Title:
PRACTICE SPORT PROJECTILE HAVING A THROUGH-HOLE WITH TRANSVERSE INDICATOR
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
There are disclosed non-standard sport projectiles having a material with a high flexural modulus, and an axle at the axis of rotation. The axle extends through at least one linear through hole. Non-standard sport projectiles are disclosed with cushioned ends. A tee device is disclosed for driving the non-standard sport projectiles. Inflatable targets are disclosed for golf games with non-standard sport projectiles.



Inventors:
Breaker, Richard C. (Golden, CO, US)
Breaker, John (Golden, CO, US)
Application Number:
12/061279
Publication Date:
02/12/2009
Filing Date:
04/02/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/195, 473/280, 473/409, 473/415, 473/422, 473/613
International Classes:
A63B69/36; A63B43/00; A63B69/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LEGESSE, NINI F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HOLLAND & HART, LLP (SALT LAKE CITY, UT, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A non-standard practice sport projectile for use within a relatively small geographic area, the non-standard projectile for practicing a striking motion associated with a sport, the non-standard sport projectile comprising: a generally rigid body comprising a material with a high flexural modulus, the generally rigid body having an external surface and a geometric center; at least one linear through-hole extending completely through the generally rigid body, the at least one linear through-hole defining a longitudinal axis extending therethrough; an axle extending through the at least one linear through-hole, the axle defining an axis therethrough, the axis of the axle disposed substantially transverse to the longitudinal axis of the at least one linear through-hole, and the axis of the axle located at an axis of rotation after striking the generally rigid body; and at least one strike surface on the external surface of the generally rigid body, such that striking the strike surface causes a rotation of the non-standard sport projectile to have a more aerodynamic phase and a less aerodynamic phase.

2. The non-standard practice sport projectile of claim 1 selected from a group consisting of a golf ball, a football, a soccer ball, a tennis ball, a baseball, and a hockey puck.

3. The non-standard practice sport projectile of claim 1 wherein the external surface is selected from a group consisting of a cylindrical solid surface, a convex solid surface, a spherical solid surface, and an elliptical solid surface.

4. The non-standard practice sport projectile of claim 1 wherein the linear through hole is selected from a group consisting of a single though-hole that extends through the geometric center and a plurality of through holes that symmetrically surround the geometric center.

5. A method of practicing a physical movement that is associated with a sport in which a projectile is hit by an object, comprising the steps of: arranging a non-standard sport projectile having at least one linear through hole and an axle extending through the at least one through-hole so as to align the axle with an object to hit the projectile, the non-standard sport projectile comprising a high flexural modulus; hitting the non-standard sport projectile with the object; and causing rotation of the non-standard sport projectile, and the axle providing an indication about alignment of the object upon hitting the non-standard sport projectile.

6. A non-standard practice sport projectile for use within a relatively small geographic area, the non-standard projectile for practicing a striking motion associated with a sport, the non-standard sport projectile comprising: a generally rigid body comprising a material with a high flexural modulus, the generally rigid body having an external surface and a geometric center; at least one linear through-hole extending completely through the generally rigid body; a cover for disposition on the generally rigid body and having a region of a cushion material at interfaces of the at least one linear through-hole with the generally rigid body, the cushion material having a hardness less than the generally rigid body; and at least one strike surface between the interfaces of the cover, such that striking the strike surface causes a rotation of the non-standard sport projectile to have a more aerodynamic phase and a less aerodynamic phase, and the cushion material reducing an impact force at the interfaces of the at least one linear through-hole with the generally rigid body.

7. The non-standard practice sport projectile of claim 6 selected from a group consisting of a golf ball, a football, a soccer ball, a tennis ball, a baseball, and a hockey puck.

8. The non-standard practice sport projectile of claim 6 wherein the external surface is selected from a group consisting of a cylindrical solid surface, a convex solid surface, a spherical solid surface, and an elliptical solid surface.

9. The non-standard practice sport projectile of claim 6 wherein the linear through hole is selected from a group consisting of a single though-hole that extends through the geometric center and a plurality of through holes that symmetrically surround the geometric center.

10. The non-standard sport projectile of claim 9 wherein the external surface includes a solid external surface and two hole surfaces, and wherein a ratio of an area of the solid external surface to an area of the two hole surfaces is in the range of from about 1-to-1 to about 12-to-1.

11. The non-standard practice sport projectile of claim 10 selected from a group consisting of a golf ball, a football, a soccer ball, a tennis ball, a baseball, and a hockey puck.

12. The non-standard practice sport projectile of claim 10 wherein the solid external surface is selected from a group consisting of a cylindrical solid surface, a convex solid surface, a spherical solid surface, and an elliptical solid surface.

13. The non-standard practice sport projectile of claim 12 selected from a group consisting of a golf ball, a football, a soccer ball, a tennis ball, a baseball, and a hockey puck.

14. A method of practicing a physical movement that is associated with a sport wherein a projectile is hit by an object, comprising the steps of: placing a cover on a non-standard sport projectile, the non-standard sport projectile comprising a material with a high flexural modulus; arranging the non-standard sport projectile having at least one linear through-hole to be hit by an object; hitting the non-standard sport projectile with object; and causing rotation of the non-standard sport projectile, such that the non-standard sport projectile has a more aerodynamic phase and a less aerodynamic phase.

15. A system having a non-standard practice sport projectile for use within a relatively small geographic area, the non-standard projectile for practicing a striking motion associated with a sport, and a tee for use with the non-standard practice sport projectile, the system comprising: the non-standard sport projectile comprising: a generally rigid body comprising a material with a high flexural modulus, the generally rigid body having an external surface and a geometric center; at least one linear through-hole extending completely through the generally rigid body; and at least one strike surface on the external surface of the generally rigid body, such that striking the strike surface causes a rotation of the non-standard sport projectile to have a more aerodynamic phase and a less aerodynamic phase; and the tee comprising an inclined ramp between a first end and a second end, the first end disposed higher than the second end, the first end configured to support the non-standard practice support projectile for striking by an object.

16. The non-standard practice sport projectile of claim 15 wherein the object is a golf driver, and the first end of the tee is configured to support the non-standard practice support projectile for striking by the golf driver.

17. A target system for a non-standard practice sport projectile comprising a material with a high flexural modulus, the target system comprising an inflatable portion having a plurality of targets arranged at suitable distances for at least one non-standard practice sport projectile.

18. The target system of claim 1 further comprising a water return system for returning balls from the targets to a golfer.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/909,682, filed Apr. 2, 2007, by Richard C. Breaker, et al., for PRACTICE SPORT PROJECTILE HAVING A THROUGH-HOLE WITH TRANSVERSE INDICATOR, and this application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/737,636, filed Apr. 19, 2007, by Richard C. Breaker, et al, for GOLF LIKE GAME WITH MULTIPLE PROJECTILES, which in turn is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/359,331, filed Feb. 5, 2003, by Richard C. Breaker, et al, for PRACTICE SPORT PROJECTILE HAVING A THROUGH HOLE, which in turns claims priority of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/359,415, filed Feb. 23, 2002, by Richard C. Breaker, et al, for AERODYNAMIC PROJECTILE WITH THROUGH HOLE, each of which are hereby incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to the field of sport projectiles, and more particularly, to a non-standard or practice sport projectile that includes a though-hole whose linear axis is generally centered within the non-standard sport projectile, such that when properly struck the projectile rotates around the center cross section of the through-hole allowing airflow through the opening during part of its rotation and blocking airflow during part of its rotation (i.e., in a tumbling action instead of a spiral action).

