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Publication numberUS3917280 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 4, 1975
Filing dateOct 30, 1973
Priority dateDec 8, 1972
Publication numberUS 3917280 A, US 3917280A, US-A-3917280, US3917280 A, US3917280A
InventorsConrad Robert G, Grace Henry A
Original AssigneeConrad Robert G, Grace Henry A
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Golf putting training device
US 3917280 A
Abstract
A method and machine for teaching and reading of golf putting greens wherein the distance to the cup is calculated and a corresponding force is selected and perfectly applied to a golf ball by the putting machine to verify the calculation. The steps may be repeated until the projected golf ball enters the cup. To compensate for the lie of the putting surface, an optical system using mirrors is mounted to a putter drive assembly to project the golf ball at an angle with respect to the line of sight to the cup. The putter drive assembly includes a plurality of pairs of holes in which two pins are placed to define the plane at which the golfer should strike the ball in order to duplicate the stroke of the putting machine.
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United States Patent 1 1 Grace et a1.

1 1 GOLF PUTTING TRAINING DEVICE [76] Inventors: Henry A. Grace, 7333 New Hampshire Ave, Apt. 319, Hyattsville, Md. 20783; Robert G. Conrad, 1600 Dillon Rd., Maple Glen, Pa. 19002 [22] Filed: Oct. 30, 1973 [21] Appl, No.: 411,028

Related US. Application Data [63] Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 313,352, Dec. 8,

1972, abandoned,

[52] US. Cl 273/183 R; 273/183 E; 273/35 A; 124/30 R; 273/77 R [51] Int. C1. A6313 69/36 [58] Field of Search 273/77, 129, 194, 186, 273/163, 35, 87.2, 87.4, 32, 179, 178; 124/30, 38

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 497,929 5/1893 Shumaker 124/30 R 1,618,638 2/1927 Coles 273/77 R 1,919,094 7/1933 Cuchran 273/129 1 Nov. 4, 1975 Primary Examiner-George J. Marlo 1 1 ABSIRACT A method and machine for teaching and reading of golf putting greens wherein the distance to the cup is calculated and a corresponding force is selected and perfectly applied to a golf ball by the putting machine to verify the calculation. The steps may be repeated until the projected golf ball enters the cup. To compensate for the lie of the putting surface, an optical system using mirrors is mounted to a putter drive as sembly to project the golf ball at an angle with respect to the line of sight to the cup. The putter drive assembly includes a plurality of pairs of holes in which two pins are placed to define the plane at which the golfer should strike the ball in order to duplicate the stroke of the putting machine.

19 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures fro s iii 21 Ill U.S. Patent Nov. 4, 1975 Sheet20f3 3,917,280

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US. Patent Nov. 4, 1975 Sheet 3 of3 3,917,280

FIG: 3

GOLF PUTTING TRAINING DEVICE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This application is a continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 313,352, filed Dec. 8, 1972, now abandoned.

The present invention relates generally to putting aid devices and more specifically to a machine and method to aid the average golfer in calculating and verifying the proper distance and direction in which a golfer must stroke a putt if the ball is to go into the cup, taking into account the many variables involved.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART In the field of putting devices, a major concern has been to provide devices to aid the golfer in aligning the golfer's own putter head with the cup or flag. Others have used mirrors and other optical devices to allow the golfer to align his putter head with an imaginary spot to accommodate for the lie of the green and stroke in that direction to achieve a perfect putt. Other devices have been developed to read the green physically by the use of a pendulum apparatus.

All of the devices of the prior art are based on the assumption that the golf player will stroke the ball accurately every time, and that the golf player will judge both the required distance and direction required for the particular putt accurately each time. These assumptions have no basis since most golfers actions are not precisely the same on each stroke and neither is there a valid means at the present time to verify his calculations of a proper distance and direction. Thus, the pres ent device avoids the errors inherent in the above assumptions by actually demonstrating, using objective standards, a correct putt. This allows the golfer to verify his decisions as to the distance and lie of the green. Also, by marking the putting plane of a correct putt, the golfer can test his ability to duplicate the verified putt.

