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Publication numberUS3693979 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 26, 1972
Filing dateAug 6, 1970
Priority dateAug 6, 1970
Publication numberUS 3693979 A, US 3693979A, US-A-3693979, US3693979 A, US3693979A
InventorsKoett Lee E
Original AssigneeKoett Lee E
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Golf practice device
US 3693979 A
Abstract
A golf practice device is disclosed which incorporates a wedge-shaped member having an inclined upper surface from which a golf ball may be driven. The wedge-shaped member may be stationary or may be rotatable relative to a remote target, either rotatable manually or by means of a suitable drive means, thereby providing a variety of lies of the ball, including uphill, downhill, sidehill and crosshill. In an alternate embodiment of the invention the device comprises a pair of vertically-superimposed wedge-shaped members, each of which may be rotated relative to the other and a remote target, whereby the top surface of the upper wedge may assume a variety of angles ranging from the horizontal to a maximum inclination, as determined by the maximum angle of the individual wedges. In a preferred embodiment, an electric motor is provided for effecting rotation of the wedge-shaped member, and control means are provided to energize the motor and to stop the motor when the wedge-shaped member has reached a desired rotational position. The control means may include a control box having a plurality of push-buttons to select a desired rotational position of the wedge-shaped member, a plurality of micro-switches associated with an underlying base upon which the wedge-shaped member is disposed controlling the operation of the motor, each of the micro-switches corresponding to a single rotational position of the wedge-shaped member. A plurality of cam members may be disposed about the periphery of the wedge-shaped member, each of the cam members contacting one of the micro-switches to thereby stop rotation of the wedge-shaped member when a pre-selected one of the cam members contacts its corresponding micro-switch.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Koett [54] GOLF PRACTICE DEVICE [72] Inventor: Lee E. Koett, 901 Cardinal Road,

Virginia Beach, Va. 2345i [22] Filed: Aug. 6, 1970 [2l] Appl. No.: 61,662

[52] US. Cl. ..273/l95 B, 273/195 A, 273/176 H [51] Int. Cl. ..A63b 69/36, A63b 67/02 [58] Field of Search ..273/l76, l95, I96, I97, 198

Primary ExaminerGeorge J. Marlo Auorney Dennis 0. Kraft and Herbert l. Cantor [57] ABSTRACT A golf practice device is disclosed which incorporates a wedge-shaped member having an inclined upper surface from which a golf ball may be driven. The wedgeshaped member may be stationary or may be rotatable relative to a remote target, either rotatable manually [451 Sept. 26, 1972 or by means of a suitable drive means, thereby providing a variety of lies of the ball, including uphill, downhill, sidehill and crosshill. in an alternate embodiment of the invention the device comprises a pair of vertically-superimposed wedge-shaped members, each of which may be rotated relative to the other and a remote target, whereby the top surface of the upper wedge may assume a variety of angles ranging from the horizontal to a maximum inclination, as determined by the maximum angle of the individual wedges, In a preferred embodiment, an electric motor is provided for effecting rotation of the wedgeshaped member, and control means are provided to energize the motor and to stop the motor when the wedgeshaped member has reached a desired rotational position. The control means may include a control box having a plurality of push-buttons to select a desired rotational position of the wedge-shaped member, a plurality of micro-switches associated with an underlying base upon which the wedge-shaped member is disposed controlling the operation of the motor, each of the micro-switches corresponding to a single rotational position of the wedge-shaped member. A plurality of cam members may be disposed about the periphery of the wedge-shaped member, each of the cam members contacting one of the micro-switches to thereby stop rotation of the wedge-shaped member when a preselected one of the cam members contacts its corresponding micro-switch.

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INVENTOR LEE E. KOETT GOLF PRACTICE DEVICE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to golf practice devices, and particularly to a device which provides a surface from which a golf ball may formulas: driven and which may be rotated and/or inclined to a variety of positions relative to a remote target.

