Title:
Crosscut Wedge Golf Club
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A wedge-type golf club having a plurality of parallel grooves offset at an angle with respect to the base of the club face. The grooves provide enhanced backspin and control on a golf ball when struck with the club face open. The grooves are beneficial for “getting the ball up” and stopping the ball on the green using an open face approach.



Inventors:
Beaulieu, Steve (Warrenton, VA, US)
Application Number:
12/273520
Publication Date:
06/25/2009
Filing Date:
11/18/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/282
International Classes:
A63B53/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PASSANITI, SEBASTIANO
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Shawna J. Shaw (7268 Joffa Circle, Warrenton, VA, 20187, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A golf club for striking a golf ball, the club comprising: a shaft; and a head coupled to the shaft, the head including: a face having a toe region, a heel region, a base, and a plurality of parallel grooves extending into the toe region, the grooves aligned at an angle offset in the direction of the shaft, whereby effective backspin is imparted on the ball when struck from an open face position for stopping the ball on a green.

2. The golf club of claim 1, wherein the groove offset angle is between 22-30° with respect to the base of the club face.

3. The golf club of claim 1, wherein the groove offset angle is between 25-30° with respect to the base of the club face.

4. The golf club of claim 1, wherein the grooves extend substantially across the entire club face.

5. The golf club of claim 1, wherein the grooves are substantially consistent across the club face.

6. The golf club of claim 1, wherein the golf club corresponds to a wedge having a loft angle between 52-64°.

7. A golf club for striking a golf ball, the club comprising: a shaft; and a head coupled to the shaft, the head including: a face having a toe region, a heel region, a base, and a plurality of parallel grooves aligned at an angle offset in the direction of the shaft, whereby effective backspin is imparted on the ball when struck from an open face position for stopping the ball on a green.

8. The golf club of claim 7, wherein the groove offset angle is between 22-30° with respect to the base of the club face.

9. The golf club of claim 7, wherein the groove offset angle is between 25-30° with respect to the base of the club face.

10. The golf club of claim 7, wherein the grooves extend into the toe region.

11. The golf club of claim 7, wherein the grooves extend substantially across the entire club face.

12. The golf club of claim 7, wherein the grooves are substantially consistent across the club face.

13. The golf club of claim 7, wherein the golf club corresponds to a wedge having a loft angle between 52-64°.

14. A golf club head for use with a shaft, the head comprising: a face having a toe region, a heel region, a base, and a plurality of parallel grooves extending into the toe region, the grooves aligned at an angle offset between 22-30° with respect to the base of the club face.

15. The golf club head of claim 14, wherein the grooves extend substantially across the entire club face.

16. The golf club head of claim 14, wherein the grooves are substantially consistent across the club face.

Description:

This application claims benefit to U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/014,816 filed Dec. 19, 2007, the entire contents incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE DISCLOSURE

1. Field of the Disclosure

The present disclosure relates generally to golf clubs. More specifically, the present disclosure relates to modified groove configurations on the face of a golf club.

2. Background of the Disclosure

Golf clubs are used for striking a ball in the game of golf and are generally comprised of a shaft coupled to a clubhead. In addition, the shaft usually includes a grip for holding the golf club. Generally speaking, there are three types of clubs: woods, irons and putters. Woods are used for long distance fairway shots, irons are used for shots approaching the green, and putters are used on the green to hit the ball into the cup. The present diclosure is directed to irons, and particularly wedges. Wedges are irons typically having a loft higher than 52° and are used for short-distance, high-altitude shots such as hitting the ball onto the green or getting the ball out of the rough. Examples of such wedges include gap, sand, and lob wedges. Loft is measured by the angle between the club's face and the vertical plane. Clubs with shorter shafts and higher lofts typically give the ball a higher and shorter trajectory.

Clubheads may take on a variety of forms, but typically comprises a face having a toe, heel, crown, and sole. The United States Golf Association (USGA) provides rules and specifications for approved club designs. Such rules may be found in Appendices II and III of the “Rules of Golf” and are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety.

During a stroke, the club head serves to compress the ball and grooves on the club face help to impart spin on the ball. “Backspin” is a type of spin that moves in a fast clockwise motion as viewed from a parallel standpoint to the left of the ball. It is the combination of compression and backspin that give the ball aerodynamic lift. Typically, more backspin equals more control.

The grooves on the face of the club serve several purposes. As mentioned, grooves promote spin on the golf ball to help control flight. Secondly, grass can often interfere between the ball and the club face. Since grass is mostly water, the water must have someplace to go. Thus, the grooves also function in a manner similar to treads on a tire—to get the water out—and thus help to maintain contact with the ball.

