Title:
Non-flaccid golf club head cover
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A non-flaccid hollow golf club head cover includes a head portion that is contoured to fit firmly over a head of a golf club, and a shaft portion that is contiguous to the head portion to enclose a segment of a golf club shaft. The outer surface of the body is established in part by a cushioning foam material, while the inner surface is established by a soft, velvety material.



Inventors:
Besnard, Philippe (Oceanside, CA, US)
Rugge, Richard L. (Encinitas, CA, US)
Application Number:
09/835930
Publication Date:
09/27/2001
Filing Date:
04/16/2001
Assignee:
Taylor Made Golf Company, Inc.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
150/160
International Classes:
A63B55/00; (IPC1-7): A63B55/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
NGO, LIEN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
John L. Rogitz (ROGITZ & ASSOCIATES 750 B Street, Suite 3120, San Diego, CA, 92101, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A golf club head cover, comprising: a non-flaccid hollow body including a head portion contoured to fit firmly over a head of a golf club, and a shaft portion contiguous to the head portion to enclose a segment of a golf club shaft, the body including an outer surface at least partially established by a foam material and an inner surface at least partially established by a velvety material.

2. The cover of claim 1, wherein the body is sufficiently non-flaccid to be positioned onto a golf bag club chute periphery without falling into the chute, provided the head portion of the body is radially supported.

3. The cover of claim 1, wherein the shaft portion defines an open bottom end configured to receive a golf club head therethrough, the shaft portion also defining a toe side, a slit being formed from the open bottom end up the toe side.

4. The cover of claim 1, wherein the outer surface is further established by a leather or suede material.

5. The cover of claim 4, wherein the shaft portion defines a toe side and a heel side, the leather or suede material establishing the outer surface on the heel side and the foam material establishing the outer surface on the toe side.

6. The cover of claim 5, wherein a first portion of the foam material is raised relative to a second portion of the foam material.

7. The cover of claim 6, wherein the body defines a length of at least eight inches (8″).

8. The cover of claim 7, wherein the body defines a length of at least ten inches (10″).

9. The cover of claim 8, wherein the body defines a length of at least eleven inches (11″).

10. A golf club holding and protecting system, comprising: a golf club holder defining at least one chute bounded by a periphery; and a golf club head cover including a resilient body defining a head portion such that the head cover can be removed from a golf club and positioned over the periphery with only the head portion being radially supported and with the head cover remaining on the periphery without falling into the chute.

11. The system of claim 10, wherein the head portion is contoured to fit firmly over a head of a golf club, and the head cover includes a shaft portion contiguous to the head a portion to enclose a segment of a golf club shaft, the body including an outer surface at least partially established by a foam material and an inner surface at least partially established by a velvety material.

12. The system of claim 11, wherein the shaft portion defines an open bottom end configured to receive a golf club head therethrough, the shaft portion also defining a toe side, a slit being formed from the open bottom end up the toe side.

13. The system of claim 11, wherein the outer surface is further established by a leather or suede material.

14. The system of claim 13, wherein the shaft portion defines a toe side and a heel side, the leather or suede material establishing the outer surface on the heel side and the foam material establishing the outer surface on the toe side.

15. The system of claim 14, wherein a first portion of the foam material is raised relative to a second portion of the foam material.

16. The system of claim 15, wherein the body defines a length of at least ten inches (10″).

17. A golf club cover, comprising: a resilient head portion configured to fit snugly over the head of a golf club, the head portion having a cushiony outer surface and a soft inner surface; and a shaft portion joining the head portion, the shaft portion having at least a resilient outer surface.

18. The cover of claim 17, wherein the shaft portion has a velvety inside surface.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates generally to golf club head covers, and more particularly to multi-purpose golf club head covers.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Golf club head covers have been provided to protect golf club heads, particularly woods, from damage. Typically, a head cover is made of a soft, flaccid material so that the cover will not scratch or otherwise damage the head. When a golfer wants to use a club that is covered, the golfer removes the cover from the head of the club and withdraws the club from its place in a golf bag. The golfer must then lay the head cover aside on a nearby surface or place it in a chamber of the bag, prior to using the club. After using the club, the golfer locates the head cover, places it back on the club, and then places the club back into its place in the golf bag.

