US20140316542A1 - System and method for fitting golf clubs and sets - Google Patents

System and method for fitting golf clubs and sets Download PDF

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US20140316542A1
US20140316542A1 US14/160,019 US201414160019A US2014316542A1 US 20140316542 A1 US20140316542 A1 US 20140316542A1 US 201414160019 A US201414160019 A US 201414160019A US 2014316542 A1 US2014316542 A1 US 2014316542A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
distances
device
set
club
clubs
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Abandoned
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US14/160,019
Inventor
Tim A. Beno
Andrew Curtis
Michael T. McDonnell
Scott H. Moreira
Thomas W. Preece
Michael S. Yagley
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Cobra Golf Inc
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Cobra Golf Inc
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Publication date
Priority to US13/407,011 priority Critical patent/US9114292B2/en
Priority to US13/565,146 priority patent/US9114294B2/en
Priority to US13/711,097 priority patent/US8517850B1/en
Priority to US201361755564P priority
Priority to US13/946,543 priority patent/US8870673B2/en
Application filed by Cobra Golf Inc filed Critical Cobra Golf Inc
Priority to US14/160,019 priority patent/US20140316542A1/en
Assigned to COBRA GOLF INCORPORATED reassignment COBRA GOLF INCORPORATED ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: YAGLEY, MICHAEL S., BENO, TIM A., CURTIS, ANDREW, MCDONNELL, MICHAEL T., MOREIRA, SCOTT H., PREECE, THOMAS W.
Publication of US20140316542A1 publication Critical patent/US20140316542A1/en
Priority claimed from US14/841,743 external-priority patent/US20160045795A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • 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
    • 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
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M1/00Substation equipment, e.g. for use by subscribers; Analogous equipment at exchanges
    • H04M1/72Substation extension arrangements; Cordless telephones, i.e. devices for establishing wireless links to base stations without route selecting
    • H04M1/725Cordless telephones
    • H04M1/72519Portable communication terminals with improved user interface to control a main telephone operation mode or to indicate the communication status
    • H04M1/72522With means for supporting locally a plurality of applications to increase the functionality
    • 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
    • A63B2069/3602Player's game information devices
    • A63B2069/3605Golf club selection aids informing player of his average or expected shot distance for each club
    • 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
    • A63B2225/00Other characteristics of sports equipment
    • A63B2225/20Other characteristics of sports equipment with means for remote communication, e.g. internet or the like
    • 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
    • A63B2225/54Transponders, e.g. RFID
    • A63B2243/0029

