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Title:
GOLF MARKER APPARATUS, SYSTEM, AND METHOD OF USE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/007737
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Provided are various example hand-held golf marker devices that may be constructed to mark the location of a golf ball on a golf course with a liquid mark having a predetermined shape. The liquid mark does not interfere with other golf balls, and dissipates on its own after a short time, such as about two hours. Example designs are provided for creating marks having predetermined shapes, including by providing marking pads having predetermined cross-sectional shapes, and by providing a movable inner cover over the marking pad with an aperture having a predetermined shape. Double-ended devices may be employed. Multi-color kits are described, as well as clips tor removably holding the marker devices on the brim of a user's hat, for instance.

Inventors:
OROSZ, William, John (8705 Chase Taylor Place, Louisville, KY, 40299, US)
NOWAK, John, L. (8427 Armistead Lane, Indianapolis, IN, 46227, US)
Application Number:
US2016/040915
Publication Date:
January 12, 2017
Filing Date:
July 03, 2016
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
OROSZ, William, John (8705 Chase Taylor Place, Louisville, KY, 40299, US)
NOWAK, John, L. (8427 Armistead Lane, Indianapolis, IN, 46227, US)
International Classes:
A63B57/00; A63B45/02
Foreign References:
US20030148832A12003-08-07
US6379271B12002-04-30
US20070054755A12007-03-08
US20100137077A12010-06-03
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CARRILLO, Michael A. (Barnes & Thornburg LLP, P.O. Box 2786Chicago, Illinois, 60690-2786, US)
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Claims:
Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use

Claims

What is claimed is: 1. A golf ball location marker, comprising:

an elongated body extending from a proximate end to a distal end and sized, shaped, and configured to be held in a user's hand between the user's fingers;

the elongated body comprising a first reservoir containing a liquid comprising a first water-soluble colorant;

a first valve in fluid communication with the first reservoir and configured to selectably open and close the first reservoir;

a first liquid-absorbing marking pad having a first predetermined cross-sectional shape and located near the distal end and selectably in fluid communication with the liquid in the first reservoir through the first valve;

a first cap removably attached with the distal end of the elongated body and covering the first liquid-absorbing marking pad;

the golf ball location marker configured to leave a visible water-soluble 'temporary colored mark having the first predetermined cross-sectional shape on a golf course green 'when the first cap is removed from the elongated body and the user presses the golf ball location marker onto the golf course green so that the first liquid-absorbing marking pad directly contacts and applies force to the golf course green and transmits at least a portion of the liquid comprising the first water-soluble colorant to the golf course green. 2. The golf ball location marker of claim 1, further comprising:

the first valve configured to selectably open the first reservoir when the first cap is removed from the elongated body and the user presses the golf ball location marker onto the golf course green so that the first liquid- absorbing marking pad directly contacts and applies force to the golf course green, Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use

3 ; The golf ball location marker of claim 2. further comprising:

the first valve configured to selectably close the first reservoir when the user stops pressing the golf ball location marker against the golf course green so. that the first liquid- absorbing marking pad stops directly contacting and stops applying force to the golf course green.

4. The golf ball location marker of claim 1, wherein the first water-soluble colorant comprises a high iugitivity spray pattern indicator coniigured to mark with a color an agricultural area being sprayed with an agricultural chemical.

5. The golf ball location marker of claim 1 , wherein the first water-soluble colorant comprises an ortho sulfonate phenyl TPM colorant synthesized from poly(ethyleneoxy) substituted aniline.

6. The golf ball location marker of claim 1, wherein the elongated body has an outer profile formed in the shape of a tapered golf tee.

7. The golf ball location marker of claim 1, wherein the first cap has an outer profile formed in the shape of a dimpled golf ball.

8. The golf ball location marker of claim 1, further comprising:

the elongated body comprising a second reservoir containing a liquid comprising a second water-soluble colorant;

a second valve in fluid communication with the second reservoir and configured to selectably open and close the second reservoir; Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use a second liquid-absorbing marking pad having a second predetermined cross-sectional shape and located near the proximate end and selectably in fluid communication with the liquid in the second reservoir through the second valve;

a second cap removably attached with the proximate end of the elongated body and covering the second liquid-absorbing marking pad;

the golf ball location marker configured to leave a visible water-soluble temporary colored mark having the second predetermined cross-sectional shape on the golf course green when the second cap is removed from the elongated body and the user presses the golf ball location marker onto the golf course green so that the second liquid-absorbing marking pad directly contacts and applies force to the golf course green and transmits at least a portion of the liquid comprising the second water-soluble colorant to the golf course green. 9. The golf ball location marker of claim 8, wherein the first water-soluble colorant and the second water-soluble colorant are different colors. 10. The golf ball location marker of claim 8, wherein the first water-soluble colorant and the second water-soluble colorant are the same color. 11. The golf ball location marker of claim 8, wherein the first predetermined cross- sectional shape and the second predetermined cross-sectional shape are the same cross-sectional shape. 12. The golf ball location marker of claim 8 wherein the first predetermined cross- sectional shape and the second predetermined cross-sectional shape are different cross-sectional shapes. Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use 13. The golf ball location marker of claim 2, further comprising:

the elongated body comprising a second reservoir containing a liquid comprising a second water-soluble colorant;

a second valve in fluid communication with the second reservoir and configured to selectably open and close the second reservoir;

a second liquid-absorbing marking pad having a second predetermined cross-sectional shape and located near the proximate end and selectably in fluid communication with the liquid in the second reservoir through the second valve;

a second cap removably attached with the proximate end of the elongated body and covering the second liquid-absorbing marking pad;

the golf ball location marker configured to leave a visible water-soluble temporary colored mark having the second predetermined cross-sectional shape on the golf course green when the second cap is removed from the elongated body and the user presses the golf ball location marker onto the golf course green so that the second liquid-absorbing marking pad directly contacts and applies force to the golf course green and transmits at least a portion of the liquid comprising the second water-soluble colorant to the golf course green; and

