement of acceleration by detection of the movement of a′gas bubble, the relationship of a cantilever or other type of beam to a proof mass, another type of micro electromechanical system (commonly known as, MEMS), or another type of acceleration detection. The acceleration detection may be continuous during the movement of the apparatus as defined by the housing element 16, or the acceleration may be taken at discrete points during the movement of the apparatus as defined by the housing element 16.
  • Alternatively, the sensor element 12 may measure the velocity and time of the apparatus as defined by the housing element 16 in order to determine the acceleration. The velocity and time could be measured with a sensor element comprising a speedometer and a timer.
  • Yet another alternative is that the sensor element 12 measures the location of the apparatus as defined by the housing element 16 at several times. The location and time of the apparatus as defined by the housing element 16 can be used to calculate the acceleration also. The location may be detected in several ways, including but not limited to a sensor element that comprises a unit that transmits, a unit that receives, or a transceiver that does both. The sensor element 12 as a location transmitter could be read by receivers outside the apparatus, could be read by processor element 22 when it is a part of the base element 24, as shown in FIG. 2, or another element capable of receiving the transmission. The location of the apparatus 10 could be determined with triangulation calculations with the measurements. The sensor element 12 as a location receiver could receive GPS information from outside the apparatus 10 to determine the location by triangulation. Then, the several locations could be used to calculate the deceleration due to rolling resistance and then the stimp of the green. The calculations could be done by the processor element 22, or outside of the apparatus 10.
  • The power storage element 14 is the source of power for the rest of the elements within the housing element 16. The power storage element 14 may be a battery, capacitor, or any other suitable power storage unit now known or later developed. The power storage element 14 may be a power supply itself without need for deriving power from an outside source (e.g., a battery), or it may be capable of gaining more power or recharging by induction, an AC wall unit or another method. The power storage element 14 may be entirely inside the housing unit 16, or it may have some way of connecting to the outside of the housing unit (e.g., a socket with a corresponding plug, where the socket is a break in the outer wall of the housing element 16, and where there may be some method of covering the socket, not shown in any figures). Further, the apparatus 10 may be configured such that the housing element 16 opens up or can be disassembled so the power storage element 14 can be recharged or replaced.
  • The power storage element 14 may be connected to the sensor element 12 in such a way that power can be transferred from one to the other. In an embodiment with a processor element 22 (as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3), the power storage element 14 is connected to the processor element 22 in such a way that power can be transferred from one to another. In an embodiment with additional elements in the housing element 16, the power storage element 14 may also be connected to the other elements (e.g., display element 28, speaker element 30, output element 32, input element 34) in such a way that power can be transferred from one element to another (elements shown in housing element 16 in FIG. 3, connections not shown).
  • The housing element 16 can be any structure sufficient to contain and protect the sensor element and the power storage element, as shown in FIG. 1. In an embodiment with additional elements, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the additional elements may be contained in the housing element 16 also. In the preferred embodiment, the housing element 16 would be a golf ball. In this embodiment, the housing element 16 would be the same size, shape, weight, and have the same surface properties as a golf ball commonly used by golfers. The housing element 16 may be translucent in its entirety or over certain sections such that certain elements inside the housing element 16 can be viewed by the user, possibly to observe a display within the housing element 16. The housing element 16 may be constructed from any suitable material. Such materials include but are not limited to metal, plastic, fiberglass, Kevlar, carbon fiber, glass, or any of their combinations.
  • In alternative embodiments that are not shown, the housing element 16 could be in the shape of, for example, a basketball, baseball, baseball bat, football, tennis ball, tennis racket, racket ball, volleyball, tennis racket, croquet ball, badminton shuttlecock, cricket ball, cricket bat, soccer ball, bowling ball, la cross ball, billiards ball, billiards cue, water polo ball, or others.
  • FIGS. 2 and 3, show embodiments of the apparatus 20 and 40, which show the various elements in different locations: either in the housing element 16 or in the base element 24. Most of the elements may be placed within either the housing element 16 or in the base element 24 in any combination, as useful to implement the invention. The placement of the elements should not limit the placement or combination of placement of the elements into the housing element 16 or the base element 24.
  • A processor element 22 could be a microprocessor, or other mechanism capable of completing the necessary functions in the invention. A processor element 22 may be present or it may be absent altogether. A processor element 22, if present, may be in the housing element 16 or in the base element 24. A processor element 22 may be required to receive data, complete calculations to determine stimp or other calculations, transmit data, or other functions. For example, data may be sent to the display element 28 in such a manner that the processor element 22 is driving the display element 28 directly or may be sent to the display element 28 which uses its own controller to prepare the data for display.
