Title:
Golf training system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf training device including a runner, a first cup having a first cup diameter and a first distance marking on the runner, wherein positioning of the first distance marking is variable based upon a ratio of the first cup diameter to a standard golf cup diameter and upon an actual distance from a center of the first cup to the first distance marking.



Inventors:
Shainbrown, Stanley (E. Amherst, NY, US)
Application Number:
12/286002
Publication Date:
04/01/2010
Filing Date:
09/26/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/36
View Patent Images:
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20070259734Golf putter with compensation for stroking errorsNovember, 2007Pollman
20060205527Method for achieving an optimal golf stanceSeptember, 2006Canney
20060276270Modified bat for sports training and method of making the sameDecember, 2006Haney
20060264266Modular golf clubNovember, 2006Jung



Primary Examiner:
LEGESSE, NINI F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SIMPSON & SIMPSON, PLLC (BUFFALO, NY, US)
Claims:
What I claim is:

1. A golf training device comprising: a runner; a first cup having a first cup diameter; and, a first distance marking on said runner, wherein positioning of said first distance marking is variable based upon a ratio of said first cup diameter to a standard golf cup diameter and upon an actual distance from a center of said first cup to said first distance marking.

2. The golf training device of claim 1 wherein a value of said first distance marking is calculated according to the following formula: Valueoffirstdistancemarking=C×Dactual×φstdφfirstcup, wherein: C is a constant value ranging from about 0.75 to about 1.25; Dactual is said actual distance from said center of said first cup to said first distance marking; φstd is said standard golf cup diameter; and, φfirstcup is said first cup diameter.

3. The golf training device of claim 1 wherein said runner comprises a circular surface.

4. The golf training device of claim 1 wherein said runner comprises a rectangular surface.

5. The golf training device of claim 1 wherein said first cup comprises a first tube having an opening diameter equal to said first cup diameter.

6. The golf training device of claim 5 wherein said first tube is position at an angle relative to said runner and is arranged to return a golf ball after said golf ball enters said first tube.

7. The golf training device of claim 1 wherein said first cup comprises a first tube and a first fitting attached to said first tube, said first fitting having an opening diameter equal to said first cup diameter.

8. The golf training device of claim 7 wherein said first fitting comprises an angled portion arranged adjacent to said runner, said angled portion provides a continuous path from said runner to said first tube.

9. The golf training device of claim 1 wherein said first cup comprises a target having a first aperture within said target, said first aperture having a first opening diameter equal to said first cup diameter.

10. The golf training device of claim 9 wherein said target further comprises a second aperture within said target, said second aperture having a second opening diameter equal to a second cup diameter.

11. The golf training device of claim 1 further comprising a stopping means arranged adjacent to an edge of said runner, wherein said stopping means prevents a golf ball from rolling past said edge.

12. The golf training device of claim 1 further comprising a chipping device arranged adjacent to an edge of said runner, wherein said chipping device comprises a lower surface and an upper surface fixedly secured to said lower surface, said upper surface comprising at least one cutout portion and at least one alignment indicator adjacent to said at least one cutout portion.

13. The golf training device of claim 1 further comprising: a plurality of cups having various cup diameters; and, a plurality of distance markings, wherein each of said plurality of distance markings is based upon a ratio of one of said various cup diameters to said standard golf cup diameter and upon said actual distance from a center of one of said plurality of cups to said respective distance marking.

14. The golf training device of claim 13 wherein each value of said plurality of distance markings is calculated according to the following formula: Valueofdistancemarking=C×Dactual×φstdφcup, wherein: C is a constant value ranging from about 0.75 to about 1.25; Dactual is said actual distance from said center of one of said plurality of cups to said respective distance marking; φstd is said standard golf cup diameter; and, φcup is one of said various cup diameters.

15. The golf training device of claim 13 wherein at least two of said plurality of distance markings are arranged at a same actual distance, each of said at least two of said plurality of distance markings correspond to a unique cup diameter of said various cup diameters.

16. The golf training device of claim 13 wherein at least two of said plurality of distance markings are arranged at different actual distances, each of said at least two of said plurality of distance markings correspond to a unique cup diameter of said various cup diameters.