[0003] As recognized by the present invention, the above process has two attendant inconveniences. First, the head cover is laid in a location that might be one of many possible places to put the cover, and if, as often happens, the golfer doesn't use the club for several minutes, the golfer can forget where he placed the head cover. Moreover, the present invention recognizes that although the head of a club might be covered, a head cover might not adequately cover the portion of the club shaft adjacent the head, such that the shaft can be damaged by or can itself damage another club or object. The present invention has recognized the above-noted problems and has provided the solutions disclosed herein.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] A golf club head cover includes a non-flaccid hollow body that has a head portion contoured to fit firmly over a head of a golf club and a shaft portion that is contiguous to the head portion to enclose a segment of a golf club shaft. The outer surface of the body is established in part by a cushioning foam material, while the inner surface is established by a soft, velvety material.

[0005] As intended in the preferred embodiment, the body is sufficiently non-flaccid to be positioned onto a golf bag club chute periphery without falling into the chute, provided the body is adequately radially supported by the periphery and/or another golf club in the chute. To this end, a portion of the outer surface can be established by a leather or suede material. The body is at least eight inches long, more preferably is at least ten inches long, and most preferably is at least eleven inches long, to cover and thus protect and cushion a relatively long portion of the shaft of a club, in addition to the head of the club.

[0006] In another aspect, a golf club holding and protecting system includes a golf club holder defining at least one chute bounded by a periphery. A golf club head cover of the system includes a resilient body defining a head portion such that the head cover can be removed from a golf club and positioned over the periphery with only the head portion being radially supported and with the head cover remaining on the periphery without falling into the chute.

[0007] In still another aspect, a golf club cover include a resilient head portion that is configured to fit snugly over the head of a golf club. The head portion has a cushiony outer surface and a soft inner surface. A shaft portion joins the head portion, and the shaft portion has at least a resilient outer surface.

[0008] The details of the present invention, both as to its structure and operation, can best be understood in reference to the accompanying drawings, in which like reference numerals refer to like parts, and in which:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the golf club head cover of the present invention, in an exploded relationship with a golf bag, with portions of the golf bag removed for clarity;

[0010] FIG. 2 is a bottom view of the cover;

[0011] FIG. 3 is a side view of the cover; and

[0012] FIG. 4 is a front elevational view of the cover.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0013] Referring to FIG. 1, a golf club head cover, generally designated 10, is shown which includes a non-flaccid hollow body 12 having a length “L” of at least eight inches and more preferably a length L of about twelve inches. As shown in FIG. 1, the body 12 includes a head portion 14 that is contoured to fit firmly over the head of a golf club. Additionally, the body 12 includes a shaft portion 16 that is contiguous to the head portion 14 to enclose the segment of the golf club shaft that extends away from the club head. It is to be understood that while FIG. 1 shows a body 12 contoured for a wood, when the present cover 10 is to be used to cover other clubs such as irons, driving irons, and utility clubs, it can be configured somewhat differently, e.g., the angle between the head portion and shaft portion can be more acute than the relatively gentle angle shown for accommodating passing a head of a wood club through the shaft portion 16 into the head portion 14.

[0014] As shown in FIG. 1, the body 12 defines a toe side 18, a heel side 20, and left and right sides 22, 24 located between the toe and heel sides. The left and right sides 22, 24 define a long axis “A”, and the body 12 is relatively stiff and resilient particularly in the dimension defined by the axis “A”. That is, if the body 12 is deformed along the long axis “A”, upon release of the deforming force the body 12 will immediately resume the configuration shown in FIG. 1.

[0015] Also, the body 12 defines a closed head end 26 that in turn defines a head-to-toe diameter “D”. Also, as shown in FIGS. 2-4, the body 12 an open bottom end 28 that is configured to receive a golf club head therethrough. A slit 30 is formed from the open bottom end 28 up the toe side 18, as perhaps best shown in FIG. 4, to accommodate the passage of a relatively large golf club head through the open bottom end 28 and slit 30 and into the head portion 14 of the cover 10.

[0016] In accordance with the present invention, the toe side 18 and left and right sides 22, 24 are preferably established by a waterproof, resilient, padded thermoplastic or thermoset material with foaming agent. For example, the material can be nylon- or lycra-covered neoprene, nylon- or lycra-covered ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), Lycraprene, or polypropylene. With this material, the cover 10 essentially has an outer cushion surface to protect the head of a club and at least a segment of the shaft (i.e., that segment of the shaft disposed in the shaft portion 16) from damage when an object strikes the club, and for protecting any objects that might be struck by the covered club.