The present putting machine and method enables a golfer to calibrate his putting stroke for an adjusted distance to a standardized distance built into the putting machine. By using a machine that will produce a standardized putt for a given distance, the golfer can study the other variables such as the lie and speed of the green. The present invention enables the player to improve his expertise in reading the greens and judging breaks in the putt caused by such variables as the roll of the terrain, the grain and thickness of the grass, and varying weather conditions. The present invention allows the golfer to test the accuracy of his determination of the condition and lie of the green by projecting the ball across the putting surface with a standard precalculated amount of force. By repeated adjustments of the force until the ball enters the cup, the golfer can learn to correct his decision-making process and estimation of the distance and lie of the green. The golfer may also vary the trajectory of the ball and adjust the amount of force for the preselected trajectory depending on the condition and lie of the green. Pins are provided to mark the plane of the machine's putter, so that the golfer can test his ability to duplicate the machineverified, adjusted distance using the machine defined putting plane.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention is a method and machine for teaching the golfer to read the greens correctly by the repetitive process of estimating the distance to the cup and compensating said distance for the condition of the green, applying a precalibrated amount of force based on that distance, and observing the results. By adjusting the calculated distance to the cup, the golfer is able to learn to adjust his original calculation of putting surface conditions. By the use of a built-in optical system, the present putting machine will also allow the ball to be projected across the putting surface at an angle other than the line of sight from the putting machine to the cup or pin. Additionally, pins are provided to mark the putting plane of the machine so that a golfer can test his ability to duplicate the machines putt using the marked putting plane. The apparatus includes a housing with a transparent viewing plate, a spring loaded putter head assembly carrying an adjustable optical sys tent with centerlines thereon, and a traversing mechanism that enables the golfer to move the putter and op tical system relative to the housing until the centerlines thereon are aligned in the proper direction for the putt. A plurality of pairs of apertures or slots are provided in the putter head assembly for marking the putting plane with pins inserted therein. By alignment or misalignment of the optical systems centerline, the golfer can verify his selection of the angle the putter makes with the line of sight to the cup which would produce a trajectory required to place the ball in the cup. Also, an adjustment of the force for the different trajectories is possible. The golfer can test his ability to duplicate the force required, as verified by the machine, by putting the golf ball using the putting plane of the machine as marked by the pins.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION An object of the present invention is the provision of a method for teaching the golfer to properly read the putting surface.

Another object is to provide an apparatus for verifying the golfers analysis of the green using an objective standard.

A further object of the invention is the provision of a putting machine to verify the golfer's estimation of a proper angle with respect to the line of sight to the cup along which the ball should be stroked.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a method and means to allow a golfer to read the variables of the putt correctly without the variables in his own stroke being involved.

An even further object of the present invention is to provide an economical and effective means to allow the average golfer to improve his techniques and drastically reduce his score.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide a means of marking a verified putting plane to enable the golfer to test his ability to duplicate a verified putt.

Other objects, advantages and novel features of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description of the invention when considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a side sectional view of the preferred embodiment;

FIG. 2 is a top cut-away view of the preferred embodiment taken along line 2-2 of FIG. I,

FIG. 3 is a perspective cut-away view of a modification of the preferred embodiment;

FIG. 4 is a view of the indicator of FIGS. 1 and 2;

FIG. 5 is an illustration of the use of the preferred embodiment on a green; and

FIG. 6 is the view that the golfer would have in the glass viewer in the embodiment as used in FIG. 5.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS FIG. 1, which illustrates a side cutaway view of the preferred embodiment, shows the putting machine 10. The putting machine has top wall 12, side walls 13, front walls 14, center wall l6, and rear wall 18 for portably housing the device. A top wall 12 has a handle 20 mounted thereto and an aperture 22 therein which (as will be explained later) is used to align the optical sys tern. Alternatively, apertures 22 may be replaced with a transparent material. In either case. both side walls 13 have an opening 23 to allow adjustment of the optical system, placement of the ball and marking of the put' ting plane, which will also be explained later.

On the top wall 12 is a center line 24, which may be etched or may be a decal, corresponding to the center line of the housing. The front wall 14 of the housing has two apertures 26 and 28. The first aperture 26 is used in conjunction with the optical system to be explained later and may also be replaced with a transparent material. The aperture opening 28, in the front wall 14, al lows the ball projected by the putter head to leave the housing. Extending substantially horizontally from the putter head assembly is a sight rod 29 corresponding to the center of the putter head. Pivotally mounted to the putter head assembly are two adjustable mirrors 30 and 32 which are used in conjunction with housing centerline 24 and sighting rod 29 to align the housing with the cup or flag and later to align the force'inducing spring biased putter with respect to the housing. The mirrors 30 and 32 include centerlines 31 and 33, respectively which, when properly aligned with sight rod 29, prevent parallactic sighting. It should be noted that only two of the three sighting devices (29, 31 and 32) are needed, thus one of the centerlines (31 and 33) may be omitted. Also, the sighting device can function if only one of the mirrors (30, 32) is adjustable.

