US20140004978A1 - Golf Ball Incorporating Alignment Indicia - Google Patents

Golf Ball Incorporating Alignment Indicia Download PDF

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Publication number
US20140004978A1
US20140004978A1 US13/720,094 US201213720094A US2014004978A1 US 20140004978 A1 US20140004978 A1 US 20140004978A1 US 201213720094 A US201213720094 A US 201213720094A US 2014004978 A1 US2014004978 A1 US 2014004978A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
alignment device
golf ball
ball
particles
ball according
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Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
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US13/720,094
Inventor
Bradley C. Tutmark
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Nike Inc
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Nike Inc
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Publication date
Priority to US201161577493P priority Critical
Application filed by Nike Inc filed Critical Nike Inc
Priority to US13/720,094 priority patent/US20140004978A1/en
Assigned to NIKE, INC. reassignment NIKE, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: Tutmark, Bradley C.
Publication of US20140004978A1 publication Critical patent/US20140004978A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B37/00Solid balls; Rigid hollow balls; Marbles
    • A63B37/0003Golf balls
    • A63B37/0022Coatings, markings
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B37/00Solid balls; Rigid hollow balls; Marbles
    • A63B37/0003Golf balls
    • A63B37/0023Covers
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B69/00Training appliances or apparatus for special sports
    • A63B69/36Training appliances or apparatus for special sports for golf
    • A63B69/3658Means associated with the ball for indicating or measuring, e.g. speed, direction
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B71/00Games or sports accessories not covered in groups A63B1/00 - A63B69/00
    • A63B71/06Indicating or scoring devices for games or players, or for other sports activities
    • A63B2071/0694Visual indication, e.g. Indicia
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B43/00Balls with special arrangements
    • A63B43/008Balls with special arrangements with means for improving visibility, e.g. special markings or colours

Abstract

A golf ball has an outer surface covered by a chameleon material. The chameleon material produces a variable alignment device that appears to a viewer in the same location regardless of the viewer's position relative to the ball. This variable alignment device allows the user to properly align a shot without moving the ball to align an imprint with a desired path of travel.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/577,493, entitled “Golf Ball Incorporating Alignment Indicia”, and filed on Dec. 19, 2011, which application is hereby incorporated by reference.
  • FIELD
  • The present embodiments relates generally to a golf ball incorporating indicia to assist a golfer in aligning a shot. More specifically, the present embodiments relate to a golf ball that includes a paint layer that provides an alignment indicia that moves relative to the ball depending on the perspective of a viewer.
  • BACKGROUND
  • Among the challenges in playing golf is properly striking a ball so that it travels in the desired direction. The direction a golf ball travels may depend on a number of factors. Among these may be, for example, wind speed and direction, the slope of the course, obstacles on the course, the ball and club used, and the position of the golfer in making the shot. While it is difficult to control all the variables in the golf shot, the equipment used and the position of the golfer are most controllable by the golfer.
  • In some instances, golfers use the equipment to assist in positioning their bodies relative to a ball in order to hit a ball in the correct direction. Often, balls include various indicia that allow the ball to be positioned directionally. A golfer is allowed to position a ball to align the indicia the way the golfer wishes when the golfer places the ball on the tee. The golfer may also pick up and reposition a ball on the green.
  • When a golfer uses the indicia on the ball on the putting surface, it is unusual to direct the indicia directly at the hole. Instead, the golfer must “read” the green and determine an intermediate point the ball should be hit towards in order for it to go in the hole. When the golfer reads the green, he or she often must read the green from a position other than adjacent the ball. The golfer must then remember the intermediate position and then position the ball to be directed towards the intermediate position.
  • Particularly for a newer golfer, inexperience can lead to forgetting an intermediate position soon after determining its position. The time it takes for a golfer to properly place and align the ball can be enough time for the golfer to forget or misremember the intermediate position. The longer it takes to place the ball, the greater the probability that the golfer will mistake the intermediate position and miss the hole.
  • Therefore, it would be desirable to provide a ball that minimizes the time necessary to properly position the ball and properly align the golfer with the ball to create the proper stroke. It is also desirable to provide a ball that allows a golfer to have an appropriate alignment guide even when the golfer cannot re-orient the ball prior to taking a shot.
