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United States Patent Application 20170239534
Kind Code A1
Rife; Guerin D. August 24, 2017

METHOD FOR CONFIGURING THE FACE OF A PUTTER

Abstract

The present invention is a method of forming the ball striking face of a putter type golf club to control the amount of force applied to a golf ball for a given stroke in order that golf ball struck away from the center of percussion of the face travels essentially the same distance as golf balls struck precisely at the center of percussion.


Inventors: Rife; Guerin D.; (Carlsbad, CA)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Rife; Guerin D.

Carlsbad

CA

US
Family ID: 1000002076154
Appl. No.: 15/052866
Filed: February 24, 2016


Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A63B 2053/0445 20130101; A63B 53/0487 20130101
International Class: A63B 53/04 20060101 A63B053/04

Claims



1. A method of configuring the ball striking face of a putter type golf club having a center of percussion and heel and toe portions on the face to control the amount of force applied to a golf ball for a given stroke in order that a golf ball struck away from the center of percussion of the face travels essentially the same distance as golf balls struck precisely at the center of percussion, comprising the steps of: a) calculating an amount of material to be progressively eliminated from the ball striking face to form variable ball contact surfaces on the ball striking face; b) selectively eliminating portions of the ball striking face in accordance with the amount of material calculated to be eliminated; c) and, creating variable ball contact surfaces as a result of the portions of the ball striking face eliminated; said variable ball contact surfaces characterized to impart progressively more energy to a golf ball the further away from the center of percussion the ball is struck to insure an equal amount of force is delivered to the ball wherever the ball contacts the striking face of the putter.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein said variable ball contact surfaces are created by forming recesses adjoining the ball contact areas below the surface of said ball striking face.

3. The method of claim 2 wherein the step of selectively eliminating the calculated portions of said striking face is further defined by the step of forming ball contact surfaces at the center of percussion of the striking face that are smaller at the center than the ball contact surfaces at either side of the center of percussion.

4. The method of claim 3 wherein the step of selectively eliminating the calculated portions of said striking face is further defined by the step of forming the ball contact surfaces that become progressively larger toward the heel and toe portions of the striking face than the contact surfaces at the center of percussion.

5. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of selectively eliminating portions of the ball striking face is further defined by removing the portions in the shape of longitudinal, variable width, recessed grooves extending between the heel and toe portions of the ball striking face.

6. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of selectively eliminating portions of the ball striking face is defined by removing the portions in the shape of parabolic recesses extending between the heel and toe portions of the striking face.

7. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of selectively eliminating portions of the ball striking face is defined by the step of removing the portions in geometrical shapes extending between said heel and toe portions of the striking face.

8. The method of claim 1 wherein the step of creating ball contact surfaces is defined by the contact surfaces being geometrically shaped.

9. The method of claim 1 further including a step of determining a moment of inertia value of the putter type golf club; and, using the moment of inertia value to calculate the amount of the portions of the face to be eliminated.

10. The method of claim 9 wherein a lesser amount of material is eliminated from the ball striking face away from the center for putters with a high moment of inertia and a greater amount of material is removed away from the center for putters with a low moment of inertia.

11. The method of claim 2 further including the step of filling the recesses with energy adsorbing material.

12. The method of claim 1 wherein the amount of face material to be eliminated is further calculated by considering the hardness of the putter face material.

13. The method of claim 1 wherein the face material to be eliminated is limited to a hitting area on the face inside the heel and toe of the ball striking face adjacent the center of percussion.

14. A method of configuring the ball striking face of a putter type golf club having a center of percussion and heel and toe portions on the face to control the amount of force applied to a golf ball for a given stroke in order that a golf ball struck away from the center of percussion of the face travels essentially the same distance as golf balls struck precisely at the center of percussion, comprising the steps of: calculating an amount of material on the face to create ball contact areas that will impart the same force or energy transfer to a golf ball wherever on the face the ball is struck; and, selectively forming the calculated material of ball contact surface areas of the ball striking face creating variable, ball striking surfaces that are progressively larger away from the center of percussion toward the heel and toe portions of the face.

15. The method of claim 14 wherein the step of selectively forming calculated material of the ball striking is further defined by forming the calculated portions as geometrical shapes.

