Patent application title: Golf Tee Body Alignment Device and Method
Salvador Leyva (Chula Vista, CA, US)
IPC8 Class: AA63B5700FI
Class name: Games using tangible projectile golf body movement or position indicator (e.g., stance aids, etc.)
Publication date: 2013-01-10
Patent application number: 20130012332
Disclosed is a golf tee that is adapted to support a golf ball atop a
perch and provide a ground stake for entering the ground, while further
providing an elongated alignment arm that extends from a shank section
below the tapering perch region. The arm is a perpendicular member that
the golfer directs down range and toward a target location. Upon
addressing a ball perched on the tee, the golfer utilizes the alignment
arm as a means to establish a correct body alignment with respect to the
intended target, wherein the golfer aligns his or her shoulders with the
alignment arm to ensure proper setup and alignment prior to the golf
swing movement. Proper body alignment is a critical first step to
enabling a directed tee shot. The alignment arm further comprises a
direction arrow to assist positioning the arm in the correct orientation
with respect to the course layout.
1. A golf tee and golfer body alignment device, comprising: a golf tee
structure connecting to an alignment arm structure; said golf tee
structure having a golf ball perch upper region, which tapers to a shank
region terminating at a pointed ground stake end; said alignment arm
structure comprising an elongated arm having a first end connected
perpendicularly to said golf tee shank and a second distal end; said
alignment arm length adapted to be directed toward a target location down
range from a user and utilized as a parallel reference line for proper
shoulder alignment when said golfer is addressing said ball.
2. The device of claim 1, wherein said alignment arm distal end further comprises a tapering arrow shape.
3. The device of claim 1, wherein said alignment arm length is at least as long as said golf tee shank length.
4. The device of claim 1, wherein said golf tee and alignment arm are comprised of unitary construction.
5. The device of claim 1, wherein said golf tee and alignment arm are comprised of a two-part construction.
6. A method of body positioning a golfer while addressing a golf ball prior to a tee shot, comprising the steps of: placing golf tee having a perpendicular extension arm into the ground; aiming said extension arm toward the target line of the intended golf shot or parallel therewith; placing a golf ball on the golf tee; addressing said golf ball and positioning one's body using said extension arm direction as a reference line; aligning said user's shoulders in parallel with said extension arm reference line prior to swinging said golf club.
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
 This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/505,291 filed on Jul. 7, 2011, entitled "Perfect Alignment." The patent application identified above is incorporated here by reference in its entirety to provide continuity of disclosure.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 1. Field of the Invention
 The present invention relates to golf alignment and instructional tools. More specifically, the present invention pertains to a new golf tee that includes an alignment arm for properly aligning a golfer's shoulders with the intended path of the ball leaving a tee box.
 There are several variables related to a golfer properly addressing a golf ball prior to swinging that will affect his or her swing path and the direction, spin and distance of the ball being struck. The golfer must consider his or her body positioning, posture and stance, and further the ball positioning with respect to the golfer when addressing a ball. These factors will all contribute to proper striking and aiming of the golf shot. Of particular relevance when addressing and aiming golf shots is the alignment of the golfer's shoulders with the ball target line. The target line is the intended path of the ball towards the target. The shoulders must be parallel to this target line, as the arms will follow the established shoulder line and lead to accurate or wildly misdirected tee shots. The direction the golfer's arms are heavily influenced by the shoulders. If a right-handed golfer's shoulders are pointing to the right of the intended target, then it is very likely that the golfer's arms will swing from in-to-out across the front of the body during the downswing. Alternatively, if the same golfer's shoulders are pointing to the left of the target, then it is likely that his or her arms will swing from out-to-in across the front of the body during the downswing. These movements cause pulling, slicing and overall inaccuracies in the trajectory of the ball, which can lead to increased strokes.
 To properly align the golfer's shoulders, several techniques and tools have been used as aides for the user when addressing the ball. Most common of these is laying down several golf clubs to establish the ball-target line, which the user can then reference to align his or her shoulders while positioning his or her body over the ball. Generally several clubs are utilized and positioned in parallel to one another, one at the user's fee, one just behind the ball and another just beyond the ball for shoulder alignment purposes. This provides several reference lines to assist the golfer. While this provides a unique teaching mechanism, the placement of several golf clubs on the ground during each approach is time consuming and inappropriate during an outing or match play. It is submitted that a more discrete and subtle means of aligning one's shoulders during setup is desired, one than can be deployed during matches or during practice rounds for teaching novice golfers or providing assistance to experienced golfers when addressing a ball in the tee box. The present invention provides such a device, wherein an alignment tool is provided in conjunction with a golf tee.
