Title:
Golf putt training device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A training device for putting a golf ball includes a pair of spaced guides. The guides are biased toward a retracted position, but can be anchored in an outstretched, extended position using anchors that are mounted between both the proximal ends and the distal ends of the guides. Stakes are connected to each of the anchors. The stakes are inserted into the surface upon which the device is placed and overcome the bias of the guides toward the retracted position, thereby maintaining the guides properly aligned in the extended position.



Inventors:
Youngblood, Jimmy Ross (Branson, MO, US)
Julian, Jeffrey Jackson Wedgwood (Branson, MO, US)
Application Number:
10/624183
Publication Date:
08/12/2004
Filing Date:
07/22/2003
Assignee:
YOUNGBLOOD JIMMY ROSS
JULIAN JEFFREY JACKSON WEDGWOOD
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/36; A63B71/02; (IPC1-7): A63B69/36
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LEGESSE, NINI F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
James R. Yee (HOWARD & HOWARD ATTORNEYS, P.C. The Pinehurst Office Center, Suite #101 39400 Woodward Avenue, Bloomfield Hills, MI, 48304-5151, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A training device for putting a golf ball comprising; at least one housing, a pair of spaced guides having a proximal end and a distal end moveable between a retracted position in said housing and an extended position and biased toward said retracted position in said housing, and a first anchor interconnecting said distal ends of the guides and and at least one stake connected to said first anchor for penetrating the surface to retain said guides outstretched in said extended position against the bias toward said retracted position.

2. A training device according to claim 1 and including a pair of housings, each of said housings receiving one of said guides therein when said guide is in said retracted position.

3. A training device according to claim 2 and including a second anchor interconnecting said housings and at least one stake connected to said second anchor for penetrating the surface and cooperating with said stake on said first anchor to retain said guides outstretched in said extended position against the bias toward said retracted position.

4. A training device according to claim 1 wherein said first anchor includes a first rod having a first end and a second end, said first rod rotatably supported between said guides by said first and second ends for rotational movement between an anchor position wherein said stake is transverse to said guides for anchoring said device in said extended position and a release position wherein said stake is parallel to said guides for releasing said guides from the extended position to permit said guides to return to said retracted position.

5. A training device according to claim 3 wherein said second anchor includes a second rod having a first end and a second end, said second rod rotatably supported between said housings by said first and second ends for rotational movement between an anchor position wherein said stake is transverse to said guides for anchoring said device in said extended position and a release position wherein said stake is parallel to said guides for releasing said guides from the extended position to permit said guides to return to said retracted position.

6. A training device according to claim 5 wherein each of said first and second ends of said first rod defines a hole, a mounting pin connected to each of said housings and disposed in said hole, thereby rotatably mounting said anchor between said housings.

7. A training device according to claim 5 including an end cap carried by each of said distal ends and defining a first hole, a second hole defined in each of said first and second ends of said second rod, and a mounting pin disposed in each of a pair of said first and second holes, thereby rotatably mounting said anchor between said distal ends.

8. A training device according to claim 1 wherein each of said guides includes a strip having opposing faces extending in a plane generally parallel to the surface for inhibiting lateral movement of said guide relative to the surface when said guide is in said extended position.

9. A training device according to claim 4 wherein said stake is integrally formed with said first rod.

10. A training device according to claim 5 wherein said stake is integrally formed with said second rod.

11. A training device according to claim 4 wherein said stake extends transversely away from said first rod at a perpendicular angle thereto.

12. A training device according to claim 5 wherein said stake extends transversely away from said second rod at a perpendicular angle thereto.

13. A training device according to claim 3 wherein said first and second anchors are identically shaped.

14. A training device according to claim 2 wherein each of said housings includes a lock assembly carried by said housing and movable between a locked position to releasably lock said guide in said extended position and an unlocked position to allow movement of said guide relative to said housing.

