Title:
Golf putter shaft and grip and method for gripping golf club
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An improved putter shaft and grip wherein the grip has a thumb stop and a finger stop both recessed in the surface of the grip parallel to the direction of putting to allow desired loose gripping of the putter, consistent gripping location, and proper alignment for swinging of the putter in the intended direction. In an alternate form, the grip and shaft are formed with a plurality of alternating circular and rectangular cross-sections extending from the top of the shaft toward the club head, with the rectangular cross-sections allowing the shaft of the club head to fit between desired fingers on either hand of the golfer.



Inventors:
Shioda, Yoshihiko (Charlotte, NC, US)
Application Number:
11/021605
Publication Date:
05/19/2005
Filing Date:
12/23/2004
Assignee:
SHIODA YOSHIHIKO
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B53/12; A63B53/00; A63B53/14; A63B49/08; (IPC1-7): A63B53/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BLAU, STEPHEN LUTHER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
K&L Gates LLP-Charlotte (P.O. Box 33144, CHARLOTTE, NC, 28233, US)
Claims:
1. A golf club having a club head attached to a shaft via a hosel, the shaft having a top end and a bottom end, the bottom end being attachable to the hosel, the shaft comprising: an upper section, a lower section and a middle section intermediate the upper and lower sections, the upper section extending from the top end of the shaft to one end of the middle section, the lower section extending from the bottom end of the shaft to an end of the middle section opposite the upper section, the upper and lower sections having circular cross-sections approximating a conventional golf club shaft, the middle section of the shaft having a plurality of alternating rectangular and circular cross-sections extending therethrough, the circular cross sections approximating the cross sections of the upper and lower sections of the shaft, the rectangular cross-sections having a length, a width, and a height, the length of the rectangular cross sections being greater than the width, the width and height of the rectangular cross sections being sufficient to insert said rectangular cross sections between fingers of at least one hand of a golfer, and wherein the length of the rectangular cross sections is approximately the same as a diameter of the circular cross-sections of the middle section, and a grip adjacent to and surrounding a portion of the shaft, the grip having a first grip portion extending from the top end of the shaft to the middle section of the shaft, a second grip portion extending over the middle section, and a third grip portion covering a part of the lower section extending from the middle portion toward the bottom end of the shaft, the first grip portion having a generally cylindrical cross-section, the second portion of the grip comprising corresponding alternating rectangular and circular cross sections, the circular cross sections being convex along each length of the circular cross sections of the shaft, the rectangular cross sections of the grip corresponding to the rectangular cross sections of the shaft, and the third portion of the grip being convex relative to the lower section of the shaft.

2. A golf club according to claim 1, wherein the rectangular cross sections of the grip corresponding to the rectangular cross sections of the shaft are positioned such that the length of the cross sections are oriented perpendicular to the club head.

3. A golf club according to claim 1, wherein the diameter of the convex shaped portions of the grip is greater than the length of the rectangular cross sections of the grip.

4. A golf club according to claim 1, wherein the width and the height of the rectangular cross sections of the grip and shaft are of a sufficient size for a golfer to position at least one finger along each length of at least one of the rectangular cross sections of the grip and shaft.

5. On a golf club having a head attached to a bottom end of a shaft, the shaft having a top end opposite the bottom end, a grip comprising a tube extending from the top end of the shaft toward a terminating position intermediate the top and bottom ends of the shaft, the tube having an inner diameter sufficiently sized to insert the shaft therethrough, the tube also having a first end proximate to the top end of the shaft and a second end at the terminating position, the grip further comprising an outer surface having a contoured area, said contour being relative to a longitudinal axis of the grip intermediate the first and second ends.

6. The grip according to claim 5, wherein the outer surface comprises a first contour section and a second contour section, the first contour section extending from the first end of the grip to a transition point between the first and second contour sections, the second contour section extending from the transition point to the second end of the grip.

7. The grip according to claim 6, wherein the first contour section of the outer surface is cylindrical.

8. The grip according to claim 7, wherein the second contour section of the outer surface is an extension of the first contour section of the outer surface.

