Title:
GOLF ALIGNMENT AID
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf stroke alignment aid of particular use during putting, comprises a rectangular marker on the ball (2) and one or more similar markers on the club (2a, 2b, 2c) so as to be visible by the player from above. Each rectangular marker has a forward line of increased thickness (4, 4a, 4b, 4c) relative to that of other lines defining the rectangle. By aligning the marker(s) on the club with that on the ball improved visual alignment and visual memorising is obtained to assist in squaring the club face at impact.



Inventors:
Hegarty, Timothy James (Hawthorn East, AU)
Application Number:
11/913066
Publication Date:
08/27/2009
Filing Date:
04/21/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/351
International Classes:
A63B69/36; A63B37/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20020111232Sports gameAugust, 2002Vujcuf
20040014531Device for training the correct swing for a clubJanuary, 2004Ziener-gundersen
20050148403Level Putting DeviceJuly, 2005Fiegener et al.
20070219006DUAL-FUNCTION TABLESeptember, 2007Zajac
20090293215GOLF CLUB CLEANING PADS ATTACHABLE TO SHOESDecember, 2009Zhou
20050288134SensiballDecember, 2005Smith
20100081525BASEBALL BATApril, 2010Dobransky
20060079341A safe swinging method and device for accurate playing and training of swinging sports such as golf, baseball, hockey, cricket, tennis, racquetball, and squash.April, 2006Mansour
20060258473Putting training system and methods of using the sameNovember, 2006Khananayev
20030166423A GOLF BALL MARKER AND HOLDERSeptember, 2003Rao
20010034274Portable soccer goal apparatusOctober, 2001Tulipani et al.



Primary Examiner:
LEGESSE, NINI F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SEED INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW GROUP LLP (701 FIFTH AVE SUITE 5400, SEATTLE, WA, 98104, US)
Claims:
1. A golf ball having an alignment system, the system comprising a rectangular marker, the sides of which are defined by lines, the line defining one of the sides of the rectangle being thicker than the lines defining other sides of the rectangle, the rectangle being of such a size that the entirety of the rectangle can be viewed from above by a player with the ball in a playing position, and a direction alignment marker extending forwardly relative to the thicker line of the rectangular marker and at right angles thereto whereby when the ball is positioned with the alignment marker extending in the intended direction of the shot, the thicker line of the rectangular marker will be at the forward side of the rectangle and perpendicular to the intended direction of the shot.

2. A golf ball according to claim 1, wherein the line thickness of the line defining the said one side of the rectangle is within the range of substantially 1.8 to 2.5 mm.

3. A golf ball according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the line thickness of the lines defining said other sides of the rectangle is within the range of substantially 0.5 to 0.75 mm.

4. A golf ball according to claim 2 or claim 3, wherein the line thickness of the line defining the said one side is substantially 2.0 mm and the line thickness of the lines defining each of the other sides is substantially 0.5 mm.

5. A golf ball according to any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the rectangle is of oblong shape, with the longer sides extending at right angles to the intended direction of the shot.

6. A golf ball according to claim 5, wherein the rectangle has a length dimension as considered in the intended direction of the shot within the range of substantially 9.0 to 12.0 mm and a width dimension as considered at right angles to the intended direction of the shot of substantially 20.0 to 25.0 mm.

7. A golf ball according to claim 6, wherein the length dimension of the rectangle is substantially 11.0 mm and the width dimension is substantially 23.0 mm.

8. A golf ball according to any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the rectangle is of a square shape.

9. A golf ball according to any one of claims 1 to 8, wherein the area of the rectangle is approximately 250 mm2.

10. A golf ball according to any one of claims 1 to 9, wherein the lines are black or dark blue in colour and the interior of the rectangle bounded by the lines is white in colour.

11. A golf club having an alignment system for co-operation with that of the golf ball according to claim 1, the alignment system of the club comprising a rectangular marker visible by a player from above with the club in the address position, the sides of the rectangle being formed by lines, with the line defining one of the sides of the rectangle being thicker than the lines defining other sides of the rectangle, the rectangular marker being so arranged that the thicker line is immediately adjacent to, and parallel to, the club face when viewed from above and is forwardly of the other lines defining the rectangle, the width of the rectangular club marker as considered in a direction perpendicular to the intended direction of the shot being substantially the same as that of the rectangular ball marker as considered in the same direction.

