Title:
Golf Apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf apparatus on which a golf ball is placed for hitting with the head of a golf club. The apparatus includes a base having a first part which supports a user and a second resiliently deformable part over which a golf ball is in use positioned for hitting with the head of a golf club. A covering extends over substantially all of the first and second parts of the base.



Inventors:
Scarbrow, Lee (Peterborough, GB)
Brown, David (Northamptonshire, GB)
Application Number:
11/573234
Publication Date:
03/20/2008
Filing Date:
08/05/2005
Assignee:
LEE SCARBROW SWING STUDIO LIMITED (Peterborough, GB)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/36
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LEGESSE, NINI F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MACMILLAN SOBANSKI & TODD, LLC (TOLEDO, OH, US)
Claims:
1. A golf apparatus comprising a base having a first part to support a user and a second, resiliency deformable part including a deformable elongate member over which a golf ball is in use positioned to be hit by a head of a golf club, wherein the golf apparatus includes a covering which substantially covers both the first and second parts of the base.

2. A golf apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the base includes a formation to receive the covering.

3. A golf apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the covering is a synthetic matting simulating grass.

4. (canceled)

5. (canceled)

6. (canceled)

7. (canceled)

8. (canceled)

9. (canceled)

10. A golf apparatus according to claim 4 wherein the resiliency deformable elongate member is supported by formations on the base.

11. A golf apparatus according to claim 10 wherein the resiliently deformable elongate member is supported at its opposite ends.

12. A golf apparatus according to claim 4 wherein the base includes a cavity substantially beneath the resiliently deformable elongate member.

13. A golf apparatus according to claim 41 wherein the apparatus includes a plurality of resiliently deformable elongate members.

14. A golf apparatus according to claim 13 wherein the resiliently deformable elongate members are positioned substantially parallel to each other.

15. A golf apparatus according to claim 14 wherein the resiliently deformable elongate members are spaced from one another.

16. A golf apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the base is adjustable to accommodate different sizes of covering.

17. A golf apparatus according to claim 16 wherein the base includes a plurality of inter-engaging parts.

18. A golf apparatus according to claim 13 wherein the apparatus includes two sets of a plurality of resiliently deformable elongate members, separated by the part to support a user.

19. (canceled)

20. (canceled)

Description:

DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION

This invention relates to a golf apparatus, more particularly to a golf apparatus over which a golf ball is positioned to be hit by a head of a golf club.

Such a golf apparatus is commonly known as a driving mat/system and is used at golf ranges and, in particular during winter months, in place of a golf tee on a golf course (as use of the grassed golf course tee is sometimes prohibited due to the effect that excessive use can have on the tee during wet weather etc.). Existing driving systems typically comprise synthetic matting simulating grass, such as Astroturf® or the like, which is fixed to or placed on a solid floor surface, usually concrete.

A user positions a golf ball either directly on the Astroturf® matting or on a golf tee fixed to the matting. Conventional golf tees for use on a golf course comprise a small support of wood or plastic on top of which the golf ball is positioned. These, however, typically cannot be used on conventional driving systems as it is not possible to push the tee through the matting used and into the surface on which the matting rests. Therefore, a golf tee used on a driving system of this kind comprises a rubber tube which has at one end a radially outwardly extending flange. The free end of the tee is passed through an aperture in the matting until the flange abuts an underside of the matting and then the golf ball is positioned on top of the free end of the rubber tube. This type of golf tee ensures that a user does not have to reposition the golf tee after each golf shot as the rubber tube resiliently deforms upon impact with a head of a golf club.

Such synthetic grass driving systems have a number of disadvantages. Firstly, a user is susceptible to a number of injuries, such as, for examples, wrist and elbow injuries, due to the fact that that the matting does not deform sufficiently upon impact with the head of the golf club in the same way that a grassed golf tee on a golf course would respond. The risk of injury is particularly high if the matting is fixed to, for example, a concrete surface.

