Title:
GOLF ACCESSORY
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf accessory operates as a golf ball retrieval and marking device. The golf accessory includes an opening for receiving the golf ball and grasping arms for holding the ball therein. The golf accessory also includes an arm which carries a magnet and a mark magnetically coupled to the magnet. The magnet is moved away from the mark in response to the golf ball being received by the opening. The mark falls to the ground in response to the magnet being moved away from it and marks the location of the golf ball.



Inventors:
Miller, Robert (Mesa, AZ, US)
Application Number:
12/047236
Publication Date:
05/28/2009
Filing Date:
03/12/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/285, 473/409
International Classes:
A63B57/00; A63B53/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BLAU, STEPHEN LUTHER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SCHMEISER OLSEN & WATTS (MESA, AZ, US)
Claims:
1. A golf accessory, comprising: a arm assembly carried by a golf accessory base; and a magnet carried by the arm assembly or the golf accessory base; wherein the arm assembly is repeatably moveable between engaged and disengaged positions in response to extending a golf ball through the golf head.

2. The accessory of claim 1, further including a mark which is repeatably moveable between coupled and uncoupled positions relative to the magnet.

3. The accessory of claim 2, wherein the mark is in the coupled position when the arm assembly is in the disengaged position.

4. The accessory of claim 2, wherein the mark is in the uncoupled position when the arm assembly is in the engaged position.

5. The accessory of claim 1, wherein the arm assembly extends through an opening of the magnet.

6. The accessory of claim 1, further including a golf accessory body with a cartridge chamber.

7. The accessory of claim 6, wherein the golf accessory base is repeatably moveable between engaged and disengaged positions with the golf accessory body, the arm assembly extending through the cartridge chamber when the golf accessory base is engaged with the golf accessory body.

8. A golf accessory, comprising: a golf accessory body; a golf accessory base repeatably moveable between engaged and disengaged positions with the golf accessory body; an arm assembly carried by the golf accessory base; and a magnet.

9. The accessory of claim 8, wherein the arm assembly is repeatably moveable between engaged and disengaged positions in response to extending a golf ball through the golf accessory base.

10. The accessory of claim 8, further including a mark which is repeatably moveable between coupled and uncoupled positions relative to the magnet.

11. The accessory of claim 10, wherein the mark moves from the coupled to uncoupled positions in response to moving the arm assembly between the disengaged and engaged positions.

12. The accessory of claim 10, wherein the mark is uncoupled from the magnet when the arm assembly is in the engaged position.

13. The accessory of claim 8, wherein the magnet includes an opening which receives the arm assembly.

14. The accessory of claim 13, wherein the arm assembly includes a plunger arm which engages the mark through the magnet opening in response to moving the arm assembly from the disengaged position to the engaged position.

15. A method, comprising: providing a golf head which carries a first golf accessory base and a first arm assembly; removing the first golf accessory base and first arm assembly from the golf head; providing a second golf accessory base and a second arm assembly; and positioning the second golf accessory base and a second arm assembly so they are carried by the golf head.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein the first golf accessory base carries the first arm assembly.

17. The method of claim 15, wherein the second arm assembly is mounted to the second golf accessory base.

18. The method of claim 15, wherein the first arm assembly is repeatably moveable between engaged and disengaged positions in response to extending a golf ball through the first golf accessory base.

19. The method of claim 15, wherein the second arm assembly is repeatably moveable through the second golf accessory base.

20. The method of claim 15, wherein the first arm assembly carries a first magnet and the second arm assembly extends through a second magnet.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 11/945,020, entitled “GOLF ACCESSORY”, filed on Nov. 26, 2007 by the same inventor, the content of which is incorporated herein by reference its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to a golf ball retrieval and marking device.

2. Description of the Related Art

Golfing is a very popular sport that is enjoyed by people of many different ages. When playing a round of golf, the golf ball can be retrieved in many different situations, such as when putting. The golf ball is often retrieved, and its location is marked, when other golfers are putting. The golf ball is then positioned near the mark when it is the golfers turn to putt, and the mark is retrieved.

However, it can be difficult for a golfer to bend over and position and retrieve a golf ball and mark, especially when playing many holes. For example, it is often difficult for an elderly or injured golfer to bend at the waist and knees, and it generally becomes more difficult the longer the golfer plays. A golf ball retriever can be used to retrieve a golf ball without the golfer having to bend over and pick it up. Examples of golf ball retrievers are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,811,980, 5,328,174, 5,509,658 and 5,800,280. However, these golf ball retrievers do not alleviate the need to position and retrieve the mark.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a golf accessory which includes a golf accessory body and a golf accessory base repeatably moveable between engaged and disengaged positions with the golf accessory body. The golf accessory includes an arm assembly carried by the golf accessory base and a magnet. The golf accessory base carries the arm assembly so they operate as a cartridge which is repeatably moveable, as a single unit, between positions engaged to the golf accessory body and disengaged from the golf accessory body. The arm assembly is repeatably moveable between engaged and disengaged positions in response to extending a golf ball through the golf accessory base.

In some embodiments, the golf accessory includes a mark which is repeatably moveable between coupled and uncoupled positions relative to the magnet. The mark moves from the coupled to uncoupled positions in response to moving the arm assembly between the disengaged and engaged positions. The mark is uncoupled from the magnet when the arm assembly is in the engaged position, and the mark can be coupled to the magnet when the arm assembly is in the disengaged position.