12. A golf club according to claim 11 having a plurality of such rectangles arranged in parallel formation in a row extending at right angles to the face of the club.

13. A golf club according to claim 11 or claim 12, wherein the line thickness of the line defining the said one side of the or each rectangle is within the range of substantially 1.8 to 2.5 mm.

14. A golf club according to any one of claims 11 to 13, wherein the line thickness of the lines defining said other sides of the or each rectangle is within the range of substantially 0.5 to 0.75 mm.

15. A golf club according to claim 13 or claim 14, wherein the line thickness of the line defining the said one side is substantially 2.0 mm and the line thickness of the lines defining each of the other sides is substantially 0.5 mm.

16. A golf club according to any one of claims 11 to 15, wherein the or each rectangle is of oblong shape, with the longer sides extending at right angles to the intended direction of the shot.

17. A golf club according to claim 16, wherein the or each rectangle has a length dimension as considered in the intended direction of the shot within the range of substantially 9.0 to 12.0 mm and a width dimension as considered at right angles to the intended direction of the shot of substantially 20.0 to 25.0 mm.

18. A golf club according to claim 17, wherein the length dimension is substantially 11.0 mm and the width dimension is substantially 23.0 mm.

19. A golf club according to any one of claims 11 to 15, wherein the rectangle is of a square shape.

20. A golf club according to any one of claims 11 to 19, wherein the area of the or each rectangle is approximately 250 mm2.

21. A golf club according to any one of claims 11 to 20, wherein the lines are black or dark blue in colour and the interior of the rectangle bounded by the lines is white in colour.

22. A golf club according to any one of claims 11 to 21, wherein the or each rectangular marker is of approximately the same size as that of the ball.

23. A golf club according to any one of claims 11 to 22, wherein the club is a putter.

24. A golf club according to any one of claims 11 to 22, wherein the club is a wood.

25. A golf club according to any one of claims 11 to 22, wherein the club is an iron.

26. A golf club according to any one of claims 11 to 22, wherein the club is a utility club.

27. In combination, a golf ball according to any one of claims 1 to 10 and a golf club according to any one of claims 11 to 26.

28. In combination, a golf ball according to any one of claims 1 to 10 and a golf club according to claim 12 or any claim dependent on claim 12, wherein adjacent rectangular markers in the row are spaced by a distance approximately the same as the spacing between the forwardmost marker of the row and that of the ball when the ball is against the club face with its marker uppermost.

29. A combination according to claim 28, wherein said distance is approximately 10 mm.

30. A marker applicable to an upwardly facing surface of a golf club to provide a golf club marked as defined in any one of claims 11 to 26, the marker providing one rectangle, or a row of more than one rectangles, wherein the sides of the or each rectangle are formed by lines, with the line defining one of the sides of the rectangle being thicker than the lines defining other sides of the rectangle.

31. A stencil for producing a rectangular marker on a golf ball to provide a ball according to any one of claims 1 to 10, wherein the stencil serves to produce a rectangle formed by lines, with the lines defining one of the sides of the rectangle being thicker than the lines defining the other sides of the rectangle, and a direction alignment indicator extending forwardly at right angles to the thicker line.

32. A golf ball having a first marking for alignment with the face of a golf club, and a second marking transverse to the first marking for alignment with the intended direction of a shot.

33. A golf ball according to claim 32, wherein the first marking is a line marking arranged to extend parallel to the face of the golf club.

34. A golf ball according to claim 32, wherein the first marking includes a rectangle having a pair of opposite lines for alignment with the face of the golf club.

35. A golf ball according to claim 34, wherein the second marking includes a direction alignment marker extending perpendicularly from one of said pair of opposite lines.

36. A golf ball according to claim 35, wherein the direction alignment marker extends perpendicularly from a location substantially midway along the length of said one of the opposite lines.

37. A golf ball according to claim 35 or claim 36, wherein the direction alignment marker extends forwardly from said one of the opposite lines.

38. A golf ball according to claim 37, wherein the direction alignment marker extends forwardly from a front one of said pair of opposite lines.

39. A golf ball according to claim 38, wherein said front line is thicker than the lines defining other sides of the rectangle.

