Title:
Stereopsis enhanced golf balls
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf ball whose surface bears a series of regularly arranged areas of contrasting appearance. The areas of contrasting appearance may be colored dots in some or all of the indentations in the golf ball surface or may be geometric shapes which encompass a plurality of indentations.



Inventors:
Morley, Julian Eric Christian (London, GB)
Application Number:
11/061316
Publication Date:
09/01/2005
Filing Date:
02/18/2005
Assignee:
MORLEY JULIAN E.C.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/378
International Classes:
A63B43/00; A63B69/36; (IPC1-7): A63B37/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GORDEN, RAEANN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PATTERSON THUENTE PEDERSEN, P.A. (80 SOUTH 8TH STREET 4800 IDS CENTER, MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 55402-2100, US)
Claims:
1. A golf ball having a generally spherical exterior interrupted by indentations, the exterior having a first portion of a plurality of spherically symmetrically spaced shadings visually contrasting with a second portion of the exterior having no shadings thereon, each said shading encompassing at least three of the indentations.

2. The golf ball of claim 1, in which each of the shadings is characterized by a shading area and each of the indentations is characterized by an indentation area, each shading area between about 3 and 20 times larger than each said indentation area.

3. The golf ball of claim 1, in which each of the shadings is characterized by a shading area and each of the indentations is characterized by an indentation area, each shading area between about 5 and 12 times larger than each said indentation area.

4. The golf ball of claim 1, in which the shadings are generally pentagonal.

5. The golf ball of claim 1, in which the shadings are generally circular, triangular, square, or hexagonal.

6. A process of hitting the golf ball of claim 1 with a golf club.

7. A process of making the golf ball of claim 1, comprising marking a portion of the exterior of the golf ball with the shadings.

8. The process of claim 7, in which an area of each of the shadings is between about 3 and 20 times larger than an area of each said indentation.

9. The process of claim 7, in which an area of each of the shadings is between about 5 and 12 times larger than an area of each said indentation.

10. The process of claim 7, in which the shadings are generally pentagonal.

11. A golf ball having indentations and a generally spherical exterior surface between the indentations, the golf ball comprising a multiplicity of generally uniform areas of contrasting appearance, centers of the areas of contrasting appearance substantially equidistantly spaced apart, each of said areas of contrasting appearance encompassing at least three of the indentations.

12. The golf ball of claim 11, in which at least one of the areas of contrasting appearance are generally pentagonal.

13. The golf ball of claim 11, in which an area of each of the areas of contrasting appearance is between about 3 and 20 times larger than the area of one of the indentations.

14. The golf ball of claim 11, in which an area of each of the areas of contrasting appearance is between about 5 and 12 times larger than the area of one of the indentations.

15. A process of hitting the golf ball of claim 11 with a golf club.

16. A process of making the golf ball of claim 11, comprising marking the exterior surface of the golf ball with said areas of contrasting appearance.

17. The process of claim 16, in which said areas of contrasting appearance are generally pentagonal.

18. The process of claim 16, in which each of the areas of contrasting appearance is between about 3 and 20 times larger than an area of one of the indentations.

19. The process of claim 16, in which each of the areas of contrasting appearance is between about 5 and 12 times larger then an area of one of the indentations.

20. A golf ball comprising a spherical ball with a first plurality of indentations arranged in a pattern on a surface of the spherical ball, the surface also having a second plurality of areas of contrasting appearance whose appearance contrasts with a remainder of the surface not covered by the second plurality of areas of contrasting appearance, the areas of contrasting appearance covering from 10% to 50% of the surface and arranged symmetrically in a regular pattern around the ball, and in which the areas of contrasting appearance are located on the surface straddling the indentations or are located in some of the first plurality of indentations.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/549,480, filed Apr. 14, 2000, which, in turn, is a continuation of Application PCT/GB98/03109, filed 16 Oct. 1998.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a golf ball. More particularly, the present invention relates to a golf ball having stereopsis cues.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In order to strike a golf ball with accuracy and with consistency, it is necessary for a player to possess an ability to judge depths in the field of vision with great precision. This stereoscopic acuity enables the player not only to determine the distance to the ball and to relate this to the position of the golf club head, but also to take into account the dimensions of the ball itself so that the club head is brought into contact with the desired point on the ball. As is well known, if the club head strikes the wrong part of the ball, the shot will be undercut, topped, sliced or pulled.