Abstract

The invention relates to devices, systems, and methods for fitting golf clubs. A golf club set is selected from among many golf clubs. A golfer can give information about an existing club set or hitting abilities. Systems of the invention use that information to identify a yardage gap to be covered by clubs and a number of clubs to span that yardage gap. The system can determine one or more yardage for each of the number of clubs and then propose a specific club for each yardage.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • This application claims the benefit of, and priority to, U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/755,564, filed Jan. 23, 2013, the contents of which are incorporated by reference in their entirety for all purposes.
  • This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/565,146, filed Aug. 2, 2012, which application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/407,011, filed Feb. 28, 2012, the contents of each of which are incorporated by reference in their entirety for all purposes.
  • This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent Ser. No. 13/946,543, filed Jul. 19, 2013, which application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/711,097, filed Dec. 11, 2012, the contents of each of which are incorporated by reference in their entirety for all purposes.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The invention generally relates to systems and methods for fitting golf clubs.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Golfers face an overwhelming array of club choices. However, according to Rule 4-4 of The United States Golf Association (Far Hills, N.J.), a player may use no more than 14 clubs in a round of golf. Most golfers understand that a putter is good for short shots on the green and a driver is good for long-distance drives on the order of 200 yards. Between those extremes, golfers would like to find 12 clubs that are each good for shots of a certain distance range and in which those ranges cover all possible shots the golfer may have to make.
  • Unfortunately, the hundreds of clubs available in a typical shop do not make choosing a set very easy. A golfer must rely on their understanding of how all of those clubs work as well as their estimation of their own abilities to winnow all of the offerings down to the 14 clubs that he will use. FIGS. 1A and 1B show a prior art device that was printed in 2008 and that is sometimes called a fitting wheel. The Club Fitting Wheel consists of three cardboard circles rotatably fastened at the center having a 12-inch diameter. If a golfer who knows his average driver distance rotates the circles so that a pointer points to his average driver distance, then windows in the circles reveal suggested clubs. Unfortunately, the Club Fitting Wheel can only provide a window into a few pre-selected full sets of suggested golf clubs that were manufactured before the fitting wheel was printed. Other approaches are described in U.S. Pat. No. 8,579,731 to Gadiyar; U.S. Pat. No. 8,371,962 to Solheim; and U.S. Pub. 2009/0326688 to Thomas, the contents of each of which are incorporated by reference for all purposes.
  • SUMMARY
  • The invention provides systems and methods for selecting a customized golf club set from among many golf clubs. A golfer can give some information about his abilities or existing club set. Systems of the invention work with that information to identify a yardage gap to be covered by clubs and a number of clubs to span that yardage gap. The system can determine one or more yardage for each club and then propose a specific club for each yardage. The system can make use of communication networks to receive new information about clubs that are available, to store or transfer a golfer's personal information (e.g., average driver distance), or to allow a golfer to shop for clubs. Since the system can calculate yardages by which a number of clubs are spread across a yardage gap, the golfer is provided with a proposed set of clubs that is truly personalized and the golfer does not need to settle for one pre-selected set of clubs from a table of only a limited number of sets. Additionally, a golfer can manipulate variables that affect the performance or price of the set and see proposed sets, try new variable values, and compare newly-proposed sets to the first-proposed set. For example, a golfer could toggle a button that allows mixing of clubs from different product lines. Further, systems and methods of the invention allow for functionality not otherwise provided. For example, a golfer can input his real-world playing information and arrive at an optimized set. The golfer could optionally also find a second-best set and, using a device of the invention, could see a price for each set. The golfer could use the device of the invention to purchase one of the sets, to save one of the sets into a wish-list, or both. More exemplary functionality is discussed herein.
  • In certain aspects, the invention provides a device for fitting golf clubs. The device includes a memory coupled to a processor operable to cause the device to receive a range of distances, obtain a number N of clubs to be suggested, determine a set of distances distributed across the range, and suggest a club for each target distance. In some embodiments, the device determines a set of N distances. The device may determine a set of (N+1) distances, and the device may be further operable to identify an adjustable club that is suited for two of the distances within the set and suggest the adjustable club for the two of the distances. The range of distances may be received as a longest playable iron distance and a driver distance. The longest playable iron distance and the driver distance may be input by a user or received via an interaction between the device and RFID tags on the driver and the longest playable iron. In some embodiments, the device is further operable to obtain the number N based on a user's input of a longest playable iron NL and a number of wedges NW.
  • The device may be operable to calculate N as 12−NW−(10−NL) and calculate a gap by G=(DD−DI)/(N+1) such that each distance in the set of distances is separated by the gap. In certain embodiments, the set comprises N distances, and the device is further operable to determine an alternative set of (N+1) distances distributed across the range and identify an adjustable club that is suited for two of the distances within the alternative set. The device may be operable to identify an adjustable club that is suited for two of the distances within the set and suggest the adjustable club for the two of the distances. Additionally or alternatively, the device may send an identity of each suggested club to a server computer device, display an offer of at least one of the suggested clubs for a user to purchase, or both.
  • In certain aspects, the invention provides a method of fitting golf clubs. The method includes receiving—in an electronic device comprising a memory coupled to a processor—a range of distances, obtaining a number N of clubs to be suggested, determining a set of distances distributed across the range, and suggesting a club for each target distance. Preferably, the set comprises N distances. In certain embodiments, the set comprises (N+1) distances, and the method further includes identifying an adjustable club that is suited for two of the distances within the set and suggesting the adjustable club for the two of the distances.
