US 3809404 A
A miniature golf course is formed by a selective arrangement of a plurality of panels, each having at least three equally dimensioned marginal edges. A mechanical golfer, having articulated joints, is selectively positionable on the miniature golf course. The golfer advances a miniature golf ball from a tee area and putting positions toward a cup position in response to manual release of a triggering system controlling the golfer.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
llnited @tates Patent [191 1 ikse 1 MINIATURE GOLF GAME AND GOLFIER  Inventor: Alfred E. Fikse, 5690 Park Crest Dr., San Jose, Calif, 95118  Filed: Oct. 4, 1972  Appl. No.: 295,039
 0.8. CI. 273/87.4, 273/176 B, 273/176 E,
1 1 May 7, 1974 1,732,574 10/1929 Brown 1. 273/872 2,513,198 6/1950 Munro 273/87.4 3,050,307 8/1962 Glass et al. 273/87 D 3,503,613 3/1970 Caya 87.4/ FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,068,615 2/1954 France 273/87.2
Primary Examiner-Richard C. Pinkham Assistant Examiner-Harry G. Strappello  ABSTRACT A miniature golf course is formed by a selective arrangement of a plurality of panels, each having at least three equally dimensioned marginal edges. A mechanical golfer, having articulated joints, is selectively positionable on the miniature golf course. The golfer advances a miniature golf ball from a tee area and put ting positions toward a cup position in response to manual release of a triggering system controlling the golfer.
5 Claims, 17 DrawingFigures PATENTEDMY 11914 BLBOSLAOA swan 1 or 3 PATENTEDW 191 3809404 SHEEI2UF3' BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to games and more particularly to a miniature golf course and toy golfer for playing a golf game.
2. Description of the Prior Art Miniature golf games, as shown by the prior patents, have usually comprised a single section duplicating a fairway, obstacles or hazards and a cup location on a green and a mechanical figure operating a golf club replica for advancing a miniature ball, such as disclosed by U.S. Pat. No. 1,391,306 while other patents, such as U.S. Pat. No. 3,054,615, discloses a simulated fairway having movable obstacles and sectional portions for changing hole or obstacle locations.
This invention is distinctive over these patents by the provision of a plurality of planar sections or panels, each having at least three sides of equal dimensions so that the plurality of panels may be arranged in a plurality of positions in a common plane forming a plurality of different perimeter configurations of fairways by selective arrangement of the planar panels. Certain of the panels include obstacles and hazards similar to a fairway of a conventional golf course.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION A plurality of planar sections or panels are sized for cooperative marginal edge engagement and are capable of being arranged in a common plane to simulate different configurations of a fairway including a T-area position and a green position. Obstacles, such as sand traps, a lake area and movable vegetation, are positioned at selected locations on the respective panels. A mechanical golfer, having articulated joints, drives a miniature ball toward the cup position in response to manual release of a trigger means moving a portion of the toy golferand a replica of a golf club held thereby.
The principle object of this invention is to provide a miniature golf game and mechanical golfer wherein a fairway may be formed by selective arrangement of a plurality of interengageable planar panels to provide a successive plurality of fairways including hazards and obstacles therein and thereon realistically reproducing a full size golf course wherein the action of a mechanical golfer, advancing a miniature golf ball, very nearly approaches the action of a full size golf ball during play.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is a perspective view of a golf fairway formed by panels and illustrating the miniature mechanical golfer in position for release and driving a golf ball;
FIGS. 2, 3, 4, and 6 are top plan views of the planar golf course forming panels;
FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a wedge used in elevating one edge portion of the green and cup contained panel;
FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the wedge in panel tilting position;
FIGS. 9, 10, ll, 12 and 113 are plan views illustrating a plurality of golf fairways each formed by selective arrangement of the planar panels;
FIG. 14 is an exploded perspective view, partially in section, taken substantially along the line 14-14 of FIG. 11 illustrating the configuration of some of the components;
FIG. 15 is a perspective view, to a larger scale, of the mechanical golfer, per se;
FIG. 16 is an exploded perspective view illustrating the components forming the mechanical golfer; and,
FIG. 17 is a fragmentary perspective view illustrating the trigger release components operating the mechani cal golfer.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT lightweight material of a desired thicknesswherein the panels 22, 24, 26 and 28 are preferably square so that they present marginal edges of equal dimensions. The perimeter of the remaining panel 30 is substantially trapezoid-shaped wherein one of its parallel side edges and both of its nonparallel side edges are equal in dimension with respect to any one side edge of the square panels 22 to 28. The upwardly .disposed surface of each of the panels is preferably provided with a fuzzy surface simulating grass 31, or the like. F locked contact paper has been found to provide a satisfactory playing surface.