40. A golf ball according to any one of claims 34 to 39, wherein a similar rectangle is provided on the head of the golf club for alignment with the rectangle of said first linear marking.

Description:

The present invention relates to an alignment aid for use when playing golf and more particularly, but not exclusively, to an alignment aid for use when putting.

The two main requirements for a successful putt are:

    • i. the face of the putter to be square at impact; and
    • ii. the palm of the right hand (for a right-handed golfer) to move along the line of the putt after impact, albeit for a relatively brief time.

Many putts are missed due to poor alignment and/or due to the putter face not continuing on the correct line after impact. This can be compounded by the brain sending messages to the muscles to attempt to correct the misalignment and follow through.

Apart from poor alignment when putting, some golfers are afflicted by a condition known as the “yips”. The “yips” is characterised by a tentative putting stroke, often for short putts, leading to an offline putt at the wrong pace as the putt, while tentative, can also become too quick. The “yips” typically result from an inability to achieve neuromuscular control of the putting stroke and is a matter of the brain sending the “wrong” message. In neurological terms, it is an “action induced occupational dystonia”.

Many putters currently available feature alignment aids in the forms of lines or other markings on the putter head or a row of two or three discs which simulate a golf ball and which are aligned behind the actual ball. While certain of these marking systems enable reasonably good alignment to be achieved, none significantly assist in producing a square putter face at impact and on-line putts. Moreover, none of these alignment systems assists in treating the “yips”.

The present invention provides a marking of a defined form on the ball to be used in conjunction with defined markings on a putter to enable accurate alignment and on-line putts by consistently squaring the putter face at impact and which also assists in overcoming the “yips” and improves short putting. The ball thus marked may also be used in conjunction with a driving club either with or without corresponding marking to facilitate improved alignment on tee shots.

According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided a golf ball having an alignment system, the system comprising a rectangular marker, the sides of which are defined by lines, the line defining one of the sides of the rectangle being thicker than the lines defining other sides of the rectangle, the rectangle being of such a size that the entirety of the rectangle can be viewed from above by a player with the ball in a playing position, and a direction alignment marker extending forwardly relative to the thicker line of the rectangular marker and at right angles thereto whereby when the ball is positioned with the alignment marker extending in the intended direction of the shot, the thicker line of the rectangular marker will be at the forward side of the rectangle and perpendicular to the intended direction of the shot.

According to another aspect of the invention there is provided a golf club having an alignment system for co-operation with that of the golf ball defined above, the alignment system of the club comprising a rectangular marker visible by a player from above with the club in the address position, the sides of the rectangle being formed by lines, with the line defining one of the sides of the rectangle being thicker than the lines defining other sides of the rectangle, the rectangular marker being so arranged that the thicker line is immediately adjacent to, and parallel to, the club face when viewed from above and is forwardly of the other lines defining the rectangle, the width of the rectangular club marker as considered in a direction perpendicular to the intended direction of the shot being substantially the same as that of the rectangular ball marker as considered in the same direction.

Although only a single rectangular club marker would be sufficient, nevertheless if the design of the club permits it is preferred for there to be a row of two or more such markers arranged one behind the other in the direction of the shot. Each rectangular marker in the row is of substantially the same width, and hence of substantially the same width as the rectangular ball marker and each of the rectangular markers is defined by lines of which one is thicker than the others and lies at the forward side of the rectangle in the intended direction of the shot.

In a putting stroke, the ball is set up with its direction alignment marker extending forwardly in the intended direction of putt, and the putter is placed so that its rectangular marker(s) is aligned with that of the ball. The player then executes the shot while concentrating on the thicker line of the ball marker while putting.

The visualised alignment of the row of two or more rectangular markers as provided by the rectangular marker on the ball and the or each marker on the club enables accurate alignment of the club face and also assists in squaring the club face at impact and achieving an on-line follow through.

Visualising and visual memorising of planar two-dimensional images such as provided by the rectangular markers requires less cortical (brain) effort than when viewing three-dimensional objects, as a flat surface appears less complex to the visual cortex. The rectangular marking on the ball and on which the focus is made, effectively removes the spherical nature of the ball from the visual perception. Although of course the marking is applied to a spherical surface, nevertheless when viewed it has the appearance of a planar rectangle.