  • SUMMARY
  • The printing on a golf ball with designs, trademarks, and/or names of the golf ball are printed on a single line to be used as an alignment guide. The line of printing often includes arrows at the ends of the line to enhance the use of the line of printing as an alignment guide. However, a golfer is not able to shift the position of the ball and stay within the rules of golf. The disclosed device is a golf ball where the surface of the golf ball includes inks, paints, or dyes which appear solid and legible when viewed at a first angle while appearing to move or dissipate when viewed at a second angle. These guides may have a more ephemeral appearance than traditional printing. These guides are visible in the correct alignment position regardless of the orientation of the ball on the ground or with respect to the golfer. The apparent changeability of the alignment guide appearance or position is due to the shape and orientation of particles within an ink used to color or coat the surface of the golf ball. When viewed from different angles, the particles reflect ambient light to produce an image. This image is the alignment guide.
  • In one embodiment, a golf ball includes an outer surface and an alignment device that is capable of changing apparent location. The alignment device may be formed of an ink that has particles of a specified shape. The alignment device may be parallel or perpendicular to a desired path of travel.
  • In another embodiment, a golf ball includes an outer surface and a colorant on the outer surface forming an alignment device that is capable of appearing to be positioned in different locations. The colorant may be formed of an ink that has particles of a specified shape. The alignment device may be parallel or perpendicular to a desired path of travel.
  • Other systems, methods, features and advantages of the invention will be, or will become, apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art upon examination of the following figures and detailed description. It is intended that all such additional systems, methods, features and advantages be included within this description and this summary, be within the scope of the invention, and be protected by the following claims.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The invention can be better understood with reference to the following drawings and description. The components in the figures are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention. Moreover, in the figures, like reference numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the different views.
  • FIG. 1 is a top view of a standard white ball;
  • FIG. 2 is a top view of a ball with a first embodiment of a variable alignment aid;
  • FIG. 3 is a top view of a ball with another embodiment of a variable alignment aid;
  • FIG. 4 is a top view of a ball with another embodiment of a variable alignment aid; and
  • FIG. 5 is a top view of a ball with another embodiment of a variable alignment aid.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • The present embodiments are for a various possible versions of a golf ball that include indicia that appears to move on a ball depending on the position of a viewer. Such a ball may be used by a golfer to assist in aligning his or her body and club with the ball to strike the ball and produce a desired golf shot.
  • FIG. 1 shows a ball 10 that is typically used in golf. Ball 10 includes outer surface 12. Outer surface 12 can include dimples 14 and lands 16. Ball 10 can include other elements. Ball 10 may have a two piece ball or a multi-piece ball construction interior to outer surface 12. Ball 10 may include other optional internal layers, such as an optional mantle layer. Ball 10 may have a cover and outer surface made of any desirable material, such as ionomers like SURLYN® or other thermoplastic materials like thermoplastic polyurethane. Ball 10 may include a core made from any known materials, including but not limited to formulations including any or all of ionomers, urethanes, polybutadiene rubber, highly neutralized polymers, and fillers. Ball 10 can have various dimple shapes and patterns as desired by a designer or golfer. Ball 10 may have any of a variety of elements that may be included in other golf balls. While certain exemplary materials and shapes are shown or disclosed herein, these materials and shapes are shown by way of example and do not represent an exhaustive list. These qualities may be included in any of the embodiments disclosed herein.
  • FIG. 2 shows a ball 20 that includes outer surface 22. Outer surface 22 shows variable alignment device 24. Variable alignment device 24 is visible to the golfer in various locations on ball 20. Variable alignment device 24 is formed by a colorant on outer surface 22 of ball 20. The colorant is an ink, pigment, or dye, all of which are referred to herein as “ink” for simplicity and not to limit the interpretation of that term, and the ink has particles of color having a specified shape suspended in an ink medium, such as a solvent or water. The ink medium may have color or may be transparent or translucent. The ink medium may also carry other colorant particles which do not have the specified shape. In some embodiments, the ink medium may be any conventional top coat material.