17. The golf training device of claim 13 wherein said plurality of cups comprises said first cup and an insert comprising a second cup diameter, said insert positioned within said first cup.

18. A golf training device comprising: a lower surface; and, an upper surface comprising at least one cutout portion and at least one alignment indicator adjacent to said at least one cutout portion, wherein said upper surface is fixedly secured to said lower surface, said at least one alignment indicator arranged to receive a golf ball thereon and said at least one cutout portion is arranged to prevent movement of a golf club as said golf club is swung in a misaligned trajectory at said golf ball.

19. The golf training device of claim 18 wherein said upper surface is substantially H-shaped.

20. The golf training device of claim 18 wherein said lower surface has a first thickness and said upper surface has a second thickness equal to said first thickness.

21. The golf training device of claim 18 wherein said lower surface has a first thickness and said upper surface has a second thickness greater than said first thickness.

22. The golf training device of claim 18 wherein said lower surface has a first thickness and said upper surface has a second thickness less than said first thickness.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention broadly relates to golf, more specifically to a golf training system, and even more particularly to a golf training system for putting and chipping.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The popularity of golf as an activity and sport has greatly increased in recent years. The number of golf courses, driving ranges and golf domes has continued to rise accordingly. Although feedback as to whether a person's ability level has increased is best tested on a golf course, it is not always affordable or practical for people to play a round of golf. Thus, driving ranges and golf domes, i.e., indoor arenas where people can practice at night or during inclement weather, are viable options for people to use to improve their abilities without incurring the cost or consuming the time to play a round of golf. Each of these options typically provides means to practice driving, chipping and/or putting golf balls.

Although golf courses, driving ranges and golf domes offer a variety of means to practice and play golf, at times it is desirable to merely practice for a few minutes and therefore consuming time to travel to and from one of the foregoing places is not reasonable. There are a variety of known devices available to assist with practicing driving, putting and chipping which may be used in a home; however, these devices suffer from various defects. For example, putting practice devices are limited in length as it is not practical to have a putting surface that is twenty or thirty feet in length as may occur while playing golf. Thus, these types of devices only provide means to practice short putts which are only a portion of the putts a person may encounter while playing a round of golf. Chipping practice devices are limited in the type of feedback they can provide regarding the accuracy of the club swing. For example, chipping practice devices often include a target or a bucket wherein a person attempts to hit a golf ball; however, this merely provides an indication of the accuracy of the shot and can not provide any information regarding the club position as it hit the ball. As one of ordinary skill in the art appreciates, the club position as it strikes the ball controls how the ball rolls or sticks as it reach the ground, e.g., when the club strikes too high, the ball has a top spin causing it to roll in the direction of the spin, strikes too low, the ball has no spin causing it to continue in the direct of its motion or strikes at the proper position, the ball has a back spin causing it to stick or maintain its location where it hits the ground.

As can be derived from the variety of devices and methods directed at providing putting and chipping practice, many means have been contemplated to accomplish the desired end, i.e., close simulation of actual conditions using a minimum amount of space and equipment. Heretofore, tradeoffs between size of devices and benefits provided by the devices were required. Thus, there is a long-felt need for a putting practice device which can provide putting practice for a variety of length putts without consuming excessive amounts of space. There is a further long-felt need for a chipping practice device which provides positive feedback regarding the position of the club face as a ball is struck. There is also a long-felt need for a system of golf training which includes both the aforementioned putting and chipping devices in one device.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention broadly comprises a golf training device including a runner, a first cup having a first cup diameter and a first distance marking on the runner, wherein positioning of the first distance marking is variable based upon a ratio of the first cup diameter to a standard golf cup diameter and upon an actual distance from a center of the first cup to the first distance marking. In some embodiments, a value of the first distance marking is calculated according to the following formula:

Valueoffirstdistancemarking=C×Dactual×φstdφfirstcup,

wherein: C is a constant value ranging from about 0.75 to about 1.25;

    • Dactual is the actual distance from the center of the first cup to the first distance marking;
    • φstd is the standard golf cup diameter; and,
    • φfirstcup is the first cup diameter.