The putter head assembly includes a putter head 34, having a centerline 35 thereon, which is attached by an arm 36 to the force-inducing mechanism 38. The forceinducing mechanism 38 has a generally light-weight cylindrical metal housing 40 with caps 42 and 44 at its respective ends. Within said housing is a spring biased plunger or piston having a head 46, a shaft 48 and a handle 50. The spring 49 exerts force between the rear cap 44 of the cylinder and the head 46 of the plunger. The arm 36 of the putter head 34 is attached to and extends above the head 46 of the plunger and rides within longitudinal grooves 52 and 53 of the spring housing 40. Mounted on the housing at cap 42 is a shock absorbing elastomeric material 54 which absorbs and stops head 46 of the plunger at the end of its forward motion. On the head 46 of the plunger is a bearing surface 56 of any suitable friction-reducing material, such as Teflon, to aid in the movement of the plunger.

Mounted on cylindrical housing 40 is optical assembly support 58 to which sight rod 29 and adjustable mirrors 30 and 33 are mounted. Near the bottom of optical sssembly support 58 are two screws 60 which adjustably mount mirror frame support 62 to support 58 and to which is mounted mirror 30. Near the top of optical assembly support 58 are two screws 64 which adjustably mount mirror frame support 66 to support 58 and to which is mounted mirror 30. By adjustment of mirrors 30 and 32, the golfer may view targets at different distances from the machine through the optical system.

The plunger shaft 48 is shown as having a plurality of ratchet surfaces 68 therein. These surfaces coact with a trigger device 70 having a pawl or locking member 72 which engages the ratchet surface 68. Encompassing shaft 48 and pawl 72 is guide 74 which limits the pawl 72 to vertical movement into and out of engagement with ratchet surface 68. Handle 75 is connected to pawl 72 to release the trigger device. A spring may be provided to rest between the handle 50 and the guide 74, and shock absorbing elastomeric material 54, which is mounted to cap 42, may be provided to absorb some of the force of the piston at the end of its forward stroke and thereby prevent damage to guide 74 and front wall 42 of the force-inducing mechanism 38.

The force-inducing mechanism 38 traverses the center wall [6 through an aperture 78 and the rear wall 18 through an aperture 80 and rests on bearing surfaces 82 and 84, respectively. The plunger is pivotally mounted to the rear wall 18 by pins 86 and 88. This allows for adjustment of the force-inducing mechanism 38 within the horizontal plane of the body or housing of the putting machine 10. The housing is detachably secured to the putting surface by golf spikes 90 secured to the bottom of the housing. If a hard putting surface is being used to teach the individual the estimation of distance, such as black top or a floor, the spikes 90 may be replaced by adhesive surfaces Il4 as shown in FIG. 3.

The angle which the putting head makes with the housing or the line of sight to the cup is adjustable. A locking assembly includes screw 92 which passes through an arcuate slot 94 in top wall 12 and is received within a threaded journal 96 in the top of optical system support 58. Two pegs 98 are mounted on each side ofjournal 96 in the top of support 58 and aid in the guiding of the putter head assembly when traversing arcuate slot 94. By moving the loosened screw 92 right or left, the force-inducing mechanism 38 is pivoted on pins 86 and 88 to align the putter head to a given angle with respect to the centerline 24 of the housing.

Secured to the bottom of optical system support 58 is a generally U-shaped member 100 having two parallel legs 102 and 104, which define the plane at which the putter head 34 hits the ball. In the forward face of each leg 102 and 104 is a vertical groove 106 in which a pin 107 is inserted to mark the putting plane. A plurality of pairs of apertures 106 are also provided in member 100 to mark planes for a variety of lengths of putter heads. Once the pins are inserted and the machine removed, the golfer can try to duplicate the putt of the machine using the same putting plane as defined by the pins.

As alluded to earlier, the ratchet surface 68 contains indicia for aiding the golfer in selection of a precalculated force. This indicia, as shown in FIG. 4, starts with a 3-foot putt and could run up to as high as is feasible, such as a 25-foot putt. Also shown is a B position, which indicates the distance that the plunger or putter has to drawn back to allow for positioning of the golf bail in the putting maching through aperture 23 in side wall 13. The plunger is illustrated in the B position in FIGS. 1 and 2, which permits the ball to be placed approximately in the position shown in dotted lines.