BACKGROUND

In many sports it is desirable to repeatedly practice a physical motion. In various sports, an object strikes a projectile. For example, it may be desirable to practice striking a golf ball type projectile, baseball type projectile, or a football type projectile.

In the sport of golf, practicing the physical motion of swinging a golf club and striking a golf ball typically allows one to become a successful golfer. In particular, the ability to consistently repeat a golf swing, so as to obtain a consistent flight of a golf ball, is important to becoming a successful golfer.

In the sport of golf, there are many ways to in which practice the art of striking a golf ball. A method most similar to actually playing golf on a golf course is to hit or drive standard or regulation golf balls at a driving range. However, practice-driving ranges are often inconveniently located, and they are expensive. Alternative to the use of a driving range, one can use standard golf balls to practice in the backyard of a home, in a vacant lot, or in an open field. However, practicing a full golf swing in this type of a geographic area leaves much to be desired. Often a backyard is not large enough to enable a golfer to use long distance golf clubs, and vacant lots or fields are often not readily available. Further, unless a golf swing is somewhat consistent, retrieving standard golf balls can be a tedious and time-consuming activity. Another alternative is to hit standard golf balls into a net. However, this option prevents observation of the ball's flight through the air. While a golfer can practice his or her swing using this option, it is difficult to judge whether a swing actually produces a desired flight of a standard golf ball. Another alternative is to hit a non-standard, lightweight golf ball, such as a foam or hollow plastic golf balls. However these non-standard golf balls are so light that the “club's feel”, as the golf club impacts this type of non-standard golf ball, is insignificant when compared to striking a standard golf ball. In addition, the flight of such a lightweight, non-standard golf ball is not a realistic experience. Furthermore, wind currents that may have little influence on a standard golf ball can greatly influence the flight of these non-standard, lightweight practice golf balls. Yet another option is to practice hitting a standard golf ball into a net using expensive tracking devices. These devices can monitor the ball's speed, trajectory and spin, and then report a theoretical flight path for the standard golf ball. None of the above options are satisfactory, leaving most serious practice to the driving range.

Thus, it is desirable to provide a practice or non-standard sport projectile to be used when practicing a golf swing, when practicing a football kick, and/or when practicing a baseball swing. The non-standard sport projectile should mimic the “impact feel” of a standard sport projectile. It should also mimic the flight path of a standard sport projectile. Finally, the non-standard sport projectile should be capable of use within a relatively small geographic area.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In an embodiment, there is provided a non-standard practice sport projectile for use within a relatively small geographic area, the non-standard projectile for practicing a striking motion associated with a sport, the non-standard sport projectile comprising a generally rigid body comprising a material with a high flexural modulus, the generally rigid body having an external surface and a geometric center; at least one linear through-hole extending completely through the generally rigid body, the at least one linear through-hole defining a longitudinal axis extending therethrough; and axle extending through the at least one linear through-hole, the axle defining an axis therethrough, the axis of the axle disposed substantially transverse to the longitudinal axis of the at least one linear through-hole, and the axis of the axle located at an axis of rotation after striking the generally rigid body; and at least one strike surface on the external surface of the generally rigid body, such that striking the strike surface causes a rotation of the non-standard sport projectile to have a more aerodynamic phase and a less aerodynamic phase.

In another embodiment, there is provided a method of practicing a physical movement that is associated with a sport in which a projectile is hit by an object, comprising the steps of arranging a non-standard sport projectile having at least one linear through hole and an axle extending through the at least one through-hole so as to align the axle with an object to hit the projectile, the non-standard sport projectile comprising a high flexural modulus; hitting the non-standard sport projectile with the object; and causing rotation of the non-standard sport projectile, and the axle providing an indication about alignment of the object upon hitting the non-standard sport projectile.

In yet another embodiment, there is provided a non-standard practice sport projectile for use within a relatively small geographic area, the non-standard projectile for practicing a striking motion associated with a sport, the non-standard sport projectile comprising a generally rigid body comprising a material with a high flexural modulus, the generally rigid body having an external surface and a geometric center; at least one linear through-hole extending completely through the generally rigid body; a cover for disposition on the generally rigid body and having a region of a cushion material at interfaces of the at least one linear through-hole with the generally rigid body, the cushion material having a hardness less than the generally rigid body; and at least one strike surface between the interfaces of the cover, such that striking the strike surface causes a rotation of the non-standard sport projectile to have a more aerodynamic phase and a less aerodynamic phase, and the cushion material reducing an impact force at the interfaces of the at least one linear through-hole with the generally rigid body.

In still another embodiment, there is provided a method of practicing a physical movement that is associated with a sport wherein a projectile is hit by an object, comprising the steps of placing a cover on a non-standard sport projectile, the non-standard sport projectile comprising a material with a high flexural modulus; arranging the non-standard sport projectile having at least one linear through-hole to be hit by an object; hitting the non-standard sport projectile with object; and causing rotation of the non-standard sport projectile, such that the non-standard sport projectile has a more aerodynamic phase and a less aerodynamic phase.

In another embodiment, there is provided a system having a non-standard practice sport projectile for use within a relatively small geographic area, the non-standard projectile for practicing a striking motion associated with a sport, and a tee for use with the non-standard practice sport projectile, the system comprising the non-standard sport projectile comprising a generally rigid body comprising a material with a high flexural modulus, the generally rigid body having an external surface and a geometric center; at least one linear through-hole extending completely through the generally rigid body; and at least one strike surface on the external surface of the generally rigid body, such that striking the strike surface causes a rotation of the non-standard sport projectile to have a more aerodynamic phase and a less aerodynamic phase; and the tee comprising an inclined ramp between a first end and a second end, the first end disposed higher than the second end, the first end configured to support the non-standard practice support projectile for striking by an object.

Other embodiments are also disclosed.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Illustrative embodiments of the invention are illustrated in the drawings, in which:

FIGS. 1A and 1B provide top perspective views of two non-standard spherically-shaped golf balls, in accordance with the present invention, wherein each of the two non-standard golf balls includes a relatively large diameter, center-located, circular-cylinder through hole in accordance with the invention, and wherein the two non-standard golf balls are provided with different external texturing;

FIGS. 2A, 2B and 2C provide a number of side views of different types of non-standard golf ball, in accordance with the present invention, wherein the axis of the through holes that are provided within the non-standard golf ball extend in a horizontal direction in the figures;

FIG. 2A provides a side view of six different size non-standard golf balls having a circular-cylinder external surface and a relatively small-size center-located through hole;

FIG. 2B provides a side view of five different size non-standard golf balls having a radiused external surface and a relatively small center-located through hole;

FIG. 2C provides a top view of four different size-non-standard golf balls having a spherical external surface and a relatively small size center-located through hole;

FIGS. 3A-3F show five sequential views that depict the striking of a non-standard golf ball of the type shown in FIG. 1 and the subsequent flight of the non-standard golf ball;

FIG. 3A shows the non-standard golf ball sitting on the ground with the axis of its through hole facing upward as the head of a golf club is about to strike the non-standard golf ball;

FIG. 3B shows the compression of the non-standard golf ball as the club's head strikes the non-standard golf ball;

FIG. 3C shows the non-standard golf ball as it begins its flight and as the non-standard golf ball begins to spin in a counterclockwise direction due to the force applied thereto by the club's head;

FIG. 3D shows the continued flight and spinning of a non-standard golf ball;

FIG. 3E shows the least-aerodynamic position of the spinning non-standard golf ball during its flight through the air;

FIG. 3F shows the most-aerodynamic position of the spinning non-standard golf ball during its flight through the air;