15. A training device for putting a golf ball on a surface comprising; a pair of spaced housings, a pair of retractable tapes having a distal end and a proximal end, said proximal end biased to a retracted position coiled in said housings and uncoiled to an extended position in spaced parallel relationship to one another wherein said tapes lie within the same plane, a first rod interconnecting said housings and rotatable relative thereto for movement between an anchor position and a release position, a first pair of spaced stakes extending radially from said first rod for movement between said anchor position to anchor said first rod to the surface and said release position for permitting said tapes to recoil into said housings, a pair of spaced end caps carried by said distal end of said pair of tapes, a second rod interconnecting said end caps and rotatable relative thereto for movement between an anchor position and a release position, and a second pair of spaced stakes extending radially from said second rod for movement between said anchor position to anchor said second rod to the surface and said release position for permitting said tapes to recoil into said housings.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims priority to U.S. provisional patent application No. 60/442,749, which was filed on Jan. 28, 2003.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The subject invention relates to a golf putt training device of the type used to improve a golfer's ability to properly align a golf club, a golf ball and a target during a putting stroke.

[0004] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0005] Various devices exist in the art that are devoted specifically to improving a golfer's put. Such devices typically include a pair of spaced-apart guides that extend parallel to one another. To use the device, a golfer aligns the guides with a hole or other intended target. The golfer then places a golf ball between the guides and uses the guides as a visual aid to align the ball with the intended target.

[0006] Although the guides used in prior training devices provide a way for golfers to visually align golf balls during a putt, the devices are cumbersome and difficult to store. One such device, the invention disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,011,154 (“Bowen”), attempts to address this issue by providing a putting practice device that incorporates elongate, flexible guides capable of being moved between extended and retracted positions. Like the guides used in conventional measuring tapes, the Bowen guides are spring-biased and automatically retract to assume a coiled position within respective housings. Because the guides recoil, the Bowen device is easy to store; however, the device is difficult to use because the guides are not designed to stay in an extended position. Unless some type of anchor is used, the force applied by the springs on the Bowen guides exceeds the combined weight of the guide and the static friction force, which in turn causes the guides to inadvertently retract.

[0007] Although Bowen attempts to solve this problem by inserting a golf tee or pin through the extended end of each guide, this solution is inadequate because it requires a golfer to always have tees or suitable pins on hand. Even when a golfer manages to locate tees, extend the guides and properly secure the guides to the ground, the tiny tees are often insufficient to overcome the biasing force of the spring—the guides end up recoiled inside the housings.

[0008] Prior training aids that utilize spaced-apart guides lack adequate anchors for keeping the guides in an extended position. Thus, there remains an opportunity for a golf putt training device to be provided that preserves the advantages of spring-biased guides, yet eliminates the inconvenient tendency of such guides to suddenly recoil during use.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION AND ADVANTAGES

[0009] The subject invention provides a training device for putting a golf ball. The training device includes a pair of spaced guides. Each guide has a proximal end and a distal end moveable between a retracted position and an extended position. The guides are continually biased toward the retracted position. A first anchor interconnects the distal ends of the guides and a second anchor interconnects the proximal ends. At least one stake is connected to each of the anchors for penetrating the surface to retain the guides outstretched in the extended position against the bias toward the retracted position.

[0010] Accordingly, the subject invention overcomes the limitations of the related art by providing a training device featuring recoiling guides that are continually biased toward a retracted position, but can nonetheless be maintained in an outstretched, extended position without recoiling to the retracted position. This is achieved by mounting anchors between both the proximal ends and distal ends of the guides. Each anchor has pivoting stakes that can be inserted into the surface upon which the device is placed, thereby overcoming the bias of the guides toward the retracted position and maintaining the guides in the extended position.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] Other advantages of the present invention will be readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:

[0012] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a training device in accordance with the subject invention with the guides placed in an extended position and the anchors rotated to the anchor position;

[0013] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a training device according to FIG. 1 with the guides placed in the retracted position and the anchors rotated to the release position; and

