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The present invention relates to a putter-type golf club. More specifically, the present invention relates to a putter-type golf club that embodies a means of alignment to aid the golfer in judging direction when making a putting stroke in combination with a method of insertion of the neck of the golf club into the head of the golf club to further assist the golfer in judging the length and pace of the putting stroke.
One aspect of the present invention is a putter-type golf club head with a deep alignment channel. This channel is approximately the same width as a standard golf ball, and, according to a preferred embodiment, this channel is black or dark in colour so as to contrast with the white or light colour of the golf ball and with a border on its perimeter. The depth of the alignment channel, running from the face to the rear of the club head, should preferably be of sufficient length to create a visual impression to the golfer of the ball being ‘scooped’ in between the white or light-coloured border into the back of the illusory channel/cavity. This will provide the golfer with unique assistance in terms of aligning the puffer to the target at address, stroke and follow-through, and also in judging the strength required in the stroke action.
The alignment channel has a white or light-coloured border on its perimeter, save for where the alignment channel abuts the face of the putter head. This is to visually create an illusory ball ‘scoop’ catchment area. The alignment channel and border may contrast by colour, tone, relief, texture, finish or a combination of the above.
Another aspect of the present invention is the interaction of the neck of the putter with the head of the putter. The neck of the putter-type golf club is the interaction between the shaft of the club and the head of the club. It is normal for the neck to connect with the head of a putter-type club vertically on to the top of the head. In the present invention, the neck is inserted laterally through the side of the head of the putter, such that it runs parallel to the face of the putter head and for substantially the length of the putter head. The neck then connects at its other end with the shaft of the club.
This method of connection of the neck to the club head and shaft will provide the golfer with direct feedback upon contact with the golf ball through the face of the club head, to the neck, the shaft and then to the grip at the top of the shaft and to the golfer's hands. This will improve significantly the golfer's ability, over the traditional method of connection of the neck to the club head, to gauge the distance and pace of the golf shot.
In making golf shots, and this is particularly true of putting shots, the golfer is interested in attaining the optimum “feel” from the golf club. “Feel” is based on a combination of factors, but generally the better the “feel”, the more likely the golfer's ability to judge direction and distance in his/her shot. The present invention optimises “feel” by combining its unique alignment channel, with the unique neck insertion into the putter head, and with a number of other factors. These factors include the putter head being manufactured from aluminium. Aluminium is a softer material than, for example, stainless steel, which, in a preferred embodiment, is the material from which the shaft and neck are manufactured. The result of this combination of materials is that “feel” or “feedback” is better transmitted to the golfer's hands rather than it being dispersed evenly throughout the club head as is the case if only one material is used.
Another factor embodied in the present invention that helps to optimise “feel” is the insertion of a rear weight disc into the putter head. In a preferred embodiment, the rear weight disc is manufactured from nickel, or from any other material that is denser than aluminium, which serves to balance the aluminium putter head with a near 50/50 front/rear weight distribution. Small nickel inserts are also added to the “arms” or “wings” to minimise the torque effects of off-centre hits, and to improve the stability and balance of the putter head. The present invention also incorporates through-holes that run parallel to the face of the putter head and are located between the neck insertion and the rear disc insertion. In a preferred embodiment there are three through-holes, equidistant and on the same horizontal axis. These are to further emphasise the weighting towards the front and rear extremes, to afford so-called “forgiveness”.
When these factors are combined the weight of the putter head is concentrated in a long line along the alignment channel, and thereby along the axis of the putting stroke path. This can be contrasted with a more laterally weighted traditional “blade” putter head which is more disposed to allowing lateral movement during the stroke, thereby increasing the chances of a ‘mis-cued’ shot.
A further feature of the present invention is that the face of the putter head is lowered at the lateral ends of the face to create stepped “arms” or “wings”. This result is to expose the central alignment portion such that it is raised relative to the lateral ends of the face of the putter head. This exposed, relatively narrow portion of the face forces the golfer to concentrate on ensuring this portion makes contact with the golf ball, and thus encourages the golfer to keep his/her head down throughout the complete stroke.
The present invention can be assembled for a right-handed or left-handed golfer without any further mirrored parts, by simply inserting the neck in the relevant lateral end of the club head.
