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Publication numberUS3801107 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 2, 1974
Filing dateDec 14, 1972
Priority dateDec 14, 1972
Publication numberUS 3801107 A, US 3801107A, US-A-3801107, US3801107 A, US3801107A
InventorsMartin F
Original AssigneeMartin F
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Golf practice apparatus
US 3801107 A
Abstract
A cup-like element is provided to enable a golfer to practice putting by directing golf balls toward the element. A pair of the elements may be mounted at opposite ends of an elongated mat of resilient material which is laid on a floor to simulate a golf green. Each cup element has an upstanding curved portion which is juxtaposed with a curved notch in the narrow end of the mat to simulate a golf hole or cup. The cup element is of one-piece plastic construction and has an integral mounting tab which is releasably fastened to the floor by means of adhesive tape. The tab is connected to the curved portion of the cup element by means of a narrow web of material which provides both a hinge and spaced stop surfaces to limit pivotal movement of the curved portion about the tab. When the cup is struck by a ball having a velocity which would normally cause the ball to overshoot a golf hole if the ball were in actual play on a golf green, the curved portion pivots about the tab and permits the ball to roll over the upper edge of the cup element. A backstop extends widthwise of the mat behind each cup element to catch balls which pass over or around the cup element. A golfer practices putting by standing on the widthwise margins of the mat and putting balls toward one or the other cups.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 Martin Apr. 2, 1974 GOLF PRACTICE APPARATUS [76] Inventor: Frank V. Martin, 214 Roosevelt Blvd. S., Brigantine, NJ. 08203 22 Filed: Dec. 14,1972

21 Appl. No.: 315,105

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,619,580 3/1927 Long 273/177 A 3,033,571 5/1962 273/127 D 3,345,072 10/1967 273/177 A 3,464,704 9/1969 273/180 X 3,603,594 9/1971 Kelley 273/180 7' Primary Examiner-George J. Marlo Attorney, Agent, orFi'rm-Howson & Howson, Stanley B. Kita [57] ABSTRACT A cup-like element is provided to enable a golfer to practice putting by directing golf balls toward the element. A pair of the elements may be mounted at 0pposite ends of an elongated mat of resilient material which is laid on a floor to simulate a golf green. Each cup element has an upstanding curved portion which is juxtaposed with a curved notch in the narrow end of the mat to simulate a golf hole or cup. The cup element is of one-piece plastic construction and has an integral mounting tab which is releasably fastened to the floor by means of adhesive tape. The tab is connected to the curved portion of the cup element by means of a narrow web of material which provides both a hinge and spaced stop surfaces to limit pivotal movement of the curved portion about the tab. When the cup is struck by a ball having a velocity which would normally cause the ball to overshoot a golf hole if the ball were in actual play on a golf green, the curved portion pivots about the tab and permits the ball to roll over the upper edge of the cup element. A backstop extends widthwise of the mat behind each cup element to catch balls which pass over or around the cup element. A golfer practices putting by standing on the widthwise margins of the mat and putting balls toward one or the other cups.

11 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures GOLF PRACTICE APPARATUS The present invention relates to training apparatus for golfers, and more particularly, the present invention relates to apparatus for enabling a golfer to develop his putting skills.

The present invention is described in Disclosure Document No. 006555 filed Sept. 7, 1971.

Various types of devices are known for enabling golfers to develop their putting skills either indoors or outdoors. Examples of such devices are described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,345,072 and 3,603,594, the earlier patent having issued to me. Although each of these devices may be satisfactory, each possesses certain limitations. For instance, in using the device of the first-mentioned patent, the golfer stands at one putting location while putting toward cups provided in a mat. Hence, he must continually walk back and forth between the cups and the putting location to retrieve and putt balls.

In my previously patented device, a multi-element structure which simulates a golf-cup is. removably mounted on a horizontal surface such as a floor or a lawn by means of a mounting tab. The device includes a metal cup which is bent into a U-shaped configuration for catching golf balls and a hinge assembly which permits the cup to pivot upwardly relative to the mounting tab when struck by a ball rolling at a velocity which would normally cause it to overshoot a golf hole if the ball were in actual play.

Although the device operates effectively, it is not as inexpensive to manufacture as desired. For instance, the hinge assembly requires a series of bending, piercing and like operations on metal-working machinery. The cost to tool machinery to perform these operations and the labor required to operate the machinery prevents the device from being manufactured economically.