Regarding grooves, current USGA specifications state that: the width and cross-section of grooves must be consistent across the face of the club and along the length of the grooves; any rounding of groove edges shall be in the form of a radius which does not exceed 0.20 inches; the width must not exceed 0.035 inches; the distance between edges of adjacent grooves must not be less than three times the width of a groove, and not less than 0.075 inches; and the depth of a groove must not exceed 0.020 inches.

Normally, it is desirable to have the club face “square” to the ball (90° with respect to the target line) at impact. However, when performing short chip shots to the green, players may “open” the club face to hit the ball higher and land the ball more softly on the green. When the club face is open, the toe of the club is tilted back such that the toe is behind the heel at impact. In other words, the club face is aligned greater than 90° with respect to the target line when in the open position.

One of several drawbacks of opening the club face with conventional clubs is that the grooves are no longer square with respect to the ball or to the target line. Consequently, inadequate backspin and undesirable sidespin result. Moreover, there is a tendency for higher handicappers to strike the ball in the smooth upper toe portion when opening the club face, thereby reducing backspin even further.

None of the prior art provides a golf club having a plurality of parallel grooves offset at an angle across the club face to provide optimum backspin on a ball from an open face address. There is therefore a need for a golf club that imparts improved backspin on a ball when struck with the club face open. A need also exists for a golf club that provides more control and stopping power when hitting a ball with the club face open. Furthermore, there is a need for a golf club having a modified groove configuration with more optimal alignment for hitting a ball with the face open, and that preferably conforms to USGA specifications. The present disclosure addresses these needs and others.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

The present disclosure overcomes drawbacks of the prior art by providing “crosscut” grooves offset at an angle across the face of a club head. Such grooves are more optimally aligned to impart effective backspin on a ball for stopping it on the green when struck with the club face open. In embodiments, the grooves are offset between 15-30° with respect to the base of the club face, and preferably between 22-30°. By enabling improved backspin with an open face approach, golfers are able to get the ball up easier and are afforded more control and stopping power. The present disclosure additionally overcomes drawbacks of the prior art by providing grooves on the club face that extend into the toe portion, thereby increasing the usable impact area. Preferably, the disclosed grooves conform to USGA rules and standards.

Unlike golf clubs currently in use which are designed to impart optimum backspin when the club face is square to the target line at impact, the golf club of the present disclosure is able to impart improved backspin and control on a ball when hit with the face open (greater than 90° with respect to the target line). In other words, unlike prior art golf clubs which typically have a plurality of horizontal grooves, the present disclosure provides a plurality of grooves offset with respect to the base of the club (in the direction of the shaft). Preferably, the grooves are more optimally aligned, or square, with the ball and target line when struck with the club face open. As a result, more backspin and more control are imparted on the ball, thereby increasing its stopping ability on the green. Further, unlike most prior art clubs, the disclosed grooves may extend into the toe portion, thereby increasing usable impact area when the club is face open. Preferably, the disclosed grooves conform to USGA specifications and standards.

According to one aspect, the disclosure provides a golf club for striking a golf ball, the club comprising: a shaft; and a head coupled to the shaft, the head including: a face having a toe region, a heel region, a base, and a plurality of parallel grooves extending into the toe region, the grooves aligned at an angle offset in the direction of the shaft, whereby effective backspin is imparted on the ball when struck from an open face position for stopping the ball on a green. In embodiments, the groove offset angle is between 15-30° with respect to the base of the club face, and preferably between 22-30°. In further embodiments, the grooves extend substantially across the entire club face. According to some embodiments, the club is a wedge having a loft angle between 52-64°, or higher.

According to another aspect, the disclosure provides a golf club for striking a golf ball, the club comprising: a shaft; and a head coupled to the shaft, the head including: a face having a toe region, a heel region, a base, and a plurality of parallel grooves aligned at an angle offset in the direction of the shaft, whereby effective backspin is imparted on the ball when struck from an open face position for stopping the ball on a green. In embodiments, the groove offset angle is between 15-30°, and preferably between 22-30°. In further embodiments, the grooves extend substantially across the entire club face. According to some embodiments, the club is a wedge having a loft angle between 52-64°, or higher.

According to yet another aspect, the disclosure provides a golf club head for use with a shaft, the head comprising: a face having a toe region, a heel region, a base, and a plurality of parallel grooves extending into the toe region, the grooves aligned at an angle offset between 22-30° with respect to the base of the club face. In further embodiments, the grooves extend substantially across the entire club face.

