Title:
Alignment system for a putter type golf club
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A putter type golf club head having an alignment system for aligning the putter to a predetermined lie angle. An alignment line is located on an upper surface of a rear flange perpendicular to the frontal ball striking face. An opening in the top ridge allows the alignment line to be seen by the golfer when the predetermined lie angle is achieved.



Inventors:
Rife, Guerin D. (Winter Park, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/095538
Publication Date:
10/05/2006
Filing Date:
04/01/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/36
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PASSANITI, SEBASTIANO
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WELSH FLAXMAN & GITLER LLC (McLean, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A putter type golf club head including a club head body, heel toe, top ridge, bottom sole, frontal ball striking face, rear face, and rear flange attached to said rear face, wherein the improvement comprises: an alignment line on an upper surface of said rear flange, said alignment line being perpendicular to said frontal ball striking face; an opening in said top ridge for alignment with said alignment line when a predetermined lie angle is achieved.

2. The putter type golf club head of claim 1 wherein said rear face is undercut inwardly toward said frontal ball striking face; and said opening is a notch in said top ridge; said notch being located at a rear edge of said top ridge.

3. The putter type golf club head of claim 2 wherein said opening is arcuate in shape.

4. The putter type golf club head of claim 1 wherein said rear face is flush with the rear edge of said top ridge and further includes an alignment slot on said rear face extending vertically from said alignment line; said opening is formed by the intersection of said alignment slot and said top ridge.

5. The putter type golf club head of claim 4 wherein said opening is arcuate in shape and is located at a rear edge of said top ridge.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to golf clubs and, in particular, to golf putters having a unique alignment system.

2. Description of the Prior Art

A wide variety of putter head designs have been developed in order to aid a golfer in making more repetitive and consistent strokes. An alignment system is illustrated in U.S. Pat. No. 4,754,976 to Pelz that uses a plurality of golf balls behind the sing face to create a visual image of a series of aligned golf balls during the execution of a putting stroke. Another putter having a unique alignment system is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,680,860 to Elkins that uses a wide stripe on the upper surface of the putter head extending in a front to rear direction. U.S. Pat. No. 4,136,877 to Antonious shows a putter head with upper and lower alignment marks that are aligned to precisely position the putter head prior to execution of a putting stroke. Another putter having an alignment system of interest is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,880,430 to McCabe that uses upper and lower alignment indicia to position the putter head at the same lie angle prior to the putting stroke.

In addition, it is common practice for a putter head to be provided with a line on the top ridge and a complementary line on the upper surface of a flange, which lines are used to aid a golfer in the placement of the putter head. Although these alignment lines and others operate fairly well for the intended purpose, a shortcoming exists. In situations where it is advantageous not to have a putter positioned flat on the putting surface, for example when the ball rests on a sloped surface, where due to a need for balance, a golfer may lean forward or backward. This results in the alignment lines not matching which can become a distraction to the golfer.

The present invention relates to an alignment system for a putter type golf club head that serves to aid a golfer in aligning the putter head in the same position on a relatively flat putting surface. The alignment system also allows a golfer to position the putter head at an angle in a non-aligned position with a minimum amount of visual disruption and distraction. The present alignment system uses a lower alignment line on a bottom rear flange of the putter head in combination with a relatively small, unique opening, such as a notch or slot formed on an edge of the top ridge portion of the putter head. With the putter head flat on a putting surface and a golfer in a proper set up position relative to the putter head, the alignment line on the putter head flange aligns with the notch on the top ridge surface. However, should it become necessary to alter the normal, preferred lie angle for the execution of a particular stroke, for example when putting on a severely sloped surface, the slot opening is not aligned with the alignment line. Because the slot opening is small and relatively unobtrusive to the golfer's eyes, it does not distract the golfer during the execution of a putting stroke as would happen where the upper and lower indicia are solid, mismatched lines.

If the notch and alignment line are not in alignment when a golfer is in his ideal set up position, the putter head is either too flat or too upright and needs adjustment Once a preferred lie angle of the putter head is established for an individual golfer, the hosel of the putter head may be bent by hand or using a suitable tool. This lie angle of the shaft can be replicated every time by the golfer by simply aligning the notch opening with the alignment line on the putter head flange.

The structure of the rear face determines the structure of the upper slot opening. For example if the rear face is undercut, only a notch in the top ridge is necessary to allow a golfer to see the portion of the alignment line under the top ridge. If the rear face is located coincident with the rear edge of the top ridge, the opening is formed as a slot extending from the top ridge to the bottom of the rear flange in order to see the portion of the alignment line under the top ridge.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide a putter head having a unique alignment design having alignment sections vertically displaced from each other.