The features of the invention will be apparent from the attached drawings and descriptions of a preferred embodiment.
FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a putter head used on a right-handed golf putter embodying the invention, illustrating the illusory ‘cavity’ effect of the alignment channel and its contrasting border, during a golf stroke.
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of a putter head used on a right-handed golf putter embodying the invention.
FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of the golf putter in FIG. 2 taken from the direction of arrow A in FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of the golf putter in FIG. 2 taken from the direction of arrow B in FIG. 2.
FIG. 5 is a rear elevational view of the golf putter in FIG. 2.
FIG. 6 is a bottom plan view of the golf putter in FIG. 2.
FIG. 7 is a side elevational view of the golf putter in FIG. 2 taken from the direction of arrow C in FIG. 2.
This embodiment provides for a putter-type golf club, and more particularly for a means of alignment situated on the crown of the head of the putter 1 and a means of insertion of the neck of the putter 2 into the head of the putter 1.
In this embodiment an alignment channel 3 is black or dark in colour with a white or light coloured border 4 on the perimeter of the alignment channel save for where the alignment channel 3 abuts the face 5 of the head 1. This is so that there are no visual ‘interruptions’ or barriers destroying the illusion of an opening at the face 5 into the alignment channel 3.
The neck of the putter 2 is inserted into the head 1 laterally behind and parallel to the face 5. In a right-handed embodiment of the putter (i.e. for a right-handed golfer) the neck 2 is inserted at the lateral side of the head (marked 6 in FIG. 2). The neck 2 extends parallel to the face 5 for substantially the width of the alignment channel 3 and its border 4 such that it is flush with the lateral side of the head (marked 7 in FIG. 2). The communication of the neck 2 with the lateral side 7 is illustrated as point 8 in FIG. 7.
In a left-handed embodiment of the putter (i.e. for a left-handed golfer) the neck 2 is inserted at lateral side 7 and extends parallel to the face 5 such that it communicates with lateral side 6 in a manner illustrated by point 8 in FIG. 7.
The neck 2 connects to the shaft of the club at point 9 in FIG. 4.
In this preferred embodiment the putter head 1 is manufactured from a material such as aluminium which is softer than, for example, stainless steel, which is the material from which the neck 2 and shaft of the club are both made. There is also a rear weight disc 10 inserted into the putter head 1. This can be inserted via a slip-fit and retained using an adhesive, as it is with this preferred embodiment. This rear weight disc 10 is manufactured from nickel, or from any other material that is denser than aluminium. Small nickel inserts 11, or those made from any other material that is denser than aluminium, are also added to the “arms” or “wings” 12 of the putter head. These can also be inserted and retained in a manner similar to with rear disc weight 10.
The head 1 may also incorporate through-holes 13 that run parallel to the face 5 of the putter head 1. These can be of any diameter, spacing and number. In this preferred embodiment, the through-holes 13 are located between the point at which the neck 2 is inserted and the location of the rear weight disc 10. The through-holes 13 should all be on the same horizontal axis.
The preferred embodiment also incorporates “arms” or “wings” 12 at the lateral ends of the face 5. This exposes the central alignment portion 14 which is approximately the width of a standard golf ball and which is now raised relative to the two ends of the face 5 via substantially right-angled ‘steps’ in relation to the “arms” or “wings” 12. The height difference between the central alignment portion 14 measured from the crown of the putter head 1 vertically along the edge towards an “arm” or “wing” 12 to the horizontal plane of the ‘step’ shall be greater than three millimetres. These ‘steps’ can be either negative with the “arms” or “wings” 12 positioned higher than the central alignment portion 14, or positive with the central alignment portion 14 positioned higher than the “arms” or “wings” 12, as with this preferred embodiment.
FIG. 6 illustrates the underside of the putter head 1. The chamfers extending from the face 5 and from the opposite edge leading to form a small rectangle or square 15 which is the part of the putter head 1 that rests on the ground reduce ‘scuffing’ or the catching of the putter head 1 with the ground when the golfer is making his/her stroke. The rear weight disc 10 ensures a near 50/50 front/rear weight distribution such that the head is balanced in the horizontal axis when pivoted at the centre of the putter head 1 when excluding a shaft.