16. A method of configuring the ball striking face of a putter type golf club having a center of percussion and heel and toe portions on the face to control the amount of force applied to a golf ball for a given stroke in order that a golf ball struck away from the center of percussion of the face travels essentially the same distance as golf balls struck precisely at the center of percussion, comprising the steps of: calculating an amount of material on the face to create ball contact surface areas that will impart the same force or energy transfer to a golf ball wherever on the face the ball is struck; selectively forming ball contact areas on the face that become progressively larger away from the center of percussion toward the heel and toe portions of the face; and, forming non-contact areas on the putter face adjacent the ball contact surfaces that are progressively smaller away from the center of percussion toward the heel and toe portions of the face.
Description



FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to golf clubs and in particular to a method of configuring the striking face of a putter.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The game of golf is played with a maximum of fourteen clubs. However, one club, the putter, is generally responsible for 40% of the total number of strokes made during a round of golf. Playing a typical golf hole, a golfer will hit an approach shot from a distance to the puffing green that can be reached with an iron type golf club or some type of fairway metalwood or hybrid type golf club. Even when the shot finishes on the green, usually it is not close to the hole and in most instances a golf ball hit onto the green will end up 25 to 40 feet from the hole or further. This is particularly true with golfers of lesser skill. The golfer then has the primary goal with longer putts to roll the ball the correct distance in order to leave the shortest putt possible to complete the hole.

[0003] Thus for golfers of all skill levels, even very proficient golfers, distance control is one of the primary keys to good puffing and achieving lower scores. When hitting a golf ball with a standard putter having a flat, evenly milled, or cast face, a golf ball will travel the greatest distance when the point of contact is in line with the putter head's center of percussion usually located at or near the center of the striking face. However, if the ball makes contact on the putter face away from the center of percussion, less force or energy is transferred into the ball reducing the distance the ball will travel.

[0004] Unfortunately, with putts that are longer than a couple of feet, most golfers commonly miss hit many of these putts toward the heel or toe on the putter face causing the ball to lose energy and not travel the intended distance to the hole. For example, research shows that a golf ball hit just one-half inch away from the center of the putter face will end up approximately 5% shorter than a putt struck in the center of the putter head. This can be 2 feet or more on a putt of 40 feet. Typically, most miss-hits rarely occur further than one half inch either side of the center of the putter face and this area is referred to herein as the hitting area of the putter face.

[0005] It has been discovered by the inventor by robot testing that a similar reduction in distance occurs with a putter provided with a plurality of very closely spaced face grooves, when compared to an identical putter having a smooth non-grooved face. This is because the grooves create less ball contact area and therefore less energy is transferred to the ball even when hit at the center of percussion. Simply put, less ball contact surface on the face means less energy transfer and less distance for a given, identical force generated by the execution of the golfer's puffing stroke. More ball contact surface means more energy transfer and more distance.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The present invention relates to a method for configuring the surface of the ball striking face of a golf putter so that a golf ball struck off center will travel the same distance as a ball struck directly at the center of percussion. This is achieved by eliminating selected ball contact surfaces on the face of the putter to control the amount of force applied against a golf ball during the execution of a puffing stroke. In the preferred method of the present invention, non-contact areas are formed on a generally flat putter face leaving complimentary ball contact areas adjacent the non-contact areas. Preferably in the center of the face, opposite the center of percussion, the contact areas are reduced and the complimentary non-contact areas in the center of the putter face are greater. In accordance with the present invention, the non-contact areas are progressively reduced away from the center and the contact areas accordingly become larger to increase the force or energy transfer to the golf ball where the normal energy transfer of the putter to the ball is weaker.

[0007] Thus by forming an amount of ball contact area at and on either side of the center of percussion in the normal hitting area on the putter face that becomes progressively greater away from the center toward the heel and toe that exerts an equal amount of striking force against the golf ball, it is possible to create a putter that rolls a golf ball virtually the same distance when hit with equal force on or off the center of the putter face.

[0008] To illustrate this method of a progressive contact surface, assume a ball hit at the center of percussion with a flat faced putter will travel 25 feet. Using a putter having 0.050 inches wide recessed grooves at the center of the face separated by a 0.010 inches contact surface, a ball struck with the same energy will travel 23.5 feet. By progressively reducing the non-contact, recessed groove width to 0.030 inches and increasing contact surface between the recesses to 0.030 inches gradually to a location 0.75 inches to either side away from the center toward the heel and toe, the energy transfer will remain constant allowing the ball to travel the same 23.5 feet.

[0009] This method of progressively increasing the contact surface away from the center of percussion requires the use of a rigid material. However, some materials are more rigid than others. In the case of a softer material such as aluminum, the degree of contact surface compared to non-contact area away from the center will not be as great. Using the example in the previous paragraph, the contact surface at the center of percussion is 0.015 inches for aluminum instead of 0.010 inches for steel and the non-contact area is 0.045 inches for aluminum instead of 0.050 inches for steel in order to roll the golf ball the same distance as when the harder material, steel, is used.

