Title:
Golf putting trainer
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A putter trainer includes a core having an elevated central region; and a cover having an opening adapted to engage the elevated central region.



Inventors:
Arkley, Steven (Sunnyvale, CA, US)
Muller, Peter H. (Woodside, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/255263
Publication Date:
07/17/2003
Filing Date:
09/25/2002
Assignee:
ARKLEY STEVEN
MULLER PETER H.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/36; (IPC1-7): A63B69/36
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HUNTER, ALVIN A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Steven Arkley (Sunnyvale, CA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A putter trainer, comprising: a core having an elevated central region; and a cover having an opening adapted to engage the elevated central region.

2. The putter trainer of claim 1, wherein the core comprises one or more grooves and wherein the cover comprises one or more corresponding projections adapted to engage the grooves on the core.

3. The putter trainer of claim 1, wherein the cover comprises one or more surface recesses.

4. The putter trainer of claim 1, wherein the cover comprises one or more concave dot pattern on the surface of the cover.

5. The putter trainer of claim 5, further comprising a horizontal and vertical cross pattern on the surface of the cover, wherein the concave dot pattern and the cross pattern forms a visual alignment system.

6. The putter trainer of claim 1, further comprising an adhesive layer positioned on a rear surface of the core.

7. The putter trainer of claim 6, wherein the adhesive layer comprises glue or wax.

8. The putter trainer of claim 1, wherein the size of the elevated central flat region is changed to accommodate golfer skill.

9. The putter trainer of claim 1, wherein the core is injection molded.

10. The putter trainer of claim 1, wherein the core comprises polypropylene.

11. The putter trainer of claim 1, wherein the cover is transfer molded onto the core.

12. The putter trainer of claim 1, wherein the cover comprises sanaprene.

13. The putter trainer of claim 1, wherein the central flat region has a shape selected from one of the following: circle, square, triangle, rectangle, and octagon.

14. The putter trainer of claim 1, wherein the core comprises a substantially circular base and wherein the cover comprises a substantially semi-spherical shape.

15. The putter trainer of claim 1, wherein the core comprises a cone and wherein the elevated central region is rounded.

16. A putter trainer, comprising: a core having an elevated central region; one or more grooves on the side of the core, one or more concave dot pattern on the surface of the cover, and a horizontal and vertical cross pattern on the surface of the cover, wherein the concave dot pattern and the cross pattern forms a visual alignment system; and a cover having an opening adapted to engage the elevated central region and one or more corresponding projections adapted to engage the grooves on the side of the core.

17. The putter trainer of claim 16, further comprising an adhesive layer positioned on a rear surface of the core.

18. The putter trainer of claim 1, wherein the core comprises a cone and wherein the elevated central region is rounded.

19. A training system, comprising: a putter having a sweet spot; and a putter trainer adapted to be mounted on the sweet spot, comprising: a core having an elevated central region; and a cover having an opening adapted to engage the elevated central region.

20. The putter trainer of claim 19, wherein the core and the cover are made from different material to sound and feel differently when they make contact with the ball.

21. The putter trainer of claim 19, wherein when a ball strikes the core, a crisp, solid feel and click are generated and when the ball strikes the cover, a different feel and sound are generated.

Description:

[0001] This application claims priority to Provisional Application Serial No. 60/347,727, filed on Jan. 11, 2002, the content of which is hereby incorporated-by-reference.

BACKGROUND

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates to golf instructional or training devices and, more particularly, to golf training devices that are user-mountable on putters.

[0004] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0005] In the game of golf, a putting stroke is used with a golf club to roll a golf ball across a putting green into a hole. The success of the stroke depends on the alignment of a club face of the golf club at impact, the direction of movement of a club head of the golf club at impact, and the speed of the club head at impact. To improve putting proficiency, the golfer must adopt and learn a consistent and reproducible putting stroke, including controlling the alignment of a putter's club face and the direction of movement of a club head at the point of impact in a consistent manner. One effective putting stroke provides a pendulum-like motion in which the golfer's arms move together, the pendulum-like motion originating in the golfer's shoulders. Generally, the larger shoulder muscles of the upper body are much more controllable than the smaller arm muscles and, therefore, provide better control of the putting stroke.

