Title:
Golf putter heads
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf putter head generally includes a first striking surface, a second surface extending above the first striking surface, a third surface extending rearwardly behind the first striking surface, and indicators for indicating to a user when the user's head is at a predetermined position relative to the golf putter head.



Inventors:
Green, Timothy M. (Fenton, MO, US)
Application Number:
11/059731
Publication Date:
08/18/2005
Filing Date:
02/17/2005
Assignee:
GREEN TIMOTHY M.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B53/04; (IPC1-7): A63B53/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PASSANITI, SEBASTIANO
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Harness Dickey (St. Louis) (7700 Bonhomme, Suite 400, ST. LOUIS, MO, 63105, US)
Claims:
1. A golf putter head comprising a first striking surface, a second surface extending above the first striking surface, a third surface extending rearwardly behind the first striking surface, at least one sidewall extending upwardly from the third surface and defining a cavity behind the first striking surface, the sidewall including an indicator within the cavity that is not visible to a user when the user's head is at a predetermined position relative to the golf putter head, thereby indicating to the user when the user's head is at the predetermined position relative to the golf putter head.

2. The golf putter head of claim 1 wherein the second indicator comprises a portion of the sidewalls having a color different than adjacent portions of the sidewalls.

3. The golf putter head of claim 1 wherein the second indicator is not visible to the user when looking substantially straight down at the golf putter head.

4. The golf putter head of claim 1 wherein the third surface includes a second indicator for aligning the first striking surface with a golf ball.

5. The golf putter head of claim 1 wherein at least a portion of the second surface extending above the first striking surface is reflective for reflecting an image of at least a portion of a golf ball to the user when the first striking surface is positioned adjacent the golf ball.

6. The golf putter head of claim 1 wherein the cavity is generally U-shaped.

7. The golf putter head of claim 1 wherein the golf putter head includes a higher center of gravity than a golf ball.

8. A golf putter head comprising a first striking surface, a second surface extending above the first striking surface, a third surface extending rearwardly behind the first striking surface and including a first indicator having a first primary color, and a second light-transmissible indicator disposed above the first indicator, the second indicator having a second primary color that when combined with the first primary color forms a secondary color, the first and second indicators cooperating with one another such that a user sees the first and second indicators as having the secondary color when the user's head is at a predetermined position relative to the golf putter head, thereby indicating to the user when the user's head is at the predetermined position relative to the golf putter head.

9. The golf putter head of claim 8 wherein the first and second indicators appear as a single indicator having the secondary color to the user when the user is looking substantially straight down at the golf putter head.

10. The golf putter head of claim 8, wherein the second indicator is translucent.

11. The golf putter head of claim 8 further comprising a plurality of interchangeable indicators each having a different color to thereby enable the user to customize the golf putter head with a particular color scheme.

12. The golf putter head of claim 8 wherein at least a portion of the second surface extending above the first striking surface is reflective for reflecting an image of at least a portion of a golf ball to the user when the first striking surface is positioned adjacent the golf ball.

13. The golf putter head of claim 8 wherein the golf putter head includes a higher center of gravity than a golf ball.

14. A golf putter head comprising a first striking surface, a second surface extending above the first striking surface, a third surface extending rearwardly behind the first striking surface and including an image, and a lens disposed above the image such that the image viewed through the lens is only in focus when the user's head is at a predetermined position relative to the golf putter head, thereby indicating to the user when the user's head is at the predetermined position relative to the golf putter head.

15. The golf putter head of claim 14 wherein the image viewed through the lens is only in focus when the user is looking substantially straight down at the putter head.

16. The golf putter head of claim 14 wherein at least a portion of the second surface extending above the first striking surface is reflective for reflecting an image of at least a portion of a golf ball to the user when the first striking surface is positioned adjacent the golf ball.

17. The golf putter head of claim 14 wherein the golf putter head includes a higher center of gravity than a golf ball.

18. A golf putter head comprising a first striking surface, a second surface extending above the first striking surface, a third surface extending rearwardly behind the first striking surface, and first and second indicators including corresponding image portions which cooperate to form an image when a user's head is at a predetermined position relative to the golf putter head, thereby indicating to the user when the user's head is at the predetermined position relative to the golf putter head.

