US 3627326 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Inventor Elmer Lynden Berry  F REIGNTATENTS 1660 Parrott Drive, San Mateo, Calif. I 4 452 I 1905 Britain 273/] 99 94402 I6 231 1910 Great Britain... 273/199  Appl. No. 863,116 1 it  Filed Oct 2 1969 1 1/1968 France 273/199 45 Patented Dec. 14, 1971 1 1,495,597 8/1967 France 273/199 Primary Examiner-George J. Marlo  GOLF PRACTICE DEVICE Attorney-Flehr, Hohbach, Test, Albritton & Herbert 4 Claims, 4 Drawing Figs.
52 US. Cl ABSTRACT: A plurality of streamers are secured to a golf ball  Int. Cl A63, 69/36 for restricting the free flight thereof. The streamers may be of  dd oi Search 273/199 different colors and are connected to the ball by a single 6 197 length of cord having one of its ends secured to a pair of parallel cords which also may be of different colors. The other end [56 Referemes cu of the single cord is secured to the ball. The streamers are UNITED STATES PATENTS secured to the pair of parallel cords. If a hook or slice in- 883 058 3 1908 fluence is imparted to the ball, the pair of parallel cords will 1 528'909 311925 273/200 R X twist upon each other. The single cord is formed of a heavier 12 1938 u lard 273/198 material than that used in forming the pair of parallel cords. 47'979 9 gf 273/199 During ground roll, the single cord absorbs twisting forces that l1 SE9 h 273/199 would otherwise be imparted to the pair of parallel cords.
PATENTEDDECMISII 33527325 3: FMAI, 1W Twh sou PRACTICE DEVICE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION l. Field of the Invention This invention relates generally to sporting goods and more particularly to a practice device for use in improving and perfecting a persons golf game. More particularly, this invention relates to a golf practice device which includes means in conjunction therewith for advising the person using the same whether his swing has imparted a correct trajectory to the ball or whether the ball has been driven in an improper fashion. Still more particularly, this invention relates to a golfing aid which includes visual indicator means for determining whether or not the ball has been correctly driven or whether the same has been imparted with an improper hook or slice influence. Means are included to restrict the distance of travel of the device without tethering it to the ground.
2. Description of the Prior Art Heretofore devices have been known generally for the stated purpose of improving a persons golf game. Devices have been generally known which assertedly permit golfing practice within restricted distances so that a person may repeatedly practice his golfing stroke in confined areas.
However, prior known devices, so far as is known, have included no means in conjunction therewith for visually indicating whether or not a golf stroke has been properly executed. That is, so far as is known, prior known devices have not included indicator means which, upon visual inspection, indicate whether a hook or slice influence has been imparted to the ball. This deficiency in the prior art is attributable to the fact that prior known devices may be classified at tether" devices in which some portion of the device, to a greater or lesser extent, is secured or attached to the ground so that free flight of the device as a unit is positively precluded.
Characteristic of prior known devices are those shown in the patents to Mitchell, U.S. Pat. No. 2,081,059 dated May 18, I937 and Meminger, U.S. Pat. No. 2,852,261 dated Sept. 16, I958. In addition, Australian Pat. No. 21,210 dated Feb. 6, I935 shows an anchor or tether device for use in practicing a tennis stroke which is somewhat analogous to the field of invention of the present development.
With prior art arrangements of the type exemplified by the patents noted, the device is designed so that the ball is precluded from free flight. That is, the ball in each case is precluded from flight for more than a few feet, determined by the length of the tether cord. As a result, no indication can be given with such devices as to whether the ball was driven with a hook or slice influence. Additionally, because such devices are generally tethered or held to the ground, the ball and tether cord are subjected to substantial strain which can result in the ball separating from the tether cord, thereby necessitating repair or disposal of the device.
