Title:
Putting Green
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Disclosed are various embodiments of artificial golf putting greens. In one embodiment, a base assembly comprising a flexible solid base material, the base assembly having a substantially planar top surface, a substantially planar bottom surface, and an outer perimeter that tapers from the top surface to an outer edge of the bottom surface; a putting surface that covers the substantially planar top surface of the base assembly; and a fringe that covers the tapered outer perimeter of the base assembly.



Inventors:
Knox, John (St. Augustine, FL, US)
Application Number:
12/354882
Publication Date:
07/16/2009
Filing Date:
01/16/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/282, 473/162
International Classes:
A63B69/36
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GRAHAM, MARK S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
THOMAS, KAYDEN, HORSTEMEYER & RISLEY, LLP (600 GALLERIA PARKWAY, S.E., STE 1500, ATLANTA, GA, 30339-5994, US)
Claims:
Therefore, at least the following is claimed:

1. A golf putting green comprising: a base assembly comprising a flexible solid base material, the base assembly having a substantially planar top surface, a substantially planar bottom surface, and an outer perimeter that tapers from the top surface to an outer edge of the bottom surface; a putting surface that covers the substantially planar top surface of the base assembly; and a fringe that covers the tapered outer perimeter of the base assembly.

2. The golf putting green of claim 1, wherein the base assembly is hidden from view when covered by the putting surface and the fringe.

3. The golf putting green of claim 1, wherein the base assembly comprises a plurality of base panels mechanically fastened together, the base panels comprising the flexible solid base material, where the base panels around the outer perimeter of the base assembly are tapered from the top surface to the outer edge of the bottom surface.

4. The golf putting green of claim 3, wherein the base panels are mechanically fastened together by engagement tabs.

5. The golf putting green of claim 3, wherein at least one of the plurality of base panels includes an opening configured to receive a cup and the putting surface includes a corresponding opening.

6. The golf putting green according to claim 3, wherein a securing device is inserted through adjacent base panels to keep them from separating.

7. The golf putting green of claim 3, wherein the base panels around the outer perimeter of the golf putting green are machined into different shapes and sizes.

8. The golf putting green of claim 1, wherein the putting surface and the fringe comprise synthetic turf.

9. The golf putting green according to claim 1 wherein the taper of the outer perimeter of the base assembly has a width in a range of about 4 to about 10 inches.

10. The golf putting green of claim 1, wherein a height differential between the putting surface and the fringe keeps balls on the putting surface.

11. The golf putting green of claim 1, wherein the putting surface includes artificial grass of a plurality of colors, the artificial grass inlaid into the putting surface to create a logo or design.

12. The golf putting green of claim 1, further comprising a contour pad placed under the base assembly to provide a contour in the putting surface.

13. The golf putting green of claim 12, further comprising a plurality of contour pads stacked under the base assembly to provide a contour in the putting surface.

14. The golf putting green of claim 12, wherein the contour pad can be moved to change the contour in the putting surface.

15. The golf putting green of claim 1, wherein the flexible solid base material comprises a beaded material selected from the group consisting of polypropylene, polyethylene, polystyrene, interpolymers, and combinations thereof.

16. The golf putting green of claim 1, wherein the golf putting green can be assembled and disassembled without the use of tools.

17. The golf putting green of claim 1, wherein the golf putting green is portable.

18. The golf putting green of claim 1, further comprising a golf putter display rack.

19. The golf putting green of claim 1, wherein the golf putting green comprises a material that enables the golf putting green to be used indoors or outdoors.

20. The golf putting green of claim 1, wherein the flexible solid base material is porous.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to copending U.S. provisional application entitled “IMPROVED PUTTING GREEN” having Ser. No. 61/021,544, filed Jan. 16, 2008, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

Most people that play golf would like to own their own golf putting green that they would use for practice, entertainment, or display purposes. Simulating the look, feel, and/or performance of a natural grass putting green enhances the desirability of the putting green.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Many aspects of the present disclosure can be better understood with reference to the following drawings. The components in the drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon clearly illustrating the principles of the present disclosure. Moreover, in the drawings, like reference numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the several views.