It has long been recognized that it is desirable for a golfer to be able to practice various types of golf strokes (shots) outside of actual play on a course. Thus, for example, recent years have seen a considerable rise in popularity of driving ranges, where a golfer may practice driving from a fixed, level, surface in order to perfect his stoke and aim. However, such golf driving ranges generally require the golfer to drive from a substantially level ground lie, whereas most golf courses where actual play is encountered are characterized by a variety of slopes and inclined planes. Thus, a golfer who has for all intents and purposes perfected his stoke by practicing on the level surface of a driving range, will frequently find that an entirely different approach is required when driving or stroking from an inclined surface, with the result that his score will drop off considerably under such actual play conditions because of lack of knowledge and/or experience with varied golf ball lies.

To overcome the obvious disadvantages of conventional driving ranges, there have heretofore been proposed various types of golf practice devices which approximated the actual inclined surfaces which would normally be encountered on a golf course. However, devices proposed to date have exhibited the common drawback that they require time-consuming, manually adjusted means such as hydraulic drive systems and jack screws to achieve these inclined positions, unlike the present invention which will be seen to incorporate the wedge principle as a preformed, integral part of the design and therefore requires no complex additional means to achieve the desired inclined positions.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION With the above background in mind, it is therefore a primary object of the present invention to provide a golf practice device which can simulate a multitude of inclined surfaces. ln this respect, the invention utilizes a novel wedge-shaped member from which a golf ball can be driven, so as to overcome the above-mentioned drawbacks of prior known devices.

It is a further, more specific object of this invention to provide such a golf practice device of the general character described which can simulate inclined positions or lies, through incorporation of said wedgeshaped member, whether or not said wedge-shaped member is stationary or rotatable relative to a remote target, and which device may be used indoors or outdoors, depending upon the available space.

Another object and feature of the present invention is to provide such a golf practice device wherein the direction of inclination of the driving surface, relative to a remote target, may be varied by simple rotational movement of the inclined surface, by means of an automatic, push button control system, such control system facilitating selection of any one of a plurality of rotational indexed positions at the option of the practicing golfer.

It is a further object of the invention to provide a golf practice device wherein versatility is greatly increased, and, in this respect, the present invention contemplates the novel feature of incorporation of two wedge-shaped members, one superimposed upon the other, each of which is rotatable relative to the other and to a remote target. With this embodiment of the invention, the top or playing surface of the upper wedge-shaped member may be selectively adjusted to any desired angle of inclination between the horizontal and the predetermined maximum angle of inclination.

Yet another object of the invention is found in the provision of a'simplified embodiment of the wedgeshaped member which is economical to manufacture, which may be readily moved to any desired location, indoors or outdoors, and which may be readily used with a minimum of instruction by unskilled golfers.

A still further object and feature of the present invention concerns the provision of a golf practice device of the type described wherein the top or playing surface of the wedge-shaped member may advantageously be covered with a suitable synthetic turf to more nearly simulate the conditions to be encountered on a golf course in actual play.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The invention itself will be better understood and additional objects, advantages and features thereof will become apparent from the following detailed description of various preferred embodiments of the invention, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. I is a vertical sectional view through a first embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the embodiment of FIG. I, with the control box removed for clarity;

FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of yet a further embodiment of the invention, which may be manually rotated;

FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of a further embodiment of the invention FIG. 5 is a perspective view of yet a further embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of still a further modified embodiment of the invention, showing a preferred drive and control arrangement therefor;

FIG. 7 is a top plan view of the base member of FIG. 6; and

FIG. 8 is a bottom plan view of the wedge member of FIG. 6.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Referring now to the drawings and initially to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown a primary and preferred embodiment pharmacologically the inventive golf practice device. The device, designated generally by reference numeral 10, comprises a generally circular rotatable wedge-shaped member which includes an inclined upper surface 14 which serves as a supporting surface for both the ball being driven, indicated as l6, and a golfer standing thereon. The rotatable support member 12 may be formed of any suitable materials, in order to be lightweight and yet have sufiicient strength and rigidity to support the weight of a golfer standing thereon. Advantageously, the rotatable support member may be formed of a lightweight foamed or horieycombed material having an outer rigid plastic shell.

