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Publication numberUS20030050131 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/682,521
Publication dateMar 13, 2003
Filing dateSep 13, 2001
Priority dateSep 13, 2001
Publication number09682521, 682521, US 2003/0050131 A1, US 2003/050131 A1, US 20030050131 A1, US 20030050131A1, US 2003050131 A1, US 2003050131A1, US-A1-20030050131, US-A1-2003050131, US2003/0050131A1, US2003/050131A1, US20030050131 A1, US20030050131A1, US2003050131 A1, US2003050131A1
InventorsRobert Grace
Original AssigneeGrace Robert M.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Variable length putter
US 20030050131 A1
Abstract
A chest putter or a belly putter construction includes a putter shaft having a bore formed in its proximal end that is adapted to slidingly receive a shaft extension. A friction fitting between the putter shaft and the shaft extension provides a temporary connection so that a prospective purchaser may try a plurality of shaft extensions of varying lengths in an effort to find a particular shaft extension which when combined with a putter shaft provides a proper length. When a desired length is found, an adhesive is employed to permanently bond the particular shaft extension to the putter shaft. The resulting chest or belly putter has a fixed length that complies with the rules of professional and amateur golf.
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Claims(10)
1. A putter, comprising:
a putter head including a surface for striking a golf ball;
a putter shaft affixed to said putter head;
a bore of predetermined longitudinal extent formed in a proximal end of said putter shaft;
a shaft extension of predetermined length having a proximal end and a distal end;
said distal end of said shaft extension adapted to be releasably and slideably received within said bore;
said proximal end of said shaft extension adapted to abut a stomach of a golfer during a putting stroke;
said shaft extension and said putter shaft having a combined length that enables said golfer making said putting stroke to adopt a conventional putting posture when performing said putting stroke.
2. The putter of claim 1, further comprising:
a gripping means attached to said putter shaft to facilitate performance of said putting stroke;
whereby said shaft extension is not gripped by said golfer during said putting stroke.
3. The putter of claim 2, further comprising a cushioning means secured to said proximal end of said shaft extension; said cushioning means abutting said golfer”s stomach during said performance of said putting stroke.
4. The putter of claim 1, wherein said distal free end of said shaft extension has a taper formed therein to facilitate sliding reception of said distal free end within said bore.
5. The putter of claim 1, wherein said distal free end of said shaft extension is swaged to facilitate sliding reception of said distal free end within said bore.
6. A putter assembly, comprising:
a putter head including a surface for striking a golf ball;
a putter shaft affixed to said putter head;
a bore of predetermined longitudinal extent formed in a proximal end of said putter shaft;
a plurality of shaft extensions of differing predetermined lengths, each of which has a proximal end and a distal end;
each distal end of each shaft extension being adapted to be releasably and slideably received within said bore;
a proximal end of a preselected shaft extension adapted to abut a stomach of a golfer during a putting stroke;
each shaft extension and said putter shaft having a combined length different from a combined length of said putter shaft and a different shaft extension so that golfers of differing height, weight, and girth are enabled to adopt a conventional putting posture when performing said putting stroke with a preselected combination of a shaft extension of predetermined length and said putter shaft.
7. The putter of claim 6, further comprising:
a gripping means attached to said putter shaft to facilitate performance of said putting stroke;
whereby a shaft extension is not gripped by said golfer during said putting stroke.
8. The putter of claim 6, further comprising a cushioning means secured to a proximal end of a preselected shaft extension; said cushioning means abutting said golfer”s stomach during said performance of said putting stroke.
9. A method for making putters comprising:
providing a putter head;
providing a putter shaft and securing said putter shaft to said putter head;
forming a longitudinally-extending bore in a proximal end of said putter shaft;
providing a shaft extension of predetermined length;
adapting a distal free end of said shaft extension to be slidingly and releasably received within said bore;
permanently bonding said shaft extension to said putter shaft by applying an adhesive to said distal free end of said shaft extension and inserting said distal free end into said bore.
10. A method for making putters comprising:
providing a putter head;
providing a putter shaft and securing said putter shaft to said putter head;
forming a longitudinally-extending bore in a proximal end of said putter shaft;
providing a plurality of shaft extensions of predetermined length; adapting a distal free end of each of said shaft extensions to be slidingly and releasably received within said bore;
successively inserting distal free ends of said shaft extensions into said bore until a particular shaft extension and putter shaft having a predetermined combined length is formed;
permanently bonding said particular shaft extension to said putter shaft by applying an adhesive to said distal free end of said particular shaft extension and inserting said distal free end into said bore.
Description
BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the invention