The fact that golf balls are of a contrasting color to grass (or sand) clearly helps with stereopsis, however, further improvement would be desirable. It is therefore an object of the invention to provide a golf ball whose position can be judged more easily and more accurately.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to the invention, there is provided a golf ball comprising a spherical ball with a plurality of indentations in its surface, the indentations being arranged in a pattern, the surface also having a plurality of areas of a contrasting appearance, the areas of contrasting appearance being arranged symmetrically.

The areas of contrasting appearance, in their symmetrical arrangement, enable a player to make more precise judgments of the position of the ball and enable visualization of a club face striking the ball to be achieved more accurately and with greater consistency.

Another important factor is the ability of a player's visual system to filter and process information; this is related to contrast sensitivity. The contrasting areas on the ball can serve to enhance a player's contrast sensitivity.

Preferably at least 30% of the indentations (or dimples) in the golf ball surface include an area of contrasting appearance. More preferably, at least 50% or at least 75% of the indentations include an area of contrasting appearance. In one embodiment, all the indentations include an area of contrasting appearance. It should however be understood that when the areas of contrasting appearance are located in the indentations, the indentations themselves must be arranged in such a way that the areas of contrasting appearance remain symmetrically arranged.

Thus, the areas of contrasting appearance may be located in the indentations, in the spaces between the indentations or straddling the spaces and the indentations. The areas of contrasting appearance may be in any suitable form, including a spot or the shape of an asterisk. Preferably, the areas of contrasting appearance cover at least 10% of the surface area of the ball. More preferably, the areas cover from 10% to 50% of the surface areas of the ball, for example from 20% to 30%.

Conveniently, the area of contrasting appearance is a spot in the center of the respective indentations. Preferably the contrasting appearance is a black dot in the center of each respective indentation. In a preferred embodiment the area of contrasting appearance is a black dot in the center of each respective indentation, however, other colors may be employed.

The invention may be applied to any golf ball construction, such as one-piece, two-piece or three-piece and is applicable to all materials, such as balata, elastomer or Surlyn. The invention may also be applied to a golf ball having any arrangement of dimples, provided that the areas of contrasting appearance are symmetrical. In this context, the term “symmetrical” means that the contrasting areas are arranged in a regular pattern around the ball surface so that the arrangement does not differ in appearance when the orientation of the ball is altered.

It has been found that with such an arrangement of contrasting areas, the curvature of the surface of the ball is made more evident, and the position (in depth) of the widest part of the ball is highlighted. In other words, if one looks at the notional north pole of the ball, the position of the equator along the axis can be more readily identified.

The contrasting spots or dots can be applied or formed in any convenient manner provided that they exhibit the necessary durability to allow the spots or dots to remain visible even after several hundred shots.

A golf ball is also provided with a generally spherical exterior interrupted by indentations, the exterior having a first portion of a plurality of spherically symmetrically spaced shadings visually contrasting with a second portion of the exterior having no shadings thereon, each shading encompassing at least three of the indentations. An area of one of the shadings may be between about three and 20 times, or between about five and 12 times, larger than an area of one of the indentations. The shadings may have a geometry which is generally pentagonal, circular, triangular, square, or hexagonal. Processes of using the golf ball and making the golf ball are also provided, the latter process including occupying a portion of the golf ball exterior with the shadings.

There is yet further provided a golf ball having indentations and a generally spherical exterior surface between the indentations, the golf ball comprising a multiplicity of generally uniform areas of contrasting appearance having centers substantially equally spaced apart, each of said areas of contrasting appearance encompassing at least three of the indentations. Processes of hitting the foregoing golf ball with a golf club and making the foregoing golf ball are also provided. The latter process including marking the exterior of the golf ball with the areas of contrasting appearance.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a first embodiment of a golf ball in accordance with the present invention depicting the uniform symmetrically of the dimpling;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a golf ball in accordance with the present invention with more than half the dimples colored;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a golf ball in accordance with the present invention with approximately half of the dimples colored;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a golf ball in accordance with the present invention with approximately half of the dimples including a colored spot;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a golf ball in accordance with the present invention with symmetrical marks located between the dimples;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of the golf ball of this invention with areas of contrasting appearance straddling indentations and spaces therebetween;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a third embodiment of the golf ball of this invention;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a fourth embodiment of the golf ball of this invention;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a fifth embodiment of the golf ball of this invention;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a sixth embodiment of the golf ball of this invention; and

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a seventh embodiment of the golf ball of this invention.

