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This patent generally relates to golf clubs, and more particularly to a golf putter that includes a pair of putter grips arranged along a perpendicular shaft to aid in alignment and implementation of a putting stroke.
It is well known that the game of golf as a whole, and putting in particular, requires patience, skill, and coordination to accurately and consistently deliver a golf ball to a desired location. Putting encompasses a large percentage of the golf strokes taken during the course of a normal game, because of this a great deal of effort has been expended in order to analyze and improve putting accuracy in an effort to lower overall golf scores.
Generally putting includes two steps, each of which requires a different set of skills. First, a player must choose a desired line or shot path between the current position of the golf ball and the hole. When estimating the shot path, the player is typically required to estimate a number of factors such as the condition of the green, the speed and break of the grass, and the prevailing green topology in order to calculate the shot path. Second, the player must strike the golf ball along a desired vector (i.e. speed and direction) in order cause the golf ball to follow the shot path to the hole. Putting typically requires smooth and continuous stokes in order to minimize the minute variations in speed and direction that result in a missed putt.
In order to improve and hone putting skills, players typically take lessons and practice in order to develop the muscle memory or conditioning necessary to strike the ball consistently from stoke-to-stroke. Further, players often emulate the play and swing of professional golfers whose golfing style they admire or most desire to have. One professional golfer employed a unique “straight forward” putting stroke which involves facing the cup rather than standing parallel to the shot path in a traditional putting stance. The straight forward stroke helps to eliminate or reduce the tiny variations and tremors produced by a player's grip during a traditional side stance putt. Further, the straight forward stroke allows the player to stand and swing in a more comfortable and natural manner which, in turn, improves the fluidity and continuity of the swing.
While the straight forward stroke offers many advantages, known putters are simply not designed to exploit them. Further, known putters are difficult to align and aim which, in turn, makes the task of determining and following a desired shot path more difficult. It would be desirable to provide a putter that addressed these deficiencies while fully exploited the advantages of the straight forward stroke.
Features, and advantages of the present device will become apparent upon reading the following description in conjunction with the drawing figures, in which:
FIG. 1 illustrates a front view of an exemplary golf putter;
FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective view of the golf putter shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 illustrates a front view of the golf putter shown in FIG. 1 as grasped for alignment;
FIG. 4 illustrates a perspective view of the gold putter shown in FIG. 1 as grasped during a putting stroke;
FIG. 5 illustrates an enlarged view of the exemplary putter head shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 6 illustrates an enlarged view of another embodiment of a putter head having an offset design;
FIG. 7 illustrates an enlarge view another embodiment of a putter head having a clawed design;
FIG. 8 illustrates a bottom view of the putter head shown in FIG. 7;
FIG. 9 illustrates a side view of the putter head shown in FIG. 7;
FIG. 10 illustrates a perspective view of the golf putter shown in FIG. 1 incorporating the clawed putter head design;
FIG. 11 illustrates a perspective view of an alternate grip that may be incorporated into the golf putter shown in FIG. 1; and
FIG. 12 illustrates an enlarge view another embodiment of a putter head having a snakehead design.
FIG. 1 illustrates a golf putter 10 constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present disclosure. The golf putter 10 includes an extended shaft 12 having a first end 14 and a second end 16. The extended shaft 12 is typically a hollow tube between 40 and 60 inches in length depending on the height and grip preferences of the player. In particular, the overall length of the extended shaft 12 will typically be customized to allow the player to comfortably grasp the tube in a bent arm grip and execute a smooth, straight forward and consistent putting stroke. The extended shaft 12 can be manufactured from a variety of materials, such as, for example, graphite, steel and titanium, to have a straight, stepped or rifled profile depending on the cost, feel and control desired by the player.
