Title:
Sweetheart putter
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf putter having a shaft with a grip at a proximal end and a head at a distal end of the shaft for contacting a golf ball on the ground during putting of the golf ball includes an elongate blade having opposed ends, with a top side and a bottom side, and a linear edge extending therebetween. The top side of the blade is mounted on the distal end of the shaft, and the first linear edge acts as a striking face for the golf ball and strikes the golf ball in an essentially linear contact area horizontal to the ground. The golf putter includes a weight having an alignment point to be used as an aid in aligning the golf putter.



Inventors:
Johnson, Lanny L. (Okemos, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/481337
Publication Date:
01/10/2008
Filing Date:
07/05/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/334, 473/340
International Classes:
A63B53/06; A63B53/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PASSANITI, SEBASTIANO
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DAWSEY CO., L.P.A. (COLUMBUS, OH, US)
Claims:
1. A golf putter having a shaft with a grip at a proximal end and a head at a distal end of the shaft for contacting a golf ball on the ground during putting of the golf ball, the improvement in the head which comprises: an elongate blade having opposed ends, with a top side and a bottom side, and a linear edge extending therebetween, wherein the top side of the blade is mounted on the distal end of the shaft and the first linear edge acts as a striking face for the golf ball and strikes the golf ball in an essentially linear contact area horizontal to the ground, and wherein the golf putter includes a weight having an alignment point to be used as an aid in aligning the golf putter.

2. A golf putter as in claim 1, wherein said golf putter includes a depression for said weight.

3. A golf putter as in claim 2, wherein said weight is positioned on said top side of said golf putter.

4. A golf putter as in claim 1, wherein said weight includes a recognizable shape.

5. A golf putter as in claim 1, wherein said weight is heart-shaped.

6. A golf putter as in claim 1, wherein said weight has majority of mass towards the back of said putter.

7. A golf putter as in claim 1, wherein said depression is located on the top side of said putter.

8. A golf putter as in claim 1, wherein said depression extends to a back edge of said putter.

9. A golf putter as in claim 1 wherein said putter includes a discontinuous edge.

10. A golf putter as in claim 9, wherein said discontinuous edge conforms to said weight.

11. A golf putter as in claim 9, wherein said discontinuous edge includes a concave edge.

12. A golf putter as in claim 1, wherein said weight is located in a posterior end of said putter.

13. A golf putter as in claim 1, wherein said weight includes a heel lobe.

14. A golf putter as in claim 1, wherein said weight includes a toe lobe.

15. A golf putter as in claim 1, wherein said heart forms said alignment point.

16. A golf putter as in claim 15, wherein said alignment point is adjacent to said linear edge.

17. A golf putter as in claim 1, wherein said putter includes a first depression edge and a second depression edge which meet at said alignment point.

18. A golf putter having a head for contacting a golf ball on the ground during putting of the golf ball, the head comprising: an elongate blade having opposed ends, with a top side and a bottom side, and a linear edge extending therebetween, wherein the top side of the blade is mounted on the distal end of the shaft and the first linear edge acts as a striking face for the golf ball and strikes the golf ball in an essentially linear contact area horizontal to the ground, and wherein the golf putter includes a weight having an alignment point to be used as an aid in aligning the golf putter.

19. A golf putter as in claim 18, wherein said golf putter includes a depression for said weight.

20. A golf putter as in claim 19, wherein said weight is positioned on said top side of said golf putter.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to golf equipment, and more particularly to golf putter heads. Specifically, the present invention relates to a putter head having a heart-shaped weight or design of any logo or shape.