It is understood that the above-described figures are only illustrative of the present invention and are not contemplated to limit the scope thereof.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The invention may be carried into practice in various ways, and some embodiments will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which FIGS. 1-11 show various embodiments in accordance with the invention.

In FIGS. 1-5, a golf ball 11 has regular or evenly spaced indentations or dimples 12, which vary in the pattern of markings and which may be generally uniform in size and depth. In FIG. 1, all the indentations 12 are colored. In FIG. 2, a large proportion of the indentations 12 are colored. In FIG. 3, about half the indentations 12 are colored. In FIG. 4, about half the indentations 12 include a colored spot 13, though of course, a greater or small proportion of the indentations could include spots 13.

In FIG. 5, the spaces 4 between the indentations have asterisk-shaped marks 15. It will be appreciated that the asterisk-shaped marks could be used in the embodiments of FIGS. 1 to 4 either in addition to or instead of the marks shown. Also, the asterisk-shaped marks in FIG. 5 could be replaced by the spots of FIG. 4. In an alternative embodiment (not shown) the asterisk-shaped marks could be substantially larger in size, perhaps an order of magnitude larger, and therefore significantly smaller in number. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 6, the areas of contrasting appearance 16 overlap or straddle adjacent indentations.

While no particular shape is contemplated for the instant areas of contrasting appearance, spots (e.g., dots) and asterisks are suitable for some embodiments. The indentations with areas of contrasting appearance constitute at least about 30%, at least about 50%, at least about 75%, about 100%, or between about 30% and 75% of the total number of indentations. The total surface area of the golf ball exterior surface occupied by the instant areas of contrasting appearance may be at least about 10%, between about 10% and 50%, or between about 20% and 30%, of the golf ball exterior surface.

In all the embodiments illustrated, it is intended that the colored indentations, the spots and the asterisk-shaped marks should be arranged symmetrically (as defined above) about the surface of the ball.

In the embodiments depicted in FIGS. 7-11, the areas of contrast are symmetrically or evenly spaced shadings with various geometrical shapes, including pentagons 17, circles 18, triangles 19, squares 20, and hexagons 21. However, other geometrical shaped shadings would be within the spirit and scope of this invention as well. The shadings are evenly spaced in that their centers (e.g., centers of mass) are substantially equidistantly spaced apart. The shadings are colored to contrast with the remainder of the golf ball exterior surface not colored with the shadings in a manner so as to be readily apparent to a user. Suitable colors for the shadings include black, brown, green, red, orange, pink, and the like, which will readily contrast with the color of the remainder of the ball and alternatively and additionally will contrast with the background (e.g., lawn and sand) during use as well. The shadings may generally uniform in size and geometrical shape. The shadings additionally may be in a non-coincidental relation to the indentations; that is, either one or all of the shadings may be larger in area than an indentation. To this end, the shadings may be sufficiently large to straddle or encompass a plurality of indentations, e.g., at least three indentations, thereby being larger than any single indentation. The shadings may encompass an area between about three and 20 times, or between about five and 12 times, the area of a single indentation. One embodiment of the instant golf ball has 12 red, pentagonal shadings, each shading having sides 10 millimeters in length and an area of about 172 square millimeters.

One advantage of the instant golf ball, especially of the embodiments depicted in FIGS. 7-11, is that when the instant golf ball is struck on an uneven surface, such as a putting green, the instant marked ball will indicate clearly where the ball changes direction due to the varying slope on the surface. This is because the direction of rotation of the shadings will change noticeably when the instant golf ball rolls in a different direction in response to the uneven surface.