Title:
Golf putting practice device with golf ball backstop
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A putting practice and game apparatus is disclosed, which is a simple, cost effective device, which may be portable and is easily constructed for use. The apparatus includes a golf ball backstop, putting post and diskplate attached in a single unit. The golf ball backstop partially encloses an opposing side of a target and is used to stop, corral and retain golf balls in a single location that are putted at the target.



Inventors:
Carey, Brian Douglas (Danbury, CT, US)
Jackson, Lisa Jane (Danbury, CT, US)
Jackson, Gale Wayne (Palmdale, CA, US)
Application Number:
09/954929
Publication Date:
03/20/2003
Filing Date:
09/18/2001
Assignee:
CAREY BRIAN DOUGLAS
JACKSON LISA JANE
JACKSON GALE WAYNE
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/36; (IPC1-7): A63B69/36
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GRAHAM, MARK S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BRIAN CAREY (Danbury, CT, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A golf ball backstop.

2. A golf putting practice apparatus comprising a golf ball backstop.

3. The golf putting practice apparatus according to claim 2, wherein said golf ball backstop partially encloses a target area.

4. The golf putting practice apparatus according to claim 2, wherein said golf ball backstop encloses an area that is between 50 to 300 in2.

5. The golf putting practice apparatus according to claim 2, wherein said golf ball backstop comprises a continuous frame.

6. The golf putting practice apparatus according to claim 5, wherein said frame comprises loops

7. The golf putting practice apparatus according to claim 6, wherein said backstop comprises the frame as depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2.

8. The golf putting practice apparatus according to claim 5, further comprising a base-connecting member.

9. The golf putting practice apparatus according to claim 8, wherein said base-connecting wire functions to secure said backstop frame to a carpeted surface.

10. The golf putting practice apparatus according to claim 5, wherein said framework comprises metal.

11. The golf putting practice apparatus according to claim 5, wherein said framework comprises aluminum.

12. The golf putting practice apparatus according to claim 5, wherein said framework is coated with an enamel gloss.

13. The golf putting practice apparatus according to claim 2, further comprising a putting post.

14. The golf putting practice apparatus according to claim 2, further comprising a putting post as shown in FIGS. 3 & 4.

15. The golf putting practice apparatus according to claim 2, further comprising a diskplate having a lower surface.

16. The golf putting practice apparatus according to claim 13, wherein said putting post is attached to said diskplate by a screw, rivet or weld that passes through the lower surface of the diskplate through the diskplate into the putting post.

17. The golf putting practice apparatus according to claim 13, wherein said diskplate is as shown in FIGS. 3 &4.

18. The golf putting practice apparatus according to claim 16, wherein said backstop is connected to said diskplate to form a single unit that allows for simple lifting by a golf putter; and movement of the entire apparatus to a new location.

19. The golf putting practice apparatus according to claim 17, wherein said base connecting member is connected to said lower surface of said diskplate by a molded clip that allows for some movement in the diskplate.

20. The golf putting practice apparatus according to claim 13, wherein said diskplate is as shown in FIG. 3.

21. The golf putting practice apparatus of claim 16, wherein said backstop is connected to said diskplate to form a single unit that allows for simple lifting by a golf putter and movement of the entire apparatus to a new location.

22. The golf putting practice apparatus according to claim 17, wherein said base connecting member is connected to said lower surface of said diskplate by a molded clip that allows for some movement in the diskplate.

23. A method of securely lifting a golf putting practice apparatus comprising a golf ball backstop having a sinusoidal loop design, wherein said method comprises the steps of: approaching the golf putting practice apparatus that is in a rest position, with a golf-putting club comprising a putting head; at least partially inserting said putting head through one of said loops in said backstop; interlocking said golf putter head with said golf ball backstop until the backstop securely rests on said putter head; lifting said golf ball backstop. by raising said golf club putter.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates generally to an all season putting practice apparatus, which is a simple, cost effective device, which may be portable and permits a golfer to practice while indoors. More particularly, the present invention relates to a golf putting practice apparatus comprising a putting post and a backstop.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention generally relates to a putting practice and game apparatus, which can be used in a relatively small area either indoors or outdoors. More particularly, the invention relates to a putting practice and game apparatus comprising a putting post and a backstop, which allows a golfer to practice putting for an unlimited period of time without having to bend over to retrieve golf balls.

[0003] The game of golf is and has been enjoyed by millions of people around the world. To become good at this game, many people practice. One of the most important area of practice is in the area of putting. Becoming proficient at putting will significantly reduce one's overall score. Many people do not live near golf courses or would prefer not to drive to one to practice their putting, and hence there is a need for a portable indoor/outdoor putting apparatus.

