Title:
Golf Ball Having Alignment Markings to Correct for Eye Dominance
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf ball having visual markings on its surface visible to the golfer during initial alignment of the ball to the target line and during the stroke, the visual markings being a pair of non-parallel straight lines, preferably joined at one end to form a narrow V-shape. At least one line provides a perception correction for misalignment issues caused by eye dominance.



Inventors:
Hueber, David B. (Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, US)
Application Number:
13/445387
Publication Date:
10/18/2012
Filing Date:
04/12/2012
Assignee:
HUEBER DAVID B.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B37/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20020045489Playing surface substrate, in particular turf matsApril, 2002Burns
20070135232TRADITIONAL PUTTER WITH ELEVATED MASSJune, 2007Billings
20020144919Box for storing golf ball and practicing puttingOctober, 2002Li-wen
20080085793ARROW VIBRATION DAMPENING APPARATUSApril, 2008Palomaki et al.
20050153784Training aid for golfersJuly, 2005Burgin
20050049070Golf putting practice apparatusMarch, 2005Lee et al.
20030032491Golf course and method of playing golfFebruary, 2003Graham
20090239689LACROSSE STICK SHAFT HAVING A PLURALITY OF CAVITIES THEREINSeptember, 2009Baxter et al.
20030236140Sports target and training aidDecember, 2003Alford
20080242442GOLF CLUB HEAD WITH VARYING FACE GROOVESOctober, 2008Gilbert et al.
20040097304Flexible football teeMay, 2004Sharp



Primary Examiner:
GORDEN, RAEANN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROGERS TOWERS, P.A. (1301 RIVERPLACE BOULEVARD, SUITE 1500, JACKSONVILLE, FL, 32207, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A golf ball comprising alignment markings to correct for eye dominance, said alignment markings comprising a right eye dominance alignment line located on said golf ball and a left eye dominance alignment line located on said golf ball, said right eye dominance alignment line and said left eye dominance alignment line being non-parallel and defining an angle no greater than approximately four degrees.

2. The golf ball of claim 1, wherein said right eye dominance alignment line and said left eye dominance alignment line meet to form a “V” shape.

3. The golf ball of claim 1, further comprising a right eye dominance identifier mark and a left eye dominance identifier mark located on said golf ball.

4. The golf ball of claim 2, further comprising a right eye dominance identifier mark and a left eye dominance identifier mark located on said golf ball.

5. The golf ball of claim 1, wherein said right eye dominance alignment line and said left eye dominance alignment line are different colors.

6. The golf ball of claim 5, further comprising aright eye dominance identifier mark and a left eye dominance identifier mark located on said golf ball.

7. The golf ball of claim 2, wherein said right eye dominance alignment line and said left eye dominance alignment line are different colors.

8. The golf ball of claim 1, wherein said right eye dominance alignment line and said left eye dominance alignment line do not meet.

9. The golf ball of claim 8, further comprising a pointer mark located on said golf forward of said right eye dominance alignment line and said left eye dominance alignment line.

10. The golf ball of claim 8, further comprising a right eye dominance identifier mark and a left eye dominance identifier mark located on said golf ball.

11. The golf ball of claim 8, wherein said right eye dominance alignment line and said left eye dominance alignment line are different colors.

12. The golf ball of claim 9, further comprising a right eye dominance identifier mark and a left eye dominance identifier mark located on said golf ball.

13. The golf ball of claim 9, wherein said right eye dominance alignment line and said left eye dominance alignment line are different colors.

14. The golf ball of claim 1, further comprising a target aiming line located on said golf ball between said right eye dominance alignment line and said left eye dominance alignment line.

15. The golf ball of claim 2, further comprising a target aiming line located on said golf ball between said right eye dominance alignment line and said left eye dominance alignment line.

16. The golf ball of claim 8, further comprising a target aiming line located on said golf ball between said right eye dominance alignment line and said left eye dominance alignment line.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/517,142, filed Apr. 13, 2011, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to golf balls, and more particularly to golf balls that incorporate visible markings or indicia to improve proper target line alignment, proper set up alignment and proper alignment of the club face relative to the target line. More particularly, the invention relates to golf balls having such alignment and positioning markings that correct for the error produced by left eye dominance or right eye dominance.

In the game of golf, consistent ball striking and putting are two of the main requirements to produce a low score. Crucial factors in accurate ball striking and putting include proper target line alignment, proper setup alignment relative to the target line, and proper alignment of the clubface to the chosen target line at the point of ball contact during the stroke. The clubface should be perpendicular to the target line when the ball is struck. If the clubface alignment at the point of contact is open (the angle between the target line and the toe side of the clubface is greater than 90 degrees) or closed (the angle between the target line and the toe side of the clubface is less than 90 degrees), the ball will not travel along the intended target line once struck.