FIG. 1 is an exemplary embodiment of an artificial golf putting green according to one embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the artificial golf putting green of FIG. 1 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIG. 3 illustrates an exemplary embodiment of the base assembly of FIG. 2 formed out of beaded material according to one embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIG. 4 illustrates the use of an underlayment to add contours to the artificial golf putting green of FIG. 1 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIG. 5 is an illustration of an exemplary base panel of the base assembly of FIG. 2 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIG. 6 is an illustration of an exemplary perimeter base panel of the base assembly of FIG. 2 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure;

FIG. 7 is an exemplary embodiment of the base assembly of the artificial golf putting green of FIG. 1 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure; and

FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of a cup in the artificial golf putting green of FIG. 1 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Disclosed herein are various embodiments of artificial golf putting greens. More particularly, one embodiment of the artificial golf putting green includes an interlocking, flexible substructure made from solid porous panels and a surface of artificial grass and fringe that all together closely mimic the look, feel, and performance of a natural grass putting green. Reference will now be made in detail to the description of the embodiments as illustrated in the drawings, wherein like reference numbers indicate like parts throughout the several views.

Artificial golf putting greens can include a putting surface supported by a base assembly. FIG. 1 is an exemplary embodiment of an artificial golf putting green 100 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure. The embodiment of FIG. 1 includes a putting surface 110 surrounded by a fringe 120, both of which are supported by a base assembly 150 (not shown). In one embodiment, the base assembly includes a tapered perimeter under the fringe 120 to provide a gradual transition between the putting surface 110 and the surrounding area. The putting surface 110 includes one or more cups 130. In some embodiments, a logo 140 may be included on the putting surface 110. Cups 130 are preferably regulation practice green cups. Cups 130 may be outfitted with removable cup markers including a rod, flag and ball lifter. Any number of cups 130 can be included in any number of locations.

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the artificial golf putting green 100 of FIG. 1 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure. As shown in FIG. 2, the base assembly 150 supports the putting surface 110 and the fringe 120. In one embodiment, the base assembly is hidden from view underneath the artificial grass and/or synthetic turf fringe 120 and artificial grass and/or synthetic turf putting surface 110 enabling the disclosed putting green 100 to resemble a natural putting green. Because of the nature of the tapered edge and the positioning of the artificial grass surfaces, the base assembly 150 is not viewable once the putting green 100 is constructed.

Around the perimeter of the base assembly 150 exists a taper extending from a substantially planar top surface 220 of the base assembly 150 towards a substantially planar bottom surface 230 of the base assembly 150. The taper allows a user to walk onto the putting green 100 without having to step over a lip or bumper, thus eliminating a trip hazard. The tapered edge also aids in the appearance of the putting green 100. The putting green 100 will appear to rise out of the floor (or other support surface or substrate) creating a more realistic appearance. In some embodiments, the taper extends to the bottom surface 230 of the base assembly. In other embodiments, such as in FIG. 2, the taper extends to an outer edge 240 of the bottom surface 230 of the base assembly. The outer edge 240 may be squared off (as illustrated in FIG. 2), rounded off, or angled off at a greater angle than the taper to provide additional strength to the outer edge 240. In some embodiments, the height of the outer edge 240 is in the range of about 0.125 inch to about 0.5 inch. In other embodiments, the height of the outer edge 240 can go up to two inches (e.g., when squared off).

The width of the taper 250 may extend from the top surface 220 to the bottom surface 230 and/or outer edge 240 in a range of about 4 to about 18 inches. In other embodiments, the width of the taper 250 may extend in a range of about 4 to about 12 inches. In one embodiment, the width of the taper 250 may extend in a range of about 4 to about 10 inches. In another embodiment, the width of the taper 250 may extend in a range of about 7 to about 10 inches. In some embodiments, the taper width 250 may be constant around the whole perimeter of the base assembly 150. In other embodiments, the taper width 250 may vary around the perimeter of the base assembly 150. For example, in one embodiment, the taper width 250 may vary based upon the curvature of the perimeter (e.g., curvatures having a smaller radius will have a smaller taper width).