[0014] FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of a training device according to FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0015] Referring now to the Figures, wherein like numerals indicate like or corresponding parts throughout the several views, a training device for putting a golf ball on a surface is shown generally at 10 in FIG. 1. The training device 10 includes a pair of spaced guides 12. Each guide 12 has a proximal end 14 and a distal end 16. Although each guide 12 is moveable between a retracted position and an extended position, both guides 12 are continually biased toward the retracted position. Each of the guides 12 includes a strip or tape having opposing faces 17. The strip extends in a plane generally parallel to the surface and inhibits or prevents lateral or buckling movement of the guide 12 when the guide 12 is in the extended position. The device 10 also includes a housing 18 within which the guides 12 are received. Specifically, each guide 12 is received within one of a pair of housings 18A or 18B. Each housing 18A and 18B also includes a lock assembly 19. Each lock assembly 19 is movable between an unlocked position to allow non-interfering movement of the guide 12 relative to the housing 18A or 18B within which the guide 12 is positioned, and a locked position in which the corresponding guide 12 is releasably locked in the extended position. This permits use of the device 10 indoors or on any other non-penetrable surface.

[0016] While each housing 18A and 18B shown in the Figures defines an enclosure within which a respective one of the guides 12 is received, the housing 18 may be any structure suitable for receiving or otherwise supporting and coiling the retractable guide 12, and need not completely enclose the retracted guide 12. Alternatively, each housing 18A and 18B and corresponding retractable guide 12 utilized in the device 10 may be a conventional, retractable measuring tape.

[0017] The guides 12 are interconnected by first and second anchors, 20 and 22, respectively. The first anchor 20 is rotatably mounted between the distal ends 16 of the guides 12 using end caps 23. Each end cap 23 is carried by one of the distal ends 16 and defines a first hole 24. The first anchor 20 has a first rod 26 with respective first and second ends 27 and 28. A second hole 30 is defined in each of the first and second ends 27 and 28. A mounting pin 32 is disposed in each of a pair of the first and second holes 24 and 30, which in turn mounts the first anchor 20 for rotational movement relative to the guides 12.

[0018] The second anchor 22 has a second rod 38 with a first end 40 and a second end 42, respectively. A hole 43 is defined in each of the ends 40 and 42. A mounting pin 44 is connected to each housing 18A and 18B, and is disposed in one of the holes 43, thereby rotatably mounting the second anchor 22 between the housings 18A and 18B.

[0019] The training device 10 also includes at least one stake 46 connected to each of the anchors 20 and 22. Specifically, two spaced stakes 46 are connected to each of the first and second rods 24 and 38. The stakes 46 are used for penetrating the surface upon which the device 10 is positioned to retain the guides 12 outstretched in the extended position against the bias toward the retracted position.

[0020] Each stake 46 is integrally formed with the first rod 24 or second rod 38 upon which the stake 46 is positioned, and extends transversally away from the same at a perpendicular angle thereto. The manner in which the pairs of stakes 46 are connected to the respective first and second rods 24 and 38 gives the first rod 24 and the stakes 46 integrally formed therewith a shape identical to that of the integrally formed second rod 38 and stakes 46. Thus, the first anchor 20 and second anchor 22 are identically shaped.

[0021] The manner in which the first and second rods 24 and 38 interconnect the guides 12 permits each rod 24 and 38 to rotate relative to the guides 12 between an anchor position and a release position. When the first rod 24 and second rod 38 are in the anchor position, the stakes 46 integrally formed therewith are positioned transversely to the guides 12, which in turn permits the stakes 46 to be used to anchor the rods 24 and 38 to the surface. In contrast, rotating the rods 24 and 38 to the release position orients the stakes 46 so that the longitudinal axis of each stake 46 extends parallel to the guides 12. This releases the guides 12 and permits the guides 12 to return to the retracted position recoiled within the housings 18.

[0022] Obviously, many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. The invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described within the scope of the appended claims, The foregoing description of the preferred embodiment of the invention and the best mode for practicing the invention are provided for the purpose of illustration only and not for the purpose of limitation—the invention being defined by the claims.