Many putters incorporate a short visual alignment line on the top of the putter blade, with the line being positioned perpendicular to the clubface in order to provide a visual reference for the proper clubface alignment. Research shows that about half of all golfers use the line on the top of the putter to align the clubface, while the other half use the leading edge of the putter. It is theorized that the reason many golfers ignore the alignment line and use the putter's leading edge to align the putter perpendicularly to the target line is that the alignment line does not appear to them to be perpendicular to the clubface. This is a result of a condition known as eye dominance, where a person prefers the visual input from either the right eye or left eye. When viewing the alignment line on the putter, one or the other eye is dominant when the golfer is comparing the alignment line to the leading edge of the putter clubface and the target line. The dominant eye causes the alignment line to appear to be skewed slightly open or closed relative to the clubface, and the golfer misaligns the putter accordingly in an attempt to correct for this visual misinformation.

A simple test for determining eye dominance is to have the golfer point at arm's length to an object in the distance. Without moving the pointer finger, each eye is individually closed. If the golfer has a dominant eye, the finger will remain pointing at the object with that eye open, but will not be pointing at the object with the other eye open. Statistically, about two-thirds of golfers are right eye dominant and about one-third are left eye dominant. A right-eye dominant golfer will tend to misalign the putter in the open position, since to this golfer the alignment line on the putter will falsely appear to be angled slightly above perpendicular, while a left eye dominant golfer will misalign the putter in the closed position, since to this golfer the alignment line on the putter will falsely appear to be angled slightly below perpendicular. The amount of misalignment tends to range from about 0.75 degrees to 2.0 degrees from perpendicular, with a misalignment angle of about 1.25 degrees being most prominent.

Another common technique for improving ball striking and putting is to draw or print a short straight line onto the golf ball. When teeing or replacing the ball on the green after marking the spot and removing the ball, the golfer stoops and from behind aligns the line on the golf ball with the target line for putting or striking. However, when the golfer stands and positions himself to the side of the ball, the visual perspective changes due to eye dominance and the line on the ball appears to be pointing off the target line. For a right-handed golfer with left eye dominance, the line will appear to be pointing to the left of the target line. For a right-handed golfer with right eye dominance, the line appears to be pointing to the right of the target line. This apparent misalignment will consciously or subconsciously affect the golfer's stroke.

It is an object of this invention to provide a golf ball having alignment markings that correct the problem of misalignment caused by eye dominance, in a manner that allows for proper initial alignment of the ball on the target line and is not visually distracting to the golfer.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention comprises a golf ball having visual markings on its surface so as to be visible to the golfer during initial alignment of the ball to the target and during the stroke, the visual markings comprising a pair of non-parallel lines. In a preferred embodiment, the visual marking comprises a pair of lines joined at one end to form a narrow V-shape. The angle of the “V” is relatively small, approximately 2 to 4 degrees having been found to be most suitable, and the length of the lines should be about 1 inch. The two lines are preferably visually distinguished from each other, such as by forming them of different colors, widths or patterns, or by adding identifying marks to one line or both lines, etc. In one embodiment, the lines comprise a target aiming line and an alignment line to account for eye dominance. In another embodiment, the lines comprise a right eye dominance alignment line and a left eye dominance alignment line. In still another embodiment, the golf ball visual markings comprise three lines, a centered target aiming line and a pair of eye dominance alignment lines.

For the embodiments wherein the visual markings include a target aiming line, the golfer aligns the golf ball from behind using the target aiming line. For the embodiment having both a left and a right eye dominance alignment line, the golfer aligns the ball with the “V” formed by the lines pointing toward the target along the target line. For a right-handed golfer having left eye dominance, the golfer chooses the lower alignment line that is nearest to the golfer when putting, such that the golfer will not mistakenly aim the ball to the left of the target line, since the near-side alignment line will appear to the golfer to be properly aligned on the target line because of the eye predominance. For a right-handed golfer with right eye dominance, the golfer chooses the upper alignment line that is farthest from the golfer when putting, such that the golfer will not mistakenly aim the ball to the right of the target line, since the far-side alignment line will appear to the golfer to be correctly aligned.