the second valve configured to selectably open the second reservoir when the second cap is removed from the elongated body and the user presses the golf ball location marker onto the golf course green so that the second liquid-absorbing marking pad directly contacts and applies force to the golf course green. 14. The golf ball location marker of claim 13, further comprising:

the second valve configured to selectably close the second reservoir when the user stops pressing the golf ball location marker against the golf course green so that the second liquid- absorbing marking pad stops directly contacting and stops applying force to the golf course green. Golf Marker A pparatus, System, and Method of Use 15. The golf ball location marker of claim 8, wherein the second water-soluble colorant comprises a spray pattern indicator configured to mark with a color an agricultural area being sprayed with an agricultural chemical. 16. The golf ball location marker of claim 8. wherein the second water-soluble colorant comprises an ortho sulfonate phenyl TPM colorant synthesized from poly(ethyleneoxy) substituted aniline, 17. The golf ball location marker of claim 8, wherein the elongated body has an outer profile formed in the shape of a cylinder. 18. The golf ball location marker of claim 8, wherein the second cap has an outer profile formed in the shape of a dimpled golf ball. 19. A method of marking the location of a golf ball on a golf course green, comprising the steps of:

providing a golf ball location marker, comprising:

an elongated body extending from a proximate end to a distal end and sized, shaped, and configured to be held in a user's hand between the user's fingers;

the elongated body comprising a first .reservoir containing a liquid comprising a first water-soluble colorant;

a first valve in fluid communication with the first reservoir and configured to selectably open and close the first reservoir;

a first liquid-absorbing marking pad having a first predetermined cross-sectional shape and located near the distal end and selectably in fluid eommunication with the liquid in the first reservoir through the first valve;

a first cap removably attached with the distal end of the elongated body and covering the first liquid-absorbing marking pad; Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use the golf ball location marker configured to leave a visible water-soluble temporary colored mark haying the first predetermined cross-sectional shape on the golf course green when the first cap is removed from the elongated body and the user presses the golf ball location marker onto the golf course green so that the first liquid-absorbing marking pad directly contacts and applies force to the golf course green and transmits at least a portion of the liquid comprising the first water-soluble colorant to the golf course green;

removing the first cap from the elongated body;

leaving a visible water-soluble temporary colored mark having the first predetermined cross-sectional shape on the golf course green by pressing the golf ball location marker onto the golf course green adjacent a first location of a golf ball so that the first liquid- absorbing marking pad directly contacts and applies force to the golf course green and transmits at least a portion of the liquid comprising the first water-soluble colorant to the golf course green adjacent the first location of the golf ball;

removing the golf ball from its first location on the golf course green; and

replacing the golf ball on the golf course green at its first location by positioning the golf ball adjacent the visible water-soluble temporai'v colored mark having the first predetermined cross-sectional shape. 20. A golf ball location marker, comprising:

an elongated body extending from a proximate end to a distal end and sized, shaped, and configured to be held in a user's hand between the user's fingers;

the elongated body comprising a first reservoir containing a liquid comprising a first water-soluble colorant;

a first valve in fluid communication with the first reservoir and configured to selectably open and close the first reservoir; Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use a first liquid- absorbing marking pad located near the distal end and seleetably in fluid communication with the liquid in the first reservoir through the first valve;

a first inner cap slidably attached with the distal end of the elongated body and at least partially covering the first liquid-absorbing marking pad, the first inner cap having an aperture having a first predetermined shape formed there through and positioned adjacent the first liquid- absorbing marking pad such that when the first inner cap slides in the proximate direction relative to the elongated body, a portion of the first liquid-absorbing marking pad extends through the aperture in the first inner cap;

a first outer cap removably attached with the distal end of the elongated body and covering the first inner cap;

the golf ball location marker configured to leave a visible water-soluble temporary colored mark having the first predetermined shape on a golf course green when the first outer cap is removed from the elongated body and the user presses the golf ball location marker onto the golf course green so that the first inner cap and the first liquid-absorbing marking pad directly contact and apply force to the golf course green such that the first liquid-absorbing marking pad transmits at least a portion of the liquid comprising the first water-soluble colorant to the golf course green.

Description:
Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use

Cross-Refereiice to Related Applications

[0001 ] The present application claims priority to, incorporates herein by reference, and is a non^pro visional of U.S. provisional patent application Serial Number 62/188,613 filed July 3, 2015 and entitled Liquid Dye/Ink Ball Marker Device and Application Apparatus (herein, '¾he % 13 Application").

Federally Sponsored Research or Development

[0002] None.

Technical Field

[0003] This invention relates to the game of golf. More particularly, this invention relates to improved devices and associated methods of use for marking the position of a golf ball.

Background

[0004] Golf is an outdoor game played on a course usually having 9 or 18 holes. Each hole includes a tee which is a marked area designated for the first shot of the hole, a fairway and a putting green. Individual players or teams use a golf club to hit a ball from the tee into a cup located on the putting green. The ball is hit using various types of golf clubs depending on the location of the ball and the distance between the ball and the cup. There .are; three main types of golf clubs: woods (also known as "metals"), irons, and putters. Woods are generally used to hit the ball a long distance hit either from the tee or the fairway. Irons are typically used for hitting from fairways and "roughs" which are tall grass or wooded areas on the sides of the fairways. Putters are mostly used for hitting the ball on the putting green in a rolling manner.

[0005] The object of the game of golf is causing the ball to drop into each cup in the least number of strokes possible. A hole of golf consists of hitting a ball from a tee toward the cup and continuing to hit the ball until it drops into the cup on the putting green. The cup typically has a flag on a stick called a golf cup flag or "the pin." The pin is positioned in the cup so that the location of the cup may be seen from a distance, Often the ball is hit onto and lies on the putting green before the ball is hit into the cup. When on the green, it is often necessary' for the ball to be picked up such as tor cleaning prior to putting. Also, the ball may be removed from its resting Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use place on the putting green if the ball is in the path of another golfer's putt . Such removing of the ball is done out of courtesy and fair play to prevent interference or contact with another golfer or golf ball. When the ball is picked up from the putting green, the ball's position must then be marked using a ball marker. Marking the location or the spot where the ball comes to rest allows the golfer to accurately return the ball to the marked location when it is the golfer's turn to putt.

