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Publication numberUS20050209014 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/080,415
Publication dateSep 22, 2005
Filing dateMar 16, 2005
Priority dateMar 18, 2004
Publication number080415, 11080415, US 2005/0209014 A1, US 2005/209014 A1, US 20050209014 A1, US 20050209014A1, US 2005209014 A1, US 2005209014A1, US-A1-20050209014, US-A1-2005209014, US2005/0209014A1, US2005/209014A1, US20050209014 A1, US20050209014A1, US2005209014 A1, US2005209014A1
InventorsKi Kim
Original AssigneeKim Ki Y
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Portable golf practicing apparatus
US 20050209014 A1
Abstract
Disclosed is a portable golf-practicing apparatus. The portable golf-practicing apparatus includes a rectangular box-like case having the top opening portion and one lateral opening portion. A slanted plate having a hole cup is provided inside the case. One end of the slanted plate is pivotably attached to the lateral opening portion of the case such that a slope angle thereof can be adjusted. A mat having a length of above two time of the slanted plate is provided. The mat is capable of spreading through the lateral opening portion of the case when in use and being folded and received inside the case when stored. A side plate is provided for opening and closing the lateral opening portion of the case. A cover is provided for opening and closing the top opening portion of the case.
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Claims(19)
1. A portable golf-practicing apparatus comprising:
a) a rectangular box-like case, the top and one lateral side of the case being opened;
b) a slanted plate having a hole cup formed at a desired position, one end of the slanted plate being pivotably attached to the lateral opening portion of the case such that a slope angle thereof can be adjusted;
c) a mat capable of spreading through the lateral opening portion of the case when in use and being folded and received inside the case when stored, one end of the mat being attached to the top face of the slanted plate;
d) a side plate for opening and closing the lateral opening portion of the case; and
e) a cover for opening and closing the top opening portion of the case.
2. The apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising a mat support plate, the mat support plate being comprised of two or more unit plates on top of which the mat is attached, the mat support plate being capable of spreading outside of the case and being folded and received inside the case along with the mat.
3. The apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the mat is detached from to the unit plates at the boundary area between neighboring plates, and an outermost unit plate has a spacer projection protruded to the mat side near a folding area, thereby preventing the mat from being creased or wrinkled when folded.
4. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein one end of the slanted plate is pivotably attached to a floor plate of the case near the lateral opening portion thereof by means of an adhesive tape and/or a hinge.
5. The apparatus according to claim 4, wherein the slanted plate is provided with a support bar for adjusting a slope angle thereof, the support bar being configured in such a manner that a slope angle of the slanted plate can be adjusted by the support bar moving toward or away from the pivot point of the slanted plate and the slanted plate can be supported by the support bar at an adjusted slope angle.
6. The apparatus according to claim 5, wherein the hole cup of the slanted plate is provided with a hole-size adjuster, which can be mounted in the hole cup to thereby adjust the size of the hole cup.
7. The apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the cover is constituted of one of the unit plates of the mat support plate.
8. The apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the cover is constituted of a chipping mat plate, separately from the mat support plate.
9. The apparatus according to claim 1, wherein one end of the side plate is pivotably attached to the case, and in the other end of the side plate and a side face of the case corresponding to the other end of the side plate is provided a locking device, by which the side plate is locked into the case.
10. A portable golf-practicing apparatus comprising:
a) a rectangular box-like case, the top and one lateral side of the case being opened;
b) a slanted plate having a hole cup formed at a desired position, one end of the slanted plate being pivotably attached to the lateral opening portion of the case such that a slope angle thereof can be adjusted;
c) a support bar supporting the slanted plate at an adjusted slope angle while moving toward and away from a pivot point of the slanted plate;
d) a mat having a length of more than two times of the slanted plate, one end of the mat being attached to the top face of the slanted plate, the mat being capable of spreading through the lateral opening portion of the case when in use and being folded and received inside the case when stored;
e) a mat support plate being comprised of two or more unit plates on top of which the mat is attached, one of the unit plates closing the top opening portion of the case and the remainder being received inside the case; and
f) a side plate opening and closing the lateral opening portion of the case.
11. The apparatus according to claim 10, further comprising:
a) a ball return plate installed inside the case so as to be slanted downwardly towards the lateral side opening portion such that a golf ball fallen from the hole cup onto the ball return plate can be moved; and
b) a ball return passageway provided along the lateral side of the mat support plate and connected with the ball return plate, such that the golf ball moved from the ball return plate is guided to a putting position.
12. The apparatus according to claim 10, wherein the case is provided with a ball storage box for holding a golf ball, and a level for checking a horizontal level when installing the golf-practicing apparatus.
13. The apparatus according to claim 10, wherein in opposing inner sides near the top opening portion of the case is provided guide grooves formed facing each other, and the unit plate serving as a cover is inserted into and guided along the guide grooves.
14. The apparatus according to claim 13, wherein the mat support plate includes a first unit plate to be inserted into the guide grooves so as to close the top opening portion, one end of the first unit plate being closely contacted with the slanted plate, a second unit plate, one end of which is closely contacted with the other end of the first unit plate, and a third unit plate, one end of which is closely contacted with the other end of the second unit plate.
15. The apparatus according to claim 14, wherein the side plate is provided with a latching member and the case is provided with a locking member at a position corresponding to the latching member, so that the side plate is locked into the case using the latching member and the locking member.
16. A portable golf-practicing apparatus comprising:
a) a rectangular box-like case, the top and one lateral side of the case being opened;
b) a slanted plate having a hole cup formed at a desired position, one end of the slanted plate being pivotably attached to the lateral opening portion of the case such that a slope angle thereof can be adjusted;
c) a support bar supporting the slanted plate at an adjusted slope angle while moving toward and away from a pivot point of the slanted plate;
d) a mat having a length of more than two times of the slanted plate, one end of the mat being attached to the top face of the slanted plate, the mat being capable of spreading through the lateral opening portion of the case when in use and being folded and received inside the case when stored;
e) a mat support plate being comprised of two or more unit plates on top of which the mat is attached, the mat support plate being spread outside of the case and being folded and received inside the case along with the mat;
f) a side plate for opening and closing the lateral opening portion of the case; and
g) a chipping mat plate closing and opening the top opening portion of the case, an artificial lawn being attached to one face of the chipping mat plate so as to perform a chip shot practice.
17. The apparatus according to claim 16, further comprising a sensor detecting a golf ball falling onto the slanted plate through the hole cup, and a ball ejector being operated according to a sensing signal from the sensor to move the golf ball to a user's hitting position.
18. The apparatus according to claim 16, further comprising an audio generator, the audio generator including: a sensor unit having a first sensor disposed around the hole cup of the slanted plate and a second sensor disposed on the floor of the case right under the hole cup; an audio controller determining a hole-in, a quasi-hole-in, or a failure according to a sensing signal transmitted from the sensor unit and outputting a sound effect corresponding to the determination; and a loudspeaker emitting a sound according to a control signal from the audio controller.
19. The apparatus according to claim 18, wherein the audio controller is configured such that: when a first sensing signal from the first sensor and a second sensing signal from the second sensor are received within a certain time interval which is preset considering a timing of hole-in, it is determined as a hole-in to thereby allow the loudspeaker to output a sound effect corresponding to a hole-in; and when a sensing signal from the second sensor is not received within the certain time interval after a first sensing signal from the first sensor is received, it is determined as a quasi-hole-in to thereby allow the loudspeaker to output a sound effect corresponding to a quasi-hole-in.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to an apparatus for assisting in a putting and chip shot practice. More specifically, the invention relates to a portable golf-practicing apparatus, in which a putting mat is integrally constructed with a bag-like case such that the mat can be folded and received into the bag-like case when unused and, when in use, can be simply spread out of the bag-like case, thereby easily and conveniently installing and carrying the apparatus.

