Title:
Golf practice and exercise mat
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf practice and exercise mat having two striking contours with different heights and contours of artificial grass which gives golfers practice and exercise by swinging a golf club through the contoured pile that applies resistance to the golf club as the club head travels though the pile, thus enhancing strength and improving muscle memory. One contour, for irons, has the grass pile of the carpet increasing in height at a moderate, curved upward slope to an apex and then decreasing in height at a gradual, linear downward slope. The second contour, for woods, has the grass pile increasing in height at a gradual approximately linear slope until a transition point is reached at which the grass strand height increases in a single step change to a height at least two times greater than the height of the previous pile, and then decreasing in height in a linear downward slope.



Inventors:
Shioda, Yoshihiko (Charlotte, NC, US)
Application Number:
10/345670
Publication Date:
07/22/2004
Filing Date:
01/16/2003
Assignee:
SHIODA YOSHIHIKO
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/36; E01C13/00; E01C13/08; (IPC1-7): A63B69/36
View Patent Images:
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20090325733Golf balls containing ionomers and polyamines or tertiary polyamidesDecember, 2009Morken et al.
20090023508Bowling Ball With Weight BlockJanuary, 2009Sposato
20050282663Quicker handsDecember, 2005Abildgaard
20060287120Golf on local fieldsDecember, 2006Weaver et al.
20020072436Baseball bat with a ball-serving deviceJune, 2002Liu
20090082122Sporting club swing trainerMarch, 2009Kellogg
20040266563Soccer training apparatusDecember, 2004Young
20020010043Bat with varying circumferential wall thicknessJanuary, 2002Pitsenberger et al.



Primary Examiner:
LEGESSE, NINI F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
K&L Gates LLP-Charlotte (CHARLOTTE, NC, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A golf practice and exercise mat comprising: at least one contoured hitting surface having an upwardly sloping pile followed by a downwardly sloping pile.

2. A golf practice and exercise mat according to claim 1, wherein the upwardly sloping pile has a curved, moderately steep slope and the downwardly sloping pile has a gradual, approximately linear slope, the upwardly sloping pile and the downwardly sloping pile meeting at an apex.

3. A golf practice and exercise mat according to claim 2 wherein the upwardly sloping pile at the apex is sufficient in height to completely envelope a face of an iron club head.

4. A golf practice and exercise mat according to claim 1, wherein the upwardly sloping pile has a gradual approximately linear slope and the downwardly sloping pile has a gradual approximately linear slope, the upwardly sloping pile and the downwardly sloping pile meeting at a transition point wherein the downwardly sloping pile has a height at least 2 times greater than the upwardly sloping pile height.

5. A golf practice and exercise mat according to claim 4, wherein the downwardly sloping pile has a height between 3 and 5 times greater than the height of the upwardly sloping pile at the transition point.

6. A golf practice and exercise mat according to claim 4, wherein the downwardly sloping pile at the transition point is sufficient in height to completely envelope the face of a wood type club head.

7. A golf practice and exercise mat according to claim 1, wherein the at least one contoured hitting surface includes a contour, for striking by a iron club, with the upwardly sloping pile having a curved, moderately steep slope and the downwardly sloping pile having a gradual, approximately linear slope, the upwardly sloping pile and the downwardly sloping pile meeting at an apex, and a contour, for striking by a wood type club, with an upwardly sloping pile having a gradual approximately linear slope and a downwardly sloping pile having a gradual approximately linear slope, the upwardly sloping pile and the downwardly sloping pile meeting at a transition point wherein the downwardly sloping pile has a height at least 2 times greater than the upwardly sloping pile height.

8. A golf practice and exercise mat according to claim 7, wherein the mat includes a portion on which a golfer may take stances to swing a golf club along either contour.

9. A golf practice and exercise mat comprising a carpet of artificial grass having a plurality of striking areas with different contours created by grass pile of varying heights.