9. The grip according to claim 7, wherein the second contour section of the outer surface is convex.

10. The grip according to claim 7, wherein the second contour section of the outer surface has a first part and a second part, the first part extending from the transition point and the second part extending from the first part to the second end of the grip, the first part having an outer surface contour approximating the first contour section of the grip, the second part having a geometric shape with an outer diameter greater than an outer diameter of the first part.

11. The grip according to claim 7, wherein the second contour section of the outer surface has a first part and a second part, the first part extending from the transition point and the second part extending from the first part to the second end of the grip, the first part being convex, the second part approximating the first contour section of the grip.

12. The grip according to claim 7, wherein the second contour section of the outer surface has a first part, a second part and a third part, the first part extending from the transition point to the second part, the second portion extending to the third part, and the third part extending to the second end of the grip, the first and third parts being convex with a defined diameter, the second part approximating the first contour section of the grip.

13. The grip according to claim 12, wherein the second part of the second contour section of the grip has an outer diameter sufficiently sized such that the second part is insertable between fingers of a golfer for establishing a hold on the golf club.

14. A method of gripping a golf club, said club having a head attached to one end of a shaft, the head generally perpendicular to the shaft, the shaft having a longitudinal axis extending upwardly from the head to a top end, the shaft being manipulated by a golfer, the method comprising the steps: orienting a controlling hand perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the shaft and perpendicular to the head; placing the shaft between two fingers of the controlling hand; closing the controlling hand about the shaft, the shaft resting upon a portion of the controlling hand opposite the fingers; orienting a guidance hand parallel to the controlling hand orientation relative to the shaft; placing the shaft between two fingers of the guidance hand; and closing the guidance hand about the shaft, a thumb of the guidance hand parallel to the longitudinal axis of the shaft, wherein the guidance hand is in vertical relationship to the controlling hand relative to the longitudinal axis of the shaft.

15. A grip for a golf putter comprising a main gripping body having an upper end, a lower end and an exterior gripping surface, and a thumb stop recessed in said surface at a location for gripping engagement by a thumb of a hand of a golfer to allow relatively loose gripping of the putter without lengthwise sliding of the grip in the hand of the golfer.

16. A grip for a golf putter according to claim 15 characterized further in that said thumb stop is substantially inclined inwardly from said surface.

17. A grip for a golf putter comprising a main gripping body having an upper end, a lower end and an exterior gripping surface, and a thumb stop recessed in said surface at a location for gripping engagement by a thumb of a hand of a golfer and facing generally normal to the intended direction of the putting stroke of the putter, thereby facilitating stroking of the putter in the intended direction.

18. A grip for a golf putter according to claim 17 and characterized further in that said thumb stop is generally flat widthwise and extends generally parallel to the intended direction of the putting stroke of the putter.

19. A grip for a golf putter comprising a main gripping body having an upper end, a lower end and an exterior gripping surface, and a thumb stop recessed in said surface at a location for gripping engagement by a thumb of a hand of a golfer to allow relatively loose gripping of the putter without lengthwise sliding of the grip in the hand of the golfer, said thumb stop being substantially inclined inwardly from said surface and faces generally normal to the intended direction of the putting stroke of the putter, thereby facilitating stroking of the putter in the intended direction, said thumb stop being generally flat widthwise and extending generally parallel to the intended direction of the putting stroke of the putter.

20. A grip for a golf putter comprising a main gripping body having an upper end, a lower end and an exterior gripping surface, and a finger stop recessed in said surface at a location for gripping engagement by a finger of a hand of a golfer to allow relatively loose gripping of the putter without lengthwise sliding of the grip in the hand of the golfer.

21. A grip for a golf putter according to claim 20 characterized further in that said finger stop is substantially inclined inwardly from said surface.

22. A grip for a golf putter comprising a main gripping body having an upper end, a lower end and an exterior gripping surface, and a finger stop recessed in said surface at a location for gripping engagement by a finger of a hand of a golfer and facing generally normal to the intended direction of the putting stroke of the putter, thereby facilitating stroking of the putter in the intended direction.

