REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/670,752, which was filed on Sep. 27, 2000, and which is incorporated herein in its entirety by reference. The present application also claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/156,254, which was filed on Sep. 27, 1999, and which is incorporated herein in its entirety by reference.
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to accessories for the game of golf. More particularly, the present invention relates to devices for the maintenance of golf green surfaces.
One of the primary objects when playing golf is to convey a golf ball from a tee region on a given hole into a hole for that hole in the fewest strokes. As such, it is desirable to hit a golf ball directly from the tee region onto the green that surrounds the hole.
The green is made from a grass variety that permits the grass to be maintained at a very low height. Maintaining the grass on the green at a very low height enhances the ability for a golfer to accurately roll the golf ball along the surface of the green.
When a golf ball lands directly on the green, the golf ball often forms an indentation in the green proximate to where the golf ball strikes the green. Such an indentation impedes the ability of a golfer to accurately roll the golf ball along the surface of the green and thereby has the potential to detrimentally affect the performance of golfers who subsequently use the course.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
To reduce this potentially detrimental affect, golfers typically endeavor to remove the indentation or at least reduce the size of the indentation using a ballmark repair tool. The ballmark repair tool is pushed into the grass proximate the indentation to lift up the grass and the soil underlying the grass to thereby remove or reduce the size of the indentation.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The present invention relates to a ballmark repair tool for repairing marks left by the impact of a golf ball on turf. The ballmark repair tool includes a handle portion, a shovel portion, and a button. The shovel portion extends from the handle portion. The shovel portion is oriented at an obtuse angle with respect to the handle portion. The shovel portion has a pair of tines extending therefrom. The button is removably attachable to the handle portion.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a ballmark repair tool of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a top planform view of the ballmark repair tool.
FIG. 3 is a bottom planform view of the ballmark repair tool.
FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of the ballmark repair tool inserted into a ground surface adjacent a divot.
FIG. 5 is a handle end elevational view of the ballmark repair tool.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
FIG. 6 is a tine end elevational view of the ballmark repair tool.
An embodiment of the present invention relates to a ballmark repair tool, as illustrated at 10 in the figures. The ballmark repair tool 10 has two major sub-components: a handle portion 12 and a shovel portion 14.
The handle portion 12 is defined by spaced-apart side margins 16, 18 and end margin 20. The side margins 16, 18 are angled inward from the end margin 20 to the shovel portion 14. The end margin 20 preferably is an arc segment of a circle that may be between 90 degrees and 270 degrees of a full circle.
In a preferred embodiment, a bore 22 (depicted in phantom in FIGS. 4 and 5) extends through the handle portion 12. The bore 22 is adapted to receive a shank portion 24 (depicted in phantom in FIG. 5) of a button 26. The button 26 preferably has a substantially flat outwardly directed surface 30.
The outwardly directed face 30 of the button 26 preferably has an indicia 31 printed thereon. The indicia 31 may include a company or individual's name or a logo. In an alternative embodiment, a company or individual's name or a logo may be embossed or printed directly on the surface of the handle portion 12. Alternatively, the button 26 may be bonded directly to the upper surface 32 of the handle portion 12.
The handle portion 12 preferably includes a grommet 28 that at least partially seats within the bore 22. The shank portion 24 extends through an aperture in the grommet 28. The grommet 28 is preferably fabricated from a resilient material that permits the grommet 28 to deform when the shank portion 24 is extended through the grommet 28 to thereby retain the button 26 in a fixed position with respect to the handle portion 12.
Removably attaching the button 26 to the handle portion 12 allows the button 26 to be readily separated from handle portion 12 such that the button 26 may be used to mark a location of a golf ball. Removably attaching the button 26 to the handle portion 12 also reduces the likelihood that the button 26 will be lost when the button 26 is not being used.
The handle portion 12 is oriented at an angle a with respect to the shovel portion 14, as most clearly illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 4. The angle α is preferably an obtuse angle and more preferably the angle α is between 140 degrees and 175 degrees.