[0006] There are a wide range of available devices for marking the location of the ball. The most commonly used devices are small coin-sized plastic or metal markers that golfers carry loosely in their pockets or secure to the back of a golf glove, golf shoe, putter end or divot repair tool. Practical disadvantages of these coin and snap-type devices include the creation of a three- dimensional physical presence on the playing surface that may interfere with the path of a moving golf ball hit by another player. A collision with one of these three-dimensional markers will alter the speed of a traveling golf ball or redirect the path of the ball, both of which are undesirable results. Furthermore, such a collision may move the marker, thereby defeating the purpose of employing such a position marker. If a player knowingly selects a ball path that might result in such a collision, the marker will require removal, which also defeats the purpose in having placed the device on the green. Furthermore, intentionally moving a golf ball position marker significantly reduces the speed of play and forces a golfer to bend uncomfortably or kneel repeatedly while moving the marker. More importantly, moving a golf ball marker always presents a risk that the golfer will misidentify the original location of the marker, misposition the ball upon return to the green, and thus incur a one-stroke penalty. In addition to their disruptive physical presences, these conventional golf ball markers are loosely-held items that players easily lose or misplace, thereby polluting the environment and creating potentially dangerous projectiles when traversed by lawn mowers. Also, golf ball markers left on the green can pose a hazard to the mowing equipment by nicking sensitive grass cutting blades, which can be expensive to repair.

[0007] Over the years, a number of inventors have proposed alternatives in an attempt to address the deficiencies of these common, loosely held, retrievable, three-dimensional position Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use markers. For example, various publications disclose mechanical devices comprising a powder chamber selectively actuated for dispensing powder onto a playing surface to mark the position of a golf ball. Unfortunately, powder-based marking devices present their own disadvantages. For example, powders are susceptible to scattering on windy days and that precludes producing an adequately sustainable mark for successful and accurate replacement of a golf ball.

[0008] Even under windless conditions, powder marks are deficient for a number of reasons. First, powder-based marking devices apply a powder to the green and powders comprise fine granules of matter. These granules inherently change the texture and coefficient of friction of the rolling surface, which in turn alters the speed and/or path of a rolling golf ball. Depending on the cohesive nature and particle size of the powder and the amount of ambient moisture present during play, the powder may stick to a rolling golf ball, filling the dimples on the ball and altering aerodynamics when the ball is later driven.

[0009] Second, powder markers may form a three-dimensional mound depending on the amount of powder exiting the device upon actuation. Physics dictates that controlling the release of a precise amount of fine particulate matter in a precisely conformed shape is unreliably repeatable and dependent upon a number of factors, including trajectory of release, distance to the playing surface and gravity. Releasing a mound of powder creates a powder position marker that also may alter the path of a rolling golf ball. Unlike three-dimensional coin or snap-type markers, the powder marker, however, is ' immovable and must be completely ' wiped or washed from the playing surface to prevent interference with a rolling golf ball. The process of displacing the powder marker may result in slight damage to the green as the powder is dissolved or crushed into the surface or aggressively ' wiped away. Moreover, powder marks may leave a long-lasting visual residue scattered across the green and that may distract other golfers, a prohibition on most impeccably maintained golf course greens.

[0010] US 7,959,526 B2 issued to Petela on Jun. 14, 201 1, which is incorporated herein by reference, attempts to avoid the inconsistency and inaccuracy issues associated with powder dispensing devices by providing a complicated actuator that is aimed at the putting green and Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use then propels or squirts a foaming agent out onto the putting green. But like the powder devices, the Petela device fails to provide an ideal solution. Squirting a foaming agent onto a putting green would be susceptible to splattering if the device was not aimed from the proper distance or at the correct angle, or in windy conditions. Also, such a foaming agent may dissolve too quickly, or may be obliterated if someone steps on it. Also, the Petela device is complicated, and would be an expensive device that would not be disposable, but would apparently require regular re-fi lling or replacement of internal cartridges, which would be messy and an undesirable waste of time. For any or all of these reasons the Petela system has not been widely adopted in the sport of gol fing.

[0011] None of the above inventions, taken either singly or in combination, adequately address or resolve the aforementioned problems. Therefore, a need exists for a simple, inexpensive, convenient-to-use, non-retrievable golf ball position marking device that marks the position of a golf ball on a putting green in a highly visible, highly accurate manner without disrupting the path of a rolling ball or leaving a distracting or damaging long-lasting residue.

Summary

[0012] The present invention(s) elegantly overcome many of the drawbacks of prior systems and provide numerous additional improvements and benefits as will be apparent to persons of skill in the art. Provided in various example embodiments is a golf ball location marker, comprising: an elongated body extending from a proximate end to a distal end and sized, shaped, and configured to be held in a user's hand between the user's fingers; the elongated body comprising a first reservoir containing a liquid comprising a first water-soluble colorant; a first valve in fluid communication -with the first reservoir and configured to selectably open and close the first reservoir; a first liquid-absorbing marking pad having a first predetermined cross- sectional shape and located near the distal end and selectably in fluid communication with the liquid in the first reservoir through the first valve; a first cap removably attached with the distal end of the elongated body and covering the first liquid-absorbing marking pad; the golf ball location marker configured to leave a visible water-soluble temporary colored mark having the Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use first predetermined Gross-sectional shape on a golf course green when the first cap is removed from the elongated body and the user presses the golf ball location marker onto the golf course green so that the first liquid-absorbing marking pad directly contacts and applies force to the golf course green and transmits at least a portion of the liquid comprising the first water-soluble colorant to the golf course green.

