Title:
Adjustable golf putting feedback learning apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A putting practice apparatus and method includes placing an approximately right rectangular body with plural vertically oriented surfaces on a putting surface. One of the vertical surfaces has a depression of a selected width. A pair of opposing spaced-apart fixed arms are extended from another of the surfaces. A positionable third arm is positioned at a selected location between the pair of fixed arms. A rubber band is peripherally engaging around the body in contact with the one of the surfaces thereby bridging the depression therein and further bridging between the pair of fixed arms and the movable arm. The method further includes putting a golf ball on the putting surface to contact the rubber band centrally relative to the depression or centrally between one of the fixed arms and the movable arm so as to receive visual feedback as to targeting error in movement of the golf ball.



Inventors:
Rango, Joseph F. (Palm Desert, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/637368
Publication Date:
02/10/2005
Filing Date:
08/07/2003
Assignee:
RANGO JOSEPH F.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/180, 473/182, 473/185, 473/186, 473/187, 473/188, 473/189
International Classes:
A63B57/00; A63B69/36; A63B71/04; (IPC1-7): A63B69/36
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GRAHAM, MARK S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PATENT LAW & VENTURE GROUP, PLLC (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Claims:
1. A putting practice apparatus comprising: an approximately right rectangular body having a top and an opposing bottom horizontal surfaces, and contiguous with the top and bottom surfaces, plural vertically oriented surfaces, including: a left side surface, a right side surface, a front surface and a rear surface, the front surface providing a centrally positioned depression of a selected width; the rear surface providing, extending outwardly therefrom, a pair of opposing spaced-apart fixed arms, and between the fixed arms, a receiver slot; a third arm movably engaged within the receiver slot and selectively positionable in the receiver slot at alternate positions between the pair of opposing spaced-apart arms; and a rubber band engaged peripherally around the body in contact with the front surface excluding the depression therein, the left and right side surfaces and the pair of fixed arms and the movable arm.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the rubber band is positioned medially between the top and bottom surfaces.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the bottom surface provides a means for engaging a supporting surface whereas the body is prevented from moving when a golf ball strikes one of the vertical surfaces.

4. A putting practice apparatus comprising: a body having at least one vertically oriented surfaces, the body supported on a putting surface; at least one of the vertically oriented surfaces providing an unsupported portion of a means for resilience positioned medially on a golf ball rolling on the putting surface.

5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein the unsupported portion of the resilience means spans a depression in the at least one vertically oriented surfaces.

6. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein the unsupported portion of the resilience means spans between two fixed and spaced apart arms extending from the at least one vertically oriented surfaces.

7. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein the unsupported portion of the resilience means spans between a fixed and a movable arms, the arms extending from the at least one vertically oriented surfaces, the space between the arms being selectively adjustable.

8. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein the body provides a means for engaging the putting surface whereas the body is prevented from moving when a golf ball strikes one of the surfaces.

9. A putting practice method comprising the steps of: placing a body with plural vertically oriented surfaces on a putting surface; placing a depression of a selected width in one of the surfaces; engaging a rubber band peripherally around the body in contact with the one of the surfaces and bridging the depression therein; and putting a golf ball on the putting surface to contact the rubber band centrally to the depression.

10. The method of claim 9 further comprising the steps of: extending a pair of opposing spaced-apart fixed arms from another of the surfaces; positioning a positionable third extending arm at a selected position between the pair of opposing spaced-apart fixed arms; and putting the golf ball to strike the rubber band centrally with respect to one of the fixed arms and the movable arm.

11. The method of claim 9 further comprising the step of adhering the bottom surface to the putting surface.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE: Applicant(s) hereby incorporate herein by reference, any and all U.S. patents, U.S. patent applications, and other documents and printed matter cited or referred to in this application.

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to golf balls, and more particularly to a golf ball construction containing metallic flakes.