With the foregoing in mind, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide improved apparatus for use by a golfer to assist him in developing his putting skills.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a novel golf-practice device which includes spaced target areas having means simulating golf cups so that a golfer may putt a golf ball first in one direction and then in another.

As a further object, the present invention provides a unique putting practice device which is relatively inexpensive to manufacture.

It is a still further object of the present invention to provide a putting-practice apparatus which accurately simulates conditions on a golf green.

More specifically, in the present invention, apparatus is provided to enable a golfer to develop his putting skills indoors, without requiring actual golf holes. For this purpose, cup-like means which simulates a golf hole is provided. The cup-like means may be used in conjunction with an elongated mat of resilient material, which is normally disposed on a horizontal surface such as a floor, and a pair of the simulated golf cups are mounted at opposite narrow ends of the mat for catching golf balls. Each cup means includes a cup element having an upstanding curved portion juxtaposed with respect to a curved notch in the narrow end of the mat to simulate a golf cup or hole. The cup element has an integral tab which is releasably fastened to the floor as by adhesive tape. The tab is hinged to the curved portion by means of a narrow web of material so that the curved portion pivots upwardly about the tab and away from the notch when struck by a golf ball rolling at too high a velocity. A pair of stop surfaces are provided by the web of material with the surfaces engaging one another to limit pivotal movement of the curved portion relative to the tab. A curved backstop extends widthwise of the mat behind each cup element to catch golf balls which either miss the cup element or which roll over its upper edge.

These and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention should become apparent from the following description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a plan view of putting-practice apparatus embodying the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged view of the area enclosed by the broken lines in FIG. 1, the view illustrating a cup-like element juxtaposed witha curved notch in a mat to simulate a golf cup;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along line 33 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a greatly enlarged sectional view of the area enclosed by broken lines in FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a cup element; and

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a backstop which is associated with each cup element.

Referring now to the drawings, there is illustrated in FIG. 1 putting-practice apparatus 10 embodying the present invention. As illustrated therein, the apparatus 10 comprises an elongated mat II and a pair of cuplike means 12 and 13 for receiving golf balls. The cuplike means 12 and 13 are provided at opposite ends of the mat 11 and simulate golf holes or cups toward which a golfer may putt golf balls.

In the present instance, the mat 11 is rectangular, and in use, the mat 11 is laid on a horizontal surface such as a floor 17. The mat 11 has a lengthwise dimension of at least 12 feet to permit a golfer to practice long putts, and the mat 11 is dimensioned widthwise to permit the golfer to stand on its lengthwise margins while putting. Preferably, the mat l 1 is fabricated of a greencolored foamed plastic material which has a uniform thickness of about V2 inch throughout. Alternatively, the mat may be fabricated of an artificial turf material or a material which has a grass-like texture. It has been found that such material provides a small amount of drag on a golf ball, and that the drag simulates the drag normally encountered on a golf green.

In accordance with the present invention, the ball receiving means is designed to provide a golfer using the apparatus with an immediate indication of the quality of his putt. For instance, a putt in which a golf ball is aimed properly but struck with too great a force could be classified as a poor putt because of the likelihood that the ball would overshoot a golf cup if the ball were in actual play. A golf ball which is struck with the proper force to travel at a moderate velocity but which is improperly aimed so as to miss the cup or to strike the cup tangentially and thereby spin out would also be classified as a poor" putt for obvious reasons.

In the apparatus 10, each cup, such as the left hand dius of curvature of the cup element and the notch 14 is about 2 V4 inches so that when juxtaposed, the cup 12 has a diameter of about 4 k inches.

As best seen in FIG. 2, the cup element 15 has a mounting tab 18 which extends away from the notch 14 for mounting the cup element 15 to the floor 17. Preferably, the tab 18 is releasably fastened to the floor 17 by means of an adhesive tape 19. However, the tab 18 is also provided with a pair of holes 20,20 to permit the cup element 15 to be permanently fastened to the floor 17 or removably fastened to an earthen outdoor surface by means of staples such as described in my aforementioned patent.

