Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20070243949 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/406,463
Publication dateOct 18, 2007
Filing dateApr 18, 2006
Priority dateApr 18, 2006
Publication number11406463, 406463, US 2007/0243949 A1, US 2007/243949 A1, US 20070243949 A1, US 20070243949A1, US 2007243949 A1, US 2007243949A1, US-A1-20070243949, US-A1-2007243949, US2007/0243949A1, US2007/243949A1, US20070243949 A1, US20070243949A1, US2007243949 A1, US2007243949A1
InventorsRay Solari
Original AssigneeRay Solari
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Golf club head having intermittent grooves with filled polymer
US 20070243949 A1
Abstract
A golf club face configuration having a series of recesses filled with polymer. The recess-polymer-golf club face material construct then allows better traction on the golf ball when the golf ball is struck by a putter or other club implementing the golf club face configuration set forth herein.
Images(4)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(21)
1. A golf putter face insert, comprising:
a faceplate, said faceplate defining recesses; and
said recesses filled with polymer; whereby
the golf putter face insert is better adapted to strike a golf ball.
2. A golf putter face insert as set forth in claim 1, further comprising:
said recesses defined in a repeated pattern.
3. A golf putter face insert as set forth in claim 2, further comprising:
said repeated pattern selected from the group consisting of aligned horizontal recesses, staggered horizontal recesses, aligned circular recesses, staggered circular recesses, aligned diamond-shaped recesses, staggered diamond-shaped recesses, aligned vertical recesses, staggered vertical recesses, partial circular recesses, semi-circular recesses, horizontal rows, and combinations thereof.
4. A golf putter face insert as set forth in claim 3, further comprising:
said repeated pattern circumscribed or delimited by at least one additional recess.
5. A golf putter face insert as set forth in claim 4, further comprising:
said at least one additional recess selected from the group consisting of parenthetical recesses, oppositely opposed curved recesses, oppositely opposed sidebar recesses, oppositely opposed angled recesses, semi-circular recesses, oppositely opposed double sidebar recesses, and combinations thereof.
6. A golf putter including the golf putter face insert as set forth in claim 1.
7. A golf putter face insert, comprising:
a faceplate, said faceplate defining first recesses;
said first recesses filled with polymer and defined in a repeated pattern;
said repeated pattern selected from the group consisting of aligned horizontal recesses, staggered horizontal recesses, aligned circular recesses, staggered circular recesses, aligned diamond-shaped recesses, staggered diamond-shaped recesses, aligned vertical recesses, staggered vertical recesses, partial circular recesses, semi-circular recesses, horizontal rows, and combinations thereof; and
said repeated pattern circumscribed or delimited by at least one additional recess selected from the group consisting of parenthetical recesses, oppositely opposed curved recesses, oppositely opposed sidebar recesses, oppositely opposed angled recesses, semi-circular recesses, oppositely opposed double sidebar recesses, and combinations thereof; whereby
the golf putter face insert is better adapted to strike a golf ball.
8. A golf putter face insert as set forth in claim 7, further comprising:
said faceplate defining one or more second recesses being part of said repeated pattern, said one or more second recesses being empty and not filled.
9. A golf putter including the golf putter face insert as set forth in claim 7.
10. A method for constructing a golf putter face insert, the steps comprising:
providing a faceplate with recesses; and
filling said recesses with polymer; whereby
a golf putter face insert is provided that is better adapted to strike a golf ball.
11. A method for constructing a golf putter face insert as set forth in claim 10, the steps further comprising:
milling said faceplate with said filled recesses flat.
12. A method for constructing a golf putter face insert as set forth in claim 10, said step of providing a faceplate with recesses selected from the group consisting of casting said faceplate with said recesses, providing a faceplate then engraving said recesses upon said faceplate, and combinations thereof.
13. A method for constructing a golf putter face insert as set forth in claim 10, said step of providing a faceplate with recesses further comprising:
providing a faceplate with recesses having a loft angle.
14. A method for constructing a golf putter face insert as set forth in claim 10, further comprising:
said recesses defined in a repeated pattern.
15. A method for constructing a golf putter face insert as set forth in claim 14, further comprising:
said repeated pattern selected from the group consisting of aligned horizontal recesses, staggered horizontal recesses, aligned circular recesses, staggered circular recesses, aligned diamond-shaped recesses, staggered diamond-shaped recesses, aligned vertical recesses, staggered vertical recesses, partial circular recesses, semi-circular recesses, horizontal rows, and combinations thereof.
16. A method for constructing a golf putter face insert as set forth in claim 15, further comprising:
said repeated pattern circumscribed or delimited by at least one additional recess.
17. A method for constructing a golf putter face insert as set forth in claim 16, further comprising:
said at least one additional recess selected from the group consisting of parenthetical recesses, oppositely opposed curved recesses, oppositely opposed sidebar recesses, oppositely opposed angled recesses, semi-circular recesses, oppositely opposed double sidebar recesses, and combinations thereof.
18. A golf putter including the golf putter face insert constructed as set forth in claim 10.
19. A method for constructing a golf putter face insert, the steps comprising:
providing a faceplate with first recesses in a repeated pattern, said face having a loft angle;
said step of providing a faceplate with first recesses selected from the group consisting of casting said faceplate with said first recesses, providing a faceplate then engraving said first recesses upon said faceplate, and combinations thereof
filling said first recesses with polymer;
milling said faceplate with said filled recesses flat;
said repeated pattern selected from the group consisting of aligned horizontal recesses, staggered horizontal recesses, aligned circular recesses, staggered circular recesses, aligned diamond-shaped recesses, staggered diamond-shaped recesses, aligned vertical recesses, staggered vertical recesses, partial circular recesses, semi-circular recesses, horizontal rows, and combinations thereof; and
said repeated pattern circumscribed or delimited by at least one additional recess selected from the group consisting of parenthetical recesses, oppositely opposed curved recesses, oppositely opposed sidebar recesses, oppositely opposed angled recesses, semi-circular recesses, oppositely opposed double sidebar recesses, and combinations thereof; whereby
a golf putter face insert is provided that is better adapted to strike a golf ball.
20. A method for constructing a golf putter face insert as set forth in claim 19, further comprising:
said faceplate having one or more second recesses being part of said repeated pattern, said one or more second recesses being empty and not filled.
21. A golf putter including the golf putter face insert constructed as set forth in claim 19.
Description
COPYRIGHT AUTHORIZATION