The fringe 120 produces a barrier around the putting surface 110 that will keep a ball from rolling off the putting surface 110 when propelled. The use of an artificial grass and/or synthetic turf fringe 120 and an artificial grass and/or synthetic turf putting surface 110 also improves the appearance of the disclosed putting green 100, enabling it to resemble a natural putting green. A height differential 210 between the surface of the fringe 120 and the surface of the putting surface 110 may be in the range of about 0.5 to about 3 inches will keep putted golf balls on the surface of the putting green. In other embodiments, the height differential 210 may be in the range of about 0.75 to about 2 inches. In one embodiment, a height differential 210 in the range of about 1 to about 1.5 inches is used.

In one embodiment, the base assembly 150 can include multiple flexible, porous solid panels, which are connected together to provide the base for the playing surface. In other embodiments, the base assembly may be a single panel. At least one panel will have an opening in the top surface 220 suitable to receive a cup 130, which is adapted to receive golf balls. Resilient solid base materials that allow for a lightweight, flexible, breathable, and drainable (e.g., porous) base assembly 150 may be utilized to form the base panels. In some embodiments, the base panels are formed out of beaded materials, which can enhance flexibility and drainage. Base materials can include, but are not limited to, polypropylene, polyethylene, polystyrene, and combinations thereof. In addition, interpolymers such as, but not limited to, ARCEL® and Piocelan® may be utilized as base materials.

FIG. 3 illustrates an exemplary embodiment of the base assembly 150 of FIG. 2 formed out of beaded material. The porosity of the base assembly 150 allows for water drainage and breathability so the putting green 100 can be used indoors and/or outdoors over different types of substrates. The ability to allow liquids 310 to pass through the base assembly 150 allows it to be used outdoors in wet climates or locations where water is used. In addition, the beaded construction also allows the putting green 100 to breath. For example, a putting green 100 may be used on cool hard floors or on warm decks or patios. The heat and cold (e.g., hot and cold gases and/or vapors) are able to pass through 320 the base assembly 150 without affecting the playability of the putting green 100. The flexibility also allows the golf putting green 100 to mimic the substrate that the putting green 100 rests on.

In addition, using flexible base materials allows for a more realistic feel underfoot and provides the ability to add more realistic contours to the putting surface 110 to resemble natural grass putting greens. For example, an underlayment may be utilized to add realistic contours to the putting surface 110. FIG. 4 illustrates the use of an underlayment 410 to add contours to the putting green 100 of FIG. 1 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure. In the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 4, the underlayment 410 may be contour pads 420 that are layered in a “topographical map” type of design. The use of this type of layered pad arrangement allows the base assembly 150 to smoothly conform to the underlayment 410 and eliminates the hollow areas that are formed under the putting surface 110 when contour pads 420 are placed between the base assembly 150 and the putting surface 110. One or more contour pads 420 may be shaped and/or stacked to the desired height to produce the desired contour shape. In addition, the position, number, and/or ordering of the contour pads 420 can be varied to create different contoured areas for the same putting green 100. Contour pads 420 may be made from pieces of woven polypropylene, geotextile materials, or other appropriate material. In other embodiments, the underlayment 410 may be a single contour pad with a varying thickness, which is placed under the base assembly 150 to produce a desired contour. The contour of FIG. 4 is merely illustrative of the contours or undulations that can be formed in the putting surface 110. These contours can be formed such that the player can practice left to right breaks, right to left breaks, uphill putts, downhill putts, or any combinations.

The use of resilient solid base materials also allows for the customization of the base assembly 150 of the putting green 100. An unlimited amount of shapes and sizes may be utilized to provide unique or standardized artificial golf putting greens. Also, the flexibility in the types of shapes incorporated into the design allows for a free-flowing realistic design that can be molded to meet the surroundings, and not the forced unattractive shapes that molded greens incorporate into their designs.

Embodiments of the base assembly 150 may include multiple flexible, porous solid panels, which are connected together in a grid to form the desired shape of the putting green 100. FIG. 5 is an illustration of an exemplary base panel 500 of the base assembly 150 of FIG. 2 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure. The exemplary base panel 500 of FIG. 5 is a square panel with a substantially planar top surface 520 and a substantially planar bottom surface 530. While the panel size may vary between embodiments, the panels may have a length and width in the range of about one to about four feet and a thickness in the range of about one to about four inches. In the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 5, the panels 500 have a length and width of about two feet and a thickness of about two inches. The dimensions of base panels may vary based upon application and manufacturing requirements and/or restrictions. Other geometric shapes such as, but not limited to, hexagons and octagons may be utilized for other embodiments of the base panel.