Also, due to the fact that the user is aware that the matting will not deform as readily as a grassed surface, he/she is likely to alter his/her stroke technique to ensure that the golf club does not impact the matting directly (i.e. that at the point of contact of the head of the golf club with the golf ball, the head just touches the surface of the matting, or misses the matting altogether). This does not reflect the “proper” technique which should be employed when the head of the golf club strikes the golf ball. This leads to practising poor technique, which when replicated on a golf course can lead to inaccurate golfing shots.

Other driving systems have been proposed, including a part which incorporates a viscous material onto which the golf ball is positioned. This is said to provide a more “real feel”. However, due to the complexity of this driving system it is necessary to buy the complete system which can be of great expense for the owner of a golf driving range. Therefore, the existing synthetic grass matting, which was previously used, is no longer required and is usually discarded. It is therefore an object of the present invention to address the above problems.

According to a first aspect of the invention there is provided a golf apparatus comprising a base having a first part to support a user and a second, resiliently deformable, part over which a golf ball is in use positioned to be hit by a head of a golf club, wherein the apparatus includes a covering which-substantially covers the first and second parts of the base.

By providing a golf apparatus in accordance with the present invention, the risk of injury to a user is reduced. This, in turn, means that a user can practice for a longer period of time. The apparatus also reduces the likelihood of a user employing poor technique as he/she will be assured that the surface from which they are hitting the golf ball will deform upon impact with the golf club.

The covering may be a synthetic matting simulating grass, such as Astroturf® or the like.

The base may include a formation to receive the covering, such as a recess in the base.

The second, resiliently deformable, part of the base may include at least one resiliently deformable member. The resiliently deformable member may be elongate.

According to a second aspect of the invention there is provided a golf apparatus comprising a base and at least one resiliently deformable elongate member over which a golf ball is in use positioned to be hit by the head of a golf club.

The base may include a part to support a user. The apparatus may include a covering which substantially covers the base.

The covering may be a synthetic matting simulating grass, such as Astroturf® or the like.

The base may include a formation to receive the covering, such as a recess in the base.

In either aspect of the invention, the resiliently deformable elongate member may be supported by formations on the base, preferably at opposite ends thereof.

The base may include a cavity substantially beneath the resiliently deformable elongate member, such that the one resiliently deformable elongate member can deform into the cavity in the base.

The apparatus may include a plurality of resiliently deformable elongate members.

The resiliently deformable elongate members may be positioned substantially parallel to each other.

The resiliently deformable elongate members may be spaced from one another, such that a gap is provided between adjacent resiliently deformable elongate members, such as, for example, to receive a golf tee.

The base may be adjustable to accommodate different sizes of covering.

The base may include a plurality of inter-engaging parts. The inter-engaging parts may engage by positive locking joints such as dovetail joints or the like.

The apparatus may include two sets of a plurality of resiliently deformable elongate members, separated by the part to support a user. This ensures that the apparatus can be used by left and right handed persons without having to reposition the apparatus.

The resiliently deformable elongate members may be positioned substantial parallel to a direction in which the golf ball is to be hit.

The recess in the base may be 1200 mm by 1200 mm such as to receive an existing “standard” golf mat.

The resiliently deformable elongate members may be made of a plastics material. Preferably, the plastics material is one which can withstand repeated impact (from a head of a golf club) and be sufficiently resiliently deformable to engage a bottom of the cavity in the base.

The invention will now be described by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings, of which:

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a first embodiment of a golf apparatus in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view through the plane A-A of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view through the plane B-B of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view through the plane C-C of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a plan view, part in cross-section, of a detail of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view through the plane D-D of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a plan view of a second embodiment of a golf apparatus in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a plan view of a modified version of the second embodiment shown in FIG. 7.