FIG. 4A shows a non-standard golf ball as shown in FIG. 2B as it sits on the ground with its through hole facing upward, and as the non-standard golf ball awaits the arrival of the head of a golf club;

FIG. 4B shows a non-standard golf ball as shown in FIG. 2B as it sits on a tee with its through hole facing up, as the non-standard golf ball awaits the arrival of the head of a golf club;

FIG. 5A is a side cross-section view of a non-standard golf ball of type shown in FIG. 2A wherein the non-standard golf ball includes six center-located and parallel through holes, in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 5B is a top view of the non-standard golf ball of FIG. 5A;

FIG. 6A is a side cross section view of a non-standard golf ball of type shown in FIG. 2B wherein the non-standard golf ball includes six center-located and parallel through holes, in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 6B is a top view of the non-standard golf ball of FIG. 6A;

FIG. 7A is a side cross section view of a non-standard golf ball of type shown in FIG. 2C wherein the non-standard golf ball includes six center-located and parallel through holes, in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 7B is a top view of the non-standard golf ball of FIG. 7A;

FIG. 8A is a cross section view of a non-standard golf ball as shown in FIG. 2A having a cylinder through hole;

FIG. 8B is a cross section view of a non-standard golf ball as shown in FIG. 2B having a through hole whose diameter is greater at the center of the through hole than it is at the two ends of the through hole;

FIG. 8C is a cross section view of a non-standard golf ball as shown in FIG. 2C having a through hole whose diameter is smaller at the center of the through hole than it is at the two ends of the through hole;

FIG. 9A is a cross section view of a non-standard golf ball of the type shown in FIG. 2A wherein the non-standard golf ball includes a cylinder insert that is made of spring steel or of a high modulus polymer, the axis of this internal cylindrical member being coincident with the axis of the non-standard golf ball's through hole;

FIG. 9B is a cross section view of a non-standard golf ball of the type shown in FIG. 2B wherein the non-standard golf ball includes a circular-cylinder insert that is made of spring steel or of a high modulus polymer, the axis of this internal cylindrical member being coincident with the axis of the non-standard golf ball's through hole;

FIG. 9C is a cross section view of a non-standard golf ball of the type shown in FIG. 2C wherein the non-standard golf ball includes a circular-cylinder insert that is made of spring steel or of a high modulus polymer, the axis of this internal cylindrical member being coincident with the axis of the non-standard golf ball's through hole;

FIGS. 10A to 10C show an alternative hitting surface in accordance with the present invention;

FIGS. 11, 12 and 13A-13C illustrate impact and flight paths of non-standard golf balls having an axle component for axis indication.

FIG. 14 illustrates a non-standard golf ball having an axle components for axis indication;

FIG. 14A illustrates an axle component of FIG. 14 separate from the other portion of the non-standard golf ball;

FIG. 15 illustrates a non-standard golf ball having a ring component for axis indication;

FIG. 15A illustrates a ring component of FIG. 15 separate from the other portion of the non-standard golf ball, and a marker portion disposed on a section of the ring component;

FIG. 16 illustrates a non-standard golf ball having an axle component for axis indication, the axle component configured in a crossed configuration;

FIG. 16A illustrates an axle component of FIG. 16 in which the axle component includes a marker portion adjacent the crossed configuration;

FIG. 16B illustrates a side view of the non-standard golf ball of FIG. 16 in which axle component emerges through a portion of the sidewall;

FIG. 16C illustrates a plan view of the non-standard golf ball of FIG. 16 in which the axle component passes through portions of opposed sides of the sidewall;

FIGS. 17A and 17B illustrate the non-standard golf ball of FIG. 16 being addressed for striking a golf club;

FIG. 18 is a schematic illustration of the movement of the non-standard golf ball of FIG. 16 during and subsequent to striking by a golf club;

FIG. 19 is a schematic illustration of the non-standard golf ball traveling with a slight fade away from a golfer;

FIG. 20 illustrates a non-standard golf ball having cushioned ends;

FIGS. 21, 21A, 21B and 21C illustrate a tee device for a non-standard golf ball;

FIG. 22 illustrates an inflatable target system having scoring holes;

FIGS. 23 illustrates an inflatable target system having a ball return with water to carry non-standard golf balls;

FIG. 24 illustrates the inflatable target system of FIG. 23 in a deflated state; and

FIG. 25 illustrates the inflatable target system of FIG. 23 in an inflated state.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

As shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B, the present invention provides a non-standard sport projectile, to be used like a golf ball, a baseball, a football, etc., in the form of a three-dimensional, rigid polymer, ball-shaped or spherical-shaped body 10 having an annular void, through hole or opening 11 that extends entirely through the center of body 10. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B, through-hole 11 has a circular cross section, and the linear central axis of the through-hole 11 passes through the geometric center of body 10.

Non-standard sport projectile 10 may have an external spherical shape, or one of a number of external tubular shapes. Generally, non-standard sport projectile 10 works better with radiused sidewalls. While the majority of the description that follows relates to non-standard or practice golf balls, one of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that alternative non-standard sport projectiles constructed and arranged in accordance with the invention are possible. For example, non-standard sports projectiles may include non-standard baseballs, non-standard footballs, non-standard hockey pucks, non-standard soccer balls, non-standard tennis balls, etc. Non-standard sports projectiles may include ball or sports projectile that, when struck, may have in-flight top spin or back spin as a desired result.

FIGS. 2A-2C show other shapes of non-standard or practice sport projectiles, in accordance with the invention, that have different external shapes. FIG. 2A provides a top view of six different size non-standard golf balls 12, each of which has a flat top surface 13, a flat bottom surface 14 that is generally parallel to top surface 13, a circular-cylinder side surface 15 and a circular-cylinder through-hole 16 that extends through non-standard golf ball 12 from its top surface 13 to its bottom surface 14. The linear central axis of non-standard golf ball 12 extends perpendicular to top surface 13 and bottom surface 14, the geometric center of non-standard golf ball 12 lies on this center axis, and the linear axis of through hole 16 is coincident with this center axis.

FIG. 2B provides a top view of five different size non-standard golf balls 15 having a somewhat flattened top surface 17, a somewhat flattened bottom surface 18 that is generally parallel to top surface 17, a slightly convex-curved side surface 19, and a circular-cylinder through hole 20. The linear central axis of non-standard golf ball 15 extends perpendicular to top surface 17 and bottom surface 18, the geometric center of non-standard golf ball 15 lies on this center axis, and the linear axis of through hole 20 is coincident with this center axis.

FIG. 2C provides a top view of four different size non-standard golf balls 21 having a somewhat flattened top surface 22, a somewhat flattened bottom surface 23 that is generally parallel to top surface 22, a spherically-curved side surfaces 24, and a circular-cylinder through-hole 25. The linear central axis of non-standard golf ball 21 extends perpendicular to top surface 22 and bottom surface 23, the geometric center of non-standard golf ball 21 lies on this center axis, and the linear axis of through hole 25 is coincident with this center axis.

Side surfaces having other shapes will satisfy the spirit and scope of the invention, for example elliptical shapes, hour-glass shapes, etc. Further, while the above embodiments are shown having circular-cylinder through-holes, other shapes for through-holes are possible. These may include, but are not limited to, through-holes shaped square, rectangular, elliptical, triangular, etc.

Also, while three dimensional polymeric bodies such as shown in FIG. 1 and FIGS. 2A-2C closely match the look-and-feel of a standard golf ball, materials other than polymers can be substituted to make non-standard sports projectiles in accordance with the invention. For example, in the manufacture of non-standard sport projectiles spring steel can be used to make non-standard golf ball type projectiles, synthetic leather can be used to make non-standard football type projectiles, etc.