Upper engagement tabs 540 and lower engagement tabs 550 alternate around the perimeter of the base panel 500 to provide a fastening mechanism for connecting base panels 500 together to form the base assembly 150. In the embodiment of FIG. 5, the engagement tabs 540 and 550 are rectangular and arranged with three tabs on each side of the base panel 500. Different numbers and arrangements of tabs may be utilized in other embodiments. In other embodiments, the narrow ends of the engagement tabs may be angled or rounded from the inside edge of the tab, which is attached to the core of the panel, to the outer edge of the tab (or the perimeter of the base panel) to aid in assembly. Other fastening mechanisms for connecting base panels together may be utilized. For example, the embodiment of FIG. 3 illustrates two base panels connected together using a V-shaped tongue and groove arrangement.

In some embodiments, the base panels 500 may be held together based upon a friction fit between the engagement tabs 540 and 550. Alternatively, dimples, raised bumps, recesses, and/or ridges may be included on the contacting faces of the engagement tabs 540 and 550 to hold the base panels together. In other embodiments, a securing device such as, but not limited to, dowels, screws, nails, or pins may be utilized to secure adjacent base panels 500 together. In the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 5, alignment holes are provided in the engagement tabs 540 and 550 to allow dowels or T-pins to be inserted. This can allow the base panels 500 to be assembled and disassembled without the use of tools.

The solid nature of the panels allows the panels to be machined or molded for an unlimited combination of shapes and sizes. The base panels used around the outside perimeter of the green are tapered from the top surface to the bottom surface that will create a ramp up to the putting surface allowing the user of the putting green to enter and exit the putting green without having to step up over a lip or bumper extending above the putting surface. FIG. 6 is an illustration of an exemplary perimeter base panel 600 of the base assembly 150 of FIG. 2 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure. In the embodiment of FIG. 6, a base panel 500 has been machined to provide a semi-circular perimeter base panel 600. In other embodiments, the taper 610 may be machined or molded into the perimeter base panel 600 to provide a transition between the putting surface and the surrounding surface. While width of the taper 610 may vary as previously described, the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 6 has a taper width of about 8 inches. Perimeter base panels may be connected in the same fashion as described for base panels 500.

As noted, an unlimited combination of shapes and sizes of perimeter panels may be utilized. For example, a grid of base panels 500 may be laid out and a desired shape of a putting green 100 may be superimposed on the grid of panels. FIG. 7 is an exemplary embodiment of the base assembly 150 of the artificial golf putting green 100 of FIG. 1 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure. As can be seen in FIG. 7, the desired shape of the putting green 100 determines the shape and location of the perimeter base panels. The perimeter panels may then be machined to provide the shape and taper (e.g., perimeter panel 600 with taper 610) needed to produce the desired putting green shape. When assembled, the perimeter base panels provide a tapered area around the outer edge of the base assembly 150. The center section of the base assembly is made up of unmodified base panels 500. As can be understood from the exemplary embodiment of FIG. 7, the shape and size of the perimeter panels will vary based upon the desired putting green shape and the layout on the grid of panels.

At least one base panel 590 and/or perimeter panel 690 will have an opening 710 suitable for receiving a cup 130 (FIG. 1) adapted to receive golf balls. A base panel 500 may be molded or machined with the opening 710 at a desired location in the top surface 520 (FIG. 5) suitable for receiving the cup 130. FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of a cup 130 in the artificial golf putting green 100 of FIG. 1 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure. In the embodiment of FIG. 8, the opening 710 extends from the top surface 520 to the bottom surface 530 of the base panel 500.

