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The present invention relates to a golf club and, more particularly, to a golf club head assembly for a putter and a method for putting.
Conventional golf club heads are typically cast from metal alloys, such as brass or steel, or other materials having a semihomogeneous density. These materials have been demonstrated to provide a weight, balance or “feel” that is desired by golfers. When aluminum is employed, a nonaluminum core, such as copper or brass, is often inserted to add weight and “weigh down” the club head so that user experiences a deadening feel when using the club.
Characteristics of golf club heads are typically defined by their overall shape. Club heads are designed in various shapes to improve the accuracy of a golfer's swing. For instance, traditional putter heads have a long flat surface extending perpendicular to the ground. Some newer putter designs consist of multiple parts to provide the user with a good feel. Inserts are installed to promote proper roll and a shell may cover parts of those pieces. A deficiency of such designs is that the multiple parts require greater a assembly. Thus current putters tend to be more expensive to manufacture and produce.
Thus there is a need for an improved putter head and club that would overcome those deficiencies and result with a desirable putter that can be more efficiently produced at a lower cost than traditional putters. It is also desirable to construct a club head of a single material that offers the strength and desired string surface.
The present invention is directed to a golf putter head comprising a generally cylindrical body having a striking portion and two concave ends. The body is solid, substantially solid, or substantially solid with cavities. The diameter of the body is slightly less than the diameter of a golf ball and the striking portion contains a somewhat or substantially textured surface. Unlike traditional putters, which have flat striking surfaces and hollow interiors, the surface of the present invention provides an advantage that it improves the impact efficiency between a golf club head and the golf ball. The cylindrical surface in combination with the textured surface produce a consistent rotation of the ball upon impact, whereas traditional putters tend to skid before rolling. In addition, the curved surface also promotes proper alignment of the putter head thus eliminating push or pull putts. Using this putter allows off-center or miss-hits to run true and accurate.
Another advantage in an example of an embodiment of the present invention is a unique internal indicator feature that resides within the body. The internal indicator can be integrated with the body mass or be placed within an elongated cavity aligned generally parallel with the body. It includes a colored element that appears more vibrant or, alternatively, displays a different color to a user who is swinging the putter with a straight, consistent follow through. Thus the invention may be used as an instructional tool to assist golfers improve their swing to, hopefully, more accurately putt a golf ball.
An advantage in another example of an embodiment of the present invention includes use of the golf putter head in combination with a split dual shaft. In this way one putter can have varying lengths, such as that of a conventional putter, belly putter or long putter.
The present invention further provides a method for using the putter comprising cradling the shaft of the club in the palm of one of the user's hands, and holding the grip in the other hand at about the chest level of the user. Holding the club in this way, the user then positions itself with the ball to the side of the dominant hand and with both feet pointed generally in the direction of a target, and swings the putter toward the hole using a pendulum type motion.
Having briefly described the present invention, these and other objects, features and advantages of the invention will become apparent by those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of the invention and the accompanying drawings.
FIG. 1 is an isometric view showing an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a front view of an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 3 is a left side view of an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 4 is a top view of an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 5 is an isometric view of another embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 6 is a front view of an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 7 is an end view of an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 8 is a top view of an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 9 is a cross sectional view of an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 10 is another cross sectional view of an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 11 illustrates a club head in combination with a shaft in an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 12 illustrates a shaft attachment end in an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 13 is an illustration of a user positioned to make a putt with a conventional putter (prior art).
FIG. 14 is another illustration of a user positioned to make a putt with a conventional putter (prior art).
FIG. 15 is an illustration of a user positioned to make a putt with the club in an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 16 is another illustration of a user positioned to make a putt with the club in an embodiment of the present invention.