2. Description of Related Art

The following art defines the present state of this field:

Rango, U.S. U.S. Pat. No. 4,776,594 describes a golf putter especially adapted to provide training and practice in developing an accurate and precise swing and accuracy in engaging a golf ball by means of a putter head having a spherical contour on one face for putting training and in addition providing a flat putting surface on the opposite face of the club for practice and/or normal use. At the same time the putter is designed to be interchangeable for left or right hand use by providing a downward taper at each side of the club head. The flat putting surface may be formed with a transparent material to permit the insertion of informational matter.

Stark, U.S. Pat. No. 6,416,420 describes a golf putting practice device having a foundation frame, including a cantilevered support bracket. It has upper and lower optical position lines carried on transparent portions of plate members that are mounted on the cantilevered support bracket so that the plate members are parallel to each other and the optical position lines extend in the direction of a proper putting stroke. A ball-centering sight, as well as a head mirror, are also mounted on the support bracket. An angled mirror is also provided. A golfer using the device can observe problems with head movement during a putting stroke, as well as the exact posture of the ball, the putter head, and putter head movement during a putting stroke. The correct putting stroke is absolutely perfectly along the optical position lines.

Kim, U.S. Pat. No. 6,443,852 describes an apparatus, which provides improved means for perfecting the art of putting of a golf ball by a golfer. It allows for refining a golfer's putting skill by making the starting and ending points of the putting stroke easy to evaluate. The apparatus is a rectangular frame, which is placed on the ground with the head of the putter inside the frame and perpendicular to the long sides of the frame. A golf ball is placed on the ground roughly in the center of the frame. The putter is drawn back a given distance to the edge of an adjustable backstop. At the end of the stroke the putter just contacts a flexible rod whose position along the frame can be adjusted. The frame has both fixed and adjustable markings to allow the golfer to judge the beginning of the putting stroke and the follow through.

Fontes, U.S. Pat. No. 6,458,039 describes a golf aid putting device including a conventional golf club putter having a handle portion, a shaft portion and a putter head. A keel member is releasably secured to a bottom surface of the putter head for engagement with a track portion of the putting device for teaching the correct putting technique. The track portion of the putting device may be positioned on any horizontal supporting surface. The track portion includes a base member and a guide plate member having a curved top edge, said guide plate extending upwardly from the base member in perpendicular relation thereto wherein the keel member engages against the outside surface of the guide plate member and the curved top edge thereof to determine the path of movement of the putter during its back and forward swings.

Tate, U.S. Pat. No. 6,450,903 describes at least one, and preferably a pair, of golf ball markers with magnets incorporated therein that are employed in combination with a golf putter as a putting training aid. The golf ball markers may be placed a short distance apart on the ball-impact impact face of the putter for a golfer to practice putting. If the golfer correctly brings the putter face into contact with the ball, the ball will be impacted by the center of the face directly between the two magnetized ball markers. If the golfer's putting stroke is not correct, one or the other of the ball markers will strike the ball, thereby creating a tactile sensation transmitted through the putter shaft that informs the golfer of the error in execution of the putting stroke. Magnetic golf ball markers may also be used in combination with a putter in other ways to develop a putting stroke that is consistently correct. The golfer places two of the golf ball markers with magnets incorporated therein on a golf putting practice surface. One of these markers is placed directly in front of the golf ball and one directly behind it. On the backswing, the magnetic golf ball marker behind the golf ball will spring up onto the sole of the putter head with an audible click if the putter head remains near the golf putting practice surface during the backstroke. As the putting stroke is executed, and with a proper follow through, the ball marker in front of the golf ball will be magnetically attracted to the sole of the putter head if the putter head remains near the golf putting practice surface.

Lee et al., U.S. Pat. No. 6,461,246 describes a device for putt-practice. This device has a first casing opened at its opposite ends, with a speed sensor provided at each end of the first casing and a ball inlet formed at one end of the first casing. A second casing, opened at its opposite ends, is axially connected to an end of the first casing, with a transparent window provided at the upper portion of the second casing for guiding a backstroke movement of a putter during an act of putting. This second casing also has a displaying means for displaying a target putting distance preset by a user, a practical backstroke distance of the putter, and putting results after the act of putting.