The use of the visual markings is more simply applied for tee shots. The focused use of the upper or lower line is not necessary. The golfer aligns the visual markings toward the intended target, places the golf club behind the ball using the alignment aide to properly aim the shot and then aligns the body in addressing the ball. Use of the visual markings to provide proper aim alignment corrects for misleading visual cues. For example, sometimes the teeing area and/or the tee markers are not square to the green or fairway and the golfer mistakenly sets-up the shot using the teeing area or tee markers as alignment guides.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an illustration of a prior art golf ball having a single target aiming line and showing the visual misperception of the alignment of that target aiming line relative to the actual target line for golfers with left eye dominance or right eye dominance.

FIG. 2 shows an embodiment of the invention, the golf ball having a target aiming line and a right eye dominance alignment line, the angle between the lines being exaggerated for clarity.

FIG. 3 shows an embodiment of the invention, the golf ball having a target aiming line and a left eye dominance alignment line, the angle between the lines being exaggerated for clarity.

FIG. 4 shows an embodiment of the invention, the golf ball having a target aiming line, a right eye dominance alignment line and a left eye dominance alignment line, the angles between the lines being exaggerated for clarity.

FIG. 5 shows an embodiment of the invention, the golf ball having a right eye dominance alignment line and a left eye dominance alignment line, the angle between the lines being exaggerated for clarity.

FIG. 6 shows the embodiment of FIG. 5, wherein the visual markings and the angle between lines are shown to scale.

FIGS. 7 and 8 show embodiments of the invention, the golf ball having a right eye dominance alignment line and a left eye dominance alignment line which do not meet at the front.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

With reference to the drawings, the invention will now be described with regard for the best mode and the preferred embodiment. In general, the invention is a golf ball upon which is disposed visual alignment markings to account for eye predominance errors in alignment relative to the desired target line (i.e., the initial direction in which the ball is to be propelled). The alignment markings correct the misperceptions created by right eye dominance (RED) or left eye dominance (LED). For the discussion to follow, the invention will be described from the perspective of a right-handed golfer, such that the ball is propelled from right to left when the golfer is in the address position. For a left-handed golfer, certain aspects will be reversed. In FIGS. 1 through 5, the angle between the visual markings has been exaggerated for illustrative purposes.

In putting or striking a golf ball 20, the golfer chooses a target line 30. The target line 30 is defined as the optimum initial linear line of travel for striking the golf ball 20, taking into account for a putt any sloping of the green that will cause the ball 20 to curve, such that with the proper speed the ball 20 will be hit into the cup, and taking into account for a longer shot the desired line to result in proper direction after factors such as shot shape, wind, slope and the like are accounted for. Many golf instructors mentally create the target line 30 by picking an aiming point a few inches to a few feet in front of the ball 20 and imagining a line passing from that point through the center of the golf ball 20. As shown in FIG. 1, a golfer will often mark the golf ball with a short straight line, referred to herein as a target aiming line 10. The golfer positions himself or herself behind the spot where the golf ball 20 is to be placed, whether it is on a tee in the tee box or the spot on the green where the ball 20 has previously come to rest, its location having been marked and the ball 20 removed. The golfer sights down the target line 30 and places the ball 20 such that the target aiming line 10 on the golf ball 20 is aligned with the imaginary target line 30. The golfer then moves to the side of the ball 20 in preparation for striking the ball. As shown in FIG. 1, it is at this point that misperception from RED or LED affects the intended shot, since the golfer's eyes are now positioned directly above and generally parallel to the target line 30. For a golfer with RED, the target aiming line 10 on the ball 20 will mistakenly appear to be pointing to the right of the target line 30, as shown by the RED perceived alignment line 31. For a golfer with LED, the target aiming line 10 on the ball 20 will mistakenly appear to be pointing to the left of the target line 30, as shown by the LED perceived alignment line 32. Rather than believing that the target alignment line 10 is correctly oriented, most golfers will consciously or subconsciously alter the position of the club face slightly out of perpendicular to the target line 30, resulting in a shot that is propelled in an incorrect direction.

To correct the tendency of golfers having eye dominance to deviate from the proper target line 30, visual markings or indicia are provided on the golf ball 20, the visual markings being visible to the golfer for initial ball placement on the tee or on the green and then during address and ball striking. The visual markings may be drawn after purchase or printed during manufacture onto the surface of the golf ball 20. The visual markings comprise, in the geometric sense, at least two straight lines, preferably joined at the forward end to define a narrow V-shape with a small interior angle, although the lines do not have to connect at the front. The angle should be approximately 4 degrees or less, and each line should be of sufficient width, length and color so as to be readily visible when the golfer is standing over the ball 20. The visual markings must be readily observable by the golfer relative to its background. For example, when golf ball 20 is white, the visual markings may be black, red, yellow, orange or another color of relatively high contrast.