A golf putter head 10 comprises a generally cylindrical substantially solid body 11 having a striking portion 12 and two concave ends, 13 and 14, as illustrated for example for a right handed player in FIGS. 1-4. The invention can be accommodated for a left handed player by providing the inverse designed putter head. Body 11 is selected to have a diameter that is slightly less than the diameter of a golf ball. The striking portion 12 is textured. Grooves or directional lines 17 as shown for example in FIG. 4 are optionally placed vertically along the curved surface, or horizontally along the top side of the body, or both to provide directional marks to assist a user with alignment of the club and a particular putt. In an example, a bore 15 is also centrally located in the top side of body 11 for accepting a shaft 16.
In an embodiment, body 11 is manufactured from aluminum that has been anodized, electrolytically coated with a protective or decorative oxide, or powder coated metal using a durable hard coating, such as for example Teflon®, Teflon® impregnation or the like. In another example, body 11 has an impregnated surface. Coatings may be colored, such as uniformly colored with a single color, stylized to have a design or pattern using singe or multiple colors for decorative appeal. In addition to strength, these materials in combination with the putterhead design provide a more desirable striking surface. When aluminum is used in this invention, there is no longer a need to insert a nonaluminum core, such as copper or brass.
In another embodiment, the head is fabricated from a clear material, such as glass, plastic or composite. This unique feature is unlike any other putter, which are traditionally opaque. Internal or external portions of the clear head can also be partially or entirely colored or contain colored parts. For an example, logos, designs, photos, objects, or virtually any other items capable of fitting within body 11 are embedded therein in whole or in part. The head enable such items to be visible to the user or others, which are not typical in the game of golf.
Ideally, the head weighs about 355 to 366 grams. In a preferred embodiment, it weighs about 361 grams. The weight in combination with the shape provides a smooth uniform feel between the putter head and the ball, and thus can assist or improve a golfer's confidence for his or her ability to successfully make a putt, especially putts taken at short distances. Surprisingly, inventors have discovered that the design and construction of the present invention overcomes deficiencies of prior putter clubs and provides a desirable putter that can be more efficiently produced at a lower cost than traditional putters.
The body 11 preferably has a length, L, shown in FIG. 2, along the striking portion from one end 12 to the opposite end 13 of the head portion. Preferably, L ranges from 2.5 inches to 4.5 inches, more preferably from 3.0 inches to 4.0 inches, and most preferably 3.43 inches. In an example, each of ends 12 and 13 slope inward to form a concave end that is about 0.03 to 0.10 inches deep or indented, C, from surface of striking portion it, as illustrated in an example FIG. 9. Preferably, depth C is about 0.04 to about 0.08 inches; more preferably depth C is about 0.06 inches; most preferably 0.0625. In an example, ends 12 and 13 are flat at the edges for a distance, DIA, then gradually slope inward. DIA is about 0.5 inches to 0.2, and preferably 0.8 inches. Measurement J may be 0.07 to 0.2 inches, or more preferably, 0.09 inches. In an example, the concave ends are electronically designed to remove all harmonic vibrations, which are detrimental to all other putters.
In another embodiment, such as that illustrated in FIGS. 5-8, body 11 further has a flat surface 19 along the top side. Two elongated cavities, 30 and 31, extend inside the body in a direction generally parallel to flat surface 19. Each cavity is designed to contain an indicator or internal sighting device. In an example indicators are integrated within body 11 eliminating the need to form cavities. Rather, body 11 incorporates them directly, such as during construction or manufacture of a solid or substantially solid body. Preferably indicators, 30 and 31, are positioned generally parallel to one another and relative to each other and the flat surface 19 so that a user can view or an indicator therein when swinging a club having the putter head 10. One indicator 30 is generally located closer to flat surface 19 than the other indicator 31, as shown in FIG. 7.
The indicator is preferably comprised of at least two colored materials such as a colored glass, pigment, bars or liquid. The indicators can be of any color. Preferably, each indicator comprises the substantially the same color so that when the club is used in a proper alignment, the color of one indicator 30 would appear to blend with the color of the other indicator 31 to the user's view thus creating a more intense color. Or if different colors are used, the apparent combination of the indicators would result with a third color.