Riddell, U.S. Pat. No. 6,461,247 describes a golf putting practice apparatus for improving one's stroke and accuracy in putting a golf ball with a putter, comprising: two cord positioning and holding members, each member having an inner face portion, and adapted to hold portions of the length of cord in spaced parallel linear alignment between the members; and, a length of cord extending between the two inner face portions of the cord holding and positioning members. The golf ball may be initially positioned and subsequently putted between the parallel portions of the cord; thereby enabling one to better judge the linearity of the stroke of the putter and the accuracy of the putt by reference to the portions of the cord held in parallel and spaced alignment on each side of the ball. A method of using the above apparatus is disclosed which includes the step of applying two strips of colored tape to top portions of the putter in a position which vertically corresponds to the position of the cord therebelow. The strips of tape facilitate judging the linearity of a putting stroke.

Schaum, U.S. Pat. No. 6,482,099 describes a golf-training device, which clamps onto the shaft of a standard golf club. The device has a holding block, which holds a laser pointing in a downward direction. A hinged mirror at the light-emitting end of the laser causes the laser light to be reflected at roughly a ninety-degree angle and thereby run parallel to the ground. An alignment strip and separate target helps the user calibrate the training device so that the laser beam is perpendicular to the flat head striking area of the golf club. The alignment strip can then be removed allowing the user to move the target to any reasonable distance. In this way a golfer can learn the proper alignment of club head to hole thereby improving his or her ability to accurately putt a golf ball towards and into the hole. The hinged mirror on the training device of the present invention can also be swung down so that the laser light is pointing straight down. In this orientation a user can swing a golf club in a practice room and observe the swing path of the club as the laser light forms a line as it strikes the floor, wall and ceiling. The training device of the present invention is easily attached and removed and is compact enough to be carried in ones pocket.

Pelz, U.S. Pat. No. 6,503,152 describes a putting trainer including a substantially flat plate upon which a golfer may place and strike a golf ball. The plate includes a first end having a recess shaped and dimensioned for receiving a golf ball and maintaining the golf ball in position adjacent the first end until such a time that the golfer strikes the golf ball toward a second end of the plate. The plate further includes a central alignment groove extending from the recess toward the second end of the plate. The putting trainer also includes a plurality of obstacles respectively and selectively positioned within a plurality of indents formed within the plate. The indents are positioned on opposite sides of the central alignment groove to define a passageway through which a golf ball is desirably struck.

Chough, U.S. Pat. No. 6,547,672 describes a practice putter for improving a golfer's putting game having a conventional grip attached to a conventional shaft. The shaft is connected to a head having a concave bottom surface of a predetermined radius. One or more balls are mounted in the bottom surface on an axle, and each ball revolves freely only in the direction of the axle. Each ball is positioned adjacent opposed sides of the concave middle portion. Each ball is mounted on an axle having a shock system that allows the ball to be pushed inward towards the head with the application of a predetermined force thereon. The length of the shaft is adjustable, and the angle determined by the top surface of the head and the shaft is also adjustable. In proper use, each ball is made to contact the putting surface as the head is moved in a straight line guided by the rolling balls.

Weidlich, U.S. Pat. No. 6,506,123 describes a putting training system for practicing putting outdoors on a putting green or indoors on a carpeted surface comprising of a circular toroid putting target which by design has the ability to distinguish between a correctly or incorrectly struck putt with the rule that all putts should be struck hard enough force to leave the golf ball approximately seventeen inches past the hole if the hole was not there. The training aid target is a visually realistic, 360-degree, three-dimensional depiction of a real hole on a putting green. This is accomplished by distinguishing the color of the outer half of the target from the inner half of the target. By coloring the outer half of the training aid target green and the inner half of the target black, one sees relatively the same view as a real hole when viewed from a distance.