The body of a non-standard sport projectile, in accordance with the invention, is formed of a material that is strong enough to absorb the propelling force that is applied thereto when the non-standard sports projectile is stuck, such that the non-standard sports projectile does not break or shatter as a result of this striking force. Thus, for example, a stronger material may be needed when making a non-standard golf ball type projectile, in accordance with the invention, than would be needed when making a non-standard football type projectile, in accordance with the invention, due to the fact that the impact of a golf swing usually generates a greater propelling force than does a football kick.

Further, in order to obtain a proper rotation or tumble of the non-standard sport projectile after the projectile is hit, it is desirable, but it is not required, that the non-standard sports projectile be made of an elastic material that elastically deforms at the point of impact, which material thereafter substantially restores to its original shape after the non-standard sport projectile leaves the surface of a striking body, be it a golf club or the foot of a kicker.

As described above, non-standard sport projectiles may include an annular (or ring shape) void or through hole that penetrates completely through the non-standard sport projectile. This annular void creates a surface-opening at two opposite surfaces of the non-standard sport projectile, for example an opening at both the “top” and an opening at the “bottom” of the non-standard sport projectile. While shown above as generally equal size opening in the top and bottom of the non-standard sport projectile, the openings can have different sizes.

As shown in FIGS. 8A-8C, this annular void or through hole 26 may be circular or non-circular in cross sectional shape, having straight walls that run the length of through hole 26 as is shown in FIG. 8A, having walls that taper inward to provide a narrow opening at the center or middle of through hole 26 as is shown in FIG. 8C, or having walls that taper outward to provide a wider area or flare at the center or middle of through hole 26 as is shown in FIG. 8B. In each case, the central axis 27 of through hole 26 extends through the geometric center 28 of the non-standard sport projectile. As one of skill in the art would recognize on reading the disclosure, the through hole is not necessarily aligned with the center axis, but it is believed the simulation to a standard projectile is closer with the through hole aligned with the center.

The most non-aerodynamic flight of a non-standard golf ball 30 that is constructed and arranged, in accordance with the invention, is shown in FIG. 3E wherein the direction of the non-standard golf-ball's spin is shown by arrow 31 and wherein the axis 33 of the non-standard golf ball's through hole is aligned with the direction of flight shown by arrow 32. In this attitude of non-standard golf-ball 30, air flows through the non-standard golf ball's through hole. The most aerodynamic flight of non-standard golf ball 30 is shown in FIG. 3F in which the axis 33 of the non-standard golf ball's through hole extends in a direction that is generally perpendicular to the direction of flight 32. In this attitude of non-standard golf ball 30, little or no air flows through the non-standard golf ball's through-hole.

As will be appreciated, due to the continuous spinning of non-standard golf ball 30, the two conditions that are shown in FIGS. 3E and 3F alternate repeatedly as non-standard golf ball 30 flies through the air.

A narrowing of the non-standard sport projectile's through-hole 28 as shown in FIG. 8C, or a flaring of through-hole 26 as shown in FIG. 8B, either restricts or enhances airflow through through-hole 26 as the non-standard sport projectile flies through the air after being hit. This controls the non-aerodynamic flight of the non-standard sport projectile for desired results.

Further, any of the through-holes 26 shown in FIGS. 8A-8C can be partially blocked. For example, this may be accomplished by placing an air filter within a through-hole 26, by placing an air-flow regulator within a through hole 26, by placing debris of some sort within a through-hole 26, or by providing a whistle within a through-hole 26. Generally, through-hole 26 modified in this manner will continue to function properly.

Moreover, instead of providing only one through-hole, a non-standard sport projectile may include several such through-holes whose axes are arranged in parallel. In addition, these several through-holes may have different cross sectional shapes, and/or these several through-holes may have axes are that placed at an angle to each other, depending upon the flight characteristic that is desired of a particular non-standard sport projectile.

FIG. 5A is a side cross section view of a non-standard golf ball 40 of type shown in FIG. 2A in which non-standard golf ball 40 includes six center-located and parallel through holes 41. FIG. 5B is a top view of non-standard golf ball 40 in which six through holes 41 are symmetrically arranged around the central axis 42 of non-standard golf ball 40. As shown in these figures, central axis 42 of non-standard golf ball 40 passes through the geometric center 43 of non-standard golf ball 40.

FIG. 6A is a side cross section view of a non-standard golf ball 44 of type shown in FIG. 2B wherein non-standard golf ball 44 includes six center-located and parallel through holes 45, in accordance with the invention. FIG. 6B is a top view of non-standard golf ball 44, wherein it is shown that the six through holes 45 are symmetrically arranged around the central axis 46 non-standard golf ball 44. As shown in these figures, central axis 46 of non-standard golf ball 44 passes through the geometric center 47 of non-standard golf ball 44.

FIG. 7A is a side cross section view of a non-standard golf ball 48 of type shown in FIG. 2C wherein non-standard golf ball 48 includes six center-located and parallel through holes 49. FIG. 7B is a top view of non-standard golf ball 48, wherein it is shown that the six through holes 49 are symmetrically arranged around the central axis 50 of non-standard golf ball 48. As shown in these figures, central axis 50 of non-standard golf ball 48 passes through the geometric center 51 of non-standard golf ball 48.

The above-described through-hole or through-holes allow air to flow through the non-standard sport projectile after the sport projectile is hit, after it begins its flight, and as it spins. This spinning movement generally creates a lifting force as the sport projectile moves through the air. The amount of air that flows through the sport projectile's through-hole or through-holes, along with the non-standard sport projectile's speed of spin, influences the flight behavior of the non-standard sport projectile.

FIGS. 3A-3F are sequential view that show the striking and the subsequent flight of a non-standard golf ball 30 that is constructed and arranged consistent with the invention.

FIG. 3A shows a non-standard golf ball 30 of the present invention as the non-standard golf ball 30 (in this case a non-standard golf ball as shown in FIG. 2B) sits with the axis 33 of its through hole 25 pointing vertically upward as the head of the golf club is about to strike non-standard golf ball 30. Where the club strikes the non-standard golf ball 30 may be referred to as a strike surface. In this position, non-standard golf ball 30 is in its least-aerodynamic position.

FIG. 3B shows the compression of non-standard golf ball 30 as the head of the club strikes non-standard golf ball 30 on the strike surface.

FIG. 3C shows non-standard golf ball 30 as it begins its flight and as non-standard golf ball 30 begins to spin in a counterclockwise direction as shown by arrow 31.

FIG. 3D shows the continued spinning 31 of non-standard golf ball 30.

FIG. 3E shows the least-aerodynamic position of the spinning non-standard golf ball 26 during its flight as shown by arrow 32, wherein the axis 33 of through hole 25 is generally aligned with flight direction 32.

FIG. 3F shows the most-aerodynamic position of the spinning non-standard golf ball 30 during its flight 32 wherein the axis 33 of through hole 25 extends generally perpendicular to flight direction 32.

As shown in FIGS. 3A-3F, when non-standard sport projectile 30 is struck, non-standard sport projectile rotates rapidly in a reverse or counterclockwise direction 31 around a central axis of rotation that includes the geometric center of non-standard sport projectile 30, this being demonstrated by spin arrow 31. Rotation 31 creates a periodic high airflow through the through hole 25 that is located generally at the center of non-standard sport projectile 30, as the projectile's through hole 25 moves into an out of alignment position with the projectile's direction of flight 32.