In an example, one yellow indicator and one blue indicator are installed. When viewing the club in use, a straight follow through swing of will produce the appearance of a single green indicator, rather than both a yellow and blue indicators. If the swing is not straight the blending mirage will not occur, which alerts the golfer to this fact and by view of the two indicators corrective can be taken. When the same color is used as an indicator in both cavities, such as red for example, in use they will result with a more vibrant color, such as a brighter, deeper red, than either indicator viewed alone. Other color combinations and indicator mechanisms may be employed to serve as indicators to the user. In an example, cavity indicators appear to align when the head is in use. Indicators can also serve as balance weights.
The putter head may have any number of a range of head colors, patterns or both using different pointing mechanisms, imprinting surfaces such as aluminum, or by using glass, glass coloring, composites, or metallic coatings. For example, logos and other designs can be embedded in the glass of the putter.
Body 11 has a diameter, D, as shown for example in FIG. 9. Diameter, D, ranges from 1.5 to 1.7 inches and, preferably is about 1.6 inches. Indicator cavities 30 and 31 extend in length, LL, about 1.8 to 2.2 inches, or preferably about 2.0 inches. In an example, indicators have an elongated generally cylindrical shape, or are tubular having a diameter. In an example, indicator 31 is positioned at a distance I of about 0.25 to 0.7 inches from the bottom of outer surface of body 11 opposite the top flat surface 19. In a preferred embodiment, distance I is about 0.4 inches, more preferably 0.45, most preferably 0.46 or 0.462. They are positioned at a distance, A, as measured from the center of the diameter of each other of approximately 0.6 to 0.75 inches and shown, for example, in FIG. 10 (FIG. 10 can also include flat surface 19, but it is not shown for simplicity.) This distance A is preferably about 0.6754 inches. The diameter, OD, of indicators 30 and 31 is about 0.16 to 0.20 inches, and preferably it is about 0.18 inches. In an example, the center of indicators 30 and 31 falls along body diameter G of about 0.3 to 0.5 inches, and preferably about 0.4 inches. Measurement M is about 0.15 to 0.6 inches, or preferably about 0.3 inches, and most preferably 0.318 inches. Measurement N is about 0.2 to 0.65, or preferably about 0.4, and most preferably about 1.425 inches. Measurement P is about 0.15 to 0.65 inches, or preferably about 0.4 inches, and most preferably about 0.39 inches.
When aligned along a plane with the center of body 11, the center of indicator 30 (either 30a or 30b, or both if both are used) makes an angle, F, with the center of shaft 16 as illustrated for example in FIG. 10. Angle, F, is about or greater than 10 degrees, preferably it is about 15 to 30 degrees, and more preferably it is about 20 to 24 degrees. For a golfer of average height, most preferably F is about 22 degrees. The taller the golfer the tighter the angle can be. So for shorter golfers, and especially for children, a larger angle such as 25 to 30 degrees may be more preferred.
For illustration purposes, FIG. 10 shows in an example of the invention, the alignment of two upper indicators, 30a (for a right handed player) and 30b (for a left handed player), located in the upper portion of body 11. While both indicators 30a and 30b can be incorporated together into body 11, for production, only one of indicators 30a or 30b would be necessary to insert in addition to indicator 31, which is located in the lower portion of body. In this example, top indicator 30a (or 30b) is preferably constructed out of a transparent material, such as glass, plastic or composite. A bottom or lower indicator 31 is made of a more opaque, solid or denser colored material such as glass, plastic or composite. Either or both of the indicators may alone or additionally comprise a lighting element or filaments such as fiber optics. These could also pick-up ambient light, magnifying the dominant color when the indicators are aligned.