[0004] To try to meet the need, others have attempted to produce putting devices. However, there are still some major problems with the putting devices that exist today. For example Patent GB 1199622 and U.S. Pat. No. 3,892,412 disclose greens formed with a flexible surface and complicated structures of inflatable bags or hydraulic jacks beneath the flexible surface which can be used to vary the shape of the green around a single hole. Such arrangements are expensive, complicated and require a lot of space to store when not in use.

[0005] These together with other objects of the invention, along with the various features of novelty, which characterize the invention, are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages and the specific objects attained by its uses, reference should be made to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which there are illustrated preferred embodiments of the invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The present invention provides a golf putting apparatus and method, which requires no assembly, is simple, easy to use and of a durable and reliable construction.

[0007] In one aspect the present invention relates to a golf putting practice apparatus comprising a golf ball backstop for stopping, corralling and retaining of putted golf balls.

[0008] In a further aspect the present invention relates to a golf putting practice apparatus comprising a putting post and a golf ball backstop for stopping, corralling and retaining of putted golf balls.

[0009] In a still further aspect the present invention relates to a method of securely lifting a golf putting practice apparatus comprising a golf ball backstop having a loop design, wherein said method comprises the steps of:

[0010] approaching the golf putting practice apparatus that is in a rest position, with a golf-putting club comprising a putter head;

[0011] at least partially inserting said putting head through one of said loops in said backstop;

[0012] interlocking said golf putter head with said golf ball backstop until the backstop securely rests on said putter head;

[0013] lifting said golf ball backstop. by raising said golf club putter.

[0014] The present invention provides an important advantage to golfers and consumers by providing a golf putting practice apparatus, which is: inexpensive to manufacture; requires no assembly, batteries or electricity; is easily transported and stored; and provides for hours of putting practice without the need to retrieve, chase or bend over for golf balls.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] Preferred embodiments of the present invention are illustrated in the figures, like numerals being used to refer to like and corresponding parts of the various drawings.

[0016] FIG. 1 shows a side view of the golf ball backstop according to a further embodiment of the present invention;

[0017] FIG. 2 shows the top view of the golf ball backstop according to the embodiment of FIG. 2; and

[0018] FIG. 3 shows a top view of the diskplate and putting post according to one embodiment of the present invention.

[0019] FIG. 4 shows the top view of the backstop, diskplate and putting post according to one embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0020] The present invention relates to a golf putting practice apparatus comprising a golf ball backstop a diskplate and a putting post.

[0021] The golf ball backstop provides for the stopping, corralling and retaining of several golf balls and may be used indoors or outdoors wherever there is a need to collect several golf balls being putted to a single target or location.

[0022] The golf ball backstop allows a user to putt several golf balls in a row, to a target, without stopping play as there is no need to wait for balls to return in order to continue play, since the balls stop, corral and are retained by the golf ball backstop in a single location. Further there is no need to chase or retrieve putted golf balls.

[0023] The golf ball backstop of the present invention is similar to a baseball backstop in that an area or target is partially enclosed to prevent a ball(s) from going too far beyond the target area.

[0024] As used herein, the term “target” is defined as that at which a golfer aims a golf ball. Preferably the target is or simulates a golf hole on a golf green. Examples of targets that simulate a golf hole on a golf green include but are not limited to: present art golf training guides that include a hole, golf hole cups, posts and/or markers.

[0025] The golf ball backstop of the present invention, partially surrounds and encloses at least a portion of an opposing side of a target. In one embodiment of the present invention, the golf ball backstop encloses an area around a target greater than or equal to 12 the area of a standard golf hole (6 in2). More preferably the golf ball backstop encloses an area that is between 20 and 40 in2 and most preferably, the golf ball backstop encloses an area that is between 50 to 300 in2. In the most preferred embodiment, the golf ball backstop encloses an area of approximately 56 in2.

[0026] As used herein, the term “opposing” is defined as the side of the target farthest from the direction in which the ball to be putted is aimed.

[0027] In a further embodiment the present invention relates to a golf ball backstop comprising a continuous framework that partially encloses an opposing side of a target area. The continuous framework may be in any shape and size that stops, corrals and retains golf balls in a single location. The framework may be solid or may comprise loops. Further, the framework may comprise a single piece of manufacture, for example a smooth and continuous material such as Plexiglas or the framework may comprise a series of links such as a picket fence or any repetitive pattern linked together to form a continuous framework. Still further, the framework may comprise a single material such as an aluminum wire that is shaped in any pattern that creates an enclosure useful for stopping and retaining putted golf balls.