[0013] In various example embodiments the golf ball location marker may further comprise the first valve being configured to selectably open the first reservoir when the first cap is removed from the elongated body and the user presses the golf ball location marker onto the golf course green so that the first liquid-absorbing marking pad directly contacts and applies force to the golf course green. In various example embodiments the golf ball location marker may further comprise the first valve being configured to selectably close the first reservoir when the user stops pressing the golf ball location marker against the golf course green so that the first liquid-absorbing marking pad stops directly contacting and stops applying force to the golf course green.

[0014] In various example embodiments the first water-soluble colorant comprises a high fugitivity spray pattern indicator configured to mark with a color an agricultural area being sprayed with an agricultural chemical. For example, in various example embodiments the first water-soluble colorant comprises an ortho sulfonate phenyl TPM colorant synthesized from poly(ethyleneoxy) substituted aniline.

[001 5] In various example embodiments the golf ball location marker may further comprise the elongated body having an outer profile formed in the shape of a tapered golf tee. In various example embodiments the golf ball location marker may further comprise the elongated body having an outer profile formed in the shape of a cylinder. In various example embodiments the first cap has an outer profile formed in the shape of a dimpled golf ball.

[0016] In various example embodiments the golf ball location marker may further comprise the elongated body comprising a second reservoir containing a liquid comprising a second water-soluble colorant; a second valve in fluid communication with the second reservoir Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use and configured to selectably open and close the second reservoir; a second liquid-absorbing marking pad having a second predetermined cross-sectional shape and located near the proximate end and selectably in fluid communication with the liquid in the second reservoir through the second valve; a second cap removably attached with the proximate end of the elongated body and covering the second liquid-absorbing marking pad; the golf ball location marker being further configured to leave a visible water-soluble temporary colored mark having the second predetermined cross-sectional shape on the golf course green when the second cap is removed from the elongated body and the user presses the golf ball location marker onto the golf course green so that the second liquid-absorbing marking pad directly contacts and applies force to the golf course green and transmits at least a portion of the liquid comprising the second water-soluble colorant to the golf course green. In various example embodiments the second valve may be configured to selectably open the second reservoir when the second cap is removed from the elongated body and the user presses the golf ball location marker onto the golf course green so that the second liquid-absorbing marking pad directly contacts and applies force to the golf course green. In various example embodiments the second valve may be configured to selectably close the second reservoir when the user stops pressing the golf ball location marker against the golf course green so that the second liquid-absorbing marking pad stops directly contacting and stops applying force to the golf course green. In various example embodiments the second cap has an outer profile formed in the shape of a dimpled golf ball.

[001 7] In various example embodiments the first water-soluble colorant and the second water-soluble colorant are different colors, while in other example embodiments the first water- soluble colorant and the second water-soluble colorant are the same color. In various example embodiments the second water-soluble colorant comprises a spray pattern indicator configured to mark with a color an agricultural area being sprayed with an agricultural chemical. For example, in various example embodiments the second water-soluble colorant comprises an ortho sulfonate phenyl TP colorant synthesized from poly(ethyieneoxy) substituted aniline. Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use

[0018] In various example embodiments the first predetermined cross-sectional shape and the second predetermined cross-sectional shape are the same cross-sectional shape, while in other example embodiments the first predetermined cross-sectional shape and the second predetermined cross-sectional shape are different cross-sectional shapes,

[0019] Also provided in various example embodiments is a golf ball location marker, comprising: an elongated body extending from a proximate end to a distal end and sized, shaped, and configured to be held in a user's hand between the user's fingers; the elongated body comprising a first reservoir containing a liquid comprising a first water-soluble colorant; a first valve in fluid communication with the first reservoir and configured to selectably open and close the first reservoir; a first liquid-absorbing marking pad located near the distal end and selectably in fluid communication with the liquid in the first reservoir through the first valve; a first inner cap slidably attached with the distal end of the elongated body and at least partially covering the first liquid- absorbing marking pad, the first inner cap having an aperture having a first predetermined shape formed there through and positioned adjacent the first liquid-absorbing marking pad such that when the first inner cap slides in the proximate direction relative to the elongated body, a portion of the first liquid-absorbing marking pad extends through the aperture in the first inner cap; a first outer cap removably attached with the distal end of the elongated body and covering the first inner cap; the golf ball location marker configured to leave a visible water-soluble temporary colored mark having the first predetennmed shape on a golf course green when the first outer cap is removed from the elongated body and the user presses the golf ball location marker onto the golf course green so that the first inner cap and the first liquid- absorbing marking pad directly contact and apply force to the golf course green such that the first liquid-absorbing marking pad transmits at least a portion of the liquid comprising the first water- soluble colorant to the golf course green. This alternative embodiment may comprise any or all of the same features, functionalities, and design options as described with respect to the other embodiments described herein, as will be apparent to persons of skill in the art. Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use

[0020] Further provided in various example embodiments is a method of marking the location of a golf ball on a golf course.. -green, comprising the steps of: providing any of the golf ball location markers described herein; removing the first cap from the elongated body; leaving a visible water-soluble temporary colored mark having a first predetermined shape on the golf course green by pressing the golf ball location marker onto the golf course green adjacent a first location of a golf ball so that the first liquid-absorbing marking pad directly contacts and applies force to the golf course green and transmits at least a portion of the liquid comprising the first water-soluble colorant to the golf course green adjacent the first location of the golf ball; removin g the golf ball from its first location on th e golf course green; and replacing the golf ball on the golf course green at its first location by positioning the golf ball adjacent the visible water-soluble temporary colored mark having the first predetermined shape.

[0021 ] Additional aspects, alternatives and variations as would be apparent to persons of skill in the art are also disclosed herein and are specifically contemplated as included as part of the invention, including but not limited to all the embodiments shown or discussed in the '613 Application. The invention is set forth only in the claims as allowed by the patent office in this or related applications, and the following summary descriptions of certain examples are not in any way to limit, define or otherwise establish the scope of legal protection.

Brief Description of the Drawings

[0022] Various embodiments are depicted in the accompanying drawings for illustrative purposes, and should in no way be inteipreted as limiting the scope of the embodiments. Furthermore, Various features of different disclosed embodiments can be combined to form additional embodiments, -which are part of this disclosure. It will be understood that certain components and details may not appear in the Figure(s) to assist in more clearly describing the invention.