Consiglio, U.S. Pat. No. 6,540,620 describes a putter-training device for judging a speed of impact of a golf club head upon a golf ball and including an elongated structure with a first guide wall and a second spaced apart and substantially parallel extending guide wall. A golf ball placement position is located at a first interconnecting end of the spaced apart guide walls. An adjustable and cross wise extending passageway with pivoting flaps is located proximate a second interconnecting end and determines a selected width for allowing passage therethrough of a golf ball which is struck at said placement portion and travels along the elongated structure between the first and second guide walls. A sensor circuit includes first and second pairs of spaced apart sensors mounted in opposing fashion and at spaced apart locations to the first and second guide walls. A counter assembly including a logic circuit interfaces with the sensor circuit to signal start and stop positions of the sensor circuit dependent upon first and second travel positions of the golf ball. A digital to analog converter is communicable with the logic circuit and converting an incremented output from the sensors for subsequent presentation on a display circuit. A power supply communicates with the sensor circuit, counter assembly, digital to analog converter and display circuit for supplying an electrical power input.

Hamilton, U.S. Pat. No. 6,561,920 describes a golf-putting guide that is placed on the ground between a golfer and a golf ball. It has a vertical front surface facing the ball that is part of the elliptical vertical projection of a desired swing circle of the club head. The heel of the club head slides along the front surface of the guide in putting practice, guiding the club head in a planar swing circle that is centered between the golfer's shoulders. The top surface of the guide is marked with a series of club-face alignment lines extending backward from the top front edge of the guide. Each of these lines is perpendicular to a line tangent to the elliptical top front edge of the guide. These lines visually guide the alignment of the club head as it moves along the front surface of the guide so the club rotates only on a single axis.

Our prior art search with abstracts described above teaches a putting guide, a golf stroke training device and method, a golf putter training device incorporating a processor and counter mechanism, a plurality of golf putter practice devices of various types and a golf putting target; but does not teach a golf putting practice providing visual feedback and with quickly adjustable target area. The present invention fulfills these needs and provides further related advantages as described in the following summary.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention teaches certain benefits in construction and use which give rise to the objectives described below.

The present invention teaches a putting practice apparatus and method including placing an approximately right rectangular body with plural vertically oriented surfaces on a putting surface. One of the vertical surfaces has a depression of a selected width. A pair of opposing spaced-apart fixed arms are extended from another of the surfaces. A positionable third arm is positioned at a selected location between the pair of fixed arms. A rubber band is peripherally engaging around the body in contact with the one of the surfaces thereby bridging the depression therein and further bridging between the pair of fixed arms and the movable arm. The method further includes putting a golf ball on the putting surface to contact the rubber band centrally relative to the depression or centrally between one of the fixed arms and the movable arm so as to receive visual feedback as to targeting error in movement of the golf ball.

A primary objective of the present invention is to provide an apparatus and method of use of such apparatus that provides advantages not taught by the prior art.

Another objective is to provide such an invention capable of visual feedback as to errors in golf ball putting trajectory.

A further objective is to provide such an invention capable of adjusting a target size.

A still further objective is to provide such an invention capable of deflecting a golf ball so as to discriminate between left and right ball travel error.

A still further objective is to provide such an invention capable of distinguishing the magnitude of golf ball travel error in a visual feedback to the golfer.

Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following more detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings illustrate the present invention. In such drawings:

FIG. 1 is a rear perspective view of the preferred embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view thereof taken along line 2-2;

FIG. 3 is a top plan view thereof showing a correctly striking golf ball with a large target area of an adjustable target area of the invention;

FIG. 4 is similar to FIG. 3 showing a small target area;

FIG. 5 a front perspective view thereof;

FIG. 6 is a top plan view thereof showing a correctly striking golf ball targeting a depression of the invention; and

FIG. 7 is similar to FIG. 6 showing an incorrectly targeted golf ball.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The above described drawing figures illustrate the invention in at least one of its preferred embodiments, which is further defined in detail in the following description.

