Title:
System of Assisting Golfer in Body Stance Alignment Relative to Intended Golf Ball Target Line of Flight and Setting an Appropriate Golf Tee Height
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Disclosed is a system using a golf tee which has three arms, two of which extend in opposing directions orthogonal to, and from opposing sides of, the vertical shaft of the tee, and a third arm extending in the same place and orthogonal to the other two arms. The system is employed for alignment of a golf tee shot stance and swing, by setting the tee in the ground with the middle arm of the tee aligned with the line of intended golf ball flight to assist the golfer in taking a stance that promotes a line of flight for the ball along the target line; (ii) provides the golfer with a visual means of setting the tee in the ground to raise the ball to the desired height appropriate for desired ball distance travel.



Inventors:
Palmer, David (Houston, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/779136
Publication Date:
01/24/2008
Filing Date:
07/17/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B57/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WONG, STEVEN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Eric P. Mirabel (Houston, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of aligning ball travel direction on a golf tee shot, and for setting a golf tee height such that the ball will travel close to a desired distance, comprising: providing a golf tee having a shaft for supporting a golf ball, and three arms, two which extend in opposing directions orthogonal to, and from opposing sides of, the shaft, and a third arm extending in the same plane orthogonal to the other two arms, said shaft being marked with a series of annular striations, with a known distance between each annular striation; calibrating shot distance against tee height based on aligning the striations, in sequence, with the ground surface and conducting a series of shots with a particular golf club at different striation alignments to thereby generate a correlation between tee height and average shot distance for a particular club; selecting a desired shot distance by placing the tee in the ground with a particular striation aligned with the ground surface based on the calibration results; aligning the direction of the intended line of flight for the golf ball by pointing the third arm directly at the target, with two other arms thereby forming a line perpendicular to the line to the target; and having a user take a stance relative to the tee with the user's feet positioned such that a line through a fixed point on the feet is about parallel to the line from the tee to the target and to the third arm, and so that the user's foot position is as desired relative to a line formed by the two parallel arms.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein the golf club is a driver, wood or iron.

3. The method of claim 1 wherein the calibration step is done at a driving range with markers indicating shot distances.

4. The method of claim 1 wherein the calibrations results are tabulated.

5. The method of claim 1 wherein for the longest desired shots, the alignment of the striations provides for the golf ball being furthest above the ground.

6. The method of claim 1 wherein for the shortest desired shots, the alignment of the striations provides for the golf ball being closest above the ground.

7. The method of claim 1 wherein the line formed by the two parallel arms bisects a line between the user's feet.

8. The method of claim 7 wherein for the longest desired shots, the line formed by the two parallel arms is closer to the user's foot nearer the target, and for the shortest desired shots, the line formed by the two parallel arms is closer to the user's foot further from the target.

9. The method of claim 1 wherein a golf ball is placed on the golf tee.

10. The method of claim 9 wherein the golf ball is struck by the users with the golf club.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/831,621, filed Jul. 18, 2006.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to novel golf tees and a system for using them.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Golf tees are almost always used by the golfer to “tee-up” (support the golf ball above ground level to make the ball easier to hit with the center of the golf club face) the first shot taken for each hole from the tee box area. The distance for such initial shot is the greatest on any given hole; thus the golfer normally attempts to hit the ball as far as possible on such shot. On a typical par 4 or par 5 hole the first shot is usually with a “driver” (largest head, longest shaft) golf club. On a typical par 3 hole, the distance to the green is shorter than the par 4 or par 5 holes, and usually the driver is not the preferred club for the initial shot, but the golfer still tees up the ball for the selected (“shorter”) golf club. It is clear that if the initial shot has any angle of misdirection relative to the target line of flight, the ball would travel furthest from the desired path on such initial shot, as compared with subsequent shots, which generally do not travel as far. Accordingly, attaining the proper direction is most important for the initial tee shot.