[0028] FIG. 1 is a depiction showing a golf ball backstop 10, according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention. The backstop 10, comprises a metal wire frame 12, having a sinusoidal or loop type continuous framework. The backstop base 14, rests on a flat or planar surface. The height of the backstop 10, from base 14 to its upper portion 16 is approximately 1½ in, and the distance between troughs 18a and 18b and or crests 20a and 20b is approximately 2{fraction (3/10)} in. The distance between the troughs and or crests should be small enough so as to prevent a golf ball from passing through, but large enough for insertion of a putter head, and such distances may be readily determined by those skilled in the art.

[0029] FIG. 2 shows the backstop 10, of FIG. 1, from a top view. The framework 12, forms a half circle having a diameter 22, of approximately 12 inches. The framework 12 rests on a flat or planar surface at base 14. The endpoints 24a and 24b of the sinusoidal framework are joined by the optional connecting base wire 26. The connecting base wire provides additional support and stability for the golf ball backstop while also providing a surface onto which a putting plate comprising a putting post may be mounted. Further, the connecting base wire 26, functions to secure the backstop into, for example, a carpet's nap to prevent movement of the golf ball backstop when hit by a golf ball.

[0030] As used herein, the term “at rest” is defined as in a stable stationary position, for example on a floor, on grass or stored on a closet shelf.

[0031] The framework and connecting base wire may comprise a single continuous unit or the connecting base wire may be a separate unit connected to endpoints 24a and 24b by any means as may be readily determined by those skilled in the art, such as screws, rivets, welding, soldering, etc. The base wire 26, may be made of the same material as the backstop or from a different material. Preferably, the connecting base wire is made from the same material as the backstop.

[0032] The framework 12, rests on a surface in such a way as to partially enclose a target. Preferably the center of the target is located at about the center 28 of the connecting base wire 26. In the preferred embodiment, the golf ball backstop is positioned on a flat or planar surface in such a way as to allow a user to putt golf balls in the direction of arrow 30 in FIG. 2. A golf ball may be putted from any distance to the target partially enclosed or surrounded by the golf ball backstop 10 and such distance may be readily determined by those skilled in the art of golfing.

[0033] The backstop framework of the present invention may be manufactured from any material or composite that provides for a safe and stable backstop. Preferably, the framework is manufactured from a material(s) and or composite(s) that will not rust or corrode. Further the framework may or may not be flexible. In the preferred embodiment, the golf putting backstop is manufactured from a material comprising aluminum and or steel, which may be coated with for example, a paint. Preferably, the backstop is coated with an enamel gloss.

[0034] The number of balls that a particular golf ball backstop retains is determined by the area enclosed by the backstop. In the preferred embodiment (depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2), the backstop may hold from about 15 to 18 golf balls.

[0035] The golf ball backstop stops the balls that are putted towards the post and corrals the balls into one small area thereby minimizing “ball-scatter”. When the backstop framework comprises a sinusoidal or loop pattern or any other pattern as described hereinabove, the backstop can be picked up by a putting club and carried to a new location leaving the corralled balls in one small area. The balls may then be putted from the corralled area to the new location of the backstop. Consequently, the user of the product never has to bend over to pick up the balls.

[0036] The golf ball backstop of the present invention may be designed in any one of a number of shapes and sizes (e.g. oval, square, rectangular, triangular etc.) and may comprise additional functions such as collapsible, expandable, adjustable and/or foldable and is thus not limited to the preferred embodiments described herein.

[0037] In a further embodiment, the present invention provides a golf putting practice apparatus, comprising a golf ball backstop, a diskplate and a putting post, which is designed in such a way as to allow a user to relocate and/or store the apparatus by interlocking a putter with the apparatus while in a stationary location, and lifting the putter with the putting apparatus interlocked thereon, to a height that is easily accessible by hand, without the need for the user to bend over.

[0038] In one embodiment, the golf putting practice apparatus is lightweight. Preferably, the golf putting practice apparatus weighs from about a few ounces to less than five pounds. In the most preferred embodiment, the golf putting practice apparatus weighs less than 0.75 pounds.

[0039] When the golf ball backstop of the present invention comprises a putting post, the golf ball is aimed at the putting post, such that when a golf ball hits the post, such hit symbolizes a successful putt. Hitting the post is considered the equivalent of putting the golf ball into a hole on a putting green. In a preferred embodiment, the golf ball will hit and bounce off the post at an angle. If the ball rolls too far, it will be stopped by the backstop.

