Title:
Golf putter and system incorporating that putter
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf putter head includes a body having a ball-striking face and an upper surface defined thereupon. First and second indicia are defined upon the upper surface. The indicia lie in a line which is generally perpendicular to the striking face. The first indicium is closer to the striking face than is the second indicium, and the indicia are spaced from one another and from the striking face so that when a golf ball bearing an indicium having a size generally similar to the size of the first indicium is disposed at a preselected distance from the striking face, and with its indicium uppermost, the first indicium will be equally spaced from the second indicium and from the indicium on the golf ball.



Inventors:
Miller, Larry D. (Rochester, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/371464
Publication Date:
09/13/2007
Filing Date:
03/09/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/251, 473/252
International Classes:
A63B69/36; A63B53/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DENNIS, MICHAEL DAVID
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DINSMORE & SHOHL LLP (TROY, MI, US)
Claims:
1. A head for a golf putter, said head comprising: a body; a ball-striking face defined on said body; an upper surface defined on said body; and first and second indicia defined on said upper surface, said indicia lying in a line which is generally perpendicular to said striking face, said first indicium being closer to the striking face than the second indicium, said indicia being spaced from one another and from the striking face so that when a golf ball bearing an indicium having a size generally similar to the size of the first indicium is disposed at a preselected distance from said striking face, said preselected distance having a value in the range of 0-0.75 inches, and with its indicium uppermost, said first indicium will be spaced from said second indicium and from the indicium on the golf ball by an equal distance.

2. The golf putter head of claim 1, wherein said preselected distance is 0.5 inch.

3. The golf putter head of claim 1, wherein said indicia have a diameter which is less than 1.68 inches.

4. The golf putter head of claim 1, wherein said indicia have a diameter in the range of 0.1-0.8 inch.

5. The golf putter head of claim 1, wherein said second indicium has a size generally similar to that of the first indicium.

6. The golf putter head of claim 1, further including a third indicium defined on the upper surface of said body, said third indicium lying on said line which is generally perpendicular to the striking face.

7. The golf putter head of claim 6, wherein said third indicium is spaced from said second indicium by a distance equal to the spacing of said first and second indicia.

8. The golf putter head of claim 1, wherein said first and second indicia are circular.

9. The golf putter head of claim 1, wherein the spacing between the first and second indicia are defined by the formula:
D1,2=D1,f+X+0.84 inch wherein D1,2 is the spacing, in inches, between the centers of said first and second indicia, D1,f is the spacing in inches between the center of said first indicium and a plane extending perpendicular to the ball-striking face, X is a number having a value in the range of 0-0.75 inches, and 0.84 inches is the radius of a standard golf ball.

10. The golf putter head of claim 9, wherein X has a value in the range of 0.2-0.6 inches.

11. The golf putter head of claim 1, wherein said indicia are identical.

12. An aiming system for a golf putter, said system comprising: a golf putter head, said golf putter head comprising: a body; a ball-striking face defined on said body; an upper surface defined on said body; and first and second indicia defined on said upper surface, said first and second indicia lying in a line which is generally perpendicular to said striking face; and a golf ball having an indicium defined thereupon, wherein the indicia on the upper surface of the body of the putter head, and the indicium on the golf ball all have a similar diameter.

13. The aiming system of claim 12, wherein the diameter of said indicia is in the range of 0.10-0.80 inch.

14. The aiming system of claim 12, wherein said indicia are generally circular.

15. The aiming system of claim 12, wherein said indicia are all similar.

16. The aiming system of claim 12, wherein at least one of said indicia is different from the others.

17. The system of claim 12, wherein when said ball is disposed at a preselected distance from said striking face ranging from 0-0.75 inches, and with its indicium uppermost, said first indicium is equally spaced from said second indicium and from said indicium on said golf ball.

18. A head for a golf putter, said head comprising: a body; a ball-striking face defined on said body; an upper surface defined on said body; and first and second indicia defined on said upper surface, said indicia lying in a line which is generally perpendicular to said striking face, wherein said first indicium is closer to the striking face than the second indicium, and the centers of said first and second indicia are spaced apart by a distance, in inches, D1,2, defined by the formula:
D1,2=D1,f+X+0.84 inch wherein D1,f is the spacing, in inches, between the center of said first indicium and a plane extending perpendicular to the ball-striking face, X is in the range of 0-0.75 inches, and 0.84 is the radius of a standard golf ball.