The rotatable support member 12 rests upon and is supported by a suitable foundation l8 recessed within the ground G, which foundation may be of conventional poured concrete or other suitable material. The foundation 18 includes an upstanding outer circular wall 20, which outer circular wall preferably has it top surface substantially flush with the ground level. The foundation 18 further includes a central upstanding supporting post or column 22 which has at its upper end an upwardly extending pin or hearing member 24 which is substantially received within a mating recess or opening 26 in the underside of wedge-shaped member 12, and which serves as a rotational bearing means for the rotatable support 12. While the bearing pin member 24 is shown as engaging directly within the recess or opening 26, suitable friction-reducing bearing means may be provided to reduce friction between the pin 24 and the walls of the recess 26 if desired. Additionally, a plurality of rotatable bearing means, such as roller bearings 28, may be provided about the periphery of the underside of the rotatable support member 12, which roller bearings 28 roll along the upper surface of the outer circular wall of the foundation l8 and serve to rollingly support the outer periphery of the support member 12 upon such circular wall.

Suitable drive means are provided for effecting selective rotational movement of the rotatable support member 12. As shown in FIG. 1, such drive means may preferably comprise a suitable drive motor 30, such as an electric motor, which has a substantially vertical drive shaft 32 terminating in a pinion 34 at its upper end. The pinion 34 engages with the interior of a ring gear 36 which is secured to the underside of the rotatable support member 12 and multi-conductor preferably disposed within a generally circular recess 38 therein. Thus, it will be appreciated that, when energized, the drive motor 30 will rotate the pinion 34 which in turn will cause rotation of the ring gear 36 and hence the rotatable support member 12. Suitable control means are also provided for controlling the operation of the drive motor 30, and such control means may advantageously comprise a control box 40 disposed adjacent to the device and supported at a suitable height by means of a post or stanchion 42, and connected to the drive motor 30 by a suitable mutli-conductor cable 44. A plurality of push buttons 46 are provided on the control box 40 for controlling the operation of the motor to selectively rotate the support member 12 to any one of a desired plurality of positions; while eight buttons have been shown corresponding to eight rotational positions, it is clear that any desired number of such buttons and corresponding rotational positions may be provided. In addition, or as an alternative, a simple on-off control may be provided for the drive motor whereby the rotational support member 12 may be rotated to and stopped at any desired position.

Assuming that the golf ball is to be driven or aimed at a suitable remote target, which may, for example, be considered as beyond the plane of the drawing, away from the viewer, it will be appreciated that in FIG. 1 the rotatable support member 12 is shown as positioned for a side-hill lie of the ball. Should it be desired to then change this lie to simulate an uphill or downhill or cross-hill lie, it is merely necessary to activate the electric motor 30 by momentarily depressing push button 46 on the control box 40 to effect rotation of the rotatable support member 12 to the desired position.

The upper surface 14 of the rotatable support member 12 may advantageously be covered with a synthetic turf or the like, designated as 48, in order to more nearly approximate the actual conditions which will be encountered on the golf course. Additionally, as shown, one or more drain pipes or conduits 50 may be provided, communicating at one end thereof with the floor of the foundation 18 adjacent the periphery thereof and extending downwardly and outwardly therefrom a suitable distance to drain off any rain water which might otherwise tend to accumulate within the foundation.

Turning now to FIG. 3, there is shown a modified embodiment of the invention, in which both the direction and the degree of inclination may be effected. in this embodiment, a first or lower, generally circular and rotatably mounted wedgeshaped member is designated by reference 52, and includes a lower surface 54 which is substantially horizontal and an upper surface 56 which is inclined upwardly from the horizontal, and preferably at an angle of approximately 10. A similar, generally circular wedge-shaped member 58 is likewise provided positioned atop the first wedge-shaped member 52 and rotatably mounted with respect thereto, the second or upper wedgeshaped member 58 having a lower surface 60 substantially parallel to the upper surface 56 of the lower wedge-shaped member, and an upper surface 62 disposed at an upward angle thereto, which angle may likewise be on the order of 10.

The first or lower wedge-shaped member 52 is preferably rotatably mounted on a suitable base, or may be stationary, and the second or upper wedgeshaped member 58 is rotatably mounted with respect thereto by means of a universal joint 64 or any other suitable bearing means, and by a plurality of roller bearings 66 or other similar bearings disposed about the periphery of the wedge-shaped members at the bearing surface therebetween. The top surface 62 of the upper or second wedge-shaped member 58, which top surface 62 serves to support the golfer and the golf ball, may advantageously be covered in the same manner as previously described with a crown of synthetic turf or similar material 68.