[0040] In a still further embodiment the golf ball backstop may comprise a putting post and a putting diskplate. The putting diskplate serves as a point of contact for attachment and stabilization of the putting post. FIG. 3 shows a top view of a putting diskplate 40 and putting post 42, according to one embodiment of the instant invention. The putting diskplate comprises an upper surface 44, and a lower surface (not shown) that interfaces with the floor, ground or any other planar surface that allows for putting practice. The diskplate 40 is generally planar or slightly bowed and may be manufactured in any shape so chosen. In the preferred embodiment, the putting diskplate 40 is circular and planar, having an area ranging from about 20 to 50 in2 and more preferably, the area of the diskplate is about 30 in2. The putting post 42, comprises a base portion (not shown) and an upper portion 48. The base is preferably planar and attaches securely to the diskplate 40 in any manner readily available to those skilled in the art (e.g. welded, screwed, soldered, glued, Velcro, etc.). Further the putting post may be attached to the diskplate with a mechanism such as a flange or other means that provides for easy disconnect of the putting post from the diskplate. Preferably the putting post 42, is secured to the diskplate 40, by a screw (not shown). Preferably the screw that passes through the lower surface of the diskplate through the diskplate into the putting post.

[0041] The putting post 42, may be of an any shape and size and may be manufactured from any material that provides for a stable post that is not altered or distorted by contact with a putted golf ball such as wood, plastic, fiberglass, metal, etc. and or combinations thereof. Preferably the putting post is manufactured from wood, plastic or metal and painted with an enamel gloss finish. The putting post may be of any height and shape. Preferably the putting post is cylindrical in shape (as shown in FIG. 3) having a diameter in a range of from about 1 to 2 inches and more preferably about 1¾ in. The height of the putting post is dependent on the material from which it is manufactured as well as the size, shape and material of the diskplate. Preferably the height of the putting post is from 1 to 6 inches and more preferably between 2 and 4. In the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 3, the putting post comprises a flag, 46 that attaches thereto.

[0042] The putting diskplate 40, may be manufactured from any material that provides for smooth contact between the diskplate and the ground, such as metal, plastic, wood and combinations thereof. Preferably the diskplate comprises a metal such as steel or aluminum. The diskplate 40 may be coated on its upper surface 44 and or its lower surface. Either surface may be treated in such a way as to provide a more user-friendly putting apparatus. For example, the upper surface may be painted with a circle to simulate the diameter of a golf cup Further, the diskplate may be coated with a material that simulates an actual putting green surface. Still further the diskplate may be adapted for securement to a carpeted surface.

[0043] The putting post may be attached to the diskplate in any location depending on the shape and design of the diskplate. In the preferred embodiment (FIG. 3), the putting post 42, is attached to the diskplate 40 in the center 50. The putting post may further comprise features in addition to those, which are described herein. For example, the putting post may comprise a device that lights up when contacted by an object such as a golf ball or the putting post may further comprise a light or electronic monitoring system to count the number of successful hits in a particular putting session.

[0044] In a further embodiment, shown in FIG. 4, the present invention relates to a putting apparatus comprising a backstop 10, a putting post 42 and a diskplate 40, further comprising base connecting wire 26. In this preferred embodiment, the golf ball backstop is attached to said diskplate to form a single unit 52 that allows for simple lifting by a golf putter and movement of the entire apparatus to a new location.

[0045] The golf ball backstop may attach to the diskplate at any point. Preferably, the base connecting wire of the backstop contacts the diskplate on its lower surface. The lower surface of the diskplate may have a groove therein to provide a housing for the base connecting wire in order that the base of the diskplate remain in smooth contact with the ground. Preferably the golf ball backstop is centered around ½ of said diskplate, to enable the mounting of the base connecting wire at the middle section of diskplate. Preferably the center of the diskplate is centered on the base connecting wire, with the lower surface of the diskplate contacting the base connecting wire.

[0046] The diskplate and base connecting wire may be attached and/or connected using any means known to those skilled in the art. In a preferred embodiment the base connecting wire is attached to the lower surface of the diskplate with at least one molded clip that allows for some movement in the diskplate to compensate for pitch. In one embodiment, the molded clip may allow for up to a 25° pitch.

[0047] In a further embodiment the instant invention relates to a method of securely lifting a golf putting practice apparatus comprising a golf ball backstop having a sinusoidal loop design, wherein said method comprises the steps of:

[0048] approaching the golf putting practice apparatus that is in a rest position, with a golf-putting club comprising a putting head;

[0049] at least partially inserting said putting head through one of said loops in said backstop;

[0050] interlocking said golf putter head with said golf ball backstop until the backstop securely rests on said putter head;

[0051] lifting said golf ball backstop. by raising said golf club putter.

[0052] The present invention provides a golf practice putting apparatus, which lies flat on a surface allowing the same putting force to be applied to a putt shot as would be applied on an actual putting green.

[0053] Further, the present invention provides a new golf putting practice device, which is susceptible of a low cost of manufacture with regard to both materials and labor, and which accordingly is then susceptible of low prices of sale to the consuming public, thereby making such golf training kit economically available to the buying public.

[0054] As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception, upon which this disclosure is based, may readily be utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.