In some embodiments, the runner includes a circular surface, while in other embodiments, the runner includes a rectangular surface. In still yet other embodiments, the first cup includes a first tube having an opening diameter equal to the first cup diameter, and in some of these embodiments, the first tube is position at an angle relative to the runner and is arranged to return a golf ball after the golf ball enters the first tube. In further embodiments of the present invention, the first cup includes a first tube and a first fitting attached to the first tube, the first fitting having an opening diameter equal to the first cup diameter. In some of these embodiments, the first fitting includes an angled portion arranged adjacent to the runner, the angled portion provides a continuous path from the runner to the first tube. In still yet further embodiments of the present invention, the first cup includes a target having a first aperture within the target, the first aperture having a first opening diameter equal to the first cup diameter. In some of these embodiments, the target further includes a second aperture within the target, the second aperture having a second opening diameter equal to a second cup diameter.

In other embodiments, the present invention golf training device further includes a stopping means arranged adjacent to an edge of the runner, wherein the stopping means prevents a golf ball from rolling past the edge. Furthermore, in still yet other embodiments, the present invention golf training device further includes a chipping device arranged adjacent to an edge of the runner, wherein the chipping device includes a lower surface and an upper surface fixedly secured to the lower surface, the upper surface having at least one cutout portion and at least one alignment indicator adjacent to the at least one cutout portion.

In some embodiments, the present invention golf training device further includes a plurality of cups having various cup diameters and a plurality of distance markings, wherein each of the plurality of distance markings is based upon a ratio of one of the various cup diameters to the standard golf cup diameter and upon the actual distance from a center of one of the plurality of cups to the respective distance marking. In some of these embodiments, each value of the plurality of distance markings is calculated according to the following formula:

Valueofdistancemarking=C×Dactual×φstdφcup,

wherein: C is a constant value ranging from about 0.75 to about 1.25;

    • Dactual is the actual distance from the center of one of the plurality of cups to the respective distance marking;
    • φstd is the standard golf cup diameter; and,
    • φcup is one of the various cup diameters.

In others of these embodiments, at least two of the plurality of distance markings are arranged at a same actual distance, each of the at least two of the plurality of distance markings correspond to a unique cup diameter of the various cup diameters, while in others of these embodiments, at least two of the plurality of distance markings are arranged at different actual distances, each of the at least two of the plurality of distance markings correspond to a unique cup diameter of the various cup diameters. In still yet others of these embodiments, the plurality of cups includes the first cup and an insert having a second cup diameter, the insert positioned within the first cup.

The present invention also broadly comprises a golf training device including a lower surface and an upper surface having at least one cutout portion and at least one alignment indicator adjacent to the at least one cutout portion, wherein the upper surface is fixedly secured to the lower surface, the at least one alignment indicator is arranged to receive a golf ball thereon and the at least one cutout portion is arranged to prevent movement of a golf club as the golf club is swung in a misaligned trajectory at the golf ball. In some embodiments, the upper surface is substantially H-shaped. In other embodiments, the lower surface has a first thickness and the upper surface has a second thickness equal to the first thickness, while in other embodiments, the lower surface has a first thickness and the upper surface has a second thickness greater than the first thickness, and in still other embodiments, the lower surface has a first thickness and the upper surface has a second thickness less than the first thickness.

It is a general object of the present invention to provide a putting practice device having a fixed length which can simulate a variety of putting lengths.

It is another general object of the present invention to provide a chipping practice device which presents positive feedback regarding club face positioning at the time of striking a golf ball.

These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will be readily appreciable from the following description of preferred embodiments of the invention and from the accompanying drawings and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The nature and mode of operation of the present invention will now be more fully described in the following detailed description of the invention taken with the accompanying drawing figures, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a present invention golf training system including both putting and chipping training devices;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of a present invention golf training system runner;

FIG. 3A is a perspective view of an embodiment of a present invention golf training system cup including a cup fitting and tube;

FIG. 3B is a perspective view of another embodiment of a present invention golf training system cup including a cup fitting and tube;

FIG. 3C is a perspective view of yet another embodiment of a present invention golf training system cup including a cup fitting and tube;