A rectangular or square configuration for a golf fair way may be arranged from the four panels 22 to 28, as illustrated at 36 (FIG. 9). By using the trapezoidshaped panel 30 other configurations of golf fairways may be arranged, as illustrated in FIGS. 10 to 13. Each of the panels is provided with at least one socket 37 in its respective marginal edge surface in cooperative relation for receiving one end portion of a pin, such as a dowel pin, not shown, for preventing movement of the panels with respect to each other.
Hazards, simulating hazards normally found on full size golf courses, are formed on some of the panels by forming depressions in the playing surface, such as a lake-like area 38, formed in the surface of the panel 22. A substantially elliptical-shaped depression 40 is also formed in the surface of the panel 22. The elliptical depression 40 simulates a sand trap with the depressed surface of the trap provided with a layer of sand paper, or the like, to form a rough surface 42.
One of the panels, for example the panel 24, is provided with a circular opening 44 which removably and rotatably receives a circular disk 46 simulating a golf green having a small depression or cup 48 formed in its upwardly disposed surface in off-set or eccentric relation with respect to the center of the green 46. This offcenter position of the cup 48 thus permits the green 46 to be manually rotated about its axis within the opening 44, in the direction of the arrows 50 FIG. 3), for positioning the cup 48 at a selected position in the green area 46. The panel 24 is similarly provided with a plurality of elliptical-shaped sand trap forming depressions 52 in spaced-apart relation with respect to each other and the green area 46. The panel 26 is provided with at least one elliptical sand trap 54 and the panel 28 is provided with a pair of selectively spaced-apart elliptical sand traps 56 and 58. The trapezoid-shaped panel 30 is characterized by its imperforate playing surface, however, it may have one or more of the sand trap depressions formed therein, if desired.
The sand trap depressions 40, 52, 54 and 56 each have their major and minor axes identically dimensioned with respect to each other, for selectively receiving a cooperating elliptical-shaped plug 60 which may be positioned in any one of the sand traps so that its upper surface lies in the plane of the surrounding panel. Obviously the plug 60, or a similarly shaped member, may be provided with an upwardly bowed arcuate surface to create a mound, not shown, at the position of one of the sand traps. Further, the ellipticalshaped sand trapdepressions may be provided with an irregular shaped member or lip 62 having one edge surface 64 contiguously contacting a marginal edge surface of the wall defining the elliptical sand traps and an opposite arcuate shaped surface 66 facing generally toward the opposite edge of the respective sand trap.
Thus, the plug 60 and lip 62 respectively eliminates one or more of the sand trap areas or alters the shape of a selected sand trap.
The upwardly disposed surface of each of the inserts, namely, the plug 60, lip 62 and green 46, are also coated or covered with a grass imitating material.
Additional hazards simulating other vegetation, such as trees 68 and 70, mounted on suitable supporting bases, are manually positioned in selected locations on the respective fairway. Similarly a dead tree 72 (FIG.
1) is positioned on the fairway to increase the hazards in playing the golf game.