  • In certain aspects, the invention provides a process for fitting golf clubs. The process includes downloading, using a device comprising a memory coupled to a processor, a set of computer program instructions. The instructions are executable by the processor to cause the device to receive a range of distances, obtain a number N of clubs to be suggested, determine a set of distances distributed across the range, and suggest a club for each target distance. The process further includes storing the set of instructions in the memory and executing the instructions to aid in fitting golf clubs. The instructions may be offered in the form of a mobile app (i.e., that can be downloaded from an app store and executed on an operating system such as Windows 8, Android, or mac OS).
  • In certain aspects, the invention provides a method for fitting golf clubs. The method includes offering, via a display on a mobile device comprising a memory coupled to a processor, a set of computer program instructions for download to the mobile device. The instructions are executable by the processor to cause the mobile device to receive a range of distances, obtain a number N of clubs to be suggested, determine a set of distances distributed across the range, and suggest a club for each target distance. The instructions may be offered in the form of a mobile app (i.e., that can be downloaded from an app store and executed on an operating system such as Windows 8, Android, or mac OS).
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIGS. 1A and 1B show both sides of a prior art fitting wheel.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates a user tool for selecting a set of golf clubs.
  • FIG. 3 shows a user device for selecting clubs according to some embodiments.
  • FIG. 4 gives a diagram of methods of the invention.
  • FIG. 5 shows an adjustable club head that may be represented in the system.
  • FIG. 6 gives a cross-sectional view of a club that may be represented.
  • FIG. 7 gives an exemplary look-up table for effective lofts for a club head.
  • FIG. 8 shows a device of the invention giving a proposed set of clubs.
  • FIG. 9 is a diagram of systems according to certain embodiments.
  • FIG. 10 illustrates data transfer and storage according to some embodiments.
  • FIG. 11 depicts use of stored data.
  • FIG. 12 shows a display according to embodiments of the invention.
  • FIG. 13 depicts a golf club for use with the invention.
  • FIG. 14 shows use of communication networks according to certain embodiments.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • The invention provides systems and methods by which a golfer may select an optimum club set for their playing style. In particular, systems and methods of the invention aid a golfer in selecting clubs to fill the distance gap between their longest iron and driver. Systems and methods of the invention may be used to calculate yardages to fill the gap between a golfer's longest playable iron distance and driver distance and also to make club and adjustment setting recommendation that will enable the golfer to hit those calculated yardages.
  • FIGS. 1A and 1B show a prior art device called a Club Fitting Wheel that could receive one datum as input and show one pre-selected set of golf clubs as output. The invention includes the insight that a golfer needs help selecting a club set to cover playing conditions that can be defined by more than one datum. For example, a golfer may desire a club set that is customized for that golfer and optimized to cover a range of distances (where the range may be defined by a low yardage boundary and a high yardage boundary).
  • Where a golfer desires a club selection optimized for a range of distances, systems and methods of the invention are operable to receive input and aid in composing a proposed set of clubs.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates a user tool for selecting a set of golf clubs. The tool may be embodied in electronic device 105 and may include a display 125. Here, device 105 is depicted as a tablet computer. Device 105 may be a commercially-available computer device, such as a PC, smartphone, or tablet computer, or may be a purpose-built device (e.g., with a custom form-factor). Device 105 includes a mechanism for receiving input from a user. A user input mechanism may be touch-screen (as depicted here) or may be a keyboard, computer pointing tool, or other device.
  • Device 105 is operable to receive input from a user. The input may include information about golf clubs or a golfer's ability or preferences with clubs. As shown in FIG. 2, the input may include the identity of the golfer's longest playable iron, a number of wedges that the golfer plays, a driver distance, how many wedges the golfer plays, or any other input. Receipt of data input is discussed in U.S. Pub. 2012/0196692 to Beck, the contents of which are incorporated by reference in their entirety.
  • FIG. 3 shows an embodiment in which device 105 is provided with a smartphone form factor. In general, whichever structure device 105 may have, device 105 will include a processor, memory, input/output device, or combination thereof. Instructions for fitting clubs may be stored in the memory and may be executed to cause device 105 to receive a range of distances, obtain a number N of clubs to be fit, determine a set of distances, and suggest a club for each distance. Additionally, the invention provides a method for fitting golf clubs.
  • In certain embodiments, devices and methods of the invention include additional functionality to complement the function of fitting and recommending golf club sets. For example, one or more golfers can collect information about their game as they play, and can compare shots, clubs, results, times, etc., to one another using one or more of device 105. In some embodiments, two (or more) golfers who are playing each use of one device 105 and each input information about clubs that they are using (see FIG. 14 and associated written description). Upon recognizing a possible good fit, device 105 for one of the golfers suggests that he try one of the clubs presently being carried and used by the other golfer. For example, if golfer B is shooting with a new lightweight hybrid club, and golfer A is struggling with shots of about 190 yards, and if golfer A and golfer B have co-registered their respective devices 105, golfer A's device 105 may suggest that golfer A try a shot using golfer B's hybrid. Additional discussion of information sharing is found in U.S. Pub. 2012/0316843 to Beno, et al., the contents of which are incorporated by reference in their entirety for all purposes.
  • FIG. 4 diagrams a method of fitting golf clubs. The method includes receiving 201 a range of distances. Preferably, the range of distances is received as a longest playable iron distance and a driver distance.
  • One step of the method is to obtain 205 a number N of clubs to be suggested. In some embodiments, the number N is obtained based on the received a user's input of a longest playable iron and a number of wedges. As shown in FIG. 2, an electronic device 105 can be used to prompt for four different inputs from the golfer. In certain embodiments, the device presents a series of questions or prompts and obtains, as a result, a value for the associated variable. Exemplary questions or prompts that can be presented include: What is your longest playable iron (e.g. 4-iron)?; How many wedges do you play (including PW)?; How far do you hit your longest playable iron?; and How far do you hit your driver? The user input may be stored as values for variables as follows: NL is the longest playable iron; NW is the number of wedges the golfer plays; DI is the distance the golfer hits the longest playable iron; and DD is the distance the golfer hits his driver.
  • Device 105, by receiving DI—the distance the golfer hits the longest playable iron and DD—the distance the golfer hits his driver—thus receives 201 a range of distances.
  • The number N of clubs to be suggested can be obtained 205 by performing calculations using the input. In some embodiments, N is calculated by Equation 1.

