Title:
Putting practice apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A putting practice device includes a generally horizontal rectangular putting board including a base member, and a layer of grass-like synthetic plastic material bonded to the upper surface of the base member, thereby to define a putting board. Two diagonally-arranged corner portions of the putting board contain putting holes that extend downwardly through the grass-like layer partially into the base member. At least one alignment string is supported in space relation above the grass-like layer, which alignment string extends over one of the putting holes in a direction parallel with a longitudinal edge of the putting board. Vertical adjustment devices are provided at the corner portions of the putting board for varying the heights of the corner portions relative to a fixed support. Preferably, to provide a universal putting board, putting holes are provided in all four corners, and the two non-used holds are filled by a removable filler plug.



Inventors:
Payne, James S. (Oxford, MS, US)
Application Number:
11/455060
Publication Date:
12/20/2007
Filing Date:
06/16/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/36
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
LEGESSE, NINI F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BUTLER SNOW LLP (MEMPHIS, TN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. Putting practice apparatus, comprising: (a) a generally horizontal rigid rectangular base member having top and bottom surfaces, and opposed pairs of longitudinal side edges and transverse end edges that cooperate to define four corners; (b) a layer of grass-like synthetic plastic material bonded to said base member upper surface, thereby to cooperate with said base member to define a laminated putting board, a pair of diagonally-arranged corner portions of said putting board containing putting holes each extending downwardly through said grass-like layer and partially into said base; (c) at least one first generally horizontal alignment string; (d) first string support means supporting said first alignment string in spaced parallel relation above said grass-like layer, said first alignment string extending parallel with a longitudinal side edge of said board from a first location adjacent one end edge of said putting board over one of said putting holes toward the remote end edge of said putting board; and (e) vertically adjustable support means arranged beneath the four corner portions of said putting board for varying the respective heights of said corner portions relative to a horizontal support surface.

2. Putting practice apparatus as defined in claim 1, and further including a second alignment string, and second support means supporting said second alignment string parallel with said first alignment string in spaced relation above the other one of said putting holes.

3. Putting practice apparatus as defined in claim 2, wherein each of said first and second support means comprises a pair of support pegs removably mounted in corresponding openings contained in said putting board.

4. Putting practice apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said base member is formed of wood.

5. Putting practice apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said holes are arranged on said putting board for use by a right-handed putter.

6. Putting practice apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said holes are arranged on said putting board for use by a left-handed putter.

7. Putting practice apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein each of the four corner portions of said putting board contains a putting hole; and further including: (f) a pair of plug members removably inserted into a diagonally-arranged pair of said holes, respectively, thereby to permit selective use of the putting board by right-handed and left-handed putters, respectively, each of said plug members including a base layer, and a synthetic plastic grass-like layer bonded to the upper surface of said base layer, the upper surfaces of said plug members being coplanar with the supper surface of said putting board.

8. Putting practice apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said vertically adjustable support means includes a vertical outer tubular sleeve member connected at its upper end with the bottom surface of said base member, and a foot member extending within and threadably connected with said sleeve member.

9. Putting practice apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein said base member has a length of 8 feet, a width of 4 feet, and a thickness of 4 inches; and further wherein said putting hole has a diameter of 4.25 inches.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

A putting practice device includes a generally horizontal rectangular putting board including a base member, and a layer of grass-like synthetic plastic material bonded to the upper surface of the base member, thereby to define a putting board. Two diagonally-arranged corner portions of the putting board contain putting holes that extend downwardly through the grass-like layer partially into the base member. At least one alignment string is supported in space relation above the grass-like layer, which alignment string extends over one of the putting holes in a direction parallel with a longitudinal edge of the putting board. Vertical adjustment means are provided at the corner portions of the putting board for varying the heights of the corner portions relative to a fixed support.

2. Description of the Related Art

Various type of putting practice devices are well known in the patented prior art, as shown by the patents to Gallic U.S. Pat. No. 4,294,450. Pelz U.S. Pat. No. 5431,403, Ji-Yong Ju U.S. Pat. No. 6,062,984, Wiltse U.S. Pat. No. 5,390.925 and Carlton U.S. Pat. No. 6,623,373, and the pending applications to Lee Nos. U.S. 2005/0049070 and 2004/0224783. In the Keaton patent U.S. Pat. No. 6,746,338, it is proposed to provide four jack screws at the corners of the putting board to selectively provide uphill, downhill, right- and left-hand side hill orientations to a raised platform. The use of guide strings in golfer's putting aids is disclosed in the patents to Clement U.S. Pat. No. 6,048,273, Kwakkel No. U.S. Pat. No. 5,913,732, Terry No. 5,527,041, and Perkins U.S. Pat. No. 4,997,189.

While these known putting teaching and practice devices are useful, the present invention was developed to provide an improved putting practice apparatus which is characterized by the placement of the holes, and the exact distance to be putted.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A primary object of the present invention is to provide a horizontal rectangular putting board including a rigid base member, and a layer of grass-like synthetic plastic material bonded to the upper surface of the base member, two diametrically opposite corner portions of the putting board containing putting holes that extend downwardly through the grass-like layer partially into the base member, at least one longitudinally-extending alignment string being supported in spaced relation above one of the putting holes.

According to another object of the invention, the corner portions of the putting board are provided with vertical adjustment means, whereby the heights of the corner portions relative to a fixed support may be adjusted as desired.

A further object of the invention is to arrange the two putting holes in two diagonally arranged corners of the putting board corresponding with use of the board by a right-handed putter or by a left-handed putter, respectively. Alternatively, all four corners of the putting board may be provided with putting holes, two selected diagonally-arranged putting holes being filled with removable filler plugs, thereby to permit a given universal putting board to be used either by a right-handed or by a left-handed putter.