10. A golf practice and exercise mat according to claim 9 wherein a first striking area has a first portion, a second portion and a third portion, the first portion having grass pile of a first height, the second portion having grass pile progressing from the first height to a second height, and the third portion having grass pile decreasing from the second height.

11. A golf practice and exercise mat according to claim 10 wherein the grass pile of the second portion progress in a curved upward slope.

12. A golf practice and exercise mat according to claim 10 wherein the grass pile of the third portion decrease in an about linear downward slope.

13. A golf practice and exercise mat according to claim 9 wherein a second striking area has a first portion and a second portion.

14. A golf practice and exercise mat according to claim 13 characterized further in that an interface between the second portion and the first portion is a vertical transition.

15. A golf practice and exercise mat according to claim 13 wherein the first portion has grass pile progressing from a first height to a second height and the second portion has grass pile decreasing from a third height, the third height being greater than the second height.

16. A golf practice and exercise mat according to claim 15 characterized further in that the grass pile of the third height of the second portion of the second striking area are at least 2 times greater than the grass pile of the second height of the first portion of the second striking area.

17. A golf practice and exercise mat according to claim 15 characterized further in that the grass pile of the third height are between about 3 to 5 times greater than the grass pile at the second height.

18. A golf practice and exercise mat according to claim 15 wherein the grass pile of the first portion of the second striking area increase from the first height to the second height in an about linear upward slope and the grass pile of the second portion of the second striking area decrease from the third height in an about linear downward slope.

19. A golf practice and exercise mat according to claim 9 wherein the practice mat is sufficiently large to accommodate two striking areas and a location on which a golfer may take a stance to swing a golf club.

20. A golf practice and exercise mat according to claim 9, wherein heights of the grass pile are between about 2 inches and about 8 inches.

21. A golf practice and exercise mat comprising: a lower carpet of artificial grass having a plurality of striking areas with different contours created by grass pile of varying heights; an upper carpet having different contours created by piles of varying heights; and a support structure for maintaining the upper carpet in a vertically spaced relationship relative to the lower carpet wherein the piles of the upper carpet are oriented downwardly to intersect with the piles of the lower carpet to form an area of increasing density of carpet piles.

22. A golf practice and exercise mat according to claim 21, wherein the support structure is L-shaped with a horizontal leg and a vertical leg, the upper carpet attached to the vertical leg.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to golf practice and exercise mats that enables a golfer to practice golf swings using irons or woods and provides the golfer with exercise to enhance strength by exerting resistance against the club head as the club travels through the pile of the mat.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

[0002] Practice golf mats are known generally, for example U.S. Pat. No. 3,459,107, which discloses a golf striking mat that simulates hitting a golf ball from the “rough” on a golf course, as does U.S. Pat. No. 5,354,064. While these previous mats enable a golfer to practice hitting out of the “rough”, these constructions do not provide enhanced resistance for exercise purposes, and do not provide a selection of contours for use with different clubs.

[0003] Other mats provide varying heights of pile on the mats, such as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,414,266, which teaches a mat for practicing putting with three well defined pile heights to simulate the roll of a golf ball on different green heights. U.S. Pat. No. 5,655,974 teaches a golf practice surface assembly having a plurality of areas simulating, by height and density, golf course surfaces, e.g., fairway, rough and sand trap. These prior mats provide a golfer some variety regarding the feel and resistance of the grass when striking a ball resting on the mat with a golf club.

[0004] There are also some specialized practice mats such as U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,294,450, 5,046,741, and 5,443,870. These constructions disclose mats for practicing putting or for hitting a ball on an angled slope.

[0005] None of the prior art, however, discloses a contoured mat configuration for swinging a golf club into an initial low height, through an upwardly inclined contour and exiting through a following downwardly inclined contour.

OBJECT AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The object of the present invention is to provide a mat that gives golfers practice and exercise by swinging a golf club through contoured pile that applies resistance to the golf club as the club head travels though the pile, thus enhancing strength and improving muscle memory.