Specifically, the alignment system reduces cortical activity as the brain only needs to attain a representation of a few simple planar shapes which are easier to visualise and remember than flat to 3-D shapes. Not only does this assist in squaring the face at impact with an on-line follow through, it also assists in overcoming the “yips” as there is less confusion and the brain does not send the “wrong” message. In other words, the neurophysiology involves the visual cortex and visual memory and bypasses the dysfunctional motor pathways thought to be responsible for the “yips”, as the dimensions, number, and positioning of the rectangles are easily recognised by the visual cortex and are retained for the duration of the shot.

By concentrating on the thicker line of the rectangular ball marker, no or only minimal, optical illusion is experienced. In this regard it is well known and documented that optical illusions occur with round objects which have patterns on them. By staring at a golf ball, the pattern of the dimples can give an illusion of rotation and this may cause hesitation and uncertainty with the putting stroke with the possibility of a poor, jerky, putting action. By focusing on the thicker, solid, forward side of the rectangle it has been determined that the optical illusion of ball rotation disappears or at least is considerably diminished.

It is preferred that the rectangles are defined by two pairs of lines of unequal length and thereby of oblong shape with the two longer sides being oriented at right angles to the intended line of the shot whereby each rectangle is elongate in its width-wise direction. Accordingly, the thicker line in the rectangular ball and club markers will be the forward one of the two longer lines. This facilitates the setting up of the markers on the club which might have only limited depth for placement of the markers. However, the rectangular markers could alternatively be defined by sides of equal length and thereby of square shape.

The alignment system also has applicability to tee shots. In particular, the upper surface of the head of a driving “wood” or a so-called utility club may carry the row of rectangular markers but even absent that, an unmarked driving club can be used in conjunction with the ball played off the tee by aligning the bottom edge of the club with the thicker long edge of the rectangular ball marker. Likewise the upper edge of an iron could carry a single rectangular marker for use when the club is played off the tee.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention, there is provided a golf ball having a first marking for alignment with the face of a golf club, and a second marking transverse to the first marking for alignment with the intended direction of a shot.

Preferably, the first marking is a line marking arranged to extend parallel to the face of the golf club. More preferably, the first marking includes a rectangle having a pair of opposite lines for alignment with the face of the golf club. Even more preferably, the second marking includes a direction alignment marker extending perpendicularly from one of said pair of opposite lines. In one form, the direction alignment marker extends perpendicularly from a location substantially midway along the length of said one of the opposite lines. Preferably, the direction alignment marker extends forwardly from said one of the opposite lines.

In a preferred example, the direction alignment marker extends forwardly from a front one of said pair of opposite lines. It is preferred that the front line is thicker than the lines defining other sides of the rectangle.

Preferably, a similar rectangle is provided on the head of the golf club for alignment with the rectangle of said first linear marking. In the case of irons, the similar rectangle may be provided on the face of the iron.

Preferred embodiments of the invention will be now be further described by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a plan view showing a golf ball and putter each having an alignment system in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 shows schematically the rectangular marker as used on the ball and the club;

FIG. 3 is a plan view similar to FIG. 1 but shown applied to a different form of putter; and

FIG. 4 is a plan view showing the ball used in conjunction with a “wood” carrying the alignment system.

With reference to FIG. 1 there is shown the ball with its rectangular marker 2 with the thicker forward edge 4, and a direction alignment marker 6 extending forwardly from the edge 4 at right angles thereto from the centre of that edge. The interior of the rectangle 2 on the ball carries no markings and has the same colour as that of the remainder of the ball. The lines defining the rectangle 2 and alignment marker 6 are preferably of dark blue or black and which on a white object with a basic background of green are clearly and comfortably adopted by the visual cortex.

The particular putter shown has a row of three rectangular markers 2a, 2b, 2c similar to that of the ball, with the thicker edge 4a, 4b, 4c being at the front and parallel to the face of the putter. The edge 4a of the forward rectangle 2a of the row is immediately adjacent the plane of the putter face. Depending on the design of the putter it may have less than or more than three rectangles but it is envisaged that no more than four should be provided as the brain would then start to encounter difficulties in comfortably retaining images of all of the rectangular markers which would then be present. The lines defining each rectangle are coloured as previously discussed in relation to that on the ball and the interior of each rectangle is preferably white.