In some embodiments, the magnet includes an opening which receives the arm assembly. In these embodiments, the arm assembly engages the magnet through the opening when the arm assembly is in an engaged position. The arm assembly moves through the magnet opening and the mark moves away from the magnet in response.

The present invention employs a method which includes providing a golf accessory that includes a golf accessory body that carries a first golf accessory base and a first arm assembly, and removing the first golf accessory base and first arm assembly from the golf accessory body. The method includes providing a second golf accessory base and a second arm assembly and positioning the second golf accessory base and second arm assembly so they are carried by the golf accessory body.

In some embodiments, the first golf accessory base carries the first arm assembly and the second golf accessory base carries the second arm assembly. In some embodiments, the first arm assembly is mounted to the first golf accessory base so they are a single integral unit, and the second arm assembly is mounted to the second golf accessory base so they are a single integral unit. In some embodiments, the first and second arm assemblies are the same type, and in other embodiments, the first and second arm assemblies are different types.

In one embodiment, the first arm assembly is repeatably moveable between engaged and disengaged positions in response to extending a golf ball through a first opening of the first golf accessory base. Further, the second arm assembly is repeatably moveable through a first of the second golf accessory base. In this embodiment, the first arm assembly carries a first magnet and the second arm assembly extends through a second magnet carried by the second golf accessory base. The second magnet includes an opening which receives the second arm assembly as it moves through the first opening of the second golf accessory base.

In another embodiment, the second arm assembly is repeatably moveable between engaged and disengaged positions in response to extending a golf ball through a second opening of the second golf accessory base. Further, the first arm assembly is repeatably moveable through a second opening of the first golf accessory base. In this embodiment, the second arm assembly carries the first magnet and the first arm assembly extends through the opening of second magnet, which is carried by the first golf accessory base.

Further features and advantages of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description, taken together with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1a is a perspective view of a golf accessory, in accordance with the invention, for retrieving a golf ball and marking its location.

FIG. 1b is a bottom view of the golf accessory of FIG. 1a.

FIG. 1c is a cut-away perspective view of the golf accessory of FIG. 1a showing an arm and guide rails.

FIG. 1d is a cut-away perspective view of the golf accessory of FIG. 1a showing guide rails and graspers.

FIG. 1e is a side view of the golf accessory of FIG. 1a, showing a mark coupled to a magnet.

FIGS. 1f and 1g are side views of the golf accessory of FIG. 1a, showing a mark decoupled to and decoupled from, respectively, the magnet.

FIGS. 2a and 2b are side views of another embodiment of a golf accessory, showing the mark decoupled to and decoupled from, respectively, a magnet.

FIG. 3a is a perspective view of a golf accessory, in accordance with the invention, for teeing a golf ball.

FIG. 3b is a bottom view of the golf accessory of FIG. 3a.

FIGS. 3c and 3d are side and front views, respectively, of the golf accessory of FIG. 3a.

FIGS. 4a and 4b are bottom and top views, respectively, of a golf accessory, in accordance with the invention.

FIGS. 4c and 4d are side and bottom perspective views of the golf accessory of FIGS. 4a and 4b.

FIGS. 5a and 5b are perspective views of a golf accessory base and arm assembly, in accordance with the invention, in engaged and disengaged positions, respectively.

FIG. 6a is a perspective view of another embodiment of a golf accessory base and arm assembly, in accordance with the invention.

FIGS. 6b and 6c are side views of the golf accessory base and arm assembly of FIG. 6a in disengaged and engaged positions, respectively.

FIGS. 7a and 7b are side views of another embodiment of a golf accessory base and arm assembly, in accordance with the invention, in disengaged and engaged positions, respectively.

FIGS. 8a and 8b are perspective views of another embodiment of a golf accessory base and arm assembly, in accordance with the invention, in disengaged and engaged positions, respectively.

FIGS. 9a and 9b are perspective views of the arm assemblies of FIGS. 1c and 2a, respectively, carried by a golf accessory base, in accordance with the invention.

FIG. 10 is a flow diagram of a method of marking the location of a ball, in accordance with the invention.

FIG. 11 is a flow diagram of a method of manufacturing a golf accessory, in accordance with the invention.

FIG. 12 is a flow diagram of a method of providing a golf accessory, in accordance with the invention.

FIG. 13 is a flow diagram of a method, in accordance with the invention, of manufacturing a golf accessory.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1a is a perspective view of a golf accessory 100, in accordance with the invention, for retrieving a golf ball and marking its location, and FIG. 1b is a bottom view of golf accessory 100. Golf accessory 100 is useful for retrieving a golf ball and marking its location without requiring the golfer to bend down. The golf ball is generally retrieved so it does not interfere with the play of other golfers. The position of the golf ball is marked so that it can be repositioned accurately when it is the golfer's turn to play.

The golf accessory can retrieve the golf ball because it includes a lower opening for receiving the golf ball, and grasping arms for holding the ball therein. The golf accessory can mark the location of the golf ball because it includes an arm which carries a magnet, wherein the magnet allows a mark to fall to the ground when the golf ball is received by the lower opening. In operation, the golf ball moves the arm away from the lower opening when the ball moves therethrough, and the magnet is moved away from the mark. In response, the mark falls to the ground and marks the location of the golf ball. In this embodiment, the ball can be retrieved and its location marked in a single motion, wherein the single motion consists of moving the golf ball through the lower opening.