19. The golf putter head of claim 18 wherein the first and second indicators cooperate to form the image only when the user is looking substantially straight down at the golf putter head.

20. The golf putter head of claim 18 further comprising a colored portion disposed under the third surface and behind the first striking surface, the colored portion having a color different than the first and second indicators that is not visible when the first and second indicators are cooperating to form the image.

21. The golf putter head of claim 18 wherein the second indicator is disposed at a top portion of the third surface.

22. The golf putter head of claim 21 wherein the second indicator is configured to reflect an image of at least a portion of a golf ball to the user when the first striking surface is positioned adjacent the golf ball.

23. The golf putter head of claim 18 wherein at least a portion of the second surface extending above the first striking surface is reflective for reflecting an image of at least a portion of a golf ball to the user when the first striking surface is positioned adjacent the golf ball.

24. The golf putter head of claim 18 wherein the golf putter head includes a higher center of gravity than a golf ball.

25. A golf putter head comprising a striking surface, a reflective translucent surface extending above the striking surface for reflecting an image of at least a portion of a golf ball to a user when the striking surface is positioned adjacent the golf ball, and an alignment surface extending rearwardly behind the striking surface, the alignment surface including at least one indicator positioned relative to the reflective translucent surface such that the indicator is visible through the reflective translucent surface and coincides with the reflected image of at least a portion of the golf ball on the reflective translucent surface when the striking surface is aligned with the golf ball and the user's head is at a predetermined position relative to the golf putter head.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/544,961, filed Feb. 17, 2004, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to golf equipment, and more particularly, to golf putter heads having three-dimensional alignment features.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Golf enthusiasts and equipment manufacturers have continually sought to improve golf clubs, including putters, for many years. These efforts have included the addition of structures to improve the play of the clubs and structures designed as teaching aids to assist in instruction and use of particular clubs. For example, elements have been developed to assist in teaching effective putting technique.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one aspect of the present invention, a golf putter head generally includes a golf putter head generally includes a first striking surface, a second surface extending above the first striking surface, a third surface extending rearwardly behind the first striking surface, and indicators for indicating to a user when the user's head is at a predetermined position relative to the golf putter head.

Further aspects and features of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description provided hereinafter. It should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating exemplary embodiments of the invention, are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be more fully understood from the detailed description and the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIGS. 1A and 1B are front perspective views of a golf putter head according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 2A and 2B are rear perspective views of the golf putter head shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a front view of the golf putter head shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a rear view of the golf putter head shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a left view of the golf putter head shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a right view of the golf putter head shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is a top view of the golf putter head shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 8 is a bottom view of the golf putter head shown in FIG. 1;

FIGS. 9A and 9B are front perspective views of a golf putter head according to another embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 10A and 10B are rear perspective views of the golf putter head shown in FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a rear view of the golf putter head shown in FIGS. 9 and 10;

FIG. 12 is a top view of the golf putter head shown in FIGS. 9 and 10;

FIG. 13 is a front perspective view of a golf putter head according to another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 14 is a rear perspective view of the golf putter head shown in FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is a top view of the golf putter head shown in FIGS. 13 and 14;

FIG. 16 is a front perspective view of a golf putter head according to another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 17 is a rear perspective view of the golf putter head shown in FIG. 16;

FIG. 18 is a top view of the golf putter head shown in FIGS. 16 and 17;

FIG. 19 is a front perspective view of a golf putter head according to another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 20 is a rear perspective view of the golf putter head shown in FIG. 19;

FIG. 21 is a top view of the golf putter head shown in FIGS. 19 and 20;

FIG. 22 is a cross-sectional side view of the golf putter head shown in FIGS. 19 through 21;

FIG. 23 is a top view of a golf putter head according to another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 24 is a side view of the golf putter head shown in FIG. 23;

FIG. 25 is a top view of a golf putter head according to another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 26 is a front view of the golf putter head shown in FIG. 25; and

FIG. 27 is a cross-sectional side view of the golf putter head shown in FIGS. 25 and 26.

Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding features throughout the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

The following description of exemplary embodiments is merely exemplary in nature and is in no way intended to limit the invention, its applications, or uses.

According to various aspects, the invention provides various golf putter heads having three-dimensional alignment features and other features for assisting golfers in putting a golf ball. As described herein, the alignment features can be provided in various ways.

Various embodiments can also include features that help a golfer putt more consistently and help the golfer in keeping the putting on line, and also putt the golf ball with less skidding or skipping of the golf ball with more immediate rolling to the golf ball. For example, one particular putter head embodiment generally includes a striking surface, a surface extending above the striking surface, and a surface extending rearward of the striking surface. In this particular embodiment, the golf putter head has a center-of-gravity higher than a golf ball's center-of-gravity and rearward of the striking surface. Accordingly, upon contact between the striking surface and a golf ball during putting, impact forces are transmitted above the center-of-gravity of the golf ball with a large “moment-arm” effect, causing the golf ball to begin rolling immediately with no (or at least very little) skipping or skidding. Advantageously, this results in the golf ball proceeding on its intended path with more surety.

Referring to FIGS. 1 through 8, there is shown a golf putter head, generally indicated by reference number 110, according to one embodiment of the present invention. The golf putter head 110 includes a striking surface 112 and a surface 114 which extends above the striking surface 112. In various embodiments, the surface 114 is reflective so as to reflect an image of a golf ball 116 to a user when the striking surface 112 is positioned adjacent the golf ball 116. Alternatively, however, other embodiments include a non-reflective surface above the striking surface of the putter head.

The golf putter head 110 further includes an alignment surface 118 extending rearwardly behind the striking surface 112. The alignment surface 118 includes an indicator 120. As described herein, the surfaces 114 and 118 can be used by a golfer to statically and dynamically align the putter head 110 with the golf ball 116. As used herein, the term “golf ball” generally refers to and includes golf balls approved by the United States Golf Association (USGA) and golf balls approved by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.

As shown in FIG. 7, the alignment surface 118 includes only one circular indicator 120. The circular indicator 120 is sized such that its diameter is about equal, and preferably is equal, to the golf ball's diameter. In addition, the color of the indicator 120 can be white or other suitable color (e.g., yellow, pink, orange, etc.) so as to even further resemble a golf ball. Alternatively, a wide range of other non-circular geometric shapes can be used for the indicator, including semicircular shapes, triangular shapes, rectangular shapes, etc. In addition, the size of the indicator 120 can also vary.

In addition, the alignment surface may define any number of (i.e., one or more) indicators which can vary in size and have diameters larger, smaller, and/or about equal to a golf ball diameter. In various embodiments, the alignment surface and indicator(s) can have a monolithic construction and be integrally formed as a single component. Alternatively, the alignment surface and indicator(s) may comprise separate components in which case the indicator(s) can be attached to the alignment surface, for example, by welding, adhesives, and/or other suitable fastening methods.

With continued reference to FIG. 7, a guide line 124 is defined by the indicator 120. The guide line 124 is aligned with the center of the striking surface 112. The guide line 124 is generally perpendicular to the striking surface 112.

In various embodiments, the guide line 124 comprises a groove inscribed in the indicator 120. The groove is preferably highlighted or colored (e.g., with paint, etc.) so as to increase the contrast between the guide line 124 and the surface of the indicator 120, thus making the guide line 124 more readily visible. Alternatively, the indicator and guide line can be separate components. For example, the guide line can be engaged to the indicator, for example, by welding, adhesive, and/or other suitable fastening methods. Still further embodiments include a golf putter head having an indicator that does include such a guide line.

The putter head 110 includes sidewalls 166 defining an opening or cavity 168 behind the striking surface 112. The cavity 168 extends through a portion 170 of the surface 114 providing the surface 114 with a generally U-shaped upper edge that is generally symmetrical about a centerline of the putter head 110. The cavity 168 extends downwardly to the alignment surface 118, with the circular indicator 120 forming a bottom surface of the cavity 168. In the illustrated embodiment, the cavity 168 is generally U-shaped when viewed from above. Alternatively, the cavity 168 can be provided in various other shapes, such as cylinders, triangles, teardrops, among other suitable shapes. In various embodiments, the cavity 168 can be configured for carrying a golf ball therein, for example, while practicing.