Golf magazine recently published (in its June, 2006 issue) an article instructing golfers that teeing the ball higher will generally cause longer ball flights when the new generation of large-headed drivers are used, and that golfers should start using the new, extra length tees immediately. Golf tees are usually made of wood (though some are made of plastic), and are essentially a low-cost “throw-away” item for the golfer—frequently broken on the initial shots, and only used to hold the ball for the initial shot, played from tee box. Due to the critical nature of the initial shot, however, the small size and portability of the golf tee, and the fact that golfers carry many of them in their bags, using a golf tee to aid the golfer in consistently teeing-up the ball at a height appropriate to the chosen club (drivers typically perform better teeing the ball up high, while irons work better when the ball is teed up lower to the ground) and playing conditions (golfers frequently will tee the ball up lower if hitting into a wind, or other times when a lower ball flight path is sought) would be advantageous and desirable. Using the golf tee to aid the golfer in consistently positioning their address stance parallel to the line of intended ball flight (towards the target) would also be advantageous and desirable

Teeing up the ball at a desired height more consistently for an intended shot would be easier if the tee shaft was marked, thereby allowing the golfer to set the tee relative to the ground level such that the ball would be at the desired appropriate height as selected by the golfer.

The position of the teed up ball, relative to the front foot of the golfer, is a key variable of the golf stance that affects the resulting golf shot. Many golf teachers instruct their students to take a stance with the driver that is just inside of their left heel (for right-handed golfers), so that the club contact with the ball occurs at the position of the swing that produces greater velocity. Golfers could benefit from a system that helps them to more accurately align their stance relative to the ball.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Disclosed is a system using a golf tee which has three arms, two of which extend is opposing directions orthogonal to, and from opposing sides of, the vertical shaft of the tee, and a third arm extending in the same plane and orthogonal to the other two arms. The system is employed for alignment of a golf tee shot stance and swing, by setting the tee in the ground with the middle arm of the tee aligned with the line of intended golf ball flight to assist the golfer in taking a stance that promotes a line of flight for the ball along the target line; (ii) provides the golfer with a visual means of setting the tee in the ground to raise the ball to the desired height appropriate for the club selected, distance to the target, and playing conditions, based on a prior calibration of golf tee height to desired ball distance travel. The tee's vertical shaft is marked with a series of striations, with a known distance between each striation (to allow setting ball height).

The golf tee can be made of any of a number of materials, including polymers, biodegradable polymers or aluminum. The golf tee's arms can be molded with the tee shaft, where it is made of polymers or aluminum, or otherwise attached.

The golfer uses the tee's arms to align the stance and shot. The tee's three arms are located near the top of the tee, just below the cup that holds the ball in place. The tee is placed in the ground with the middle arm pointing at the target. The golfer takes a stance for the swing with his/her feet placed such that a line between the feet is parallel to the line from the tee to the target. The golfer's feet and body position or stance in thus aligned perpendicular to the two opposed arms, and parallel to the third arm, which is pointing directly towards the target. The tee would thus be situated so that the golf ball is struck on the side where none of the three arms face, to avoid interference with the club face striking the ball.

The golfer then shifts his feet into a comfortable swing position, keeping the feet oriented such that a line tangent to the tips of both feet is parallel to the direction of the middle arm of the tee (and the line of intended ball flight), and orthogonal to the two opposed arms of the tee. Thus, use of the tee helps the golfer position their feet (and their hips and shoulders) parallel to the line of intended ball flight (towards the target) to promote a swing path for the golf club that sends the ball straighter down the target line at impact.

To employ the striations on the shaft to help adjust the ball travel distance, the golfer must conduct a preliminary calibration. This can be done readily at a driving range with distance markers. With the driver (or any other club to be used for tee shots), the user sets the ball height (and also uses the alignment procedure described above), using the striations on the tee's vertical shaft. That is, if the lowermost striation is at the ground level, the tee height is highest, and, similarly, if the uppermost striation (nearest the cup that holds the ball) is at the ground level, the tee height is lowest. For each tee height, the golfer takes a series of shots and determines the average distance traveled (based on markets on the driving range, or otherwise). In general, the higher the tee, the greater the distance traveled. By compiling the results of the calibration, the golfer can make a plot of tee height and distance traveled, which can be used, among other times, in the event that a less than maximum distance drive is desired (i.e., hazard or bend in the fairway, for example).

The invention is described further below with reference to the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a golf tee (with a ball in place) for use in the system described herein.

FIG. 2 is a side elevated view of the golf tee of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a view of a golfer using the golf tee of FIG. 1 in making a shot.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIGS. 1 and 2 depict, respectively, a plan view and a side elevated view of a tee 10 (with a golf ball 30 in place) suitable for use with the system described herein. Tee 10 has striations 12, 14, 16, and 18 (depicted as evenly spaced, but they could also be in other relative positions) on the vertical shaft 20, having opposed arms 22 and 24, and an orthogonal arm 26. A golf ball 30 is in place in a small cup (not shown) atop the vertical shaft 20.