[0023] Fig. 1 depicts an example golf marker apparatus according to one example embodiment, showing an exploded side elevation view, a cross-section thereof, and a perspective partially exploded view. Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use

[0024] Fig. 2 depicts the example golf marker apparatus of Fig. 1, showing a side elevation view of the assembly, a cross-section thereof, and a perspective view of the assembly.

[0025] Fig. 3 depicts another example golf marker apparatus according to another example embodiment, showing an exploded side elevation view, a cross-section thereof, and a perspective partially exploded view.

[0026] Fig. 4 depicts the example golf marker apparatus of Fig. 3, showing a side elevation view of the assembly, a cross-section thereof, and a perspective view of the assembly.

[0027] Fig. 5 depicts yet another example golf marker apparatus according to another example embodiment, showing an exploded side elevation view, a cross-section thereof, and a perspective partially exploded view.

[0028] Fig. 6 depicts the example golf marker apparatus of Fig. 5, showing a side ele vation view of the assembly, a cross-section thereof, and a perspective view of the assembly.

[0029] Fig. 7 depicts still another example golf marker apparatus according to another example embodiment, showing an exploded side elevation view r , a cross-section thereof, and perspective views of example inner caps, which may be removable, replaceable, and interchangeable in various example embodiments.

[0030] Fig. 8 depicts the example golf marker apparatus of Fig. 7, showing a side elevation view of the assembly, a cross-section thereof, and a side elevation view of the assembly with the outer cap removed.

[0031 ] Fig. 9 depicts various example golf markers in use, leaving marks on a golf course green adjacent the location of golf ball (not shown).

[0032] Fig. 10 depicts an example clip useful for clipping various example golf markers to various items, such as the brim of a user's hat.

Detailed Description of Example Embodiments

[0033] Reference is made herein to some specific examples of the present invention, including any best modes contemplated by the inventor for carrying out the invention. Examples of these specific embodiments are illustrated in the accompanying Figure(s). While the invention Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use is described in conjunction with these specific embodiments, it will be understood that it is not intended to limit the invention to the described or illustrated embodiments, To the contrary, it is intended to cover alternatives, modifications, and equivalents as may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims,

[0034] In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. Particular example embodiments of the present invention may be implemented without some or all of these specific details. In other instances, process operations well known to persons of skill in the art have not been described in detail in order not to obscure unnecessarily the present invention. Various techniques and mechanisms of the present invention will sometimes be described in singular form for clarity. However, it should be noted that some embodiments include multiple iterations of a technique or multiple mechanisms unless noted otherwise. S imilarly, various steps of the methods shown and described herein are not necessarily performed in the order indicated, or performed .at all in certain embodiments. Accordingly, some implementations of the methods discussed herein may include more or fewer steps than those shown or described. Further, the techniques and mechanisms of the present invention will sometimes describe a connection, relationship or communication between two or more entities. It should be noted that a connection or relationship between entities does not necessarily mean a direct, unimpeded connection, as a variety of other entities or processes may reside or occur between any two entities. Consequently, an indicated connection does not necessarily mean a direct, unimpeded connection unless otherwise noted.

[0035] Turning first to Figs. 1 through 4, shown are example golf ball location markers 1000, each comprising an elongated body 100 extending from a proximate end 110 to a distal end 120 and sized, shaped, and configured to be held in a user's hand between the user's fingers (not shown). The elongated body 100 may have any suitable size and shape; in one example embodiment the elongated body may be about two inches long and about 5/8 of an inch thick. In various example embodiments the elongated body 100 may have an outer profile formed in a fanciful, non-functional shape, such as. the shape of a tapered golf tee, for instance as shown in Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use Figs. 3 and 4. Alternatively, in various example embodiments the elongated body 100 may have an outer profile formed in the shape of a cylinder, for instance as shown in Figs, 1 and 2. The elongated body 100 may be formed in one unitary piece, or may be formed from multiple pieces attached together, and may be formed from any suitable material, such as injection-molded biodegradable and recyclable plastic, for example. The outer surface of the elongated body 100 may be used as space for applying advertising or promotional information or insignia.

[0036] The elongated body 100 may comprise a first reservoir 130 containing a non-toxic liquid 200 comprising a first water-soluble colorant 210, Water-soluble colorant 210 may be photosensitive so that it tends to fade or disappear after a relatively short period of time after it is applied to a golf green 7 (indicated in Fig. 9). For example, in various example embodiments colorant 210 may tend to fade or disappear in about one hour, two hours, three hours, four hours, five hours, six hours, seven hours, eight hours, or another approximate predetermined period of time in view of environmental conditions. In various example embodiments the first water- soluble colorant 210 may comprise a vegetation marker such as a high fugitivity spray pattern indicator configured to mark with a color an agricultural area being sprayed with an agricultural chemical.

[0037] According to a December 21, 1997 report published by the United States Department of Agriculture entitled Use and Assessment of Marker Dyes Used With Herbicides, certain factors must be taken into consideration when determining what dye to choose as a vegetation marker. The first consideration is whether to use a dye, which is an organic colorant soluble in solvents and polymers, or a pigment, which is an inorganic/organic colorant insoluble in solvents or polymers. Furthermore, dyes generally offer higher color strength and produce very transparent colors, while pigments can be transparent or opaque. Overall, pigments have better fastness properties than dyes, especially lightfastness (i.e., pigments fade slowly in light).