[0007] A further object of the present invention is to provide the golfer, on one practice mat, the realistic feel and resistance experienced when hitting a ball with an iron or wood type club.

[0008] Basically, the mat of the present invention has at least one striking surface of artificial grass pile, or similar material, increasing in height at an upwardly inclined slope to an apex following which the grass pile height decreases in a gradual, approximately linear downward slope. The contour allows the golfer to experience the increased resistance as the club moves through progressively higher grass. This is accomplished by having the golfer take a normal stance relative to the practice mat, the grass height increasing along a path normally followed by a golf club when a golfer strikes a golf ball. When the golfer performs a typical swing and follow through, the head of the golf club initially sweeps over the initial low pile, then encounters an increasing height of pile as the club travels through the upward slope of the pile to the apex at which point the club head is completely enveloped within the grass pile, and gradually emerges from the grass pile until the club head is completely free.

[0009] A preferred embodiment of the mat of the present invention is a single construction having two striking areas with different contours of artificial grass piles, or similar material. For purposes of discussion, the term “artificial grass” encompasses artificial grass and other similar materials. One striking area, used with irons, has the pile of artificial grass increasing in height at a moderate, curved upward slope to an apex following which the grass strand height decreases in a gradual, approximately linear, downward slope. The second striking area of the mat of the present invention is for practicing with a wood type club. It has a grass pile contour in which the grass pile height increases at a gradual, approximately linear upwardly inclined slope to a transition point at which the grass pile height increases in a step change such that the transition height exceeds the height of the previous grass pile by at least two times, then decreases in a linear downward slope. When a golfer swings a wood type club, the face of the club head encounters the step change in height thereby causing the face of the club head to be enveloped in the grass pile and thus immediately increasing the resistance felt by the golfer. As the golfer continues through the swing to the follow through, the club head gradually emerges from the grass pile along the downward slope, correspondingly reducing the resistance felt by the golfer.

[0010] A preferred embodiment of the present invention is the use of opposing contoured piles to increase the resistance felt by the golfer. This embodiment includes a base mat with a contoured striking area similar to those discussed above for the iron and wood type golf clubs. Attached to the base mat and extending upwardly is a support structure. The support structure is L-shaped with a vertical leg and a horizontal leg. The horizontal leg is opposite the base mat and the vertical leg maintains the horizontal leg and the base mat in a vertical spaced relationship. The horizontal leg extends over a portion of the base mat. A projecting surface is attached to the horizontal leg and is oriented toward the base mat. The projecting surface includes a contoured pile that extends downwardly toward the contoured striking area of the base mat. At a point intermediate the projecting surface and the base mat, portions of the contoured striking area overlap a portion of the contoured pile of the projecting surface such that the two portions mesh, thus increasing the resistance experienced by a golfer as a club head engages the meshed portions.

[0011] Further details, features and advantages of the present invention will be understood from the following disclosure of exemplary embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] FIG. 1 is a plan view of the mat of the present invention showing the striking areas and the location and orientation of the golfer in relation to the striking areas.

[0013] FIG. 2 is a vertical cross-section of the iron striking area viewed along line 2-2 in FIG. 1.

[0014] FIG. 3 is a vertical cross-section of the iron striking area viewed along line 3-3 in FIG. 2.

[0015] FIG. 4 is a view similar to that illustrated in FIG. 2 showing the interaction of a face of a iron golf club head with the mat at the apex of the contour as the golf club is swung by a golfer.

[0016] FIG. 5 is a view similar to that illustrated in FIG. 2 showing the interaction of an iron golf club head with the grass pile of the mat as the golf club exits the grass pile along the downward slope of the contour as the golfer continues with the follow through of the golf swing.

[0017] FIG. 6 is a view similar to that illustrated in FIG. 2 showing the interaction of an iron golf club head with the grass pile of the mat after the golf club exits the grass pile as the golfer completes the follow through of the golf swing.