FIG. 4A is a front elevational view of an embodiment of a present invention golf training system cup fitting;

FIG. 4B is a cross sectional view of the cup fitting of FIG. 4A taken generally along line 4B-4B of FIG. 4A;

FIG. 5A is a front elevational view of another embodiment of a present invention golf training system cup fitting;

FIG. 5B is a cross sectional view of the cup fitting of FIG. 5A taken generally along line 5B-5B of FIG. 5A;

FIG. 6A is a front elevational view of another embodiment of a present invention golf training system tube;

FIG. 6B is a cross sectional view of the tube of FIG. 6A taken generally along line 6B-6B of FIG. 6A;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a present invention golf training system putting device;

FIG. 8A is a perspective view of yet another embodiment of a present invention golf training system putting device;

FIG. 8B is a cross sectional view of another embodiment of a present invention cup as shown in FIG. 8A;

FIG. 9A is a perspective view of another embodiment of a present invention golf training system putting device;

FIG. 9B is a front elevational view of an embodiment of a target for use with the present invention golf training system putting device of FIG. 9A;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a present invention golf training system chipping device;

FIG. 11 is a front elevational view of the chipping device of FIG. 10;

FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view of the chipping device of FIG. 10 taken generally along line 12-12 in FIG. 10;

FIG. 13A is a cross-sectional view of the chipping device of FIG. 10 taken generally along line 12-12 in FIG. 10 showing a golf ball positioned thereon and a golf club striking the chipping device in a misaligned trajectory; and,

FIG. 13B is a cross-sectional view of the chipping device of FIG. 10 taken generally along line 12-12 in FIG. 10 showing a golf ball positioned thereon and a golf club striking the chipping device in an aligned trajectory.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

At the outset, it should be appreciated that like drawing numbers on different drawing views identify identical, or functionally similar, structural elements of the invention. While the present invention is described with respect to what is presently considered to be the preferred embodiments and aspects, it is to be understood that the invention as claimed is not limited to the disclosed embodiments and aspects.

Furthermore, it is understood that this invention is not limited to the particular methodology, materials and modifications described and as such may, of course, vary. It is also understood that the terminology used herein is for the purpose of describing particular embodiments and aspects only, and is not intended to limit the scope of the present invention, which is limited only by the appended claims.

Unless defined otherwise, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood to one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs. Although any methods, devices or materials similar or equivalent to those described herein can be used in the practice or testing of the invention, the preferred methods, devices, and materials are now described.

Adverting now to the figures, FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of present invention golf training system 10 including both putting training device 12 and chipping training device 14, while FIG. 2 shows a top plan view of runner 16. FIG. 3A shows a perspective view of an embodiment of a present invention golf training system cup, i.e., cup 18 including cup fitting 20 and tube 22, FIG. 3B shows a perspective view of another embodiment of a present invention golf training system cup, i.e., cup 24 including cup fitting 26 and tube 28, and FIG. 3C shows a perspective view of yet another embodiment of a present invention golf training system cup, i.e., cup 30 including detached cup fitting 32 and tube 34. FIG. 4A shows a front elevational view of cup fitting 20, while FIG. 4B shows a cross sectional view of cup fitting 20 taken generally along line 4B-4B of FIG. 4A. FIG. 5A shows a front elevational view of cup fitting 26, while FIG. 5B shows a cross sectional view of cup fitting 26 taken generally along line 5B-5B of FIG. 5A. FIG. 6A shows a front elevational view of tube 34, while FIG. 6B shows a cross sectional view of tube 34 taken generally along line 6B-6B of FIG. 6A. The following discussion is best understood in view of FIGS. 1 through 6B.

In an embodiment, golf training system 10 comprises runner 16, a first cup, e.g., cup 18 or 24 or tube 34 having a first cup diameter, e.g., cup diameter 42, 44 or 46, respectively. Golf training system 10 further comprises a first distance marking on runner 16, e.g., distance marking 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60 or 62. Furthermore, in these embodiments, the positioning of the first distance marking is variable based upon a ratio of the first cup diameter to a standard golf cup diameter and upon an actual distance from a center of the first cup, e.g., center 64, 66 (see FIG. 7) or 67 (see FIG. 8), to the first distance marking. One of ordinary skill in the art understands that a standard golf cup diameter is equal to four and a quarter (4¼) inches.