A wedge-shaped unit or section 74 (FIG. 7), having marginal edges equal in dimension with respect to the square panels, is provided for supporting the panel 24 on an incline so that the upper surface of the panel 24 and green 46 slopes in a desired direction, such as is indicated by the arrow 76 (FIG. 8), to generate a curve in the path of the ball when putting. The thickness of the wedge-shaped unit, at its thicker dimension along its edge 78, is at least as great as the thickness of the section 24. The upper surface 80 of the wedge merges with the plane of its bottom surface at its edge surface 82 opposite the thicker edge 78.
Referring more particularly to FIGS. 15, 16 and 17, the mechanical golfer 32 includes a forwardly and downwardly inclined hollow body portion 84 and hollow leg portions 86 with the leg portions secured to or integrally formed on one end portion of a horizontally disposed hollow base 88. The golfer 32 further includes an arm portion 90 and a head 92. The golfers body portion 84, leg portions 86 and base 88 are longitudinally divided, as at 94, for ease of assembly and replacement of the components presently described. The divided golfer and base are normally maintained in assembled relation by dowel pins 95. The golfers arm portion 90 includes a socket 96 for removably receiving the end portion of the handle or shaft of a golf club 98. The end of the arm portion opposite the club socket 96 is partially disk-like in configuration, as at 100, and is centrally provided with an axle 102 for mounting a pulley 104 on one portion of the axle. The golfer body portion 84 is provided with arcuate recesses 106 and a bearing surface 108 for respectively receiving and journalling the pulley 104 and axle 102 wherein the disklike portion of the golfers arm portion overlies a flat forward surface 110 of the golfers body portion 84 thus permitting the golfers arm portion 90 to rotate about the axis of the axle 102 and move the golf club 98 in the direction of the arrows 112.
This movement is accomplished by a trigger means 114 (FIG. 17) which comprises a strand or cord 116 wrapped intermediate its ends around the pulley 104 with one end of the cord 116 attached to one end of a resilient member, such as a rubber band 118, within the base 88, with the other end of the rubber band secured by a screw 120, or the like, to the end portion of the golfer base 88 opposite the position of the golfer. The other end of the cord 116 is connected with one end of a strap-like member 122 longitudinally disposed within the hollow base 88 and having a control knob 124 secured to its other end portion. The inner rearward surface of the golfers leg portions 86 forms a bearing surface permitting longitudinal sliding movement of the cord 116 as presently explained.
An elongated longitudinally extending slot 126, formed in the upper wall or top 127 of the base intermediate its ends, coincides with the base dividing line 94, and loosely receives slidably the stem portion 128 of the control knob 124. A disk or washer 130 is interposed between the knob stem 128 and strap member 122 wherein the washer 130 is cooperatively received by a part circular opening 132 formed in the upper wall 127 of the golf base in communication with the end of the slot 126 opposite the golfer. The purpose of the washer 130 and its reception by the circular opening 132 is to permit a locked position of the trigger means 114 by manually lifting the washer 130 into the opening 132 after placing a tension on the cord 1 16 by manually pulling the knob to the axis of the opening 132. This action rotates the arm portion 90 of the golfer, to the left as viewed in the drawings, and the trigger means is in a cocked position. When in cocked position, as just described, the golfer, when released, executes his maximum swing or driving stroke for driving a miniature golf ball 134 (FIG. 1) toward the green 46 which is accomplished by manually pushing the knob I24 downwardly to release it so that the tension onthe band 118 rotates the pulley 104 and golfers arm portions 90 to the right, as viewed in the drawings.
The golfers head portion 92 is characterized by a neck area 136, rectangular in transverse cross section and having a pin 138 extending laterally therethrough and projecting at its respective ends beyond the lateral sides of the neck. This pin 128 is cooperatively journalled by a pair of spaced-apart ears or apertures 140 formed on the upper limit of the golfers body 84 for forward and rearward tilting movement of the golfer's head about the axis of the pin 138.