[0038] Important factors to consider when matching dye properties with end use requirements, include solubility, compatibility, fastness properties, and price. To be most effective, , a dyestuff must be soluble in the system in which it is used (e.g., water, solvents, oils, Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use waxes and polymers). In addition, a dyestuff must be compatible with other components in the formulation. For example, an anionic (acid) dye should not be used in the same formulation as a eationic (basic) dye even though they are both water soluble dyes. Mixing incompatible dyes generally results in precipitation of the dye. The fastness or end use requirement of the dye also must be considered. Factors such as lightfastness, acid/base resistance, heat stability, etc, vary with classes of dyestuffs. For example, both basic and metal-complex solvent dyes are soluble in alcohols; however, the lightfastness of basic dyes is poor while the lightfastness of metal- complex dyes good. Finally, the cost of the dye must coincide with the end use application. For example, when using an alcohol based ink with minimal lightfastness requirements, it is better to use a lower priced basic dye instead of a more expensive solvent dye. Some other factors to consider in selecting a marker dye include ease of availability (some dyes are more difficult to manufacture and thus not readily available) and non-staining chemistry (whether the dye stains skin, clothes, etc. of the person applying the marker).

[0039] The present inventors have found that in various example embodiments suitable water-soluble colorants 210, 220 may comprise an ortbo sulfonate phenyl TPM colorant synthesized from poly(ethyleneoxy) substituted aniline. U.S. Pat. No, 3,927,044 issued to Foster et al. on December 16, 1975;. and U.S. Pat. No. 6,124,036 A issued to Brown et al. on September 26, 2000 are both incorporated herein by reference. In one example embodiment Blazon® Blue Spray Pattern Indicator available from Milliken Chemicals of Spartanburg, SC may be used as a suitable water-soluble colorant 210, 220. Other potentially suitable water-soluble colorants 210, 220 may include Bullseye® Blue Spray Pattern Indicator also from Milliken; Bigfoot® brand colorant available from Parkway Research Corp. of Houston, TX; and Signal™ brand spray colorant available from Precision Laboratories, Inc. of Northbrook, IL, However, any suitable water-soluble colorant 210, 220 may be used. U.S. Pat. No. 5,387,745 A issued to Brendle on February 7, 1995 is also incorporated herein by reference.

[0040] Example golf ball location markers 1000 may further comprise a first valve 300 in fluid communication with the first reservoir 130 and configured to selectably open and close the Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use first reservoir 130. For example, as described in the '613 Application, in certain example embodiments a first reservoir 130 may be sealed but the removal of a small piece of plastic (Fig. 2 (E) of the ' 13 Application), will open the first reservoir 130 and allow the liquid 200 to flow to a sponge or first liquid absorbing marking pad 400. By turning the golf ball location marker 1000 upside down and lightly squeezing the elongated body 100, in this example embodiment a small amount of liquid 200 may be released and absorbed by the pad 400 for application to the golf green 7. Alternatively, a more complex valve 300 may be used, for instance like that shown in U.S. Pat, No. 5,899,624 A issued to Thompson on May 4, 1999 ("Thompson")— a reference directed to the non-analogous art of bingo daubers— the- entirety of which is incorporated herein by reference (which describes in great detail the example valve 300 shown in the present figures). While the Thompson valve 300 is shown in the present Figures, any suitable valve 300 may be used, for instance as known in the non-analogous art of bingo daubers.

[0041 ] With continuing reference to Figs. 1-4, example golf ball location markers 1000 may further comprise a first liquid absorbing marking pad 400 having a first predetermined cross-sectional shape (such as the heart shape as shown in Fig. 3 of Thompson (24), or a star shape 410, or a Nike® "swoosh" shape 810 (as shown in present Fig. 9), or any other desired shape, including for instance a sports team or company logo, a square, a diamond, a smiley face, or a plain round circle) and located near the distal end 120 and selectably in fluid communication with the liquid 200 in the first reservoir 130 through the first valve 300, for instance like the fluid transfer pad 24 shown and described in Thompson, which is incorporated herein by reference. Liquid absorbing marking pads 400, 450 may be constructed from any suitable material, for instance like the fluid transfer pad 24 disclosed in Thomson and described herein.

[0042] Example golf ball location markers 1000 may comprise a first cap 500 removably attached with the distal end 120 of the elongated body 100 and covering the first liqui d absorbing marking pad 400, for instance to protect the pad 400 and in certain embodiments to seal off excess exposure to air. In various example embodiments the cap 500 may be water tight or air tight or both when installed on the golf ball location marker 1000. The cap 500 may be attached Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use in any suitable manner, for instance like the cap 14 disclosed in Thompson. In various example embodiments the first cap 500 may have an outer profile formed in a fanciful non-functional shape, such as the shape of a dimpled golf ball, for instance, as shown in Figs. 1-10. Any other suitable shape or design may be used for caps 500, which may be provided with space for advertising or logos. Caps 500 may be formed from any suitable material, such as, for example, biodegradable and recyclable plastic.

[0043] In use, example golf ball location markers 1000 may be configured to leave a visible water-soluble temporary colored mark 420 (see Fig. 9) having the first predetermined cross-sectional shape 410 of the first liquid absorbing marking pad 400 on a golf course green 7 when the first cap 500 is removed from the elongated body 100 and the user (not shown) presses the golf ball location marker 1000 onto the golf course green 7 so that the first liquid absorbing marking pad 400 directly contacts and applies force to the golf course green 7 and transmits at least a portion of the liquid 200 comprising the .first ' water-soluble colorant 210 to the golf course green 7. This can be accomplished in various example embodiments where the first valve 300 is configured to seiectably open the first reservoir 130 when the first cap 500 is removed from the elongated body 100 and the user (not shown) presses the golf ball location marker 1000 onto the golf course green 7 so that the first liquid absorbing marking pad 400 directly contacts and applies force to the golf course green 7. In such example embodiments, the first valve 300 may be configured to seiectably close the first reservoir 130 when the user (not shown) stops pressing the golf ball location marker 1000 against the golf course green 7 so that the first liquid absorbing marking pad 400 stops directly contacting and stops applying force to the golf course green 7.