The present arrangement overcomes such deficiencies of the prior art in that the practice device of this invention is devised so that all portions of the device will travel as a unit in substantially free flight with the ball when the same is driven. However, means are provided to restrict the flight of the ball within generally predetermined maximum distance limits so that the device may be utilized in confined areas, such as the small backyard of an average home. Additionally, the subject device has the important improvement of including means for indicating, either during flight or after completion of flight, whether the ball was correctly driven or was imparted with an incorrect influence such as a hook or slice influence.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to an improved golf practice device. More particularly, this invention relates to a golf practice device in which a ball is to be driven in free flight and carries therewith the remainder of the device which includes means for indicating whether or not the ball has been correctly driven.
More particularly, this invention relates to interfering golfing aid which includes indicator means for correctly advising a person using the same whether or not he has correctly hit the ball with the golf club. Still more particularly, this invention relates to a golf practice device which may be utilized within a confined area while retaining the improved characteristics noted. Such device incorporates means for imparting aerodynamic drag or air resistance to limit the extent of free flight of the device while not interfering with its intended trajectory. Such a device may be used by one person who can retrieve the same after a practice shot or by two persons spaced from each other who can drive the device back and forth between each other and thereby advise each other on the accuracy of the previous stroke.
From the foregoing, it should be understood that objects of this invention include the provision of an improved golf practice device; the provision of a golfing aid which includes indicator means for advising a person using the same whether his golf stroke has been a correct or incorrect one; the provision in a golf practice device of visual indicator means for advising a person using the same whether his stroke has been correct while the device is still in the air; the provision in a golf practice device of visual indicator means for advising the person using the same whether his stroke has been correctly executed, upon inspection thereof after the device reaches the end of its flight; and the provision of a golfing aid in which the same is free to travel as a unit in generally free flight within restricted distance limits as opposed to being tethered to or held in contact with the ground.
These and other objects of this invention will become apparent from a study of the following description in which reference is directed to the appended drawings.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an elevational view of one embodiment of the subject device positioned, as shown in solid lines ready to be driven in a practice stroke. The dotted lines indicating the general path of travel of the same after being struck by a golf club.
FIG. 2 is an enlarged view of that portion of the device set out by line 2-2 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is an enlarged view of that portion of the device set out by line 3-3 of FIG. 1.
FIG. 4 is a portion of one form of indicator means of the device, which is the form shown in the FIG. 1 embodiment. Cooperable portions thereof have been shown separated from each other for clarity of illustration.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring first to FIGS. 1 through 4, one embodiment of the subject device is illustrated. Such embodiment includes a conventional golf ball 1 of standard dimensions and weight. Attached to the ball for free flight therewith through the air when the ball is struck by a golf club are means generally designated 2 for indicating whether the ball has been properly driven and for restricting the flight of the device within predetermined maximum limits.
In the illustrated embodiment, the flight-restricting means is generally designated 3 and may take various forms as will be described. As further will be described with respect to other embodiments, the flight-restricting means and the indicator means may be one and the same or they may be separate from each other as they are in the embodiment of FIGS. I through 4.
In either case, the indicator and flight-restricting means combine to restrict the travel of the ball to a distance less than would be expected in their absence. However, such means permit generally free flight of the ball within predetermined maximum limits so that improper stroke influences imparted to the ball will be evident upon visual observation of the indicator means. This is in distinction to prior known devices in which the ball was tethered or held in contact with the ground by some tethering means such as a tether cord so that such device could not leave the ground as a unit. Such prior art arrangements do not permit any conclusion being drawn as to whether or not the ball was properly driven.
In the embodiment shown in FIGS. I through 4, the flightrestricting means is operatively connected with ball 1 by cord means generally designated 4 secured at one end thereof to the ball. The manner in which such cord means is secured to the ball may vary. However, procedures such as those shown in the previously noted patents to Mitchell, U.S. Pat. No. 2,08l,059 or Meminger, US. Pat. No. 2,852,261, are typical of several methods which may be utilized to secure the cord and ball together. At its opposite end, the cord means 4 is secured to flight-restricting means 3 in a manner to be described.