A modified form of the calibrated force indicating section of the preferred embodiment is shown in FIG. 3. Here an indicator 108 is attached to the movable wall or plunger head 46 and rides within a channel 110 in the cylindrical spring housing 40 and in channel 112 in the side wall I3 of the housing of the putting ma chine l0. Indicia is shown as being contained on the exterior of the housing. By pulling back the plunger han dle 50 until the indicator 108 is opposite the indicia on the housing, which represents the estimated distance to the hole with the compensation for the green conditions and lie, the precalculated force is selected. Also shown in FIG. 3 is the use of adhesive pads 114 instead of the spikes 90.

OPERATION The putting device is placed upon the green and de tachably secured by spikes 90 or adhesive pads I14. initially, the centerline 24 of the machine should be substantially aligned with the line of sight to the cup to permit as wide a range of movement for the optical system as possible. The mirrors and 32 are adjusted until the cup appears in the optical system. Next, sight rod 29 and centerlines 31 and 33 of mirrors 30 and 32, respectively, are aligned with the cup by moving screw 92 in arcuate slot 94. The putter 34 is thus aligned such that its centerline 35 is coincident with the line of sight to the pin or cup. Of course, it would be possible to ini tially center the putter 34 by positioning sight rod 29 coincident with housing centerline 24 and then shifting the putting device housing 10 until the cup is located on sight rod 29 and centerlines 31 and 33.

Now that the putter 34 has been aligned, the golfer may verify his estimation of distance to the green. For a green having a flat lie, the golfer estimates the dis tance to the cup, taking into account the thickness and dampness of the grass and applying a distance compensation therefor. The indicator handle is pulled back until the indicator is opposite the indicia B which indicates the position of the plunger or putter head for placing the ball. The ball is then placed in front of the putter centered on putter centerline 35. The indicator handle is then moved further back until the indicia representing the estimation of the distance to the hole plus a compensating factor for the condition of the green is opposite the rear wall 44 as shown in FIG. 1 or is oppo' site the indicia as shown on the side of the housing in FIG. 3. After the distance has been selected, the trigger mechanism 70 is then released by pul ing handle 75, which releases the ratchet 72 and allows the putter head 34 to stroke the ball perfectly with a precalibrated force which corresponds to the distance marked on the indicia. The positioning of the ball as shown in FIG. 1 allows the putter to stroke the ball and continue moving, thereby stimulating a follow-through and insuring a well-stroked bail. The golfer then can see whether his estimation of the distance with the compensating factor was proper. If the ball did not go into the hole by either falling short or speeding past the hole, the golfer may now compensate his estimate of the distance and try again, This process is repeated until the ball goes into the hole, at which point the golfer may mark the putting plane with the provided pins. The machine is then removed and the golfer tries to make the putt using the machine-defined and pin-marked putting plane.

In many instances, the green is not a flat lie and compensation in the trajectory must be made for the lie of the green. To illustrate this principle, we refer to FIGS. 5 and (1. In FIG. 5, the general machine is shown as It), sitting on green 200 having cup 202 and flag 204 therein The golfcrs estimation of the lie ot the green requires a putt to be directed towards a small [lag 206 or other suitable marked which he has placed on the green. The golfer preferably positions the putting ma chine 10 so that it has its t'tllitflllttt 24 coinciding with the line of sight 208 between the machine and the pin 204 in the cup 202. Then the golf i adjusts the position or angle that force inducing mechanism 38 makes with the centerline 24 or line of sight 208. By moving screw 92. in arcuate slot 94 unit, the little flag 206 is made coincident with sight rod 29 and ccntcllines 3! and 33 thus creating a line of sight 2H! for the putter head 34.

A view of what the golfer would see through the opti' cal system is shown in FIG 6. The flag 204 and the cup 202 are shown aligned with the housing centerline 24 and the small flag 206 is shown coincident with the sight rod 29 and ccntcrlines 3i and 33- The golfer would then estimate the distance to the cup 2.02 by a trajectory aiming at flag 206. By repeating the estima' tion process, the golfer can learn to adjust his distance for various trajectories produced by aiming at flag 206 which will intersect cup 202. Another approach would be to use the same force and adjust the position of the flag 206 until the proper trajectory is found which would intersect cup 202 using a constant force. Thus, by varying the angle the putter 34 makes with the line of sight and the amount of force, a plurality of trajectories (all of which will put the golf ball into the cup) can be developed which would correctly read the green. As with a line-of-sight putt, once the ball goes into the hole, the golfer marks the putting plane with the pro vided pins. The machine is then removed and the golfer tries to make the putt using the machines verified and pin-defined putting plane This readily permits the golfer to estimate the dis tance and trajectory of the various putts and verify these by using a machine which will accurately putt the ball along a given trajectory with a given amount of precalibrated force. By initially removing the variance in the golfer's stroke, the golfer is able to verify his estimation of lie and condition of the green without questioning the quality of this putt. Once he has verified his estimation ofthe green condition and lie. he tries to du plicate the putt using a verified putting plane. By be coming a proficient putter with the use of this machine, the average golfer can reduce his score significantly.