The golf ball can be repositioned near the mark by pushing the arm so it is moved towards the lower opening and the ball is pushed out. When the arm is pushed out the lower opening, the mark can be coupled to the magnet. In this way, the mark can be retrieved. In this embodiment, the ball can be pushed out of the lower opening, and the magnet can be positioned so the mark can be coupled to it, in a single motion, wherein the single motion consists of moving the golf ball through the lower opening by pushing the arm. It should be noted that, in some embodiments, golf accessory 100 can be used as a golf ball retrieval device or a golf ball marking device. However, in this embodiment, it operates as both for illustrative purposes.

In this embodiment, golf accessory 100 includes a golf accessory body 101. In some embodiments, golf accessory 100 is used as a golf club so that golf accessory body 101 is shaped to operate as a golf head and is coupled to a golf club handle 103. In these embodiments, golf accessory body includes a striking surface 102 for striking the golf ball. Golf accessory body 101 includes a lower opening 105 (FIG. 1b) which is sized and shaped to receive the golf ball, and an upper opening 104 (FIG. 1a) for pushing the golf ball out of lower opening 105. In this embodiment, upper and lower openings 104 and 105 extend through golf accessory body 101. The golf ball can be pushed out of lower opening 105 in many different ways, such as by inserting a finger through upper opening 104.

FIGS. 1c and 1d are cut-away perspective views of golf accessory 100 showing an arm assembly 110. In this embodiment, arm assembly 110 includes an arm 109 carried by guide rails 107 and 108. Arm 109 is carried by guide rails 107 and 108 so it is repeatably moveable between positions towards and away from lower opening 105. Guide rails 107 and 108 are attached to golf accessory body 101, and arm 109 is slidingly engaged to them so that guide rails 107 and 108 guide the movement of arm 109 towards and away from lower opening 105.

In this embodiment, arm assembly 110 includes opposed grasping arms 111a and 111b positioned on opposed sides of lower opening 105. Grasping arms 111a and 111b grasp the golf ball when it is received by opening 105 by frictionally engaging it. In this way, the golf ball is retrieved by golf accessory 100. It should be noted that any of the arm assemblies discussed herein can include grasping arms, such as grasping arms 111a and 111b.

In this embodiment, golf accessory 100 includes a magnet 112 (FIGS. 1b and 1c) which is carried by arm 109 so it is proximate to an opening 106 of golf accessory body 101. Magnet 112 is carried by arm 109 so it moves towards and away from opening 106 in response to arm 109 moving towards and away from, respectively, lower opening 105.

Golf accessory 100 includes a mark which is repeatably moveable between positions coupled to and decoupled from magnet 112 in response to movement of arm 109. The mark can be coupled to magnet 112 when arm 109 is moved towards openings 105 and 106. Further, the mark is decoupled from magnet 112 in response to arm 109 being moved away from openings 105 and 106. The mark includes a magnetic material so that it is magnetically coupled to and decoupled from magnet 112. In accordance with the invention, arm 109 is moved away from openings 105 and 106 in response to engaging a golf ball, as will be discussed in more detail presently.

FIGS. 1e and 1f are side views of golf accessory 100, showing a mark 115 coupled to and decoupled from, respectively, magnet 112. In operation, golf accessory 100 is positioned proximate to golf ball 113, by using golf club handle 103, so that lower opening 105 is aligned with it. Arm 109 is positioned proximate to lower opening 105, as shown in FIG. 1e, and mark 115 is coupled to magnet 112 through opening 106. Golf accessory 100 is moved, by using golf club handle 103, so that golf ball 113 is received by lower opening 105 and engages arm 109. In response, arm 109 is moved along guide rails 107 and 108 and away from lower opening 105, and magnet 112 is moved away from mark 115. When magnet 112 is moved a predetermined distance away from mark 115, mark 115 is decoupled from it. When mark 115 is decoupled from magnet 112, it falls away from golf accessory body 101 and towards a surface 114. It should be noted that surface 114 can be of many different types of surfaces, such as the ground, grass, a putting green, etc. In general, surface 114 can be any surface on which it is desired to position golf ball 113.

Golf ball 113 is grasped by grasping arms 111a and 111b (FIGS. 1b and 1d) and held in lower opening 105, as described in more detail above, and as described in more detail below with FIG. 1g. In this way, golf ball 113 is retrieved by golf accessory 100 and its position is marked by mark 115. As mentioned above, golf ball 113 can be retrieved and its position marked in a single motion, wherein the single motion consists of moving golf ball 113 through lower opening 105. In some embodiments, golf ball 113 can be retrieved and its position marked in a single motion, wherein the single motion consists essentially of moving golf ball 113 through lower opening 105.

FIG. 1g is a side view of golf ball 113 engaged to grasping arms 111a and 111b. As mentioned above, grasping arms 111a and 111b are positioned proximate to lower opening 105 so that they grasp golf ball 113 when it is received by lower opening 105. Grasping arms 111a and 111b grasp golf ball 113 so that golf ball 113 is carried by golf accessory body 101 when it is moved away from surface 114. In this way, golf ball 113 is retrieved by golf accessory 100 and golf accessory 100 operates as a golf ball retrieval device.