In the illustrated embodiment, a portion 172 of the sidewalls 166 defining the cavity 168 is highlighted (e.g., colored differently, etc.) so as to make that sidewall portion 172 more readily visible. In the illustrated embodiment, the portion 172 is colored with a bright readily visible color, such as red. The sidewalls 166 (or at least the colored portion) are also inwardly tapered when viewed from above so that the colored sidewall portion 172 is not visible when the golfer is looking straight down into the cavity 168. Accordingly, the colored sidewall portion 172 provides a strong negative visual indicator to the golfer when the golfer's head is not properly positioned relative to the putter head 110.

The golfer can thus learn to get into proper putting position using the indicator 120 for initial alignment of the putter head 110 towards the hole. The golfer can then look into the cavity 168 and adjustably position the putter head, e.g., front-to-rear and/or heel-to-toe, as needed until the golfer no longer sees the colored sidewall portion 172. In this manner, the golfer aligns the putter head towards the hole, and is guided by the three-dimensional alignment means to look directly down over the putter head, which is generally regarded as the proper head position for putting. Alternative embodiments, however, such as the golf putter head 210 shown in FIGS. 9 through 12 does not include colored sidewalls 266.

With further reference to FIGS. 1 through 8, in those embodiment in which the surface 114 is reflective, the reflective surface 114 reflects an image of a golf ball 116 to a user when the striking surface 112 is positioned adjacent the golf ball 116. The reflective surface 114 can be muted so to render the putter head 110 in compliance with USGA rules. By way of example only, an exemplary embodiment includes a reflective surface 114 which has been roughened so as to mute the reflective properties of the surface 114. In another embodiment, a coating can be applied to the reflective surface with the coating decreasing the reflective nature of the surface 114.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 7, the reflective surface 114 includes a center guide line 128 positioned between two diverging guide lines 130. The center guide line 128 is positioned relative to the indicator guide line 124 such that the two lines 124 and 128 appear as a single line to a golfer looking downward at the putter head 110 when the golfer's head is directly over the putter head 110, which is generally regarded as the proper head position for putting. In some embodiments, however, the reflective surface does not include a center guide line and/or diverging guide lines. For example, one exemplary golf putter head includes a reflective surface having a center guide line but not diverging guide lines.

Further, the entire surface extending above the striking surface 112 can be reflective. In other embodiments, however, the surface above the striking surface may only be reflective between diverging guide lines, with the portion outside the guide lines being non-reflective.

Referring now to FIGS. 3 and 4, the golf putter head 110 further includes a heel portion 132, a toe portion 134, and a rear surface 136 positioned opposite (i.e., on a backside of) the striking surface 112 and the reflective surface 114.

In various embodiments, the sidewalls 166 also function to distribute weight wider than the golf ball 116 (FIG. 7). This, in turn, increases the effective contact area of the striking surface 112 with the golf ball 116. In other words, the relatively extreme heel and toe weighting due to the sidewalls 166 extends or increases the “sweet spot” of the striking surface 112. Accordingly, the sidewalls 166 thus allow the putter head 110 to be more forgiving and more effective at delivering a truer hit to the golf ball 116 when the point of contact between the golf ball 116 and the striking surface 112 does not coincide with the location of the center of mass of the putter head 110.

Further, the sidewalls 166 also distribute weight above the striking surface 112, shown in phantom in FIG. 4. In the illustrated embodiment of FIGS. 1 through 8, the sidewalls 166 extend along both sides 144 and 146 of the golf ball 116 when the striking surface 112 is positioned adjacent the golf ball 116 on the putting surface 148. As shown in FIGS. 3, 4 and 7, the sidewalls 166 also extends substantially from the heel portion 132 to the toe portion 134.