[0018] FIG. 7 is a vertical cross-section of the striking area for a wood type club viewed along line 7-7 in FIG. 1.

[0019] FIG. 8 is a vertical cross-section of the striking area for a wood type club viewed along line 8-8 in FIG. 7.

[0020] FIG. 9 is a view similar to that illustrated in FIG. 7 showing the interaction of the face of a wood type club head with the grass pile at the vertical transition point of the contour as the golf club is swung by a golfer.

[0021] FIG. 10 is a view similar to that illustrated in FIG. 7 showing the interaction of a wood type golf club head with the mat as the golf club exits the grass pile of the mat along the downward slope of the contour as the golfer continues with the follow through of the golf swing.

[0022] FIG. 11 is a view similar to that illustrated in FIG. 7 showing the interaction of a wood type golf club head with the mat after the golf club exits the grass pile of the mat as the golfer completes the follow through of the golf swing.

[0023] FIG. 12 is a breakaway elevation view of a golf practice apparatus of the present invention illustrating the opposing contoured piles and the support structure maintaining a spaced relation between the opposing contoured piles.

[0024] FIG. 13 is an elevation view similar to that illustrated in FIG. 12, showing the base mat having a striking area for a wood type golf club.

[0025] FIG. 14 is a vertical cross-section of the golf practice apparatus viewed along line 14-14 in FIG. 13.

[0026] FIG. 15 is a view similar to that illustrated in FIG. 13 showing the interaction of the face of a wood type club head with the opposing contoured piles at the vertical transition point of the base mat contour as the golf club is swung by a golfer.

[0027] FIG. 16 is a view similar to that illustrated in FIG. 13 showing the interaction of a wood type golf club head with the opposing contoured piles as the golf club exits the grass pile of the mat along the downward slope of the base mat contour as the golfer continues with the follow through of the golf swing.

[0028] FIG. 17 is a view similar to that illustrated in FIG. 13 showing the interaction of a wood type golf club head with the mat after the golf club exits the opposing contoured piles as the golfer completes the follow through of the golf swing.

[0029] FIG. 18 is a view similar to that illustrated in FIG. 2 showing the interaction of a face of a iron golf club head with the opposing contoured piles at the apex of the base mat contour as the golf club is swung by a golfer.

[0030] FIG. 19 is a view similar to that illustrated in FIG. 18 showing the interaction of an iron golf club head with the opposing contoured piles as the golf club exits the base mat contour along the downward slope of the base mat contour as the golfer continues with the follow through of the golf swing.

[0031] FIG. 20 is a view similar to that illustrated in FIG. 18 showing the interaction of an iron golf club head with the opposing contoured piles after the golf club exits the base mat contour as the golfer completes the follow through of the golf swing.

[0032] FIG. 21 is an elevation view of the golf practice apparatus showing the flat contour of the opposing piles.

[0033] FIG. 22 is a horizontal cross section showing the arrangement of the enmeshed opposing contoured piles as viewed along line 22-22 in FIG. 21.

[0034] FIG. 23 is a vertical cross section showing the enmeshing of the opposing contoured piles of the apparatus shown in FIG. 21.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0035] The golf practice mat 10 shown in FIG. 1 comprises an artificial grass mat having sufficient area to include an iron striking area 20, a wood striking area 30 and a golfer stance position 40, on which a golfer may position himself to practice his golf swing using either striking area. The golf practice mat 10 has an artificial grass carpet of varying grass pile height in the iron striking area 20 and the wood striking area 30. The grass pile is affixed to a standard backing 45 which in turn rests on a floor or ground when the golf practice mat 10 is in use. The golfer stance position 40 illustrates the proper orientation of the golfer relative to the iron striking area 20 and the wood striking area 30.