The adjacent surface of the disk portion 100 is provided with a recess or notch 142 in alignment with the axis of the shaft of the golf club 98 for receiving a portion of the golfers neck portion 136 when his head 92 is tilted forwardly, as illustrated in FIG. 15, which locks the golfers arm portion 90 for ease in installing or replacing the golf club shaft in its receiving socket 96. After the golf club 98 is frictionally gripped by the golfers arm portion 90 the golfers head portion 92 is tilted rearwardly to disengage the neck portion 136 from the locking recess 142. Obviously the trigger means 114 need not be placed in its above described fully cocked position for the golfer's swing following his initial drive from the tee position for subsequent drives and when putting wherein the knob 124 is manually pulled toward the opening 132, to place a desired tension on the band 118, and then released to execute the desired stroke.
The golf ball 134 is preferably formed of lightweight material having a density slightly greater than air, such as an expanded synthetic resinous material marketed under the tradename Stryofoam, or the like, to obtain maximum distance in drives. A second ball, not shown, of dense material, such as metal, is used for putting.
Obviously the invention is susceptible to changes or alterations without defeating its practicability, therefore, I do not wish to be confined to the preferred embodiment shown in the drawings and described herein.
1. A miniature golf game, comprising:
a plurality of panels capable of being arranged in a common plane to form a plurality of fairways having individually different perimeter configurations, said panels each having a playing surface, said playing surface being covered by a fuzzy material, one of said panels having a cup formed in its playing surface, said cup containing panel being provided with a circular member covered by a fuzzy material forming a green area surrounding said cup and having its fuzzy surface lying in the plane of the remaining fuzzy playing surface of said panel, said circular member being rotatable about its axis,
said cup being eccentrically disposed with respect to the axis of rotation of said circular member, at least one of the other said panels having at least one recess in its playing surface forming a hazard impeding movement of a golf ball driven toward said cup; a ball; at least one golf club having a shaft and a head; an articulated mechanical golfer including an elongated base portion and a hollow golfer body portion having a depending hollow leg portion connecting said body portion to one end portion of the upper surface of said base portion in upstanding angular upwardly inclined relation toward the opposite end portion of said base, said golfer having means for holding the shaft of said golf club including a golfer arm portion overlying the upwardly inclined golfer body portion, and, an axle extending through one end portion of said golfer arm portion and journalled by said golfer body portion for to and fro relative movement of said golfer arm portion about the axis of said axle,
the opposite end portion of said golfer arm portion converging downwardly toward the lowermost plane of said base and having a golf club shaft receiving socket therein; and,
trigger means for actuating said golfer and driving said ball,
said trigger means inluding a pulley secured to said axle within said golfer body,
an elongated flexible member entrained, intermediate its ends, around said pulley,
an elongated resilient member connected at one end with one end of said flexible member within said base and secured at its other end to the end portion of said base opposite said golfer, and,
a control knob projecting into said base and connected with the other end of said flexible member,
said control knob being movable longitudinally of said base.
2. The miniature golf game according to claim 1 in which said base is provided with an elongated longitudinally extending slot in its upper surface terminating in a part circular opening at the end portion of said base opposite said golfer,
said control knob having a shaft portion loosely received in longitudinally sliding relation by the slot and having a circular member coaxially secured to said shaft and releasably contained by the part circular terminal end of the slot.
3. The miniature golf game according to claim 2 andfurther including:
a wedge shaped member having perimeter dimensions coinciding with said cup containing panel for underlying the latter and disposing the plane of said green area on an incline.
4. The miniature golf game according to claim 2 and further including:
at least one plug member closely received by a hazard forming recess in one of said panels; and,
at least one lip member received by another hazard forming recess in another of said panels for partially filling the recess.
5. The miniature golf game according to claim 2 and further including:
a plurality of golf game hazard forming movable members vertically supported by the upper surface of one or more of said panels and simulating treelike configurations.