Each distance marking includes at these one value whereby a user of golf training system 10 may determine a simulated distance of a putt. It should be appreciated that a simulated distance of a putt may be equal to the actual distance or a distance different than the actual distance, as described infra. The value of the first distance marking is calculated according to the following formula:

Valueoffirstdistancemarking=C×Dactual×φstdφfirstcup,

wherein: C is a constant value ranging from about 0.75 to about 1.25;

    • Dactual is the actual distance from the center of the first cup to the first distance marking;
    • φstd is the standard golf cup diameter, i.e., 4.25 inches; and,
    • φcup is the first cup diameter.
      The constant C is included to account for variability in the positioning of distance markings during manufacture of golf training system 10, and it should be appreciated that in a preferred embodiment, C is equal to 1.00. The variable Dactual is the actual distance from the center of the first cup to the first distance marking. For example, distance 68 is the actual distance between center 64 and distance marking 48, distance 70 is the actual distance between center 64 and distance marking 50, distance 72 is the actual distance between center 64 and distance marking 52, distance 74 is the actual distance between center 64 and distance marking 54, distance 76 is the actual distance between center 64 and distance marking 56, distance 78 is the actual distance between center 64 and distance marking 58, distance 80 is the actual distance between center 64 and distance marking 60, distance 82 is the actual distance between center 64 and distance marking 62, distance 84 is the actual distance between center 66 and distance marking 86 (see FIG. 7), or distance 88 is the actual distance between center 67 and distance marking 90 (see FIG. 8). The constant φstd is the diameter of a standard golf cup, as described supra. The variable φfirstcup is first cup diameter, e.g., cup diameter 42, 44 or 46.

In some embodiments of the present invention, the first cup comprises a first tube, e.g., first cup 30 comprises tube 34, and the first cup has an opening diameter equal to the first cup diameter, e.g., tube 34 includes opening diameter 92 equal to cup diameter 46. In some of these embodiments, the first tube is positioned at an angle relative to the runner. For example, projection 94 is parallel to runner 16 and projection 96 is coaxial with tube 22, and angle 98 is formed between projections 94 and 96. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, box 99 may be positioned so that tube 22 is held at angle 98. Additionally, box 99 may be used to store and/or transport elements of golf training system 10, e.g., cup fitting 20, 26 and/or 32. In these embodiments, the first tube is arranged to return a golf ball after it enters the first tube. In other words, as a user of golf training system 10 strikes a golf ball, the golf ball enter the first tube and rolls partially up the first tube. Subsequently, due to gravitational forces, the ball rolls back out of the first tube in the direction of the user of system 10. Thus, present invention golf training system 10 includes a gravity ball return thereby eliminating the need to provide electrical power in order to return a successfully putted golf ball. It should be appreciated that although the embodiments shown in the figures includes a gravity ball return, the present invention may also include a powered ball return, and such variations are within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention.

In other embodiments, the first cup comprises a first tube and a first fitting attached to the first tube, e.g., cup 18 including cup fitting 20 and tube 22 or cup 24 including cup fitting 26 and tube 28. In these embodiments, the first fitting includes an opening diameter equal to the first cup diameter. For example, cup fitting 20 includes opening diameter 100 equal to cup diameter 42, while cup fitting 26 includes opening diameter 102 equal to cup diameter 44. In some of these embodiments, first fittings 20 and 26 comprise an angled portion, e.g., angled portion 104 or 106, respectively, arranged adjacent to the runner, e.g., runner 16. The angled portion provides a continuous path from the runner to the first tube, e.g., tube 22 or 28. In FIG. 4B and 5B, the continuous path is represented by unidirectional arrows 108 and 110, respectively. It should be appreciated that the present invention golf training system includes a cup. In some embodiments, the cup comprises a tube, a cup fitting or a combination of a tube and cup fitting, and such variations are within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention.