[0010] The method of the present invention is not limited to a particular putter head or putter face configurations. The method is equally applicable to a variety of putters and putter face configurations where the ball contact area of the putter face is less at the precise center of percussion and progressively larger away from the center to provide a greater transfer of energy when the ball is struck away from the center of the striking face. A typical method of the present invention uses various sized non-contact areas such as variable width grooves, formed and recessed at least in the hitting area of the face. However, other geometrical configurations and milling techniques are able to achieve the same effect where the ball contact areas are lesser at the center of the putter face and become progressively greater away from the center toward the heel and toe portions of the club.

[0011] Among the objects of the present invention is the provision of a method for configuring the face of a putter to progressively add striking force to a golf ball when the ball is struck away from the center of the face.

[0012] Another object is the provision of a method for configuring progressively larger, ball contacting surfaces toward the heel and toe locations of a putter face away from the center of percussion.

[0013] Still another object is the provision of a method for configuring non-contact areas that are progressively smaller away from the center of percussion toward the heel and toe locations of a putter face.

[0014] Yet another object is the provision of a method for configuring a putter face using geometrical, ball contacting configurations that are smaller at the center of percussion of the face and progressively larger away from the center toward the heel and toe locations of a putter face.

[0015] Yet another object is the provision of a method for configuring a putter face using a milled configuration that presents less ball contact at the center of percussion of the face and progressively more ball contact area away from the center toward the heel and toe locations of a putter face.

[0016] These and other objects will be apparent with reference to the following specification and accompanying drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0017] FIG. 1 illustrates an embodiment of a ball striking face of a putter type golf club made in accordance with the method of the present invention.

[0018] FIG. 2 illustrates a second embodiment of a ball striking face of a putter type golf club made in accordance with the method of the present invention.

[0019] FIG. 3 illustrates a third embodiment of a ball striking face of a putter type golf club made in accordance with the method of the present invention.

[0020] FIG. 4 illustrates a fourth embodiment of a ball striking face of a putter type golf club made in accordance with the method of the present invention.

[0021] FIG. 5 illustrates a fifth embodiment of a ball striking face of a putter type golf club made in accordance with the method of the present invention.

[0022] FIG. 6 illustrates a sixth embodiment of a ball striking face of a putter type golf club made in accordance with the method of the present invention.

[0023] FIG. 7 illustrates a seventh embodiment of a ball striking face of a putter type golf club made in accordance with the method of the present invention.

[0024] FIG. 8 is a sectional view taken along lines 8-8 of FIG. 7.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED METHODS OF THE INVENTION

[0025] The present invention is a method of forming a preferably flat ball striking face of a putter type golf club to control the amount of force applied to a golf ball for a given stroke in order that a golf ball struck away from the center of percussion of the face will travel essentially the same distance as a golf ball struck precisely at the center of percussion. This is accomplished by forming ball contact areas on the face of the putter that exert variable impact forces against the ball as a result of the size and position of the contact areas. It has been determined that lesser ball contact area is needed at the center of the face and progressively greater ball contact area is needed away from the center toward the heel and toe in order for a golf ball to travel the same distance whether struck at the center or toward the heel or toe of the putter face. By carefully calculating and forming the relative size of the ball contact areas by removing or eliminating portions of the contact surface of the striking face, the impact force and energy transfer against a golf ball can be controlled such that the amount of impact force is the same across the entire hitting area of the face. This insures that a golf ball will travel essentially the same distance even when the ball is miss-hit away from the center of percussion toward the heel or toe of the putter face.

[0026] A preferred method of the invention eliminates a greater amount of face material at the center creating a non-contact area and leaving a ball contact area that is less than the complimentary, adjoining non-contact area. The ball contact areas on either side of the center become progressively greater away from the center until the ball contact areas are equal to and become greater toward the heel and toe of the putter face. The greater the size of the contact areas, the more impact force energy is transferred to the golf ball for a given puffing stroke and this offsets the reduction in impact force that occurs when the ball is struck away from the center.

[0027] The method of the present invention further contemplates that the size and shapes of the ball contact areas and adjacent non-contact areas may take a variety of different shapes or configurations and are only limited by the relative size between the adjacent areas and the relative positions of these areas on the face. As described hereinbelow, the contact and non-contact areas on the face may be formed as recessed grooves, milling configurations or various geometrical shapes including, but not limited to, circles, ovals, and rectangles as examples.

[0028] A common way to analyze the degree of dispersion and loss of distance of a particular putter that occur with miss hits is to use a putting robot. Starting with a flat face putter, putts are struck with identical force across the hitting area of the face from the exact center up to one inch toward the heel and toe. The loss of distance for the various locations on the face away from the center is compared with the hits at the center and this information is used to calculate the amount of ball contact surface area needed to compensate for the loss of energy applied to the golf ball.