However, because through hole 25 is moving away from club head 31 at a high rate of speed, rotation 31 of non-standard sport projectile 30 also creates a braking effect, as the outer surface of non-standard sport projectile 30 and the sides of through hole 25 create a resistance-to-flight force, thereby reducing the distance that non-standard sport projectile 30 will travel as a result of club head 31 striking non-standard sport projectile 30.

More simply stated, as a spinning non-standard sport projectile constructed and arranged in accordance with the invention flies away from a point of impact with the club's head, movement of the non-standard sport projectile is slowed during the less-aerodynamic portion of the sport projectile's rotation shown in FIG. 3E. Because a non-standard sport projectile, in accordance with the invention, experiences generally equal parts airflow through its through hole (see FIG. 3E) and airflow restriction through its through hole (see FIG. 3F), the non-standard sport projectile generates a turbine-like whirring sound when it flies through the air, as airflow through through-hole 25 repeatedly stops and starts at a relatively high rate of speed or frequency.

As mentioned above, the body of a non-standard sport projectile, in accordance with the invention, is sufficiently strong to prevent breakage of the non-standard sport projectile upon impact, and the body of the non-standard sport projectile has sufficient elasticity to provide hoop strength and rebound after striking. Thus, for a non-standard golf ball in accordance with the invention, the body is typically formed of a high strength polymer material, non-limiting examples of which are high density polyethylene, polyester elastomers, urethane, acetyls, and thermoplastic elastomers. Further, the inner core of non-standard sport projectiles, in accordance with the invention, can be formed of thin gauge tubular spring steel or high modulus polymer, with the non-standard sport projectile having a soft polymer outer coating.

FIG. 9A is a cross section view of a non-standard golf ball 55 of the type shown in FIG. 2A wherein non-standard golf ball 55 includes a circular-cylinder insert 56 that is made of spring steel or of a high flexural modulus polymer, the axis 57 of insert 56 being coincident with the axis of the non-standard golf ball's through hole 58.

FIG. 9B is a cross section view of a non-standard golf ball 59 of the type shown in FIG. 2B wherein non-standard golf ball 59 includes a circular-cylinder insert 60 that is made of spring steel or of a high flexural modulus polymer, the axis 61 of insert being coincident with the axis of the non-standard golf ball's through hole 62.

FIG. 9C is a cross section view of a non-standard golf ball 63 of the type shown in FIG. 2C wherein non-standard golf ball 63 includes a circular-cylinder insert 64 that is made of spring steel or of a high flexural modulus polymer, the axis of this insert being coincident with the axis 65 of the non-standard golf ball's through hole 66.

For a non-standard football, in accordance with the invention, the football's body is typically formed of a soft leather or leather-like material. For a non-standard baseball, in accordance with the invention, the baseball's body is typically formed of a material having characteristics that lie somewhere between the characteristic of a material that is used to make a non-standard golf ball and the characteristics of a material that is use to make a non-standard football.

The size of a non-standard sport projectile, in accordance with the invention, can be similar to the size of a corresponding standard sport projectile, but this size relationship is not required. That is, non-standard sport projectiles, of the invention, are usually of a size that is similar to a standard golf ball, a standard football, a standard soccer ball, a standard baseball, etc. However, larger or smaller non-standard sport projectile sizes can be provided, in accordance with the invention.

In particular, and when considering different types of golf club swings, larger size non-standard golf balls that satisfactorily mate with conventional golf club heads may be appropriate for use by beginning golfers, whereas smaller size non-standard golf balls that are more difficult to strike properly may be appropriate for use by expert golfers.

During use, as is shown in FIG. 4A, a non-standard golf ball sport projectile 40, in accordance with the invention, may be placed on the ground, or as shown in FIG. 4B the non-standard golf ball 40 may be on a golf tee 41, so that the central axis 35 of the non-standard golf ball's annular through hole extends generally upward or vertical. This places the two through-hole openings on the top and on the bottom of non-standard golf ball 40. In other words, its through hole sits upright. Note that in some instances an especially flared golf tee 41 may be desirable due to presence of the through-hole that may make it inconvenient to use a conventional small-top tee 41 because of the tendency of the non-standard ball to fall to the ground. An alternative hitting surface will be explained below with respect to FIG. 10. With reference to FIG. 4B, which shows a non-standard golf ball 40 sitting on a tee, in the case of a football-type non-standard sport projectile, the football's linear through hole is located generally coincident with the football's long axis. In an example, the football is placed on a kicking tee with its long axis and the axis of the through-hole facing generally vertical. In the case of a baseball-type non-standard sport projectile, the baseball's linear through-hole extends through the geometric center of the baseball. In an example, the baseball is placed on a hitting tee with the axis of its through-hole facing generally vertical. In the case of a soccer ball-type non-standard sport projectile, the soccer ball's linear through hole extends through the geometric center of the soccer ball. In an example, and the soccer ball is placed on the ground with the axis of its through hole facing generally vertical.

As shown in FIGS. 3A-D, a golf club head having a positive loft produces a reverse or counterclockwise spin of non-standard golf ball 40 when the head of the golf club strikes non-standard golf ball 40, and when non-standard golf ball 40 subsequently leaves club head 31. This spin is created by the positive loft of the head, by friction that exists at impact with non-standard golf ball 40, and by deformation of non-standard golf ball 40 as is shown in FIG. 3B. Further, upon initial impact by head 31, non-standard golf ball 40 is in its least aerodynamic orientation. The vertical position of the axis 35 of the though-hole at club head impact provides the “feel” of a standard golf ball due to the non-aerodynamic resistance that is provided by nonstandard golf ball 40, which in turn adds a component of force to the club's head 31.

When a non-standard sport projectile, is in this through hole axis upright position, the leading surface of the sport projectile, whether an aerodynamic surface or a flattened surface, facilitates a spin of the non-standard sport projectile. The rate of spin of the non-standard sport projectile is reduced as the non-standard sport projectile becomes less aerodynamic as its through-hole begins to take-in air.

As rotation of the non-standard sport projectile continues, air no longer flows through the through-hole, and air now hits the outside surface of the non-standard sport projectile, thus creating a braking or slowing force to the non-standard projectile's flight or horizontal motion.

Airflow into the non-standard projectile's through-hole first acts as a brake, and when air no longer flows through the though-hole, air flowing over the non-standard sport projectile acts as an aerodynamic lift or boost. Thus, airflow through the through-hole creates a slowing/braking force for the non-standard sport projectile. Therefore, the non-standard sport projectile is alternately aerodynamic and then non-aerodynamic during its rotation and its flight. Thus, a whirring sound, somewhat like a turbine reversing, may be caused when the non-standard sport projectile is struck by an object such as golf club and then flies through the air.

As a result, flight of the non-standard sport projectile is shortened, but the non-standard sport projectile mimics the feel and flight path of a standard sport projectile. That is, using a non-standard sport projectile, in accordance with the invention, such a non-standard golf ball, is satisfying to the golfer. The flight provided by non-standard sport projectiles are suitable for practicing the art of golf ball hitting, or the art of striking any standard sport projectile use requires a large geographic area, such as, for example, kicking a football to practice field goals, or hitting a baseball. A non-standard sport projectile may be struck without requiring the use of a net or the like within neighborhoods and parks. Further, similar to a standard golf ball, a non-standard golf ball will slice when the club's head is open at impact, and it will draw when the club's head is closed at impact. However, because a non-standard sport projectile provides a reduce flight distance, retrieval time is reduced and retrieval is less tedious. One of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that the non-standard golf ball can be designed to increase or decrease the ability to fade or draw. In particular, if one or more ribs or ridges, similar to a gear shaped cross-section, are place in the through-hole or on the external surface, the non-standard golf ball can be designed to fade or draw. Further, altering the shape of the non-standard ball, such that the shape is more oval instead of cylindrical, may also alter the fade or draw of the non-standard ball.