When it is desired to remove golf ball 113 from golf accessory body 101, arm 109 is engaged through upper opening 104 so that it is pushed towards lower openings 105 and 106. In response, golf ball 113 is disengaged from grasping arms 111a and 111b and moved through lower opening 105. Magnet 112 is moved towards opening 106 so that mark 115 can be coupled to it, as described above. Mark 115 can be coupled to magnet 112 in many different ways, such as by using golf club handle 103 to position magnet 112 proximate to mark 115. In this way, a mark is repeatably moveable between positions coupled to and decoupled from a magnet in response to movement of an arm of a golf accessory. As mentioned above, golf ball 113 can be moved through lower opening 105 and magnet 112 can be positioned proximate to opening 106 in a single motion, wherein the single motion consists of pushing arm 109 through upper opening 104. In some embodiments, golf ball 113 can be moved through lower opening 105 and magnet 112 can be positioned proximate to opening 106 in a single motion, wherein the single motion consists essentially of pushing arm 109 through upper opening 104.

FIGS. 2a and 2b are side views of another embodiment of a golf accessory 120, showing mark 115 coupled to and decoupled from, respectively, magnet 112. In this embodiment, golf accessory 120 includes an arm assembly 124 pivotably coupled to golf accessory body 101 with a hinge 121. In particular, arm assembly 124 includes an arm 123 pivotably coupled to hinge 121 with a pin 122. In this embodiment, arm 123 is L-shaped and has an outwardly extending portion connected to hinge 121 and a downwardly extending portion connected to magnet 112. The outwardly and downwardly extending portions of arm 123 extend over lower opening 105.

In operation, golf accessory 120 is positioned proximate to golf ball 113 so that lower opening 105 is aligned with it. Arm 123 is positioned proximate to lower opening 105 and mark 115 is magnetically coupled to magnet 112 through opening 106. Golf accessory 120 is moved so that golf ball 113 is received by lower opening 105 and engages arm 123. In particular, golf accessory 120 is moved so that golf ball 113 is received by lower opening 105 and engages the outwardly extending portion of arm 123. In response, arm 123 is rotated upwardly, as indicated by a direction arrow 119, by pivoting about pin 122 and magnet 112 is moved away from mark 115. When magnet 112 is moved the predetermined distance away from mark 115, mark 115 is decoupled from it. When mark 115 is decoupled from magnet 112, it falls away from golf accessory body 101 and towards surface 114. In this way, the position of golf ball 113 is marked. The golfer can the pick up golf ball 113 with his or her hand, or golf accessory 120 can include grasping arms 111a and 111b which grasp golf ball 113 and hold it in opening 105, as described in more detail above.

FIG. 3a is a perspective view of a golf accessory 130, in accordance with the invention, for teeing golf ball 113. FIG. 3b is a bottom view of golf accessory 130, and FIGS. 3c and 3d are side and front views, respectively, of golf accessory 130. In this embodiment, golf accessory 130 includes upper and lower plates 131 and 133 coupled together with a side plate 132. Plates 131, 132 and 133 are coupled together to form a c-shape. Golf accessory 130 includes guide arms 134 and 135 positioned on opposed sides of side plate 132 and between upper and lower plates 131 and 133. Guide arms 134 and 135 are for guiding golf ball 113 and holding it in position. A handle connector 136 is coupled to upper plate 131 and extends upwardly therefrom. Handle connector 136 includes an upwardly facing opening for receiving golf club handle 103. Lower plate 133 includes a groove 137, which is sized and shaped so it can hold a golf tee 138. Groove 137 can have many different shapes, but, in this embodiment, it is tapered.

In operation, golf tee 138 is positioned in groove 137 so it is carried by lower plate 133. Golf ball 113 is positioned on golf tee 138 and between guide arms 134 and 135. Golf ball 113 is lowered using golf handle 103 and golf tee 138 is driven into the ground. Lower plate 133 is moved so that golf tee 138 is moved out of groove 137 and golf ball 113 is carried by golf tee 138. In this way, a golf ball is teed without the golfer having to bend down.

In some embodiments, the arm assembly is repeatably moveable between positions engaged to the golf accessory body and disengaged from the golf accessory body. The arm assembly can be repeatably moveable between positions engaged to the golf accessory body and disengaged from the golf accessory body in many different ways.

In one embodiment, the golf accessory includes a golf accessory base which is engaged to the golf accessory body in a repeatably removeable manner. The golf accessory base carries the arm assembly so they operate as a cartridge which is repeatably moveable, as a modular unit, between positions engaged to the golf accessory body and disengaged from the golf accessory body. In general, a cartridge is a modular unit designed to be inserted into another piece. Hence, these embodiments, the modular unit includes the golf accessory base and arm assembly, and the other piece includes golf accessory body.

FIGS. 4a and 4b are bottom and top views, respectively, of a golf accessory 140, in accordance with the invention. FIGS. 4c and 4d are side and bottom perspective views of golf accessory 140. In this embodiment, golf accessory 140 includes a golf accessory body 141, which is in the form of a golf head. In this way, golf accessory 140 operates as a golf club having striking surface 102. In this particular example, the golf head is embodied as a golf putter.