23. A grip for a golf putter according to claim 22 and characterized further in that said finger stop is generally flat widthwise and extends generally parallel to the intended direction of the putting stroke of the putter.

24. A grip for a golf putter comprising a main gripping body having an upper end, a lower end and an exterior gripping surface, and a finger stop recessed in said surface at a location for gripping engagement by a finger of a hand of a golfer to allow relatively loose gripping of the putter without lengthwise sliding of the grip in the hand of the golfer, said finger stop being substantially inclined inwardly from said surface and faces generally normal to the intended direction of the putting stroke of the putter, thereby facilitating stroking of the putter in the intended direction, said finger stop being generally flat widthwise and extending generally parallel to the intended direction of the putting stroke of the putter.

25. A grip for a golf putter comprising a main gripping body having an upper end, a lower end and an exterior gripping surface, a thumb stop recessed in said surface at a location for gripping engagement by a thumb of a hand of a golfer, and a finger stop recessed in said surface opposite said thumb stop at a location for gripping engagement by a finger of the hand when the thumb of the hand is in engagement with said thumb stop, said thumb stop and said finger stop allowing relatively loose gripping of the putter without lengthwise sliding of the grip in the hand of the golfer.

26. A grip for a golf putter according to claim 25 and characterized further in that said thumb stop and said finger stop are substantially inclined inwardly from said surface.

27. A grip for a golf putter comprising a main gripping body having an upper end, a lower end and an exterior gripping surface, a thumb stop recessed in said surface at a location for gripping engagement by thumb of a hand of a golfer, and a finger stop recessed in said surface opposite said thumb stop at a location for gripping engagement by a finger of a hand of a golfer and facing generally normal to the intended direction of the putting stroke of the putter, thereby facilitating stroking of the putter in the intended direction.

28. A grip for a golf putter according to claim 27 and characterized further in that said thumb stop and said finger stop are generally flat widthwise and extend generally parallel to the intended direction of the putting stroke of the putter.

29. A grip for a golf putter comprising a main gripping body having an upper end, a lower end and an exterior gripping surface, a thumb stop recessed in said surface at a location for gripping engagement by a thumb of a hand of a golfer, and a finger stop recessed in said surface opposite said thumb stop at a location for gripping engagement by a finger of the hand when the thumb of the hand is in engagement with said thumb stop, said thumb stop and said finger stop allowing relatively loose gripping of the putter without lengthwise sliding of the grip in the hand of the golfer, said thumb stop and said finger stop being substantially inclined inwardly from said surface and facing generally normal to the intended direction of the putting stroke of the putter, and being generally flat widthwise and extending generally parallel to the intended direction of the putting stroke of the putter, thereby facilitating stroking of the putter in the intended direction.

Description:

RELATION TO PRIOR APPLICATION

This is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/375,878, filed Feb. 26, 2003.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an improved golf putter shaft and grip and an improved method of gripping a golf putter.

BACKGROUND

Golf is a recreational and competitive sport a popular with large numbers of people of all ages. One of the skills necessary to play the sport well is the ability to maintain control of the golf club before, during, and after swinging the club to contact the golf ball. This skill is particularly important when putting. Many golfers, however, struggle to maintain the proper grip of the putter for optimum feel and direction control.

Several factors are involved in putting accurately and consistently. One is to have a loose and relaxed grip without tightness in the hands, wrists, arms and shoulders so that the putting stroke can be free swinging from the shoulders with the putter hanging freely from the hands for a free pendulum swinging motion. Another factor is consistency in locating the hands on the shaft so that the controlled swing can be repeated consistently. Different distance putts require different length of stroke and if the hands grip the putter at different locations from putt to putt, it is difficult to judge the amount of swing to apply to obtain a desired distance for different putts. Of course, consistent alignment of the putter is required to putt a ball in the desired direction.