2. Background of the Related Art

In general, a golf skill is divided into a club swing ability and a putting technique. In the game of golf, a putting is a final stroke for depositing a golf ball into the hole cup on the green in order to finish one hole. This putting skill affects significantly a golfing ability or a final score in the game of golf.

For both the professional and amateur golfers, the putting is of a great importance in lessening the total number of strokes. Thus, this imposes a heavy burden on the golfers, who thereby suffers a variety of adverse reactions. For example, a golfer tends to be hasty to see if the golf ball is holed in and thus hold his or her head up before finishing the putting swing. Therefore, the putting address is disturbed and the face of the putter is deviated from the target line, thus hitting the golf ball at an angle. Furthermore, the subsequent follow through is not adequate and thus the golf ball fails to roll along the imaginary line of target.

In this way, a golfer is so afraid of and uneasy about a putting that a state of severe tension called “Yips” is caused, i.e., the body is stiffened and trembled. During execution of putting, therefore, the golfer tends to become too hasty or have a trembling wrist or arm due to the stiffness of body, and also may cause a flinch during the follow through.

If a golfer continues to lose control in short putting due to this head-up or inadequate follow-through, he or she is likely to lose confidence for putting. Thus, even in an iron shot or approach stroke towards the putting green, the golfer comes to make mistakes due to an obsession to approach the golf ball as near as possible to the hole cup. Consequently, by the domino effect, these mistakes are led to over the whole game.

The putting is executed on a putting green having a variety of shapes and patterns, and requires a sophisticated skill rather than power, collectively considering the speed (force) and direction of the golf ball, depending on a state and design of the green and the like. In order to maintain a sense of putting, a consistent effort and practice is needed to memorize an accurate address and swing to the body.

Therefore, the golf maniacs practice putting indoors at any time, using a putting-practicing device. However, conventional putting-practicing devices are bulky, complicated and expensive, so that they cannot be easily installed and, once installed, cannot be readily moved. Thus, disadvantageously the putting practice can be performed only in the place where the device is installed. In addition, the conventional practicing machine occupies a large area so that it can not be installed in a small space, thus decreasing the space efficiency. Furthermore, the conventional machine installed in the house or office usually comes to stand in the way to thereby cause much inconvenience.

In order to solve the above problems, a simpler device for putting practice has been proposed, which consists of a long mat to be spread on the floor and a hole cup. This device can be rolled up after practice, but cannot be portably carried, for example, between home and work, so as to enable to use it at any time, if possible.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Therefore, the present invention has been made in view of the above problems in the art, and it is an object of the present invention to provide a portable golf-practicing apparatus, in which a putting mat is integrally constructed with a bag-like case such that the mat can be folded and received into the bag-like case when unused and, when in use, can be simply spread out of the bag-like case, thereby easily and conveniently installing and carrying the apparatus.