[0029] The calculations to determine how much force is necessary and how much contact area is needed to cause the ball to roll the same distance when struck at the center of percussion or away from the center of percussion may be done mechanically as described above using a putting robot. Alternately a computer designed program based on the size of the relative areas of contact and non-contact areas on the face and the exerted force against the golf ball during the putting stroke may also be used to determine the dimensions and configuration of the putter face. The MOI and the hardness of the putter head material may also be programmed into the calculations to obtain a more precise value of the relative size of the contact and complimentary non-contact areas of the face.

[0030] The method in accordance with the present invention may also include a step that first determines or calculates the approximate moment of inertia (MOI) of the particular putter configuration being used. A putter head with a higher MOI creates greater stability and reduces torque when a golf ball is struck away from the center of percussion. Therefore, when using a high MOI putter, the amount of force applied to the golf ball need not be as great between the off center hits and the center hits to insure the ball rolls the same distance. A low MOI putter requires additional force to enable the golf ball to move the same preferred distance. It follows that the configuration of the putter face in terms of contact areas and non-contact areas to cause the ball to travel essentially the same distance for hits across the putter face will, in part, be determined by the particular MOI of the putter.

[0031] Knowing the distance and dispersion results using a putter with a known MOI, it is possible to calculate the exact structure and size of the contact and non-contact areas of the putter face in order to transfer the necessary amount of energy to the ball enabling it to travel the same distance with center hits and off-center hits.

[0032] FIG. 1 shows a first embodiment of a conventional putter type golf club head 100 made in accordance with the above described method of the present invention. The club head 100 includes a heel 102, toe 104, top surface 106, bottom 108 and generally flat ball striking face 110. As seen in the exploded portion of FIG. 1, the hitting area of the striking face includes a series of ball contact surface areas 112, extending in a heel 102 to toe 104 direction, that are adjacent and located between a series of elongated, parabolic shaped recesses 114. The recesses 114 are eliminated from the face 110 by molding and/or machining or any other suitable process in accordance with the above described method. The ball contact surfaces 112 are substantially smaller and the recesses 114 substantially larger at the center of percussion 116 of the club head 100. The ball contact surfaces 112 become progressively larger or wider away from the center of percussion 116 as the complimentary recesses 114 become smaller.

[0033] FIG. 2 shows a second embodiment of a portion of a golf club face 210 made in accordance with the above described method of the present invention having ball contact surface areas 212 formed between downwardly configured, arcuate recesses 214. The ball contact areas 212 are narrower than the recesses 214 at the center 216 of the face 210 and become progressively wider away from the center 216.

[0034] FIG. 3 shows a third embodiment of a portion of a golf club face 310 made in accordance with the present method having ball contact surface areas 312 formed between a series of elongated, oval shaped recesses 314. The contact surfaces 312 are smaller than the recesses 314 at the center 316 of the face 310 and become progressively larger away from the center 316.

[0035] FIG. 4 shows a fourth embodiment of a portion of a golf club face 410 made in accordance with the present method having a milling pattern with ball contact surface areas 412 formed between milled recesses 414. The milling pattern is more closely spaced at the midpoint 416 and separates away from the midpoint 416 creating greater ball contact surfaces away from the center of the face.

[0036] FIG. 5 shows a fifth embodiment of a striking face made in accordance with the method of the present invention. In this embodiment, the geometrical shapes on the club face 510 are the ball contact surface areas 512 in the form of rectangles with adjoining, complimentary recesses 514 between the contact surfaces. As with the previous embodiments, the contact surfaces 512 are smaller at the center 516 and become progressively larger away from the midpoint 516 of the club face 510.

[0037] FIG. 6 shows a sixth embodiment of a portion of a golf club face 610 made in accordance with the present method also having geometrical shaped ball contact surface areas 612 in the form of circular shapes. Here also the circular ball contact surface areas 612 are smaller at the center 616 and become progressively larger away from the midpoint 616 of the face 610.

[0038] FIGS. 7 and 8 show a seventh embodiment of a portion of a golf club face 710, similar in design to the embodiment of FIG. 1, made in accordance with the present method having rigid ball contacting surface areas 712 formed between complimentary recesses 714 filled with a softer, non-metallic material such as polymer or the like, that deadens the strike against the golf ball. The ball striking surface areas 712 are narrower than the recesses 714 at the center 716 and become progressively wider away from the center 716 of the face 710.

[0039] It will be appreciated the method of the present invention may be practiced on any type or shape putter head the only requirement being that the putter is formed with a putter face with a center of percussion and adjacent areas of the face at either side of the center. It will also be appreciated that other embodiments and configurations of the recesses and ball contact areas may be used in keeping within the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined in the following claims.

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