FIG. 9 is a plan view of a third embodiment of a golf apparatus in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 10 is a cross-sectional view through the plane X-X of FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view through the plane E-E of FIG. 9;

FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view through the plane F-F of FIG. 9; and

FIG. 13 is a plan view of a component of the third embodiment shown in FIG. 9.

Referring firstly to FIGS. 1 to 4 of the drawings, these show a first embodiment of a golf apparatus in accordance with the present invention, generally at 10. The golf apparatus 10 has a base 12 with a first, generally rectangular, part 14 to support a user and second, resiliently deformable, parts 16a, 16b (also generally rectangular), over which a golf ball can in use be positioned to be hit by the head of a golf club. The resiliently deformable part 16b is a mirror image of the resiliently deformable part 16a, such that the apparatus 10 can be used by left and right handed persons without having to reposition the apparatus 10. Accordingly, the construction and operation of the second part 16a only will be discussed hereinafter.

The base 12 includes means (not shown) to fix the base 12 to a floor surface, such as bolts or screw-threaded fasteners. The base 12 also includes a recess 18, having opposing, substantially parallel, side walls 18a, 18b to receive a synthetic matting simulating grass (not shown), which substantially covers the parts 14, 16a and 16b. In the present example the synthetic matting simulating grass is a “standard” 1200 mm by 1200 mm golf driving range mat. By use of the term “standard” we mean that it is a size conventionally used in golf driving ranges/courses throughout the world, but it must be appreciated that the apparatus 10 could be manufactured to accommodate a synthetic matting simulating grass of a size larger or smaller size than 1200 by 1200 mm. The benefit of being able to accommodate a “standard” mat is that it is not necessary for an owner of an existing mat to discard their mat. He/she can re-use the mat with the apparatus in accordance with the present invention. This should mean that the apparatus can be manufactured at a lower cost, although the apparatus 10 could be supplied with a new synthetic matting, if required.

The base 12 has a plurality of recesses 20 on its underside, substantially rectangular in plan view, to reduce the overall weight of the apparatus 10, although it will be appreciated that the underside of the base 12 could be solid. The base 12 may include a plurality of apertures to allow fluid, such as rain, to drain from an upper surface of the matting.

The resiliently deformable part 16a includes a plurality (five in the present example, although any number could be used) of resiliently deformable elongate members 30. Each resiliently deformable elongate member 30 is made from a plastics material, such as pultruded glass-reinforced plastic, and is substantially rectangular in plan view. The resiliently deformable elongate members 30 are spaced from, and lie substantially parallel to, each other so that a gap is provided between adjacent resiliently deformable elongate members. Each resiliently deformable elongate member 30 is supported at its free ends by formations 40 (discussed in detail hereinafter) on the base 12. The resiliently deformable elongate members 30 are suspended above a cavity 24 in the base 12, such that they are free to deform downwardly into the cavity 24. The cavity 24 is deepest at a point which lies substantially beneath a midpoint of each resiliently deformable elongate member 30 and tapers towards the free ends of each resiliently deformable elongate member 30.

The formations 40 are shown in detail in FIGS. 5 and 6. Each free end of each resiliently deformable elongate member 30 has an open-ended elongate slot 32, which extends towards a midpoint of the resiliently deformable elongate member 30. A respective substantially cylindrical peg 25 is provided on the base 12 and is fixed to the base 12 such that an axis of each peg 25 is substantially perpendicular to a plan of the base 12. Each peg 25 is received in a respective slot 32 and is positioned such that when the resiliently deformable elongate member 30 is not deformed into the cavity 24, i.e. when lying substantially horizontal, the peg 25 engages or lies near a closed end of its respective slot 32. When the resiliently deformable elongate member 30 deforms into the cavity 24 under loading (for example by being hit by a head of a golf club), each slot 32 moves relative to its respective peg 25, substantially towards the deepest part of the cavity 24, so that the peg 25 no longer engages or lies near the closed end of its respective slot 32, but rather lies near an open end of its respective slot 32.