To accomplish the above object, according to one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a portable golf-practicing apparatus. The portable golf-practicing apparatus of the invention comprises: a rectangular box-like case, the top and one lateral side of the case being opened; a slanted plate having a hole cup formed at a desired position, one end of the slanted plate being pivotably attached to the lateral opening portion of the case such that a slope angle thereof can be adjusted; a mat capable of spreading through the lateral opening portion of the case when in use and being folded and received inside the case when stored, one end of the mat being attached to the top face of the slanted plate; a side plate for opening and closing the lateral opening portion of the case; and a cover for opening and closing the top opening portion of the case.

According to another aspect of the invention, there is provided a portable golf-practicing apparatus. The golf-practicing apparatus of the invention comprises: a rectangular box-like case, the top and one lateral side of the case being opened; a slanted plate having a hole cup formed at a desired position, one end of the slanted plate being pivotably attached to the lateral opening portion of the case such that a slope angle thereof can be adjusted; a support bar supporting the slanted plate at an adjusted slope angle while moving toward and away from a pivot point of the slanted plate; a mat having a length of more than two times of the slanted plate, one end of the mat being attached to the top face of the slanted plate, the mat being capable of spreading through the lateral opening portion of the case when in use and being folded and received inside the case when stored; a mat support plate being comprised of two or more unit plates on top of which the mat is attached, one of the unit plates closing the top opening portion of the case and the remainder being received inside the case; and a side plate opening and closing the lateral opening portion of the case.

According to a further aspect of the invention, there is provided a portable golf-practicing apparatus. The golf-practicing apparatus of the invention comprises: a rectangular box-like case, the top and one lateral side of the case being opened; a slanted plate having a hole cup formed at a desired position, one end of the slanted plate being pivotably attached to the lateral opening portion of the case such that a slope angle thereof can be adjusted; a support bar supporting the slanted plate at an adjusted slope angle while moving toward and away from a pivot point of the slanted plate; a mat having a length of more than two times of the slanted plate, one end of the mat being attached to the top face of the slanted plate, the mat being capable of spreading through the lateral opening portion of the case when in use and being folded and received inside the case when stored; a mat support plate being comprised of two or more unit plates on top of which the mat is attached, the mat support plate being spread outside of the case and being folded and received inside the case along with the mat; a side plate opening and closing the lateral opening portion of the case; and a chipping mat plate closing and opening the top opening portion of the case, an artificial lawn being attached to one face of the chipping mat plate so as to perform a chip shot practice.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the invention in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing a spread state of a portable golf-practicing apparatus according to one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing a folded state of the potable golf-practicing apparatus in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the portable golf-practicing apparatus of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a cross-section explaining how to adjust the slope angle of the slanted plate;

FIG. 5 is a cross-section explaining a principle as to how a golf ball is returned to the putting position according to the invention;

FIGS. 6 to 9 illustrate procedures of folding a golf-practicing apparatus of the invention into a bag-like case after practice;

FIG. 10 illustrates a portable golf-practicing apparatus according to another embodiment of the invention, where an electrical ball-return device is applied;

FIGS. 11 and 12 are perspective views showing the structure of a ball ejector in detail;

FIG. 11 shows a state before the ball ejector of FIG. 10 is operated;

FIG. 12 shows an operating state where the ball ejector of FIG. 10 hits the ball;

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of a portable golf-practicing apparatus according to another embodiment of the invention, showing a folded state thereof;

FIG. 14 is a cross-section taken along the line A-A in FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is a perspective view showing a mat being spread in the golf-practicing apparatus of FIG. 13;

FIG. 16 is a perspective view showing a mat completely spread and ready for a putting practice;

FIG. 17 is a perspective view of an unfolded portable golf-practicing apparatus of the invention where it is arranged for a chip shot practice;

FIG. 18 is a perspective view showing a locking device for locking a right wall plate in the golf-practicing apparatus of FIG. 13;

FIG. 19 is a perspective view illustrating an audio generator in the golf-practicing apparatus according to the invention; and

FIG. 20 is a cross-section taken along the line B-B in FIG. 19.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The preferred embodiments of the invention will be hereafter described in detail, with reference to the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing a spread state of a portable golf-practicing apparatus according to one embodiment of the invention. FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing a folded state of the potable golf-practicing apparatus in FIG. 1. FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view of the portable golf-practicing apparatus of FIG. 1.

Referring to FIGS. 1 to 3, the golf-practicing apparatus of the invention is constructed such that a mat 100 can be folded in three layers and received inside a case 200, and thus have a length corresponding to that of a common golf practicing machine. Therefore, when the mat 100 is spread, it has an adequate length to execute a putting. Specifically, the golf-practicing apparatus of the invention is provided with a case 200 structured such that a mat support plate 110 and the mat 100 disposed thereon are folded together and received therein. As shown in FIG. 1, the case 200 is formed of a rectangular box-like bag, of which top and right side can be opened. Inside the case 200 is provided a ball-return plate 300 installed so as to be slanted by means of a resilient member 310. The ball-return plate 300 is attached to a floor plate 210 of the case at the ball-discharging side of the ball-return plate 300. That is, the bottom face of the ball-return plate 300 is fixed to the floor plate 210 at the right opening 202 side of the case, for example, by means of an adhesive. Near a left wall plate 220 of the case is provided a latch projection 222 formed in such a way to be protruded inwardly. One end side of the ball-return plate 300 supported by the resilient member 310 is spaced apart from the floor plate 210, and its downward movement is restricted by the latch projection 222 and limited thereto. In this way, the ball-return plate 300 becomes slanted gradually towards the right side from the left side of the case 200. When the mat 100 is folded into the inside of the case 200, the resilient member 310 is compressed to thereby provide a space thereinside for accommodating the mat 100. The ball-return plate 300 is downwardly slanted towards the spreading direction of the mat 100, such that a golf ball fallen onto the ball-return plate 300 can be spontaneously rolled back to the putting position by means of the slope thereof. In addition, the ball-return plate 300 is provided with a mat 302 around the area facing a hole cup 510, which will be hereinafter explained. The mat 302 functions to alleviate impact by a golf ball falling from the hole cup 510.

