Title:
Self-Righting Golf Ball Tee
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A self-righting golf ball tee. The tee may comprise plural golf ball supporting pedestals, for example, four pedestals that are evenly spaced from each other. The pedestals may extend from a central hub, such as at an angle of approximately 109.5 degrees between each pedestal. During use, a golfer tosses the tee onto the ground. The tee will orient itself with three of the pedestals contacting the ground and the remaining pedestal protruding vertically upwardly to receive a golf ball.



Inventors:
Stuart, Ralph G. (Hamburg, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/531416
Publication Date:
03/13/2008
Filing Date:
09/13/2006
Assignee:
Panneri Machining, Inc. (Cheektowaga, NY, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/36
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WONG, STEVEN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WALTER W. DUFT (LAW OFFICES OF WALTER W. DUFT P.O. BOX 378, CLARENCE CENTER, NY, 14032, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A self-righting golf tee.

2. A golf tee in accordance with claim 1 wherein said tee comprises plural golf ball support pedestals.

3. A golf tee in accordance with claim 1 wherein said tee comprises four golf ball support pedestals.

4. A golf tee in accordance with claim 1 wherein said tee comprises four golf ball support pedestals that are equally angularly spaced from each other.

5. A golf tee in accordance with claim 1 wherein said tee comprises four golf ball support pedestals that are angularly separated from each other by an angle of approximately 109.5 degrees.

6. A golf tee in accordance with claim 1 wherein said tee comprises plural golf ball support pedestals extending from a central hub.

7. A golf tee in accordance with claim 1 wherein said tee comprises plural golf ball support pedestals that are generally frustoconical in shape so as to define a frustocone, with a narrow end of said frustocone being supported by a central hub and a wide end of said frustocone defining a cup that supports a golf ball.

8. A golf tee in accordance with claim 6 wherein said hub is generally spherical.

9. A golf tee in accordance with claim 6 wherein a fillet is disposed between said hub and said pedestals.

10. A golf tee in accordance with claim 6 wherein a generally cylindrical stem extends between said pedestals and said hub.

11. A golf tee in accordance with claim 10 wherein said hub is larger than a diameter of said stems.

12. A golf tee in accordance with claim 11 wherein a fillet extends between said hub and said stems.

13. A golf tee in accordance with claim 6 wherein said hub comprises a magnetically attractive material.

14. A golf tee in accordance with claim 13 wherein said magnetically attractive material comprises a metal object disposed within said hub.

15. A golf tee in accordance with claim 1 wherein said tee is a unitary molded article.

16. A golf tee in accordance with claim 1 wherein said tee is a multi-element assembly.

17. A method for teeing a golf ball, comprising: selecting a self-righting golf ball tee; tossing or dropping said tee on the ground; and placing a golf ball on said tee.

18. A method in accordance with claim 17 wherein said ball is placed on said tee using a golf ball teeing device.

19. A method in accordance with claim 18 further including retrieving said tee following a drive using said teeing device.

20. A self-righting golf ball tee comprising four golf ball support pedestals that are centrally interconnected and equally angularly separated from each other by an angle of approximately 109.5 degrees.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to the field of golfing, and more particularly to golf ball tees.

2. Description of Prior Art

Golf ball tees are conventionally designed as elongated pegs having a pointed end that is inserted in the ground and an upper end formed as a cup-shaped pedestal that holds a golf ball during driving. In order to tee a golf ball, a golfer must bend over and manipulate the pointed end into the ground, being careful to ensure that the tee is substantially upright so that the ball does not roll off the pedestal prior to the drive being made. Following the drive, the tee must be picked up manually by the golfer. For some golfers, their physical condition makes it difficult to bend the back or knees in order to position the tee for a drive, and thereafter retrieve the tee for subsequent drives. Accordingly, it is to improvements in such devices that the present invention is directed. What is particularly needed is a golf ball tee that does not require the effort associated with using a conventional golf tee when driving a golf ball.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The foregoing problems are solved and an advance in the art is achieved by a self-righting golf ball tee. The tee may comprise plural golf ball supporting pedestals, for example, four pedestals that are evenly spaced from each other. The pedestals may extend from a central hub, such as at an angle of approximately 109.5 degrees between each pedestal. During use, a golfer tosses the tee onto the ground. The tee will orient itself with three of the pedestals contacting the ground and the remaining pedestal protruding vertically upwardly to receive a golf ball. If necessary, the tee may be tamped or otherwise adjusted by a golfer to ensure that the upright pedestal is correctly positioned, and a golf ball may be placed thereon, as by using a golf ball teeing device. Following a drive, the tee may be retrieved, as by using the teeing device.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing and other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following more particular description of preferred embodiments of the invention, as illustrated in the accompanying Drawings in which:

FIG. 1A is a perspective view showing a self-righting golf tee;

FIG. 1B is a perspective view showing the self-righting golf tee of FIG. 1A in a larger size;

FIG. 1C is a perspective view showing the self-righting golf tee of FIG. 14A in a still larger size;

FIG. 2A is a side elevational view showing the self-righting golf tee of FIG. 1A supporting a golf ball;

FIG. 2B is a side elevational view showing the self-righting golf tee of FIG. 1B;

FIG. 2C is a side elevational view showing the self-righting golf tee of FIG. 1C;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing a modified self-righting golf tee;

FIG. 4A is a perspective view showing a first stage of deployment of the self-righting golf tee of FIG. 1A;

FIG. 4B is a perspective view showing a second stage of deployment of the self-righting golf tee of FIG. 1A;

FIG. 4C is a perspective view showing a third stage of deployment of the self-righting golf tee of FIG. 1A;

FIG. 4D is a perspective view showing placement of a golf ball on the golf tee of FIG. 1A using a golf ball teeing device; and

FIG. 4E is a perspective view showing retrieval of the golf tee of FIG. 1A using the golf ball teeing device of FIG. 4D following a golf shot.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

Turning now to the drawings wherein like reference numerals indicate like elements in all of the several views, FIGS. 1A and 2A, an exemplary golf ball tee 10 is shown. The tee 10 may include plural golf ball supporting pedestals 12, for example, four pedestals that are equally angularly spaced from each other. The pedestals 12 may extend from a central hub 14 that is generally spherical in shape, but which could alternatively have any other desired shape. The pedestals 12 may be generally frustoconical in shape, with the narrow end 16 of the frustocone being affixed to the hub 14 and the wide end 18 of the frustocone defining a cup 20 that supports a golf ball “B” (see FIG. 2A) during a golf shot. Optional fillets 22 may be formed between the frustocone narrow ends 16 and the hub 14 in order to provide a smooth rounded transition between the hub and the pedestals 12.

The respective longitudinal axes of the pedestals 12 may be angularly separated from each other by an angle of approximately 109.5 degrees. When this geometry is used, one of the pedestals 12 will always be perpendicular to the plane of contact between the three remaining pedestals and a support surface on which the other three pedestals are in contact. As a result, when three of the pedestals 12 are in contact with level ground, the remaining pedestal will point vertically upwardly. Moreover, the hub 14 will be located at the center of gravity of the tee 10. This means that each pedestal 12 should have a statistically equal chance of being the vertical pedestal when the tee is tossed on the ground.

The tee 10 can be constructed using any suitable manufacturing technique, including injection molding, machining, etc. The tee 10 may be formed as an integral whole or it could be assembled from discrete components. For example, the central hub 14 could be formed as one component and the pedestals 12 could be separately mounted thereto as additional components. To facilitate such mounting, the central hub 14 could be formed with bores and the pedestals 12 could be formed with posts that seat in the bores. An adhesive could be used to secure the posts in the bores. Alternatively, the bores and posts could be threaded to provide a threaded connection. If desired, central hub 14 may optionally comprise a magnetically attractive material so that the tee 10 can be retrieved by a magnetized tee retriever. The magnetically attractive material may comprise a metal object (e.g., a steel ball) disposed within the hub 14, or if desired, by making the entire hub out of metal. The remainder of the tee may be constructed from wood, a polymer plastic, or other suitable material.

The tee 10 may be manufactured in different sizes to provide a range of tee heights. FIGS. 1A and 2A show a nominal size version of the tee 10. FIGS. 1B and 2B show a tee 10A that is larger in size than the nominal tee 10. FIGS. 1C and 2C show a tee 1C that is larger in size than the tee 1B. FIGS. 2A, 2B and 2C illustrate the difference in tee height “TH” between the tees 10, 10B and 10C, where “TH” is the distance from the ground to the top of the vertically-extending pedestal 12, 12B or 12C. By way of example only, the height “TH” in FIG. 2A could be 1.5 inches, the height “TH” in FIG. 2B could be 1.75 inches, and the height “TH” in FIG. 2C could be 2.0 inches. Other sizes could also be provided. Apart from their size, the tees 10B and 10C are identical in all respects to the tee 10, as shown by the use of corresponding reference numbers. As such, the above description of the tee 10 applies equally to the tees 10B and 10C, and need not be repeated relative to FIGS. 1B/2B and 1C/2C.