  • The specified shape of the ink particle allows the appearance of the ink to change depending on the viewing angle. Much like a hologram, the ink particles, when a threshold percentage of the particles are aligned or oriented similarly within the ink medium so that, when viewed from different angles, the particles reflect ambient light to produce an image. This image is the alignment guide. In some embodiments, the specified shape of the ink particles may be needle or needlelike in shape. In some embodiments, the specified shape of the ink particles may be x-shaped or criss-cross shaped. In some embodiments, the specified shape of the ink particles may be tetrapods.
  • In some embodiments, the ink particles may be reflective particles in an otherwise conventional sparkle coat. The reflective particles may have the specified shape in addition to reflectivity and/or color. The reflective particles may be made of any reflective material, including but not limited to Mylar®, mica, clay, and metal or metal-coated materials. The reflectivity may enhance the ability of the particles to reflect the ambient light to form a clearer or stronger image.
  • The shape of the specified shape ink particles may cause the particles to self-align within the ink medium before the ink medium dries or cures on the surface of the golf ball. For example, tetrapod particles, such as Panatetra® particles available from Panasonic, tend to settle on a surface so that three of the legs are touching the surface so that the fourth leg of the tetrapod extends away from the surface orthogonally. Similarly, needle-shaped and x-shaped particles may tend to align on a surface. While not wishing to be bound by any theory, this alignment effect may arise when the particles are sprayed onto the surface in an ink medium having a viscosity low enough to allow for easy movement of the particles within the ink medium. The shear forces generated with the sprayed ink hits the surface of the golf ball may cause the ink particles to assume a similar orientation. The shear forces may be further enhanced if the golf ball is spinning while being sprayed. Further, this alignment effect may be enhanced if the thickness or depth of the ink medium is relatively low, such as thinner than the long axis of the needle-shaped particle. Such a thickness, and the surface tension of the ink medium, may encourage the particles to align within the ink medium.
  • This alignment effect may also be enhanced with manufacturing techniques. For example, the nozzle of a sprayer that expels the ink medium and ink particles may include an opening or portion of the tubing or channel that fluidly connects the reservoir to the nozzle that is shaped to orient the particles. This opening or portion of tubing or channel may have a narrow shape that only permits the passage therethrough of ink particles in the correct orientation. In some embodiments, the opening or portion of tubing or channel may include projections, such as fingers or whiskers, that re-orient the particles moving past the projections if the particles are out of the desired alignment.
  • In embodiments where metal or metal-coated particles are provided, the particles may be oriented within the ink medium using a magnetic field. Magnets or electrified coils that generate a magnetic field may be positioned proximate the tubing or channel through which the ink medium and ink particles are moving towards the nozzle. As the particles move through the magnetic field, the particles will align with the poles of the magnetic field.
  • In embodiments with either self-aligning ink particles or ink particles that are influenced externally in the alignment during manufacturing, the alignment effect may be enhanced by providing asymmetric particles. The uneven distribution of the weight of the particle due to the asymmetry, such as needle-like particles with a slightly wider or bulbous end, may result in or induce a moment to the ink particle that encourages the ink particles to assume a particular orientation within the liquid ink medium. It is believed that if 25% or more of the particles share an orientation, the image of the alignment guide will appear, though the image will be stronger when a higher percentage of the particles share an orientation. It is believed that through self-alignment and external alignment of the particles, at least 25% of the particles will share an orientation, though this number may be significantly greater.
  • The ink used to create this visual effect may be referred to in some instances as a chameleon material. The chameleon material may be applied to outer surface 22 of ball 20. When the chameleon material is applied to outer surface 22, it produces a marking on outer surface 22 that changes location with the viewer. Regardless of the viewer's position, the marking appears to move along outer surface 22 and appears to remain in a consistent position on the ball regardless of the location of the viewer. For example, using a clock face as an example, a chameleon material may be designed to allow a viewer to perceive a lightened linear area passing through the 3 and the 9 of the clock face superimposed on a ball when the golfer views the ball from one direction. When the golfer looks at the ball from another direction and considers a clock face superimposed over the ball, the lightened area would appear to pass through the respective 3 and 9 of the clock face from that angle as well. The chameleon material allows this variability in viewing the ball by the use of particularly shaped ink particles in the chameleon material.
  • The use of such an ink produces a variability in the appearance of the alignment device. When a golfer looks at the ball, regardless of the angle, the variable alignment device appears in the same position relative to the golfer. In the embodiment of FIG. 2, the ink used has particles shaped to create generally linear variable alignment device 24.
