Title:
Aim-enhancing, swing-stabilizing, resonant golf putter head
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An aim-enhancing, swing-stabilizing, resonant golf putter head with central striking element, torque-resisting stabilizer, focusing element, and resonance-enhancing structure. A preferred embodiment includes the torque-resisting side stabilizer comprised as a single element, curved behind the central striking element and connecting to both the left and right side thereof, differentially massed with the majority of the mass being divided equally between the right and left sides beyond the center of balance of the central striking element. A preferred embodiment includes the torque-resisting side stabilizer which does not stay within the horizontal plane of the central striking element.



Inventors:
Cullen, Leo H. (Mountain View, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/356944
Publication Date:
07/31/2003
Filing Date:
01/31/2003
Assignee:
CULLEN H. LEO
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B53/04; A63B59/00; (IPC1-7): A63B53/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PASSANITI, SEBASTIANO
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
George S. Cole, Esq. (Redwood City, CA, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. An aim-enhancing, swing-stabilizing golf putter head comprising: a central striking element; and, stabilizing means connected to the central striking element.

2. A golf putter head as claimed in claim 1 wherein said stabilizing means comprise: a left stabilizing element; and, a right stabilizing element.

3. A golf putter head as claimed in claim 1 wherein said stabilizing means comprise: a left stabilizing element; a right stabilizing element; and, a rear stabilizing element.

4. A golf putter head as in claim 1, further comprising: a single connecting element connecting the central striking element and the stabilizing means.

5. A golf putter head as in claim 4, wherein said single connecting element further comprises: triangulation-supportive means; and, mass-distribution means.

6. A golf putter head as in claim 5, wherein said triangulation-supportive means and mass-distribution means comprise: at least one void in a rearward portion of said single connecting element.

7. A golf putter head as in claim 5, wherein said triangulation-suipportive means and mass-distribution means comprise: at least one ridge in a top surface of said single connecting element extending longitudinally in relation to the Y axis..

8. A golf putter head as in claim 4, wherein said single connecting element is a base plate in the ground plane.

9. A golf putter head as in claim 8, wherein said base plate in the ground plane has a leading edge which curves upward, to minimize striking friction with the ground.

10. An aim-enhancing, swing-stabilizing golf putter head comprising: a central striking element; aim-enhancing means; and, stabilizing means connected to the central striking element.

11. A golf putter head as in claim 10, wherein: said stabilizing means comprise at least a left and a right stabilizing element which are attached to said central striking element; and, said aim-enhancing means comprise a rearward triangular extension of said central striking element and an aiming pattern in a separate connecting element joining the rear of said left and right stabilizing elements, which triangular extension and aiming pattern are aligned with the center of the Y axis.

12. A golf putter head as in claim 11, wherein said left and right stabilizing element each further have: at least one and three-quarters but no more than two and a half times the mass of the central striking element.

13. An aim-enhancing, swing-stabilizing, golf putter head as claimed in claim 1 wherein: said stabilizing means comprises a single element that is curved rearward and behind said central striking element, connects to both the left and right side thereof, and is differentially massed such that the majority of the mass of the single element is divided equally between the right and left sides and is placed more than a half-inch beyond the Y-axis center of balance of the central striking element.

14. A golf putter head as claimed in claim 13 wherein said single element is within the horizontal plane of the central striking element.

15. A golf putter head as claimed in claim 13 further comprising an aiming element.

16. A golf putter head as claimed in claim 1, wherein said stabilizing means further comprise: extensions of said central striking element along the Y axis to the side and then along the X axis rearward, and along the X axis rearward at the Y axis center of balance, such that at least eight-elevenths but no more than twelve-thirteenths of the mass is distributed beyond a quarter-inch on either side of the center of the Y axis of said central striking element, and such that the majority of the mass is distributed behind the center of the X axis of the central striking element.

17. A golf putter head as claimed in claim 16, further comprising: a left resonance connecting element, connecting the left and rearward, and rearward, extensions of the central striking element; and, a right resonance connecting element, connecting the right and rearward, and rearward, extensions of the central striking element.