As may be seen in FIG. 3, the height of the curved legs 15a and 15b of the cup element 15 is greater than the thickness of the mat 11. In the present instance, the height is about 1 inch so that each cup element projects about inch above the upper surface of the mat 11. Preferably, the ends 150 and 15d of the legs taper toward the floor 17 adjacent the notch 14.

The cup element 15 is inexpensive but durable. In the illustrated embodiment, the cup element 15 is of onepiece plastic construction and the plastic is of a heatsettable type which enables the legs 15a and 15b to be shaped and set into their curved configurations. It is noted that the plastic material is somewhat elastic so that the legs 15a and 15b may deflect slightly when struck by a golf ball and they may return to their undeflected positions as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2.

In order to enable the curved leg portion of the cup element 15 to pivot upwardly relative to the floor 17, a hinged connection 22 is provided between the mounting tab 18 and the curved legs 15a and 1517. In the present invention, the hinged connection 22 has a pivotal axis which is disposed horizontally and is formed by a thin web 23 of plastic material (FIGS. 2 and 4) which is located in a necked-down zone 24 along the line of juncture of the mounting tab 18 and the curved portion of the cup element 15. The web 23 results when the mounting tab 18 is bent into a right angle with respect to the curved portion of the cup element 15. It is noted that the plastic material ruptures slightly and provides a pair of stops or limit surfaces 24 and 25 which are located on the side of the tab 18 away from the surface 17 and which engage one another to limit pivotal movement of the element 15 relative to its mounting tab 18. For instance, as best seen in FIG. 3, the stops 24 and 25 engage one another to prevent the curved portion of the cup element 15 from pivoting more than 45 from its normal ball-receiving position. Preferably the pivotal axis of the hinge is perpendicular to the longitudinal center line of the mat to insure proper tilting of the cup element when the ball is stroked from the opposite end of the mat. It is noted that this hinge structure tends to bias the ends 150 and 15d of the legs 15a and 15b, respectively into flush engagement with the floor 17. Thus, the cup element 15 is normally returned to juxtaposition with the notch 14 as illustrated in full lines in FIG. 3 after a ball, such as the ball 29, engages the cup and is retained in the cup element 15 or passes over its upper edge.

The cup element 15 of the present invention has been tested and found to be fatigue resistant. For example, a cup element 15 having a thickness of 1/16 inch and a necked down zone 24 of A inch was found to be capable of withstanding without failure more than 4000 flexures between its limit positions illustrated in full and broken lines in FIG. 3.

It has been found that the apparatus of the present invention provides an accurate simulation of conditions on a golf green if the cup element 15 is capable of being deflected or pivoted into its limit position illustrated by broken lines in FIG. 3 by a force of 5 ounces applied along a horizontal line spaced from the floor 17 a distance corresponding to the radius of a golf ball. Tests indicate that such force represents the force imparted to the cup element 15 by a ball rolling at a velocity which would normally cause the ball to overshoot a golf hole or cup if the ball were in actual play. Hence, by designing the cup element 15 to pivot or deflect under the influence of such a force, the golfer is provided with an immediate and accurate indication as to the speed of the ball and hence of the force with which the ball was struck while putting.

For the purpose of catching golf balls which miss or roll over the upper edge of the cup element 15, a backstop 30 is provided. As best seen in FIG. 1, the backstop 30 is curved and extends substantially widthwise of the mat l1 behind each cup element 15. As illustrated in FIG. 6, the backstop 30 is mounted in an upright position by a pair of inverted U-shaped clips 31,31 having depending legs 31a, 31a which embrace the backstop 30. The legs 31a, 31a terminate in out-turned extensions 31b, 311) which engage the floor 17. Like the cup element 15, the backstop 30 is preverably fabricated of heat-settable plastic material.

In use, the mat 11 is laid on the floor 17 and the tab 18 of each cup element 15 is secured to the floor 17 by a strip of tape 19. The backstops 30,30 are similarly installed. A golfer practices putting by placing a golf ball on the mat 11 and putting the ball toward one or the other cups 12 or 13 while standing on the margin of the mat 11. If he putts the ball too hard he is immediately aware of his error because a ball so struck will overrun the cup element and cause it to tilt or pivot upwardly beyond the 45 limit. However, when the ball is putted properly, it is caught by the cup element and is retained.

In view of the foregoing, it should be apparent that a golfer may putt one or more golf balls first in one direction and then in the other without having to return to a prescribed starting location before each putt.