The traditional putter has a vertical blade with a flat surface and a vertical height usually one inch (25 mm) or greater. Subsequent traditional putters have a similar geometry on the face allowing for flat, convex, but not concave faces. The contact surface is often distinguished by the shape of the mass behind the vertical face. There also have been putters that are totally cylindrical in geometry. Existing putters come in many sizes and geometries. There is often heel to toe weighting to resist the turning of the vertical positioned putter blade. This feature is permissible under United States Golf Association (U.S.G.A.) rules. The rules of golf equipment are controlled by the U.S.G.A. for America. The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews (R.&A.) is the governing authority for the rules of golf in more than one hundred affiliated nations. More recently, in a written ‘statement of principles’ published jointly by the R.&A. and the U.S.G.A., it was acknowledged that, “History has proved that it is impossible to foresee the developments in golf equipment which advancing technology will deliver.” However, both the R.&A. and the U.S.G.A. remain vigilant when considering the equipment rules. The main objective of U.S.G.A. Rules 4 and 5 and Appendices II and III is to protect golfs best traditions, to prevent an over-reliance on technological advances rather than skill, and to ensure that skill is the dominant element of success throughout the game. Therefore, any club design must consider these rules if the club is to be deemed legal by the governing authorities of golf. Any putter must be compatible with the U.S.G.A. rules of golf in regards to being plain in shape, with runners that do not extend into the face, a width that is greater than the depth, a face without concavity, a face angle of no more than fifteen degrees, and an angle of shaft to the head of ten degrees incline or greater. One of the most difficult strokes for a golfer to master and one that is equally difficult to teach, is a good, squarely-aligned, repetitive putting stroke. Recreational players can lose valuable strokes, that would otherwise significantly improve their scores, by taking 3 and 4 putts per green. Even professional players are greatly affected by their ability (or lack thereof) to putt. Good or even proficient putting may be the difference between a professional attaining or retaining their tour privileges, making or missing a cut in a tournament, or even winning or losing a tournament. In addition to the known putting alignment devices mentioned above, a number of additional innovations have been developed relating to putter alignment devices, and the following U.S. patents are representative of some of those innovations: U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,544,883, 5,564,990, 5,913,731, 6,117,020, and 6,203,443. More specifically, U.S. Pat. No. 5,544,883 discloses a putter having an offset hosel. The putter has a narrow top surface which has a notch used to assist in proper alignment of the putter and a golf ball. The notch does not extend beyond the narrow top surface, so the notch does not provide an extended line for providing alignment. To improve alignment features, it would be desirable if a putter having alignment features included an extended alignment line.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,564,990 discloses a putter having alignment features which includes an extended alignment line. However, even if an alignment line of a putter is properly aligned on a golf ball, the putter may be improperly tilted. In this respect, it would be desirable if a putter having alignment features were provided which includes means for assuring that the putter is not improperly tilted when a putter is employed.

U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,913,731 and 6,203,443 disclose other putters that have extended alignment lines. However, these putters do not include means for assuring that the putter is not improperly tilted when the putter is employed.

As a matter of interest, U.S. Pat. No. 5,364,102 discloses a golf putter that can be equipped with interchangeable weights. However, this putter does not include alignment features.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,531,439 to Azzarella teaches a putter for imparting rotation to a golf ball during putting. The putter includes a club handle with a sole plate attached to a lower end thereof. A face plate projects from a forward edge of the sole plate and is oriented at an orthogonal angle relative to the plate. A frictional insert is mounted within a slot of the face plate and operates to impart a rotation to the ball during contact.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,718,644 to Donofrio teaches an insert member for a golf putter. One face of the insert is adapted to fittingly engage the putting face of a head of the golf putter. The other face of the insert, which engages the golf ball, comprises a regular, elongated, curved surface such as an arc section of a cylinder. The elongated curved surface is longitudinally positioned in alignment with a longitudinal axis of the putter head and is preferably of a dimension and position for putting engagement with a golf ball below the equator of the ball. The insert is comprised of titanium, titanium alloy, anodized aluminum, or high strength plastic.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,270,423 to Webb teaches a golf club head with interchangeable pads or inserts, each of which is composed of material having a different density. The mounting face detachably anchors or holds the selected pad or insert in place by screws, clips, adhesive or the like. Guides are provided on the club head for aligning the pad or insert with the mounting face.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,340,336 to Loconte teaches a putter head for a golf club designed to strike the upper portion only of a golf ball. The club face has an upper vertical face and a lower face constructed at such an angle away from the golf ball so as to prevent contact with the lower part of the golf ball. Additionally, the shaft connects to the club head on the side of the club head for right or left handed golfers. Alternatively, the shaft connects intermediate of the club head having grooves therein for insertion of weights onto the upper leading and trailing edges of the putter head for balancing the putter head.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,524,193 to Devore teaches a golf putter head which has a cylindrical body with a defined flat face on top. The body is made up of an outer shell of an aluminum alloy and an inner core of brass. The head has a groove across the flat face of the top and at its center, with indicator material carried in the groove for alignment purposes. The head is sized so that the convex surface of the cylindrical body, at its widest point, will strike a golf ball at its corresponding widest point.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,354,060 to Wooten teaches a putter having a putter head that includes a forward portion and a tail portion extending opposite from the forward portion. The forward portion includes a laterally extending, rounded, forward top surface and a laterally extending, rounded striking surface that extends forward and downward from the forward top surface. The forward portion further includes a laterally extending, planar, forward bottom surface extending rearward from the striking surface. The tail portion is generally coextensive with the forward portion and includes a laterally extending, rounded, tail top surface, and a laterally extending, rounded, tail bottom surface, which terminates in a rearmost tail tip. The putter forward portion defines a forward cavity and the tail portion defines a tail cavity, each of which are filled with lead so as to add weight to the putter head.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,683,307 to Rife teaches a putter type golf club head having a weight distribution formed by a cavity in the upper surface whereby the predominance of the weight of the head is at the heel, toe and bottom portions thereof. The head has a ball striking face having a loft no greater than three degrees.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,540,620, issued to Consiglio, teaches a golf 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 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 crosswise 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.