  • N=12−N W−(10−N L)   Equation 1
  • Once the golfer has entered this information, a method can proceed by calculating how many clubs can be “fit” in between the golfer's longest playable iron and driver with Equation 1
  • For example, where a golfer inputs that his longest iron is a 4 iron and he plays 3 wedges:

  • N=12−3−(10−4)

  • N=9−6

  • N=3
  • In some embodiments, as illustrated by Equation 1, methods of the invention operate with the assumptions that the golfer is playing with 14 clubs; the golfer is playing with 1 putter; and the golfer does not skip an iron throughout his set (e.g. 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, PW).
  • Once N has been obtained 205, the next step is to determine 207 a set of distances for which the golfer needs clubs. In some embodiments, this set is based on the received range and the obtained N. That is, using N (i.e., how many clubs can be “fit” in between the golfer's longest playable iron and driver), a yardage range can be calculated. The set of distances that is determined 207 can each be separated by this yardage range. This will help ensure equal gaps. The consistent yardage gap may be calculated using Equation 2.

  • Gap=(D D −D I)/(N+1)   Equation 2
  • where Gap=the gap that each “fit” club must span; DD=Driver distance; DI=Longest Playable Iron distance; and N=number of “fit” long game clubs. Thus, the method involves determining a set of distances that span the range. Moreover, calculation can proceed such that each distance in the set of distances is separated by the Gap. For example, a golfer may input: longest iron is a 4 iron; plays 3 wedges; hits driver 265 yards; and hits 4 iron 195 yards. From this information, a Gap can be calculated.

  • Gap=(265−195)/(3+1)

  • Gap=70/4

  • Gap=17.5 yards
  • These calculations determine an equivalent gap to be spanned by each of the N “fit” clubs.
  • Then, a set of distances Di is determined 207. In some embodiments, the set is determined as a set of yardage gap increments above the longest playable iron distance DI. That is, the yardage for the ith “fit” club (for each i={1 . . . N}) may be calculated by Equation 3.

  • D i =D I +i×Gap   Equation 3
  • where Di=distance of the ith “fitted” clubs. For example, a golfer inputs that his longest iron is a 4 iron and he plays 3 wedges. The golfer hits his driver 265 yards and he hits his 4 iron 195 yards. As the exemplary calculations above show, this golfer has an N of 3. As the following calculations show, this golfer has a Gap of 17.5.