In one embodiment, as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, the visual markings on the golf ball 20 comprise two lines, one line being a target aiming line 10 and the other line being either a RED alignment line 11 or a LED alignment line 12. Although both lines may be identical in appearance, it is preferred that the lines be easily distinguishable such that the golfer can easily remember which is the correct line 11 or 12 for his eye dominance and which is the target alignment line 10. For example, the lines may be of different colors, or one line may be solid and the other dashed, or the target alignment line may be provided with a line identifier, such as for example a circle, a dot, a cross, a triangle, etc. The RED alignment line 11 may be provided with a RED identifier mark 13 and the LED alignment line 12 may be provided with a LED identifier mark 14, such as for example a circle, a dot, a cross, a triangle, etc., or differing markings may be provided on both of the lines. Likewise, the RED identifier mark 13 could comprise the letter “R” and the LED identifier mark 14 could comprise the letter “L”.

This embodiment of the invention corrects misalignment problems caused by eye predominance in the following manner, the golfer choosing the correct visual markings to depending on whether the problem is the result of RED or LED. Whether on the green or on the tee, the golfer looks down the target line 30 from behind using binocular vision and places the ball 20 with the target alignment line 10 aimed along the target line 30. The golfer then addresses the ball 20 from the side in normal manner. For a right-handed golfer having LED, the golfer focuses on the LED alignment line 12, the line closest to the golfer, such that the golfer will not mistakenly aim the ball 20 to the left of the target line 30, since the LED alignment line 12 will appear to the golfer to be properly aligned on the imaginary target line 30. For a right-handed golfer with RED, the golfer focuses on the RED alignment line 11, the line farthest from the golfer, such that the golfer will not mistakenly aim the ball 20 to the right of the target line 30, since the RED alignment line 11 will appear to the golfer to be correctly aligned relative to the imaginary target line 30.

An alternative embodiment of the invention is shown in FIG. 4, wherein visual markings on the golf ball 20 comprise three lines. The center line is the target aiming line 10 and RED alignment line 11 and LED alignment line 12 are disposed to either side of the target aiming line 10. In this embodiment, the same golf ball 20 can be used by golfers with either RED or LED. As before described, the target aiming line 10 of the ball 20 is aligned with the imaginary target line 30. When the golfer addresses the ball 20, the golfer focuses on either the RED alignment line 11 or the LED alignment line 12 as needed so that the perceived line direction does not cause a misalignment of the club face. As before, the various lines are preferably visually distinguishable from each other, such as with variations in length, thickness, shape, etc., or with the use of a RED identifier mark 13 and a LED identifier mark 14.

The preferred embodiments are shown in FIGS. 5 through 8. In these embodiments, the visual markings comprise both the RED alignment line 11 and the LED alignment line 12. In FIGS. 5 and 6, the RED alignment line 11 and the LED alignment line 12 meet at their forward ends to create a fully formed “V”. In FIGS. 7 and 8 the RED alignment line 11 and the LED alignment line 12 are truncated so that they do not meet. With this embodiment, a pointer mark 15, such as a triangle, dot, circle or the like, may be provided forward of the truncated RED alignment line 11 and the truncated LED alignment line 12. With small lines and a narrow angle, the embodiment of FIGS. 7 and 8 may be more discernable to the golfer. The golfer properly places the ball 20 by aligning the narrow “V” or partial “V” defined by the two lines 11 and 12 along the target line 30. The golfer then focuses on either the RED alignment line 11 or the LED alignment line 12 as needed. As before, the various lines are preferably visually distinguishable from each other, such as with variations in length, thickness, shape, etc., or with the use of a RED identifier mark 13 and a LED identifier mark 14. FIGS. 6 through 8 are provided to show the visual markings in proper scale relative to the golf ball 20, illustrating that the deviation angle marked by the RED and LED alignment lines 11 and 12 is relatively small.

Preferably the alignment markings are manufactured onto the golf ball as this will allow for better accuracy in placement and clarity of the target aiming line 10 and the RED and LED alignment lines 11 and 12. Alternatively, the alignment markings can be drawn onto any golf ball 20 using a Sharpie or similar writing implement. In this case use of a template having appropriate cut-outs or linear edges is preferred to provide better accuracy in placement, the template being curved to match the curvature of the golf ball 20.

It is understood that equivalents and substitutions for certain elements set forth above may be obvious to those of ordinary skill in the art, and therefore the true scope and definition of the invention is to be as set froth in the following claims.