Baber, U.S. Pat. No. 5,007,646, teaches a golf putting practice device with an elongated base having a generally planar putter guide surface. A sight is positionable in one of a plurality of grooves located above the guide surface and includes a looped end usable to allow a golfer to ascertain whether or not he has held his head steady during a putting stroke.

Chen, U.S. Pat. No. 5,797,804, teaches a golf putting alignment trainer including a pair of spaced bodies defining inter-opposing and hollow casings defining compartments therein. Each casing is further defined by an upper wall and rear wall, each of the hollow casings having a side opening which faces each other. A movable member is mounted in the compartment of the hollow casing and a vertical adjustment device for mounting the movable member to the hollow casing and for affecting adjustment of a relative vertical position between the movable member and the hollow casing and for affecting adjustment of a relative horizontal position between the movable member and the hollow casing. A scale is attached to the movable member and adjustable in a horizontal position relative to the movable member.

Finally, U.S. Pat. No. 5,882,267, issued to Roe, teaches a golf putting trainer including a first elongated member, a second elongated member positioned generally planar and spaced apart relative to the first elongated member. A connecting member is positioned between the first and second elongated members and near a first end of the first elongated member, as well as being connected to the second elongated member near a first end of the second member. A target is slidably mounted to the connecting member and is in a slidable relationship with the connecting member, wherein the target is positioned between the first elongated member and the second elongated member.

SUMMARY

Therefore, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved putter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention may be understood by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which, like reference numerals identify like elements, and in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the bottom side of the putter head of the present invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates a cross-sectional view of a back side of the putter head;

FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective view of the putter head of the present invention;

FIG. 4 illustrates a cross-sectional view of a side of the putter head of the present invention;

FIG. 5 illustrates a top of the putter head of the present invention;

FIG. 6 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the back of the putter head;

FIG. 7 illustrates a perspective view of the putter head without the heart-shaped weight;

FIG. 8 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the heart-shaped weight; and

FIG. 9 illustrates a perspective view of the heart-shaped weight.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

All patents, patent applications, government publications, government regulations, and literature references cited in this specification are hereby incorporated herein by reference in their entirety. In case of conflict, the present description, including definitions, will control. Definitions for the following terms are provided to promote a further understanding of the present invention.

The term “contact area” as used herein refers to the area on either a putter face striking area or a golf ball where there is contact between the ball and the putter blade.

The term “proximal” as used herein refers to the direction or portion of a putter near to the golfer when in use.

The term “distal” as used herein refers to the direction or portion of a putter away from the golfer when in use.

The term “front” as used herein refers to the edge of the putter head used by a right handed golfer as a striking surface for contacting a golf ball during putting. A “face” as used herein refers to any surface used to strike a golf ball. Some putters having a central shaft can be used in a right or left handed fashion under U.S.G.A. rules. Right handed designations are used herein with reference to the Figures, however left handed uses and configurations are encompassed by the present invention. In some embodiments there can be the same hitting surface on both front and back. In this case the front and the back are each a striking face, since either one can be used to strike the golf ball.

The term “ball contact portion” as used herein refers to a part of the striking face which is at or near to the center of the face. It is intended to be used for striking the golf ball. It can be located on the front and/or the back of the putter head when it can be used to strike the golf ball.

The term “back” as used herein refers to the side of the putter head opposed to the front striking face. In some embodiments of the putter heads of the present invention the back is also configured as a striking face with grooves so as to conform to USGA and R&A rules.

The term “toe” as used herein refers to the side of the putter head which is distal to the golfer when putting.

The term “heel” as used herein refers to the side of the putter head which is proximal to the golfer when putting.

The term “horizontal” as used herein refers to an orientation parallel the ground upon which the golf ball lies. When used in reference to the putter head, it refers to a line which is horizontal when the putter rests on the ground and addresses the golf ball. Therefore the term “horizontal” refers to the ground and/or the bottom side of the club.

The term “vertical” as used herein refers to an imaginary line which is normal to the horizontal plane of the ground upon which the golf ball lies or to the horizontal plane of the sole (bottom) of the club.