  • Gap=(265−195)/(3+1)=17.5

  • D 1=195+1×17.5

  • D 2=195+2×17.5

  • D 3=195+3×17.5
  • Accordingly, the method determines 207 a set of distances distributed across this golfer's range. Here, the three distances are D1=212.5; D2=230; and D3=247.5. Thus, proceeding by the method, it has been calculated that the golfer needs 3 clubs to be “fit” in between his longest playable iron and driver. The method has also been used to calculate a distance for each of the “fit” clubs such that the golfer will experience equal yardage gaps between all of his long game clubs.
  • For each determined distance, a club can then be suggested 209. That is, the method includes making a club recommendation, as well as optionally a setting recommendation, for each of the calculated distances above (e.g., D1, D2, . . . , DN).
  • In some embodiments, the method includes using the availability of a dual-distance club to suggest a set of N clubs for a set of (N+1) distances. A dual-distance club may be taken to refer to a club that is suited to hit to at least two distances. For example, an adjustable-loft club may be useful by a golfer to hit to a number (e.g., two, three, four, five, etc.) of different distances when set in different effective settings. Device 105 may have stored therein information about a club that is suited for hitting to two or more different distances. Recommending clubs can include recognizing the availability of dual-distance clubs and including such a club in the suggested set as being suited for two or more of the distances.
  • Additionally, methods of the invention may include recommending a first set and an alternative set. For example, the alternative set may include a dual-distance club and may be presented as suited for a greater number of distances than the first set. The invention creates the ability to recognize that the availability of a multi-distance club creates options for a golfer in the form of various club sets. Some golfers may be at a stage in their learning for which a first set of clubs is most beneficially suited to their playing style while other golfers may be best-served by an alternative set. Thus where modern club technology makes available a great variety of potential sets, a golfer may use methods and devices of the invention to select the set best-suited to his or her playing style. Additionally, methods of the invention can employ further information about a golfer to recommend a set. For example, a golfer may provide information that he or she prefers to include or not to include a multi-distance club in the sets that are suggested 209 (e.g., based on personal experience of what works best for that golfer).
  • Additionally, systems and methods of the invention provide the ability to store 155 information about a golfer or to offer suggested sets to a golfer. For example, as diagrammed in FIG. 4, a system can include a server 133 (e.g., one or more computer devices, cloud storage, or a combination thereof). In this way, a golfer may provide information one day (e.g., distance he hits his driver), store 155 that information on server 133, and later—even years later—compare that information to updated information to monitor his progress and evaluate the suitability of his present club set. Use of server 133 allows all of this functionality to be offered even if a golfer does not keep or use the same device 105 day after day.
  • Use of a system of the invention including, for example, server 133 may provide additional value and benefit due to the ongoing development of technology for golf clubs. A golfer may use device 105. Later, a new golf club could be introduced. Information about the new golf club could be made available through server 133 and that new club could be included in suggestions considered by device 105. Even where a new golf club is a multi-distance or adjustable club, the full potential utility of that adjustable club may be represented within the system and included in the determinations and suggestions of methods of the invention.
  • FIG. 5 shows an adjustable club head 111 that may be represented in the system. Club head 111 includes an adjustment mechanism 121 that can be used to give the club an effective setting. For example, a club may have a mechanism for adjusting loft that can be set to one of six different effective settings (e.g., 7.5, 8.5 fade, 8.5, 9.5 fade, 9.5, and 10.5 as shown, for example, in indicator window 119). Exemplary multi-setting clubs are discussed in Interchangeable Shaft System, U.S. Pub. 2009/0197694; Interchangeable Shaft System, U.S. Pub. 2009/0264214; Interchangeable Shaft System, U.S. Pat. No. 7,699,717; Interchangeable Shaft System, U.S. Pub. 2011/0143854; Interchangeable Shaft and Club Head Connection System, U.S. Pat. No. 7,878,921; Interchangeable Shaft and Club Head Connection System, U.S. Pub. 2010/0261543; Interchangeable Shaft and Club head Connection System, U.S. Pub. 2009/0247316; Quick Release Connection System for Golf Clubs, U.S. Pub. 2008/0125239; Two-Part Hosel Connection System for Golf Clubs, U.S. Pub. 2008/0254909; and Interchangeable Shaft for a Golf Club, U.S. Pat. No. 7,476,160, the contents of each of which are herein incorporated by reference in their entirety.
  • Here, adjustable club head 111 is well suited to cover two or more distances in a golfer's yardage range due to the inclusion of a sole-stabilizing element 115. Inclusion of a sole-stabilizing element 115 of a limited width (W) tends to confine the point at which the club head 111 makes contact with the ground to within the limited width. The ground contact point is substantially beneath the club head center of gravity. Since club head 111 rests on a point substantially beneath its center of gravity, it does not tend to rock into a tilted position. Where club head 111 includes a mechanism 121 for adjusting loft, sole stabilizing element 115 can prevent loft adjustments from interfering with face angle. A club head with a sole stabilizing element is described in U.S. Pub. 2013/0225317 to Clausen, et al., the contents of which are incorporated by reference in their entirety for all purposes.
  • FIG. 6 gives a cross-sectional view club head 111 showing sole stabilizing element 115. It can be observed that the ground contact point of club head 111 defines two planes, each of which is tangent to the club sole and intersects the ground contact point. The fore-facing plane and aft-facing plane each define an angle with a horizontal plane. Without being bound by any theory and without limiting the invention, it is thought that the sum of these angles being greater than the range of possible effective loft settings confers the stabilizing benefit of sole element 115.
  • A given adjustment mechanism 121 may be variously mated with different club heads or shafts. For example, if the loft setting shown in window 119 in FIG. 5 depends on a hosel sleeve defining the upper part of mechanism 121 and extending into club head 111, then use of different ones of head 111 may confer different actual effective lofts. To illustrate, for a given brand of club head, some manufacturers may produce separate men's and women's versions, both left and right-handed versions, distinct mainline and Pro versions, or combinations thereof. These additional variant club head models tend to increase the number of possible suggestible distances available to a golfer.
  • For example, a golfer faced with a six-setting adjustable loft mechanism 121 capable of being mated with a mainline men's club head, a mainline women's club head, a Pro men's, and a Pro women's, could potentially be faced with 24 different actual effective loft settings. Additionally, many of these 24 settings may be un-knowable to a golfer. A golfer on the course may not be able to surmise what loft will be provided if they mate an adjustable hosel sleeve to a women's Pro model, for example, nor what distance that club will be best-suited to shoot. Accordingly, device of the invention provide the ability to recommend clubs, combinations of club parts, settings for adjustment mechanisms, or combinations thereof where adjustable or multi-distance clubs are involved. In some embodiments, information about an adjustable club is stored with a device 105, server 133, or both in the form of a look-up table.