Portions of the disclosure of this patent document may contain material which is subject to copyright and/or mask work protection. The copyright and/or mask work owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent file or records, but otherwise reserves all copyright and/or mask work rights whatsoever.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to golf clubs and golf club heads, and more particularly to a golf club head for a putter that has intermittent grooves or recesses which are filled with polymer or similar material.

2. Description of the Related Art

Those who have played the game of golf are well aware that putting often accounts for nearly half the golfer's total score. Although there are a wide variety of putters available to the golfers, they still seek improved designs that will assist them in lowering their total score.

Golf putter heads have been designed to impart a rolling motion to the golf ball for short distances. The putter is specifically constructed for use in striking the golf ball accurately toward the cup once it has reached the putting green. Typically, the general construction of a golf club includes a grip portion adapted to be grasped by the golfer, a shaft extending linearly downward from the grip portion, to a club head at the end of the shaft opposite the grip portion. Typically, the club head extends traversely to the shaft and the shaft has a neck portion located at one end thereof, which is connected by a hosel to the shaft.

The golfer addresses the golf ball by placing the club adjacent to the ball. The golfer then swings the club in a short, sweeping arc for a desired, but seldom achieved, perfect swing.

Of importance to the control and swing of the golf putter is its balance. The balance is determined by the weight and weight distribution of the golf club in general. For the putter in the instant case, much of this balance is derived from the putter head as it generally concentrates most of the mass of the club in this area.

Also of importance is the striking surface, or the face, of the putter. This is the surface that actually controls and exerts contact with the golf ball. This surface should be one that is predictable, reliable, and for which expected results occur with confidence on the part of the golfer. Most putter faces are flat, exposed metal that only allow but little traction on the ball. While these putter faces are common, their slick and flat surfaces generally do not provide any action on the ball except to strike it and cause it to roll. Other putter faces may have non-flat surfaces that can result in very unpredictable shots. Such unpredictability is generally not resolved by the use of elastic or shock absorbing features. Consequently, a problem remains in the art to provide a golf putter club face that exerts greater traction upon the golf ball during the golf ball strike that generally does not result in unpredictable or errant shots.

Prior attempts have been made in the art with respect to engraved or cast golf club heads and/or inserts having filled recesses and otherwise. Brief descriptions of some of such prior attempts are set forth below. While the descriptions are believed to be accurate, no admission is made by them regarding their subject matter which is solely defined by the patent or reference involved.