The cord means in this embodiment of the device includes two cord sections 6 and 7 connected with each other intermediate the ball 1 and the flight-restricting means 3 generally at location 8. Cord section 6 is defined by a single cord while cord section 7 includes two separate and normally parallel cords 8 and 9 provided for the purpose to be described. At location 8, the single cord 6 and the pair of cords 8 and 9 are connected to each other in any suitable fashion, such as by looping one within the other as seen in FIG. 2.
The pair of cords 8 and 9 as seen in FIG. 3 are secured to the flight-restricting means 3 by passing the same through a bead ll engaged with one end of an open pyramidalor conical-shaped plastic bell fitting 12. The pair of cords extend into the fitting l2 and are engaged and secured therein by tying the same to a second bead 13 located within the fitting.
A series of discrete streamers 14 are interposed between the enclosed end of the fitting and bead 13. The cords 8 and 9 extend through holes in the streamers and the bead I3 precludes separation of the streamers from the cords.
The weight of the cord sections 6 and 7 andof the flightrestricting means comprised of the fitting l2 and the streamers 14 is such that stroking of ball 1 in a normal fashion with a given golf club will pull the entire golf practice device from the ground so that the cord sections and streamers travel with the ball through a predetermined maximum distance. For example, the weight of the ball with respect to the cord sections and the streamers may be correlated so that the ball, no matter how hard the same is hit, will travel no more than 30 yards. It should be obvious also that arrangements can be made so that the ball can travel less than or further than that exemplary distance. It should further be understood that varied devices of the subject type can be produced which will permit a golfer to practice with each of the conventional clubs he would normally use on a golfcourse.
In that connection, as shown in solid lines in FIG. 1, prior to driving, the device is stretched out to its full length with the cord sections 6 and 7 and the streamers extending generally along and in the direction of the intended path of flight of the ball. Such path of flight is partially shown by the dotted lines in FIG 1. The ball is struck in such a fashion that the cords and streamers follow the ball and travel therewith for the full flight of the ball. That is, the device is in no way tethered or held in contact with the ground.
In an embodiment of the type rotation in FIG. 1, the indicator means may comprise two distinct structures for indicating correct or incorrect 'flight of the ball. For example, the streamers 14 may be provided with different indicia, such as different highly contrasting colors, (black and white for example) which will permit a viewer of the device in flight to determine whether the streamers are rotating in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. Such rotation would be effected by rotation. of the ball and would indicate whether the ball has been imparted with a hook influence or slice influence. That is, if the streamers when viewed in flight are seen to be rotating in the clockwise direction when viewed in a direction looking from the streamers towards the ball, such rotation would indicate a slice for a right-hand golfer. Conversely, a hook would be indicated by a counterclockwise rotation of the streamers when thus viewed.
In that connection, while the streamers provide means for visually determining correct or incorrect ball travel during flight, such a visual inspection desirably should be made by a person other than the person driving the ball. If the person driving the ball were to try to watch the streamers, he would tend to lift his head which would detract from proper concentration on his swing.
The arrangement shown in FIG. 1 also includes means for visually determining whether a ball has been properly hit after the same has come to rest following its full distance of travel. Such means comprises the pair of cords 8 and 9 which also desirably are provided with different indicia, such as readily distinguishable colors or striping (black and white, for example). If the ball is improperly hit with a hook or slice influence, the cords 8 and 9 will wind or twist upon each other in response to rotation of the ball. Such condition is shown in exaggerated fashion in FIG. 4 for clarity of illustration. Such twisting will readily indicate when the practice device is retrieved whether a hook or slice has been imparted thereto. However, if the cords are untwisted, it will indicate to the golfer that he has hit a proper golf stroke. Obviously the extent of twist will emphasize the extent of hook or slice imparted to the ball.