The term “fastening device” as used herein refers to any device known in the art, conforming to the rules of golf, of fastening, including screws of a number of types, bolts, pins, and clips. One preferred fastening device is an Allen screw.

The term “weights” as used herein refers to any of a variety of solid materials, preferably metal, having a size and shape capable of being removable and secured by a fastening device within a depression or slot in the putter head, which can have a wide range of densities and masses. Preferably the weights are constructed of a variety of metals having different densities, however the weights can be constructed of lighter materials.

In one embodiment, the golf putter head of the present invention comprises an elongate flat blade which has a width defined between a front edge used for striking a golf ball and an opposed back edge. The length of the blade is defined between a toe edge, which extends from the front edge to the back edge of the blade and an opposed heel edge. The thickness of the blade is defined between a top side, bordered by each of the edges, and an opposed bottom side nearest to the ground when putting. The top side of the blade has an opening, into which a shaft can be affixed. The shaft can be affixed to the putter head by welding or any means known in the art. Optionally the shaft is affixed using a hosel. The top side of the blade has a depression or a slot, adapted to receive weights, which extend along the width of the blade. A heart-shaped weight or other recognizable-shaped weight can be secured into the depression or slot by one or more fastening device attached in holes in the depression or the slot in the top side of the blade. The weight provides the putter head with various weighting configurations. Weighting configurations place the center of mass of the putter head towards the back of the putter head (posterior) and towards the bottom side of the blade (inferior) or towards the top side of the blade. Preferably, the putter has heel/toe weighting. The total weight of the putter head can be adjusted by adding or removing the weights or changing the material to a less dense or more dense material. The optimal weighting can be determined by robotic testing or by trial and error in the golfer's hands.

The putter head can also be any of the putter head embodiments described herein and having an interchangeable face. The interchangeable faces can be screwed on or attached by any means known in the art. The interchangeable faces can be of a variety of configurations. The face can be with an elevation from vertical of zero to four degrees; a rolled (rounded) face having a radius which is less than that of a golf ball; a rolled (rounded) face of any radius with grooves; a rolled (rounded) face with linear grooves to provide ridges constructed of any of a number of materials; a rolled (rounded) face having linear elevated projections. The face is preferably constructed of titanium so as to be more resistant to abrasion and denting. The grooving can be on a putter to minimize the contact geometry, especially the larger grooving permitted on putters under the rules of golf. The putter head can be constructed of any suitable material including, but not limited to, metals such as aluminum, brass, and steel. The putter head can be constructed of other materials, including any other natural or synthetic material. Also encompassed by the present invention are golf putters having various markings for alignment of the putter head to a golf ball. Various weights can be used to adjust the center of mass along an axis running front to back, toe to heel, and/or top to bottom for proper balancing of the putter head.

The putter head provides a potential for various weights to meet the individual golfers preferences. Various positions of the head weight can be used to optimize the linear nature of the horizontal contact. The weight of the putter head is transmitted or disbursed to a horizontal narrow striking area by adjusting the center of gravity. Additionally, the putter head will accommodate alignment lines or graphics.

All of the putter heads of the present invention can be attached to the distal end of any shaft known in the art. The shaft can be of any type known in the art, including a “belly putter” type, which is longer than a traditional putter, and allows for a style of putting where the proximal end of the putter is stabilized on the player's belly. In some embodiments, the shaft can be of a long putter type, which makes it ideal for a pendulum style of golf stroke. Any grip known in the art can be fitted to the shaft. In some embodiments, the shaft is of a traditional short length, at least longer than approximately 18 inches (457 mm).

FIG. 1 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the bottom side of the putter head 100 of the present invention. The bottom side 102 is substantially ‘D’ shaped and defined by the substantially straight linear front edge 104 and a substantially elliptical portion defined by the heel edge 106, the back edge 110 and the toe edge 118. The substantially straight linear front edge 104 includes the striking surface for contacting the golf ball during putting and which includes the face which is the surface to strike the golf ball. While only the substantially straight linear front edge 104 is shown with a face, a face could be placed along the back edge 110 providing the same hitting surface is on both the front and back. The substantially straight linear front edge 104 includes a golf ball contact portion which is a portion of the striking face which is at or approximately near to the center of the face. The toe edge 108 is referred to as the side of the putter head 100 being distal to the golfer while putting. The heel edge 106 is referred to the side of the putter head 100 being proximate to the golfer while putting. The back edge 110 while being shown as convexly curved includes the side of the putter head 100 opposed to the substantially straight linear front edge 104.