The present invention is a putting practice apparatus preferably having an approximately right rectangular body 10 with a top 12 and an opposing bottom 14 horizontal surfaces, and contiguous with the top and bottom surfaces 12, 14, a set of plural vertically oriented surfaces, including: a left side surface 16, a right side surface 18, a front surface 20 and a rear surface 22. The front surface 20 provides a centrally positioned depression 21 of a selected width “W” as shown in FIG. 5. The rear surface 22 provides, extending outwardly therefrom, a pair of opposing spaced-apart fixed arms 30, 30′, and between the fixed arms, a receiver slot 40 (means for receiving a movable arm). A third arm 30″ is movably engaged within the receiver slot 40 and may be selectively positioned in the receiver slot 40 at alternate positions between the pair of opposing fixed arms 30, 30′. A rubber band 50 (means for resilience) is engaged peripherally around the body 10 in contact with the front surface 20 excluding the depression 21, i.e., the rubber band 50 bridges the depression 21. The rubber band 50 also is in contact with the left and right side surfaces 16, 18 and the pair of fixed arms 30, 30′ and the movable arm 30″ but is spaced apart from the rear surface 22 bridging this surface. This is clearly shown in FIGS. 1 and 5.

The rubber band 50 is preferably positioned medially between the top 12 and bottom 14 surfaces and is preferably centered at an elevation medial to a golf ball 5. Preferably, the bottom surface 14 provides a means for engaging 60 a supporting putting surface 8 whereas the body 10 is twarted from moving when the golf ball 5 strikes one of the vertical surfaces. The engaging means 60 may be Velcro® or other adhesive devices as is well known in the prior art.

The above described apparatus is used in a putting practice method comprising the steps of: placing the rectangular body 10 on a putting surface 8, placing the depression 21 of a selected width “W” in one of the surfaces 20, extending the pair of opposing spaced-apart fixed arms 30, 30′ from another of the surfaces 22, positioning a movable third arm 30″ at a selected position between the pair of opposing spaced-apart fixed arms 30, 30′, engaging a rubber band 50 peripherally around the body 10 in contact with the one of the surfaces 20 and bridging the depression 21 therein and bridging further between the pair of fixed arms 30, 30′ and the movable arm 30″, and putting a golf ball 5 on the putting surface 8 to contact the rubber band 50. Preferably, the golf ball 5 is putted to strike the rubber band 50 centrally with respect to the depression 21, as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, or alternately, the golf ball 5 is putted to strike the rubber band 50 centrally between one of the fixed arms 30, 30′ and the movable arm 30″, as is shown in FIGS. 3 and 4. Preferably, the method further includes the step of using a means for adherence of the body 10 to the putting surface 8.

As is shown in FIG. 6, when the golf ball 5 strikes the rubber band 50 centrally, with respect to the depression 21, it tends to rebound back along its original path, as shown by the arrow. However, when the ball 5 strikes the rubber band 50 off center, as shown in FIG. 7, it is rebounded along a path different from its incoming path, as shown by the arrows in the figure. This differential in ball path is a visual indicator of the magnitude of error in targeting of the ball by the player striking the ball and provides visual feedback so as to allow the player to clearly understand how to correct his/her swing. This visual correction provides feedback as to both the direction of error and the magnitude of error.

FIGS. 3 and 4 show that the third arm 30″ may be positioned so as to provide a larger target, as shown in FIG. 3 where the unsupported portion of rubber band 50 spans a greater distance, and, may alternately be positioned so as to provide a smaller target, as shown in FIG. 4 where the unsupported portion of rubber band 50 spans a lesser distance. In both instances the golf ball 5 is targeted to strike the rubber band 50 centrally between the movable arm 30″ and the fixed arm 30′. Thus, the movable arm 30″ may be positioned for a larger target area for a novice golfer, and may be positioned for a smaller target area for a more expert golfer, thus providing a useful device for a wide range golfer skill, and the ability to be adapted for a single golfer as his/her skill improves. Not shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, is that the golf ball 5, when striking the rubber band 50 off center, is deflected back toward the golfer with the same visual feedback as described above with respect to FIG. 7.

While the invention has been described with reference to at least one preferred embodiment, it is to be clearly understood by those skilled in the art that the invention is not limited thereto. Rather, the scope of the invention is to be interpreted only in conjunction with the appended claims and it is made clear, here, that the inventor(s) believe that the claimed subject matter is the invention.