U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2005/0209020 to Burrows is directed to a golf club putter head, including a faceplate groove pattern configured to provide the putter head with an elevated center of gravity. In one preferred form, a club head body defines a faceplate having at least one and preferably multiple elongated grooves formed therein to extend generally in a heel-to-toe direction, with at least one groove positioned above a vertical mid-point of the club head body. The groove depths progressively increase in a top-to-bottom direction so that the putter head center of gravity is elevated to a position spaced above the vertical mid-point of the club head body. When striking a golf ball, the elevated center of gravity functions to minimize initial ball skidding and to promote early smooth ball roll toward a target such as a cup on a golf green.

U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2005/0090332 to Burrows is directed to an iron type golf club head, including a plurality of weights mounted at a rear side thereof in a spatially laminated array. The club head includes a front impact face oriented at a selected loft angle for striking a golf ball, and a rear side having an integrally formed weight frame protruding rearwardly therefrom. The weight frame defines a plurality of peripheral or perimeter grooves disposed in generally fore-aft spaced relation and adapted to receive and support weights of selected mass. In a preferred form, each weight includes one or more weight elements seated within the associated groove to wrap substantially about the entire periphery of the weight frame, with an outboard marginal edge of each weight element being visible from the exterior of the club head. Abutting ends of the weight element or elements within each groove may be interconnected end-to-end as by welding.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,746,344 to Long is directed to a golf putter head with vertical and horizontal cavities.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,648,774 to Lee is directed to a hollow golf club head comprising a metal striking insert and a composite body. The metal striking insert is molded within the front face wall of the club head body and is securely attached at the outside perimeter of the insert to the composite body and at the front corners of the composite body through the use of a sandwiched structure. The sandwich structure formed at the boundaries of the striking metal insert efficiently dissipates the impact energy affected when a golf ball is hit. The structure also dampens efficiently the vibrations of the shock affected when the ball is hit on the metal striking insert. The present invention of positioning the insert inside the face wall, not extending outside the face wall, uses less metal material which is heavier than the composite material and makes a larger club head at the same total weight of the club head. A larger golf club head that gives a higher moment of inertia is highly sought-after for a hollow club head construction.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,972,144 to Hsu is directed to a method for manufacturing golf club putter heads including four steps: 1. forming a recess in a striking face of a club putter head, 2. adhering a decorative plate with a name or pattern in the recess, 3. pouring epoxy resin solution in said recess and letting it dry up to form an insert block, 4. grinding the upper surface of the decorating plate and the insert block flush with the striking face of the putter head. Then the name or pattern may not wear or disappear even if hit by golf balls for a long period of time.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,083,117 to Hsu is directed to a golf club head that has a recess in a striking face and annular groove formed around the recess. A metal layer is fitted in the recess and an annular resin layer is formed in the annular groove to surround the metal layer. Then preparatory work for plating the whole head can be done quickly, and club heads after treated with plating may be of excellent quality, resulting in lower cost.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,932,716 to Ehlers et al. is directed to a golf club head having a matrix layer composed of an interconnected reinforcement structure and a polymer material. The matrix layer provides the golf club head with a greater coefficient of restitution during impact with a golf ball. The matrix layer is preferably disposed within a recess in the front wall of the body of the golf club head. The interconnected reinforcement structure is preferably composed of interconnected hexagonal cells.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,729,972 to Boord is directed to a golf club preferably in the form of a golf putter that includes a hard stainless steel club head having a striking surface for contacting a golf ball with a recess formed therein. A softer brass plate and an advertising insert closely fit within the recess, and are covered by transparent epoxy which hardens to form a portion of the striking surface through which advertising printed on the insert is visible. The club head further includes a rear recess behind the front recess, between which is defined a thin perforated wall. The stainless steel body, the brass plate, the transparent epoxy, and the perforated wall provide a golf putter which has a large sweet spot and which provides for advertising.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,425,535 to Gee is directed to a perimeter weighted golf club head having a flush mounted polymer insert in the club face which is approximately centered coaxially with the center of mass of the golf club head and a cavity filler. A recess for the polymer insert is either formed in the main body structure of the golf club head during the casting process, or subsequently by machining. A retainer is provided to help secure the insert and cavity filler in both the club face recess and the hollow cavity. The retainer can take the form of a through hole connecting the recess to the hollow cavity and/or lip surrounding either or both the recessed insert opening and the cavity opening.

