Title:
Adjustable golf practice mat
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This invention is a golf practicing device to practice hitting on different angles of pitch. The device is a platform made of metal that can have varied in pitch from 0° to 20°. A playing base surface of artificial turf is attached to the surface of the platform to provide an authentic golf course playing surface.



Inventors:
Tomczyk, Michael (Brielle, NJ, US)
Application Number:
09/773209
Publication Date:
12/12/2002
Filing Date:
01/31/2001
Assignee:
TOMCZYK MICHAEL
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/36; (IPC1-7): A63B69/36
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
VARMA, SNEH K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Law Offices of John D. Gugliotta, P.E., Esq. (Akron, OH, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. An adjustable pitch golf practice mat for practicing driving golf balls, comprised of: a top layer, said top layer comprised of hardened rubber having a suitable hard surface to act as the fairway surface; a middle layer, said middle layer located beneath said upper layer and composed of foam rubber; a bottom layer, said bottom layer located beneath said middle layer and composed of plastic; an attachment means, said attachment means for preventing said top layer and said middle layer and said middle layer and said bottom layer from sliding relative to one another as well as provide stability; wherein said top layer, said middle layer, and said bottom layer both have a thickness at one end and taper to a point on the other end.

2. The adjustable pitch golf practice mat for practicing driving golf balls of claim 1, further comprising a pitching angle can vary from greater than 0° to no more than 20° by removing said middle layer, or said bottom layer, or both, to reduce the overall pitch.

3. The adjustable pitch golf practice mat for practicing driving golf balls of claim 1, wherein said top layer comprises artificial turf mounted on an upper surface of said platform and can be removed for replacement as required.

4. The adjustable pitch golf practice mat for practicing driving golf balls of claim 1, wherein said bottom layer is comprised of a plurality of nylon blocks which can be stacked next to each other to form a layer similar to said middle layer.

5. The adjustable pitch golf practice mat for practicing driving golf balls of claim 1, wherein the pitching angle can vary from greater than 0° to no more than 20° by removing said middle layer, or said bottom layer, or both, to reduce the overall pitch.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] The present invention is a Divisional Application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/441,963, filed on Nov. 17, 1999.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates generally to golf training devices and, more particularly, to a golf mat rotatably and adjustably mounted on a base so that the user can choose a particular elevation of the mat as compared to the horizontal to more closely simulate fairway/rough conditions when practicing shots at the driving range.

[0004] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0005] Having attained the status as one of the leading leisure time outdoor sporting activities in America today, the game of golf enlists participants of all ages. In hitting the links, one not only enjoys the satisfaction of getting out in the fresh air and playing the game, they also gain the benefit of exercise in swinging the clubs and walking what can amount to several miles. In a continual effort to improve scores, golfers often visit driving ranges or practice at home for their next game. While such practice sessions undoubtedly improve scores, one area which they usually cannot help is when hitting the ball when it lies on a surface that is not level. This is extremely important in that this situation is the one most likely to be encountered out on the golf course. Only long practice on shots that are uphill, downhill or at a compound angle will result in better scores. Accordingly, there is a need for a means by golfers can practice hitting a golf ball on surfaces that are not level and are at varying degrees of inclination. The development of the Adjustable Golf Practice mat fulfills this need.

[0006] In the related art, golf training aids are well known. There exists several patents which seek to improve the swing of a golfer. A few of these patents provide a device whereby an inclined surface is provided for putting leading to a a hole where a golf ball is to be received. However, none of these patents provide a fully adjustable hitting platform for improving the golf swing for installation at a golf course or driving range like the present invention.

[0007] A search of the prior art did not disclose any patents that read directly on the claims of the instant invention; however, the following references were considered related: 1

U.S. Pat. No.InventorIssue Date
5,318,303KimJune 7, 1994
5,100,145KimMar. 31, 1992
5,087,045KimFeb. 11, 1992
5,662,531DursoSep. 2, 1997
5,358,251AshtonOct. 25, 1994
5,082,280WangJan. 21, 1992
4,743,027SimjianMay 10, 1988
1,558,767SmithApr. 19, 1923
5,004,243DlouhyApr. 2, 1991
5,002,280HinesMar. 26, 1991
4,092,027CarterMay 30, 1978

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide an apparatus that allows golfers to practice shots under conditions that are usually met only on golf courses.

[0009] It is another object of the present invention to provide an apparatus that allows golfers to practice shots other than level shots.

[0010] It is yet another object of the present invention to improve golf scores.

[0011] It is still yet another object of the present invention to provide a large permanent apparatus for driving range use.

[0012] It is a feature of the present invention to allow angle adjustment in two axes for driving range use.

[0013] It is another feature of the present invention to allow practicing angle shots at home or anywhere.

[0014] It is yet another feature of the present invention to provide realistic grass covering for practicing shots.

[0015] It is yet still another feature of the present invention that it can be used can be used over and over.