[0002] This invention relates, generally, to golf putters of the type known as mid-length or belly putters and long or chest putters. More particularly, it relates to a belly and chest putter construction that enables a seller of putters to fit customers with belly and chest putters of the correct length without being required to maintain a large inventory of such putters.

[0003] 2. Description of the prior art

[0004] There are two types of putters that have a length substantially greater than the length of conventional putters. These enhanced length putters are known as long or chest putters and mid-length or belly putters.

[0005] A long putter has an elongated shaft that reaches the chest area of a golfer as distinguished from conventional putters which have a length that reaches to approximately the waist area.

[0006] The popularity of long putters is due to several features that provide ease of use, better consistency and improved accuracy in putting. The proximal or uppermost end of the shaft of a long putter is anchored to the chest with the non-dominant hand while the dominant hand swings the shaft of the putter producing a pendulum motion (the preferred motion of a putting stroke). The shaft of the long putter substantially eliminates the chance of wrist hinge or breakdown, and minimizes the tendency to rotate the putter blade with the forearms during the putting stroke, thus increasing the probability of striking the ball on the sweet spot of the putter.

[0007] While putting with a long putter, the golfer stands considerably more upright than with a traditional length putter. Accordingly, the golfer must adopt a stance that is significantly different from the traditional golf stance. The more upright stance required by the long putter may not be as effective and may hinder some golfers due to the significant change in stance relative to the traditional putting stance. However, with practice, a golfer can learn to use a long putter advantageously.

[0008] A new type of putter and putting method has emerged recently that retains the accuracy and associated benefits of a long putter but which does not require a new putting stance. The new putter, known as a belly putter, is defined as a putter having a shaft length greater than the traditional putter but shorter than a long putter, Thus, the new putter could be called a mid-length putter but the term “belly putter” is preferred because it better describes how the club is used.

[0009] Use of a belly putter requires the golfer to place the uppermost end, i.e., the proximal end of the shaft of the putter firmly against the stomach area. The golfer then adopts the traditional putting stance. With the proximal end of the putter placed firmly against the stomach, the hands grip the putter in the traditional manner. When the golfer swings the shaft of the putter using the belly putter, the desired pendulum motion is produced, just as is produced with a chest-held long putter. The shaft of the belly putter substantially eliminates wrist hinge and minimizes the tendency to rotate the putter blade with the forearms without a significant change in the traditional putting stance.

[0010] One difficulty associated with chest and belly putters is related to the fact that golfers are of different heights, weights, and girth, of course. Some have stomachs that overhang their belts while others have flat stomachs. Thus, a seller of chest and belly putters cannot maintain a supply of chest and belly putters that fit people who are five feet, nine inches tall, for example, because most people of average height will have stomachs of above average and below average girth.

[0011] The prior art teaches that people of varying heights, weights, and girths can be fitted for a chest or belly putter by employing a dummy putter having a telescoping putter shaft. The golfer adjusts the telescoping shaft of the dummy putter until the length thereof feels comfortable. The length of the dummy putter is then measured, and an order to manufacture a dummy putter of that length is sent to a putter factory.

[0012] The prior art also teaches a method where no telescoping dummy putter is employed. As described at www.thomasgolf.com/wpfitting.htm, the fitting instructions require two people (the golfer to be fitted and an assistant). The golfer's current putter and a quarter (monetary piece) are needed. The golfer address the quarter as he or she would address a golf ball, establishing a normal putting stance. The golfer maintains the normal putting stance and the assistant takes the golf club away so that it will not obstruct the taking of measurements. A tape measure is then used to measure the distance from the golfer's navel to the middle of the quarter. That measurement is then used to order a putter from a manufacturer.