19. The putter head of claim 18, wherein X is in the range of 0.2-0.6 inches.

20. The putter head of claim 18, wherein X is 0.5 inches.

21. A head for a golf putter, said head comprising: a body; a ball-striking face defined on said body; an upper surface defined on said body; and first and second indicia defined on said upper surface, said indicia lying in a line which is generally perpendicular to said striking face, said first indicium being closer to the striking face than the second indicium, said indicia being spaced apart from one another by a distance of at least 0.84 inches so that when a golf ball bearing an indicium having a size generally similar to the size of the first indicium is disposed at a preselected distance from said striking face, and with its indicium uppermost, said first indicium will be spaced from said second indicium and from the indicium on the golf ball by an equal distance.

22. The golf putter head of claim 21, wherein said first and second indicia are spaced from one another by a distance which is less than 1.68 inches.

23. The golf putter head of claim 21, wherein said first and second indicia are spaced from one another by a distance which is in the range of 1-1.5 inches.

24. The golf putter head of claim 21, wherein said preselected distance has a value in the range of 0-0.75 inches.

25. A head for a golf putter, said head comprising: a body; a ball-striking face defined on said body; an upper surface defined on said body; and first and second indicia defined on said upper surface, said indicia lying in a line which is generally perpendicular to said striking face, wherein the spacing between said indicia may be selectably adjusted along said line.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to golf clubs. More specifically, the invention relates to putters. Most specifically, the invention relates to a golf putter used in combination with an indicium-bearing golf ball to provide a pattern of indicia which allow the golfer to readily control the trajectory of the putter head.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Putting is a very important part of the game of golf, and many golfers find it very difficult to putt accurately. As a consequence, a very large body of art has been developed relating to putting and putters. Putters are often provided with markings, guides and other devices which have the object of aiding a golfer in directing a putter head along a desired trajectory. Some such alignment devices are shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,072,941; 5,308,068 and 3,333,854. The foregoing patents show alignment devices which basically comprise a guide line projecting across a top face of the head of the putter.

Another approach to providing for putter control and alignment is represented by what is known as the “two ball” putter. The basic concept of this putter is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,688,798. As described therein, the head of a golf putter includes at least two simulated golf balls on an upper surface thereof. These simulated golf balls are aligned with the preferred center of percussion (“sweet spot”) of the striking face of the putter. The theory of operation of this system is that the player will visually align the simulated golf balls with the ball being putted so as to provide for accurate control of the trajectory of the putter head. As disclosed therein, various simulations of golf balls, both two-dimensional and three-dimensional, are employed in this design of putter. Various embodiments of the two ball putter, including three ball versions, have been implemented and are popular with a number of golfers. Some such embodiments are shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,905,420; 6,793,588; 6,679,782; 6,506,125; and 6,471,600. While such putters are relatively popular, a number of golfers find that the relatively large simulated golf balls make the putters difficult to use and/or compromise their accuracy.

As will be explained hereinbelow, the present invention provides a putter head design which incorporates a uniquely determined pattern of markings which, when used in combination with an appropriately marked golf ball, provide for an alignment and control system which greatly enhances the accuracy of a player's putting. These and other advantages of the invention will be apparent from the drawings, discussion and description which follow.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Disclosed herein is a head for a golf putter. The head includes a body, a ball-striking face defined on the body, and an upper surface defined on the body. First and second indicia are defined on the upper surface. The indicia lie in a line which is generally perpendicular to the striking face of the putter. The first indicium is closer to the striking face than is the second indicium. The indicia are spaced from one another and from the striking face in a specific arrangement so that when a golf ball bearing an indicium having a size generally similar to the size of the first indicium is disposed at a preselected distance in the range of 0-0.75 inches from the striking face, and with its indicium uppermost, the first indicium will be spaced from the second indicium and from the indicium on the golf ball by an equal distance.

In particular instances, all of the indicia have a diameter which is less than the 1.68 inch diameter of a standard golf ball, and in specific instances, the indicia all have a diameter in the range of 0.1-0.8 inch. In particular instances, the first and second indicia have a generally similar size, and the indicium on the golf ball used in conjunction with the putter will also have a similar size. In specific instances, the indicia are circular. In yet other instances, the putter head may include more than two of such indicia.

The spacing between the centers of the first and second indicia may be defined by a formula D1,2=D1,f+X+0.84 inches wherein D1,2 is the spacing, in inches, between the first and second indicia; D1,f is the spacing in inches between the center of the first indicium and a plane extending perpendicular to the ball-striking face of the putter head, X is a number having a value in the range of 0-0.75 inches and 0.84 inches is the radius of a typical golf ball. In a particular instance, X will have a value in the range of 0.2-0.6 inches.