Cup 130 is preferably a regulation practice green cups that measure 10.16 cm high and 10.8 cm wide. However, in alternative embodiments, the height and width of the cups 130 may be varied. The cup 130 is held in place by the walls of the opening. The size of opening 710 is adapted to the size of cup 130. In some embodiments, the sides of the opening 710 may be tapered to provide a secure fit for the inserted cup 130. In some embodiments, the putting surface 110 folds into the opening and is held in place by the cup 130. Also shown on FIG. 7 is a cup marker 810. The cup marker 810 may be placed in the cup 130 to lift balls putted into cup 130. Cup marker 810 can include a base, rod, and flag. In one embodiment, the cup marker 810 consists of a cast iron base, fiberglass rod, and plastic flag.

The assembled base assembly 150 provides support for the putting surface 110 and fringe 120 as described for FIG. 1. In one embodiment, the putting surface 110 and fringe 120 are artificial grass and/or synthetic turf, which provides a more natural and realistic look to the putting green 100. In general, the putting surface 110 and fringe 120 are formed into a single unit which, when in position, covers the base assembly 150. Because of the nature of the tapered edge along the perimeter of the base assembly 150, the base material is not viewable once the putting green 100 is constructed.

Logos 140 (FIG. 1) and/or designs may also be included on the putting surface 110 and/or the fringe 120. Colored yarns and/or synthetic turf can by used to create a design or pattern, which can allow the putting green to be used for, e.g., marketing and promotional purposes or to demonstrate support for a sports team or other cause. For example, a logo 140 or design can be created in the putting surface by inlaying synthetic/artificial turf, which has been extruded in the colors of the logo or design. The colored synthetic/artificial turf is cut (e.g., by a laser) and glued together to form the logo 140 or design. The putting surface 110 is cut to receive the logo 140 or design in the desired location. The logo 140 or design replaces the material cut away from the putting surface 110 to form a contiguous surface. The logo 140 or design is attached to the remaining putting surface 110 so that a ball rolls smoothly across the logo 140 or design when propelled across the putting surface 110.

Alternatively, synthetic/artificial turf of the putting surface 110 may be dyed or painted to provide the color of the logo 140 or design on the putting surface 110. For example, ink jet printing may be utilized to dye the logo 140 or design directly onto the putting surface 110. Dying or painting the putting surface 110 allows the logo 140 and/or design to be added without cutting and gluing of the putting surface 110.

In other embodiments, logos and designs may be added to the fringe 120 using the same methods described above. In addition, different and/or contrasting colors and patterns may be used for the putting surface 110 and fringe 120 to aid in drawing attention to the putting green 100.

In some embodiments, a golf putter display rack may also be included in the artificial golf putting green 100. The display rack may include a frame of wood, metal, plastic, or other suitable material that is secured to the putting green 100. In one embodiment, openings are provided in the base assembly to receive and support the display rack. The display rack may be suitable for supporting one or more clubs. For example, the display rack may include one or more cradles into which the club handle rests when on display.

An artificial golf putting green 100 can be assembled by fitting the base panels 500 together in a specified grid pattern to form the base assembly 150. In one embodiment, the base panels 500 are numbered to indicate appropriate placement within the grid pattern. In some embodiments, the base panels are further secured in position using dowels, screws, nails, or pins. Next, the putting surface 110 and fringe 120 is placed over the base assembly 150, making sure that openings in the putting surface 110 align with the base assembly openings for receiving cups 130. The cups 130 are then inserted through the putting surface openings and into the base assembly openings. Contours may be produced by adding an underlayment 410 (FIG. 4) under the base assembly 150.

During use of the assembled putting green 100, a player may stand and move about on the putting surface 110, hitting golf balls toward cups 130. When the player misses the cup 130, the golf ball is prevented from falling off by the height differential 210 (FIG. 2) between the putting surface 110 and the fringe 120. Cup markers 810 may be left in cups 130 when the player wishes to use a cup marker to lift balls out of cup. Contours allow a user to simulate breaking putts encountered on real natural putting greens.

It should be emphasized that the above-described embodiments of the present disclosure are merely possible examples of implementations set forth for a clear understanding of the principles of the disclosure. Many variations and modifications may be made to the above-described embodiment(s) without departing substantially from the spirit and principles of the disclosure. All such modifications and variations are intended to be included herein within the scope of this disclosure and protected by the following claims.