[0036] The iron striking area 20 is contoured as illustrated in FIGS. 2-6. Shorter grass pile extends for a first portion 24 of the iron striking area 20. A series of increasingly taller grass piles extend along a second portion 22 of the iron striking area 20, the relative increase conforming to a curved, moderately steep upward slope. A third portion 26 of the iron striking area 20 begins at the apex of the second portion 22 and has a gradual, approximately linear slope of decreasing grass pile height. In a preferred embodiment, the grass pile varies in height from about 2 inches to about 8 inches with the maximum height occurring at the apex of the second portion 22.

[0037] The wood striking area 30 is contoured as illustrated in FIGS. 7-11. Grass pile extends for a first portion 35 of the wood striking area 30 on an approximately linear gradual upwardly inclined slope, approximately doubling in height. A second portion 33 of the wood striking area 30, immediately following the first portion 35, has an initial grass pile of a height that exceeds the height of the longer grass pile of the first portion 35 by at least 2 times, preferably between about 3 to 5 times, thus creating a vertical step-change transition 33a between the first portion 35 and the second portion 33. After the vertical transition 33a, the grass pile of the second portion 33 of the wood striking area decrease on a gradual, approximately linear, downward slope. In a preferred embodiment, the grass pile varies in height from about 2 inches to about 8 inches, with the maximum height occurring at the vertical transition 33a.

[0038] The present invention is used in the following way. A golfer positions himself on the golf practice mat 10 at the golfer stance position 40, with either an iron club 28 or a wood type club 38. FIG. 1 illustrates the positioning of the golfer relative to the iron striking area 20 and the wood striking area 30. In FIGS. 4 to 6, the golfer is practicing with an iron 28. When the golfer swings the iron 28 in the direction of the arrow, the head 29 of the iron 28 engages the second portion 22 of the iron striking area 20 along face 29a of the head 29. As the golfer continues to swing the iron 28, the head 29 of the club continues to travel through the increasingly taller grass pile of the second portion 22, thereby increasing the resistance exerted against the face 29a of the head 29 of the iron 28 with a correspondingly increasing resistance felt by the golfer. When the club head is near the apex of the second portion 22, the face of the club head is completely enveloped by the grass pile, as shown in FIG. 4. As the golfer continues the swing, shown in FIG. 5, the head of the iron starts to exit the grass pile of the third portion 26 of the iron striking area 20. Finally, as the golfer completes the swing, i.e. the follow through, the head 29 of the iron 28 completely disengages from the grass pile of the third portion 26 of the iron striking area 20, as shown in FIG. 6.

[0039] In FIGS. 9 to 11, the golfer is practicing with a wood type club 38. When the golfer swings the wood type club 38 in the direction of the arrow, the head 39 of the wood type club 38 engages the second portion 33 at the vertical transition 33a of the wood striking area 30 along a face 39a of the head 39, as shown in FIG. 9. As the golfer continues the swing, the face of the club head 39 becomes completely enveloped by the grass pile of the second portion 33, applying an increased resistance against the face 39a of the club head 39. As the golfer continues the swing, the club head 39 gradually emerges from the grass pile of the decreasing height second portion, which exerts decreasing resistance against the face 39a of the head 39 of the wood type club 38 with a correspondingly decreasing resistance felt by the golfer, shown in FIG. 10. As the golfer completes the swing, the head 39 completely exits the grass pile of the second portion 33 of the wood striking area 30, illustrated in FIG. 11.