[0006] As discussed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,527,041, a variety of devices have been developed to assist the golfer in aligning the golfer's feet and club head as well as devices to help groove the proper swing path. One category of such devices includes those with one or two guide rails placed adjacent to the golf ball. The golfer can stroke the club along the guide rails to practice a straight-back and straight-through putting stroke. Unfortunately, the guide rails are not typically adjustable in their spaced-apart positions from each other. Such adjustment is desirable because golf clubs, particularly putters, come in a variety of differently-sized dub heads. In order to tightly constrain the moving club head to be between the two guide rails, it is necessary to provide adjustability of the positions of the guide rails. A device which does provide adjustable guide rails involves loosening a screw and adjusting a housing relative to another housing and then re-tightening the screw.

[0007] Other devices which assist the golfer in the alignment of the club head have included laser light sources associated with the golf club and indicating the direction in which the club face is pointed. Each of the devices either requires a specialized, custom putter incorporating the device or requires a modification or attachment to the golfer's own putter. Such devices do not accommodate the golfer's desire to practice with their own putter in an unmodified fashion. Golf clubs, and particularly putters, come in a variety of lengths, weights, and distributions of weight along the golf club. Further, the shape of the club head provides an aesthetic appearance which may instill confidence in the golfer. These factors cause a golfer to become comfortable with their own putter and less likely to use or feel comfortable with a specialized, custom putter or even with their own putter if modified to change the appearance, shape, and/or weight distribution.

SUMMARY

[0008] The present invention is, of course, described in the claims. Briefly, however, the invention provides a putter trainer that includes a core having an elevated central region; and a cover having an opening adapted to engage the elevated central region. Implementations of the putter trainer may include one or more of the following. The core may include one or more grooves and the cover may include one or more corresponding projections adapted to engage the grooves on the core. The cover may include one or more surface recesses. The cover may include one or more concave dot pattern on the surface of the cover. A horizontal and vertical cross pattern may be formed on the surface of the cover to create a visual alignment system. An adhesive layer may be positioned on a rear surface of the core. The adhesive layer may be glue or wax. The size of the elevated central flat region may be changed to accommodate golfer skill. The core may be injection molded and may be polypropylene. The cover may be transfer molded onto the core and may be sanaprene. The central flat region may have a shape selected from one of the following: circle, square, triangle, rectangle, and octagon. The core may have a substantially circular base and the cover may have a substantially semispherical shape. The core may be a cone and wherein the elevated central region may be rounded.

[0009] In another aspect, a putter trainer includes a core having an elevated central region; one or more grooves on the side of the core, one or more concave dot pattern on the surface of the cover, and a horizontal and vertical cross pattern on the surface of the cover, wherein the concave dot pattern and the cross pattern forms a visual alignment system. The trainer also includes a cover having an opening adapted to engage the elevated central region and one or more corresponding projections adapted to engage the grooves on the side of the core.

[0010] Implementations of the above aspects may include one or more of the following. The core and the cover may be made from different material to sound and feel differently when they make contact with the ball. When a ball strikes the core, a crisp, solid feel and click are generated and when the ball strikes the cover, a different feel and sound are generated.

[0011] Advantages of the invention may include one or more of the following. The training device is inexpensive while achieving its desired results. Since the golfer can attach the trainer to his/her own putter, there is no need for a separate device that has a completely different feel than the golfers own putter—the device is used with a golfer's own equipment and thus can be used under the same conditions the golfer faces on the golf course. The device is small, easy to transport and nearly indestructible. It is easy to use: the golfer simply presses it onto the face of the putter, centering it on the “sweet spot”. It takes only seconds to ready the device for use or remove it for storage. The device is small enough to fit in the golfers pocket and can be used anywhere. The device can be used at the golf course and stored in the golfer's bag, eliminating the inconvenience of a larger device that, under the rules of golf, cannot be carried in the golfer's bag during play. The device requires minimal care and virtually no upkeep since it is reusable and ultimately disposable.

[0012] With the trainer attached to the putter, the golfer simply makes his/her natural putting stroke. The device also provides instant feedback on the putting stroke to the golfer. The feedback from the device indicates the position of the putter face as it strikes the ball. Depending on the direction the ball travels after it has been struck, the golfer can determine exactly where on the putter face the ball was struck, the swing plane of the putter prior to striking the ball and whether or not the face of the putter is square to the line of the putt. With this knowledge, the golfer can acquire a “feel” for a consistent, solid putting stroke.