Also disclosed herein is an aiming system for a golf putter. The system includes the putter head described above as well as a golf ball having a corresponding indicium defined thereupon.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the golf putter system of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the golf putter head of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the system of the present invention illustrating the geometric relation of the indicia thereupon; and

FIGS. 4A-4C are schematic depictions of other embodiments of golf putter systems of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides an aiming system for a golf putter which allows a golfer to control the trajectory of the putter head with a high degree of accuracy. Furthermore, the user can intuitively adapt to the system, hence no long training is required for its use. In addition, the system is relatively compact and unobtrusive and may be readily incorporated into variously configured putters.

Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown a perspective view of the system of the present invention in operation. The system includes a golf putter having a putter head 10 structured in accord with the principles of the present invention. The putter is used in combination with a golf ball 12 marked with an indicium 14. As will be seen from the figure, the putter head 10 also includes corresponding indicia 16 and 18. The geometry of the putter head and the placement of the indicia 16, 18 are selected so that in the use of the putter the indicia 16, 18 on the putter will align with the indicium 14 on the ball 12. Furthermore, the centers of all of the indicia 14, 16, 18 will be equally spaced when the ball 14 is proximate the striking face of the putter. This geometric arrangement allows a golfer to readily track the trajectory of the putter head 10 and accurately control it so as to strike the ball 12 with the sweet spot of the putter and putt the ball 12 along a desired path of travel. It should be noted that in the use of the system of the present invention, a golfer's eyes will be spaced from the indicia by at least several feet; owing to the inherent limits on the resolution of a typical user's eyes, some variation in spacing of the indicia may be present without detracting from the indicia appearing to be “equally spaced.” Therefore, in the context of this disclosure “equally spaced” indicia are understood to include indicia which, while not precisely equally spaced, appears to be equally spaced in the normal use of the putter.

Referring now to FIG. 2, there is shown a perspective view of the putter head 10 of FIG. 1. It will be noted that no shaft is included in the FIG. 2 drawing, and it is to be understood that putters in accord with the present invention may incorporate shafts of any design. Furthermore, shaft placement on the head may be varied according to club design and user preference.

The putter head 10 of FIG. 2 comprises a body portion having a ball-striking face 20 on the body. As is known in the art, this face 20 may be grooved, embossed, or otherwise textured. Furthermore, it may include inserts or other features, all as known in the art. The putter head 10 of FIG. 2 includes an upper surface 22 which joins the striking face 20 in an angled relationship. As will be further noted from FIG. 2, the upper surface 22 includes a projecting portion 22′ extending therefrom. Disposed upon this projecting portion 22′ are first, 16 and second, 18 indicia as described above. The first indicium 16 is disposed closest to the striking face 20 and the second 18 is farther from the striking face 20. It should be noted that in some instances, the size of the upper surface 22 may be sufficiently large so that the projecting portion 22′ may be eliminated, and all of the indicia incorporated within the bulk of the upper surface. As will be seen, the indicia 16, 18 are aligned along a line which is generally perpendicular to the striking face. In most instances, this alignment line will also pass through a line extending vertically from the percussive center (sweet spot) of the striking face 20.

Referring now to FIG. 3, there is shown a top plan view of a golf putter head 10, generally similar to that described with reference to FIGS. 1 and 2. Also shown is a golf ball 12. The putter head 10 and golf ball 12 are depicted as they would be when a player using the system of the present invention would be lining up a putt. Accordingly, as shown, the golf ball 12 will be spaced from the striking face 20 of the putter head 10 by a distance X which will usually range from 0 to approximately 0.75 inches. Typically, the ball 12 and striking face 20 will be spaced by a distance of approximately 0.2-0.6 inches when the putt is being lined up, and most typically, spacing will be approximately 0.5 inch. According to the principles of the present invention, the second indicium 18 is spaced from the first indicium 16, which in turn is spaced from a plane defined by the striking face 20 of the club by a distance such that when the ball 12 is placed with its indicium 14 uppermost and the ball 12 and putter head 20 are positioned so as to align the putt, all three indicia 14, 16, 18 are linearly aligned, and the spacing between the first and second indicia on the club, and the first indicium 16 and the indicium 14 on the ball are equal, as noted above.

The foregoing geometric relationship of the present invention may, in particular embodiments, be established by the formula: D1,2=D1,f+X+0.84 inches. As shown in FIG. 3, D1,2 equals the distance, in inches, between the centers of the first and second indicia 16, 18; the distance D1,f is the distance in inches between the center of the first indicium 16 and a plane defined by the striking face 20. As discussed above, X is the spacing, in inches, between the ball 12 and the striking face 20, and as such will be in the range of 0-0.75 inches, and in particular embodiments 0.2-0.6 inches, and in one specific embodiment 0.5 inches. The factor 0.84 inches is the radius of a typical golf ball. In a typical putter of the present invention, the first 16 and second 18 indicia are spaced apart by at least 0.84 inches, and in specific instances the spacing is less than 1.68 inches, and typically in the range of 1-1.5 inches.