Near the right opening 202 of the case 200, a slanted plate 500 is pivotably attached to the case 200. The slanted plate 500 is pivotably coupled to the floor plate of the case 200 near the right opening 202 thereof, for example, using an adhesive tape 520. As illustrated, the slanted plate 500 may be pivotably connected to the floor plate 210 of the case, preferably using a hinge 522 under the adhesive tape 520. The coupling between the slanted plate 500 and the case 200 may be made using the adhesive tape 520 and the hinge 522 together, or either one of them. At a front wall plate 230 and a rear wall plate 240 of the case is formed respectively angle adjustment grooves 232, 242 at regular intervals along the longitudinal direction thereof, which face each other. Into the angle adjustment grooves 232, 242 is inserted a support bar 530, on which the bottom face of the slanted plate 500 is to be rested to thereby maintain an adjusted slope angle of the slanted plate 500. Details thereon will be hereinafter described, in conjunction with FIG. 4.

The mat 100 is attached on the surface of the slanted plate 500. A hole cup 510 is provided at one end portion of the slanted plate 500. The hole cup 510 is placed above the ball-return plate 300 and spaced apart therefrom by a certain distance. The edge portion adjacent to the hole cup 510 is bent up by a certain height to form a dam 502, at which the golf ball is bounced back without entering the hole cup 510 in case of a strong putting. In addition, the hole cup 510 is provided with a hole-size adjuster 512 for changing the size of the hoe cup 510. The hole-size adjuster 514 is structured such that, when it is inserted into a hole 514, the size of the hole cup 514 becomes smaller, and when it is removed from the hole 514, the hole cup 514 becomes larger, thereby adjusting the difficulty index (relative difficulties) of putting according to a users skill.

On the floor of the case 200 is provided a storage space 250 for holding a golf ball, and a level 260 is disposed near the storage space 250. The level 260 is used for checking the horizontal level of an installation place where the practicing apparatus of the invention is to be unfolded and used. Furthermore, the case 200 is provided with a putter retainer 224 for holding a putter (not shown).

One end portion of the mat 100 is attached to the slanted plate 500, and the remaining portion of the mat 100 is disposed on a mat support plate 110, which is comprised of three unit plates 120, 130, and 140. The first unit plate 120 adjacent to the floor plate 210 of the case constitutes a top plate of the case when folded. The other second and third unit plates 130 and 140 are to be folded inwards of the first unit plate 120 and received inside the case 200. Along an edge area of the first to third unit plates 120, 130 and 140 is formed a ball return passages 122, 132 and 142, which is connected with a guide passage 302 of the ball return plate 300. Thus, a ball is guided from the guide passage 303 to the end of the third unit plate 140, i.e., near the putting position. In this way, the mat 100 is attached to the slanted plate 500, the first unit plate 120, the second unit plate 130, and the third unit plate 140, and thus when the mat 100 is spread, the slanted plate and the first to third unit plates 120 to 140 are closely connected one after another. Here, the mat 100 is not attached to the plates 500, 120, 130, and 140 over a certain width along the meeting lines between neighboring plates. Therefore, when the mate 100 is folded, the first to third unit plates 120, 130 and 140, on which the mate 100 is attached, can be folded properly without being wrinkled or creased at the boundary area between the plates. In particular, the third unit plate 140 to be first folded is provided with a spacer projection 144 formed at both sides adjacent the second unit plate 130, such that the second and third unit plates 130 and 140 are spaced apart from each other when folded and thus the mate 100 is not creased at the boundary area in-between. Furthermore, the first unit plate 120 constitutes the top of the case 200 when the golf-practicing apparatus of the invention is completely folded. Therefore, the rear face of the first unit plate 120 (the bottom face thereof when unfolded) is preferred to have the same color and pattern as that of the other sides of the case 200. For example, in case where the surface of the case 200 is made to have a wood texture, the rear face of the first unit plate 120 is provided with the same wood texture, thereby giving a sense of monolithic structure (monolithic beauty) when the golf-practicing apparatus is folded to form a bag-like case. In the case is formed a handle 270 for easy hand-carrying.