  • FIG. 7 gives an exemplary look-up table for effective lofts for a club head. Here, the look-up table is presented as a hosel sleeve loft conversion chart. When a given mechanism is used in a men's Pro head, the displayed settings (e.g., from window 119) in the left-most column will confer the effective setting of the second column. Device 105 can derive from the chart of FIG. 7 an effective setting of a club head (e.g., based on user input) and can use that effective setting to determine a distance the golfer will tend to hit that club.
  • One consequence of the availability of a multi-setting club is that it decreases the amount of distance that must be covered by each club. That is, since most golfers will want a total of 14 clubs, having a club that can cover two distances will allow those 14 clubs to cover a total of 15 distances. Thus, the average yardage of the driver, which defines the full range that must be covered, can be divided into 15 gap distances.
  • Whether or not any number of multi-distance clubs are available, device 105 can be used to make a club and a setting recommendation for each of the calculated distances above (e.g., D1, D2, . . . , DN).
  • FIG. 8 shows use of device 105 to give a proposed set of clubs. As shown, the gap between a golfer's longest playable iron distance and driver distance is to be filled by a number N of clubs, which will generally be fairways, hybrids, or a combination thereof. Here, the longest playable iron is the 4 iron, and the golfer hits his driver 265 yards. The gap (e.g., 195 yards to 265 yards) is filled by N=3 clubs.
  • Note that in FIG. 8, device 105 has provided a recommendation of two different clubs for the 230 yard distance (a fairway and a hybrid). A golfer may have knowledge that he hits best with one versus the other. Accordingly, by providing information about two different clubs for a single distance (e.g., by giving alternatives), devices and methods of the invention aid in providing the best possible recommended club set.
  • Device 105 may perform additional functions as well as fitting sets of golf clubs. For example, device 105 may recommend individual or fit individual clubs. A player may give input identifying a particular make, model, style or type of club. Device 105 can work with information about the player (e.g., driver distance, average ball speed) and recommend fitting settings for the particular club. For example, a player may input that they have a certain hybrid with a 41 inch shaft. The player may input their driver distance, and device 105 may recommend that the player use a 39 inch shaft with their hybrid. Device 105 may include functionality for prompting for, and receiving, information about a player such as: height, gender, handed-ness, geographical location, preferred make or models, type of golf bag, or any other information. Fitting of golf clubs is discussed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,719,648 to Smith; U.S. Pat. No. 6,083,123 to Wood; U.S. Pat. No. 5,441,256 to Smith; U.S. Pat. No. 5,351,952 to Hackman; U.S. Pub. 2011/0207560 to Wright; U.S. Pub. 2004/0087384 to Sosin; and U.S. Pub. 2003/0008731 to Anderson, the contents of each of which are incorporated by reference.
  • In some embodiments, device 105 includes functionality to allow a golfer to “live chat” with a golf pro. For example, a golfer on the course may feel very frustrated about a tendency to slice. The golfer may execute a program on device 105 and open up a chat window. A corresponding chat window can open on a PC computer at the geographical location of a golf pro consultant. The golfer and the pro can chat and the pro can give personalized recommendations for improving the golfer's game. For example, the pro can recommend, via chat, certain club fits, clubs, settings, or behavior changes that may benefit the player. Chat can be taken to mean a two-way text-based conversation accomplished by entering text into a computer via keyboard, touch-screen, number pad, or similar. Chat may be accomplished via a commercial service such as that offered under the trademark GOOGLE CHAT by Google Inc. (Menlo Park, Calif.). Chat may be accomplished by text or SMS. In a preferred embodiment, chat is provided by a module of functionality integrated into the interface of the fitting app discussed herein. Live chat consultation provides a benefit particularly well-suited to golfers in the context of a mobile app on device 105 as golf is a sport characterized by the promise of serenity but the reality of intense frustration. When frustration threatens to mount, the availability of human consultation integrated into an automatic club suggestion application provides good results for improving player mind-set and thus performance.
  • In some embodiments, devices and methods of the invention include the ability to assign a yardage to a given club for a particular golfer. As shown, for example, in FIG. 8, a 5 fairway with an 18 degree loft has been determined to make 230 yard shots for the user golfer. Device 105 may determine this yardage information for each club type and setting based on a formula, a look-up table, manufacturer information, user input, or other sources. In certain embodiments, each club and setting is assigned a distance based on placing the user golfer into a “speed bucket”.
  • Extensive testing has been done to discover a distance range for each of numerous clubs and settings. At least 30 total adjustable club settings for five particular clubs (each either a fairway or hybrid) that each have a six-setting loft-adjustment mechanism have been tested. For each of those 30 total settings, a distance range was discovered for each of a plurality of speed buckets.
  • Any number of speed buckets may be used. If 2 speed buckets are used, 60 distance ranges are calculated (for a pool of clubs that offer 30 total club settings). If 5 speed buckets are used, 150 distance ranges are calculated. If 25 speed buckets are used, 750 distance ranges are calculated. The number of calculated distance ranges may be a product of the number of total adjustable club settings and the number of speed buckets used. The number of calculated distance ranges can be stored in, for example, a static table on a computer memory such as a hard disk. It has been determined by the inventors that speed buckets are a reliable and useful way to quantize the possible ranges of distances for each club and setting.
  • With the driver and longest playable iron distances that the golfer provided, device 105 can categorize the golfer into one of the speed buckets. The system can then search the table under the golfer's “speed bucket” for the best club (and effective setting) to be used by the golfer to hit each of the calculated distances from above. Once device 105 has extracted a club and effective setting for each of the calculated distances it may provide all of the results, e.g., on a simple results display. Thus, in some embodiments, methods of the invention include assign a golfer to a speed bucket based on information about the golfer. The information may include DD the distance the golfer hits his driver (DD). A speed bucket may include a set including a characteristic distance for each club, setting, or both for a set of know clubs, settings, or both. In certain embodiments, device 105 has information comprising speed buckets stored therein.