Referring specifically to non-standard sport projectiles of the golf ball type, for simplicity, the weight of a non-standard golf ball is usually only a fraction of the weight of a standard golf ball. The weight of a non-standard golf ball is a function of the physical size of the non-standard golf ball and of the type of material used in its construction. In general, the heavier the non-standard sport projectile, the greater the inertia of the non-standard sport projectile that must be overcome on impact. However, the configuration of the non-standard sport projectile's through-hole, and the proportion of the through-hole relative to the overall height and diameter of the non-standard sport projectile are also important when enhancing or restricting flight of the non-standard sport projectile. Because a non-standard golf ball is intended for use in practicing various golf swings, such a non-standard golf ball is effective through a wide range of projectile weights.

A USGA conforming standard golf ball weighs 1.6 ounces. A non-standard golf ball of the present invention can also have a weight of 1.6 ounces. However, the weight of a non-standard golf ball of the invention is usually less due to the presence of the above-described through hole. Thus, a non-standard golf ball, in accordance with the invention, is usually significantly lighter than a standard golf ball.

Because the golf club's “feel” at impact is important when learning to hit a golf ball properly, a weight of at least 0.3 ounces adequately simulates the feel of a standard golf ball, however lower weights are possible within the spirit and scope of the invention. Moreover, generally, the flight distance of a standard sport projectile is dependent not only on the striking force, but it is also dependent upon a spring-back of the materials or materials that make up the standard sport projectile, as well as the weight of the standard sport projectile, with lower weight standard sport projectiles generally traveling a shorter distance. Non-standard sport projectiles, in accordance with the invention, are non-aerodynamic for about one-half of the non-standard sport projectile's travel or flight time, and as a result the non-standard sport projectile travels a fraction of the distance that a standard sport projectile, such as a golf ball, travels. However, because a rotating non-standard sport projectile acts as an air foil for about one-half of its flight time, the non-standard sport projectile has an aerodynamic lift, and it replicates the trajectory of a standard sport projectile such as a golf ball, although the non-standard sport projectile's trajectory is significantly shortened by the braking action that occurs during the non-aerodynamic portion of the non-standard projectile's rotation. Therefore, non-standard sport projectiles may be struck in backyards, neighborhoods and parks without requiring a net. Once again referring to a non-standard golf ball, it has been found that a proportion or ratio of the solid outer surface of the non-standard golf ball to the open through hole surface can be as high as about 12 to 1 or a low as about 4 to 1. However this is a non-limiting function of design choice.

A surface ratio that is more than 4 to 1 does not function as well because such a larger ratio creates a smaller size through-hole that provides less airflow. The ratio of the area of the through-hole to the height or length of the through-hole can vary. However, it has been found that when a non-standard golf ball of the invention is in its upright or striking position, with the central axis of the through-hole extending generally vertical, a through-hole area that is about the equal to the height of the through-hole works satisfactorily. However, this through-hole diameter to through-hole height ratio can be much lower, for example, up to 12 times or more. As will be appreciated, the flight and distance of a non-standard golf ball is a function of the loft that is provided by the golf club head and the speed at which the golf club head strikes the non-standard golf ball.

The polymeric material from which the non-standard golf ball is made, if it is high in flexural modulus, will rebound off of the golf club's face much like a standard golf ball. This polymeric material should have sufficient strength to provide hoop strength and spring back. This spring back effect is important because the resulting rebound action is required as the non-standard sport golf ball leaves the club's head.

As mentioned above, a novel and unobvious hitting surface can be constructed for the non-standard golf ball type projectile. FIGS. 10A, 10B and 10C show an alternative hitting surface 100. Hitting surface 100 can be made of many types of material, like plastic, natural grass, Astroturf, or the like, but it has been found that plastics (similar to the polymers used to make the golf type projectile) work well. Generally, as shown in FIG. 10B, hitting surface 100 has an incline. Placing non-standard golf ball 102 on hitting surface 100 progressively up the hitting surface simulates a higher and higher “teeing” of the non-standard golf ball. Because the non-standard golf ball has somewhat flattened top and bottom surfaces (as explained above), the non-standard ball 102 will not roll down the inclined hitting surface. This hitting surface has been found useful because it is difficult to obtain golf tees having especially flared tee surfaces to support the non-standard golf ball. Also, using the hitting surface allows use of the non-standard golf balls in the backyard without causing undue divots in the yard.

Depending upon of the non-standard sport projectile's ratio of through hole diameter to through hole length, as well as on how well the non-standard sport projectile is struck, the non-standard sport projection may spin until it lands, or until it stalls and then floats to the ground.

Referring to FIGS. 11 and 18, a non-standard golf ball 1100 generally rotates around a singular axis 1102 when struck. Cavitation of a side wall 1104 into through-hole 1106 creates rebound or ball speed and rotation off of the club head 1108 of a club 1110. Unlike, standard golf balls, that may be struck in any orientation due to relative symmetry in all directions, non-standard golf balls with a through-hole require a specific orientation when struck so as to facilitate rotation around an axis. Non-standard golf balls generally do not function properly if hit in a random orientation. Non-standard golf ball 1100 must be oriented in an upright position each time prior to striking in order to orient axis 1102, around which it rotates, in parallel with a face 1112 of golf club 1100. Further, functionality of flight in this orientation also requires that ball 1100 have some collapsibility as well as some rebound to be effective. Ball 1100 upright orientation, when struck below an equator 1114 of a center line must collapse into the through-hole 1106 so as to create spring back to create a high rate of reverse spin and forward velocity off of club face 1112.

Referring now to FIGS. 11 and 12, gall 1110, with single through-hole 1106 (or with multiple parallel through-holes 41 (FIG. 5B) extending from top to bottom in striking position), will rise in the air and will rotate with reverse spin around horizontal axis 1102 when struck in below equator 1114. This upright striking position limits how rotation can occur. The asymmetrical shape requires ball 1100 to be struck with through-hole 1106 disposed substantially vertically, and also dictates that equator 1114 and axis 1102 of rotation is substantially parallel to, club face 1112. As such, the strike zone is limited to just the 360 degrees around equator 1114 of cylindrical through-hole 1106. Unlike a regular golf ball, ball 110 has only one equator 1114. With a regular golf ball, an equator simply relies on positioning with respect to the ground. A sphere without a through-hole has limitless equators around which to rotate it does not have to be repositioned with through-hole 1106 oriented substantially upward in order to function properly.

Ball 1100 with single through-hole 1106 (or with multiple parallel through-holes extending from top to bottom) will allow side wall 1114 to collapse into hole 1106. Ball 1110 may be made of a sufficiently resilient material so as to spring back from this collapsed position into roughly its original shape. It is this springing back that creates forward velocity and a high rate of reverse spin off of club face 1112.

When in flight ball 1100 spins around axis 1102, and it oscillates between leading travel with through-hole 1106 and side wall 1104. Hole orientation during forward travel is a wing type orientation and facilitates aerodynamic lift and flight. Side wall orientation is a non-aerodynamic orientation. The high rate of reverse spin is generally created by the cavitation of the bottom half of ball 1100 along with the loft of golf club 1110. Spin rates may vary, but reach 10,000 revolutions per minute.