FIG. 3 depicts a golfer 28 using the tee 10. The arm 26 is aligned with the direction from the tee 10 to the pin (flag) 32, and the arms 22 and 24 are orthogonal to the line running between golfer's feet. It can be seen that the golfer 28 has his feet, shoulders and hips aligned with the target line.

In using the tee 10 for alignment of the golf shot and stance, the following considerations come into play.

    • Club Selected—The golfer may want to tee the ball up higher for shots with the driver, or lower if the club selected is, for example, a smaller headed three wood, or even lower if the club used were an iron or “rescue club”. The profile for most of the current generation of new drivers is much taller than for other golf clubs, such as rescue clubs or more lofted woods, and the golfer would want to tee the ball up higher for hitting with such drivers. Driver shots are typically played with the teed ball positioned forward relative to the golfer's stance, while teed iron shots are generally played with the ball further back in the golfer's stance (more towards the middle of the stance, between the two feet). The arms 22 and 24 (orthogonal to the line running between golfer's feet) aid in aligning the position of the ball relative to the feet.
    • Ball Trajectory—If a wind in effect and is in a direction not aiding the desired ball flight path, the golfer may decide to promote a lower trajectory for the shot by teeing the ball up lower than would be the case under less windy conditions. If the shot being teed up is the initial shot on a par 5 hole, where the distance to the hole will generally require (at least) three long shots by the golfer, the golfer will usually select the driver club and will tee the ball up higher than if a shorter ball flight is desired. If the fairways are wet from recent rains, the golfer may decided to tee the ball higher than normal, in an effort to promote a ball flight that travels higher with more carry. On dry, hard fairways, the golfer may decide to tee the ball lower than normal, in an effort to promote a ball flight that travels lower with less carry, but with more roll. The position of the ball relative to the golfer's stance can also affect the ball is more towards the back of the stance generally having a lower trajectory than shots where the ball is more forward relative to the stance.
    • Distance to Target—The golfer may want to tee the ball up lower for shots where the distance desired to be covered by the ball flight using a particular club is less than the distance the golfer normally hits that golf club with a higher tee position. For example, on a short par 5 or a short par 4, the golfer may decide to use the driver with the ball teed up lower than normal. This may be needed to avoid a hazard on the course or to leave a distance remaining for the next shot that is desired.

To use the striations on the tee shaft to achieve desired ball travel distances, the golfer conducts a preliminary calibration. This can be done most readily at a driving range with distance markers indicating shot distance from the tee box. With the driver (or any other club to be used for tee shots), the user sets the tee height (and also uses the alignment procedure described above), based on the striations on the tee's vertical shaft. That is, if the lowermost striation is at the ground level, the tee height is highest, and, similarly, if the uppermost striation is at the ground level, the tee height is lowest. For each tee height setting, the golfer takes a series of shots and determines the average distance traveled (based on markers on the driving range, or otherwise). In general for a golf shot, a ball teed up higher relative to the ground (so that the club face will contact the ball higher up on the club face) will travel a greater distance than similarly hit ball teed lower relative to the ground (so that the club face will contact the ball lower down on the club face). By compiling the results of the calibration, the golfer can make a plot of tee height and distance traveled for a given club, which can be used in the event that a less than maximum distance drive is desired (i.e., a hazard or bend in the fairway, for example). The golfer should take care during the calibration to avoid chaning the club face angle (as it contacts the golf ball) appreciably from swing to swing, as that would affect the reliability of the calibration. That is, the club face should strike the ball at the same angle of inclination and plane, and on the club face near the center of gravity of the club head.

An exemplary calibration chart of shot distance against tee height (for a driver) would be similar to that shown in Table 1 below.

TABLE I
Hypothetical Calibration Data for Driver Club
Striation
setting
(ground level)205 yards215 yards225 yards235 yards
125 shots3 shots1 shot1 shot
143 shots5 shots1 shot1 shot
162 shots2 shots4 shots2 shots
181 shot1 shot3 shots5 shots

Thus, it can be seen from Table 1 that with striation 12 set at ground level, using that same club as used for calibration, the shot could be expected to usually travel about 205 yards, and similarly the likely distance usually traveled can be seen for other striation settings.

It should be understood that the terms, expressions and examples used herein are exemplary only, and not limiting, and that the scope of the invention is defined only in the claims which follow, and includes all equivalents of the subject matter of claims. Process and method steps in the claims can be carried out in any order, including the order set forth in the claims, unless otherwise specified in the claims.