For putters, in particular, various means to better control the golf club during a golf swing have been put forth. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 3,679,207, discloses the construction of a golf putter that allows the golfer to use a type of croquet stance instead of the conventional golf stance. The shaft of the patented club is considerably longer than a conventional putter and is used by gripping the club at the end of the shaft with one hand while gripping the shaft at the center of balance with the other hand, thus creating a type of fulcrum effect to prevent extraneous motion of the club. Other inventions, such as U.S. Pat. No. 4,592,552, and D201,250, disclose extending the shaft of a golf club above a central grip, resulting in the club having approximately the same weight above as below the grip position. Such counter-weighting is also thought to control extraneous motion of the club during a swing.

While these approaches may be effective, they do not provide reliable results in obtaining a loose grip, consistent gripping position on the putter shaft and proper and consistent aiming of the putter. There is a desire, then, for a golf club providing an improved grip and method for gripping a putter that controls undesired motion while obtaining the aforesaid results.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

Briefly described, in a preferred embodiment of the present invention a grip for a golf putter includes a main gripping body having an upper end and a lower end with an exterior gripping surface. A thumb stop is recessed in the surface at a location for gripping engagement by a thumb of a hand of a golfer. The thumb stop may be substantially inclined inwardly from the surface and faces generally normal to the intended direction of the putting stroke of the putter. The thumb stop may be generally flat widthwise and generally parallel to the intended direction of the putting stroke of the putter. Thus, the thumb stop allows relatively loose gripping of the putter without lengthwise sliding of the grip in the hand of the golfer, consistent repeatable positioning of the hands in proper position along the putter shaft and facilitates stroking of the putter in the intended direction.

In another embodiment, a finger stop is recessed in the surface of the grip at a location for gripping engagement by a finger of a hand of the golfer and having the characteristics described above for the thumb stop.

In the preferred embodiment both the aforesaid thumb stop and finger stop are combined to further enhance the proper feel, hand location and stroke direction when putting.

In another embodiment of the present invention, the putter shaft is formed with a plurality of alternating circular and rectangular cross-sections extending from the top end of the shaft. A grip covering a portion of the shaft, closely follows the alternating cross-sectional contour of the shaft. The rectangular cross-sections allow the shaft of the putter to fit between chosen fingers on either hand of a golfer, thus stiffening the golfer's grip on the club without creating additional tension in the golfer's arms, which provides a more controlled grip and, subsequently, more controlled swing of the putter.

The present invention also provides different grip configurations that can be mounted on conventional putter shafts. These grip configurations provide various locations at which a golfer may grip the putter during a putting stroke.

The present invention also teaches a method for holding a putter for additional stability during the putting stroke.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

Further features, embodiments, and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description with reference to the drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a putter according to one of the preferred embodiments of the present invention, illustrating a golfer with the putter in preparation of swinging the putter;

FIG. 2 is a side elevation illustrating the shape of a preferred embodiment of the putter shaft and grip;

FIG. 3 is a magnification of an area of FIG. 2, illustrating the transition between putter shaft and grip profiles;

FIG. 4 is a cross-section of the putter of FIG. 2, taken along the line 4-4, illustrating one profile of the putter shaft and grip;

FIG. 5 is a cross-section of the putter of FIG. 2, taken along the line 5-5, illustrating a second profile of the putter shaft and grip;

FIG. 6 is a front elevation of the putter of FIG. 2, illustrating the profiles of the putter shaft and grip;

FIG. 7 is a side elevation, illustrating a putter having conventional shaft and grip profiles;

FIG. 8 shows a putter shaft similar to that in FIG. 7, illustrating an embodiment of a grip of the present invention surrounding the putter shaft;

FIG. 9 shows a putter shaft similar to that in FIG. 7, illustrating another embodiment of a grip of the present invention surrounding the putter shaft;

FIG. 10 shows a putter shaft similar to that in FIG. 7, illustrating another embodiment of a grip of the present invention surrounding the putter shaft;