[0016] Briefly described according to one embodiment of the present invention, the Angle Lies, as its name implies, is a system and method by which golfers may practice driving on surfaces that are not level. The invention comes in two versions. The first version, for driving range use, has a rotatable platform mounted on central spindle capable of rotating 360 °. A locking lever holds the platform in place during the shot. A height adjusting means mounted on a wheeled carriage is also provided to allow the user to choose the desired elevation of the shot. The rotatable base is covered with artificial turf providing a realistic surface the golfer drives from.

[0017] The second version is for home use and consists of an angled, sectionalized plastic base that is covered with a foam rubber material and capped with a grass golf mat. By placing the ball at various points along the matt, the golfer may attain different angles at which to practice from. The use of the Angle Lies allows golfers the ability to practice shots at varying lies that are usually met out on the actual golf course. These types of shots can now be practiced at the driving range or at home along with the practicing of level shots.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0018] The advantages and features of the present invention will become better understood with reference to the following more detailed description and claims taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like elements are identified with like symbols, and in which:

[0019] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an Adjustable Golf Practice Mat, according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0020] FIG. 2 is a side view of an Adjustable Golf Practice Mat, according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0021] FIG. 3 is an exploded side view of an Adjustable Golf Practice Mat, according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0022] FIG. 4 is a side view of an Adjustable Golf Practice Mat, according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0023] FIG. 5 is a front view of an Adjustable Golf Practice Mat, according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0024] FIG. 6 is an enlarged partial cutaway side view of an Adjustable Golf Practice Mat, showing the detail of the locking means engaging the outer channel for securing the rotatable platform and the gearbox/roller assembly, according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0025] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an alternate preferred embodiment of the present intended for home use;

[0026] FIG. 9 is a side view of an preferred embodiment of an alternate preferred embodiment of the present invention intended for home use;

[0027] FIG. 9a is an exploded side view of an alternate preferred embodiment of the present intended for home use;

[0028] FIG. 10 is a side view of alternate preferred embodiment of an alternate preferred embodiment of the present invention intended for home use; and

[0029] FIG. 10a is an exploded side view of alternate preferred embodiment of an alternate preferred embodiment of the present invention intended for home use.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0030] The best mode for carrying out the invention is presented in terms of its preferred embodiment, herein depicted within the Figures.

[0031] 1. Detailed Description of the Figures

[0032] Referring now to FIG. 1, an Adjustable Golf Practice Mat 10 is shown, according to the present invention, for use as a golf training aid. It is envisioned that the device shown would be installed at the “tee” off position at a golf course where a golfer would make his initial drive of a golf ball towards the green and the cup. The device may be installed at both a regular play golf course or a driving range. The device may be installed as a stand alone unit or may be installed in a cavity specially formed for receiving it therein.

[0033] Essentially, the device consists of a rotating platform supported by a fixed base. The platform is rotatable 360° and adjustable in pitch to give a user a choice of pitch at which to drive the ball. In this manner, different fairway conditions can be simulated enabling the golfer to practice shots considered usually considered more difficult. A locking means located on the rear of the rotating platform is provided to control the rotation of the platform. A dial on the front of the device is provided for controlling the pitch at which a ball may be driven from the platform.

[0034] Referring to FIG. 2, shown is a side view of an Adjustable Golf Practice Mat 10. An annular shaped platform 15 is mounted on a central spindle 20. Artificial Turf 16 is mounted on the upper surface of platform 15 and can be removed for replacement as required. A base 40 is located directly underneath platform 15 for supporting the device. A pitch adjustment dial 30 can be seen for adjusting the pitch of the platform 15 relative to the horizontal axes. On the front of the device, and directly beneath platform 15, is a gear box 25 for converting the rotational movement of dial 30 to a proportional linear motion via gearing to a pair of arms 26 protruding from beneath the gearbox (shown in more detail in FIG. 6) A locking means 35 is provided on the rear of the device for controlling the rotation of platform 15 about spindle 20 and the vertical axis. Spindle 20 is mounted on base 40 consisting essentially of a circular shaped metal plate of the same diameter as platform 15. The detail of this assembly is shown in greater depth in FIG. 4. Spindle 20 is composed of a spindle base 20a for mounting to plate 40, a spindle shaft 20b, and a spindle ball joint/bracket 20c for mounting to platform 15. Base 40 has a lip 40a protruding upward around its entire circumference. It is envisioned that at lip 40a would have to be at least ½″ in height but the exact specifications would be developed in further refinement and testing. What is important is that lip 40a is wide enough to provide a surface whereby locking means 35 can securely grip to prevent platform 15 from rotating about spindle 20. A pair of retracting and extending arms 26 protrude from underneath gearbox 25 and are designed to retract and extend according to the position of dial 30. Arms 26 are arranged in a parallel fashion such that there is a gap between them. A roller 27 with an elongated longitudinal axis is inserted therebetween. Located at the free end of each arm is an aperture 26a whereby a spindle 28 is inserted for securing roller 27 in the fashion described. Spindle 28 may then be secured using nuts, pins, caps, or other suitable means. Roller 27 makes contact with base 40 and is free to roll about base 40. Manipulating dial 30 will cause an extension and retraction of arms 26 causing the pitch of platform to change as it rotates about spindle 20 through spindle ball joint/bracket 20c. It is envisioned that the pitch of platform 40 would be able to be adjusted in this fashion from 0°, or level with the horizontal, to approximately 20° by the user simply turning dial 30.