When folding the mate 100, the third unit plate 140 and the second unit plate 130 are folded in sequence. Thereafter, the first unit plate 120 is to be guided along guide grooves 234 and 244, which are formed at both sides of the upper opening 204 of the case 200. That is, the first unit plate 120 is inserted while the both sides thereof is slid along the guide grooves 234 and 244, and then inserted into a left inserting groove 226 formed in the left wall plate 220 of the case. Then, a right wall plate 280 is closed to thereby complete the folding procedure. For this purpose, one end of the right wall plate 280 is pivotably connected to the rear wall plate 240 using a hinge (not shown), and a latching member 282 is fixed on the other end thereof. A locking member 236 is installed in the front wall plate 230 correspondingly to the latching member 282 so that the right wall plate 280 can be turned to close the right opening 202 of the case 200, and then locked by the latching and locking members 282 and 236, thereby completing the procedures of folding and receiving the mat 200. In this way, the locking device comprised of the locking member 236 and the latching member 282 may be formed of a metallic material so as to serve as an external decoration, as in this embodiment. Alternatively, the locking device may be made to place inside the case 200 in order to provide a beauty of simplicity. In the right wall plate 280 is formed a right inserting groove 284, into which the facing edge portion of the first unit plate 120 is inserted and fixed.

As described above, the first unit plate 120 of the mat support plate 110 serves as a cover of the case (a bag-like case). Other unit plates, for example, the third unit plate 140 may serve as a cover of the bag-like case, or a separate cover may be provided in order to close the top of the case and the mat support plate 110 may be omitted in this case. In addition, the mat support plate 110 may be comprised of three unit plates as described above, or may be constituted of two or four or more unit plates. That is, according to the invention, the mat support plate 110 is preferred to comprise two or more unit plates.

FIG. 4 is a cross-section explaining how to adjust the slope angle of the slanted plate.

As shown in FIG. 4, one end of the slanted plate 500 is pivotably attached to the floor plate 210 of the case 200 at the right opening side thereof, using a hinge 522. In addition, at both sides of the case is formed an angle adjustment groove 232, 242 facing each other and along the longitudinal direction of the mat 100. A support bar 530 is inserted into a certain pair of angle adjustment grooves 232 and 242 to thereby support the bottom face of the slanted plate 500 and maintain the adjusted slope angle thereof. In particular, below the angle adjustment grooves 232 and 242, a putting distance corresponding to each adjusted angle is indicated at each corresponding angle adjustment groove such that a user can easily set an appropriate slope angle of the slanted plate 500 according to the putting distances. That is, with respect to each angle adjustment groove, i.e., each slope angle, an effective putting distance is estimated and indicated, for example, in meter unit. For example, in case where the slanted plate 500 is supported on the support bar 530 inserted into an angle adjustment groove 232, 242 indicated with 5m, it is set up to a slope angle corresponding to a putting distance of 5 m. Needless to say, as the puffing distance increases, the slope angle becomes steep as much. In this way, the slope angle of the slanted plate 500 can be adjusted depending on a desired putting distance, and then a putting practice can be performed correspondingly to the set putting distance.

FIG. 5 is a cross-section explaining a principle as to how a ball is returned according to the invention.

Referring to FIG. 5, when a golf ball 400 putted along the mat (not illustrated in FIG. 5) enters the hole cup 510, the golf ball 400 falls onto the ball return plate 300 through the hole cup 510. Then, the golf ball 400 rolls down along the slant face of the ball return plate 300, and subsequently moves to and rolls along the ball return passages 122, 132 and 142 provided in the first to third unit plates 120,130 and 140, finally reaching near the putting position, i.e., near the end portion of the mat 100. Thus, a user can simply move the returned golf ball 400 into his or her putting position and then try a putting again. In this way, the golf ball can be returned by means of a difference in heights between the hole cup area and the putting position. Alternatively, different mechanisms for returning the golf ball may be employed, one example of which will be hereinafter described, in conjunction with FIG. 10.

FIGS. 6 to 9 illustrate procedures of folding a golf-practicing apparatus of the invention into a bag-like case after practice.

The golf-practicing apparatus of the invention can be easily carried by folding the spread apparatus into a bag-like case after practice. In order to fold the apparatus of the invention, as shown in FIGS. 6 to 9, the mat 100 is folded in sequence, starting from the end portion thereof. That is, the third unit plate 140 is folded toward the second unit plate 130, along with the mat 100 attached thereto. At this time, as illustrated in FIG. 7, due to the spacer projection 144 formed in the third unit plate 140, the third and second unit plates 140 and 130 are folded so as to be spaced apart from each other by a certain gap such that the mat 100 at the boundary area in-between can be folded in a round fashion, without causing a wrinkle or a crease. After folding the third unit plate 140 onto the second unit plate 130, as shown in FIG. 8, the folded second and third unit plates 130 and 140 are folded together towards the first unit plate 120. Thereafter, the folded and stacked first, second and third unit plates 120, 130, 140 is put inside the case 200 in such a way that the rear face (bottom face) of the first unit plate 120 is exposed to the outside and constitutes the top of the case 200, as shown in FIG. 9. Specifically, both edges of the first unit plate 120 is inserted into the guide grooves 234 and 244 provided at both sides of the case 200 and slid inwards until the first unit plate 120 covers completely the top opening of the case 200. Then, the right wall plate 280 is turned to close the right opening of the case, and locked using the latching member and the locking member. Thus, the folding procedures of the golf-practicing apparatus of the invention are completed, and the apparatus of the invention is converted into a bag-like case, which can be easily transported or carried using the handle provided in the case.

Hereafter, a method of using the portable golf-practicing apparatus of the invention will be described in detail, referring to FIGS. 1 to 9.