When in flight, unless ball 1110 is gently hit creating little spin, through-hole 1106 is undetectable to the eye. As ball 1110 spins and oscillates between the hole (i.e., air foil) and side of the ball (i.e., air brake) a distinct noise may be made as the flight “turns on” and “turns off” in rapid succession. The sound is the air flow being restricted as ball 1100 rotates into the air braking orientation. Because of this trade off between phases of flight, ball 1100 slows to a shortened distance. Like a regular golf ball, distance and shape of ball flight for ball 1100 are effected by forward velocity, spin rate and orientation of axis 1102. Regular golf balls, when in flight, spin around one axis. Before ball strike, the choice of axis is unlimited. Ball 1100 spins around one axis 1102 when in flight, and before being hit the choice of axis 1102 is limited to this particular one and must be placed in that position before striking. It is the orientation of this axis 1102 at impact that determines if a regular golf ball or ball 1100 hooks, slices, draws or fades. Hook generally means a severe right to left ball flight for a right handed golfer. Slice generally means a severe left to right ball flight. Draw generally means a moderate right to left ball flight. Fade generally means a moderate left to right ball flight. These ball flights are a function of the position of the golf club at impact. An open club face tilts the axis, slightly open means slightly tilted, severely open means severely tilted. A square club face at impact means an axis that is horizontal to the ground and, as a result, causes a straight ball flight. Ball 1100 shares these attributes with a regular golf ball if through-hole 1106 has been positioned perpendicular to the ground so that as it spins axis 1102 will be parallel to the ground. Further, an axle 1116 of projectile 1100, whether a real axle piece 1116 or whether a hypothetical axle, will always spin parallel to the circumference of the exit and entrance of through-hole 1106.

The singularity of axis 1102 facilitates the functionality of axle 1116 on ball 1100. Axle 1116 may perform a several different functions. If axle 1116 is put through parallel sidewalls 1104 and perpendicular through through-hole 1106, ball flight characteristics may be observed more readily. When hitting ball 1100 with axle 1116 in place it is important to line axis 1102 parallel with face 1112 of golf club 1110. By doing so, one can determine whether face 1112 of club 1110 is open closed or square at impact. As ball 1100 is struck while axle 1116 is in this perpendicular position, a user may observe the flight of ball 1100 and the orientation of axle 1116 as it leaves club 1110. Axle 1116 typically helps move ball 1110 more aggressively toward a slice, hook, draw or fade bias as it flies. Axle 1116 may be viewed tilting in one direction or the other as it flies. For a right handed golfer, axle 1116 tilt from left to right in relationship to the horizon when club head 1108 is open on impact. For the right handed golfer, axle 1116 will tilt from right to left in relation to the horizon when club head 1108 is open on impact. If a golfer has club head 1108 square at impact, axle 1116 flies true and parallel with the horizon.

Axle 1116 may be configured in multiple shapes and configurations. Referring to FIGS. 14 and 14A, a simple configuration is a straight piece of material 1400 running perpendicular to side wall 1104 at the mid point of ball 1100, when placed on the ground. The heavier axle 1116 or 1400, the further ball 1100 will generally travel. This can be useful in not only observing flight of ball 1100, but in creating games requiring achievement of specific distances. Looking at FIGS. 16, 16A, 16B and 16C, a more complex configuration may include a figure eight of axle 1600 is created by looping a pliable material around the outside of ball 1100 at the center point, with two entry or exit points 1605 of axle 1600 on either side of ball 1100.

Balancing, or putting an actual axle 1116 in projectile 1100 is all that is required nearly balance the spin. Generally, nothing more is required to implement these axle designs. When axle 1116 is made from a bright, translucent or fluorescent material, the characteristics of the flight ball 1100 are enhanced when struck at dusk or in the dark. Looking at FIGS. 15 and 15A, there is shown a ring 1500 having an indicator point 1505. With alignment of indicator point 1505 with a golf club prior to striking, indicator may be viewed by a golfer after bal 1100 is struck. Ring 1500 may share properties of an axle, and may be constructed from bright, translucent or fluorescent material.

An alternative embodiment to simple axle 1400 through the middle of projectile 1100, is figure eight axle 1600 (see FIGS. 16 and 16A). A shape like an infinity sign is created as ball 1100 with axle 1600 as it flies away from the golfer. Like single axle 1400, flight characteristics are evident as the infinity shape tilts one way or the other. Figure eight shape 1600 creates a central balance point 1605 as well as alignment points 1610 outside of projectile 1100. This helps to create additional perimeter weighting, which helps to facilitate the high spin rate.

Looking now at FIG. 20, there is shown a non-standard golf ball 2000 having cushioned ends 2002. An interface 2004 between an outside portion 2006 of ball 2000 and through-hole 2008 may create a sharp end. In some instances, people may be present adjacent a target or may otherwise contact non-standard golf ball 2000. As such, cushioned ends 2002 may decrease the risk of injuring to people. A liner 2010 may be disposed on non-standard golf ball 2000. Liner 2010 may wrap around both of the ends to form cushioned ends 2002. Liner 2010 may be configured as a removable component or may be configured as a non-removable applied component.

When teeing ball 1100, a tee 2100 may be used. Tee 2100 keeps ball 1100 in an upright position. A regular golf ball may be placed with the bottom of the ball on top of a tee 2100. As such, the placement of the bottom of the ball is of course random. Ball 1100 has hole 1106 in the bottom of ball 1100. The size of this hole 1106 is sufficiently big to allow a conventional wooden golf tee to go through such hole 1106. Therefore, a special tee which supports ball 1100 at the bottom without going through this hole is required. This can be accomplished by using a tee that will bridge the gap of through-hole 1106, or by using a sponge type material to elevate the ball while allowing the ball with through-hole 1106 to be struck before striking tee.

When ball is teed up, it is usually teed up to accommodate the larger drivers which require ball 1100 to be elevated in order to hit it below the center line. When teeing ball 1100, it may be teed in a straight up configuration or, for maximum distance, it may be tilted with through-hole 1106 also tilted slightly forward on tee 2100. The loft of a driver 2105 is relatively small (within 10 degrees of perpendicular to the ground) and because hitting less of ball 1100 at impact creates more compression, a smaller percentage of ball 1100 creates more deformation or cavitation into through-hole and, therefore, more springback. Higher ball velocity off of the club head is generally achieved in this tilt forward position. An asymmetrical shape, like ball 1100, may have through-hole 1106 tilted forward on impact. A round ball or other symmetrical shapes without a singular through-hole can not induce such a forward tilt orientation. This forward tilting motion is unique to a ball in that it has a single through-hole, or multiple parallel through-holes, which create a place for the side wall to cavitate. This single point loading on ball 1100 creates higher unit loading and, therefore, greater cavitation around the lower circumference of ball 1100. This, in turn, creates higher initial ball speed and rotation. When practicing with a driver away from a driving range or practice facility, it is optimal to have a ball with limited travel. However, such a ball should travel farther with a driver than with the other golf clubs that a golfer is practicing with. The driver is the most difficult golf clubs to learn how to hit well. The reduced loft of the face of the golf club creates less reverse spin and more tendency to tilt the axis away from the optimal horizontal position. Further, by tilting projectile 1100 forward on this angled tee shape 2100, only the bottom is impacted by the face of driver 2105 creating a higher unit load and more cavitation, more rebound and more distance.

An additional feature of the cylindrical shape of ball 2100 is that as it lands on the ground it the limited potential for forward roll. The forward roll of device 1100 with figure eight axel 1600 on the ground is limited by the squarish corners created by the through-hole. This non-round shape when spinning in reverse creates a great deal of stopping friction. In fact, with an extremely lofted golf club to create additional spin, it is not uncommon for ball 1100 to move in reverse for a short distance, move forward for a short distance or stop when it hits the ground or other object. To this end, targets may be created that contain projectile 1100. Unlike golf, where the round ball rolls and bounces excessively, projectile 1100 will stay in the general area where it lands.