In yet other embodiments, golf training system 10 further comprises stopping means 112 or 114 (see FIG. 7). Stopping means 112 and 114 are arranged adjacent to an edge of the runner, e.g., edge 116 of runner 16 or edge 118 of runner 120 (see FIG. 7), respectively. In the embodiments including a stopping means, the stopping means prevents a golf ball from rolling past the edge if the user of the golf training system fails to succeed in hitting the golf ball into the cup. In still yet other embodiments, present invention golf training system 10 further comprises chipping device 14 arranged adjacent to edge 124 of runner 16. Chipping device 14 comprises lower surface 126 and upper surface 128 fixedly secured to lower surface 126. Upper surface 128 comprises at least one cutout portion, e.g., cutout portion 130 and/or 132, and at least one alignment indicator, e.g., alignment indicator 134 and/or 136. The at least one alignment indicator is adjacent to the at least one cutout portion, e.g., alignment indicator 134 is adjacent cut out portion 130, while alignment indicator 136 is adjacent cut out portion 132. The nature and mode of operation of chipping device 14 is described in greater detail infra.

In view of the foregoing, it should be appreciated that the present invention golf training system may include a plurality of cups each having various unique cup diameters. The cups, e.g., cups 18, 24 or 30, are interchangeable, or in other words, one cup may be removed and replaced with another, thereby providing various cup diameters. Alternatively, in some embodiments, the cup fittings, e.g., cup fittings 20, 26 and 32, may be interchangeable on a tube, e.g., tube 22, 28 or 34, or the tube, without the cup fitting, may be interchanged. Due to the arrangement of the present invention, each unique cup diameter requires a unique distance marking, i.e., the cup diameter is a variable in the calculation of the value of each distance marking. In these embodiments, the golf training system further comprises a plurality of distance markings wherein each of the plurality of distance markings is based upon a ratio of one of the various cup diameters to the standard golf cup diameter and upon the actual distance from the center of one of the plurality of cups to the respective distance marking.

Similar to the embodiments described above, each value of the plurality of distance markings is calculated according to the following formula:

Valueofdistancemarking=C×Dactual×φstdφcup,

wherein: C is a constant value ranging from about 0.75 to about 1.25;

    • Dactual is the actual distance from the center of one of the plurality of cups to the respective distance marking;
    • φstd is the standard golf cup diameter; and,
    • φcup is one of the various cup diameters.

As shown in the embodiments of FIGS. 1 and 2, at least two of the plurality of distance markings may be arranged at a same actual distance and each of the at least two of the plurality of distance markings correspond to a unique cup diameter of the various cup diameters. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the left column of numbers correspond to the actual distance of the respective distance marking, e.g., the actual distance of distance marking 48 is three (3) feet, the actual distance of distance marking 50 is four (4) feet, the actual distance of distance marking 52 is five (5) feet, the actual distance of distance marking 54 is six (6) feet, the actual distance of distance marking 56 is seven (7) feet, the actual distance of distance marking 58 is eight (8) feet, the actual distance of distance marking 60 is nine (9) feet, and the actual distance of distance marking 62 is ten (10) feet. The middle column of numbers includes distance marking values for a cup having a cup diameter equal to one-half the diameter of a standard golf cup diameter, i.e., two and one-eighth (2⅛) inches, yielding value ‘6’ on distance marking 48, value ‘8’ on distance marking 50, value ‘10’ on distance marking 52, value ‘12’ on distance marking 54, value ‘14’ on distance marking 56, value ‘16’ on distance marking 58, value ‘18’ on distance marking 60, and value ‘20’ on distance marking 62. The right column of numbers includes distance marking values for a cup having a cup diameter equal to approximates one-third the diameter of a standard golf cup diameter, i.e., one and one-quarter (1¼) inches, yielding value ‘10’ on distance marking 48, value ‘14’ on distance marking 50, value ‘17’ on distance marking 52, value ‘21’ on distance marking 54, value ‘24’ on distance marking 56, value ‘27’ on distance marking 58, value ‘31’ on distance marking 60, and value ‘34’ on distance marking 62. As can be seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, the various distances markings corresponding to the same actual distance are positioned on a common distance marking line. It should be appreciated that the values of the various distance markings correspond to simulated putt lengths for the respective associated cup diameters. Simulated putt length is intended to mean the perceived putt length based upon the ratio of the associated cup diameter and a standard golf cup diameter. For example, as the cup diameter decreases, the simulated putt length increases accordingly.