Each formation 40 on the base 12 also includes a clamp 31, each clamp 31 covering the pegs 25 at one end of each set of five resiliently deformable elongate members 30, and their respective slots 32, so that the slots 32 remain engaged with their respective pegs 25 during deformation of the resiliently deformable elongate member 30. A pair of rubber pads 28, 29 are also provided, either side of the free ends of the resiliently deformable elongate members 30 to grip them and to absorb any shock during deformation of the resiliently deformable elongate members 30.

In order to use the apparatus 10 as either a practice driving system or for use as a replacement “winter” tee on a golf course, the apparatus 10 must be positioned such that the longitudinal axes of the resiliently deformable elongate members 30 are aligned substantially parallel to a direction in which a golf ball is to be hit.

A user then positions the golf ball to be hit over the resiliently deformable elongate members 30 (either on the part 16a or 16b, depending on whether the user is left or right handed). As there is a gap provided between adjacent resiliently deformable elongate members, the user can place the golf ball directly on the matting or use a conventional golf tee, which can be pushed through the mating into a gap between adjacent resiliently deformable elongate members. The user then positions the golf ball on the tee. The use of a conventional golf tee provides for a more “realistic feel” for the user compared to using a durable rubber tee.

The user then stands on a part of matting covering the part 14, addresses the golf ball and then strikes the golf ball.

As the user is aware that the resiliently deformable elongate members 30 will deform under loading, he/she can strike the golf ball with correct technique, which usually involves the head of the golf club striking the matting just after striking the golf ball. When the head of the golf club strikes the matting, the resiliently deformable elongate member(s) 30 directly below the point of impact deform downwardly into the cavity 24 in the base 12. This deformation continues until the head of the golf club is no longer engaged with the matting above the resiliently deformable elongate member(s) 30. The resiliently deformable elongate member(s) 30 then return(s) to its substantially horizontal position.

This sequence of events occurs over a very short time span, so to the naked eye, the deformation and relaxation of the resiliently deformable elongate member(s) 30 occurs almost instantaneously.

Referring now to FIGS. 7 and 8, these show a second embodiment 110 of an apparatus in accordance with the present invention. Components of the second embodiment equivalent to components of the first embodiment have been given the same reference numeral with the addition of 100. For clarity some components have not been shown, such as the resiliently deformable parts 116a and 116b and the resiliently deformable elongate members 130. The main difference between the first and second embodiments of the invention is that the base 112 of the second embodiment includes a plurality of inter-engaging parts 112a, 112b, 112c, 112d forming the base 112. The inter-engaging parts 112a, 112b, 112c, 112d connect together using dovetail-type joints 115. This allows the base 112 to be deconstructed for storage or transportation.

The inter-engaging parts 112a, 112b, 112c, 112d also allow for the provision of additional inter-engaging parts 113a, 113b, 113c, 113d, so that the (plan view) dimensions of the base 112 can be adjusted, such as, for example, to accommodate a larger synthetic matting. The length of the resiliently deformable elongate members required for the second embodiment shown in FIG. 8 depends on the dimensions of the inter-engaging parts 113a, 113b, 113c, 113d.

Referring now to FIGS. 9 to 13, these show a third embodiment of golf apparatus 210 in accordance with the present invention. Components of the third embodiment corresponding to components of the first embodiment have been given the same reference numeral with the addition of 200. The golf apparatus 210 is substantially covered by a golf mat 201, e.g. synthetic grass matting, although this is not shown in FIG. 9.

Whereas the first and second embodiments shown in FIGS. 1 to 8 have a base 12, 112 which was injection moulded, the third embodiment consists of a peripheral frame 217 made up of extruded plastics frame members 217a, 217b. Like frame members 217a or 217b are positioned at opposite sides of the golf apparatus 210 to form a substantially square frame 217. The frame members 217a, 217b are mitred at their ends and are fixed to each other by welding.