Referring to FIG. 22, there is shown an inclined plane targeting system 2200 with multiple scoring holes 2205, 2210, 2215, 2220, 2225 and 2230, which may be incorporated in practice or play. In an embodiment, inclined plane targeting system may include an inflatable flexible material having targets or scoring holes 2205, 2210, 2215, 2220, 2225 and 2230. Inflatable targeting system 2200 may be set up in very close proximity to one or more golfers for practice and play. By adding inclined targeting, roll and travel of ball 1100 is closely regulated. This provides an opportunity to have practice ranges indoors or in small outdoor areas.

The limited flight of this projectile 1100, along with the limited forward roll, allows many types of targeting systems. For example, targeting systems may be firm and fixed in the ground or transportable and inflatable. As such, constrained golf-like experiences may now be created in very small areas at low cost.

Referring to FIGS. 23-25, projectile 1100 may be designed to float using polymers that are high rebound but light-weight. Floating projectile 1100 allows for the design of water return systems 2300 built into targeting systems. Being in close proximity to the target, say 40 yards, an angular design may be provided where projectiles 1100 roll off of the surface if a hole (not shown) is missed. This creates a self cleaning, self pick-up target system for continuous use with no need for other costly pick up systems or intermittent breaks in activity to pick up projectiles 1100.

Point scoring systems may be implemented to simulate play of a typical golf hole. For example, scoring systems like the one described below are engaging, entertaining, challenging and allow for practice with a purpose.

Inflatable target 2200 may be used for stroke play with a positive points as follows. In an embodiment, yellow projectiles in addition to the more standard white projectiles may be required. Par for the hole is determined by the player with honors. The number of balls played determines par for the hole. A par four means everyone plays four balls. From a single location, the players may each play all balls at one time. Shooting from multiple locations, shots may be alternated. As many people as desired may play at any one time. Order may determined by highest score, which in this game is the better score. Highest score goes first. Points are accrued as follows. Red hole 2205, which is furthest away and the smallest hole, is 5 points. Orange hole 2210, second furthest and the next smallest hole, is 3 points. Yellow hole 2215, third furthest and the next smallest, is 1 point. Green hole 2200, fourth furthest and the next smallest, is 0 points. White holes 2225 and 2230 are “bunkers” near high value holes 2205 and 2210. White holes 2225 and 2230 may be slightly smaller and slightly off line. White holes 2225 and 2230 are each −2 points.

Any ball played off of the surface of inflatable 2200 is −1 point.

Each round is played with one yellow ball 1100. Yellow ball 1100 scores at a rate of twice the points, both positive and negative points. Yellow ball 1100 may be used at any time. It is most commonly used on the final shot, for instance as the fourth ball on a par four.

An example of one hole of a two player game might go as follows. Player #1 wins the coin toss and goes first. Player # 1 takes five balls 1100, four balls 1100 and a yellow ball 1100, and announces that it is a par five. First ball is white and does not stay on the inflatables surface. Player #1 has a score of minus one. With two hitting surfaces, Player #2 goes next and puts his first white ball into orange hole 2210. Player #2 has three points. Player #1 goes next and hits a white ball into green hole 2220. This hole 2220 is zero points. Player #1 still has a score of minus one. Player #2 then hits a white ball into green hole 2220. Player #2 stays at three points. Player #1 hits his third white ball into red hole 2205. Player #1 now has a score of four points. Player #2 hits a third shot into orange hole 2210. Player #2 now has six points. Player #1 hits a fourth white ball into yellow hole 2215 for a total of five points. Player #2 hits a fourth white ball into yellow hole 2215 for a total score of seven points. On the final shot, with yellow ball for a double rate of scoring, Player #1 hits into orange hole 2210. This is worth three points multiplied by two or six additional points. Player #1 has a final total for the hole of eleven points. Player #2 goes next with a yellow ball and also hits into orange hole 2210. Player #2 has a total of twelve points.

After the first hole, Player #2 leads by one stroke and starts the next hole by calling it out as a par three. Player #2 pulls our two white and one yellow ball, and takes the first shot on the next hole. This scoring continues for 18 holes. The player with the most points wins.

Match play with positive points is the objective similar to the game above. Scoring is similar to stroke play above for each hole. Instead of an accumulated score at the end of 18 holes, holes are individually won and this number is tracked. This is usually a two person competition but it can work with a larger number of people.

Another derivative of the proposed configuration is keeping the score like baseball. Baseball is played by keeping track of where balls 1100 land on inflatable 2200. Red hole 2205 is home run. Orange hole 2210 is a triple. Yellow hole 2215 is a double. Green hole 2200 is a single. White hole 2225 or 2230 is a double. Each of inflatable 2200 is an out. Each ball 1100 on inflatable 2200, but not in any hole, is a strike.

At three outs, a player is done for the inning. Each three strikes is an out. Like regular baseball, keep track of runs, outs and innings. The player with the most runs wins.

These games have great appeal because of the golf-like feel without having to leave the shot area. With an automatic water return system, this becomes a continuous event. In addition, very little maintenance is required for either indoor or outdoor settings.

Inflatables 2200 and 2300 may be configured for a small number of players or for a large number of players. This is generally a function of the side of inflatable 2200 and 2300 and capacity of one or more blower 2310. Blower(s) 2310 associated with targets 2200 and water return system 2305 are activated for use not being used targets 2200 are deflated and water return system 2305 are each turned off. This water return system could be contained as part of the inflatable or a separate shallow irrigation like system dug into the ground for a more permanent installation. These larger systems could replace conventional golf driving ranges as land becomes more and more costly. Even now, golf courses near residential areas are under pressure to do away with the driving range for housing opportunities.

Various features, utilities and advantages of non-standard sport projectiles, in accordance with the invention, will be apparent from the following description of preferred embodiments, as illustrated in the accompanying drawing.

When actually playing golf on a golf course, a golfer use a standard golf ball or sphere, because the roll of the standard golf ball after the ball lands, and the roll of the standard golf ball when putting, which are as much a part of the game of golf as is the driving of the standard golf ball and the subsequent flight of the ball. However, practicing a golf club swing, to thereby strike a golf ball, and then observing the subsequent flight of the ball, can be accomplished when using a non-standard golf ball having an external spherical shape or non-spherical shape as is provided by the present invention. This invention provides a new, unusual and unobvious non-standard practice sport projectile that simulates the “feel” and the flight of a standard sports projectile, of which a standard golf ball is a non-limiting example. This invention provides a non-standard sport projectile that is constructed and arranged to “feedback” a “striking feel” to an individual that is generally consistent to the striking of a standard sport projectile, such as a golf club for golfing, a foot for football, or a bat for baseball.

Non-standard sport projectiles, in accordance with this invention, include at least one linear through hole. As this non-standard sport projectile passes through the air, after being hit by, for example, a golf club, the non-standard sport projectile spins. When the above-mentioned through hole is generally aligned with the projectile's direction of flight, air passes through the through hole, and the aerodynamic characteristics of the non-standard sport projectile are lessened. As a result, the non-standard sport projectile experiences rapidly repeating intervals of relatively high aerodynamic flight and relatively low aerodynamic flight as the non-standard sport projectile spins. Thus, non-standard sport projectiles, in accordance with the invention, provide a satisfactory “feel” on impact, they mimic the flight of a standard sport projectile, but the length of flight of the non-standard sport projectile is considerably shorter than the length of flight of a standard sport projectile.