Accordingly, the sidewalls 166 distribute a substantial portion of the weight of the putter head 110 higher and wider than the golf ball 116 so as to better distribute the impact force between the striking surface 112 and the golf ball 116. This, in turn, increases a golfer's opportunity at achieving a straighter and truer putt of the golf ball 116 with the putter head 110.

Further, the various putter head features (e.g., the striking surface 112, reflective surface 114, alignment surface 118, sidewalls 166, etc.) are designed (e.g., sized, positioned, material selections, etc.) to position the center of gravity 154 (FIGS. 5 and 6) and for the putter head 110 as desired horizontally and vertically. As shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, the center of gravity 154 of the putter head 110 is located above the golf ball's center of gravity 158. Indeed, various embodiments include a center of gravity 154 of the putter head 110 which is located above the top edge 160 of the golf ball 116 as well when the golf ball 116 and putter head 110 are both positioned on the putting surface 148.

Positioning the putter head center of gravity 154 above the golf ball's center of gravity 158 enables the putter head 110 to more readily impart topspin and rolling to the golf ball 116 instead of causing the ball to skip and/or skid as is the case for putter heads which have a center of gravity lower than a center of gravity of a golf ball.

With further reference to FIGS. 5 and 6, the golf ball's center of gravity 158 is about 0.84 inches (2.13 centimeters) above the putting surface 148, whereas the golf ball's top edge 160 is about 1.68 inches (4.27 centimeters) above the putting surface 148. The center of gravity 154 of the putter head 110 is preferably located a distance equal to or greater than about 1.00 inch (2.54 centimeters) above a bottom surface of the putter head 110. Stated differently, the center of gravity 154 of the putter head 110 is preferably located a distance equal to or greater than about 1.00 inch (2.54 centimeters) above a level putting surface 148 when the putter head 110 is resting on a level putting surface 148. Accordingly, the center of gravity 154 of the putter head 110 is above the golf ball's center of gravity 158 when the putter head 110 and golf ball 116 are both resting on a level putting surface 148.

In addition, the alignment surface 118 is preferably designed along with other putter head features (e.g., sidewalls 166, etc.) so as to move the putter head's center of gravity 154 further rearward from the striking surface 112. In the exemplary embodiment shown in FIGS. 5 and 6, the rearward location of the center of gravity 154 is rearward of a shaft hole 162 and shaft 164 (shown in phantom). Still referring to the exemplary embodiment of FIGS. 5 and 6, the center of gravity 154 of the putter head 110 is preferably located behind the striking surface 112 a distance equal to or greater than about 1.00 inch (2.54 centimeters).

By having a more rearward center of gravity 154 which is above the golf ball's center of gravity 158, the putter head 110 is able to impart a greater moment arm and thus greater roll distance, and more immediate rolling, to the golf ball 116 with less stroke power, e.g., with a softer and slower stroke. Because a slower and softer putting stroke is usually more easily controlled, the putter head 110 can improve a golfer's chances of maintaining a straight line during a putting stroke.

In various embodiments, the golf putter head can have a monolithic construction in which the golf putter head is integrally formed as a single component. Alternatively, the golf putter head may comprise two or more separate components that are secured to one another, for example, by welding, adhesives, and/or other suitable fastening methods.

By way of example only, the golf putter head 110 in FIGS. 1 through 8 includes monolithic reflective and alignment surfaces 114 and 118 which are integrally formed as a single component. The striking surface 112, however, is defined by a front surface of an insert formed of a material different than the putter head body. In other embodiments, the striking surface (e.g., 312 in FIGS. 13 through 15) is integrally formed along with the putter head body as a single component.

The putter head 110 can be used as follows to statically align the putter head 110 with the golf ball 116. At address, a golfer positions the striking surface 112 adjacent the golf ball 116 so as to align the golf ball 116 with an axis passing through a center of a reflected golf ball image on the reflective surface 114 and to align the indicator guide line 124 with the golf ball diameter perpendicular to the striking surface 112.