U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2005/0020378 to Krumme et al. is directed to a striking face backing for golf clubs, such as a driver, iron or putter, formed of non-uniform geometry or material arranged to create a desired “feel” to the golfer and/or produce a desired effect on the golf ball. For instance, the backing can be arranged to create a variation in mechanical properties across the striking face. The backing designs can be applied behind integral striking faces, or as part of monolithic, unitary striking face, or pixel striking face inserts. The geometry, compression, and rebound properties of the backing are communicated to the striking face. Thus a sweet spot on the striking face of the club may be enlarged and/or shifted and the effects of imperfectly executed impacts may be mitigated.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,951,518 to Solheim et al. is directed to a golf club head, including a face insert disposed in a cavity formed in the front face of the club head. The face insert has a front surface for impacting a golf ball and a back surface having a cavity formed therein for receiving a second insert. A second insert, composed of a material different from the first insert, is disposed in the cavity formed in the back of the first insert. Because the edges of the second insert are not exposed, the second insert can be made of very soft materials including silicone rubbers and gels, which would not be suitable for use in an application in which the edges are exposed.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,679,792 to Straza is directed to a golf putter head having a body with a cavity in its front face containing an insert member having a front, ball striking face co-planar with the front face of the body. The insert member comprises a honeycomb cellular structure with the cells of the structure filled with a resilient, epoxy material. The walls of the cellular structure are mounted in the cavity perpendicular to the inclined club striking face surface and have exposed cell edges co-planar with the surface of the resilient material and the club striking face surface for simultaneously impacting a golf ball. The putter head is further formed to have an upwardly curving sole. A curved neck attaches the head to the club shaft to position the striking face in line with the axis of the club shaft.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,497,993 to Shan is directed to a golf club head having a neck at one end for connecting the shaft and a face panel at one side for hitting the ball, wherein the face panel consists of a meshed member made of a rigid metal and defining a plurality of open spaces, and a flexible blocking material blocking up the open spaces.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,390,932 to Kosmatka is directed to a golf club head having a face section with a polymer surface that can provide a more efficient impact between a golf ball and the golf club head. By utilizing a polymer surface with desired material properties of stress, strain and damping levels, the face section will incur higher strain and strain rate levels than the golf ball. These lower internal stresses within the golf ball yield a more efficient impact with a golf club head.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,605,006 to Mason is directed to a golf club for effecting shots within sixty yards of play to the “green”. The golf club includes two distinct shaft configurations and has a club head with a striking face or impact surface which gradually narrows downwardly to a rounded bottom edge to form a convex shaped structure having a series of cavity contours for effecting different degrees of impact with a target. The convex top surface of the golf club head has a series of seven colored parallel grooves incorporated thereon to form an optical pattern to help a golfer's eyes focus and to project a more broad-based target line-up. The angle between the line-up defined by the shaft when positioned normally as during play and a line perpendicular to the ground is six to seven degrees.

U.S. Design Pat. No. Des. 411,275 issued to Bottema et al. is directed to an ornamental design for putter face design nubbins, as shown and described therein.

U.S. Design Pat. No. Des. 430,244 issued to Besnard is directed to an ornamental design for a golf club head, as shown and described therein.

U.S. Design Pat. No. Des. 470,203 issued to Rollinson is directed to an ornamental design for a golf club head, as shown and described therein.

U.S. Design Pat. No. Des. 486,871 issued to Burrows is directed to an ornamental design for a golf club head with hex grid faceplate groove pattern, as shown and described therein.

International Publication No. WO 2005/107886 to Nelson is directed to a golf club head which has a toe, a heel, and a striking surface. The striking surface is provided with grooves which are filled with a resilient material which can extend just beyond the striking surface. The enables the grip of the ball on the golf club to be improved and therefore the control over the ball to be improved.

While several attempts have been made in the prior art to provide golf club heads and golf club face inserts, none have succeeded in achieving a flat-faced head or insert having polymer-filled recesses. Further, such a head or insert has not been achieved in a variety of configurations and/or with a variety of loft angles.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In view of the foregoing disadvantages inherent in the known types of golf club heads, faces, and face inserts now present in the prior art, the present invention provides a new golf club face insert and face design wherein the same can be used to enhance traction and/or engagement of the golf ball by the golf club head, particularly a putter implementing the present invention.