18. A golf putter head as claimed in claim 1, wherein: the central striking element incorporates, on its top surface, aim-enhancing lines parallel to the Y axis; and, the stabilizing means comprise: at least one left stabilizing element; at least one right stabilizing element; and, at least one rearward stabilizing element; wherein said stabilizing elements attach solely to the central striking element, and distribute the mass of the golf putter head such that at least eight-elevenths but no more than twelve-thirteenths of the mass is distributed beyond a quarter-inch on either side of the center of the Y axis of said central striking element, and such that the majority of the mass is distributed behind the center of the X axis of the central striking element.

19. A golf putter head as in claim 4, wherein the single connecting element removably connects to the central striking element and the stabilizing means.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This is a continuation in part of Ser. No. 10/062,224, filed on Jan. 30, 2002.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

[0002] Not Applicable

DESCRIPTION OF ATTACHED APPENDIX

[0003] Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0004] 1. Field of the Invention

[0005] This invention relates generally to the field of golf putters and more specifically to an aim-enhancing, swing-stabilizing, resonant golf putter head.

[0006] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0007] The prior art, as described in the original application (Ser. No. 10/062,224; “Aim-Visualization, Anti-Torque Stabilized, and Resonant-Structured Golf Putter Head” filed Jan. 30, 2002, H. Leo Cullen, Inventor), addressed only part of the need for any golf putter head; that of meeting a golfer's need for accurate putting. For the reasons and advantages listed in the prior application, inventor created the invention described therein. The prior art references, definitions, and description of the parent application are hereby specficially incorporated into this continuation-in-part.

[0008] Prior art's golf putter heads were for a long time essentially flat, rectangular bars of metal, whose mass was uniformly distributed according to their shape. These were simple to manufacture, but little effort was made to devise and incorporate elements that assisted the golfer through basic laws of physics or human-factor engineering. Eventually external features (lines and bumps) and varying structural curves were added; most recently some attempts at structural and material differentiation within the golf putter head have appeared. As described in the parent application, various inventions began to consider individual aspects of putter design that could assist each inventor's perceived greatest problem in putting; but none presented a design whose interactive synergy provided means for resolving multiple putting needs until the parent application.

[0009] Further enhancements and improvements have been created by the inventor since the parent application was filed, in response to problems which were discovered during initial experimentation and production. A chief problem with the original application's invention, and with the prior art (to the extent that it differentiated from the simplistic, essentially rectangular, single-piece-of-metal clubhead), was that little or no attention had been paid to the needs of manufacturability. In today's tough competitive marketplace, it is not enough just to make a better golf putter head; nowadays, commercial success may depend on the ability of such a golf putter head to be both complex enough to meet the goals of the parent invention, and yet simple enough that the manufacturing is feasible without excessive cost or artisanal alteration.

[0010] During prototyping of the previous application's invention, a great deal of attention was paid to tolerances and materials. Certain design limits that were strictly adhered to (for example, keeping the best attainable resonance was deemed more important than limiting the number of different pieces which were part of the overall golf putter head) impeded production. Also, avoiding a high initial tooling cost for a one-step production process was deemed less important than retaining a particular design.

[0011] And so during the prototyping period a great deal of discovery and examination of alternatives to the parent application's invention were found, many of which were improvements, though in a single and narrowed focus. Some of these came through analysis of the grounds for rejecting particular prototypes. For these reasons, and because different balances of interest in the functional aspects of the prior invention are feasible when the original invention's constraints were re-examined, a number of improvements, changes, and new advances have been made, which are the subject of this Continuation-In-Part application.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

[0012] The primary object of the invention is improved manufacturability for an aim-enhancing, swing-stabilizing, resonant golf putter head, either by maximizing uniformity not of mass distribution within the golf putter head but of material, subordinate shapes, or external features, or by minimizing assembly complications.

[0013] Yet another object of the invention is requiring fewer separate parts during manufacturing, and reducing the costs of assembly.