Further, the indicator's guide line 124 and reflective surface's center guide line 128 can be used to indicate when the golfer's head is positioned directly over the putter head 110, which is generally regarded as the proper head position for putting. More specifically, the guide lines 124 and 128 will appear as a single line and the colored sidewall portions 172 will not be visible to the downwardly looking golfer when the golfer's head is directly over the putter head 110. Alternatively, however, other embodiments can include the guide lines 124 and 128 and the colored sidewall portions 172 being configured such that when the golfer's head is at a different predetermined position relative to the putter head (e.g., other than directly over the putter head), the guide lines 124 and 128 will appear as a single line and the colored sidewall portions 172 will not be visible to the golfer.

Dynamic alignment of the putter head 110 with the golf ball 116 during a putting stroke can be maintained as follows. During the backswing, the reflected golf ball image visually travels up the reflective surface 114. Conversely, the reflected golf ball image visually travels down the reflective surface 114 during the forward swing.

Ideally, the golfer keeps the moving image of the golf ball centered on the reflective surface 114, and thus centered relative to the putter head 110, during both the backswing and forward swing. To assist the golfer with this feat, the reflective surface 114 includes the guide lines 128 and 130. By keeping the moving reflected image of the golf ball 116 centered along the center guide line 128 and/or between the guide lines 130, the golfer is able to keep the putter head 110 dynamically aligned with the golf ball 116.

In addition, the indicator guide line 124 can further assist the golfer in maintaining the dynamic alignment of the putter head 110 and the golf ball 116 during the putting stroke. The golfer can maintain the alignment by keeping the indicator guide line 124 aligned with the axis passing through the center of the moving reflected image of the golf ball 116.

FIGS. 13 through 15 illustrate another embodiment of a golf putter head 310. As shown, the golf putter head 310 includes a striking surface 312 and a surface 314 extending above the striking surface 312. In various embodiments, the surface 314 is reflective so as to reflect an image of a golf ball to a user when the striking surface 312 is positioned adjacent the golf ball. Alternative embodiments, however, include a non-reflective surface above the striking surface.

The golf putter head 310 further includes an alignment surface 318 positioned behind the striking surface 312. The alignment surface 318 includes a lower indicator 320 having a predetermined color.

The golf putter head 310 also includes sidewalls 366 defining an opening or cavity 368 behind the striking surface 312. The cavity 368 extends through a portion 370 of the surface 314 providing the surface 314 with a generally U-shaped upper edge that is generally symmetrical about the centerline of the putter head 310. The cavity 368 extends downwardly to the alignment surface 318, with the lower indicator 320 forming a bottom surface of the cavity 368. In the illustrated embodiment, the cavity 368 is generally U-shaped when viewed from above. Alternatively, the cavity 368 can be provided in various other shapes, such as cylinders, triangles, teardrops, among other suitable shapes. In various embodiments, the cavity 368 can be configured for carrying a golf ball therein, for example, while practicing.

The golf putter head 310 also includes an upper indicator 320′ positioned at about the top of the surface 314 and cavity 368. In various embodiment, the upper indicator 320′ is light-transmissible or at least partially see-through (e.g., translucent, transparent, etc.). The upper indicator 320′ is color-coordinated with the lower indicator 320. In one particular embodiment, the upper and lower indicators 320′ and 320 are respectively colored yellow and blue, and the upper indicator 320′ is positioned above the lower indicator 320 so that the golfer sees a single green-colored indicator when the indicators 320 and 320′ are aligned and the golfer is looking directly down over the putter head. The single green-colored indicator thus provides the golfer with a strong positive indicator that the putter head and the golfer's head are properly positioned relative to one another. Accordingly, the “mated” indicators 320 and 320′ force the golfer to look directly down over the putter head, which is generally considered the proper putting position. To align the indicators 320 and 320′ located on different vertical levels, the golfer may have to adjustably reposition the putter head front-to-rear and/or heel-to-toe.

In the illustrated embodiment, the indicators 320 and 320′ are sized and shaped to resemble a two-dimensional golf ball. Alternatively, the indicators can be provided in a wide range of other shapes (e.g., circular, triangular, ovular, rectangular, three-dimensional objects, etc.) and/or other sizes (e.g., larger or smaller than a golf ball).