The portable golf-practicing apparatus of the invention is carried or transported in a folded state as described above. In order to use the apparatus for putting practice, first, the latching member 282 is released from the locking member 236 and the right side of the case 200 is opened by turning the release right wall plate 280. Then, the first unit plate 120, which forms the top plate (cover) of the case, is slid towards the right opening 202 so as to be detached from the case 200. Therefore, the folded first to third unit plates 120, 130 and 140 can be unfolded, that is, the first unit plate 120 is unfolded from the slanted plate 500 to thereby rest on the floor. Then, the second unit plate 130 is unfolded from the first unit plate 120 to rest on the floor and similarly the third unit plate 140 is unfolded from the second unit plate 130 to thereby rest on the floor. Thus, the mat 100 attached to the slanted plate 500 and the first to third unit plates 120 to 150 is spread completely and rested on the floor to be used for golf-practicing. At this state, a golf ball 400 can be put on a putting position at the third unit plate 140 and then a putting can be executed towards the hole cup 510.

After practice, the golf-practicing apparatus of the invention can be folded back into the bag-like case by carrying out the above procedures in a reverse order and locking the lacking member 136, thereby enabling to be stored in the folded state, or held and carried using the handle 270.

FIG. 10 illustrates a portable golf-practicing apparatus according to another embodiment of the invention, where an electrical ball-return device is applied. In FIG. 10, the same elements as in the previous embodiment are omitted and modified portions are illustrated for the purpose of clear understanding of this embodiment. Particularly, in order to clearly illustrate a ball-returning structure, FIG. 10 focuses on the floor portion of the case excepting the slanted plate, etc. FIGS. 11 and 12 are perspective views showing the structure of a ball ejector in detail. FIG. 11 shows a state before the ball ejector of FIG. 10 is operated, and FIG. 12 shows an operating state where the ball ejector of FIG. 10 hits the ball.

In the previous embodiment, the golf ball is spontaneously returned due to the slanted structure (the difference in heights) of the ball-return plate. In this embodiment, as shown in FIG. 10, an electromechanical device is employed, where a sensor 610 a detects the golf ball and a ball ejector 620 a hits the golf ball to send it to a putting position. More specifically, a ball guide 630 a, which is disposed below the hole cup, guides a golf ball 400 a fallen through the hole cup to a ball guide groove 632 a, due to the slanted structure thereof. As illustrated, the ball guide groove 623 a has an inclined structure so as to move the golf ball 400 towards the sensor 610 a. The golf ball 400 a, which is moved along the ball guide groove 632 a, is to be touched by the sensor 610 a, as shown in FIG. 11. Then the ball ejector 620 a is operated in such a way that a striker plate 622 a is instantaneously projected to thereby strike the golf ball 400 a, as shown in FIG. 12. The struck golf ball 400 a rolls down to the putting position along a ball return passageway provided in the lateral side of the mat along the longitudinal direction thereof. Here, the sensor 610 a may employ suitably a pressure sensor capable of operating in response to the ball pressure, and the ball ejector 620 a may be configured so as to hit the golf ball 400 a, preferably through the operation of an electric motor or solenoid or the like. The power supply for the ball ejector 620 a may employ a battery or a power supply of the building.

In FIG. 10, the reference numeral 250 a denotes a ball storage case and the reference numeral 260 a denotes a level.

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of a portable golf-practicing apparatus according to another embodiment of the invention, showing a folded state thereof. FIG. 14 is a cross-section taken along the line A-A in FIG. 13. FIG. 15 is a perspective view showing a mat being spread in the golf-practicing apparatus of FIG.13. FIG. 16 is a perspective view showing a mat completely spread and ready for a putting practice. FIG. 17 is a perspective view of an unfolded portable golf-practicing apparatus of the invention where it is arranged for a chip shot practice.

This embodiment is mostly identical or similar to the previous embodiments and thus details on the same features will not be repeated here.

In this embodiment, a mat support plate 110 b supporting a mat 100 b is comprised of four unit plates, i.e., a first to fourth unit plates 120 b, 130 b, 140 b and 150 b. The mat 100 b is attached to a slanted plate 500 b, and the first to fourth unit plates 120 b, 130 b, 140 b and 150 b to thereby connect these plates in sequence. Preferably, the mat 100 b is not attached over a certain width along the boundary area between neighboring plates. Therefore, when the mat 100 b is folded into the bag-like case 200 b, i.e., the fourth unit plate 150 b, the third unit plate 140 b, the second unit plate 130 b and the first unit plate 120 b are folded in sequence, the mat 100 b is prevented from being creased or wrinkled at the boundary area between the unit plates 120 b, 130 b, 140 b and 150 b. In this way, these unit plates 120 b, 130 b, 140 b and 150 b are folded in a multi-layered fashion and received into the case 200 b. Thus, preferably, the fourth unit plate 150 b to be first folded has a shortest length and their length becomes larger gradually toward the first unit plate 120 b. Of course, the first to fourth unit plates 120 b, 130 b, 140 b and 150 b have a same width such that the mat 100 b can be supported with a same width when it is spread. In particular, the mat 100 b may employ an artificial lawn, but a carpet-type mat is preferred for the purpose of putting practice, more preferably a velvet carpet mat may be used.

