Title:
Golf tee setting device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf tee setting device including an elongated body and a retaining bracket affixed to the bottom of the elongated body. The retaining bracket includes a tee retaining foot for supporting the enlarged head at the top of a golf tee. The foot is provided with a keyhole slot for snugly receiving therein the enlarged head of the golf tee. A tee retaining shoe is positioned below the foot. The shoe has a channel aligned with the keyhole slot for loosely engaging the tapered bottom end of the golf tee. A retaining arm is slidably secured to the elongated body above the retaining bracket. The arm has a cup at its bottom for selectively pressing a golf ball, positioned atop a tee in said keyhole slot, toward the bracket.



Inventors:
Ritchie I Jr., John (Ridgeley, WV, US)
Application Number:
11/346257
Publication Date:
08/09/2007
Filing Date:
02/03/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/286
International Classes:
A63B57/00; A63B53/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WONG, STEVEN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Stephen R. Greiner, Esquire (GREINER LAW OFFICES, P.C. Suite 110 6701 Democracy Blvd., Bethesda, MD, 20817, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A golf tee setting device, comprising: an elongated body; a retaining bracket being affixed to the bottom of said elongated body, said retaining bracket including: a tee retaining foot for supporting the enlarged head at the top of a golf tee, said foot being provided with a keyhole slot for snugly receiving therein the enlarged head of the golf tee; and, a tee retaining shoe being positioned below said foot, and said shoe having a channel aligned with said keyhole slot for loosely engaging the tapered bottom end of the golf tee; and, a retaining arm being slidably secured to said body above said retaining bracket, said arm having a cup at its bottom for selectively pressing a golf ball, positioned atop the tee, toward said bracket.

2. The golf tee setting device according to claim 1 wherein said elongated body includes: a tubular sleeve having a bore therein for slidably receiving said retaining arm; and, a leg affixed to said tubular sleeve, said leg including: a lateral member projecting rearwardly from said tubular sleeve; and, a longitudinal member extending downwardly from said lateral member so as to stop at a terminal end spaced rearwardly of said bore.

3. A golf tee setting device, comprising: an elongated body including: a tubular sleeve having a bore therein; and, a leg affixed to said tubular sleeve, said leg including: a lateral member projecting rearwardly from said tubular sleeve; and, a longitudinal member extending downwardly from said lateral member so as to stop at a terminal end spaced rearwardly of said bore; a retaining bracket being affixed to said terminal end of said longitudinal member, said retaining bracket including: a tee retaining foot for supporting the enlarged head at the top of a golf tee, said foot being provided with a keyhole slot, being positioned beneath said tubular sleeve, for snugly receiving therein the enlarged head of the golf tee; and, a tee retaining shoe being positioned below said foot, and said shoe having a channel aligned with said keyhole slot for loosely engaging the tapered bottom end of the golf tee; and, a retaining arm being slidably positioned within said bore in said tubular sleeve, said retaining arm extending from the top and bottom of said tubular sleeve, and said arm having a cup at the bottom thereof for selectively pressing a golf ball, positioned atop a tee positioned in said keyhole slot, into said tee retaining foot.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to games using a tangible projectile and, more particularly, to tee setting devices for playing golf.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In executing some golf shots, a tee is used to elevate a golf ball above the ground for striking by the head of a club. Before the ball can be struck, however, it must be balanced atop the tee whose tapered bottom end is manually inserted a short distance into the ground. As golfers age, they frequently find themselves unable to perform this basic golfing task. Repeated stooping and crouching hurts their backs and knees too much.

Noting this problem, devices for setting a tee into the ground have been proposed by some. For the most part, these devices have been cumbersome affairs with springs and catches for holding the ball on the tee making such almost as difficult to master as gripping and swinging a golf club. More importantly, these devices have tended to loosely grip tees thereby permitting tees to flip onto their sides while being pushed into the ground. In such situations, golfers must stoop to retrieve their errant tees and golf balls, thus engaging themselves in the activity that the devices were being used to prevent, and start over.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In light of the problems associated with the known tee setting devices including the need to take “Mulligans” while using them, it is a principal object of the invention to provide a golf tee setting device that permits a golfer to insert a golf tee in a manner that minimizes the likelihood that the tee will tip over and spill a ball positioned atop the tee onto the ground. The claimed device does this by engaging the tee at two spaced-apart locations for optimum stability while setting the tee in either hard or soft soils.

Still another object of the invention is to provide a golf tee setting device of the type described that features a ground-engaging shoe that assists a golfer in inserting a tee to the best depth into the ground. Thus, use of the tee setting device allows a golfer to repeat the positioning of a tee relative to the ground every time the device is used thereby allowing a golfer to strike the ball with greater precision than has heretofore been possible.