[0014] Another object of the invention is reducing the risk of grounding the putter during the stroke.

[0015] Another object of the invention is retaining resonance within the structure.

[0016] Yet another object of the invention is a golf putter head that facilitates easier and cost-efficient mass-customization production.

[0017] Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following descriptions, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein, by way of illustration and example, the present invention is disclosed. The preferred embodiment of the invention is an aim-enhancing, swing-stabilizing, resonant golf putter head comprising: a central striking element, stabilizing means, aim-enhancing means, and a single connecting element connecting all.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0018] An aim-enhancing, swing-stabilizing, resonant golf putter head incorporating a central striking element and stabilizing means is disclosed, which provides for ready manufacturability by maximizing uniformity not of mass distribution but the combination of shape, material, and external design, with the preferred and alternative embodiments detailed herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0019] The drawings constitute a part of this specification and include exemplary embodiments to the invention, which may be embodied in various forms. It is to be understood that in some instances various aspects of the invention may be shown exaggerated or enlarged to facilitate an understanding of the invention.

[0020] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the invention, wherein a single base plate connects a central striking element and the stabilizing means. In this drawing the stabilizing means are left, right and rearward stabilizing elements, and the central striking element is slightly advanced along the X axis from the front faces of left and right stabilizing elements.

[0021] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the invention, wherein a single base plate connects a central striking element and the stabilizing means. In this drawing the central striking element is slightly advanced along the X axis from the front faces of left and right stabilizing elements; and the single connecting base plate includes both triangulation-supportive means in the form of voids towards the rear, and a slight upward curvature at the front edge to minimize friction with the ground.

[0022] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the invention, wherein a single connecting element connects the the central striking element and all stabilizing elements, through a plane other than the ground plane.

[0023] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the invention, wherein the stabilizing means:

[0024] (a) are ‘L’ shaped forms;

[0025] (b) form at least one mass-balanced and reflexive-shaped pair;

[0026] (c) connect to the sides of the central striking element so as to distribute the majority of the mass outward and rearward from the center of the Y axis of the central striking element; and,

[0027] (d) are connected by a separate connecting element rearward and upward of the central striking element.

[0028] Additionally, aiming means are comprised of a rearward triangular extension of the central striking element and an aiming pattern formed in the separate connecting element, both such being in center of the Y axis.

[0029] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the invention, wherein the central striking element is oval shaped with the long axis parallel to the Y vector and perpendicular to the striking vector, and where the stabilizing means is a unitary curved connecting element that forms an oval running from one side of the central striking element behind and to the other side, with the mass of the stabilizing means being differentially distributed such that the majority of its mass is further outward on the Y axis than the mass of the central striking element. A further aiming means is provided by a rearward triangular extension of the central striking element and a pair of aiming beads equidistant along the Y axis therefrom on the unitary curved connecting element.

[0030] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the invention, wherein the central striking element is extended to the sides and rearward to incorporate in a unitary form the stabilizing means and such that at least two-fifths and no more than eleven-twelfths of the mass is more than a half inch outside of the center of the Y axis of the central striking element, and the majority of the mass of the golf putter head is found behind the shaft vector connecting to the central striking element, whether such is achieved by varying the density of material or the volume of the extensions. Additionally, triangulation means are provided by the shape and placement of the extensions.

[0031] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the invention, wherein the rear extensions of the central striking element are connected to improve the resonance and triangulation effects within the golf putter head.

[0032] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the invention, wherein the central striking element incorporates perspective lines on its top face as an additional aim-enhancing means, and wherein each stabilizer element is only attached to the central striking element, to maximize ease of assembling differently-weighted stabilizer elements from putter to putter.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED and ALTERNATIVE EMBODIMENTS

[0033] Detailed descriptions of the preferred, and various alternative, embodiments are provided herein. It is to be understood, however, that the present invention may be embodied in various forms. Therefore, specific details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but rather as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to employ the present invention in virtually any appropriately detailed system, structure or manner. Also, different combinations of the sub-elements of the various embodiments than those shown, claimed or described should be understood to be included in the invention as equivalent to one or more of the particular embodiments detailed herein.