FIG. 11 shows a putter shaft similar to that in FIG. 7, illustrating another embodiment of a grip of the present invention surrounding the putter shaft;

FIG. 12 shows a putter shaft similar to that in FIG. 7, illustrating another embodiment of a grip of the present invention surrounding the putter shaft;

FIGS. 13-16 are a series of partial perspective views of a putter shaft according to one of the preferred embodiments of the present invention, illustrating a method of gripping a putter shaft according to one of the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 17 shows a putter shaft similar to that in FIG. 13, illustrating another embodiment of a method a gripping a putter shaft;

FIG. 18 shows a putter shaft similar to that in FIG. 13, illustrating another embodiment of a method a gripping a putter shaft;

FIG. 19 shows a putter shaft similar to that in FIG. 13, illustrating another embodiment of a method a gripping a putter shaft;

FIGS. 20-21 are a series of partial perspective views of a putter shaft according to one of the preferred embodiments of the present invention, illustrating a method of gripping a putter shaft according to one of the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIGS. 22-24 are a series of partial perspective views of a conventional putter shaft, illustrating a method of gripping a putter shaft according to one of the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 25 is a cross-section of the putter similar to that in FIG. 5, illustrating placement of fingers about a putter shaft using a method of gripping a putter shaft according to one of the preferred embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 26 is a perspective view of a putter according to another preferred embodiment of the present invention, illustrating a golfer with the putter in preparation for swinging the putter in a putting stroke;

FIG. 27 is a view similar to FIG. 26, but illustrating the putter with only the top hand of the golfer engaging the grip;

FIG. 28 is a view similar to FIG. 26, but without the hands of a golfer engaging the grip;

FIG. 29 is a side elevation of the putter of FIG. 28;

FIG. 30 is a horizontal sectional view taken along the line 30-30 in FIG. 29;

FIG. 31 is a side elevation of the putter of FIG. 26 showing the thumb and index finger of the hand of a golfer engaging the grip prior to full engagement;

FIG. 32 is a view similar to FIG. 31 showing the golfer's hand in a position between the position illustrated in FIG. 31 and a full gripping position; and

FIG. 33 is a view similar to FIG. 32 showing the hand of the golfer in the full gripping position on the grip of the putter.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION

Referring first to FIGS. 26-33, the preferred embodiment of the putter grip 10 of the present invention is shown attached to a putter shaft 11 at the lower end of which a putter head 12 is secured.

The grip 10 has an upper end 13 and a lower end 14 and an exterior gripping surface 15. Intermediate the ends 13, 14, the grip 10 is formed with a thumb stop 16 recessed in the grip surface 15 at a location for gripping engagement by a thumb of a hand of a golfer. The thumb stop 16 has an upper portion 17 that is substantially inclined inwardly from the grip surface 15 to form a stop for the thumb of the golfer, thereby allowing relatively loose gripping of the putter without lengthwise sliding of the grip in the hand of the golfer. The thumb stop 16 has a central portion 18 that extends generally parallel to the putter shaft 11 and is of a sufficient extent to allow the thumb to be disposed within the stop 16. The thumb stop 16 has a lower portion 19 that extends at a substantially inclined direction from the central portion 18 to the grip surface 15.

The thumb stop 16 faces generally normal to the intended direction of the putting stroke. It is generally flat widthwise and extends generally parallel to the intended direction of the putting stroke, thereby facilitating stroking of the putter in the intended direction.

Alternatively or in combination with the thumb stop 16 a finger stop 20 is formed on the back of the grip 10 opposite the thumb stop 16 at a location for gripping engagement by a finger, such as the index finger, of the hand when the thumb of the hand is in engagement with the thumb stop 16. Thus, this finger stop 20 by itself or in combination with the thumb stop 16 further allows relatively loose gripping of the putter without lengthwise sliding of the grip 10 in the hand of the golfer.