The general purpose of the present invention, which will be described subsequently in greater detail below, is to provide better putts for the golfer while providing a golf club head or face insert that has many of the advantages of the golf club heads and inserts mentioned heretofore and many novel features that result in a new golf club head face which is not anticipated, rendered obvious, suggested, taught, or even implied by any of the prior art golf clubs and their head faces, either alone or in any combination thereof.

In the present invention, golf putter insert faces may be grooved as by casting and/or engraving. The resulting recesses may take a variety of sizes and shapes, particularly those in regular patterns. These recesses may then be filled with polymer with the face then being milled flat such that the polymer does not extend beyond the face of the golf club face insert. The golf club face insert may be particularly used with putters and may also be either set to manifest one of a variety of loft angles or may be adapted for insertion into a club head that is already pre-set at a particular loft angle.

By providing a flat golf club face insert or face, the problem of having multiple surfaces striking the golf ball at once is avoided which could introduce a variety of unpredictable and/or difficult to handle torques or forces on the golf ball. By preventing the polymer or other insert material from projecting past the surface of the golf club face insert, a generally flat surface is presented to the golf ball. This prevents protruding material from initially contacting the golf ball and forcing the golf ball in a direction that is not consistent with the face of the golf club face insert.

In one embodiment of the present invention, a golf putter face insert has a faceplate that defines recesses with the recesses filled with polymer. In this way, the golf putter face insert is better adapted to strike a golf ball.

In another embodiment of the present invention, a golf putter face insert has a faceplate defining recesses with the recesses filled with polymer and defined in a repeated pattern. The repeated pattern may be selected from a group that includes: aligned horizontal recesses, staggered horizontal recesses, aligned circular recesses, staggered circular recesses, aligned diamond-shaped recesses, staggered diamond-shaped recesses, aligned vertical recesses, staggered vertical recesses, partial circular recesses, semi-circular recesses, horizontal rows, and combinations thereof. The repeated pattern may be circumscribed or delimited by at least one additional recess selected from a group that includes: parenthetical recesses, oppositely opposed curved recesses, oppositely opposed sidebar recesses, oppositely opposed angled recesses, semi-circular recesses, oppositely opposed double sidebar recesses, and combinations thereof. In this way, the golf putter face insert is better adapted to strike a golf ball.

In another embodiment of the present invention, a method for constructing a golf putter face insert is set forth with the steps including the providing of a faceplate with recesses and then filling the recesses with polymer. In this way, a golf putter face insert is provided that is better adapted to strike a golf ball.

Another embodiment of the present invention includes a method for constructing a golf putter face insert with the steps including the providing of a faceplate with recesses defined in a repeated pattern and with the face having a loft angle. The step of providing of the faceplate with recesses may be achieved by casting the faceplate with the recesses, providing a faceplate then engraving the recesses upon the faceplate, and/or by effecting combinations thereof. The recesses are then filled with polymer and the faceplate is milled to provide a flat face with the filled recesses flat.

The repeated pattern of the recesses may be selected from a group including: aligned horizontal recesses, staggered horizontal recesses, aligned circular recesses, staggered circular recesses, aligned diamond-shaped recesses, staggered diamond-shaped recesses, aligned vertical recesses, staggered vertical recesses, partial circular recesses, semi-circular recesses, horizontal rows, and combinations thereof. The repeated pattern may be circumscribed or delimited by at least one additional recess selected from a group including: parenthetical recesses, oppositely opposed curved recesses, oppositely opposed sidebar recesses, oppositely opposed angled recesses, semi-circular recesses, oppositely opposed double sidebar recesses, and combinations thereof. In this way, a golf putter face insert is provided that is better adapted to strike a golf ball.

A further embodiment of the present invention includes a golf putter having one of the golf putter face inserts as made or described above.

Other embodiments of the present invention are set forth in more detail, below.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a better golf putter.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a better face insert for a golf putter.

It is another object of the present invention to provide selectable traction on a golf ball when struck by a putter face.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a method by which a golf putter face insert may be constructed that enables better traction during the golf ball strike.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a golf putter that has a selectable loft angle.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide combinations of the foregoing objects in a golf putter or face insert for a golf putter.

These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from a review of the following specification and accompanying drawings. The foregoing objects are some of but a few of the goals sought to be attained by the present invention and are set forth for the purposes of example only and not those of limitation.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a left side perspective view of a putter golf club (shown in phantom) having a golf club face and/or insert according to one embodiment of the present invention showing a series of staggered horizontal recesses.

FIGS. 2-7 show alternative embodiments of the golf club face of the present invention.