The golf putter head can also be used in combination with a shaft 16. One end of shaft 16 fits within bore 15, and the other end of the shaft is fit with a grip 35. Preferably the shaft 16 affixes within body 11 at a shaft angle offset as dictated by USPGA. Current regulations require a 10 degree offset as measured from a point perpendicular to the top of the body or body length L. Bore 15 has a depth of about 0.2 to 0.4 inches, preferably 0.3 inches. While the shafts of traditional putters have a length in the range of about 30-35 inches, by contrast, the present putter club preferably is about 50-65 inches long, which length depends upon the height and preference of the golfer. The present club at this length and more preferably 52-60 inches provides for putting style facing the hole as shown for example in FIGS. 15 and 16. Another feature of the invention is the shaft is mounted centrally on the head.
In another embodiment such as illustrated in FIG. 11, grip 35 has an attaching end 36 for removably attaching an upper shaft 40 thereto. The combination of shaft 16 and upper shaft 40 creates a split dual shaft. The length of upper shaft 40 is selected to be assembled with conventional putter shaft 16 so that the present club can also function as a belly putter or a long putter. The total lengths of the belly and long putters are about 45 to 52 inches, and about 52 to 60 inches, respectively. The present club can also comprise of a club of between 30-35 for a conventional putting stance perpendicular to the hole. This feature offers a three-in-one club: a convention putter (without upper shaft 40), a belly putter and a long putter (both with upper shafts of appropriate length).
Attaching end 36 has a mounter 37, or any means capable of mounting the shafts together, to which an upper shaft affixes. As shown for example in FIG. 12, mounter 37 is set screw or coupling. For example, a coupling from Golf Smith could be employed. Attaching end 36/mounter 37 may also comprise of male and female threads with a set screw to hold the shaft in place.
Another aspect of the club is the unique nature of its grip, which is dictated by virtue of the body construct. The grip is designed to be cradled in the fingers and palm of golfer's hand using an open hand, rather than a conventional finger-lock used around traditional putters.
In a method of using the putter, the user cradles the shaft of the club in the palm of one of the user's hands, and holds the grip in the other hand at about the chest level of the user. Thus, one hand is an anchor hand and the other controls the movement, preferably a pendulum movement. Holding the club in this way, the user then positions itself with the ball to the side of the dominant hand and with both feet pointed generally in the direction of a target, and swings the putter toward the hole using a pendulum type motion.
For a right handed golfer, the right hand acts as the control hand and is positioned downward facing the ground, so that it is essentially hanging prior to making a swing as shown for example in FIGS. 15 and 16. The left hand acts as an anchor hand that is held loosely on the club and then positioned at a point at or about the chest area of the golfer. Positioning of the anchor hand can vary to suit the user's comfort, such as placing it at the center of the chest or off to one side of the chest. This design encourages the user to stand alongside of the ball and to face the hole. The palm of the user's hand guides the club and swing of the club in a pendulum motion. The motion is as if tossing a penny. Although a back swing is not required or always desirable under the certain circumstances, the user's control hand may first take a back swing and then follow through contacting the ball and subsequently following through. In an example where the target hole is a short distance away (such as one foot), the back swing may likewise be quite short (for example one inch), and vice-a-versa for a target located at a further distance. For an example, a target located about twenty feet away may require about a four to ten inch back swing. In a preferred method about a five inch back swing is used. The back swing may vary according to the conditions of the course and user preferences.
Designed to operate with a pendulum motion, the present club eliminates the so called push-and-pull method of traditional putters. The pendulum movement is facilitated by use of a single arm/hand swing. The user follows through as if a straight line with the ground, the only contact with the ground is when the club contacts the ball. This method encourages proper positioning of golfer and increase likelihood of directing ball in desired direction. It is anticipated that this method would not be successfully practiced with a conventional putter because of the hole facing stance of the present method.
While the present invention has been described in conjunction with embodiments thereof, modifications and variations will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art. The foregoing description and the following claims are intended to cover all such modifications and variations.