The finger stop 20 is formed similar to the thumb stop 16, having an upper portion 21 substantially inclined inwardly from the grip surface 15, a central portion 22 extending generally parallel with the shaft 11 and a lower portion 23 inclined downwardly and outwardly from the central portion 22 to the grip surface 15. The upper, central and lower portions of the finger stop 20 face generally normal to the intended direction of the putting stroke of the putter to facilitate consistent alignment of the position for stroking in the intended direction. These portions are generally flat widthwise and extend generally parallel to the intended direction of the putting stroke. Similar thumb and finger stops are illustrated in FIGS. 1-6.

If desired, there may be two or more sets of thumb and finger stops formed along the length of the putter grip 10 to allow gripping of the putter at different lengthwise locations. FIGS. 1-6 illustrate multiple sets of such thumb and finger stops.

FIGS. 31, 32 and 33 illustrate the method of gripping the putter having the grip 10 thereon by the left hand of a right-handed golfer. A left-handed golfer would grip the putter in the same manner with the right hand. As illustrated in FIG. 31, the grip 10 is first engaged by placing the thumb of the left hand in the recess of the thumb stop 16 with the thumb against the upper portion 17 of the thumb stop 16, and the index finger of the left hand placed in the recess of the finger stop 20 against the upper portion 21 of the finger stop 20. The hand is then positioned with the palm of the hand against the grip 10, as illustrated in FIG. 32 and then the fingers of the left hand grip the grip 10 above the thumb stop 16 in a conventional gripping manner as illustrated in FIG. 33. The right hand is then placed on the grip 10 in the usual manner in whatever form the golfer prefers, as illustrated, for example, in FIG. 26.

When using a putter having the thumb stop and/or the finger stop of the grip of the present invention, the golfer can grip the club loosely without tension in the hands, wrists, arms and shoulders. The stops prevent the grip from sliding in the loosely held hands. Also, the stops require that the golfer grip the putter at the same location each time, thereby making it easier to judge the proper swing to obtain the desired distance. Further, the generally flat form of the stops and their location parallel with the desired direction of the putting stroke provides proper alignment of the putter for consistent putting in the desired direction.

Another preferred embodiment is illustrated in FIGS. 1-12. As illustrated in FIG. 7, a typical golf club 75 comprises a head 45, a hosel 55 and a shaft 65. The shaft 65 has a top end 67 and a bottom end 69. The bottom end 69 of the shaft 65 is attached to the hosel 55. The club head 45 is attached to the hosel 55 opposite the shaft 65. A grip 85 surrounds a portion of the shaft 65, generally starting at the top end 67 of the shaft 65 and extending along the shaft 65 to a position intermediate the top end 67 and the bottom end 69 of the shaft 65. As shown in FIG. 1, a golfer 25 typically holds the golf club 75 by grasping the golf club 75 at the grip 185.

The club shaft 165 shown in FIGS. 1-6 comprises three parts: an upper part U, a lower part B and a middle part M intermediate that upper and lower parts U, B. The upper and lower parts U, B comprise cylinders having circular cross-sections of a defined and uniform diameter. The middle part M of the shaft 165 comprises a plurality of alternating rectangular 165b and circular 165a and cross-sectional areas. The circular cross-sections 165a are uniformly cylindrical and have the same diameter as that of the upper and lower parts U, B of the shaft 165. The rectangular cross-sections 165b have a length L, a width W and a height H. As seen in FIGS. 4 and 5, the length L of the rectangular cross-sections 165b is approximately the same as the diameter of the circular cross-sections 165a. The width W of the rectangular cross-sections 165b is less than the length L. Further, the width W and the height H of the rectangular cross-sections 165b are of a size to allow a golfer to easily position the rectangular cross-sections 165b between two fingers, as shown in FIG. 25. The grip 185 covers the upper part U, the middle part M, and a portion of the lower part B of the shaft 165, as shown in FIGS. 2-6. Within the middle part M of the shaft 165, the grip 185 has a convex profile relative to the circular cross-sectional areas 165a. Such a profile allows the portions of the grip 185 covering the circular cross-sectional areas 165a in the middle part M of the shaft 165 to have the same outer diameter as the portions of the grip 185 covering the upper part U and the portion of the lower part B, hence providing a familiar gripping area for the golfer. As illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, the portions of the grip 185 covering the rectangular cross-sectional areas 165b of the middle part M of the shaft 165 are less dense than those portions of the grip 185 covering the circular cross-sectional areas 165a. This lack of density provides a level of comfort and security to the golfer without impeding the placement of the rectangular cross-sectional areas 165b between two fingers of the golfer's hand, as shown in FIG. 25.