One of several advantages of the disclosed golf club is its ability to impart effective backspin and a substantially straight trajectory on a ball when struck with the club face open. As a result, golfers are able to get the ball up and stop it quickly on the green. Furthermore, by offsetting the grooves to be more optimally aligned with the ball and target line in the open face position, control may be significantly improved.

As a result of improving the amount of backspin using an open face approach, better precision shots onto the green may be achieved. The disclosed golf club helps golfers, and especially higher handicappers, to get under the ball in order to “get the ball up” (from deep lies, hard pan, sand, etc.). Therefore, of the many other advantages provided by the device, it improves performance e.g., for higher handicappers who tend to hit the ball in the toe portion when opening the club face.

Preferably, the groove configurations and dimensions conform to USGA specifications and standards. It is appreciated that grooves having any approved configuration may be used including square, V-shaped, U-shaped, etc. It is further appreciated that any USGA-approved dimensions (width, depth, length, spacing, etc.) may be used.

The disclosed club may be manufactured using a variety of techniques. For example, the club head may be forged, cast, die-stamped, machined, hand-cut, or the like. Materials for the shaft and/or club head may include, but are not limited to, soft carbon steel, stainless steel, and titanium. It is further appreciated that the club may be designed to have varying degrees of bounce. In embodiments, the sole of the club head may be ground down to more readily accommodate the open face position.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1a shows a top view of a club face according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 1b shows a top view of a club face according to another embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 2a shows top view of a club face according to another embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 2b shows top view of a club face according to another embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 3 shows a top view of a club face according to another embodiment of the present disclosure.

FIG. 4 shows an isometric view of a golf club according to a preferred embodiment of the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF VARIOUS EMBODIMENTS OF THE DISCLOSURE

Reference will now be made in detail to various exemplary embodiments of the disclosure, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. The following detailed description describes certain embodiments of the disclosure, and should not be considered as limiting the disclosure to those embodiments.

Precision shots onto the green require a higher spin rate and loft. Higher spin and loft help the ball to check up quickly on the green or release to the hole. Sometimes, a chip shot onto an away-ward sloping green requires the player to adjust the trajectory to a higher loft to keep the ball from rolling off the green. Higher spin rates and loft may be achieved by choosing a club with a higher number (corresponding to degree of loft)—or by opening the club face.

Opening the club face creates additional loft, but renders the horizontal grooves on conventional clubs much less effective for stopping the ball on the green. This is because the grooves are no longer square to the target line when the face is open. In other words, the grooves are not optimally aligned for imparting effective backspin on the ball, resulting in undesirable sidespin and/or insufficient backspin. It can thus be seen that higher spin rates and better control are difficult to achieve when opening the club face of conventional clubs. Figuratively, this can be translated that conventional clubs have no “brakes” for stopping a ball on the green with an open face approach.

The present disclosure addresses the problems associated with attempting precision shots on the green with an open club face. To remedy these problems, the present disclosure provides a plurality of grooves offset at an angle substantially across the club face. The grooves are offset at an angle sufficient to impart effective backspin on the ball for getting it up and stopping it on the green. According to embodiments, the grooves on the club face are aligned between 15-30° with respect to the base of the club face. According to further embodiments, the offset grooves continue substantially to the outside edges of the club face to increase the amount of usable impact area and/or to release excess water.

The present disclosure thus improves spin imparted to a ball when struck with an open club face while enabling a substantially straight trajectory. As a result, better precision shots having a higher spin rate and loft may be achieved. The disclosed golf club also helps higher handicappers, for example, to “get the ball up” (from deep lies, hard pan, sand, etc.) and provides improved stopping power for landing the ball on the green.

Preferably, the disclosed grooves are designed to conform to USGA standards and specifications. Accordingly, grooves having any USGA-approved configuration or dimensions (e.g., length, width, depth, spacing, etc.) may be used. In addition, the grooves may be square, V-shaped, U-shaped, etc.

Turning now to the figures, which depict various exemplary embodiments of the disclosure, FIG. 1a shows a top view of a club face 14 according to one embodiment of the present disclosure. The club face 14 includes a toe portion 16 and a heel portion 18. In this embodiment, a plurality of grooves 20, are aligned at about a 30° offset with respect to the base of the club face 14. In other embodiments, the grooves are aligned at an offset angle between 15-30°. As a result, the offset grooves 20 are more optimally aligned with the ball when the club face is opened to achieve a substantially straight trajectory and improved backspin. Consequently, the offset grooves 20 provide enhanced spin, control and stopping power on a ball when hit with the club face 14 open.