[0017] On the other hand, the heel side 20 and closed bottom end 26 are made of leather, synthetic leather, or other imitation leather such as polyurethane or vinyl Or, the heel side 20 and end 26 can be made of suede, including imitation suede. Accordingly, the outer surface of the body 12 is also partially established by leather or suede. The leather helps to stiffen the cover 10. The sides 18, 20, 22, 24 and head 26 can be sewn together along their common seams. If desired, portions 32 of the foam material can be raised relative to other portions as shown in FIG. 1 to render a design, such as the rectangles shown or a logo or other symbol.

[0018] As intended herein, a velvety liner 34 establishes the entire inside surface of the body 12. In one preferred embodiment, the liner 34 is made of felt, or polyester, or nylon, or cotton, or velvet, or acetate, or combinations thereof.

[0019] A lip 36 of the liner 34 overlaps the outer surface of the body 12 around the open bottom end 28 and slit 30 as shown best in FIGS. 2 and 4, and a lip collar 38 made of leather encompasses the liner lip 36 and is sewn thereto. As intended herein, the liner lip 36 protects a wood club head as the club head is being advanced through the open bottom end 28 into the head portion 14 of the body 12.

[0020] With the above structure in mind, attention is directed back to FIG. 1, which shows a golf club bag or holder 40 having plural club chutes 42 that are established by a rigid plastic club frame 44. The frame 44 defines, along with an upper collar or end 46 of the holder 44, a periphery 48 for each chute 42. If desired, each chute can have a maximum inner diameter “ID” that is less than the diameter “D” of the head potion 14 of the cover 10.

[0021] Per the present invention, the body 12 is sufficiently non-flaccid to be positioned onto a chute periphery 48 without falling into the associated chute 42, provided the head portion of the body 12 is adequately radially supported by the periphery 48 and/or by other golf clubs that remain in the chute 42. In other words, the head cover 10 has sufficient stiffness and size such that the cover 10 can be removed from a golf club, disposed within a periphery 48 with the sides 18, 20, 22, 24 oriented vertically within the chute 42 (i.e. with the liner lip 36 below the remainder of the body 12), and remain thereon, unsupported by any structure other than the periphery 48 and/or other clubs in the chute. In contrast, it will readily be appreciated that a flaccid, non-resilient head cover, if placed over the chute 42 in a similar orientation, would crumple along its long axis and fall into the associated chute 42.

[0022] With this structure, the cover 10 can be removed from a golf club to use the club. While the club is removed from the holder 40, the cover 10 can be placed on the periphery of the empty chute 42 from which the golfer has extracted the club, to retain the cover 10 thereby and to indicate the chute 42 from whence the club was withdrawn. When the golfer has finished with the club, the head and lower shaft portion of the club can be once again protected by the cover 10 and placed back into the appropriate chute 42. If desired, a plastic tag 50 bearing a numeral or other symbol representative of the club intended to be covered by the cover 10 can be suspended from the closed head end 26 as shown.

[0023] While the particular NON-FLACCID GOLF CLUB HEAD COVER as herein shown and described in detail is fully capable of attaining the above-described objects of the invention, it is to be understood that it is the presently preferred embodiment of the present invention and is thus representative of the subject matter which is broadly contemplated by the present invention, that the scope of the present invention fully encompasses other embodiments which may become obvious to those skilled in the art, and that the scope of the present invention is accordingly to be limited by nothing other than the appended claims, in which reference to an element in the singular is not intended to mean “one and only one” unless explicitly so stated, but rather “one or more”. All structural and functional equivalents to the elements of the above-described preferred embodiment that are known or later come to be known to those of ordinary skill in the art are expressly incorporated herein by reference and are intended to be encompassed by the present claims. Moreover, it is not necessary for a device or method to address each and every problem sought to be solved by the present invention, for it to be encompassed by the present claims. Furthermore, no element, component, or method step in the present disclosure is intended to be dedicated to the public regardless of whether the element, component, or method step is explicitly recited in the claims. No claim element herein is to be construed under the provisions of 35 U.S.C. §112, sixth paragraph, unless the element is expressly recited using the phrase “means for”.





 
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