FIG. 2 illustrates a back view of the putter head 100 in accordance with the teachings of the present invention. The putter head 100 includes a heart-shaped weight 200 positioned within a top side depression 202 or slot formed in the top side 204 of the putter head 100. FIG. 2 additionally illustrates that the putter head 100 includes a first discontinuous edge 205 positioned between the back edge 110 and the toe edge 108 and a second discontinuous edge 206 positioned between the back edge 110 and the heel edge 106. The first discontinuous edge 205 and the second discontinuous edge 206 are formed to conform to the edges of the heart-shaped weight 200. FIG. 2 additionally illustrates that the bottom side 102 is convexly curved from the center of the bottom side 102 to the toe edge 108 and additionally convexly curved from the center of the bottom side 102 to the heel edge 106.

FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective view of the putter head 100 in accordance with the teachings of the present invention. FIG. 3 shows the heart shaped weight 200 positioned within the top side depression 202. The heart-shaped weight 200 could be positioned within a depression located in the bottom side 102 of the putter head 100. The heart-shaped weight 200 includes a toe lobe 302 and a heel lobe 304 in which the toe lobe 302 is positioned towards the back of the putter head (posterior) and towards the toe edge 108 and the heel lobe 304 is positioned towards the back of the putter head 100 (posterior) and towards the heel edge 106. The portion of the heart-shaped weight 200 closest to the front edge 104 is an alignment point 207. This alignment point 207 can be used to align the a portion of the front edge 104 which is known as the ‘sweet spot’ of the putter head so that a more accurate putt can be achieved. The position of the heart-shaped wedge 200 is shown approximately centered with respect to the toe edge 108 and the heel edge 106. However, the heart-shaped weight 200 could be positioned more towards the heel edge 106 than the toe edge 108 or could be positioned more towards the toe edge 108 than the heel edge 106. The toe lobe 302 and the heel lobe 304 includes the majority of the weight of the heart-shaped weight 200 by virtue of the relative dimensions. Consequently, the weight of the toe lobe 302 and the heel lobe 304 tends to weight the putter head 100 towards the back edge 110 (posterior) of the putter head 100. Additionally, the heart-shaped weight 200 adds a sentimental value to the putter head 100. FIG. 3 additionally shows a shaft 308 for the putter head 100.

FIG. 4 illustrates a side view of the putter head 100 in accordance with the teachings of the present invention. The heel edge 106 is shown extending from the top side 204 to the bottom side 102. The heart-shaped weight 200 is shown as being substantially extending to the plane of the top side 204. However, the heart-shaped weight 200 could extend beyond the plane of the top side 204 or could not reach the plane of the top side 204.

FIG. 5 illustrates a top view of the putter head 100 of the present invention. The depression 202 includes a heel wall 502 which is shown as concavely curved to conform to the convexly curved sides of the heart-shaped weight 200 and a toe wall 504 which is similarly concavely curved to conform to the convexly curved sides of the heart-shaped weight 200.

As shown in FIG. 6, the heel wall 502 and the toe wall 504 meet at an depression edge 506 which is adjacent to the alignment point 207 formed on the heart-shaped weight 200 and which is positioned behind the substantially straight linear front edge 104. The heel wall 502 extends to the heel edge 106 while the toe wall 504 extends to the toe edge 108. Although not shown, the heel wall 502 and the toe wall 504 could extend around the back of the putter head (posterior). This alignment point 207 on the heart-shaped weight 200 aides the golfer in aligning the putter head 100 so that the center of percussion (or sweet spot) of the putter head 100 strikes the golf ball. The heart-shaped weight 200 is held in position by the fastener devices described herein above.

FIG. 6 illustrates a cross-sectional back view of the putter head 100 of the present invention without the heart-shaped weight 200. FIG. 6 illustrates the heel wall 502, the toe wall 504, the depression edge 506 and the depression 202.

FIG. 7 illustrates a perspective view of the putter head 100 of the present invention without the heart-shaped weight 200. FIG. 7 illustrates the heel wall 502, the toe wall 504, the depression edge 506 and the depression 202.

FIG. 8 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the heart-shaped weight 200.

FIG. 9 illustrates a perspective view of the heart shaped weight 200.

Other recognizable shapes which have a meaning other than a weight are within the scope of the invention for weight 200. For example, a tiger shaped weight, a deer shaped weight, a dog, a person's face could be substituted for the heart-shaped weight 200. All these shapes should have an alignment point on the weight of 200 which corresponds to the ‘sweet spot’ of the front edge 104.

While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments thereof have been shown by way of example in the drawings and are herein described in detail. It should be understood, however, that the description herein of specific embodiments is not intended to limit the invention to the particular forms disclosed.