In a preferred embodiment, transitions between the circular cross-sectional areas 165a and the rectangular cross-sectional areas 165b of the middle part M and the transitions between the upper U and lower B parts with the middle part M may be conical shaped to prevent excessive wear or abrasion at the transitions.

FIG. 7, as discussed above, illustrates and typical golf club 75 with a shaft 65 and grip 85. In other preferred embodiments, as illustrated in FIGS. 8-11, the shaft 65 (as shown in FIG. 7) maintains a uniform, cylindrical, shape from the top end 67 to the bottom end 69 while the grip 85 changes contour. In FIGS. 8-11, the grip 285, 385, 485, 585 comprises a first part 287, 387, 487, 587 and a second part 289, 389, 489, 589. The first parts 287, 387, 487, 587 of each grip 285, 385, 485, 585 comprise a contour similar to a conventional grip of a golf club 75, as shown in FIG. 7. The second parts 289, 389, 489, 589 of each grip 285, 385, 485, 585 comprises at least one contoured area having a profile different than that of a conventional grip.

As shown in FIG. 8, the first part 287 of the grip 285 covers the shaft 65 starting at the top end 67 and extending to abut the second part 289 of the grip 285. The second part 289 of the grip 285 extends between the abutting first part 287 and the bottom end 69 of the shaft 65. The second part 289 of the grip is convex.

FIGS. 9 and 10 illustrate grips 385, 485 in which the second parts 389, 489 each has a conventional portion 389a, 489a and a protruding portion 389b, 489b. In FIG. 9, the conventional portion 389a of the second part 389 is located intermediate the first part 387 of the grip 385 and the protruding portion 389b of the second part 389 of the grip 385. The protruding portion 389b surrounds the shaft 65 in a uniform, geometric shape. In FIG. 9, the protruding portion 389b resembles a vertical hexagonal.

In FIG. 10, the protruding portion 489b is intermediate the conventional portion 489a of the second part 489 and the first part 487 of the grip 485. The protruding portion 489b surrounds the shaft 65 in a uniform, geometric shape. In FIG. 10, the protruding portion 489b is convex.

As shown in FIG. 11, the second part 589b of the grip 585 may include multiple contours. The first part 587 of the grip 585 extends from the top end 67 of the shaft 65 to abutting proximity to the second part 589. The second part 589 extends from a terminus of the first part 587 toward the bottom end 69 of the shaft 65. The second part comprises protruding portions 589b connected by a short conventional portion 589a. The protruding portions 589b may be the same or different shapes. In FIG. 11, the protruding portions 589b are the same shape. Further, the protruding portions 589b may be of any geometric shape. In FIG. 11, the protruding portions 589b are barrel shaped.

FIG. 12 illustrates a preferred embodiment combining elements of the contoured golf club shaft 665 as shown in FIGS. 1-6, and of the contoured grip 685, as shown in FIG. 8. The shaft 665 comprises three sections: an upper section U and a lower section B, both of which have a conventionally cylindrical shape; and a middle section M intermediate the upper and lower sections U, B of the shaft 665. The middle section M of is cylindrically shaped with a circular cross-section having a diameter between about 0.25 and 0.5 that of the diameter of the upper and lower sections U, B. Transitions between the sections may be abrupt or gradual. As illustrated in FIG. 12, the transition between the upper section U and the middle section M is substantially an abrupt, square-edged demarcation, while the transition between the middle section M and the lower section B is a gradual, conically shaped transition. The grip 685 comprises a first part 687 and a second part 689. The first part 687 comprises a contour similar to a conventional grip of a golf club 75, as shown in FIG. 7. The second part 689 of the grip 685 comprises at least one contoured area having a profile different than that of a conventional grip. As shown in FIG. 12, the first part 687 of the grip 685 covers the shaft 665 starting at the top end 667 and extending to abutting engagement with the second part 689. The second part 689 of the grip 685 extends between the abutting first part 687 and the bottom end 669 of the shaft 665. The second part 689 of the grip 665 may have any geometric shape. The second part 689 of the grip 665 shown in FIG. 12 is convex.