The rectangles on the ball and club are of the same width (as considered in a direction at right angles to direction of the shot) but are not necessarily all of exactly the same length (as considered in the direction of the shot). For the rectangles on the club, to an extent their length and spacing will depend on the detailed design of the club itself and it will be seen that in the particular putter shown in FIG. 1 the length of the leading rectangle 2a has to be adapted to sit within the depth of the upper edge of the club immediately behind the front face whereas the other two rectangular markers are on a lower surface rearwardly of the face and are not thereby subject to an inherent length restriction. Nevertheless to avoid confusing visual images, it is preferred that the rectangular markers on the ball and club are approximately of uniform size and have an approximately uniform spacing so that the distance between the ball rectangle 2 and forward club rectangle 2a (in the address position) is approximately the same as that between rectangles 2a and 2b, and 2b and 2c. The longitudinal spacing between the rectangles is preferably about 10 mm.

The size of the rectangles is principally determined by the size of a rectangle which can clearly be viewed on the ball. Based on golf industry research in relation to the optimum size of logos for imprinting onto the dimpled spherical surface of golf balls to achieve a sharp image, it has been determined that the best results are achieved when the length (l) of the rectangle is 11 mm and the width (w) is 23 mm, making an area of 253 mm2 which equates with that which is considered to be ideal for a logo according to industry research; accordingly it may be said that the preferred area will be approximately 250 mm2. However variations are possible and the table below defines with reference to FIG. 2 preferred ranges and optimum sizes for the rectangles on the ball and the club together with thicknesses of the lines defining the rectangles. It is to be noted that the line thickness A for the thicker forward side of the rectangle is a significant factor in preventing optical illusion.

TABLE
Optimum (mm)Range (mm)
Dimensions of rectangles:
l11.0 9.0-12.0
w23.020.0-25.0
Line thickness:
A2.01.8-2.5
B0.5 0.5-0.75

In use, the ball is set up with the direction alignment marker 6 aimed in the direction of the putt and the putter is then aligned by aligning its rectangular markers 2a, 2b, 2c with that, 2, of the ball. When ready to putt, the player concentrates solely on the thicker leading line 4 of the ball rectangle 2 and then makes the stroke. The combination of the rectangular markers and the visual memory process results in an action similar to bringing two flat surfaces together and provides a more accurate putting line than does bringing a flat surface into contact with a perceived round surface.

FIG. 3 shows the alignment system applied to a smaller headed putter with only two rectangular markers.

FIG. 4 illustrates the alignment system consisting of two rectangular markers applied to the top surface of a “wood” for improved alignment when driving from the tee. However, as previously mentioned, it is not essential in that mode for the club itself to carry the markers, although that is preferred; satisfactory alignment for the purposes of a tee shot can be achieved by setting up the shot with the bottom edge of the club aligned with the forward side of the rectangle on the ball.

It will be understood that the alignment system can also be applied to the head of an iron or a so-called utility club, for use when driving from the tee. In the case of an iron, just a single marker will be applied to the upper edge of the head, whereas utility clubs will normally have a top surface which would permit application of a row or two or possibly three markers.

The alignment system can be applied to the ball either during manufacture or post-manufacture by printing in the same way that customised logos are printed onto balls post-manufacture. Alternatively the alignment system could be applied to the ball using an appropriate part-spherical stencil and a permanent marker pen or similar. The rectangular markers on the club head (particularly in the case of a putter) can be incorporated at the time of manufacture or alternatively can be supplied as a self-adhesive cut-out for application to an existing putter head possibly in conjunction with a suitable template for accurate alignment during placement of the marker. This would be the preferred option in the case of a wood, utility club or iron.

The embodiments have been described by way of example only and modifications are possible within the scope of the invention. For example, although the front line of the rectangle is described as being thicker than the lines defining other sides of the rectangle, it will be understood that this may not always be the case in other forms of the invention in which, for example, a rear line of the rectangle may (also) be thicker than lines defining other sides of the rectangle. Also, although the direction alignment marker is described as extending forwardly relative to the thicker line of the rectangle, in other examples it may extend rearwardly relative to the thicker line (instead of or in addition to extending forwardly of the thicker line).