In the improved putting apparatus of the present invention, the two putting holes or cups are placed at opposite ends of the putting box, thereby to enable a golfer to putt back and forth from hole to hole. The two hole placement reduces the walking time by half when practicing putting. For right-handed golfers, the holes are placed one foot in from the right edge of the box and one foot in from the far end of the box at the diagonally arranged corner of the box. This allows the box to be no more than four feet wide and eight feet long. The size of the box is significant, because that is the smallest size that can be used to master the skill of putting at the level of professionals on tour, yet reducing the walking time in half.

According to Dave Pelz, the former NASA scientist and acknowledged expert in putting, professional golfers on tour convert a little more than fifty percent of the putts at six feet. This is important, because after the mechanics of putting are mastered, the remaining challenge is mental. Thus, to engage the mental aspects of putting, a player must convert over fifty percent of the putts. To activate the brain for targeted success, one must have more successful experiences than failures.

The novice putter begins close to the hole, usually about two feet from the cup. As the mechanics of the putting stroke become automatic, the mental part of the skill is enhanced through confidence by converting a high percentage of putts. As the player's confidence is built, he or she gradually moves farther from the cup until eventually reaching six feet. Converting better than fifty percent at six feet from the cup establishes the attainment of skill at the professional level. Furthermore, Pelz indicates that half of all putt attempted by novices and by professionals are within a six foot distance.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other objects and advantages of the invention will become more apparent from a study of the following specification, when viewed in the light of the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of the putting board of the present invention;

FIGS. 2 and 3 are sectional views taken along lines 2-2 and 3-3 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a detailed sectional view of the vertically adjustable support means of FIGS. 2 and 3; and

FIG. 5 is a sectional view illustrating a modification of the invention including hole-filling plugs.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring first more particularly to FIGS. 1-4, the putting board 2 of the present invention includes a rectangular rigid horizontal base member 4 formed of a rigid material, such as wood or a suitable synthetic plastic material. Bonded adhesively to the upper surface of the base member is a conventional grass-like artificial turf layer 6 formed of synthetic plastic material. In accordance with the present invention, the board has a length of 8 feet, a width of 4 feet, and a thickness of 4 inches. The putting board has a pair of longitudinal side edges 8, and a pair of end edges 10, thereby to define four corner portions. Two diagonally arranged corner portions of the putting board contain putting holes 12a, 12b that extend downwardly through the grass-like upper layer 6, and partially into the base member 4, as best shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. Each putting hole has a diameter of 4.25 inches.

The putting board 2 is supported at each corner above a fixed support 13 by four vertically adjustable support means 14 each of which includes an outer sleeve member 16 that is fastened by screws 18 to the bottom surface of the base member 4 as shown in FIG. 4, and a foot member 20 that is threadably connected within the sleeve member 16. Thus, rotation of the foot member 20 in opposite directions relative to the sleeve member 16 produces raising and lowering of the associated corner portion of the putting board, respectively, relative to the fixed support 13.

In accordance with another feature of the invention, a horizontal taut alignment string or cord 22 is supported in parallel spaced relation about 3 inches above the grass-like layer 6 by a pair of pegs or pins 24 that are removably inserted into corresponding holes contained in the upper surface of the putting board adjacent the end edges 10. The alignment string extends above the putting hole 12a in a direction longitudinally of the putting board parallel with the adjacent side edge 8. Although only one alignment string has been illustrated in the drawings, it is apparent that, if desired, a second parallel alignment string could be supported over the other putting hole 12b.

In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the illustrated putting holes 12a and 12b are arranged in the appropriate corners for use by a right-handed putter. For a left-handed putter, the putting holes 12a′and 12b′would be arranged in the other pair of diagonally arranged corners, as illustrated in phantom. According to another modification of the invention, all four corners of the putting board are provided with putting holes, whereupon cylindrical filler plug member 30 (FIG. 5) are selectively inserted in diagonally arranged putting holes in accordance with whether the user is right-handed or left-handed. Each filler plug member 30 has a grass-like synthetic plastic upper layer 32, and a wood or synthetic plastic base layer 34, the upper surface of the upper layer 32 being coplanar with the upper surface of the upper layer 6 of the putting board.

In operation, the player positions the ball beneath the alignment string 22 at one end of the putting board remote from the hole 12a. The player then putts the ball along the alignment string toward the putting hole. At the other end of the board, the user picks up the ball (preferably out of the cup), and then putts the ball in the opposite direction toward the other cup 12b. By placing two cups at opposite ends of the board, the user's walking time is reduced in half when practicing putting. By adjustment of the supporting means 14, the putting surface may be tipped up or down to adjust the speed at which a ball travels on the putting surface. This enables the golfer to learn how hard or soft to strike the ball depending on the quickness of the surface. The alignment string or cord 22, which is taut between the support pins 24, dissects the golf cup, about three inches above the putting surface. This enables the golfer to learn how to strike the ball toward the target (i.e., the intended direction of the putt).

For right handed golfers, by placing the two cups one foot in from the right edge and one foot from the far end of the putting box this allows adequate space to appropriately address each putt and adequate space to swing the putter and allow for a maximum six foot putt which is important for developing the mental part of the skill at a professional level. The arrangement of the cups in this manner allow the putting surface to be the smallest possible size for mastering the skill at a professional level.

While in accordance with the provisions of the Patent Statutes, we have illustrated and described the best form and embodiments of the invention now known to us, it is apparent that changes may be made without deviating from the inventive concepts set forth above.