FIG. 2 shows a front plan view of a golf club face insert (shown in phantom) having staggered circular recesses. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, alternating recesses are filled leaving some empty.

FIG. 3 shows a front plan view of a golf club face insert having staggered diamond-shaped filled recesses with the perimeter of the insert shown in phantom.

FIG. 4 shows a front plan view of a golf club face having staggered vertical recesses with the perimeter of the insert shown in phantom.

FIG. 5 shows a front plan view of a golf club face insert with half round configuration having staggered horizontal recesses circumscribed by a partial circular recess, the perimeter of the insert shown in phantom.

FIG. 6 shows a front plan view of a golf club face insert having a series of nested semi-circular recesses with the perimeter of the insert shown in phantom.

FIG. 7 shows a front plan view of a golf club face insert having a series of aligned transversing horizontal rows with the perimeter of the insert shown in phantom.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT(S)

The detailed description set forth below in connection with the appended drawings is intended as a description of presently-preferred embodiments of the invention and is not intended to represent the only forms in which the present invention may be constructed and/or utilized. The description sets forth the functions and the sequence of steps for constructing and operating the invention in connection with the illustrated embodiments. However, it is to be understood that the same or equivalent functions and sequences may be accomplished by different embodiments that are also intended to be encompassed within the spirit and scope of the invention.

The present invention resides in a putter golf club or putter golf club face insert that uses polymer-filled recesses that are milled flat with the putter's flat face to provide a uniform surface in order to give better traction and control over the golf ball when struck by the club face so constructed. In this way, the recesses and/or corners they create in the face of the golf club act like “claws” to grab or affect the ball, the ball strike, and the subsequent course of motion for the golf ball so struck.

Either by casting or engraving, recesses are formed in the face of a golf club head or a face insert therefor. Note should be taken that the term “face insert” as used herein is intended to include all manifestations of the golf club face invention set forth herein and its implementation whether on the golf club head alone or through a manufacturable or possibly interchangeable golf club face insert.

When the face insert is formed with its recesses, the recesses are then filled with a polymer of a selectable nature. The polymer may be rigid, soft, elastic, or non-compressible. A variety of different substances may be used and the term “polymer” as used herein indicates any material that might be used to provide controllable golf club face ball strike characteristics along the lines as set forth herein or otherwise.

Once the recesses have been made and filled, the face of the insert is then milled or otherwise made flat in order to provide a uniform striking surface for the golf ball. The insert may be manufactured to have a certain angle with respect to the vertical, known as the “loft,” or such an angle may be present within the head into which the insert fits. A variety of configurations for the recesses may be achieved including aligned and staggered embodiments having horizontal segments, circular segments, diamond- (or rhomboid-) shaped, vertical segments, half round segments with horizontally configured recesses or nested semi-circular recesses as well as horizontal rows traversing a significant portion of the face insert.

Referring to the drawings where like numerals of references designate like elements throughout, FIG. 1 shows a golf club C in phantom having a head H and a shaft S, the head H bearing a golf club face F. The golf club face shows a first embodiment of the present invention having a face configuration 100. The face configuration 100 is shown in alternative embodiments in FIGS. 2-7. As set forth herein, the use of the terms “insert,” “face,” and the like are generally used interchangeably with context of such use indicating with particularity the meaning involved. As can be seen, the face configuration 100 can be engraved directly into the golf club head H at its face F or may be used as an interchangeable or permanent insert which may then be attached to the head H by a variety of means now known or developed in the future. The face configuration 100 shown in FIG. 1 shows a series of short horizontal recesses 102 which are staggered in nature such that alternating rows may be aligned or no rows may be aligned with a perpendicular to the direction of the short horizontal recesses 102. Alternatively, some or very few of the recesses 102 aligned with such a perpendicular. Generally, in such a staggered system, no two adjacent rows would be aligned.

Alternatively, the short horizontal recesses 102 could be in an aligned fashion such that a perpendicular could be aligned with the short horizontal recesses. The short horizontal recesses 102 are generally placed in the center of the face F and may be circumscribed at opposite ends by oppositely opposed curved recesses 104 which appear somewhat as parenthetical recesses 104. The alignment of the face configuration 100 across the width of face F may be selectable during manufacture and placed or situated according to user preferences, manufacturing expediencies, or marketing preferences.