FIGS. 16 through 18 illustrate another embodiment of a golf putter head 410 in which the lower indicator 420 is configured to resemble a three-dimensional object. As shown, the lower indicator 420 resembles a three-dimensional golf ball. An upper indicator 420′ is positioned above the lower indicator 420. The upper indicator 420′ comprises a translucent material that is color-coordinated with the lower indicator 420. For example, the upper indicator 420′ can be yellow, and the lower indicator 420 can be blue, such that the golfer sees a single green-colored indicator when the putter head 410 and the golfer's head are properly positioned relative to one another. In addition, the golfer can also align the golf-ball shaped indicator 420 with the golf ball 416 (FIG. 18) to thereby align the striking surface 412 with the golf ball 416. Alternatively, the indicator 420 can be configured to resemble other three-dimensional objects. For example, another embodiment includes a lower indicator configured to resemble an upper hemispherical portion of a golf ball.

The upper and lower indicators can also be provided in various colors and color combinations, depending, for example, on user preferences. For example, another embodiment includes a red-colored lower indicator, and a blue-colored upper indicator. In which case, the golfer sees a single purple-colored indicator when the golfer is looking directly down over the putter head. Or, for example, either or both the upper and/or lower indicators can be colorless but still be relatively positioned so as to line-up when the golfer is looking directly down over the putter head.

In yet other embodiments, the upper indicator can also be configured to reflect an image of the golf ball to a user when the striking surface is positioned adjacent the golf ball. For example, the upper indicator may include a upwardly bent rear portion for reflecting the image of the golf ball. Or, for example, the upper indicator may be tilted or slanted relative to the striking surface such that its front portion is lower than its rear portion. In these embodiments, the reflected image of the golf ball (or portion thereof) on the upper indicator can indicate a proper putting position as well as the putter head alignment towards the hole.

FIGS. 25 through 27 illustrate another embodiment of a golf putter head 710 having an upper indicator 720′ and a lower indicator 720. As shown, the upper indicator 720′ comprises a reflective translucent material disposed at about a top portion of the surface 714. The upper indicator 720′ reflects an image of a golf ball (or portion thereof) to the user when the striking surface 712 is positioned adjacent the golf ball. The upper indicator 720′ is configured for positioning within an opening defined within the surface 714. In such embodiments, the upper indicator 720′ can be engaged to the surface 714 by adhesives or other suitable fastening means. In yet other embodiments, the upper indicator 720′ may be configured to form an interference or friction fit with the surface 714 when the indicator 720′ is positioned within the opening. In these embodiments, the upper indicator 720′ may be readily removed from the opening, for example, to eliminate the reflective properties associated with the indicator 720′, and/or to replace the indicator 720′ with a different indicator, such as one having a different color. The surface 714 (or portions thereof) can also be reflective, or the surface 714 can be non-reflective. Alternatively, the upper indicator 720′ can be integrally formed with the surface 714 extending above the striking surface 712. For example, the surface 714 can be formed entirely (or at least partially) from a reflective translucent material. In which case, the upper indicator 720′ is defined by the reflective translucent surface 714.

As shown in FIGS. 25 and 26, respectively, the upper indicator 720′ is configured such that it has a circular shape (FIG. 25) when viewed from above, but has an elliptical or ovular shape when viewed from the front (FIG. 26). Alternatively, the upper indicator can be configured in various other shapes, including triangular, rectangular, etc.

The indicators 720 and 720′ are relatively positioned such that the image of the golf ball (or portion thereof) that is reflected on the upper indicator 720′ coincides or lines-up with the lower indicator 720 as viewed through the upper indicator 720, when the striking surface 712 is aligned with the golf ball and the user's head is at a predetermined position (e.g., positioned directly over, etc.) relative to the golf putter head 710.

FIGS. 19 through 22 illustrate a golf putter head 510 having an upper indicator 520′ that is configured (e.g., sized, shaped, and positioned) so as to mesh with and form a generally smooth continuous juncture with the surface 514. Alternatively, the upper indicator 520′ can be an integral part of the surface 514.