It is a further object of the invention to provide a golf tee setting device of the type described that permits a golfer to see a golf ball positioned atop a tee, as the tee is being set into the ground, so that the golfer can judge for himself whether the tee has been inserted to the most favorable depth into the ground.

It is another object of the invention to provide a golf tee setting device that is easy to use and can be deployed with minimal instruction and without resort to any tools. The device is particularly intuitive to use.

It is still another object of the invention to provide a golf tee setting device that, after loading a tee and ball into the device, permits a golfer to readily move about with the device without fear of dropping the tee and ball while judging the best possible location to set the tee into the ground. Gravity, for the most part, holds the tee and ball in place.

It is an object of the invention to provide improved features and arrangements thereof in a golf tee setting device for the purposes described that is compact in size so that it can be fitted into a conventional golf club bag, lightweight in construction for easy carrying, inexpensive to manufacture, and dependable in use.

Briefly, the tee-setting device in accordance with this invention achieves the intended objects by featuring an elongated body having a tubular sleeve and a leg affixed to the tubular sleeve. The leg has a lateral member projecting rearwardly from the tubular sleeve and a longitudinal member extending downwardly from the lateral member so as to stop at a terminal end spaced rearwardly of the tubular sleeve. A retaining bracket is affixed to the terminal end of the longitudinal member. The retaining bracket includes a tee retaining foot for supporting the enlarged head at the top of a golf tee in a keyhole slot positioned beneath the tubular sleeve. The retaining bracket also includes a tee retaining shoe positioned below the foot. The shoe has a channel aligned with the keyhole slot for loosely engaging the tapered bottom end of the golf tee, preventing it from twisting or falling over when inserted into the ground. A retaining arm is slidably positioned within a bore in the tubular sleeve and extends from the top and bottom of the tubular sleeve. The arm has a cup at the bottom thereof for selectively pressing a golf ball, positioned atop a tee in the keyhole slot, into the tee retaining foot.

The foregoing and other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment as illustrated in the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention may be more readily described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a golf tee setting device in accordance with the present invention shown grasping a golf tee and golf ball.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the bottom end of the golf tee setting device of FIG. 1 showing details of the retaining bracket.

FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of the bottom end of the golf tee setting device with portions being broken away to reveal details thereof.

Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the accompanying drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring now to the FIGS., a golf tee setting device in accordance with the present invention is shown at 10. Device 10 includes an elongated body 12 to the bottom of which a retaining bracket 14 is affixed for releasably holding a golf tee 16. A retaining arm 18 is slidably held by body 12 above bracket 14. Arm 18 has a cup 20 at its bottom for pressing a golf ball 22, positioned atop tee 16, toward bracket 14. By grasping the top of arm 18, that extends from the top of body 12, and moving such down and up, golf ball 22 and tee 16 can be selectively grasped, moved about, set, and released as a unit by device 10. No stooping on the part of a golfer using device 10 is, therefore, required to tee-up golf ball 22 and make a tee shot.

Elongated body 12 includes a tubular sleeve 24, having a bore 26 extending from the top to the bottom thereof, and a leg 28 affixed to the rear of sleeve 24. Leg 28 is L-shaped and has a lateral member 30 that projects rearwardly from sleeve 24 and a longitudinal member 32 that extends downwardly from lateral member 30. Longitudinal member 32 stops at a terminal end 34 spaced rearwardly of the longitudinal axis A of bore 26.

Retaining bracket 14 has a tee retaining foot 36 that is affixed to terminal end 34 of longitudinal member 32. Foot 36 projects forwardly from longitudinal member 32 and stops at a forward end 38 positioned beneath sleeve 24. Forward end 38 is provided with a keyhole slot 40 having a circular hole 42, whose center is positioned on longitudinal axis A of bore 26, and a notch 44 that extends forwardly from hole 42 so as to open to the front of device 10. As shown, hole 42 has a diameter sufficient to partially receive the enlarged, ball-retaining head 46, comprising the top of tee 16, and center such on axis A. Notch 44, however, has a width sufficient to permit the tapered bottom end of 48 of tee 16 to slide freely therein.

A connector 50 extends downwardly from the middle of retaining foot 36. The top of connector 50 is shown to penetrate foot 36 and is rounded over to serve in the manner of a rivet to affix connector 50 to foot 36. The bottom of connector 50 penetrates the center of a tee retaining shoe 52 and is similarly enlarged to affix shoe 52 to foot 36. The length of connector 50 is largely a matter of design choice, but should not be less than ⅜″ (0.95 cm) to ensure that tee 16 is engaged by foot 36 and shoe 52 at widely spaced points for optimum stability.