[0034] Greater ease of manufacturability can result when a form can be attained with a minimum of processing. That minimum may be attained by increasing the uniformity of material (to the limit of making an item all out of one single material), by increasing the uniformity of form (by making an item in a single piece, or by duplicating subordinate elements), or by increasing the uniformity of surface and lines (by making an item with fewer corners, angles, curves, or subordinate incorporated shapes). The parent application paid little heed to this concern, but the present application has increasing the ease of manufacturability as its principal object and thus advantage, as described herein.

[0035] In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the golf putter head is comprised of a central striking element, having a front striking face, and side, top, bottom, and rear faces. The central striking element's shape is that of a rectangular solid, with the front striking face forming one of the long sides, in the center of which is the strike point. Also, the edges, corners, and the top face are slightly curved. A focusing design is inscribed on the front striking face, and the putter's shaft will attach, directly or through an off-setting hosel, through the center of the central striking element's X and Y axes such that the shaft vector intersects the center of the X and Y axes of the central striking element.

[0036] The preferred embodiment is made of a unitary piece of metal by any of milling, mold, sintering, or like processes.

[0037] This central striking element is connected to a single connecting element which is a plate, at the center and slightly leading the front edge thereof. This plate may connect the central striking element and stabilizingmeans at the centers of the Z axis thereof, or in another embodiment may be in a base plate, as is shown in FIG. 1. This plate may either be entirely flat or, in another embodiment when it is a base plate, curve slightly upwards at the front, in order to minimize striking friction with the ground, as is shown in FIG. 2.

[0038] The stabilizing means attached to the plate are left, right, and rearward stabilizing elements. The left and right stabilizing elements are of equal weight, each massing just under twice, but no more than twice and a half, the mass of the central striking element. In the preferred embodiment they are hexagonal cylinders with their long axis oriented parallel to the X axis, though other rectilinear or cylindrical forms also oriented with the long axis parallel to the X axis and stroking vector are alternative embodiments. The left and right stabilizing elements are at least half a golf-ball's width to the side from the central striking element, with their front faces no further forward than the central striking element's front striking face.

[0039] The rear of the plate, and the rear of the rearward stabilizing element, angle back from the side towards the center of the Y axis of the golf putter head as a whole at 45°, and the rearward stabilizing element comes to a point on the X axis perpendicular to the center of the Y axis of the central striking element. The surface of the rear stabilizing element, and its forward angled faces, embody reflexive angles such that the lines at the join with the the base plate's rearward extension are at 90° thereto, while those lines then each join at a 45° angle with the front face of the rear stabilizing element, which front face is thus parallel to the rear face of the central striking element. These angles are shown in FIG. 1.

[0040] In an alternative embodiment the plate is kept to the ground plane and also incorporates voids to provide additional mass-distribution, triangulation, and aim-enhancing means, as is shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. These voids are trapezoids whose angles between the forward and rearward extending edges of the voids increase towards 90° as each void edge is closer to the center of the X axis. In alternative embodiments not shown, lines are enscribed or ridges formed in or on the top surface of the base place in the place of said voids. An advantage of said voids, or said ridges, is the ability to affect the rearward and outward mass distribution of the golf putter head as a whole relative to the central striking element.

[0041] In yet another alternative embodiment, not shown, both a top and a bottom plate join and cover the central striking element and the stabilizing means. A further embodiment thereof allows the voids to continue through a plate, either to the reflective surface of the other plate, or through a partially or wholly matching void in the other plate. Although it would decrease uniformity of material, a yet further embodiment would fill a void with a different material which may possess functional or aesthetic qualities, such as differential mass, transparancy, or color.