Another object of the present invention is the provision of a putter head having an alignment design to properly align the putter head before the execution of a putting stroke.

Still another object of the present invention is the provision of a putter head having an alignment system capable of performing an alignment function when needed and capable of being ignored when an alignment function is not needed.

Another object of the present invention is the provision of a golf putter that allows a golfer to assume the same position at address to promote a repeatable and consistent putting stroke path.

Other objects, advantages and salient features of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, which taken in conjunction with the annexed drawings, discloses a preferred, but non-limiting, embodiment of the subject invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a rear perspective view of a putter head in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a rear elevational view of the putter head of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a rear perspective view of another embodiment of a putter head in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a rear elevational view of the putter head of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a top plan view thereof.

FIG. 6 is a top plan view of a putter head of the present invention having a shaft angle that is too flat.

FIG. 7 is a top plan view of a putter head of the present invention, having a shaft angle that is too upright.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein. It should be understood, however, that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention, which may be embodied in various forms. Therefore, the details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limited, but merely as the basis for the claims and as a basis for teaching one skilled in the art how to make and/or use the invention.

Referring to the drawings, FIGS. 1 and 2 show a first embodiment of a putter head 100 of the present invention. The putter head 100 is formed with a body portion 102 having a ball striking face (not shown), rear face 106 and top ridge 108. The putter head 100 further includes a rear cavity formed by a heel weight 112, toe weight 114 and a lower flange 116. A bore 118 is located on the top ridge 108 to accommodate a conventional putter shaft and grip (not shown).

In this embodiment, the rear face 106 of the putter 100 is undercut or recessed inwardly beyond the rear edge 109 of the top ridge 108. The alignment system of the present invention includes an alignment line 120 on the upper surface 122 of the lower flange 116. Preferably the alignment line 120 is a groove cut or molded in the upper surface 122 of the lower flange 116 and filled with paint or similar material in order to present a sharp color contrast with the lower flange 116. The alignment line 120 extends all the way to the rear face 106 whereby the innermost portion of the alignment line 120 is under the rear edge 109 of the top ridge 108. A small arcuate notch 124 is cut or molded on the rearward edge 109 of the top ridge 108. The notch 124 has the same width as the alignment line 120. Adjustment of the lie angle of the putter head 100 aligns the notch 124 with the alignment line 120 which the golfer sees thereby knowing the club head 100 is in perfect alignment when the club head 100 is grounded on a putting surface. When the putter head 100 is not aligned, the notch does not align with the alignment line 120. Thus the lie angle of the putter head can be replicated every time by simply aligning the notch 124 and the alignment line 120. Should it become necessary to alter the preferred lie angle, there is little, if any, distraction to the golfer from the notch opening 124 because the notch 124 is relatively unobtrusive when it is not aligned relative to the alignment line 120. Stated in other words, the notch opening 124 is large enough to enable a golfer to see alignment with the alignment line 120, however, the notch opening 124 provides little visual impact when it is not aligned with the alignment line 120.

FIGS. 3 and 4 show another embodiment of a putter head 200 having a similar alignment system. In this embodiment the rear face 206 is flush with the rear edge 224 of the top ridge 208. The upper surface 222 of a lower flange 216 of the putter head 200 is provided with an alignment line 220 formed therein. In this embodiment, an additional alignment slot 226, coincident with the alignment line 220, extends vertically on the rear face 206 up to the top ridge 208. The slot 224 is colored the same as the alignment line 220 and forms a vertical extension thereof. The slot 226 terminates in an arcuate opening 228 at the intersection with the top ridge 208. The additional alignment slot 226 makes it easier for a golfer to locate the innermost portion of the alignment line 220 when the alignment slot is aligned. As with the previous embodiment, the arcuate opening 228 is easily ignored when the alignment slot 226 is not aligned with the alignment line 220 on the lower flange 216.

FIG. 5 shows a putter 500 with the alignment line 520 in alignment with the arcuate opening 522 on the top ridge 508.

FIG. 6 illustrates a golf putter head 600 that is too flat when viewed by a golfer in a normal address position. The alignment line 620 and the arcuate opening 622 are not aligned.

FIG. 7 illustrates a golf putter head 700 that is too uptight when viewed in a normal address position. The alignment line 720 and the arcuate opening 722 are not aligned. In both cases, when the alignment lines and arcuate openings are not aligned, the angle of the putter shaft to the putter head may be altered mechanically until alignment is achieved.

While various preferred embodiments have been shown and described, it will be understood that there is no intent to limit the invention by such disclosure, but rather, is intended to cover all modifications and alternate constructions falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.