In accordance with the invention, golf accessory 140 includes a golf accessory base 142 which is engaged to golf accessory body 141 in a repeatably removeable manner. Hence, golf accessory base 142 is repeatably moveable between engaged and disengaged positions with golf accessory 140. In particular, golf accessory base 142 is repeatably moveable between engaged and disengaged positions with golf accessory body 141. Golf accessory base 142 is shown engaged to golf accessory body 141 in FIGS. 4a and 4c, and golf accessory base 142 is shown disengaged from golf accessory body 141 in FIGS. 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 6c, 8a, 8b, 9a and 9b.

Golf accessory base 142 can be engaged to golf accessory body 141 in a repeatably removeable manner in many different ways. In this embodiment, golf accessory base 142 is engaged to golf accessory body 141 by using a threaded fastener, such as a screw 148. Screw 148 extends through golf accessory base 142 and into a threaded opening 149 (FIG. 4d) of golf accessory body 141. Hence, golf accessory base 142 can be disengaged to golf accessory base 142 by removing screw 148. In this way, golf accessory 140 includes a repeatably removeable golf accessory base 142.

In this embodiment, golf accessory 140 includes lower opening 105 and opening 106, which extend through golf accessory base 142. Golf accessory 140 also includes magnet 112, which can be carried by golf accessory base 142 or an arm assembly, several of which are disclosed herein. Further, golf accessory 140 includes a cartridge chamber 143 (FIG. 4d) which extends through golf accessory body 141. Cartridge chamber 143 is enclosed by golf accessory body 141 and golf accessory base 142 when golf accessory base 142 is engaged to golf accessory body 141. When golf accessory base 142 is engaged to golf accessory body 141, upper opening 104 is in fluid communication with lower opening 105 and opening 106 through cartridge chamber 143.

In accordance with the invention, golf accessory 140 includes an arm assembly, which is repeatably moveable between engaged and disengaged positions. The arm assembly can be moved between the engaged and disengaged positions in many different ways. For example, the arm assembly can be moved from the disengaged position to the engaged position by extending a golf ball through lower opening 105. Further, the arm assembly can be moved from engaged position to the disengaged position by extending a finger through upper opening 104.

The arm assembly can be included with golf accessory 140 in many different ways, such as by carrying it with golf accessory base 142. In some embodiments, the arm assembly, or a portion thereof, is mounted to golf accessory base 142 so they are a single integral unit. In other embodiments, the arm assembly, or a portion thereof, is mounted to golf accessory base 142 so they are separate units that can be separated from each other.

The arm assembly can be of many different types, such as those discussed in FIGS. 1c and 2a. However, several other embodiments of arm assemblies will be discussed in more detail below.

It should be noted that any of the arm assemblies discussed below can include grasping arms, such as grasping arms 111a and 111b (FIG. 1g), although the grasping arms may not be shown for simplicity. Further, the grasping arms are typically carried by golf accessory base 142. It should also be noted that, in the embodiments discussed below, a mark can be coupled to and decoupled from a magnet, as discussed in more detail with FIGS. 1e and 1f.

FIGS. 5a and 5b are perspective views of an arm assembly 150 carried by golf accessory base 142. In this embodiment, arm assembly 150 includes an arm 145 pivotably coupled to golf accessory base 142. Arm 145 can be pivotably coupled to golf accessory base 142 in many different ways. In this embodiment, arm 145 is pivotably coupled to golf accessory base 142 with an arm bracket 146 and pin 147, wherein arm bracket 146 is attached to golf accessory base 142 and pin 147 extends through arm bracket 146 and arm 145. In this way, arm 145 is rotatable relative to arm bracket 146 and golf accessory base 142.

Arm 145 is repeatably rotatable between engaged and disengaged positions, as shown in FIGS. 5a and 5b, respectively. Arm 145 is moveable from the disengaged position to the engaged position by extending a golf ball, such as golf ball 113, through lower opening 105 so that it engages an engagement surface 145a (FIG. 5a) of arm 145. Arm 145 rotates away from golf accessory base 142 in response to the golf ball engaging engagement surface 145a. Further, arm 145 rotates about pin 147 in response to the golf ball engaging engagement surface 145a.

Arm 145 is moveable from the engaged position to the disengaged position by applying a force to an engagement surface 145b, wherein engagement surface 145b is opposed to engagement surface 145a. The force can be applied to engagement surface 145b in many different ways, such as by extending a finger through upper opening 104 (FIGS. 4b, 4c and 4d) so that it engages engagement surface 145b of arm 145. Arm 145 rotates towards golf accessory base 142 in response to the force applied to engagement surface 145b, and the golf ball is moved out of lower opening 105. Further, arm 145 rotates about pin 147 in response to the force applied to engagement surface 145b.

In this embodiment, arm assembly 150 includes magnet 112 which is carried by arm 145 proximate to its distal end. Magnet 112 is repeatably moveable between positions away from and towards opening 106, as shown in FIGS. 5a and 5b, respectively, in response to the rotation of arm 145 about pin 147. Magnet 112 is positioned towards opening 106 when arm 145 is in the disengaged position (FIG. 5b) and magnet 112 is positioned away from opening 106 when arm 145 is in the engaged position (FIG. 5a). Further, engagement surface 145a is positioned towards lower opening 105 when arm 145 is in the disengaged position (FIG. 5b) and engagement surface 145a is positioned away from lower opening 105 when arm 145 is in the engaged position (FIG. 5a). When arm 145 is in the disengaged position and magnet 112 is towards opening 106, mark 115 can be coupled thereto. Further, when arm 145 is in the engaged position and magnet 112 is away from opening 106, mark 115 is decoupled from magnet 112. In this way, mark 115 is repeatably moveable between coupled and uncoupled positions with magnet 112.