[0040] An alternate preferred embodiment of the present invention combines the practice golf mat 10 with a support structure 60 that positions a contoured pile extending generally downwardly over a portion of the iron striking area 20 and the wood striking area 30 such that the grass piles of the iron and wood striking areas 20, 30 intersect and mesh with a portion of the opposing contoured pile held at a vertical spacing relative to the practice golf mat 10, as shown in FIGS. 12-23. As seen in FIG. 14, the support structure 60 is L-shaped with a vertical leg 62 and a horizontal leg 64. The golf practice mat 10 is attached to the vertical leg 62 opposite the horizontal leg 64 such that the vertical leg 62 maintains a vertical spacing between the golf practice mat 10 and the horizontal leg 64 of the support structure 60. An upper carpet 75 is attached to the horizontal leg 64 of the support structure 60 and oriented toward the iron striking are 20 and the wood striking area 30 of the golf practice mat 10, as illustrated in FIGS. 14 and 21. The upper carpet 75 is comprised of artificial grass or similar material. The pile of the upper carpet 75 is of sufficient length to intersect and mesh with the grass piles of the iron and wood striking areas 20, 30, as shown in FIGS. 15 and 18, thus significantly increasing the density of the grass strands of the meshed area 79 at the intersection of the upper carpet 75 pile and the piles of the golf practice mat 10, as illustrated in FIG. 22. The increased density of grass strands results in an increase in the resistance felt by a golfer when swinging a golf club through the meshed area 79.

[0041] The alternate embodiment of the present invention is used in the following way. A golfer positions himself on the golf practice mat 10 at the golfer stance position 40, with either an iron club 28 or a wood type club 38. In FIGS. 18-20, the golfer is practicing with an iron 28. When the golfer swings the iron 28 in the direction of the arrow, the head 29 of the iron 28 first engages an unmeshed area comprising the second portion 22 of the iron striking area 20 and the pile of the upper carpet 75 along face 29a of the head 29. As the golfer continues the swing, the head 29 of the club continues to travel through the increasingly taller grass pile of the second portion 22, thereby increasing the resistance exerted against the face 29a of the head 29 of the iron 28 with a correspondingly increasing resistance felt by the golfer. When the club head 29 is near the apex of the second portion 22, the head of the club engages the meshed area 79 comprising the second portion 22 and the pile of the upper carpet 75, whereby the face 29a of the club head 29 is completely enveloped by the meshed area 79, as shown in FIG. 18. As the golfer continues the swing, shown in FIG. 19, the head 29 of the iron 28 starts to exit the meshed area 79 along the third portion 26 of the iron striking area 20. Finally, as the golfer completes the swing, i.e. the follow through, the head 29 of the iron 28 completely disengages from the grass pile of the third portion 26 of the iron striking area 20, as shown in FIG. 20.

[0042] In FIGS. 15 to 17, the golfer is practicing with a wood type club 38. When the golfer swings the wood type club 38 in the direction of the arrow, the head 39 of the wood type club 38 engages the meshed area 79 comprising the second portion 33 at the vertical transition 33a of the wood striking area 30 and the upper carpet 75 along a face 39a of the head 39, as shown in FIG. 15. As the golfer continues the swing, the face 39a of the club head 39 becomes completely enveloped by the meshed area 79 of the grass pile of the second portion 33, and the pile of the upper carpet 75, applying an increased resistance against the face 39a of the club head 39. As the swing continues, the club head 39 gradually emerges from the meshed area 79, shown in FIG. 16. As the golfer completes the swing, the head 39 completely disengages from the grass pile of the second portion 33 of the wood striking area 30, illustrated in FIG. 17.

[0043] It will therefore be readily understood by those persons skilled in the art that the present invention is susceptible of broad utility and application. Many embodiments and adaptations of the present invention other than those herein described, as well as many variations, modifications and equivalent arrangements, will be apparent from or reasonably suggested by the present invention and the foregoing description thereof, without departing from the substance or scope of the present invention. Accordingly, while the present invention has been described herein in detail in relation to its preferred embodiment, it is to be understood that this disclosure is only illustrative and exemplary of the present invention and is made merely for purposes of providing a full and enabling disclosure of the invention. The foregoing disclosure is not intended or to be construed to limit the present invention or otherwise to exclude any such other embodiments, adaptations, variations, modifications and equivalent arrangements, the present invention being limited only by the claims appended hereto and the equivalents thereof.