[0035] Referring now to FIG. 4, a top view of platform 15 is shown, showing the detail of a plurality of platform stringers 15a, located on the underside of platform 15 and spaced radially at 120°, for providing platform 15 with additional support, especially should the user prefer to stand on platform 15. The upper surface of spindle ball joint/bracket 20c is seen located at the center of platform 15 connected to each of the platform stringers 15a. It is envisioned that spindle ball joint/bracket 20c would be attached to platform 15 via a central bolt or a series of machine screws and bolts but this is meant merely as a suggestion and in no way implies any limitation. Locking means 35 is seen at the rear of platform 15. Locking means 35 would generally consist of a pivoting clamping mechanism with a pair of caliper like arms with pads for gripping lip 40a. A lever of some sort is envisioned for controlling the gripping action.

[0036] In FIG. 5, dial 30 is seen on the front of the device for controlling pitch of platform 15. FIG. 6 shows the detail of the completed assembly including gear box 25 connected via arms 26 to roller 27, and locking means 35 positioned to grip lip 40a.

[0037] Referring now to FIG. 7, a perspective view of an Adjustable Golf Practice Mat 10, is shown for in home use. A golfer who may be unable to go to the golf course or driving range but would like to practice chipping may use the device. The device could be made so that several of the more popular pitching angles are created. The pitching angle can vary from greater than 0° to no more than 20° and adjusted as described below. A top view of an alternate preferred embodiment of an Adjustable Golf Practice Mat 10 is shown, having generally a square platform.

[0038] Referring now to FIGS. 9 and 9a, a preferred embodiment of the alternate preferred embodiment of an Adjustable Golf Practice Mat 10, is shown comprised of a dual layer of rubber, top layer 10a and middle layer 10b both having a thickness at one end and tapering to a point on the other. The upper layer 10a is a dense rubber having a suitable hard surface to act as the fairway surface. Middle layer 10b is also made of rubber. Located beneath middle layer 10 b is bottom layer 10c comprised of a plurality of nylon blocks which can be stacked next to each other to form a layer similar to middle layer 10b. It is envisioned that an attachment means such as hook and loop fasteners would be used to connect upper layer 10a to middle layer 10b to prevent them from sliding relative to one another as well as provide stability. Likewise, a attachment means such as hook and loop fasteners would be used to connect middle layer 10b to nylon blocks 10c to prevent them from sliding relative to one another as well as provide stability. The nylon block 10c construction simplifies assembly and are lightweight to carry. To adjust the pitch of the shot, one need only remove middle layer 10b, or the plurality of nylon blocks 10c, or both, to reduce the overall pitch.

[0039] Referring now to FIGS. 10 and 10a, another preferred embodiment of the alternate preferred embodiment of an Adjustable Golf Practice Mat 10, is shown comprised of a three layer mat 10 made out of lightweight rubber or plastic sections wherein each varies in thickness at one end and tapers to a point on the other end. A top layer 10a provides a putting surface being crafted from hardened rubber. Beneath that is a middle layer 10b, comprised of foam rubber for ease of storage. Located beneath middle layer is bottom layer 10c fabricated from hardened plastic to form a solid base. When placed one on top of another as shown, a solid triangular shaped structure is formed where one can put or chip from. It is envisioned that an attachment means such as hook and loop fasteners would be used to connect top layer 10a to middle layer 10b to prevent them from sliding relative to one another as well as provide stability. Likewise, a attachment means such as hook and loop fasteners would be used to connect middle layer 10b to bottom layer 10c to prevent them from sliding relative to one another as well as provide stability. The pitch angle can be varied by removing one or both of middle layer 10b or bottom layer 10c. Pitch angle would vary from greater than 0° to no more than 20°. All layers can be broken down for ease of transport and storage.

[0040] 2. Operation of the Preferred Embodiment

[0041] In operation, the present invention is mounted either permanently or temporarily at a golf course or driving range. One places a golf ball on the artificial turf as in a conventional putt or drive. A locking lever is released allowing the provided platform to rotate. Once a desired driving angle is selected, the locking lever is secured. Then the pitch of the device is adjusted by rotating a dial located on the front of the device. The user then may strike the ball as is usual. In this fashion, a golfer can select not only the direction one wishes to drive the ball but the pitch to drive the ball at. This will allow the golfer to simulate green conditions with the goal of improving their swing.

[0042] The foregoing description is included to illustrate the operation of the preferred embodiment and is not meant to limit the scope of the invention. The scope of the invention is to be limited only by the following claims.





 
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