A putter head 18 attaches perpendicular to the extended shaft 12 at the first end 14 and includes a top surface 20, a base surface 22, and a impact or striking face 24 arranged to contact a golf ball at the apex of the putting stroke, as shown in FIG. 4. Typically, the putter head 18 includes a blind bore (not shown) formed in the top surface 20 of the putter head 18 to accept and secure the first end 14 of the extended shaft 12. Preferably, the blind bore secures the extended shaft 12 perpendicular to the substantially flat plane of the bottom surface 22 to allow the golf putter 10 to balance in a free standing or unsupported position (as shown). The top surface may include one or more dimples, marks or alignment indicators 26 arranged to simplify the process of lining up and executing the putt. In this manner, the assembled golf putter 10 can be balanced on the bottom surface 22 on a putting green and the player may use the extended shaft 12 and the alignment indicators 26 can be use to line up and estimate the shot path.
The golf putter 10 further includes first and second putter grips 28, 30 positioned adjacent to the second end 16 of the extended shaft 12 and distal to the first end 14. The first putter grip 28 can be any type of cylindrical rubber grip, wrapped leather grip or may be a custom or irregular shaped grip intended to fit a player's hand and/or aid in putting. Typically, the first putter grip 28 will be a single continuous grip injection molded from a malleable rubber or polyurethane based material such as, for example, Greptile™ Gripping Material manufactured by 3M™, that provides a high degree of tackiness and friction for a comfortable and reliable player gripping surface.
The second putter grip 30 attaches to the extended shaft 12 substantially adjacent to a midpoint 31 defined between the first end 14 and the second end 16. The precise location of the second putter grip 30 will vary depending on the length of the player's arms and individual preference and comfort determined during practice putting strokes. It will be understood that the second putter grip 20 could, for the sake of convenience and ease of manufacture, be configured similar to the first putter grip 28. However, it would be preferable to form the second putter grip 20 with a square or rectangular cross-section that provides a comfortable means of grasping and guiding the golf putter 10 through a straight forward putting stroke.
The second putter grip 30 preferably includes a first grip face 32 and a second grip face 34 aligned perpendicular to the striking face 24. In particular, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the first and second grip faces 32, 34 are grasped by the player between the thumb and forefinger to guide the golf putter 10 through a straight forward putting stroke. Another method of grasping the rectangular shaped second putter grip 30 requires the player to align the index finger and thumb along the extended shaft 12 and the first and second grip face 32, 34, respectively, while using the remaining, curled fingers to direct the swing of the golf putter 10.
FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective view of the golf putter 10 showing the second putter grip 30 having a front grip face 36 formed parallel to the plane of the striking face 24. The parallel front grip face 36 and striking face 24 provide a quick and precise means for the player to control the angle at which the striking face 24 impacts the golf ball during the putting stroke. During play, precise control can be obtained simply by a twist of the wrist or by increasing or decreasing the pressure exerted by either the thumb or forefinger on the first and second grip faces 32, 34, respectively.
FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate the player, shown as a phantom line representation, grasping the exemplary golf putter 10 for use in a straight forward putting stroke. The player, for the sake of example, is shown as an individual who is right-hand dominant. Thus, the right handed player typically stands to the left of the freestanding golf putter 10 and grasps the second putter grip 30 with an extended, slightly bent, right arm 38. The player's left arm 40 extends transversely across the chest and body, approximately at the player's diaphragm, to grasp the first putter grip 18 with the left hand. In play, the right arm 38 retracts and pivots the golf putter 10 about the left hand such that the putter head 18 circumscribes an arc A, as illustrated in FIG. 4. In addition, the player can, because of their forward facing stance, maintain visual contact with the desired line or shot path through-out the putting stroke to improve the player's overall putting accuracy.
FIGS. 5 and 6 illustrate enlarged front views of the putter head 18 and an alternate embodiment of an offset putter head 44. FIG. 5 illustrates the extended shaft 12 arranged perpendicular, as indicated by the graphic symbol P, to the top surface 20 and the alignment indicators 26. The striking face 24, as discussed above in connection with FIGS. 1 and 2, aligns perpendicular to the top surface 20 and parallel to the extended shaft 12 and the front grip face 36. Further, the alignment indicators 26 which may be dots, raised projections, metallic or nonmetallic inserts, etched symbols, decals, and printed or painted designs, can be spaced to bracket, e.g., positioned to either side of, the extended shaft 12. It will be understood that the putter head 18 can be shaped and weighted in a variety of manners to provide the proper balance to allow the golf putter 10 to be positioned in a free standing or unsupported manner.