Preferably, the golf club is a wedge having a 52-64°, or higher, loft angle. However it is appreciated that enhanced spin, control and stopping power may be achieved by opening the face of any wedge with any associated loft angle. In some cases, opening the club face 14 may serve to further increase the loft of the club. Such loft angles may be desirable for improving precision shots and helping higher handicappers, for example, to “get the ball up.”

FIG. 1b shows a top view of a club face 14 having a toe region 16, heel region 18, and a plurality of grooves 20 also aligned at about a 30° offset. In this figure, the grooves 20 extend substantially to the edge, or outer portion, of the club face 14. By extending the grooves substantially to the edge of the club face, more water may be eliminated from the face surface and/or the amount of usable impact area increased.

FIG. 2a shows a top view of a club face 14 according to another embodiment of the present disclosure. Again, the club face 14 includes a toe portion 16 and a heel portion 18. In this embodiment, grooves 20 are aligned at about a 22° offset with respect to the base of the club face 14. As a result, the offset grooves 20 are more optimally aligned with the ball when the club face is opened to achieve a substantially straight trajectory and improved backspin. Consequently, the offset grooves 20 provide enhanced spin, control and stopping power on a ball when hit with the club face 14 open.

FIG. 2b shows a top view of a club face 14 having a toe region 16, heel region 18, and a plurality of grooves 20 aligned at about a 22° offset. In this figure, the grooves extend substantially to the edge, or outer portion, of the club face 14. Such a feature remedies problems encountered with conventional clubs where the impact area is greatly reduced in the open position. Such a feature also allows more water to be eliminated from the face surface, thereby improving contact with the ball.

FIG. 3 shows a photograph of a golf club face 14 manufactured according to the inventive concepts of the present disclosure. Again, the club face 14 includes a toe portion 16, heel portion 18, and a base 22. As shown, the grooves 20 are offset at an angle and extend substantially across the club face 14 including the toe region 16. As depicted in the figure, the edges of the club face 14 are smoothed e.g., for aesthetic or other reasons. For example, if the club head is manufactured from forged soft carbon steel, the edges may be ground to obtain a smoother edge. In embodiments, the grooves 20 may be die-stamped or milled (either by hand or machine) into the club face 14, or an equivalent technique used.

FIG. 4 shows an isometric view of a golf club 10 according to a preferred embodiment of the present disclosure. As shown, the golf club 10 includes a club head 13 coupled to a shaft 12. The club head 13 includes a back portion 15 and a face 14 having a groove configuration as discussed with respect to FIGS. 1-3. Preferably, the golf club 10 is a wedge-type club with a loft angle between 52-64°. It is appreciated that the shaft 12 may comprise any conventional shaft, and in embodiments may include a True-Temper™ parallel shaft. In addition, it is understood that the shaft 12 may also include a grip (not shown) as will be appreciated by those skilled in the art.

The golf club 10 of the present disclosure may be manufactured using a variety of conventional processes and/or techniques. In embodiments, the club head 13 may be forged, cast, die-stamped, machined, hand-cut, or the like. It is also appreciated that the shaft 12 and/or club head 13 may be comprised of soft carbon steel, stainless steel, titanium, etc., and may be made of the same, or different, materials. As mentioned previously, the edges of the club face 14 may be ground or smoothed e.g., for aesthetic, safety and/or other purposes. Additionally, the club may be designed to have varying degrees of bounce as will be appreciated by those skilled in the art. In embodiments, the sole may be ground down to allow the club head to be more readily tilted back to an open face position. For example, by grinding down the sole, the toe 16 may be tilted back to better accommodate an open position.

It can thus be seen that the present disclosure provides solutions for performing precision shots on the green with the club face open. The present disclosure provides a plurality of grooves offset at an angle for imparting spin on the ball with an open face approach. Consequently more spin and control is imparted on the ball thereby increasing its stopping ability on the green. The disclosed club further helps to stop the ball on the green and improves user performance with an open face approach.

The foregoing disclosure of the preferred embodiments of the present disclosure has been presented for purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the disclosure to the precise forms disclosed. For example, in some situations the disclosed club may be used to hit the ball using a front address. In this case, the club may induce a curve or slice on the ball for hitting around obstacles such as trees, etc. Furthermore, the club may also be used as a tool to emphasize, or correct, golfer tendencies. It is appreciated that the club may be used to improve performance for high handicappers, low handicappers as well as scratch golfers. It is also contemplated that the grooves may be provided on an insert or face so as to be removable or interchangeable. Many variations and modifications of the embodiments described herein will be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art in light of the above disclosure.