Topgolf Callaway Brands has been granted a patent for a system that uses 3D flight tracking to track the trajectory of golf balls. The system includes defined physical locations from which the balls are hit, golf ball sensors to detect the balls in flight, and computers to perform calculations and determine the trajectory. The system can identify the origin of the ball based on distance measures and error criteria. GlobalData’s report on Topgolf Callaway Brands gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Topgolf Callaway Brands, Adjustable weight putters was a key innovation area identified from patents. Topgolf Callaway Brands's grant share as of September 2023 was 79%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

3d flight tracking system for golf balls

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Topgolf Callaway Brands Corp

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11771957B1) describes a system for tracking golf balls in a three-dimensional physical space. The system includes two or more defined physical locations from which golf balls are hit, along with golf ball sensors arranged to detect the balls in flight. These sensors are connected to computers that perform various operations.

The system determines the three-dimensional trajectory of a golf ball based on initial observations by the sensors and extrapolates this trajectory backward in time. It then calculates distance measures between the extrapolated trajectory and the defined physical locations. If none of the distance measures satisfy a threshold distance, the system waits for additional observations. If only one distance measure satisfies the threshold, an error measure is formed for that location. This error measure takes into account estimated systemic and stochastic errors associated with the initial observations. If the error measure satisfies a predefined criteria, the system identifies that location as the origin for the golf ball. If neither the first nor the second error measure satisfies the criteria, the system waits for additional observations.

The system also includes a display device associated with the defined physical location identified as the origin for the golf ball. Golf ball tracking data is presented on this display device, selectively presenting metrics based on the estimated systemic and stochastic errors. These metrics can include measures of error for ball speed, ball spin vector, and launch angle. The system presents these metrics when the corresponding measure of error is below a threshold.

To calculate the distance measures, the system checks for intersections between the extrapolated trajectory and geometric shapes representing the defined physical locations. The hitting positions for the golfers are determined, and the locations of the geometric shapes are specified using input from electronic location systems that communicate with the golfers' mobile devices.

In summary, this patented system allows for accurate tracking of golf balls in a three-dimensional physical space. It uses sensors, computers, and calculations to determine the trajectory and origin of the golf balls, and presents relevant metrics on a display device. The system can be used to enhance the golfing experience and provide valuable data for analysis and improvement.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.