It has been found that indicia aligned according to the foregoing geometries provide visual feedback to a golfer which allows for the putter and ball to be readily aligned so as to define a sight line which allows for accurate aiming of the putt. Furthermore, the relative position of the indicia guides the golfer when he or she is swinging the putter so as to provide a dynamic feedback which allows for accurate control of the putter head trajectory.

The putter of the present invention is differentiated from prior art designs such as the two or three ball putter by the fact that the indicia utilized are significantly smaller than the diameter of a golf ball, and a unique spacing pattern is incorporated which, when used with an appropriately marked ball, provides a novel aiming system. In general, the diameter of the indicia will be less than 1.68 inches, and more preferably will be less than 1.0 inch. In particular, the indicia will have a diameter in the range of 0.10-0.80 inch. As depicted, the indicia are shown as dark-colored spots; however, such is not required by the present invention. In some instances, at least one of the indicia may be brightly colored, patterned, reflective, or otherwise structured so as to increase its visibility. In particular instances, the indicia may be made from a fluorescent material.

While the foregoing description has primarily been directed to a system utilizing two circular indicia on the putter head and a circular indicium on the golf ball, the present invention is not so limited. In that regard, FIGS. 4A-4C show some further embodiments of the present invention.

Referring now to FIG. 4A, there is shown a putter head 30 having three indicia 16, 18, 32 thereupon. As shown, the third indicium 32 is linearly aligned with the first and second indicia 16, 18. Also as shown, the third indicium 32 is spaced from the second 18 by a distance equal to the spacing between the second 18 and the first 16. However, such is not required by the present invention. The third indicium 32 may be placed at a greater or lesser distance. Also, it is to be understood that still other indicia may be included.

Referring now to FIG. 4B, there is shown a putter head 40 generally similar to those previously described. However, the indicia 42, 44 thereupon are triangularly shaped. In the context of this disclosure, reference is made to the diameter of the indicia. In the instance of noncircular indicia such as 42 and 44, the diameter is understood to be the diameter of a circle circumscribed about the indicium. As is seen in FIG. 4B, the golf ball 12 has a corresponding triangular indicium 46 thereupon; however, it is to be understood that the indicium on the golf ball 12 may be otherwise configured. For example, it may be a circular indicium. Also, the present invention may be practiced utilizing differently configured indicia on the putter head. Therefore, it is to be understood that the present invention may be practiced using various combinations of identical or differing indicia.

Referring now to FIG. 4C, there is shown yet another putter head 50 structured in accord with the principles of the present invention. As illustrated, this head 50 is a rather large, delta-shaped head having several openings defined therein to provide for an appropriate distribution of the center of mass. This head 50 is representative of one design of golf putter head presently employed, and it is to be understood that yet other designs may be structured to include the present invention. As shown in FIG. 4C, the head 50 bears indicia 52, 54 which are generally cross-shaped, and in this instance, the ball 12 also bears a cross-shaped indicium 56. As will be apparent, alternatively configured indicia may be utilized in the present invention. While the golf ball used in the system of the present invention has been described as having an indicium thereupon, it is to be understood that the golf ball may include a number of indicia thereupon. The only requirement in the use of the system is that an indicium on the golf ball be disposed at an approximately topmost point thereupon.

In accord with another aspect of the present invention, one or more of the indicia on the putter may be made to be movable relative to the others. This feature will allow a golfer to adjust the spacing of the indicia to accommodate personal preferences. For example, a golfer who chooses to line up a putt with the ball more than the typical 0.5 inch spacing from the club face favored by most golfers could increase the spacing between the first and second indicia. Likewise, a golfer who favors having the ball closer than 0.5 inches from the club face when lining up a putt could decrease the spacing between the indicia. Adjustment of the spacing between the indicia may be accomplished by having various of the indicia mounted on a slidable member, or by the use of repositionable adhesive markers.

From the foregoing, it will be understood that a golf putter system of the present invention includes a pattern of appropriately disposed indicia which cooperate with an indicium disposed on a golf ball to allow a golfer to accurately align a putt and control the putter head trajectory. The unique geometry of the system of the present invention may be incorporated into various embodiments and may be adapted to various putter head designs. Also, it is to be understood that while this invention has primarily been described with reference to golf putter heads, embodiments of this invention may likewise be adapted to other golf clubs such as drivers and irons.

In view of the foregoing, numerous modifications and variations of the invention will be apparent to those of skill in the art. The foregoing drawings, discussion and description are illustrative of specific embodiments of the invention, but they are not meant to be interpreted as limitations upon the practice thereof. It is the following claims, including all equivalents, which define the scope of the invention.