FIG. 7 shows a perspective view of another embodiment of a present invention golf training system putting device, i.e., putting training device 138. FIG. 8A shows a perspective view of yet another embodiment of a present invention golf training system putting device, i.e., putting training device 140, while FIG. 8B shows a cross sectional view of another embodiment of a present invention cup, i.e., cup 142, as shown in FIG. 8A. FIG. 9A shows a perspective view of yet another embodiment of a present invention golf training system putting device, i.e., putting training device 143, while FIG. 9B shows a front elevational view of an embodiment of a target for use with putting training device 143, i.e., target 144. The following discussion is best understood in view of FIGS. 1 through 9B.

It should be appreciated that in some embodiments the present invention golf training system runner comprises a circular surface, e.g., circular surface or runner 120. This embodiment includes similar structures as described above, e.g., stopping means 114 and cup 145. In other embodiments, the golf training system runner comprises a rectangular surface, e.g., rectangular surface 146. It should be appreciated that other shapes are also possible, e.g., triangular, rhomboid, trapezoidal, etc., and such shapes are within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention. In some embodiments, a plurality of cups, or in other words the plurality of cup diameters, is provided by including first cup 142 and positioning insert 148 within cup 142 thereby providing a smaller cup diameter. Thus, first cup 142 comprises first cup diameter 150 and insert 148 comprises second cup diameter 152 which is smaller than first cup diameter 150.

In some embodiments, the present invention golf training device comprises at least two of a plurality of distance markings arranged at different actual distances, each of the at least two of the plurality of distance markings correspond to a unique cup diameter of the various cup diameters. For example, in the embodiment shown in FIG. 8A, the middle column of numbers correspond to the actual distance of the respective distance marking, e.g., the actual distance of distance marking 154 is two and a half (2½) feet, the actual distance of distance marking 156 is five (5) feet, the actual distance of distance marking 158 is seven and a half (7½) feet and the actual distance of distance marking 160 is ten (10) feet. The left column of numbers includes distance marking values for a cup having a cup diameter equal to one-half the diameter of a standard golf cup diameter, i.e., two and one-eighth (2⅛) inches, yielding value ‘5’ on distance marking 162, value ‘10’ on distance marking 164, value ‘15’ on distance marking 166 and value ‘20’ on distance marking 168. It should be appreciated that distances markings 162, 164, 166 and 168 fall at the same actual distances as distance markings 154, 156, 158 and 160, respectively. The right column of numbers includes distance marking values for a cup having a cup diameter equal to approximates one-third the diameter of a standard golf cup diameter, i.e., one and one-quarter (1¼) inches, yielding value ‘7’ on distance marking 170, value ‘14’ on distance marking 172, value ‘20’ on distance marking 174 and value ‘27’ on distance marking 176, where distance markings 170, 172, 174 and 176 fall at actual distances approximately equal to two (2), four (4), six (6) and eight (8) feet, respectively. In view of the foregoing, one of ordinary skill in the art should appreciate that in some embodiments distance markings for different cup diameters are arranged at different actual distances.

In some embodiments, golf training system 10 includes putting guide 177. Guide 177 is used to assist a user of system 10 to aim a golf ball at the cup. Alternatively, system 10 may be constructed without guide 177 thereby allowing a user to freely aim at the cup. Such variations are within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention. Although in the embodiments shown in the figures, runner 16 is depicted as a substantially planar surface, runner 16 may also be an irregular surface. For example, pieces of runner material may be placed below runner 16 thereby forming raised portions. Such raised portions may simulate breaking putts, i.e., putts where green features cause the golf ball to change its rolling direction. In addition to placing pieces of runner material below runner 16, other materials may be used, e.g., foam wedges, plastic features, wood, etc., and such embodiments are within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention.