 2. Description of the Prior Art
 Devices have been disclosed in the prior art that relate to golfer alignment aides and golf tee devices. These include devices that have been patented and published in patent application publications, and generally relate to more elaborate alignment devices and tee attachments for support and alignment purposes. The forgoing is a list of devices deemed most relevant to the present disclosure, which are herein described for the purposes of highlighting and differentiating the unique aspects of the present invention, and further highlighting the drawbacks existing in the prior art.
 Specifically, U.S. Pat. No. 5,240,254 to Adlam discloses a device for attachment to a golf tee that comprises a first and second marker, wherein the first marker is aligned with the golf travel direction and the second marker is aligned with the face of the golf club. The device includes an aperture that accepts the shank of the golf tee therethrough while a ball is supported on the perch of the tee as originally intended. The device provides an alignment tool for squaring the club face to the ball during the golf swing motion. The Adlam device does not address body alignment when addressing the golf ball, but rather ensures the golf club itself is not open or closed prior to contact with the golf ball. The present invention is a unitary structure that includes a standard golf tee attaching to a perpendicular alignment arm that seeks to aid the golfer when aligning his or her shoulders relative to the golf ball target line prior to the swinging motion.
 Similar to the Adlam device, U.S. Published Patent Application Publication No. 2005/0233837 to Jung discloses a golf tee holder having a plurality of leg extensions that extend from a central base that is adapted to accept a golf tee shank therethrough. The extensions are positioned at least fore, left and right of the golfer, and alternatively toward the golfer's stance as well. The position of the extensions provides a reference for the golfer's feet, while further the attachment to the tee prevents the tee from readily flying out of the ground as is generally customary during a powerful tee shot. The Jung device, while disclosing a device associated with a golf tee for alignment purposes, does not disclose the structure or the intent of the present invention. The present invention provides a unitary structure that includes a golf tee and an alignment arm extending from the shank of the tee, whereby the elongated shank is used for shoulder alignment purposes in the tee box when addressing the golf ball prior to a golf swing.
 Overall, the present invention provides a structure that is divergent from elements in the prior art, as well as an associated method of use that establishes a golf approach teaching tool for proper shoulder alignment and aiming prior to a golf swing. The present invention replaces more traditional and cumbersome alignment and aiming methods that contemplate placement of parallel golf clubs towards the target location, and provides a discrete, readily deployable structure that is a welcome aid to novice golfers and more experienced golfer seeking assistance with body positioning. It is clear that there is a need in the art for an improvement to existing golfer body alignment devices and methods in the prior art. In this regard the instant invention substantially fulfills these needs.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 In view of the foregoing disadvantages inherent in the known types of golfer body alignment devices now present in the prior art, the present invention provides a new body alignment aid wherein the same can be utilized for providing convenience for the user when correctly aligning one's shoulders with the target line when addressing a golf ball prior to a golf swing.
 It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved golfer body alignment device that has all of the advantages of the prior art and none of the disadvantages.
 It is another object of the present invention to provide a golfer body alignment device that includes a golf tee having a perch region, a tapering shank that terminates at a pointed ground stake, while a perpendicular alignment arm is positioned in parallel to the target line to provide a golfer with a reference for shoulder alignment towards with the target line.
 Another object of the present invention is to provide a golfer body alignment device that includes a connected golf tee and alignment arm, wherein the alignment arm is sufficiently elongated to provide an accurate pointer towards the target and a clear reference for alignment.
 Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a golfer body alignment device that includes golf tee shanks of varying length, wherein the tee perch may be positioned higher or lower with respect to the ground surface while still supporting the extended alignment arm.
 A final object of the present invention is to provide a golfer body alignment method that utilizes an extended alignment arm from a golf tee positioned within the ground as a means to alight and aim a user's shoulders when addressing the golf ball in a tee box.
 Other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS OF THE DRAWINGS
 Although the characteristic features of this invention will be particularly pointed out in the claims, the invention itself and manner in which it may be made and used may be better understood after a review of the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein like numeral annotations are provided throughout.
 FIG. 1 shows a side view of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention.
 FIG. 2 shows a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment the present invention.
 FIG. 3 shows an overhead view of the device and method in use, wherein the golfer's shoulders and the alignment arm of the golf tee are parallel and in alignment with the target line.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 Reference is made herein to the attached drawings. Like reference numerals are used throughout the drawings to depict like or similar elements of the golf tee body alignment device. For the purposes of presenting a brief and clear description of the present invention, the preferred embodiment will be discussed as used for prospering aligning and aiming a golfer's shoulders when addressing a tee shot. The figures are intended for representative purposes only and should not be considered to be limiting in any respect.
 Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown a side view of the present invention, wherein the device comprises a golf tee structure 20 and an alignment arm structure 12. The golf tee structure 20 includes elements commonly found in traditional golf tee devices, including a golf ball perch 15 along its upper portion, a tapering section 14 below the perch and a shank region 13 that terminates at a pointed end. The pointed end is adapted to be utilized as a ground stake, wherein the shank 13 is positioned in an upright configuration and a golf ball is placed on the perch 15 prior to be impacted with the face of a golf club wielded by the user. Prior to striking the ball, the user must place the tee 20 into the ground, place the ball on the perch 15 and then align himself with the target line while finding the correct posture over the ball. To aid in this exercise, and in particular the aspect of correct body alignment with the intended target line towards the green or fairway, an elongated extension arm 12 is provided that extends from the shank 13 or tapering section 14 of the tee. This arm 12 is adapted to be directed in parallel with the target line and downrange of the tee box, wherein the user may use this arm 12 as a means to align his or her shoulders therewith, and therefore achieve a more accurate body alignment with respect to the target.
 The extension arm 12 of the present invention comprises an elongated member 16 that provides a clear reference line for a user to see when addressing the golf ball. It is desired to provide an extension arm of sufficient length that those with less than perfect vision may easily visualize the arm when addressing the golf ball, wherein the arm may be at least the length of the tee or significantly longer. The distal end of the extension arm member 16 may include a squared end or further a tapering arrow symbol 17, which provides visual reference and an intuitive cue for those unaccustomed to its intended use and direction once the tee is positioned in the ground. When placing the tee into the ground, the extension arm 12 is aligned with the intended target line, which is preferably a straight line originating from the golf ball towards a target on the fairway or green surface. This extension arm provides the user with a clear reference that traces a portion of the imaginary target line for body positioning purposes, which allows the user to properly align his or her shoulders with the target to prevent in-to-out or out-to-in arm swing motions through the ball that lead to inaccuracies and unnecessary strokes.
 Referring now to FIG. 3, there is shown an overhead view of the present invention in a working position, wherein a golfer 21 is addressing a golf ball 18 using the present alignment tee and its associated method of use. As shown, during setup it is desired that the golfer align his shoulders 19 with the target line of the ball towards the target (fairway, green, flag, etc.). To assist with this alignment, the golf tee of the present invention is utilized, wherein the alignment arm 12 is positioned in along the target line 20 or parallel therewith, such that the user has a visual reference during setup to align his shoulders with respect to the target. This ensures proper body alignment, after which the user assumes a proper posture prior to the swing motion and striking of the golf ball 18 towards the target. Proper bodying alignment and posture ensure the club 19 strikes the ball 18 correctly and reduces the likelihood of misdirected shots or unintended spin on the ball after impact.
 The structure of the present invention is one that is of unitary or composite construction, wherein the latter includes a first tee member jointed to a second arm member. As is customary for golf tees, both members may be of wooden or plastic construction, or likewise any similar material deemed suitable for use as a golf tee by one skilled in the art of golfing equipment. The alignment member extends from the tee shank or tapering region and is designed to allow the shank of the tee to bend and break under load as is customary for a standard golf tee. In this way, the extension member does not interfere with normal golf tee operation, and further does not change the path of the ball or action of the golf club through the swinging motion beyond what is expected from contact between the golf tee and the club face. The shank of the golf tee is capable of breaking as normally experienced during tee shots, while the alignment arm may further separate or stay joined with a separated section of the tee.
 The method of use associated with the present invention involves placing a golf tee into the ground and directing an elongated alignment arm down range and in alignment with the ball-target line. The golfer then positions himself over the ball as normally conducted when addressing the ball prior to a tee shot. While addressing the ball, the alignment arm of the tee is utilized as a reference line to align the golfer's shoulders with the target line. The golfer therefore is ensured of an aligned body position with respect to the target, preventing in-to-out or out-to-in arm swinging during the driving golf swing. The method provides a reference for users to address a golf ball ion a tee box with correct alignment, without resorting to cumbersome tools or techniques that slow down the pace of the game.
 When addressing a golf ball in a tee box, it can be difficult for an individual to realize whether or not his or her shoulders are properly aligned with the target line towards the fairway or green. Without proper alignment, the ball will not go in the direction the individual intended, creating offline shots that lead to increased strokes and penalties. A conventional golf tee does not provide any assistance in aligning the shoulders and setting up the drive, and further traditional teaching methods are cumbersome or inappropriate in all circumstances. The present invention provides a discrete means and method of alignment that can be deployed in almost any golfing situation involving a tee shot, wherein the direction towards the target is provided and a reference alignment arm is readily visualized by a user over the golf ball during setup. Players are therefore provided an efficient and low profile means of aligning their shoulders with the target line for driving a ball during a match or while practicing.
 It is therefore submitted that the instant invention has been shown and described in what is considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiments. It is recognized, however, that departures may be made within the scope of the invention and that obvious modifications will occur to a person skilled in the art. With respect to the above description then, it is to be realized that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention.
 Therefore, the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.
Patent applications in class Body movement or position indicator (e.g., stance aids, etc.)
Patent applications in all subclasses Body movement or position indicator (e.g., stance aids, etc.)