[0044] Turning to Figs. 5 and 6, in various example embodiments an alternative golf ball location marker 1000' may further comprise an elongated body 100 comprising a second reservoir 140 containing a liquid 200 comprising a second water-soluble colorant 220. In such "double-ended" embodiments a second valve 350 may be provided in fluid communication with the second reservoir 140 and be configured to seiectably open and close the second reservoir Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use 140, for instance as described herein with reference to opening and closing the first reservoir 130. A second liquid-absorbing marking pad 450 may be provided having a second predetermined cross-sectional shape (not shown) and located near the proximate end 110 and selectably in fluid communication with the liquid 200 in the second reservoir 140 through the second valve 350. A second cap 550 may be removably attached with the proximate end 110 of the elongated body 100 and covering the second liquid-absorbing marking pad 450. The second cap 550 may be constructed, shaped, and function in any suitable manner, for instance in any of the maimers described herein with reference to the first cap 500. The golf ball location marker 1000' may be further configured to leave a visible water-soluble temporary colored mark 420 having the second predetermined cross-sectional shape (not shown) on the golf course green 7 when the second cap 550 is removed from the elongated body 100 and the user (not shown) presses the golf ball location marker 1000 ' onto the golf course green 7 so that the second liquid- absorbing marking pad 450 directly contacts and applies force to the golf course green 7 and transmits at least a portion of the liquid 200 comprising the second water-soluble colorant 220 to the golf course green 7 (see Fig. 9). In various example embodiments the second valve 350 may be configured to selectably open the second reservoir 140 when the second cap 550 is removed from the elongated body 100 and the user (not shown) presses the golf ball location marker 1000' onto the golf course green 7 so that the second liquid-absorbing marking pad 450 directly contacts and applies force to the golf course green 7, In various example embodiments the second valve 350 may be confi gured to selectably close the second reservoir 140 when the user (not shown) stops pressing the golf ball location marker 1000' against the golf course green 7 so that the second liquid-absorbing marking pad 450 stops directly contacting and stops applying force to the golf course green 7. See for instance, the operation of the valve in Thompson.

[0045] With continued reference to Figs. 5, 6, and 9, in various example embodiments the first predetermined cross-sectional shape 410 and the second predetermined cross-sectional shape (not shown) are the same cross-sectional shape, while in other example embodiments the tirst predetermined cross-sectional shape 410 and the second predetermined cross-sectional Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use shape (not shown) are different cross-sectional shapes. In various example embodiments the first water-soluble colorant 210 and the second water-soluble colorant 220 are different colors, while in other example embodiments the first water-soluble colorant 210 and the second water-soluble colorant 220 are the same color. Providing the option of a single device that can create two different shaped or colored (or both) marks allows multiple players to differentiate between their marked ball locations, either by using two ends of the same de vice, or by using unique ends of two separate identical devices. The second water-soluble colorant 220 may comprise any suitable composition, for instance any of those 'described with respect to the first water-soluble colorant 210.

[0046] Figs. 7, 8, and 9 depict an alternative example embodiment of a golf ball location marker 1000", comprising: an elongated body 100 extending from a proximate end 110 to a distal end 120 and sized, shaped, and configured to be held in a user's hand between the user's fingers (not shown). The elongated body 100 may comprise a first reservoir 130 containing a liquid 200 comprising a first water-soluble colorant 210, and a first valve 300 in fluid communication with the first reservoir 130 and configured to selectably open and close the first reservoir 130, as in other embodiments disclosed herein. A first liquid absorbing marking pad 480 may be located near the distal end 120 and selectably in fluid communication with the liquid 200 in the first reservoir 130 through the first valve 300, for instance as disclosed with respect to other embodiments disclosed herein. But unlike the other embodiments already described herein, various other example embodiments may comprise a first inner cap 800 slidably attached with the distal end 120 of the elongated body 100 (for instance by a keyway, snap ring, or any other suitable slidable connection mechanism, not shown, as would be apparent to persons of skill in the art of mechanical design) and at least partially covering the first liquid absorbing marking pad 480. The first inner cap 800 may have an aperture formed there through having a fi rst predetermined shape 810 formed there through and positioned adjacent the first liquid absorbing marking pad 480 such that when the marker 1000" is actuated as shown in Fig. 9, first inner cap 800 slides in the proximate direction 110 relative to the elongated body 100, and a portion of the Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use first liquid absorbing marking pad 480 extends through the aperture 81 0 in the first inner cap 800. A first outer cap 500 may be removably attached with the distal end 120 of the elongated body 100 and cover the first inner cap 800 (this language is intended to encompass embodiments where the first outer cap 500 is removably attached directly with the elongated body 100 itself, and embodiments where the first outer cap 500 is removably attached with the first inner cap 800, which itself is attached with elongated body 100, via any suitable attachment mechanism, for instance as disclosed with respect to the cap 14 in Thompson). The golf ball location marker 1000" may be configured to leave a visible water-soluble temporary colored mark 420 having the first predetermined shape 810 on a golf course green 7 when the first Outer cap 500 is removed from the elongated body 100 and the user (not shown) presses the golf ball location marker 1000" onto the golf course green 7 so that the first inner cap 800 and the first liquid absorbing marking pad 480 directly contact and apply force to the golf course green 7 such that the first liquid absorbing marking pad 480 transmits at least a portion of the liquid 200 comprising the first water-soluble colorant 210 to the golf course green 7.