In connection with the inspection aspects of the pair of cords 8 and 9, the single cord 6 performs an important function. After the ball strikes the ground following its flight through the air, it can be expected to roll some limited distance. Such ground rolling, if not compensated for, would tend to increase or decrease the amount of twist imparted'to the double cords 8 and 9 during flight. The single cord during ground roll of the ball will wind upon itself but will not, it has been found, alter to any appreciable extent the amount of twist imparted to the double cords 8 and 9. Thus, the single cord serves as a buffer to compensate for ground roll so that, upon retrieving the device, an accurate indication of the hook or slice influence imparted to the ball will remain.
In the embodiment shown, it is important to note that, by proper selection of weight of cords, cord lengths, streamer weights and lengths, that the golfing aid defined by this invention may be calibrated to respond to a perfect golf stroke. That is, if a ball is perfectly hit so that it would travel in normal flight 300 yards, by judicious selection of the components noted, such a stroke can be calibrated to cause the device to travel a maximum of 30 yards, thereby producing a l0 to IV ratio between a normal drive and a practice drive. Thus, as a result, in addition to the hook or slice indication capability, a distance calibration can be imparted to this device. Such distance calibration can be made known by information sold with the practice device so that, for example, if the purchaser wishes to practice his drives with a No. 1 wood, he would purchase one calibrated device, whereas if he wished to practice his chip or approach shots with a No. 9 iron, he would purchase a differently calibrated device.
By way of specific example and inches intending to be limiting on the invention disclosed, the embodiment of the subject device corresponding to the construction shown in FIGS. I through 4 will be described. In such arrangement, a single cord 6, of pliable cotton or suitable plastic, approximately one-eighth inch in diameter and 36 inches long is employed. The pair of double cords 8 and 9, also of pliable cotton or plastic, approximately one-sixteenth inch in diameter and 24 inches long is employed. Streamers 14, formed of any suitable cotton material, approximately 1 inch wide and 12 inches long are employed. The number of streamers utilized may vary, but in the embodiment described, 12 such streamers, six each of different colors, have been found suitable.
It should be understood, as noted previously, that variations on this specific embodiment to meet particular needs may be effected without departing from the spirit or scope of this invention as set out in the appended claims.
Having thus made a full disclosure of this invention, reference is directed to the appended claims for the scope of protection to be afforded thereto.
l. A free flight untethered golf practice device consisting of a golf ball of standard size and weight, means attached to said golf ball for indicating whether said ball has been properly driven or whether a hook or slice influence has been imparted thereto during free flight thereof, and means for restricting the distance of free flight of said golf ball without precluding such flight thereof; said indicating means consisting of first and second discrete cord sections interposed between and interconnecting said golf ball and said flight-restricting means, said first cord section being defined by a predetermined length of single cord attached directly to said golf ball, said second cord section consisting of a pair of separate cords of predetermined length which are normally parallel to each other and which are twistable upon each other during free flight of said device in response to a hook or slice influence being imparted to said golf ball when driven by a golf club, said pair of cords being attached directly to and being generally fixedly secured to said length of single cord and to said flight-restricting means and being interposed therebetween, said pair of cords becoming wound upon each other in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction during free flight of said golf ball in response to such hook or slice influence being imparted to said golf ball; said single cord serving as a buffer to compensate for any ground roll of said golf ball following flight thereof so that the degree of twist imparted to said pair of cords during flight will not be altered during such ground roll; said flightrestricting means comprising a plurality of streamers attached directly to said pair of cords to limit the distance of free flight of said golf ball without impairing the ability of said pair of cords to record said hook or slice influence imparted to said golf ball during such free flight thereof.
2. The practice device of claim 1 in which said pair of cords are provided with different indicia thereon to facilitate visual inspection thereof for clockwise or counterclockwise twisting after said ball has come to rest following flight thereof.
3. The practice device of claim 2 in which said different indicia comprise different colors of said cords.
4. The practice device of claim 1 in which said single cord is formed of a heavier material than the material from which said pair of cords is formed to facilitate compensation for ground roll by said single cord without altering the degree of twist of said pair of cords.
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