In other embodiments, putting training device 143 comprises target 144. In some embodiments, target 144 includes first aperture 178, while in other embodiments target 144 includes second aperture 180. It should be appreciated that although target 144 is shown including both first and second apertures 178 and 180, respectively, target 144 may include only one aperture or may include more than two apertures, and such variations are within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention. Additionally, it should be appreciated that although target 144 is shown as a block-like structure having a thickness, other arrangements are also possible, e.g., target 144 may be constructed from thin sheet metal or may be internally hollow, and such variations are within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention. In some embodiments, first aperture 178 comprises first opening diameter 182. Similarly, in some embodiments, second aperture 180 comprises second opening diameter 184. It should be appreciated that first and second opening diameters 182 and 184, respectively, correspond with the cup diameters described above for use with the distance markings provided on runner 12. Target 144 may further include bumper pads 186, 188 and 190. Bumper pads 186, 188 and 190 may provide means to return or partially return a ball that strikes such pads, or may provide damping characteristics so that a ball that strikes the pads does not bounce as far as it would had it impacted a more rigid material. One of ordinary skill in the art appreciates that such variations in bumper pad characteristics can be accomplished by altering the types of materials used to form the pads.

FIG. 10 shows a perspective view of an embodiment of a present invention golf training system chipping device, i.e., chipping device 14. FIG. 11 shows a front elevational view of chipping device 14, while FIG. 12 shows a cross-sectional view of chipping device 14 taken generally along line 12-12 in FIG. 10. FIG. 13A shows a cross-sectional view of chipping device 14 taken generally along line 12-12 in FIG. 10 showing golf ball 192 positioned thereon and golf club 194 striking chipping device 14 in a misaligned trajectory, i.e., the trajectory depicted by unidirectional arrow 196, while FIG. 13B shows a cross-sectional view of chipping device 14 taken generally along line 12-12 in FIG. 10 showing golf ball 192 positioned thereon and golf club 194 striking chipping device 14 in an aligned trajectory, i.e., the trajectory depicted by unidirectional arrow 198. The following discussion is best understood in view of FIGS. 1 through 13B.

The present invention golf training system further comprises chipping device 14. Chipping device 14 comprises lower surface 126 and upper surface 128. Upper surface 128 comprises at least one cutout portion, e.g., cut out portions 130 and/or 132, and at least one alignment indicator, e.g., alignment indicators 134 and/or 136. The at least one alignment indicator is adjacent to the at least one cutout portion, e.g., alignment indicator 134 is adjacent cut out portion 130, while alignment indicator 136 is adjacent cut out portion 132. As described supra, upper surface 128 is fixedly secured to lower surface 130, and the at least one alignment indicator is arranged to receive golf ball 192 thereon. It should be appreciated that lower and upper surfaces 126 and 128, respectively, may also be formed as a single continuous structure, e.g., a single molded structure, and such variations are within the spirit and scope of the claimed invention. The at least one cutout portion is arranged to prevent movement of golf club 194 as golf club 194 is swung in a misaligned trajectory at golf ball 192, as shown by unidirectional arrow 196 in FIG. 13A. As can be seen in the figure, edge 200 of upper surface 128 prevents the forward arcing movement of golf club 194 thereby providing positive feedback to a user of the present invention golf training system that their club swing trajectory is misaligned, i.e., too low. Alternatively, as can be seen in FIG. 13B, when golf club 194 is swung in an aligned trajectory, i.e., the trajectory shown by unidirectional arrow 198, golf club 194 passes above edge 200 thereby permitting golf club 194 to strike golf ball 192.

In some embodiments, upper surface 128 is substantially H-shaped (see FIGS. 1 and 10). In other embodiments, lower surface 126 has first thickness 202 and upper surface 128 has second thickness 204, and second thickness 204 is equal to first thickness 202, while in other embodiments, second thickness 204 is greater than first thickness 202, and in still yet other embodiments, second thickness 204 is less than first thickness 202.

Thus, it is seen that the objects of the present invention are efficiently obtained, although modifications and changes to the invention should be readily apparent to those having ordinary skill in the art, which modifications are intended to be within the spirit and scope of the invention as claimed. It also is understood that the foregoing description is illustrative of the present invention and should not be considered as limiting. Therefore, other embodiments of the present invention are possible without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.