In this embodiment, golf accessory base 142 includes a closure magnet 144 positioned proximate to opening 106. Closure magnet 144 is positioned proximate to opening 106 so that it can couple to magnet 112 when magnet 112 is positioned towards opening 106. Closure magnet 144 is positioned proximate to opening 106 so that it can couple to magnet 112 when arm 145 is in the disengaged position. Closure magnet 144 is positioned proximate to opening 106 so that arm 145 is rotated towards golf accessory base 142 in response to the magnetic attraction between magnet 112 and closure magnet 144. Closure magnet 144 holds arm 145 to golf accessory base 142 when arm 145 is in the disengaged position.

Holding arm 145 to golf accessory base 142 is useful so that arm 145 does not undesirable move between the engaged and disengaged positions. The magnetic coupling between magnets 112 and 144 is chosen so that they are coupled together with a desired magnetic force. The magnetic force needs to be overcome when moving arm 145 from the disengaged position to the engaged position. Hence, a predetermined force needs to be applied to engagement surface 145a to move arm 145 from the disengaged position to the engaged position. The predetermined force is typically applied to engagement surface 145a by the golf ball. When a force less than the predetermined force is applied to engagement surface 145a, arm 145 remains in the disengaged position. When a force less than the predetermined force is applied to engagement surface 145a, the golf ball is not retained by golf accessory 140.

It should be noted that the predetermined force can be chosen in many different ways, such as by choosing the relative magnetic strengths between magnets 112 and 144. The predetermined force can also be chosen by choosing the number of closure magnets 144 included with golf accessory base 142. In general, as the number of closure magnets 144 included with golf accessory base 142 increases, the predetermined force increases. Further, as the number of closure magnets 144 included with golf accessory base 142 decreases, the predetermined force decreases.

FIG. 6a is a perspective view of golf accessory base 142 and an arm assembly 160, in accordance with the invention. FIGS. 6b and 6c are perspective views of golf accessory base 142 and arm assembly 160 in disengaged and engaged positions, respectively. In this embodiment, arm assembly 160 includes a post 163 which extends upwardly from golf accessory base 142 and an arm 162 pivotably coupled to post 163 with a pin 167. An end of arm 162 extends over lower opening 105 and an opposed end is pivotably coupled to a plunger arm 161 with a pin 166. Plunger arm 161 extends from arm 162 towards opening 106 and magnet 112. In this embodiment, magnet 112 includes a magnet opening 112a, as shown in FIG. 6b and indicated by an indication arrow 128. Magnet opening 112a is sized and shaped to receive plunger arm 161 so that plunger arm 161 can be moved through magnet opening 112a so it engages mark 115 and moves mark 115 away from magnet 112. In this way, mark 115 and magnet 112 are decoupled from each other in response to movement of a plunger arm.

In this embodiment, plunger arm 161 is moved through magnet opening 112a in response to arm 162 pivoting relative to post 163. The end of arm 162 that extends over lower opening 105 moves upwardly in response to the golf ball being extended through lower opening 105 so it engages an engagement surface 162a of arm 162. Plunger arm 161 moves downwardly through magnet opening 112a, as indicated by an indication arrow 129 in FIG. 6c, in response to the golf ball engaging engagement surface 162a. Mark 115 is decoupled from magnet 112 in response to plunger arm 161 moving downwardly through magnet opening 112a.

The end of arm 162 that extends over lower opening 105 moves downwardly in response to a force applied to an engagement surface 162b, wherein engagement surface 162b is opposed to engagement surface 162a. The force can be applied to engagement surface 162b in many different ways, such as by extending a finger through upper opening 104 (FIGS. 4b, 4c and 4d) so that it engages engagement surface 162b of arm 162. Plunger arm 161 moves upwardly through magnet opening 112a in response to the force being applied to engagement surface 162b. Mark 115 can be coupled to magnet 112 when plunger arm 161 is moved upwardly through magnet opening 112a. In this way, magnet 112 and mark 115 can be coupled together in response to movement of a plunger arm.

It should be noted that arm assembly 160 is typically configured so that a portion of it extends through magnet opening 112a when it is in the disengaged position. For example, the lengths of plunger arm 161 and arm 162 are typically chosen so that the distal end of plunger arm 161 extends through magnet opening 112a when arm assembly 160 is in the disengaged position.

FIGS. 7a and 7b are side views of golf accessory base 142 and an arm assembly 170, in accordance with the invention, in disengaged and engaged positions, respectively. In this embodiment, arm assembly 170 includes post 163 which extends upwardly from golf accessory base 142 and an arm 171 pivotably coupled thereto with pin 167. In this way, arm 171 can rotate about pin 167 relative to post 163. In this embodiment, arm assembly 170 includes plunger arm 161 pivotably coupled to arm 171 with a pin 169 so that plunger arm 161 can rotate about pin 169 relative to arm 171. Plunger arm 161 extends downwardly towards magnet 112 and magnet opening 112a, as described above with FIGS. 6a and 6b. Arm 162 is pivotably coupled to arm 171 with a pin 168 so that arm 162 can rotate about pin 168 relative to arm 171.

