Hopefully you picked up on the sarcasm in the title.
Last month the USGA was issued patent USPN 9,180,350 titled “pace of play monitoring system.” Now, the USGA does not patent many inventions, so this got my attention for approximately 30 seconds before I said “you gotta be kidding me.” The patent describes the invention as:
The monitoring system employs a sensor to detect the replacement or removal and replacement of the flagstick in a golf hole liner. The sensor may be incorporated into the flagstick, the hole liner or any combination of the two. A central receiver remote from the sensors receives the two signals from respective sensor and has a timing device for recording the time of arrival of each signal from each sensor.
My immediate reaction was “this is exactly why I am no longer a paying member, they shouldn’t be wasting money on this;” although actually it is the crazy salaries that the executives are paid that pushed me over the edge (see here and here). Although please disregard this post if you are considering hiring a Director of Intellectual Property!
After cooling down I actually started to think, despite the ridiculousness of the invention, this may have been a wise investment from a defensive perspective. After all, if they didn’t try to patent it someone most likely eventually would have, and of course they would have wanted to collect from the USGA. So, in the end it probably amounted to a cheap insurance policy that wasn’t squandering of funds. Apologies for my initial outrage.
So what does the patent actually cover you ask. Put your coffee down and make sure you are seated.
OK, OK, good work USGA (and don’t forget about that Director of IP position)!
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