Although the invention has been described and illustrated in detail it is to be clearly understood that the same is by way of illustration and example only and it is not to be taken by way of limitation. The spirit and scope of this invention are to be limited only by the terms of the appended claims.

What is claimed: 1. A golf ball putting device comprising: a housing adapted to he detachably secured to a put table surface; impact means within said housing for applying a calibrated force to said golf ball; selection means connected to said force means for determining the calibrated force to be applied; and

sighting and orienting means including at least two sighting points located on said device for defining a sighting line to a cup and for orienting said impact means, whereby a golf ball is projected across said puttable surface at a force determined by the selected calibrated force of said impact means and along a path determined by the orientation of said impact means.

2. A putting device as in claim 1 wherein said sighting and orienting means includes a longitudinal housing centerline indicia mounted on said housing and a mirror connected to said device for insuring coincidence of said housing centerline and said line-of-sight.

3. A putting device as in claim 2 wherein said mirror is pivotally adjustable above the longitudinal axis of said housing.

4. A putting device as in claim I wherein said force means is adjustably mounted within said housing for projecting said golf ball at an angle with respect to said line-of-sight,

5. A putting device as in claim 4 including a mirror means mounted on said force means for determining the angle said force means makes with said line-ofsight.

6. A putting device as in claim 5 wherein said force means includes a putter head and spring biased means connected to said putter head for causing said putter head to apply said calibrated force.

7. A putting device as in claim 6 wherein said spring biased means includes a spring between two parallel members, one of said members being movable relative to the other with said calibrated force being determined by the spacing of said parallel members 8. A putting device as in claim 7 wherein said selection means includes an indicator secured to said movable member and extending past said other member. and force corresponding indicia on said indicator with said movable member being adjusted until the indicia corresponding to a desired calibrated force is adjacent said other member.

9. A putting device as in claim 7 wherein said spring and said movable member are enclosed by a force means casing, said other member forming one end of said force means casing. and force absorbing means separating said movable member and the other end of said force means casing.

10. A device as in claim 1 including a trigger means connected to said housing for releasably retaining said force means.

11. A device as in claim 10 wherein said selection means comprises a ratchet means with force corresponding indicia thereon and said trigger means releasably retains said ratchet means at its selected calibrated force.

[2. A device as in claim 11 wherein said force means is adjustably mounted within said housing for projecting said golf ball at an angle with respect to said line-ofsight.

13. A device as in claim 12 including a mirror with a centerline thereon mounted on said force means and said sighting and orienting means comprising a trans' parent panel with a housing centerline thereon forming part of the top of said housing; said centerlines defining the angle said force means makes with said line of sight.

14. A device as in claim 1 wherein said sighting and orienting means includes a pair of mirrors. each having a centerline indicia thereon and at least one of said mir rors being adjustable.

IS. A device as in claim I wherein said sighting and orienting means includes a pair of mirrors, at least one of which is adjustable and at least one of which has a centerline indicia thereon, and a sight rod extending generally horizontally above said mirrors.

16. A device as in claim 1 including a marking means connected to said device for marking the plane through which said golf ball is putted by said force means.

17. A device as in claim 16 wherein said force means is adjustably mounted within said housing for projecting said golf ball at an angle with respect to said line-ofsight and said sighting and orienting means is mounted to said force means for movement therewith.

18. A device as in claim 16 wherein said marking means is mounted to said impact means for movement therewith and includes two marking pins to mark on the putting surface said plane and includes a pair of apertures to receive said marking pins.

19. A device as in claim 16 wherein said sighting and orienting system includes an optical support mounted to said force means, wherein said housing has an arcuate slot in a top wall, and includes a locking means extending through said arcuate slot into said optical support for securing said force means after adjustment.

* i t k

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US6416420 *Oct 3, 2000Jul 9, 2002Jerome F. StarkGolf putting practice
US20060166724 *Aug 29, 2005Jul 27, 2006Daito Precision Inc.Golf putt measuring device
Classifications
U.S. Classification473/257, 473/407, 124/26
International ClassificationA63B69/36
Cooperative ClassificationA63B69/36
European ClassificationA63B69/36