[0042] In another alternative embodiment, shown in FIG. 4, the central striking element has joined to it a left stabilizing element and right stabilizing element which distribute the mass both outward and rearward in the proportions described above and in the parent application. While shown in FIG. 4 as equal pairs, to promote manufacturing and use alterability, these stabilizer elements both can be differentially weighted (either from putter to putter, or from each other), and can be removably attached to the central striking element. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 4 the connection is through means which are more fixably attached (thus meeting the USGA restriction against alterations during play). Such more fixably attached means include a screw-end requiring a tool such as an allen wrench or torx wrench not commonly available on a golf course, a non-water-soluble but readily dissolvable fixative, a heat-reactive metal alloy, or equivalents thereof. Also, the central striking element incorporates an aim-enhancing and triangulation supporting means in a rearward triangular extension of the rear face, wherein the rearward triangular extension is centered on the center of the Y axis of the central striking element. To improve resonance, and to provide additional aim-enhancement, a separate connecting element connects the rear half of the left and right stabilizing elements, said separate connecting element itself including an aiming pattern on the line perpendicular to the center of the Y axis of the central striking element.

[0043] In another alternative embodiment, shown in FIG. 5, the central striking element and the golf putter head as a whole are oval-shaped with the long axis along the Y axis. The central striking element incorporates an aim-enhancing and triangulation supporting means in a rearward triangular extension, similar to that described above. The stabilizing means comprise a single, curved, connecting element which connects rearward of the rearward triangular extension from the left face of the central striking element to the right face of the central striking element. The mass of the stabilizing means is differentially distributed such that the majority of its mass is further outward on the Y axis than the mass of the central striking element. A further aiming means is provided by a rearward triangular extension of the central striking element and a pair of aiming beads equidistant along the Y axis therefrom on the single, curved, connecting element.

[0044] In another alternative embodiment the central striking element incorporates the rearward stabilizing and mass-distributing means. At the left, center, and right of the Y axis the central striking element extends rearward, with the central rearward extension ending in an equilateral triangle whose point is along the center of the Y axis. The mass of the rearward and sideward extensions are such that at least eight-elevenths but no more than twelve-thirteenths of the mass is distributed beyond a quarter-inch on either side of the center of the Y axis of said central striking element, and such that the majority of the mass is distributed behind the center of the shaft vector. As shown in FIG. 6, the rearward extensions may use an essential rectilinear planar form (or other alternatives). They also may incorporate an upward curve or slant on their forward and rearward lower edges to minimize ground contact during the initial and follow-through portions of the stroke.

[0045] In another embodiment, modifying that described immediately above, and shown in FIG. 7, a left connecting element joins the left and rearward and rearward extensions of the central striking element at a 45° angle to the X axis and rearward of the shaft vector, and a right connecting element joins the right and rearward and rearward extensions in reflexive form thereto, to increase the resonance of the golf putter head as a whole.

[0046] And in another alternative embodiment, the stabilizing means comprise a left stabilizing element, a right stabilizing element, and a rearward stabilizing element, each of which directly connects to the central stiking element, as shown in FIG. 8, The mass of these stabilizing elements are such that at least eight-elevenths but no more than twelve-thirteenths of the mass of the golf putter head is distributed beyond a quarter-inch on either side of the center of the Y axis of said central striking element, and such that the majority of the mass is distributed behind the center of the shaft vector. While shown in FIG. 9 as equal pairs, to promote manufacturing and use alterability, the left and right stabilizer elements can be differentially weighted (either from putter to putter, or from each other). Also, at least one stabilizing element can be removably attached to the central striking element. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 8 the connection is through means which are more fixably attached (thus meeting the USGA restriction against alterations during play). Such more fixably attached means include a screw-end requiring a tool such as an allen wrench or torx wrench not commonly available on a golf course, a non-water-soluble but readily dissolvable fixative, a heat-reactive metal alloy, or equivalents thereof. Also, the central striking element incorporates an aim-enhancing means by having on its top face at least one line or ridge that is parallel to the X axis and visible to the golfer.

[0047] While the invention has been described in connection with a preferred and various alternative embodiments, it is not intended to limit the scope of the invention to the particular forms set forth, but on the contrary, it is intended to cover such alternatives, modifications, and equivalents as may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.





 
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