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Project Description

Summary of the Project:

The Problem
The Concept

The Problem

For a golf course to be profitable, the clubhouse must schedule as many tee times as possible, without slowing down the pace of play. On average, a golf course would like a foursome to tee off every seven minutes. Using this guideline, an average round of golf would take approximately four hours to complete.

One of the biggest contributors to slowing play down is when an intermediate or professional golfer wants to determine the exact yardage between their ball and the pin. This entails first locating the nearest yardage marker and then pacing off the distance back to their ball. This process may take a few minutes and could occur 50 times a round. By eliminating this step, golf courses will dramatically speed up the pace of play and be able to book more foursomes.

Currently, to keep their tee times on schedule, courses try to speed up the pace of play by using course marshals. These are employees whose primary responsibility is to drive around the golf course asking slow foursomes to speed up. This is a poor use of course resources, requiring both a full time employee and the use and maintenance of a golf cart. Furthermore, continually asking slow golfers to speed up reflects badly on the course.

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The Concept

A solution to this problem is the design of a hand held Global Positioning System (GPS) golf system. The Distance to the Pin GPS system includes a handheld device ( the size of a pager ), and PC upload/download software utility.

The handheld device will have two main modes of operation: the player mode and a setup mode. The player mode allows the user to read his precise distance from the pin for any previously download course. The setup mode consists of two additional modes: the acquire pins mode, and the download course information mode. The acquire pins mode is used by the course superintendent to acquire the daily GPS pin locations. The download course information mode allows the golfer to download new golf courses to the handheld device. Both of these two modes are used in conjunction with the PC based upload/download software utility.

The upload/download software utility provides the golf course and the player with a method to serially upload/download new course information. Each clubhouse will only need a basic computer that is capable of running Windows 95 or higher.

Using the handheld, a golfer can acquire their distance from the pin by:

1. Selecting the appropriate golf hole on the LCD display
2. Reading the yardage on the LCD display

While standing over the golf ball, the device will compare the present GPS location of the golf ball with the stored GPS pin location and calculate the distance between the two. The hole number, par, hole yardage, and current distance to the pin will be displayed on the LCD.

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