FIG. 2 shows an alternative face configuration 100 with the perimeter of the face F being shown in phantom. FIG. 2 is generally a face on view of the face configuration 100 and, as is similar for the face configurations shown in FIG. 3-7, might be substituted for the face configuration 100 shown in FIG. 1. In FIG. 2, staggered circular recesses are shown that are generally aligned on every other row. In an alternative embodiment, the staggered circular recesses 110 could be aligned in rows.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, alternating recesses 110 are filled, leaving other ones empty. This configuration may be elaborated on in almost endless variety, with certain recesses 110 being filled while other recesses 110 are left empty. This gives rise to an additional manner in which the responsiveness and ball-strike characteristics of the face F of the club C may be varied, modified, altered, and tailored for the golfer in order to help his or her game.

Sidebars 112 may be placed at opposite ends of the circular recesses 110. The general configuration of face F is generally used for the face configurations 100 of FIGS. 3-7. Generally, the same considerations present for the face configuration 100 of FIGS. 1 and 2 are present through the alternative embodiments of the present invention, some of which are shown in FIGS. 3-7.

In FIG. 3, a series of staggered diamond-shaped, or rhomboid, recesses 120 are shown. Such recesses 120 may be aligned, however, close packing considerations generally have them in a staggered configuration. Such an aligned configuration can be achieved by generally removing every other row (from the configuration shown in FIG. 3) and moving the points of vertically adjacent recesses 120 in close proximity to one another. The diamond-shaped recesses 120 may be generally circumscribed at opposite ends by angled recesses 122 or otherwise. The circumscribing recesses set forth herein are generally interchangeable according to user preferences, effect upon the ball when struck, or otherwise.

In FIG. 4, a series of staggered vertical recesses 130 are circumscribed at either end by curved or parenthetical recesses 104 such as that shown in FIG. 1. As for the other repeated patterns of recesses, the staggered vertical recess 130 may be either staggered or aligned and the spacing between the individual recesses may be subject to user choice, manufacturing preferences/efficiencies, or marketing considerations. The same is similarly true not only for the spacing between the individual recesses 130 as well as the other recesses set forth herein, but also the individual size of the recesses.

In FIG. 5, the horizontal recesses 140 may generally be staggered and centered across the face F. The horizontal recesses 140 have a profile generally of a semi-circle and a semi-circular recess 142 circumscribes the top of the staggered horizontal recesses 140 and the group that they form.

FIG. 6 shows a series of nested or concentric semi-circular recesses 150 each of which are interrupted from the other by semi-circular regions 152 of the golf club face F. As a result, alternating semi-circular regions are present that alternate between the polymer-filled recess 150 and its adjacent golf club face surface semi-circle 152.

FIG. 7 shows a series of horizontal rows 160 that generally traverse the face F. Between each other horizontal row recesses 160 is an unengraved portion 162 of the golf club face F. As shown in FIG. 7, the rows may be generally equal in width, but this can be adjusted according to a variety of circumstances, preferences, or other considerations.

Double-sidebar recesses 164 may be present on either side of the group of horizontal rows 160. As shown in FIG. 7, these double-sidebar recesses 164 generally span the height of the middle two rows shown in FIG. 7, however the height, disposition, and placement of the double-sidebar recesses 164 may be subject to the same considerations as for the other recesses in their placement, disposition, spacing, etc.

Having set forth above the variety of configurations some of the several embodiments of the face configuration 100 of the present invention can take, note should be taken that such recesses provide the ability to change the surface aspects of the golf club face F. This allows the golfer a greater degree of control over the critical strike of the golf ball by changing the characteristics of the striking surface. Each golfer has a unique swing and the ability to alter the striking surface of the golf putter or other golf club can aid or accommodate the golfer's swing. As indicated above, the golf club face F may be disposed at an angle with respect to the golf club C and this loft may either be incorporated into a face insert attached to the golf club C or may be present in the golf club to which a flat insert is attached, inset, or otherwise.

At one extreme, the entire face F of the golf club C could be polymeric material. This is generally not seen as it may not provide those characteristics the golfer may wish to use. Alternatively, several putters have flat or engraved metal faces which may or may not provide an optimum surface by which to strike a golf ball when in close proximity to the hole. The present invention provides means by which to selectably and selectively adjust the striking characteristics of the face F by providing a variety of geometries for the recesses, and by providing for a variety of materials which may fill such recess. The present invention enables a golfer to achieve possibly better golf swings, more controllable putts, and better scores. In so doing, the individual may find greater enjoyment in the game and be able to accommodate certain idiosyncrasies in his or her swing.