As shown in the solid-line position in FIG. 3, the upper or second wedge-shaped member 58 is positioned so that the highest portion thereof is diametrically opposed to the highest portion of the first or lower wedge-shaped member 52, and it ether will be appreciated that if the angles of inclination of the two wedge-shaped members are equal, then the upper surface 62 will then be substantially horizontal. lt will also be appreciated that by rotating the upper wedgeshaped member 58 relative to the lower member 52, this upper surface 62 will become inclined at a progressively greater angle, until the highest portion thereof is directly over the highest portion 52, at which point the angle of inclination of the top surface will be equal to the combined angles of inclination of each of the wedge-shaped members, or, for example, a total of 20, as shown in dotted lines in this figure. Thus, the angle of inclination of the upper surface 62 of the upper wedge-shaped member 58 may be readily adjusted to any desired angle between a substantially horizontal position, shown in solid lines, and a position of maximum inclination, shown in dotted lines.

In FIG. 4, there is shown yet a further embodiment of the invention, which is suitable for use indoors or outdoors, in restricted areas, or where it is desired for the device to be readily portable. In this embodiment, a single wedge-shaped supporting member 70 is shown having an inclined upper surface 72 which may, for example, have a covering of synthetic turf or the like 74, as previously described. In this embodiment, the wedgeshaped member 70 may be rigidly or rotatably supported upon a mobile base 76, which mobile base has a plurality of wheels or casters 78, whereby the entire device may be readily moved from place to place as desired by means of a handle 80. preferably, the wheels or casters 78 are spring-mounted so as to retract into the body of the device when the wedge-shaped member is depressed by the weight of a golfer standing thereon, in order to prevent movement of the device while in use. The wedge-shaped member 70 may be rotatably mounted with respect to the base 76 by suitable bearing means, and may be rotated either manually or by means of a suitable electric motor, not shown, in the same manner as has been previously described with reference to FIG. 1.

In FIG. there is shown yet a further embodiment of the basic invention, which may also find utility indoors or outdoors or wherever it is desired to contain the driven golf ball within a limited space. in this embodiment, a wedge-shaped supporting member 82 is provided having an inclined upper surface 84, in the same manner as previously described, which upper surface 84 may likewise be covered with a layer of synthetic turf or the like. An upstanding circular net 86 is provided supported by a plurality of upstanding supporting posts 88 spaced around the periphery of the device. The supporting posts 88 and the net 86 are preferably of a sufficient height to permit the golfer to stand upright upon the inclined upper surface 84 with sufficient clearance above him to permit a free gold swing, and of sufficient diameter to allow an unimpeded swing backwards and forwards. If desired, the cage defined by the upstanding circular net 86 may be closed at its top by means of a cover member 90 formed of similar netting.

Referring now to FIGS. 6 through 8, there is shown yet a further modified embodiment of the inventive golf practice device, corresponding essentially to that shown in FIG. 1 but showing an alternate form of supporting and driving means. In these figures, a generally circular base member 92 is provided, which base member, as illustrated, may be comparatively thin and substantially planar. A securing plate 94 is secured to the upper surface of the base member 92 centrally thereof and serves to support an upstanding rotatable shaft 96 which in turn is secured to a generally circular wedge-shaped supporting member 98 so that this wedge-shaped supporting member may rotate relative to the base member 92. Additionally, a plurality of rolling support means are provided about the periphery of the base member 92 to rollingly support the outer perimeter of the wedge-shaped member 98; thus, for example, such rolling support members may comprise a plurality of casters or rollers 100 rotatably mounted upon respective roller supporting blocks 102, four of such rollers and roller supporting blocks being shown in FIG. 7. The combined height of the rollers [00 and roller supporting blocks 102 are preferably substantially equal to the height of the central rotatable supporting shaft 96, in order to support the under surface of the wedge-shaped member 98 in a substantially level position.