The shovel portion 14 includes two spaced apart tines 36 a, 36 b. The tines 36 a, 36 b are defined by outer margins 38 a, 38 b and inner margins 40 a, 40 b. The two inner margins 40 a, 40 b intersect at a point 42 to define a V shape. Each of the two tines 36 a, 36 b has a generally pointed distal end 44 a, 44 b. A spacing between the tines 36 a, 36 b is preferably about 0.20 inches. The tines 36 a, 36 b preferably each have a length of about 1 inch.
The shovel portion 14 is preferably curved in the same direction that the shovel portion 14 is angled with respect to the handle portion 12, as most clearly illustrated in FIG. 4. The shovel portion 14 is curved to at least partially conform to an outer surface of a golf ball 58. A radius of curvature of the shovel portion 14 is greater than about one centimeter and preferably greater than about two centimeters.
The curve of the shovel portion 14 enables the shovel portion 14 to conform to a surface of a divot 60. The curved shovel 14 thereby enables the compressed turf in the divot 60 to be evenly lifted. By evenly lifting the compressed turf in the divot 60 tearing of the turf during the lifting process is substantially eliminated.
This process thereby enables the greens to be maintained more easily than with prior art ballmark repair tools. Additionally, using the ballmark repair tool 10 with the curved shovel portion 14 enables a person to more easily use the ballmark repair tool 10 as the person's hand is further away from a ground surface 62 so as to reduce the potential of the person's hand becoming dirty from contact with the ground surface 62.
The tool 10 is fabricated from a material that provides the tool 10 with sufficient structural rigidity such that the tines 36 a, 36 b resist bending when inserted into the turf to remove an indentation in the turf. Preferably, the tool 10 is fabricated from brass having a strength of about 75. Fabricating the ballmark repair tool from brass enables the ballmark repair to be made relatively thin while being sufficiently strong to resist deformation during use. Fabricating the ballmark repair tool from brass also enables the handle portion 12 to maintain the angular orientation with respect to the shovel portion 14 as well as to maintain the curved configuration of the shovel portion 14. A person of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the tool 10 may also be fabricated from plastic such as by injection molding.
An overall length of the tool 10 is preferably less than 6 inches and more preferably about 3 inches to facilitate storing of the tool 12 in a portion of the clothing worn by a user so that the tool 12 may be readily accessed for use.
In operation, a user grasps the handle portion 12 of the tool 10. The shovel portion 14 is inserted under the turf in and around a ballmark on a golf course green. Downward pressure is exerted on the handle portion 12 and the shovel portion 14 acts to lift the pushed up turf to a level disposition. The process refills the mark left by the impact of the golf ball. The angular orientation of the handle portion 12 with respect to the shovel portion 14 reduces the likelihood that a portion of the user's hand will contact the turf when using the tool 10.
When it is desired to mark the location of the user's golf ball, the user urges the button 26 away from the handle portion 12 until the shank portion 24 is pulled out of the grommet 28. The button 26 is then placed on the green adjacent to the location of the user's golf ball such that the golf ball may be removed from the green such as when it is desired to clean the golf ball or when the golf ball is positioned proximate to the desired path of another golf ball. The shank portion 24 extends into the turf to enhance the likelihood that the button 26 will remain in the desired location.
Thereafter, the golf ball is placed adjacent the button 26 on the green and the button 26 is picked up. The shank portion 24 is inserted through the grommet 28 to removably fasten the button 26 to the handle portion 12 to reduce the likelihood that the button 26 will be misplaced until it is desired to use the button 26 again.
The tool 10 of the present invention is also useful for removing material that becomes embedded around spikes on shoes worn by the user. The user grasps the handle portion 12 and slides the shovel portion 14 along a lower surface of the user's shoe. A spacing between the tines 36 a, 36 b permits the spike to pass between the tines 36 a, 36 b while removing material that is embedded on either side of the spike.
It is contemplated that features disclosed in this application, as well as those described in the above applications incorporated by reference, can be mixed and matched to suit particular circumstances. Various other modifications and changes will be apparent to those of ordinary skill.