The third embodiment, unlike the first and second embodiments, has only one resiliently deformable part 216a, which means that in any one position the apparatus 210 can only be used by a left or a right handed person. Repositioning of the apparatus 210 may therefore be required if a golfer using the apparatus 210 is right handed and the previous user was left handed (or vice versa).

The resiliently deformable part 216a includes a plurality (seven in the present example although any number to be used) of resiliently deformable elongate members 230. Each resiliently deformable elongate member 230 is substantially identical to the deformable elongate members 30 in the first embodiment. However, slots 32 are not provided in the ends of the resiliently deformable elongate members 230.

Referring specifically to FIG. 11, this shows the engagement of one of the resiliently deformable elongate members 230 with one of the frame members 217b. Each end of each resiliently deformable elongate member 230 is received in a respective recess or channel 250 in the frame member 217b and is held therein by a rubber member 251, which is L-shaped in cross-section (see FIG. 13).

The rubber member 251 is equivalent to the rubber pads 28, 29 of the first embodiment of the invention in that it assists in holding the end of the resiliently elongate deformable member 230 in engagement with the recess or channel 250. A further purpose of the rubber member 251 is to absorb any shock due to deformation of the resiliently deformable elongate members 230 upon impact by a head of a golf club. FIG. 13 shows a plan view of the rubber member 251, which has seven recesses 252, each to receive one end of one resiliently deformable elongate member 230. A base wall of each recess 252 includes a pair of projecting formations 253 to assist in gripping of the end of the resiliently deformable elongate member 230.

The golf apparatus 10 in accordance with the first embodiment of the invention included a part 14 to support a user. An equivalent feature is also included on the golf apparatus 210 and is indicated at 214. The part 214 includes five elongate support members 214a which are positioned adjacent each other in side-by-side relationship. Each elongate support member 214a, which can be seen in greater detail in FIG. 10, is an extruded section of a plastics material. A small gap, e.g. a few millimetres, is provided between adjacent elongate support members 214a to assist in drainage of any water through the apparatus 210.

To hold the elongate support members 214a relative to the frame 217 of the apparatus 210, each end of each elongate support member 214a is provided with a projecting part 254, near its upper surface, which is received in a recess 255 in the frame member 217a, and is secured thereto by a plastics weld 256.

Each frame member 217a, 217b is provided with a formation 260 to receive, e.g. an advertising member. The formation 260 is provided by a recess or channel in each sloping side of the frame members 217a, 217b with an upper undercut lip 261 and an lower undercut lip 262, which face each other and which are substantially parallel to each other. The recess 260 is provided to receive, for example, a strip of advertisement literature provided on, for example a flexible plastic member. Alternatively, the recess 260 could provide space for the display of other information, for example which golf tee the golfer is at.

The third embodiment of the invention has many advantages, such as the small number of components required. Furthermore, as the frame members 217a, 217b and the elongate support members 214a are extruded, the apparatus 210 is relatively light and can be manufactured to a specified size e.g. larger or smaller than the “standard” 1200 mm by 1200 mm golf driving mat 210, if required.

Although in the above embodiments the materials used have been specified, it must be understood that any materials could be used for the components of the apparatus 10, 110 so long as they possess the necessary properties to perform their function satisfactorily. For example, the resiliently deformable elongate members 30, could be made from any plastics material so long as it is able to deform the required amount into the cavity 24. Also, the matting covering the apparatus 10, 110 need not be a synthetic matting simulating grass-other coverings would be appropriate.

When used in this specification and claims, the terms “comprises” and “comprising” and variations thereof mean that the specified features, steps or integers are included. The terms are not to be interpreted to exclude the presence of other features, steps or components.

The features disclosed in the foregoing description, or the following claims, or the accompanying drawings, expressed in their specific forms or in terms of a means for performing the disclosed function, or a method or process for attaining the disclosed result, as appropriate, may, separately, or in any combination of such features, be utilised for realising the invention in diverse forms thereof.