In case of the previous embodiments, the first unit plate 120 of the mat support plate 110 serves as a cover for opening and closing the top of the case 200. In this embodiment, a chipping mat plate 700 b is provided separately from the mat support plate 110 b and the chipping mat pate 700 b serves as a cover. That is, since the portable golf-practicing apparatus of this embodiment is provided with the chipping mat plate 700 b additionally, it can be used for chip shot practice, along with putting practice. As shown in FIG. 16, the chipping mat plate 700 b is provided with an artificial lawn 710 b attached to one face thereof to thereby provide a sense of real field when in chip shot practicing. The chipping mat plate 700 b may be placed adjacent to the fourth unit plate 150 b of the mat support plate 110 b in order to perform a puffing practice, as shown in FIG. 16. Alternatively, the chipping mat plate 700 b may be placed spaced apart from the fourth unit plate 150 b by a certain distance and then a chip shot practice can be performed. When practicing a chip shot, the spaced distance from the fourth unit plate 150 b can be controlled, thereby improving a sense of chip shot, depending on the distance between the golf ball 400 b and the hole cup 514 b.

The golf-practicing apparatus of this embodiment is provided with a dam protruded at both sides of the mat support plate 110 b. The dam functions to prevent the golf ball pushed by the ball ejector 620 b from escaping the returning path of the mat support plate 110 b. This dam is structured so as to have a height slightly higher than that of the mat, considering the thickness of the mat 100 b attached on the mat support plate 110 b. For example, if the thickness of the mat is 5 mm, the height of dam must be above 6 mm at minimum in order for the dam to be protruded upwardly from the mat 100 b to thereby effectively prevent escape of a golf ball. The height of the dam is preferred to be at least 3 mm higher than that of the mat 100 b, considering the height of a golf ball 400 b. On the other hand, the dam in the chipping mat plate 700 b has a height lower than that of the artificial lawn 710 b, so that a golf ball is not impeded by the dam when trying a putting on the chipping mat plate 700 b, which is connected to the mat support plate 110 b. In this embodiment, the chipping mat plate 700 b may not have such a dam. However, if a dam lower than the artificial lawn 710 b is provided, preferably the artificial lawn 710 b can be accurately attached to and stably supported by the chipping mate plate 700 b.

Furthermore, in this embodiment, all the locking elements excepting a release button 292 b is designed to be installed inside the case 200 b so as not to be exposed to the outside, dissimilar to the previous embodiments where a metallic locking device (the latching member and the lacking member) is attached to the exterior of the case. Therefore, a beautiful and gracious wood texture such as rose wood or walnut wood can be implemented into the case 200 b as it is. Further details thereon will be described below, in conjunction with FIG. 18.

FIG. 18 is a perspective view showing a locking device for locking a right wall plate in the golf-practicing apparatus of FIG. 13. In this embodiment, the latching and locking elements are simplified and miniaturized so as to be installed inside the case, and only a wooden button made of the same material as the case is exposed in the exterior of the case.

As illustrated, the right opening portion of the case 200 b is provided with a hook-like latching member 294 b protruded laterally therefrom. The right wall plate 280 b is provided with an inserting groove 296 b formed at a position corresponding to the hook-like latching member 294 b, which is to be inserted into the inserting groove 296 b. Inside the inserting groove 296 b is installed a locking member 298 b. Therefore, when the right wall plate 280 b is turned to close the right opening of the case 200 b, the latching member 294 b is automatically inserted into the inserting groove 296 b. At this state the locking member 298 b is descended into the hook-like latching member 294 b to thereby lock the right wall plate to the case. These locking and releasing operations are carried out using a release button 292 b, which is provided in the surface of the right wall plate 280 b of the case 200 b.

That is, the locking member 298 b is coupled with the release button 292 b exposed to the exterior of the right wall plate 280 b, such that the release button 292 b can be pressed to thereby release the locking member 298 b. When the locking is released, the release button 292 b is projected above the surface of the right wall plate 280 b, and when locked, it is pushed back so as not to be protruded above the right wall plate 280 b. Thus, if the projected release button 292 b is pressed again, the release button 292 is operated in such a way that the locking member 298 b grips the latching member 294 b to thereby lock the right wall plate 280 b to the case 200 b.

FIG. 19 is a perspective view illustrating an audio generator in the golf-practicing apparatus according to the invention. FIG. 20 is a cross-section taken along the line B-B in FIG. 19.

The golf-practicing apparatus of the invention may include an audio generator. The audio generator is configured such that it detects whether a golf ball is holed-in and notifies the hole-in to the user, while generating an encouraging voice or music (hereinafter, referred to as a “sound effect”).

The audio generator is provided with a sensor unit for detecting whether a golf ball 400 b is deposited in the hole cup 510 b. The sensor unit 810 b is comprised of a first sensor 812 b disposed around the hole cup 510 b and a second sensor 814 b disposed on the floor of the case 200 b at a position right below the hole cup 510 b. In particular, the first sensor 812 b is formed in an arcuate or annular shape disposed around the hole cup 510 b. The second sensor 814 b is preferred to have a circular shape. In addition, the first and second sensors 812 b, 814 b are constructed, preferably, of a pressure sensor, which is actuated by a pressure generated when a golf ball passes over the pressure sensor.