Furthermore, as set forth above, polymer filling in the recesses and/or the edges at the transitions points between the face F and the polymer-filled areas may allow better traction on the ball and enable better engagement of the ball by the golf club face.

In order to achieve the golf club face of the present invention, a golf club insert may be cast or engraved having a recess geometry as set forth above. These recesses are then filled with a polymer material. In one embodiment, the recesses may be filled by having the entire face F of the golf club C subjected to the polymer filling material as by dipping into a reservoir, as by spreading the polymer across the face, as by pouring the polymer onto the face and spreading it thereover, or otherwise. The face may then be milled flat with or without a loft angle in order to provide the golf club face configuration 100 as set forth herein where each of the recesses are interrupted from the others by the foundation material of the golf club face F. Alternating regions of golf club face F material and polymer are preferably present at or near the point or area where the golf ball is struck.

The configurations 100 set forth above may be selectively applied to and/or positioned on the face F of the golf club C. Such configurations 100 may be placed at the heel, the toe, in the center, or otherwise with respect to the golf club face F.

While the present invention has been described with regards to particular embodiments, it is recognized that additional variations of the present invention may be devised without departing from the inventive concept.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7717801 *May 19, 2008May 18, 2010Nike, Inc.Putter heads and putters including polymeric material as part of the ball striking face
US7806779May 18, 2009Oct 5, 2010Nike, Inc.Putter heads and putters including polymeric material as part of the ball striking face
US7927230 *Oct 31, 2008Apr 19, 2011Karsten Manufacturing CorporationGolf club head with grooves and method of manufacture
US8012035Aug 27, 2010Sep 6, 2011Nike, Inc.Putter heads and putters including polymeric material as part of the ball striking face
US8062146Mar 9, 2010Nov 22, 2011Nike, Inc.Putter heads and putters including polymeric material as part of the ball striking face
US8083605Oct 18, 2010Dec 27, 2011Nike, Inc.Putter heads and putters including polymeric material as part of the ball striking face
US8083611Nov 5, 2008Dec 27, 2011Sri Sports LimitedPutter-type golf club head
US8109841Nov 10, 2010Feb 7, 2012M-System Co., Ltd.Putter face and golf putter having the same
US8172698Mar 10, 2011May 8, 2012Karsten Manufacturing CorporationGolf club head with grooves and method of manufacture
US8210962May 14, 2010Jul 3, 2012Nike, Inc.Putter heads and putters including polymeric material as part of the ball striking face
US8216081Nov 4, 2009Jul 10, 2012Nike, Inc.Putter heads and putters including polymeric material as part of the ball striking face
US8292754Oct 19, 2010Oct 23, 2012Nike, Inc.Putter heads and putters including polymeric material as part of the ball striking face
US8337320Oct 5, 2011Dec 25, 2012Nike, Inc.Putter heads and putters including polymeric material as part of the ball striking face
US8382608Apr 5, 2012Feb 26, 2013Karsten Manufacturing CorporationGolf club head with grooves and method of manufacture
US8480513Dec 24, 2008Jul 9, 2013Sri Sports LimitedPutter-type golf club head
US8506415Sep 13, 2010Aug 13, 2013Nike, Inc.Putter heads and putters including polymeric material as part of the ball striking surface
US8550932Nov 29, 2010Oct 8, 2013Nike, Inc.Putter heads and putters including polymeric material as part of the ball striking face
US8579717Sep 14, 2012Nov 12, 2013Nike, Inc.Putter heads and putters including polymeric material as part of the ball striking face
US8721469Oct 8, 2010May 13, 2014Nike, Inc.Golf club, golf club head and golf club grip structures
US8747245Apr 16, 2013Jun 10, 2014Nike, Inc.Golf clubs and golf club heads
EP2581118A1 *May 18, 2009Apr 17, 2013Nike International Ltd.Putter heads and putters with grooves with edges of different materials
WO2009143052A1May 18, 2009Nov 26, 2009Nike International, Ltd.Putter heads and putters including polymeric material as part of the ball striking face
WO2011056376A2 *Oct 14, 2010May 12, 2011Nike International Ltd.Golf club, golf club head and golf club grip structures
Classifications
U.S. Classification473/340, 473/342
International ClassificationA63B53/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B53/0487, A63B2053/0416, A63B53/08, A63B53/04, A63B2053/0445
European ClassificationA63B53/04, A63B53/04P, A63B53/08