  • FIG. 9 shows system 129 according to some embodiments. Device 105 may be a smartphone, PC, tablet, or any other suitable device. Device 105 will generally include a memory 137 coupled to a processor 139 as well as an input/output mechanism 135. Server 321 may include one or more computer devices using one or more of processor 149 coupled to memory 147 as well as input/output device 145. Memory 137 or may be taken to include one or more of a volatile or persistent memory such as RAM or storage. Computer storage can be provided by a hard drive (e.g., magnetic disk drive), flash memory, solid state drive (SSD), removable compact flash card, or similar. Processor 139 or 149 will generally include one or more computer processor such as a microchip made by Intel. Input/output 135 or 145 may include a mouse, keyboard, monitor, screen, touchscreen, network interface card, Wi-Fi card, cellular modem, Ethernet jack, USB jack, radio-frequency identification transponder, similar, or combinations thereof. Device 105 may be in communication with server 133 via network 131. Network 131 may include one or more of a wireless or wired internet communication device (e.g., router, hub, or switch), cellular tower, modem, land lines, satellites, antennae, similar structures, or a combinations thereof. Server 321 may house a database 151 that includes records 155 wherein may be stored any of the information described or required herein. Any such information may additionally or alternatively be stored in memory 137. Preferably, memory 137 or memory 147 is a tangible, non-transitory device that may contain the instructions executable to cause a system or device of the method to perform any of the steps, methods, or functions described herein. Additional discussion of technical systems may be found in U.S. Pub. 2012/0331058 to Huston; U.S. Pub. 2012/0322569 to Cottam; and U.S. Pub. 2012/0276851 to Layne, IV, et al., the contents of each of which are incorporated by reference in their entirety for all purposes.
  • In certain embodiments, functions of the invention are performed by an app. An app can be taken to refer to a program such as one that is downloadable from an app store and executable on a mobile device or with an operating system.
  • FIG. 10 illustrates use of device 105 to obtain data from a server 133 via network 131. Here, device 105 may include provisions for accessing an app store, for downloading an app, for performing methods of the invention (e.g., as depicted in FIG. 2, 3, or 8), or combinations thereof. As shown here, device 105 may generally include a tablet form factor. In some embodiments, device 105 is a tablet computer such as the tablet sold under the trademark IPAD by Apple Inc. (Cupertino, Calif.) or that sold under the trademark GALAXY TAB 2 by Samsung (Seoul, South Korea).
  • FIG. 10 also illustrates a system of connectivity by which a golfer may upload data to server 133. In some embodiments, the invention provides benefits that include collecting data from a golfer (e.g., out on the course), and offering a golfer additional functionality later, and even through the use of other devices. For example, some golfers may wish to use a mobile device 105 for a fitting “out in the field” (i.e., to receive a suggestion of some clubs quickly). But those golfers may wish to sit down at their desk later and review their information carefully or to shop for clubs that are suggested. Using device 105 as shown in FIG. 10, a golfer can have their data stored on server 133 for later access through, for example, a PC computer.
  • FIG. 11 depicts use of a PC computer device 105 to access stored data. By accessing data from server 133 via PC 105, a golfer may perform additional analyses or tasks. For example, a golfer may use a keyboard to provide additional detailed data. Device 105 can include a display 125 for showing the golfer detailed information such as product offerings or golf information.
  • FIG. 12 shows a display 125 through which a golfer may access offers or options relating to clubs that have been suggested.
  • In some embodiments, devices or methods of the invention obtain data about a golfer, that golfer's clubs, distances hit with those clubs, or other information. That information can be input by the golfer (e.g., from knowledge), or may be captured using an information capture mechanism, such as a golf club with data collection capabilities.
  • FIG. 13 depicts a golf club 161 fitted with a data collection capabilities. Club 161 generally includes shaft 167 attached to grip 163 and to head 165 via hosel 169. Club 161 can capture data via any mechanism including those detailed in U.S. Pat. No. 8,517,850 to Beno, the contents of which are incorporated by reference in their entirety for all purposes. In certain embodiments, club 161 captures data through the use of a radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag and a tag reader.
  • FIG. 14 shows a club 161 that includes an RFID tag 175. RFID tag 175 is read by tag reader 171 on device 105. Here, device 105 is shown to be a smartphone such as the smartphone sold under the trademark GALAXY SIII by Samsung Group (Samsung Town, Seoul, South Korea) or the smartphone sold under the trademark IPHONE by Apple Inc. (Cupertino, Calif.). Tag reader 171 may be the compact flash 6E RFID reader card sold under the trademark SOCKET by Dell Inc. (Austin, Tex.). Any tag may be used for RFID tag 175. One exemplary RFID tag is the general purpose RFID tag sold under the trademark SQUIGGLE by Alien Technology Corporation (Morgan Hill, Calif.). An RFID tag may be about 100 mm long×12 mm wide×0.3 mm thick and include a UHF RFID integrated circuit, such as the one sold under the trademark HIGGS by Alien Technology Corporation, and a squiggle antenna design housed in a pliable poly-vinyl chloride sleeve with a rubber-based adhesive backing. Such an RFID tag may be disposed on club 161, e.g., within a recess within grip 163. Data transfer is also discussed in U.S. Pat. No. 8,253,586 to Matak; U.S. Pat. No. 8,142,304 to Reeves; U.S. Pub. 2012/0277018 to Boyd; U.S. Pub. 2012/0277015 to Boyd; and U.S. Pub. 2012/0249330 to Savarese, the contents of each of which are incorporated by reference in their entirety. RFID is discussed in U.S. Pub. 2012/0256731 to Luciano, J R., et al., the contents of which are incorporated by reference in their entirety.
  • A golfer may use the depicted system for providing information. For example, a golfer may tell device 105 that “This club is my driver” (e.g., pressing a button on display 125 while device 105 is reading tag 175. Device 105 may hold information in a memory buffer that the golfer is presently using his driver. Device 105 may capture an initial position using its internal GPS mechanism. The golfer may drive the golf ball and then travel to where the ball has stopped. The golfer may then indicate to device 105 that device 105 is then at the location at which the golf ball has stopped. Device 105 may then capture a stop position using its internal GPS mechanism. Device 105 may then calculate the golfer's driver distance as the difference between the initial position and the stopped position. Additionally, by iterating these steps for different clubs, a golfer could provide information about their distance for each club.
  • As used herein, the word “or” means “and or or”, sometimes seen or referred to as “and/or”, unless indicated otherwise.
  • INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE
  • References and citations to other documents, such as patents, patent applications, patent publications, journals, books, papers, web contents, have been made throughout this disclosure. All such documents are hereby incorporated herein by reference in their entirety for all purposes.
  • Equivalents
  • Various modifications of the invention and many further embodiments thereof, in addition to those shown and described herein, will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the full contents of this document, including references to the scientific and patent literature cited herein. The subject matter herein contains important information, exemplification and guidance that can be adapted to the practice of this invention in its various embodiments and equivalents thereof.