While a preferred embodiment of the present invention has been described in detail, various modifications, alterations and changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined in the appended claims.

I claim:

1. Apparatus for use by a golfer on a horizontal surface to assist him in developing his putting skills, comprising: an elongated mat of uniform thickness disposed on said surface and having opposite ends each having a curved notch, a cup element associated with each notch, each cup element having a curved ball-engaging portion and an integral mounting tab, means to fasten said tab to said surface with said cup elements juxtaposed with respect to said notches to simulate golf cups at said ends of said mat, means providing a hinge having a horizontal pivotal axis between said tab and said curved portion, and means providing stops between said tab and said curved portion to limit pivotal movement of said curved portion relative to said tab, whereby the curved portion of the cup element pivots relative to the tab when struck by a ball rolling at an excessive velocity.

2. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said cup element has a height greater than the thickness of the mat so as to project above the upper surface of the mat.

3. Apparatus according to claim I wherein said mat is fabricated of a resilient foamed plastic material and has a widthwise dimension sufficient to accommodate a player so that the player may stand on the lengthwise margins of the mat while putting.

4. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said mat is rectangular and said notches are located centrally in its narrow ends.

5. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said cup element is of one piece plastic material and said hinge providing means includes a web of said material located at the juncture of said mounting tab and said curved portion.

6. Apparatus according to claim 5 wherein said curved portion includes a pair of resilient legs curving away from said tab and toward said notch with the terminus of each leg tapering toward said surface.

7. Apparatus according to claim 5 wherein said stop means includes a pair of edges provided by said web of material and located in closely-spaced relation for engaging one another when the curved portion of the cup element is disposed at substantially a 45 angle with respect to said tab.

8. Apparatus according to claim 1 including a curved upstanding backstop extending substantially widthwise of said mat a spaced distance behind each cup element,

and a pair of inverted U-shaped clips embracing said backstop in spaced relation and having depending legs with extensions engaging said surface, so that said backstop catches golf balls which miss and overrun the cup elements.

9. A cup for use on a horizontal surface to catch golf balls comprising: a one-piece element of plastic material having a pair of curved legs and an integral mounting tab extending away from the curved legs to enable said element to be mounted on said surface, said mounting tab having a necked-down web portion at its juncture with said legs to provide a hinge permitting said legs to pivot on a horizontal axis relative to said mounting tab, said necked-down web portion being ruptured slightly on the side away from the horizontal surface to define a pair of closely spaced stop surfaces which engage one another for limiting pivotal movement of the curved legs relative to the mounting tab.

10. Apparatus according to claim 9 wherein the curved legs of. said cup element have a height of substantially 1 inch and a thickness of substantially 1/16 inch and said tab has a widthwise dimension of substantially A1 inch at its juncture with the legs, said closelyspaced surfaces engaging one another when said legs are disposed at an angle of substantially 45 with said horizontal surface.

11. Apparatus according to claim 9 wherein said closely-spaced surfaces are engaged with one another when a force of substantially 5 Va ounces is applied along a horizontal line spaced from said surface a distance corresponding to the radius of a golf ball.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1619580 *Dec 16, 1925Mar 1, 1927Long Eugene McleanAmusement apparatus
US3033571 *Jun 2, 1959May 8, 1962Hugh P BottsGame
US3345072 *Mar 5, 1965Oct 3, 1967Martin Frank VGolf putting practice device
US3464704 *Feb 6, 1968Sep 2, 1969Nelson Martin LGolf game with upstanding cups
US3603594 *Feb 16, 1970Sep 7, 1971Kelley William DGolf game
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5725438 *Jan 24, 1996Mar 10, 1998Dennco, Inc.Practice putting green with simulated hazards
US6482098 *Sep 12, 2000Nov 19, 2002Patrick D. YatesGolf ball target device
US6623371Feb 2, 2001Sep 23, 2003Jerry A. CorcoranGolf putting and ball return system
US6939238 *Oct 14, 2003Sep 6, 2005Terry BraytonGolf putting training device
US20050079921 *Oct 14, 2003Apr 14, 2005Terry BraytonGolf putting training device
Classifications
U.S. Classification473/162, 473/189, 473/169, 473/185
International ClassificationA63B57/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B57/0056
European ClassificationA63B57/00D