[0013] The making of a long putter may also require the making of measurements, but with the golfer in a more upright stance and with the measurement extending from the center of the chest to the middle of the quarter.

[0014] There are several drawbacks to these prior art methods. First of all, putter purchases are usually impulse purchases. Many golfers are reluctant to order a putter and wait for it to be made. Secondly, the golfer knows that the dummy putter handled in the store will not be the putter that arrives from the manufacturer. Many golfers are reluctant to purchase a putter that they have never held in their hands and taken a few practice swings with. Unlike a driver or other clubs sold at a golf pro shop, the putter is the only club that can be easily used without special equipment to strike the ball to get the true feel of the club before purchase. This is a strong selling point of all putters. Thus, having the correct shaft length for the customer in inventory for immediate trial and purchase is more likely to result in a sale than having to measure, order and ship the putter to the customer.

[0015] Nor can the putter seller simply stock up on adjustable length putters and sell those to the customers. Telescopic putters are not allowed by the rules of professional and amateur golf. All golf clubs used in a tournament must have a fixed length.

[0016] What is needed, then, is a chest putter and a belly putter construction that is non-telescoping but which enables a seller of golf putters to sell such putters of the correct length to substantially every prospective customer. The needed construction would not require the seller to maintain a large inventory of chest and belly putters of differing lengths. The needed construction would enable a golfer to be fitted with a putter of the proper length in the store and to purchase that putter on the spot without delay. The needed construction would not be of the telescopic type and thus would comply with the rules of golf.

[0017] However, in view of the prior art considered as a whole at the time the present invention was made, it was not obvious to those of ordinary skill in the art of golf putters how such a chest putter and such a belly putter could be provided.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

[0018] The long-standing but heretofore unfulfilled need for an improved chest putter and belly putter construction that meets the identified needs is now met by a new, useful, and non-obvious putter construction that includes a putter head including a surface for striking a golf ball, a putter shaft affixed to the putter head, a bore of predetermined depth or longitudinal extent formed in a proximal end of the putter shaft, and a shaft extension of predetermined length having a proximal end and a distal end. The distal end of the shaft extension is adapted to be releasably and slideably received within the bore. The proximal end of the shaft extension is adapted to abut a chest or a stomach of a golfer during a putting stroke. The shaft extension and the belly putter shaft have a combined length that enables the golfer making the putting stroke to adopt a conventional putting posture when performing the putting stroke. The shaft extension and the long putter shaft have a combined length that enables a golfer to adopt the long putter stance when performing a putting stroke.

[0019] A gripping means is attached to the putter shaft to facilitate the performance of the putting stroke by the golfer, i.e., the shaft extension is not gripped by the golfer during the putting stroke.

[0020] A cushioning means is secured to the proximal end of the shaft extension. The cushioning means abuts the golfer's chest or stomach during the performance of the putting stroke.

[0021] In a first embodiment, the distal free end of the shaft extension has a taper formed therein to facilitate sliding reception of the distal free end within the bore.

[0022] In a second embodiment, the distal free end of the shaft extension is swaged to facilitate sliding reception of the distal free end within the bore.

[0023] The novel method of this invention includes the steps of providing a putter head, providing a putter shaft and securing the putter shaft to the putter head, forming a longitudinally-extending bore in a proximal end of the putter shaft, providing a shaft extension of predetermined length, adapting a distal free end of the shaft extension to be slidingly and releasably received within the bore, and permanently bonding the shaft extension to the putter shaft by applying an adhesive to said distal free end of the shaft extension and inserting the distal free end into the bore.

[0024] Where the combined length of the putter shaft and shaft extension must be determined by trial and error, a plurality of shaft extensions of predetermined length are provided. A distal free end of each of the shaft extensions is adapted to be slidingly and releasably received within the bore. Distal free ends of the shaft extensions are successively inserted into the bore until a particular shaft extension and putter shaft having a predetermined combined length is formed. The particular shaft extension is then permanently bonded to the putter shaft by applying an adhesive to the distal free end of the particular shaft extension and inserting the distal free end into the bore.