The striking surface 512 of the golf putter head is defined by a front surface of an insert formed of a material different than the putter head body. Alternatively, the striking surface 512 can be integrally formed along with the putter head body as a single component.

As shown in FIG. 22, the upper indicator 520′ comprises a lens 521, and the lower indicator 520 defines an image, such as golf ball or other suitable image. The upper and lower indicators are configured such that lens 521 focuses the golf ball image (or other suitable image) defined by the lower indicator 520 so that the golf ball image is only visible and in focus to the golfer when the golfer's eye 523 is looking directly down at the lens 521.

FIGS. 23 through 24 illustrate another exemplary golf putter head 610 having indicators 620 and 620′. The indicators 620 and 620′ include respective mating portions that cooperate to form an image of a golf ball (or other suitable image) when the indicators 620 and 620′ are properly aligned. In this particular embodiment, the upper indicator 620′ is configured to resemble a first half of a golf ball, and the lower indicator 620 is configured to resemble the other half of the golf ball. Alternatively, other embodiments can include the upper and lower indicators defining differently sized portions of an image. For example, another embodiment includes the upper indicator defining about one-third (⅓) of a golf ball image, while the lower indicator defines the other two-third (⅔) portion of the golf ball image.

As shown in FIG. 23, the upper indicator 620′ is disposed at a top portion of the surface 614. In one embodiment, the upper indicator 620′ is a separate component that is attached to the surface 614, for example, by adhesives, or other suitable fastening means. The upper indicator 620′ is configured (e.g., sized, shaped, and positioned) so as to mesh with and form a generally smooth continuous juncture with the surface 614. Alternatively, the upper indicator 620′ can be integrally formed with the surface 614.

With further reference to FIGS. 23 and 24, the putter head 610 can be used as follows to help a golfer with the difficulties associated with putting. At address, a golfer positions the striking surface 612 adjacent the golf ball 616 so as to align the golf ball 616 with an axis passing through a center of a reflected golf ball image on the reflective surface 614 and to align the indicator guide line 624 with the golf ball diameter perpendicular to the striking surface 612.

The golfer then adjusts the putter head 610 and/or the golfer's head position until the image portions on the indicators 620 and 620′ are aligned to form a single golf ball image. To assist the golfer with this task, the area 674 under the surface 614 within a recessed cavity 676 can be highlighted so that the area 674 is readily visible but only when the upper and lower indicators 620′ and 620 are not aligned correctly. In one embodiment, the area 674 is red-colored so as to provide a strong negative visual indicator to the golfer that the indicators 620 and 620′ are not aligned, and that the golfer should thus reposition the golfer's head and/or the putter head 610. In addition, the upper indicator 620′ can also reflect an image of the golf ball 616 (or portion thereof) to the golfer. Alternatively, the upper indicator and/or the surface 614 can be non-reflective.

In various embodiments, the golf putter head (e.g., 110, 210, 310, 410, 510, 610, etc.) can have a monolithic construction in which the golf putter head is integrally formed as a single component. Alternatively, two or more of the components of a golf putter head may comprise separate components that are secured to one another, for example, by welding, adhesives, and/or other suitable fastening methods. For example, upper and/or lower indicators of a putter head can be attached to a putter head via any suitable fastening means, including mechanical fasteners, adhesives, etc.

Various embodiments include interchangeable upper and/or lower indicators in different colors and that are removably attachable to the golf putter head. This allows a golfer to customize the putter head with a particular color or color combination. For example, the user may want to change from a blue-yellow combination to a red-blue combination, depending, for example, on user preferences, a user's color-blindness, and/or lighting conditions. In such embodiments, the interchangeable different colored indicators could, for example, be removably fastened to the putter head using one or more screws that are configured for use with a hex key or other exotic screwdriver-type end tool. In various embodiments, either or both of the upper and lower indicators are removably attached to the putter head in a manner that still complies with current USGA rules requiring that all components of a clubhead must not be easily adjustable during play.

The description of the invention is merely exemplary in nature and is in no way intended to limit the invention, its application, or uses. Thus, variations that do not depart from the substance of the invention are intended to be within the scope of the invention. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the spirit and scope of the invention.