  • The base element 24 could be configured to reside outside of the housing element 16. A base element 24 may be present as in embodiments 20 and 40 as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, or it may be absent, as shown in FIG. 1 without departing from the scope of the present invention. The base element could comprise some of the other elements (e.g. display element 28, speaker element 30, processor element 22, output element 32, input element 34, or others), a power source element 26 (e.g. batteries, AC wall unit, both, or other), non-contact inductive charging coils or other method of transferring power to the power storage element 14 within the housing element 16, and any other characteristic useful to the practice of this invention.
  • A power source element 26 may be present in the base element 24 as an additional source of power for the elements in the base element 24, in the housing element 16, and may be a source of power for the power storage element 14, as well. The power source element 26 may include inductive coils for non-contact power transfer, battery (s), a computer via a USB connection, AC wall unit, some possible combination, or any other suitable power supply.
  • A display element 28 may be present in the invention and, if present, may be in the housing element 16 or in the base element 24. The display element 28 might be connected to the processor element 22, power storage element 14 if in the housing element 16, the power source element 26 if it is in the base element 24, or another element. The display element 28 may be any technology suitable for conveying the data. Such technology includes but is not limited to, seven-segment displays and pixel based displays. The display may be a projection type technology. The display may also represent data points without using traditional alphanumeric characters. For example, the display may use symbols, different colors, or temperatures to represent the data.
  • In other embodiments, the display element 28 may provide navigation prompts for the user to learn about or program the apparatus 10. Alternative embodiments may present other information to the user through the display element 28.
  • Similarly, a speaker element 30 would audibly convey data, like calculated stimp, measurement or other figures, to the user. The speaker element 30 might also audibly convey navigation prompts or other information as well. A speaker element 30 may be present in the invention and, if present, may be in the housing element 16 or in the base element 24. The speaker element 30 might be connected to the processor element 22, power storage element 14 if in the housing element 16, the power source element 26 if it is in the base element 24, or another element.
  • An output element 32 would convey measurement, stimp, or other information to the user in some way other than the display element 28 or the speaker element 30. For example, the output element might send data over wireless communication such as radio or infrared frequency waves to a processor element 22, a device outside of the apparatus 10, such as an external communications protocol like a Bluetooth, a computer, radio, cell phone, or another element capable of reading the data sent by the output element 32. In another embodiment, the output element might vibrate, change color, change shape, change temperature, or in some other way convey a message to the user.
  • The presence of a display element 28 and/or a speaker element 30 does not preclude the possibility of including an additional output element 32 in a particular embodiment. An output element 32, if present, may be in the housing element 16 or in the base element 24. The output element 32 might be connected to the processor element 22, power storage element 14 if in the housing element 16, the power source element 26 if it is in the base element 24, or another element.
  • An input element 34 could provide a way for the user to enter information or commands into the apparatus. For example, the input element 34 might detect a pattern of pressure on the housing of the apparatus to turn the apparatus “on” or “off” or another command. Also, the input element might comprise a microphone to detect speech patterns or another way of inputting the information. The input element 34 might also be a more elaborate input method such as a keyboard, number panel or other input method, especially where the input element 34 is a part of the base element 24. The input element 34 might be connected to the processor element 22, power storage element 14 if in the housing element 16, the power source element 26 if it is in the base element 24, or another element. An input element 34 may be present in the invention and, if present, may be in the housing element 16 or in the base element 24. The input element 34 might be connected to the processor element 22, power storage element 14 if in the housing element 16, the power source element 26 if it is in the base element 24, or another element.
  • In an embodiment where the housing element 16 is a golf ball and the desired data by the user is the stimp of a golf green, the golfer can use the apparatus in several ways. The user could hit the housing element 16 with a putter (not shown) or other golf club (not shown). The golfer could roll the housing element 16 by hand, or simply, nudge the housing element 16 with the golfer's foot. The golfer only need to exert minimal effort compared to a traditional stimpmeter.
  • FIG. 4 shows an embodiment of the present invention that includes some or all of the elements described above, including a golf ball 50 along with a base unit 60. The golf ball 50 is made up of the inertial golf ball 52, an electronics package 54, an inductive charging coil 56 and the different resilient layers 58 of the golf ball 50. As described herein, the electronics package 54 includes such elements as the inertial sensing system, the charge control system and the communications system.
  • The base unit 60 also shown in FIG. 4 is made up of the charge and display base unit 62 for charging the golf ball 50 and displaying information pertinent to the functions of the present invention and described herein. The base unit 60 is also made up of the golf ball receptacle 64, the digital display 66, and the battery compartment 68. Alternatively, the base unit 60 can be configured to be plugged into a standard wall outlet for power.
  • In use for example, the golf ball 50 is placed into the base unit 60 in the golf ball receptacle 64 in order to charge the golf ball 50. Other methods can be used to charge the golf ball 50, including connectors as are standard on most electronic equipment. Once charged, the user can putt the golf ball 50 on a particular green, and the electronics 54 will determine the green speed or stimp. The user then places the golf ball 50 back into the base unit 60 in the golf ball receptacle 64 where the communications system in the golf ball 50 can communicate with the base unit 60. Again, the connection between the golf ball 50 and the base unit 60 does not have to be wireless and a standard connector may provide the communication link instead. The display 66 then can indicate the green speed or stimp to the user as described herein. Further, as described herein, the golf ball 50 can communicate to the base unit 60 (or to some other receiver) without the need to be placed back into the base unit 60.