Drive means are provided for effecting rotation of the wedge-shaped member 98 to thereby rotate the wedge-shaped member to any one of a desired plurality of positions to thus alter the direction of inclination relative to a remote target, generally in the same manner as has been previously described with reference to the embodiment of FIG. 1. Thus, for example, such drive means may advantageously comprise a drive motor 104 which is drivingly connected to the rotatable shaft 96 by means of a suitable speed-reduction box (not shown), a driving pulley 106 connected to the output of such gear box, and an endless belt 108 or similar power-transmission means connecting such driving pulley 106 to the rotatable shaft 96.

Control means are also p, for controlling the operation of the drive motor 104, in order to selectively position 8, rotatable wedge-shaped member 98 in any desired one of a plurality of rotational positions. As illustrated, such control means may include a first control box 1 10 having mounted on its upper surface a plurality of normally-closed microswitches 112 corresponding in number to the number of rotational positions to which it is desired to move the wedge-shaped member 98. The micro-switches 112 are disposed in a generally aligned position radially of the base member 92, and are spaced radially, as best seen in H6. 7. These micro-switches are supported by the control box 1 10 at a suitable height to be contacted by corresponding cam members 114 which are mounted on the underside of the rotatable wedge-shaped member 98, as shown in FIG. 8. These cam members 114 are circumferentially spaced about the underside of wedge-shaped member 98, and are separated by equal angular distances. Thus, for example, eight cam members 114 are shown, spaced successively by forty-five degrees, in order to provide for eight rotational positions of the wedge-shaped member 98. Each of the cam members 114 is additionally spaced a different distance radially from the center of the wedge-shaped member 98, so that each of such cam members will, upon rotation of such wedge-shaped member, contact one of the microswitches 112.

ln a preferred arrangement of the control system for this embodiment, a second control box, not shown, is provided corresponding generally to the control box 40 shown in FIG. 1 and having associated therewith a plurality of push buttons corresponding in number to the number of micro-switches amount cam members. When any one of such plurality of buttons is selected and momentarily depressed, a "normally-open holding relay associated with that particular button closes, completing an electrical circuit for the drive motor 104. The motor is then activated and the wedge-shaped member 98 will thus be rotated accordingly. Each of the microaswitches 112 is normally closed. However, the circuit associated with only one of the microswitches will be activated depending upon the particular push button depressed. As the wedge-shaped member 98 rotates, each of the cam members 114 will in turn depress and open its respective associated microswitch 112. Thus, it will be appreciated that when a selected micro-switch 112 is depressed and thereby opened, the motor-driving circuit will thus be opened and the rotation of the wedge-shaped member 98 will thus be stopped at a pre-selected position. Additionally, a manual stop push button may be provided to open the motor-driving circuit in the event that it is desired to stop the rotation of the wedge-shaped member 98 at a position intermediate to successive fixed rotational positions defined by the cams and micro-switches.

Means may also be provided for locking the wedgeshaped member 98 against rotation when it has reached a pre-selected position. To this end, a solenoid-actuated locking plunger member 116 may be provided, supported upon the base member 92 by means of suitable supporting means 118. A plurality of recesses or openings 120 are provided in the under side of the wedgeshaped member 98, corresponding in number to the number of rotational positions and spaced radially a suitable distance so that each of these recesses or openings 120 will pass over the plunger member 116. The locking plunger member 116 is normally biased upwardly so as to enter and engage a selected one of such recesses or openings [20, and is connected to a solenoid wired in parallel to the drive motor 104 so that the locking plunger member 116 will normally be retracted while the motor is activated and, hence, while the device is rotating. When a selected micro-switch 112 or the HCl stop push 1., opens the motor-driving circuit, the solenoid will likewise be de-activated and the locking plunger member 116 will thus be extended upwardly under the influence of its biasing means to enter one of the openings or recesses 120, which will at that time be positioned directly above the plunger member 116. Thus, it will be appreciated that the rotatable wedge-shaped member 98 will be effectively locked against rotation so as to prevent inadvertent dis placement thereof while the device is in use with a golfer standing thereupon.

In the same manner as has been previously described with the other embodiments of this invention, the upper surface of the wedge-shaped member 98 may be covered with a crown of synthetic turf. Normally, it is contemplated that the base member 92 as well as the driving and control portions of the device illustrated as being disposed between the base member 92 and the wedge-shaped member 98, would be recessed within a suitable opening in the ground, so that only the wedgeshaped member 98 would be disposed above the ground level.