[0013] The device also provides more distinctive feedback than other devices. Aside from the advantage of using the golfer's own putter to maintain consistent feel, the two types of plastic used to construct the device both sound and feel differently when they make contact with the ball. The hard core, when struck precisely, gives off a crisp, solid feel and click. When the ball is miss-hit and it makes contact with the soft outer shell, the feel and sound are decidedly different than a solidly struck ball.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0014] Further features of the training device will be clear to those skilled in the art from a review of the following specification and drawings, all of which present a non-limiting form of the invention. In the drawings:

[0015] FIG. 1 shows an exemplary set of three training devices.

[0016] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a first embodiment of the invention;

[0017] FIG. 3 is an exploded view of the embodiment of FIG. 2;

[0018] FIG. 4 shows a top view of the embodiment of FIG. 2;

[0019] FIG. 5 is a side view of the embodiment of FIG. 2; and

[0020] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a golf putter with a training device mounted on the face of the clubhead.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0021] FIG. 1 shows an exemplary set of three training devices 100, 102 and 104. The three devices 100-104 allow golfers of different skill levels to choose a particular size that benefits them the most during practice. In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the device 100 has a substantially flat elevated region of about ¼″, the device 102 has a substantially flat elevated region of about ⅜″, and the device 104 has a substantially flat elevated region of about ½″. To use the device, the golfer simply selects one of the devices 100-104 and presses the selected device onto the face of a putter, preferably centering it on a “sweet spot”.

[0022] With the trainer attached to a putter, a golfer simply makes his/her natural putting stroke. The exposed portions are advantageously identical in dimension and profile, providing that both front and rear striking faces are identical in profile and are equal in degree of loft in accordance with USGA rules defining putter heads.

[0023] Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 3, a perspective and exploded view of a first embodiment is shown. A putter trainer 100 includes a core 110 having a substantially planar circular base 111 and a substantially circular elevated planar central region 112. The elevated central region 112 is smaller and a surface between the region 112 and the base 111 is sloped at an angle relative to the base 111. One or more grooves 114 are formed in parallel and extend along a substantially vertical direction running between the elevated central region 112 and the base 111. In one embodiment, eight grooves 114 are provided.

[0024] The trainer 100 also includes a cover 150 having an opening or aperture 152 adapted to receive and engage the elevated central region 112. The cover 150 includes one or more corresponding projections 154 adapted to engage the grooves 114 on the core 110. The cover 150 includes one or more surface recesses 156. The cover can include one or more dimples or concave dot pattern 158 on the surface of the cover 150.

[0025] In this embodiment, one or more horizontal and vertical cross patterns 160 are positioned on the surface of the cover 150. The concave dot pattern 158 and the cross pattern 160 form a visual alignment system.

[0026] An adhesive layer positioned on a rear surface of the core 110 to attached the trainer 100 to a putting head 190 of a golf club 200. The adhesive layer includes those manufactured and sold under the trademarks QuakeHold! from QuakeHold!, San Marcos, Calif. In another embodiment waxes that have been found to work well include those manufactured and sold under the trademarks QUAKE WAX, Multiwax X-145A; Multiwax W445, and KIDS WAX by Conservation Materials Ltd. of Sparks, Nev. These waxes are microcrystalline wax blends characterizable as follows:

[0027] WAX PRODUCT SOFTENING POINT in deg. F.

[0028] QUAKE WAX 170-175

[0029] MULTIWAX X-145 A

[0030] 160-170, needle penetration=34/45 mm.

[0031] MULTIWAX W445 170-180, needle penetration=25/35 mm.

[0032] KIDSWAX 165-175

[0033] The softening point is quantified under an ASTM D-127 test method.

[0034] The size of the elevated central flat region 112 can be changed to accommodate golfer skill. Further, the central flat region 112 has a shape selected from one of the following: circle, square, triangle, rectangle, and octagon.

[0035] The core 110 can be cone-shaped and the elevated central region 112 is rounded. The core 110 can be injection molded using polypropylene, for example. The cover 150 is transfer molded onto the core, and can be made from sanaprene. The combination of the core 110 and the cover 150 provides more distinctive feedback than other devices. The two types of plastic used to construct the device both sound and feel differently when they make contact with the ball. The hard core, when struck precisely, gives off a crisp, solid feel and click. When the ball is miss-hit and it makes contact with the soft outer shell, the feel and sound are decidedly different than a solidly struck ball.