FIG. 6 illustrates the offset putter head 44 arranged with the extended shaft 12 affixed parallel to, as opposed to collinear with, the centerline CL of the putter head 44. The offset configuration includes the alignment indicators 26 positioned parallel to each other and adjacent to the extended shaft 12. This configuration allows the player to align the golf ball along the shot path using alignment indicators 26 that are visually unobstructed by the extended shaft 12.
FIGS. 7-10 illustrates various views of the golf putter 10 adapted to include a pair of pointed or claw shaped alignment indicators 46. FIG. 7 illustrates a pair of roughly triangular alignment indicators 46 bracketing the extended shaft 12 in cooperation with the putter head 18. The alignment indicators 46 of this exemplary embodiment are integral elements of the putter head 18; alternatively, they may be manufactured as separate components adapted to engage and cooperate with the top surface 20 of the putter head 18. FIG. 8 illustrates a bottom view of the putter head 18 aligned along an imaginary line or shot path indicated by the reference letter C. The alignment indicators 46 are arranged parallel to the shot path C and extend away from the striking face 24 along parallel alignment paths generally indicated by the reference letter B. In this exemplary embodiment, each of the alignment indicators 46 extends into a point 48 that visually identifies the striking face 24 and the direction along the shot path C to the target. FIG. 9 illustrates a side view of the putter head 18 and the alignment indicator 46 detailing a curved claw portion 50 of the alignment indicator 46. The claw pointer 50 functionally provides an accurate indicator of the line or shot path C while further providing an aesthetic and recognizable symbol. FIG. 10 illustrates an overall perspective view of an alternate golf putter 62 incorporating the clawed alignment indicators 46. Similar to the golf putter 10, the claw putter 62 arranged the front face 36 of the second putter grip 30 parallel to the striking face 24 to aid aiming and alignment of the putter stroke.
FIGS. 11 and 12 illustrates an alternate embodiment of the golf putter 10 that includes a customized putter grip 64 and putter head 66. In particular, the customized putter grip 64 is molded or otherwise formed to resemble a snake tail or rattler having a plurality of ridges or scales 68. The plurality of scales 68 provide additional gripping surfaces or area that prevents the player's hand from slipping during the putting stroke. Moreover, the plurality of scales 68 may be further molded to include a distinctive color or pattern to increase the brand recognition of the golf putter 10. Similarly, the putter head 66 can be cast to resemble the head of a snake that includes scales 68a to compliment the putter grip 64. The alignment indicators 70 along the top surface 20 may be formed to resemble the protuberances found on the head of a sidewinder snake. As with the customized putter grip 64, the putter head 66 and scales 68a may be manufactured with a distinctive color scheme to resemble a desired snake or other brand theme. It will be understood that elements of other animals such as, for example, lizards or scorpions may be incorporated into the components of the golf putter 10 to convey a desired marketing message or theme. Furthermore, the shaft any other elements of the club may be configured to appear, i.e., have a scale-like or other suitable finish, consistent with the snake theme. Of course the club may be configured in other thematic motifs, including without limitation, lions/tigers, eagles/hawks, and the like.
It will be further appreciated with respect to the various embodiments of grips herein shown and described that the grips may have any suitable configuration including any grip configuration conforming with the rules of various governing bodies such as the United States Golf Association (USGA). Thus, while the grips may be shown round or square, the grips may be semi-round, semi-square, rectangular, triangular, hexagonal, octangular, or of any other configuration as selected by the manufacturer or end user of the putter. In one embodiment, the length of a back surface of the grip is maintained flat to facilitate the user swinging the club head on the intended line.
Although certain features have been described herein in accordance with the teachings of the present disclosure, the scope of coverage of this patent is not limited thereto. On the contrary, this patent covers all embodiments of the teachings of the disclosure that fairly fall within the scope of permissible equivalents.