Claims (21)

What is claimed is:
1. A device for fitting golf clubs, the device comprising:
a memory coupled to a processor operable to cause the device to:
receive a range of distances;
obtain a number N of clubs to be suggested;
determine a set of distances distributed across the range; and
suggest a club for each target distance.
2. The device of claim 1, wherein the device determines a set of N distances.
3. The device of claim 1, wherein the device determines a set of (N+1) distances, and the device is further operable to:
identify an adjustable club that is suited for two of the distances within the set; and
suggest the adjustable club for the two of the distances.
4. The device of claim 1, wherein the range of distances is received as a longest playable iron distance and a driver distance.
5. The device of claim 4, wherein the longest playable iron distance and the driver distance are received via an interaction between the device and RFID tags on the driver and the longest playable iron.
6. The device of claim 4, wherein the device is further operable to obtain the number N based on a user's input of a longest playable iron NL and a number of wedges NW.
7. The device of claim 6, further operable to
calculate N as 12−NW−(10−NL); and
calculate a gap by G=(DD−DI)/(N+1), and further wherein each distance in the set of distances is separated by the gap.
8. The device of claim 1, wherein the set comprises N distances, and the device is further operable to:
determine an alternative set of (N+1) distances distributed across the range; and
identify an adjustable club that is suited for two of the distances within the alternative set.
9. The device of claim 1, further operable to:
identify an adjustable club that is suited for two of the distances within the set; and
suggest the adjustable club for the two of the distances.
10. The device of claim 1, further operable to:
send an identity of each suggested club to a server computer device; and
display an offer of at least one of the suggested clubs for a user to purchase.
11. A method of fitting golf clubs, the method comprising:
receiving, in an electronic device comprising a memory coupled to a processor, a range of distances;
obtaining a number N of clubs to be suggested;
determining a set of distances distributed across the range; and
suggesting a club for each target distance.
12. The method of claim 11, wherein the set comprises N distances.
13. The method of claim 11, wherein the set comprises (N+1) distances, and the method further comprises:
identifying an adjustable club that is suited for two of the distances within the set; and
suggesting the adjustable club for the two of the distances.
14. The method of claim 11, wherein the range of distances is received as a longest playable iron distance and a driver distance.
15. The method of claim 14, wherein the number N is obtained by a user's input of a longest playable iron and a number of wedges.
16. The method of claim 15, further comprising calculating N by

N=12−N W−(10−N L)
and calculating a gap by

gap=(D D −D I)/(N+1)
and further wherein each distance in the set of distances is separated by the gap.
17. The method of claim 11, wherein the set comprises N distances, and the method further comprises:
determining an alternative set of (N+1) distances distributed across the range; and
identifying an adjustable club that is suited for two of the distances within the alternative set.
18. The method of claim 11, further comprising:
identifying an adjustable club that is suited for two of the distances within the set; and
suggesting the adjustable club for the two of the distances.
19. The method of claim 11, further comprising:
storing an identity of each suggested club on a server computer device; and
offering at least one of the suggested clubs for a user to purchase via the electronic device.
20. A process for fitting golf clubs, the process comprising:
downloading, using a device comprising a memory coupled to a processor, a set of computer program instructions that are executable by the processor to cause the device to
receive a range of distances,
obtain a number N of clubs to be suggested,
determine a set of distances distributed across the range, and
suggest a club for each target distance;
storing the set of instructions in the memory; and
executing the instructions to aid in fitting golf clubs. device.
21. A method for fitting golf clubs, the method comprising:
offering, via a display on a mobile device comprising a memory coupled to a processor, a set of computer program instructions for download to the mobile device, wherein the instructions are executable by the processor to cause the mobile device to
receive a range of distances,
obtain a number N of clubs to be suggested,
determine a set of distances distributed across the range, and
suggest a club for each target distance.
US14/160,019 2012-02-28 2014-01-21 System and method for fitting golf clubs and sets Abandoned US20140316542A1 (en)

Priority Applications (6)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US13/407,011 US9114292B2 (en) 2012-02-28 2012-02-28 Golf club head with stablizing sole
US13/565,146 US9114294B2 (en) 2012-02-28 2012-08-02 Distance gapping golf club set with dual-range club
US13/711,097 US8517850B1 (en) 2012-12-11 2012-12-11 Golf club grip with device housing
US201361755564P true 2013-01-23 2013-01-23
US13/946,543 US8870673B2 (en) 2012-12-11 2013-07-19 Golf club grip with device housing
US14/160,019 US20140316542A1 (en) 2012-02-28 2014-01-21 System and method for fitting golf clubs and sets

Applications Claiming Priority (2)

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US14/160,019 US20140316542A1 (en) 2012-02-28 2014-01-21 System and method for fitting golf clubs and sets
US14/841,743 US20160045795A1 (en) 2012-02-28 2015-09-01 Stabilizing insert for a golf club head

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US13/946,543 Continuation-In-Part US8870673B2 (en) 2012-12-11 2013-07-19 Golf club grip with device housing

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