The first sensor 812 b is electrically coupled to an audio controller 830 b through a signal line 822 b, which is buried in and installed along the slanted plate 500 b and the floor plate of the case 200 b and the boundary area therebetween. The second sensor 814 b too is electrically coupled to the audio controller 830 b through a signal line 824 b buried in the floor of the case 200 b. The audio controller 830 b is provided with a power on/off switch (not shown) for supplying an electric power, a loudspeaker (not shown) for outputting a sound effect, and the like. As a power supply for the audio controller a battery is preferred, more preferably a dry batter may be used since it can be easily mounted and replaced. The loudspeaker may be integrally formed with the audio controller 830 b, or separately installed in an appropriate place of the case 200 b via an electric wire from the audio controller 830 b.

The operation of the audio generator having the above construction will be described below.

The result of putting or chip-shop is divided into three cases, i.e., 1) a hole-in, 2) a quasi-hole-in where the golf ball reaches near the hole cup, but not holed in, and 3) a failure where the golf ball does not reach even near the hole cup. A sound effect for each case is illustrated below.

1) Hole-In

When executing a putting or chip shot, if a golf ball 400 b passes the first sensor 812 b and then is holed in through the hole cup 510 b and fallen onto the second sensor 814 b, the first and second sensors 812 b and 814 b send their sensing signals to the audio controller 830 b in sequence with a certain time gap in-between. Therefore, if a second signal is received within a certain period of time, preferably within 0.5 seconds, the audio controller 830 b determines it as a hole-in and outputs a corresponding sound effect through the loudspeaker. In this case, the sound effect may includes a variety of congratulation messages such as a congratulating music, a voice “hole-in!” a clapping sound, a battle cry, and the like.

2) Quasi-Hole-In

In the quasi-hole-in, a golf ball is touched on the first sensor 812 b disposed around the hole cup 510 b. For example, the quasi-hole-in is the case where the golf ball passes near the hole cup 510 b, or the golf ball is bounced back from the hole cup 510 b. In this case, the golf ball 400 b is detected by the first sensor 812 b, but not sensed by the second sensor 814 b. Thus, the first sensing signal from the first sensor 812 b is transmitted to the audio controller 830 b, but the second sensor 814 b does not generate a second signal. When a second signal from the second sensor 814 b is not received within a preset time period (for example, within 0.5 seconds) after the first signal is received, the audio controller 830 b determines it as a quasi-hole-in and outputs a sound effect corresponding thereto. In this case, the sound effect may include a voice or sound expressing being sorry.

3) Failure

When the golf ball does not reach near the hole cup, both the first and second sensors 812 b and 814 b are not operated. Thus, the first and second sensors 812 b and 814 b do not send any signal to the audio controller 830 b, and consequently no sound effect is output from the loudspeaker. That is, in case where there is no sound effect and response, a putting or chip shot is not successful.

As described above, in the portable golf-practicing apparatus of the invention, a putting mat is integrally constructed with a bag-like case such that the mat can be folded and received into the bag-like case when unused and, when in use, can be simply spread out of the bag-like case, thereby easily and conveniently installing and carrying the apparatus, for example, during a business trip or a travelling.

In addition, the golf-practicing apparatus of the invention can be folded into the form of a bag, thereby minimizing the volume thereof. Thus, it can be easily stored in a limited space and avoided from standing in the way when unused. Also, it can be used in a small space.

In the present invention, a double hole cup is employed to adjust the relative difficulty of a practice. A ball returning function is provided to thereby further improve the convenience thereof. In addition, the slope of a hole cup can be adjusted to thereby enable to develop a sense of putting with respect to various distances. Also, a ball storage space is provided inside to carry a golf ball all the time. A built-in level is provided so as to check whether the apparatus is installed on a horizontal floor. Furthermore, a locking device for a right wall plate, which is pivotably closed and opened from the case, is formed of a metallic material and installed in the exterior of the case, thereby providing a decorating effect thereto. Or, it may be installed inside the case to thereby provide a beauty of simplicity and clarity.

In addition, separately from the mat support plate, a cover capable of serving as a chipping mat is provided and thus a chip shot practice can be performed along with a putting practice.

Furthermore, the portable golf-practicing apparatus of the invention is provided with an audio generator, which is operated in such a manner that a sound effect is output, for example, when a user accomplishes a hole-in, an applause is output, and when a user accomplishes a quasi-hole-in, a sound or voice of being sorry is output. Thus, the user can be aware of the result of putting or chip shot and simultaneously have more fun in the practice.

While the present invention has been described with reference to the particular illustrative embodiments, it is not to be restricted by the embodiments but only by the appended claims. It is to be appreciated that those skilled in the art can change or modify the embodiments without departing from the scope and spirit of the present invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7258621Nov 19, 2005Aug 21, 2007Mcduffee Ruthann AngelaPortable golf putting practice kit
US7444305 *Dec 7, 2001Oct 28, 2008Mass Connections, Inc.Methods of coordinating products and service demonstrations
US7473183Aug 10, 2007Jan 6, 2009Mcduffee Ruthann AngelaPortable golf putting practice kit
US7797191Feb 17, 2005Sep 14, 2010Mass Connections, Inc.Promotional event tracking system
Classifications
U.S. Classification473/157, 473/163, 473/162, 473/160
International ClassificationA63B63/00, A63B67/02, A63B69/36
Cooperative ClassificationA63B2210/50, A63B24/0021, A63B63/007, A63B2063/001, A63B2024/004, A63B2024/0037, A63B2071/0625, A63B63/00, A63B69/3661, A63B2067/025, A63B67/02
European ClassificationA63B67/02, A63B69/36G, A63B24/00E