In this embodiment, arm assembly 170 includes a door 172 pivotably mounted to golf accessory base 142 with a pin 165. Door 172 is mounted to golf accessory base 142 so that it is repeatably moveable between positions towards and away from lower opening 105. Mounting bracket 146 is carried by door 172 and arm 162 is pivotably coupled thereto with a pin 166.

In this embodiment, plunger arm 161 can be moved through magnet opening 112a so it engages mark 115 and moves mark 115 away from magnet 112, as discussed in more detail above. In this way, mark 115 and magnet 112 are decoupled from each other in response to movement of a plunger arm.

In this embodiment, plunger arm 161 is moved through magnet opening 112a in response to arm 171 rotating relative to post 163. Plunger arm 161 moves downwardly through magnet opening 112a when door 172 is rotated upwardly about pin 165. Door 172 is rotated upwardly about pin 165 when the golf ball engages an engagement surface 172a of door 172. Arm 171 rotates away from lower opening 105 in response to door 172 rotating upwardly because door 172 and arm 171 are coupled together with arm 162.

Plunger arm 161 moves upwardly through magnet opening 112a when door 172 is rotated downwardly about pin 165. Door 172 is rotated downwardly about pin 165 when a force is applied to an engagement surface 172b of door 172. Arm 171 rotates towards lower opening 105 in response to door 172 rotating downwardly because door 172 and arm 171 are coupled together with arm 162. The force can be applied to engagement surface 172b in many different ways, such as by extending a finger through upper opening 104 (FIGS. 4b, 4c and 4d) so that it engages engagement surface 172b of door 172. Plunger arm 161 moves upwardly through magnet opening 112a in response to the force being applied to engagement surface 172b. Mark 115 can be coupled to magnet 112 when plunger arm 161 is moved upwardly through magnet opening 112a, as shown in FIG. 7a. In this way, mark 115 and magnet 112 can be coupled together in response to movement of a plunger arm.

FIGS. 8a and 8b are perspective views of golf accessory base 142 and an arm assembly 180, in accordance with the invention, in disengaged and engaged positions, respectively. In this embodiment, arm assembly 180 includes pin 147 pivotably mounted to golf accessory base 142 with arm brackets 146a and 146b. Arm bracket 146a is positioned towards lower opening 105 and arm bracket 146b is positioned towards opening 106. Arm assembly 180 includes arms 181 and 182 coupled to pin 147, wherein arm 181 extends over lower opening 105 and arm 182 extends over opening 106. In this embodiment, magnet 112 is carried by arm 182. Arms 181 and 182 are coupled to pivot arm 147 so they rotate in response to the rotation of pivot arm 147. In this way, arms 181 and 182 are coupled together.

In this embodiment, magnet 112 is moved away from opening 106 in response to arm 181 rotating away from lower opening 105, as shown in FIG. 8b. Arm 181 is rotated away from lower opening 105 in response to the golf ball being extended through lower opening 105 so it engages an engagement surface 181a of arm 181. Arms 181 and 182 rotate together because they are coupled together with pin 147, as mentioned above.

In this embodiment, magnet 112 is moved towards opening 106 in response to arm 181 rotating towards lower opening 105, as shown in FIG. 8a. Arm 182 pivots downwardly towards lower opening 105 in response to a force applied to an engagement surface 182b, wherein engagement surface 182b is opposed to engagement surface 182a. The force can be applied to engagement surface 182b in many different ways, such as by extending a finger through upper opening 104 (FIGS. 4b, 4c and 4d) so that it engages engagement surface 182b of arm 182. Mark 115 can be coupled to magnet 112 when magnet 112 moves towards opening 106.

It should be noted that other arm assemblies can be carried by golf accessory base 142. For example, as shown in FIG. 9a, arm assembly 110 (FIGS. 1c and 1d) can be carried by golf accessory base 142. In this way, arm assembly 110 and golf accessory base 142 operate as a cartridge that can be repeatably engaged to and disengaged from golf accessory body 101. In another example, as shown in FIG. 9b, arm assembly 120 (FIGS. 2a and 2b) is carried by golf accessory base 142. In this way, arm assembly 120 and golf accessory base 142 operate as a cartridge that can be repeatably engaged to and disengaged from golf accessory body 101. It should also be noted that, in some embodiments, arm assembly 110 and/or arm assembly 120 are mounted to golf accessory base 142 in a repeatably removeable manner. In other embodiments, arm assembly 110 and/or arm assembly 120 are mounted to golf accessory base 142 so they are integrated therewith.

As discussed above, the arm assembly is carried by golf accessory base 142 so that they can be repeatably moved between positions in which they are engaged to and disengaged from golf accessory body 141. When golf accessory base 142 and the arm assembly are engaged to golf accessory body 141, the arm assembly extends through cartridge chamber 142. The arm assembly is carried by golf accessory base 142 so that they can be repeatably moved between positions in which they are engaged to and disengaged from golf accessory body 141 so that one arm assembly, with its corresponding golf accessory base, can be disengaged from golf accessory body 141 and replaced with another one.