FIGS. 13-18 illustrate a preferred method for gripping the golf club 75 shown in FIGS. 1-6: The golfer 25 first positions the golf club 75 with the head 45 of the golf club 75 adjacent to a striking surface (e.g., a greens area on a golf course) and a golf ball 35 and perpendicular to the golfer 25, as shown in FIG. 1. The golfer 25 positions a first hand 27 in proximity to the golf club 75, fingers of the first hand 27 oriented toward one of the rectangular cross-sectional areas 165b of the shaft covered by and identified by the corresponding grip 185b, as illustrated in FIG. 13. The golfer then inserts the rectangular cross-sectional area 185b of the shaft 165 between two fingers of the first hand 27, as illustrated in FIGS. 14 and 25. As shown in FIGS. 14, 16 and 17, the rectangular cross-sectional area 185b of the shaft 165 is insertable between any two fingers of the first hand: between index and middle fingers (FIG. 14); between middle and ring fingers (FIG. 16); and between ring and little fingers (FIG. 17).

Once the shaft 165 is properly positioned between fingers of the first hand 27, the fingers of the first hand are closed about the shaft 165, enclosing the shaft 165 within a fist made of the first hand 27, as shown in FIG. 14. Fingers of a second hand 29 are wrapped around the shaft 165, at least partially overlapping the first hand 27. A thumb of the first hand 27 may be covered by the second hand 29 or situated atop the second hand 29 after the second hand 29 is wrapped around the shaft, as illustrated in FIGS. 15 and 18. Once the first and second hands 27, 29 are properly positioned, the golfer 25 may address the golf ball 35, as shown in FIG. 1, and prepare for swinging the golf club 75.

Another embodiment of the method described above is shown in FIG. 19, wherein the shaft 165 is positioned between fingers of the first hand 27 and of the second hand 29. The first and second hands 27, 29 may either utilize the same rectangular cross-sectional area 185b (illustrated in FIG. 19), or different rectangular cross-sectional areas 185b. After properly positioning the shaft between fingers of both hands, the first and second hands 27, 29 are closed about the shaft 165, completing the gripping method.

Another embodiment of the method of gripping a golf club is illustrated in FIGS. 20 and 21, wherein the first hand 27 is positioned as discussed above and illustrated in FIGS. 13-18. The second hand 29 is closed about the shaft 165 at a position spaced apart from the first hand 27. Preferably, the second hand 29 is positioned intermediate the first hand 27 and the top end 67 of the shaft 165.

A feature of the method as described above is illustrated in FIGS. 22-24, wherein any of the above grips is employed with a conventional golf club (shown in FIG. 7).

It will therefore be readily understood by those persons skilled in the art that the present invention is susceptible of broad utility and application. Many embodiments and adaptations of the present invention other than those herein described, as well as many variations, modifications and equivalent arrangements, will be apparent from or reasonably suggested by the present invention and the foregoing description thereof, without departing from the substance or scope of the present invention. Accordingly, while the present invention has been described herein in detail in relation to its preferred embodiment, it is to be understood that this disclosure is only illustrative and exemplary of the present invention and is made merely for purposes of providing a full and enabling disclosure of the invention. The foregoing disclosure is not intended or to be construed to limit the present invention or otherwise to exclude any such other embodiments, adaptations, variations, modifications and equivalent arrangements, the present invention being limited only by the claims appended hereto and the equivalents thereof.