  • In some cases, generally linear variable alignment device 24 may appear to be generally aligned with a left-right direction on the ball to produce a variable alignment device that assists a golfer in showing the direction the ball will travel when the golfer strikes the ball. Alternatively, generally linear variable alignment device 24 may appear to be generally aligned with a top-bottom direction on the ball to produce an aid for showing the golfer the appropriate striking position of a club to produce a direction of travel generally perpendicular to variable alignment device 24 when the ball is struck.
  • A golfer can use linear variable alignment device 24 to assist the golfer in preparing an appropriate golf shot. The golfer can read the green and determine an appropriate direction for the ball to be hit. If linear variable alignment device 24 is designed in a left-right orientation, the golfer can stand over a ball and rotate relative to the ball until the alignment device 24 points towards the point the golfer wants to aim the ball. The golfer can then position his or her club at one end of the variable alignment device and strike the ball. If the golfer has properly read the green and strikes the ball at the right force and position on the ball, the ball will travel towards the point the golfer desired and hopefully will end up in or near the hole.
  • If linear variable alignment device 24 is designed in an up-down orientation, the golfer can position the device perpendicular to the desired line of travel and use alignment device 24 to properly position the club relative to the ball. The club, particularly a putter, and the variable alignment device will be positioned parallel to one another if the golfer's body is positioned correctly.
  • Because the alignment device is variable based on position, the golfer need not move the ball to properly align it with the hole or an intermediate position. The golfer can rotate around the ball until alignment device 24 points in the correct direction and then the golfer can set his or her body to strike the ball to travel in the desired direction. This alignment device may be used for any shot from any location on the course. Such an alignment device may give a golfer a visual means to help account for wind or slope on a golf course in properly aiming a golf shot.
  • FIG. 3 shows ball 30 that includes outer surface 32. Outer surface 32 shows variable alignment device 34. Variable alignment device 34 is visible to the golfer in various locations on ball 30. Variable alignment device 34 is formed by a colorant on outer surface 32 of ball 30.
  • Variable alignment device 34 may be generally x-shaped and may include two arms. First arm 36 and second arm 38 may be generally linear and may be positioned generally perpendicular to one another. Variable alignment 34 may be formed by ink having particles having a specified shape. The use of a first linear arm 36 and a second linear arm 38 may be desirable because it can allow a golfer to properly align the ball with the desired path of travel and to properly align the club with the ball to strike the ball squarely as described above.
  • FIG. 4 shows ball 40 that includes outer surface 42. Outer surface 42 shows variable alignment device 44. Variable alignment device 44 is visible to the golfer in various locations on ball 40. Variable alignment device 44 may be formed by a colorant on outer surface 42 of ball 40. The colorant used to create variable alignment device 44 shares the same qualities as discussed above with respect to variable alignment device 24 on ball 20. Variable alignment 44 may be formed by ink having particles having a specified shape.
  • Variable alignment device 44 may have a generally teardrop shape. Variable alignment device 44 may include a generally linear portion 46 and a generally rounded portion 48. The generally linear portion 46 may be positioned in a generally left-right direction that appears as being generally aligned with a desired path of travel for ball 40. Alternatively, generally linear portion 46 may be positioned in a generally top-bottom direction that appears as being generally perpendicular to a desired path of travel for ball 40.
  • FIG. 5 shows ball 50 that includes outer surface 52. Outer surface 52 shows variable alignment device 54. Variable alignment device 54 is visible to the golfer in various locations on ball 50. Variable alignment device 54 may be formed by a colorant on outer surface 52 of ball 50. The colorant used to create variable alignment device 54 shares the same qualities as discussed above with respect to variable alignment device 24 on ball 20. Variable alignment 54 may be formed by ink having particles having a specified shape.
  • As shown in FIG. 5, variable alignment device 54 may be generally circular. The circular variable alignment device 54 may include be used instead of a partially or completely linear alignment device. If a circular alignment device is used, it may be used simply as an aid to the golfer in viewing the edges of the ball more clearly. The use of a circular alignment device may, for example, allow a golfer to perceive the ball as being smaller than its actual diameter. Such an optical illusion may allow the golfer to have greater confidence that he or she will be able to properly strike the ball and have it reach the hole. The perception of a smaller diameter may also allow the golfer to more clearly see the proper line for the ball and may assist the golfer in more clearly reading the green. In this manner, the circular shape of the alignment device may assist the golfer in properly striking the ball, even if the alignment device does not provide any indication of directionality for the stroke.