Shoe 52 projects forwardly from connector 50 and stops at a front end 54 positioned beneath forward end 38 of foot 36. Front end 54 is provided with a channel 56 of even width that extends rearwardly from the front of shoe 52 to a rearward end point 58 substantially aligned with axis A and the center of hole 42. Channel 56 has a width sufficient to permit the tapered bottom end 48 of tee 16 to slide freely therein.

Shoe 52 also projects rearwardly from connector 50 and stops beneath terminal end 34 of leg 28. If desired, a contact switch and light (neither shown) can be suspended beneath this rearward projection to visually indicate to a golfer that shoe 52 has reached a predetermined height above the ground—a height whereby tee 16 is inserted the ideal distance into the ground.

Arm 18 includes a rod 60 that snugly, yet slidably, moves within bore 26 and has a length sufficient to extend from the top of bore 26 when pressed downwardly into engagement with foot 36. Cup 20 is affixed to the bottom of rod 60 and has a concavity 62 in its bottom that is contoured smoothly and evenly to receive and engage the top of golf ball 22. To the top of rod 60 a cap 64 is affixed. Both cup 20 and cap 64 are sufficiently large to prevent their own passage through bore 26 and, thus, can serve as stops to prevent the inadvertent separation of arm 18 from body 12.

Elongated body 12, retaining bracket 14, and retaining arm 18 can be formed of any suitable material including, but not limited to: metal, plastic, fiberglass or carbon fiber composite. If desired, body 12 and bracket 14 can be integrally formed or made separately and subsequently assembled. The functional features of arm 18 can be made, likewise, as an integral whole or in parts for assembly later.

Device 10 is a “one size fits all” product. The overall length of the body 12 is about 43 inches (1.1 m) with sleeve 24 accounting for about 37 inches (94 cm) and leg 28 accounting for about 6 inches (15.2 cm). Arm 18, however, has a length of about 51 inches (1.3 m) and can move about 4 inches (10.1 cm) by sliding up or down in bore 26. These dimensions provide a product that can easily fit within a conventional golf club bag (not shown) or can be stowed out of the way in a golf cart. Of course, device 10 can be scaled up or down to fit larger or smaller than average golfers.

The use of golf tee setting device 10 is straightforward. First, device 10 is retrieved from a golf bag or other convenient storage spot and is inverted so that bracket 14 is at the top and cap 64 is at the bottom resting upon the ground. Next, body 12 is elevated so as to separate bracket 14 from cup 20. Then, golf ball 22 is positioned in recess 62 in cup 20 with gravity holding it in place. Now, golf tee 16 is inverted and engaged with bracket 14 with head 46 being positioned in hole 42 of keyhole slot 40 and tapered bottom end 48 being positioned in channel 56. At this time, body 12 is lowered relative to arm 18 to bring ball 22 and tee 16 into snug engagement. Device 10 is, now, slowly flipped to its correct orientation with bracket 14 being located near the ground. Next, with a firm grip being placed on the tops of body 12 and arm 18, device 10 is pressed downwardly to insert the bottom end 48 of tee 16 about ½″ (1.3 cm) into the ground 66. (If tee 16 is set into sod, a light resistive force generated by grass being compressed against the bottom of shoe 52 will signal that tee 16 is inserted the proper distance into the ground 66.) Afterward, by applying a light upward force to arm 18 near cap 64, arm 18 is elevated to free ball 22 from cup 20. Finally, body 12 is lowered a fraction of an inch, to free head 46 of tee 16 from the confines of hole 42 and is slid rearwardly to fully disassociate foot 36 and shoe 52 from the tapered bottom end 48 of tee 16. Ball 22 is now perfectly set for striking with a golf club. The entire tee setting process requires just a few seconds, and no stooping to complete.

After ball 22 is set for striking, device 10 can be returned to a golf bag or golf cart for convenient storage and subsequent reuse. Alternatively, device 10 can be shared with other golfers in a group that includes the owner of device 10 with each user's back being spared the effort of stooping to set his tee in the ground. Should device 10 ever become soiled with dirt or grass during use, it can be quickly and easily be cleaned-up with soap and water. Thus, device 10 is always ready for reuse at a moment's notice.

While the invention has been described with a high degree of particularity, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that modifications may be made to it. For example, a threaded fastener can be substituted for the rod employed as connector 50. A threaded fastener permits the distance between the foot 36 and shoe 52 to be adjusted so to that, when setting golf ball 22, the height of golf ball 22 above ground 66 can be optimized for a particular golfer. Furthermore, it is anticipated that connector can comprise terminal end 34 of leg 28 should foot 36 and shoe 52 be affixed directly thereto at spaced apart locations. Therefore, it is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the sole embodiment described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.