[0025] A seller of chest putters and belly putters maintains in inventory a supply of shaft extensions of varying lengths, but only a few putters adapted to receive said shaft extensions. A prospective customer first tries a chest putter or a belly putter with a preselected shaft extension. If the combined length of the putter and the shaft extension is incorrect, the seller substitutes a different shaft extension, having a greater or lesser extent as revealed by the first trial fitting, and that process is repeated until a shaft extension of the proper length is found. This experimentation may be denoted as “dry fitting” in that no adhesive is used during the trial and error fitting process.

[0026] When a shaft extension of the proper length is found, a fast-drying adhesive is applied to the part of the shaft extension that is received within the bore, or said adhesive is applied to the sidewalls of the bore, or both, and the shaft extension is then re-inserted into the bore and the putter is ready to be used in tournaments. The golfer need not swing a dummy putter, need not hold a stance while a measurement is taken, and need not wait a week or so for a putter, that he or she has never felt, to be manufactured and shipped. The sale is concluded without delay and the customer leaves the store with a chest putter or a belly putter, or both, each being the proper fixed length. The putter meets current golf rules by providing a permanent bond between the shaft and shaft extension.

[0027] The distal end of the shaft extension, i.e., the part thereof that is slideably received within the bore formed in the proximal end of the putter shaft, may be tapered or swaged. The bore formed in the proximal end of the shaft is complementally formed to snugly slidingly receive the shaft extension.

[0028] The putter shaft and the shaft extension can be made of any material and the materials need not match. Thus, an aluminum shaft extension may be employed with a graphite putter shaft, and so on.

[0029] A primary object of this invention is to provide a chest putter and a belly putter that can be built to an individual golfer's specifications at the moment of purchase impulse.

[0030] Another important object is to provide a chest putter and a belly putter having a structure that meets all current professional and amateur golf rules.

[0031] These and other important objects, advantages, and features of the invention will become clear as this description proceeds.

[0032] The invention accordingly comprises the features of construction, combination of elements, and arrangement of parts that will be exemplified in the description set forth hereinafter and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0040] Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2, it will there be seen that the reference numeral 10 denotes an illustrative embodiment of the novel belly putter as a whole. Note that the proximal end of belly putter 10 is positioned against the stomach of the golfer.

[0041] The stance of a golfer using a chest putter would be more erect than that of the depicted golfer, and the proximal end of the putter would be positioned in the center of the chest of the golfer.

[0042] Belly putter 10 includes putter head 12, shaft 14, and shaft extension 16.

[0043] It should be understood that a chest putter has the same parts, the only difference being that the shaft of a long putter is longer than the shaft of a belly putter. The shaft extensions 16 of various lengths may be the same various lengths for both chest and belly putters and all other aspects of the invention are the same for both chest and belly putters. However, long putter shaft extensions of greater length than belly putter shaft extensions are also within the scope of this invention.

[0044] A conventional gripping surface 18 is provided on the proximal end of shaft 14 to provide a non-slip surface for the golfer to grip in the conventional manner depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2.

[0045] A resilient cushioning means 20 surmounts the proximal end of shaft extension 16. Cushioning means 20 provides comfort to the golfer when it is placed against the golfer's stomach in the manner depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2.

[0046] A plurality of shaft extensions 16 of differing lengths is required by this invention. A first shaft extension may have a length of seven inches, a second shaft extension may have a length of eight inches, and so on. A seller of belly putters maintains an inventory of shaft extensions 16 of varying lengths, but just a few putter shafts 14.

[0047] As perhaps best understood in connection with FIGS. 3 and 4, bore 22 is formed in the proximal end of putter shaft 14. Bore 22 is complementally formed with respect to distal free end 24 of shaft extension 16 so that said bore slidingly receives said distal free end. More particularly, the inner diameter of bore 22 is slightly greater than the largest outer diameter of distal free end 24 so that a reasonably snug friction fit is provided when distal free end 24 is slidingly received within said bore 22. In this way, there is no need for an adhesive to hold shaft extension 16 to putter shaft 14 when a prospective purchaser is trying several different shaft extensions. The friction fit is easy to overcome so the customer can try several shaft extensions of differing length in quick succession until the best length is found.