  • Although the present invention has been described in considerable detail with reference to certain preferred versions thereof, other versions are possible. Therefore, the spirit and scope of the appended claims should not be limited to the description of the preferred embodiment or alternative embodiments contained herein.

Claims (18)

1. An apparatus for measuring the speed of a golf course putting green by accelerating and decelerating an inertial golf ball across a portion of the golf course putting green comprising:
a. an inertial golf ball, said inertial golf ball comprising a housing, said housing being configured to replicate a standard golf ball in shape and size;
b. a sensor element, said sensor element being located inside said housing, said sensor element functioning to sense the acceleration and deceleration of the inertial golf ball;
c. a data transmission system, said data transmission system being located inside said housing, said data transmission system functioning to transmit data received from said sensor element inside said inertial golf ball to the outside of the inertial golf ball;
d. a power storage element, said power storage element being located inside said housing, said power storage element functioning to provide power to the sensor element and the data transmission system of the inertial golf ball;
wherein said inertial golf ball can be accelerated across the portion of the golf course putting green such that said sensor senses the acceleration and deceleration of the inertial golf ball as it travels across the portion of the golf course putting green, and said data transmission system transmits information received from said sensor element to the outside of the inertial golf ball.
2. The apparatus for measuring the speed of a golf course putting green in claim 1, wherein said housing is completely sealed with no access to the inside of the inertial golf ball.
3. The apparatus for measuring the speed of a golf course putting green in claim 1, wherein said housing is completely sealed except for a socket that allows access to said power storage element inside the inertial golf ball.
4. The apparatus for measuring the speed of a golf course putting green in claim 1, wherein said housing has a removable cover, said removable cover can be removed to provide access to said power storage element.
5. The apparatus for measuring the speed of a golf course putting green in claim 1, wherein said housing has a partially or entirely translucent cover, said translucent cover providing visual access to said sensor element and power storage element.
6. The apparatus for measuring the speed of a golf course putting green in claim 1, wherein said sensor element is an accelerometer.
7. The apparatus for measuring the speed of a golf course putting green in claim 6, wherein said sensor element determines movement of said inertial golf ball continuously.
8. The apparatus for measuring the speed of a golf course putting green in claim 6, wherein said sensor element determines movement of said inertial golf ball at discrete points during the movement of said inertial golf ball.
9. The apparatus for measuring the speed of a golf course putting green in claim 1, wherein said sensor element is a speedometer and timer, such that said sensor element determines the velocity of the inertial golf ball at particular times during the movement of the inertial golf ball.
10. The apparatus for measuring the speed of a golf course putting green in claim 1, wherein said data transmission system is a display visible from the outside surface of the inertial golf ball.
11. The apparatus for measuring the speed of a golf course putting green in claim 1, wherein said data transmission system is a speaker providing audible information to the outside surface of the inertial golf ball.
12. The apparatus for measuring the speed of a golf course putting green in claim 1, wherein said data transmission system is a wireless communication system providing information to the outside of the inertial golf ball.
13. The apparatus for measuring the speed of a golf course putting green in claim 12, wherein said wireless communication system is one of radio waves or other electromagnetic waves capable of being transmitted, Bluetooth or other external communication protocols.
14. The apparatus for measuring the speed of a golf course putting green in claim 1, wherein said power storage element is one of a battery, capacitor, inductive coil or other device allowing for non-contact power transfer.
15. The apparatus for measuring the speed of a golf course putting green in claim 1, further comprising a base unit, said base unit comprising:
a. a receiver, said receiver receiving information from said data transmission system in said inertial golf ball,
b. a processor, said processor processing the information received from said data transmission system in said inertial golf ball and sending the processed information to a display,
c. said display capable of displaying the processed information.
16. The apparatus for measuring the speed of a golf course putting green in claim 15, wherein said base unit further comprises a receptacle, said receptacle configured to receive said inertial golf ball for charging and transmitting data.
17. The apparatus for measuring the speed of a golf course putting green in claim 15, wherein said base unit further comprises an input element, said input element allowing the entry of input information or commands.
18. The apparatus for measuring the speed of a golf course putting green in claim 15, wherein said input element is one or more of an on/off switch, a keyboard, or a microphone.
US12/772,730 2009-05-01 2010-05-03 Apparatus for Measuring the Stimp and Other Characteristics of a Putting Green Abandoned US20100285903A1 (en)

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US20160271477A1 (en) * 2013-03-19 2016-09-22 Gurbaaz Pratap Singh MANN Correlating ball speed with putter speed
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