Nike wants to make improving your golf game easier.
The world's largest maker of sporting goods obtained a patent Sept. 4 to put data-collecting sensors in golf club heads to improve personalization. In one scenario, the analysis of a swing is shown on a display screen embedded on the back of the club's head. That would make getting fit for golf clubs faster and more precise, the company said.
"Custom fitting is outdated and can be inaccurate," Nike said in documents posted on the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office's website. While most fitting is done indoors on a hard surface, the new club would allow golfers to measure a swing out on a course, Nike said.
Nike has been integrating digital technology into sports equipment as a way for users to measure and improve results. It also increases the time consumers spend with the brand, which can increase loyalty and sales. The company this year introduced a wristband that tracks daily activity and shoes equipped with sensors that can record such metrics as how high a basketball player jumps during a dunk.
Mary Remuzzi, a spokeswoman for Nike, declined to comment on the patent and when such products might come to market.
The Beaverton, Ore.-based company also received a patent last week for a data collection system that places sensors and transmitters in shoes to automatically track the distance and time of a run or walk. The data would then be shared with the user by sending it to a mobile device or computer.
Beyond measuring performance, there is also marketing potential. In one example, a person walks into a store, and the shoe sensor tells the salesman the kind of sneaker, the shopper's identity and how long he or she has worn the shoe. Advertising based on that data is then shown to the person wearing the shoes through an in-store terminal or is sent to a mobile device.
The system may also allow Nike to offer promotions based on how much the shoes are used.
Revenue from Nike's running category surged 32 percent to $3.7 billion in its fiscal year ended May 31, while golf rose 10 percent to $726 million. The company's total revenue was $24.1 billion.