[0048]FIG. 5 provides an enlarged view of shaft extension 16. Tapered end 24 gradually increases in diameter from the distal end 26 of shaft extension 16 to the beginning 28 of the taper so that as distal end 24 is inserted into bore 22, friction forces increase between tapered surface 24 and the inner periphery of bore 22. Such frictional forces retain shaft extension 16 firmly in place. Shaft extension 16 is removed by exerting an opposing force sufficient to cause separation of tapered end 24 from bore 22.

[0049] In this way, a plurality of shaft extensions 16 are easily changed in succession as a customer looks for a perfect fit. The easy interchangeability of shaft extensions 16 enables a single putter shaft to be adapted to multiple lengths. By providing a means for a customer to quickly and easily try different lengths of putters to find the most comfortable fit at a time the customer is motivated to make a purchase, the customer is more likely to make the purchase.

[0050] After the putter shaft and shaft extension length are selected, the friction-fit between bore 22 and tapered surface 24 is converted to a permanent fitting. A permanent bond between said putter shaft 14 and said shaft extension 16 is accomplished by applying an adequate amount of adhesive to taper 24. A permanent bond is formed between putter shaft 14 and shaft extension 16 when the adhesive cures, thereby bringing the resulting putter into compliance with all applicable rules of golf.

[0051]FIG. 6 depicts a second embodiment where distal end 24 a of shaft extension 16 is swaged as at 28 a. Annular surface 28 a provides a more sharply defined limit to the insertion of shaft extension 16 into bore 22 than tapered surface 24. In all other respects, the embodiment of FIG. 6 works in the same way as the embodiment of FIG. 5.

[0052] It will thus be seen that the objects set forth above, and those made apparent from the foregoing description, are efficiently attained. Since certain changes may be made in the above construction without departing from the scope of the invention, it is intended that all matters contained in the foregoing description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.

[0053] It is also to be understood that the following claims are intended to cover all of the generic and specific features of the invention herein described, and all statements of the scope of the invention that, as a matter of language, might be said to fall therebetween.

[0054] Now that the invention has been described,

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0033] For a fuller understanding of the nature and objects of the invention, reference should be made to the following detailed description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0034]FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a golfer holding the novel belly putter;

[0035]FIG. 2 is a side perspective view of a golfer holding said belly putter;

[0036]FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the novel chest or belly putter;

[0037]FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along line 4-4 in FIG. 3;

[0038]FIG. 5 is a side elevational view of a first embodiment of the shaft extension; and

[0039]FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of a second embodiment of the shaft extension.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7147568Jan 14, 2005Dec 12, 2006Butler William BAdjustable length belly putter
US7232376 *May 12, 2004Jun 19, 2007Parker Davis LlcSeparable golf club
US7316622 *Feb 10, 2005Jan 8, 2008Ron LucasAdjustable golf putter
US7320647May 31, 2005Jan 22, 2008Murray Dean DGolf putter length adjustment holder device
US7435185Dec 11, 2006Oct 14, 2008Butler William BAdjustable length belly putter
US7544134 *Mar 7, 2008Jun 9, 2009Norman HarmonAccessory for transforming a golf putter into a belly putter
US8192298Jun 6, 2007Jun 5, 2012Parker Davis LlcSeparable golf club
US8267805 *Sep 14, 2010Sep 18, 2012Lyle Dean JohnsonThree in one-HBC(hand, belly, chest) putter
US8539744Sep 22, 2011Sep 24, 2013Dave DietrichCrop lifter and crop accessory attachment
US20110081983 *Sep 14, 2010Apr 7, 2011Lyle Dean JohnsonThree in one-hbc(hand, belly, chest) putter
Classifications
U.S. Classification473/296
International ClassificationA63B53/00, A63B53/16
Cooperative ClassificationA63B53/007, A63B53/16
European ClassificationA63B53/16, A63B53/00P