Turning now to FIG. 3, a modified self-righting tee 30 is shown. The tee 30 is similar to the tees 10, 10B and 10C described above, except that the narrow end 36 of the pedestal frustocone is connected to the hub 34 via a slender cylindrical stem 37. This reduces the weight of the tee 30 and gives a less bulky appearance than the tees 10, 10B and 10C. To further reduce the bulk and weight of the tee 30, the size of the hub 34 may be reduced as desired. In some cases, the hub 34 could be reduced in size to the diameter of the stems 37, such that the stems (or the pedestals) appear to be centrally joined together without a distinct hub. If the hub 34 is larger than the stem diameter, a fillet 42 may be formed between the hub and the stems 37 in order to provide a smooth rounded transition between the hub and the stems. A fillet 44 may also be formed between the stems 37 and the frustocone narrow ends 36 of the pedestals 32 in order to provide a smooth rounded transition between the stems and the pedestals. As in the case of the tees 10, 10B and 10C, the tee 30 may be fabricated in different sizes to provide different teeing heights.

Turning now to FIGS. 4A-E, an exemplary method of using the tee 10 is illustrated. FIG. 4A shows a first stage of deployment of the tee 10 in which the tee has been tossed or dropped toward the ground by a golfer. FIG. 2B shows a second stage of deployment of the tee 10 wherein the tee has landed on the ground. Due to the turf growing on the ground, the upright pedestal 12 of the tee 10 may be tilted from vertical. To remedy this situation, the tee 10 can be leveled by the golfer using his/her foot or by tamping the tee with a golf club. FIG. 4C illustrates a third stage of deployment of the tee 10 wherein the tee 10 is tamped using the bottom of the golf club head “GH.” FIG. 4D shows the placement of a golf ball “B” onto the tee 10. Although the golfer could bend over and manually place the golf ball “B” on the tee 10, this manual placement can be avoided by using a golf ball teeing device. Any conventional teeing device may be used for this purpose. Alternatively, a teeing device “TD” as disclosed in copending application Ser. No. 11/531,378, entitled “Golf Ball Teeing Device,” (the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated herein by this reference) may be used. The teeing device “TD” is adapted to be mounted to the grip end “G” of a golf club “C” Prior to ball placement, the golfer will have positioned the teeing device “TD” in an operational position by extending a ball carrier “BC” thereof, inverted the golf club “C” so that the ball carrier is facing downwardly, and placed the golf ball “B” in the cup defined by the ball carrier. Using the teeing device “TD,” the golfer gently places the golf ball “B” on the upright pedestal 12 of the golf tee 10, then disengages the ball carrier “BC” by maneuvering it downwardly and way from the ball. The teeing device “TD” may then be returned to a stowage position and the golf club “C” may be used in conventional fashion to drive the golf ball “B” off the tee 10. The tee 10 may then be retrieved by the golfer. This can be done manually if the golfer wishes to bend over and pickup the tee 10. Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 4E, a teeing device such as the teeing device “TD” may be used to retrieve the tee 10. The golfer simply needs to place the teeing device “TD” in its operational position, invert the golf club “C” and pick up the tee 10 by using the ball carrier “BC” to hook one or more of the pedestals 12. This can be facilitated by turning the golf club “C” so that the ball carrier “BC” is oriented generally horizontally, and then maneuvering the ball carrier into engagement with the tee 10, rotating the ball carrier to a vertical position to cradle the tee and lifting the club. Tee retrieval may also be accomplished by pointing the ball carrier “BC” downwardly while in its operational position over the tee 10, so that the ball carrier straddles the upright pedestal 12. The teeing device “TD” may then be pushed downwardly such that the ball carrier “BC” engages the tee 10 and retracts to its stowage position. In doing so, the ball carrier “BC” will act as a pair of tweezers to pinch the upright pedestal 12 and thereby capture the tee 10.

Accordingly, a self-righting golf tee has been disclosed that allows a golfer to position a tee for a golf drive simply by tossing it on the ground. It should, of course, be understood that the description and the drawings herein are merely illustrative, and it will be apparent that various modifications, combinations and changes can be made in accordance with the invention. As such, the invention is not to be in any way limited except in accordance with the spirit of the appended claims and their equivalents.