[0036] In a second embodiment, a putter trainer includes a core having an elevated central region; one or more grooves on the side of the core, one or more concave dot pattern on the surface of the cover, and a horizontal and vertical cross pattern on the surface of the cover, wherein the concave dot pattern and the cross pattern forms a visual alignment system; and a cover having an opening adapted to engage the elevated central region and one or more corresponding projections adapted to engage the grooves on the side of the core.

[0037] An adhesive layer can be positioned on a rear surface of the core. The core includes a cone and wherein the elevated central region is rounded.

[0038] In a third embodiment, a training device includes a putter having a sweet spot; and a putter trainer adapted to be mounted on the sweet spot. The putter includes a core having an elevated central region and a cover having an opening adapted to engage the elevated central region. The core includes a cone and the elevated central region can be rounded.

[0039] The above training devices may be secured to the face of the putterhead by a variety of means, such as by adhesion or friction. The training can also be secured by press fitting. The training device can have a back face that is in contact with the face of the putter. The “touch and the feel” of the putter may be altered by varying the amount of material of the device 100.

[0040] Turning now to FIG. 6, a golf club 210 has a shaft 212 attached to a club head 214. A putter-type club head is shown in FIG. 6, however, as explained herein, other club head types, such as irons or woods, may also be prepared. The club head 214 has a hosel 216 that accepts the shaft 212 with a heel 218 at the hosel end of the club head 214 and a toe 220 opposite of the heel 218. The club head 214 also has a sole portion 226 and an opposite top portion 228. Extending between the heel 214 and the toe 220 is a strike face 222, which is the surface that used to contact a golf ball 223 upon impact between the golf club 210 and the ball 223. The strike face 222 includes a “sweet spot,” or the center of gravity in the toe to heel direction, on which is mounted the training device 100 of FIG. 1. The device 100 is made of a material that is different than the rest of the club head.

[0041] In the present invention, golf ball is struck. Impact forces are dampened and transferred radially, in directions perpendicular to axis from core perimeter surface through the interface surface of the cavity to the surrounding putter body. The result is that, should the putter face strike the golf ball outside of the preferred strike regions, the dampening effect is diminished when compared with striking the golf ball within the preferred region. It is the reduction of vibrations and or resonating frequencies afforded through radial dampening and the resultant improved ball response and sound made by the strike that results in what golfers describe as a “softer feeling” putter. Feel, as relating to golf, can be described as the resonance or vibrations audibly transmitted to the golfer, and tactilely transmitted through the shaft and grip to the golfer's hands, caused by impact between the club face, golf ball, and in some instances the turf or other foreign obstacles. Feel may further be described as a flexation or twisting torque applied to the shaft during the swing or putting stroke at any point including impact. Feel, in other words, is the feedback to the golfer whether auditory or tactile.

[0042] The core 110 communicates with the surrounding body of the putter in an evenly radially distributed fashion through its perimeter or outer surface. This better communicates to the golfer information about how a golf ball was struck. This allows the golfer to make the necessary adjustments to improve his or her putting stroke.

[0043] It should be understood that one of ordinary skill in the art can prepare any size or shape of putting trainer in accordance with the present invention, and attach the trainer to any type of club. For example, a substantially rectangular shaped trainer can be prepared, preferably rectangular. “Substantially rectangular” means a shape that will fill a significant portion of the striking face of a club. Preferably, the club is an iron or a putter. More preferably, the club containing the device is a putter. It should also be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art that multiple trainers can be used in a club, so long as at least one such trainer is prepared according to the teaching herein.

[0044] Additionally, instead of being glued to the putter, the training device can be releasably secured to putter face by a pair of headed screws inserted through a pair of longitudinally disposed, laterally spaced apart holes. Screws can be threadingly secured by and tightened into threaded backing plate holes, thereby securing the device 100 to the putter head.

[0045] It will additionally be recognized that the present invention contemplates the use of differing training devices to in effect, modify the feel and operating characteristics of the putter head. In this regard, when desired, more resilient polymer materials can be utilized for the cover and the core. Alternatively when desired, hard material can be utilized to enable customized performance characteristics.

[0046] Variations in the invention are possible. Thus, while the invention has been shown with three embodiments, it is not so limited but is of a scope defined by the following claim language which may be broadened by an extension of the right to exclude others from making, using or selling the invention as is appropriate under the doctrine of equivalents.

[0047] As will be apparent to those skilled in the art in the light of the foregoing disclosure, many alterations and modifications are possible in the practice of this invention without departing from the spirit or scope thereof. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is to be construed in accordance with the substance defined by the following claims.