[0047] This alternative embodiment of golf ball location marker 1000" may comprise any or all of the same features, functionalities, and design options as described with respect to the other embodiments described herein, as will be apparent to persons of skill in the art. For example and not by way of limitation, this type of golf ball location marker 1000" may be provided in a double-ended design like that shown in Figs. 5 and 6, with a second reservoir 140 containing a liquid 200 comprising a second water-soluble colorant 220. In such embodiments a second valve 350 may be provided in fluid communication with the second reservoir 140 and be configured to selectably open and close the second reservoir 140, for instance as described herein with reference to opening and closing the first reservoir 130. A second liquid-absorbing marking pad (like pad 480 but located on the proximate end 110 instead of the distal end 120) may be located near the proximate end 11 0 and selectably in fluid communication with the liquid 200 in the second reservoir 140 through the second valve 350. A second inner cap 850 may be slidably attached with the proximate end 110 of the elongated body 100 and at least partially covering the Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use second liquid absorbing marking pad. The second inner cap 850 may have an aperture formed there through having a second predetermined shape 860 formed there through and positioned adjacent the second liquid absorbing marking pad 480 such that when the second inner cap 850 slides in the distal direction relative to the elongated body 100, a portion of the second liquid absorbing marking pad 480 extends through the aperture 860 in the second inner cap 850. A second outer cap 550 may be removably attached with the proximate end 110 of the elongated body 100 and cover the second inner cap 850 (this language is intended to encompass embodiments where the second outer cap 550 is removably attached directly with the elongated body 100 itself, and embodiments where the second outer cap 550 is removably attached with the second inner cap 850, which itself is attached with elongated body 100). The double-ended version of the golf ball location marker 1000" may be configured to leave a visible water-soluble temporary colored mark 420 having the second predetermined shape 860 on a golf course green 7 when the second outer cap 550 is removed from the elongated body 100 and the user (not shown) presses the double-ended golf ball location marker 1000" onto the golf course green 7 so that the second inner cap 850 and the second liquid absorbing marking pad 490 directly contact and apply force to the golf course green 7 such that the second liquid absorbing marking pad 480 transmits at least a portion of the liquid 200 comprising the second water-soluble colorant 220 to the golf course green 7.

[0048] In various example embodiments, the inner caps 800, 850 of golf ball location marker 1000" may be removable from, replaceable with, and interchangeable with the elongated body 100. This may be advantageous where the predetermined color shape marks 420 made possible by the marking pads 480 extending through the uniquely shaped apertures 810, 860 in the inner caps 800, 850 are famous logos used under license or other desirable shapes (such as the Nike® "swoosh" logo 810, which is a trademark of Nike, Inc.). Custom-shaped apertures 810, 860 may be provided in the inner caps 800, 850, for instance a user's initials or other unique or desirable insignia. Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use

[0049] As shown and described in the '613 Application, and in present Fig, 10, one, two, three, four, or more golf ball location markers 1000 may be removably and replaeeably attached with a clip 900 (including clips B, C, in the '613 Application). Clips 900 may be adapted for attaching with any number of items, such as golf bags, belts, pants pockets, or shirt pockets, and especially hat brims as shown in the '613 Application, to provide the user with continuous easy access to the markers 1000 while playing golf. One example clip 900 is shown in Fig. 10, which comprises a unitary body 910 (which may be manufactured as one piece, for instance as a plastic injection-molded part), having a central flat portion 920; a resilient clamping arm 930 extending distally from a first end 940 of the central flat portion 920 and constructed to removably clamp against the brim of a golf hat (shown in the '613 Application) between the central flat portion 920 and the resilient clamping arm 930. Clip 900 may comprise resilient opposing arms 950 extending proximately from the central flat portion 920, the resilient opposing arms 950 constructed to removably clamp at least partially around the elongated body 100 of a golf ball location marker 1000, 1000', 1000" as indicated in Fig. 10. While the above design has been found to be particularly suitable for the present purpose, where a clip 900 is desired, any suitable clip design, geometry, and materials (such as steel) may be used.

[0050] Various golf ball location markers, for instance the example golf ball location markers 1000, 1000', 1000", may be used at least in the following manner to mark the location of a golf ball (not shown) on a golf course green 7. First, the user (not shown) may remove or retrieve the golf ball location marker 1000, 1000', 1000", from its holder such as clip 900, and remove the cap 500, 550 from the elongated body 100. Then the user (not shown) may leave a visible water-soluble temporary colored mark 420 (Fig. 9) having a predetermined shape 410, 810, 860 on the golf course green 7 by pressing the golf ball location marker 1000, 1000', 1000", onto the golf course green 7 adjacent a first location 710 of a golf ball (not shown) so that the liquid absorbing marking pad 400, 450, 480 directly contacts and applies force to the golf course green 7 and transmits at least a portion of the liquid 200 comprising the water-soluble colorant 210, 220 to the golf course green 7 adjacent the first location 710 of the golf ball (not shown). Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use

The user (not shown) may then replace the golf ball location marker 1000, 1000', 1000", into or with its holder 900, and remove the golf ball (not shown) from its first location 710 on the golf course green 7, for instance to allow other players to take their turns. If another player rolls their ball over the visible water-soluble temporary colored mark 420, their ball will simply roll over the mark 420, which will neither interrupt nor disrupt the path of their ball. When it is again the user's turn to proceed, the user may replace the golf ball (not shown) on the golf course green 7 at its first location 710 by positioning the golf ball (not shown) adjacent the visible water-soluble temporary colored mark 420 having the predetermined shape 410, 810, 860. The user (not shown) may then continue playing, assured that the mark 420 will dissipate on its own, for instance after about two hours, without littering or harming the environment .

[0051 ] As shown and described in the '613 Application, golf ball location markers 1000, 1000', 1000", may be packaged together in packages or kits of multiple units, such as a four- pack, for instance, where each marker contains a different colored colorant 210. In such kits, caps 500 for each marker 1000 may be color-matched to the corresponding colorant 210 in each marker 1000. Accordingly, a group of golf players playing a game of golf could buy one kit of markers 1000, and each player could have their own marker 1000 with their own unique color, so that when the players mark the golf course green 7 with their respective markers 1000, the unique colors of the marks 420 on the golf course green 7 will correspond to the individual players so that the players can keep track of where to place their respective golf balls.

[0052] Any of the suitable technologies and materials set forth and incorporated herein may be used to implement various example aspects of the invention as would be apparent to one of skill in the art. Although exemplary embodiments and applications of the invention have been described herein including as described above and shown in the included example Figure(s), there is no intention that the invention be limited to these exemplary embodiments and applications or to the manner in which the exemplary embodiments and applications operate or are described herein. Indeed, many variations and modiiications to the exemplary embodiments are possible as would be apparent to a person of ordinary skill in the art. The invention may Golf Marker Apparatus, System, and Method of Use include any device, structure, method, or functionality, as long as the resulting device, system or method falls within the scope of one of the claims that are allowed by the patent office based on this or any related patent application.