It should now be appreciated that in each of the embodiments described, a wedge-shaped, rotatable supporting member has been provided having an inclined upper surface, which wedge-shaped member may be rotatable relative to the base member in order to provide a variety of lies for a golfer wishing to practice and perfect his golf stroke In the embodiments of FIGS. 1

and 2, FIG. 4, FIG. 5, and FIGS 6 through 8, the wedgeshaped supporting member is mounted with its bottom surface substantially horizontal upon the base member, whereby the direction of inclination of the upper inclined surface may be altered at will relative to the remote target. In the embodiment of FIG. 3, on the other hand, such bottom surface of the upper rotatable wedge-shaped member is mounted on the inclined upper surface of the rotatable base member, whereby both the direction and angle of such inclination may be altered at will. Thus, it will be seen that the direction and/or angle of inclination of each wedge-shaped rotatable member may be readily varied through a simple rotational movement relative to its supporting base member and a remote target, as contrasted to known prior art devices.

Through the provision of a golf practice device as described above, it is believed apparent that all of the objects set forth at the outset to the specification have been successfully fulfilled. Accordingly,

What is claimed is:

1. A golf practice device comprising an underlying base, a wedge-shaped in vertical cross-section platform member supported on said base in superimposed relation and having a generally planar upper surface adapted to support a golfer and a golf ball thereupon and defining means from which a golf ball is driven, said upper surface being inclined at a pre-determined angle with respect to the underlying base, means extending between said platform member and underlying base for permitting rotation of said platform member relative to the underlying base about a substantially vertical axis while maintaining said platform member and underlying base in said superimposed relation to thereby change the direction and effective angle of inclination of said inclined upper surface relative to a fixed remote target and provide a plurality of lies for the golf ball supported thereupon to be driven therefrom, said inclined upper surface being covered with a crown of synthetic turf means simulating ground conditions of a golf course and which defines means for maintaining the lie position of a golf ball disposed thereon against the tendency of the golf ball to roll off of said inclined upper surface.

2. A golf practice device as defined in claim 1, further comprising means for automatically effecting rotation of said wedge-shaped member relative to said underlying base.

3. A golf practice device as defined in claim 2, wherein said means for effecting rotation comprises an electric motor drivingly connected to said wedgeshaped member, and further comprising control means to energize said motor and to stop said motor when said wedge-shaped member has reached a desired rotational position.

4. A golf practice device as defined in claim 3, wherein said control means includes a control box having a plurality of push buttons to select a desired rotational position of the wedge-shaped member, a plurality of micro-switches associated with said base member and controlling the operation of said motor, each of said micro-switches corresponding to a single rotational position of said wedge-shaped member, and a plurality of cam members disposed about the periphery of said wedge-shaped member, each of said cam members contacting one of said micro-switches to thereby stop rotation of said wedge-shaped member when a pre-selected one of said cam members contacts its corresponding micro-switch.

5. A golf practice device as defined in claim 1, wherein said base member comprises a mobile base having roller means supporting same, whereby said base member and said wedge-shaped member may be moved to any desired location.

6. A gold practice device as defined in claim 1, wherein said base member includes an inclined upper surface upon which said wedge-like member is supported, said base member and said wedge-like member being rotatable relative to each other, whereby rotation of said wedge-shaped member and said base member of said upper surface of relative to each other will alter the angle of inclination of said upper surface of said wedge-shaped member.

7. A golf practice device as defined in claim 6, wherein said base member and said wedge-like member are individually rotatable relative to the remote target, whereby the direction and angle of inclination of said inclined upper surface of said wedge-like member may be selectively varied relative to the remote target.

8. A golf practice device as defined in claim 7, wherein said base member comprises a wedge-shaped member.

* I l I i

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US3869128 *Jul 22, 1974Mar 4, 1975Ohashi ReijiDriving mat for practicing golf shots
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Classifications
U.S. Classification473/279
International ClassificationA63B69/36
Cooperative ClassificationA63B69/3652
European ClassificationA63B69/36D6