  • The variable alignment devices 24, 34, 44, 54 shown herein are shown in the FIGS. as having muted, transitional boundaries. The alignment devices 24, 34, 44, 54 are shown as being white while the remainder of the respective outer surfaces 22, 32, 42, 52 of the respective balls 20, 30, 40, 50 are shown as being colored, as represented by the shading. A clear demarcation between the alignment device and the remainder of the outer surface is not necessary. Instead, the colorant applied to the ball may be applied such that the alignment device is a lightened area surrounded by an intermediate partially-colored region, further surrounded by a colored region as is shown in the FIGS. However, it is also possible that an ink could be used that provides a more distinct boundary between the variable alignment device and the remainder of the outer surface. It is possible that the colorant may instead provide for a more or a less gradual transition area between the alignment device and the rest of the outer surface than that shown. The use of such a colorant and such alignment devices with a transition area are included in the above description of alignment devices.
  • While various embodiments of the invention have been described, the description is intended to be exemplary, rather than limiting and it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that many more embodiments and implementations are possible that are within the scope of the invention. Any aspect of any embodiment herein may be interchanged with, substituted into, or added to any other embodiment or aspect thereof described herein unless specifically limited. Accordingly, the invention is not to be restricted except in light of the attached claims and their equivalents. Also, various modifications and changes may be made within the scope of the attached claims.

Claims (20)

What is claimed is:
1. A golf ball, comprising:
an outer surface; and
an alignment device that is configured to change appearance with a viewing angle so that the alignment device is capable of being used by a golfer to align a shot regardless of an orientation of the ball.
2. The golf ball according to claim 1, wherein the alignment device is formed by colorant on the outer surface of the ball.
3. The golf ball according to claim 2, wherein the colorant is an ink having particles with a specified shape.
4. The golf ball according to claim 1, wherein at least a portion of the alignment device appears generally linear.
5. The golf ball according to claim 1, wherein at least a portion of the alignment device appears generally x-shaped.
6. The golf ball of claim 1, wherein the alignment device is capable of changing apparent location.
7. The golf ball of claim 1, wherein the alignment device comprises a pigment which produces an ephemeral shape.
8. The golf ball according to claim 1, wherein the alignment device includes a portion that appears positioned generally aligned with a desired path of travel.
9. The golf ball according to claim 8, wherein the alignment device includes a portion that appears positioned generally perpendicular to a desired path of travel.
10. The golf ball according to claim 1, wherein the alignment device includes a portion that appears positioned generally perpendicular to a desired path of travel.
11. A golf ball, comprising:
an outer surface; and
a colorant on the outer surface forming an alignment device, wherein the alignment device is capable of reflecting light so that the alignment device appears to be positioned in different locations on the outer surface depending upon the orientation of the ball.
12. The golf ball according to claim 11, wherein the colorant is an ink having particles with a specified shape.
13. The golf ball according to claim 11, wherein the specified shape of the particles is selected from the group consisting of needle-shaped, x-shaped, and tetrapod-shaped.
14. The golf ball according to claim 11, wherein the particles include a metal.
15. The golf ball of claim 11, wherein the colorant is capable of changing apparent location based upon a user viewing angle.
16. The golf ball of claim 11, wherein the alignment device comprises a pigment which produces an ephemeral shape.
17. The golf ball according to claim 11, wherein the alignment device includes a portion that appears positioned aligned with a desired path of travel.
18. The golf ball according to claim 17, wherein the alignment device includes a portion that appears positioned generally perpendicular to a desired path of travel.
19. The golf ball according to claim 11, wherein the alignment device includes a portion that appears positioned generally perpendicular to a desired path of travel.
20. A golf ball comprising an outer cover substantially covered by a chameleon material.
US13/720,094 2011-12-19 2012-12-19 Golf Ball Incorporating Alignment Indicia Abandoned US20140004978A1 (en)

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