For example, in one situation, golf accessory 140 includes arm assembly 150 carried by golf accessory base 142, wherein golf accessory base 142 is engaged to golf accessory body 141, as shown in FIG. 4a. In this example, golf accessory base 142 is disengaged from golf accessory body 141, and arm assembly 150 is removed from cartridge chamber 143 and replaced with a different type of arm assembly, such as arm assembly 110, 120, 160, 170 or 180. In this way, the arm assembly included with golf accessory 140 is interchangeable with other arm assemblies. It should be noted that any arm assembly included with golf accessory 140 can be replaced with another type of arm accessory, if desired.

In another situation, golf accessory 140 includes arm assembly 150 carried by golf accessory base 142, wherein golf accessory base 142 is engaged to golf accessory body 141, as shown in FIG. 4a. In this example, golf accessory base 142 is disengaged from golf accessory body 141, and arm assembly 150 is removed from cartridge chamber 143 and replaced with the same type of arm assembly. In this way, the arm assembly included with golf accessory 140 is replaceable with the same type of arm assembly.

FIG. 10 is a flow diagram of a method 200, in accordance with the invention, of marking the location of a ball. In this embodiment, method 200 includes a step 201 of providing a golf accessory which includes an arm which carries a magnet and a step 202 of providing a mark which is repeatably moveable between positions coupled to and decoupled from the magnet. Method 200 also includes a step 203 of engaging the arm with the ball so the arm moves the magnet away from the mark.

In some embodiments, the golf accessory includes a golf accessory body which is provided with first and second openings for engaging opposed sides of the arm. In these embodiments, method 200 can include a step of engaging the arm with the ball through the first opening, and a step of engaging the arm through the second opening so the ball is moved through the first opening. The golf accessory body decouples the mark from the magnet in response to the ball engaging the arm.

It should be noted that method 200 can include many other steps. For example, in some embodiments, method 200 includes a step of coupling the mark to the magnet. In some embodiments, method 200 includes a step of grasping the ball with a grasping arm when the ball moves through the first opening.

FIG. 11 is a flow diagram of a method 210, in accordance with the invention, of manufacturing a golf accessory. In this embodiment, method 210 includes a step 211 of providing a golf accessory body with a first opening sized and shaped to receive a ball and a step 212 of providing an arm which carries a magnet. Method 210 also includes a step 213 of positioning the arm so it is engaged by the ball when the ball moves through the first opening. In some embodiments, the golf accessory body is shaped to operate as a golf head. In this embodiments, golf accessory body includes a ball striking surface.

It should be noted that method 210 can include many other steps. For example, in some embodiments, method 210 includes a step of providing the golf accessory body with a second opening which allows the arm to be engaged and moved towards the first opening. Method 210 can include a step of positioning a guide rail so it guides movement of the arm when it moves towards and away from the first opening. Method 210 can include a step of providing the golf accessory with a third opening for allowing a mark so be coupled to the magnet when the arm is moved towards the first opening.

FIG. 12 is a flow diagram of a method 220, in accordance with the invention. In this embodiment, method 220 includes a step 221 of providing a golf accessory which includes a first golf accessory base engaged with a golf accessory body in a repeatably removeable manner, and a first arm assembly. Method 220 includes a step 222 of removing the first golf accessory base and first arm assembly from the golf accessory body. In this embodiment, method 220 includes a step 223 of providing a second golf accessory base and a second arm assembly and a step 224 of positioning the second golf accessory base and a second arm assembly so they are carried by the golf accessory body. In this embodiment, the first golf accessory base carries the first arm assembly and the second golf accessory base carries the second arm assembly. In some embodiments, the first golf accessory base is mounted to the first arm assembly so they are a single unit, and the second golf accessory base is mounted to the second arm assembly so they are a single unit.

In one embodiment, the first arm assembly is repeatably moveable between engaged and disengaged positions in response to extending a golf ball through the first golf accessory base. Further, the second arm assembly is repeatably moveable through an opening of the second golf accessory base. In this embodiment, the first arm assembly carries a first magnet and the second arm assembly extends through an opening of a second magnet. The opening of the second magnet is sized and shaped to receive the second arm assembly.

In another embodiment, the second arm assembly is repeatably moveable between engaged and disengaged positions in response to extending a golf ball through the opening of the second golf accessory base. Further, the first arm assembly is repeatably moveable through an opening of the first golf accessory base. In this embodiment, the second arm assembly carries the first magnet and the first arm assembly extends through the opening of the second magnet.

FIG. 13 is a flow diagram of a method 230, in accordance with the invention, of manufacturing a golf accessory. In this embodiment, method 230 includes a step 231 of providing a golf accessory body with a cartridge chamber, and a step 232 of providing a golf accessory base which carries an arm assembly. The golf accessory base and arm assembly can be formed so they are separate pieces, or they can be formed so they are a single integral piece. The arm assembly can be of many different types, such as those discussed in more detail above. Method 230 includes a step 233 of engaging the golf accessory base with the golf accessory body so that the arm assembly extends through the cartridge chamber.

While particular embodiments of the invention have been shown and described, numerous variations and alternate embodiments will occur to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, it is intended that the invention be limited only in terms of the appended claims.