Title:
Aerodynamically Enhanced Golf Club Head
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This present invention is a golf club head that has a concave shaped crown directly downwardly from behind the striking face toward the read edge of the club head. The rearwardly directed side portions of the club head include rudder elements extending along both sides at the same height as the club face, much like the rudder of an airplane. The rudders are connected across the respective top rear portions of the side elements of the club head, with an optional aero stabilizer that is roughly one quarter of the front to rear dimension of the club head. One or more removable fins can be inserted into the channel shaped slots between the side rudders to act as additional rudders for additional influence to the club head. The rear of the club head is open between the rudders and below the optional stabilizer for directing the flow of air.



Inventors:
Newcomer, Ronald E. (Lenoir City, TN, US)
Application Number:
12/417885
Publication Date:
01/14/2010
Filing Date:
04/03/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/334
International Classes:
A63B53/06
View Patent Images:
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20020091011Impact and roll measurement deviceJuly, 2002Sosin
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20050245327Extruded golf club head and method of manufactureNovember, 2005Bliss et al.
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20090069127BAT CONDITIONING DEVICE AND METHODMarch, 2009James
20070004534Head assembly of putterJanuary, 2007Lee et al.
20040152533Golf club head and improved allignment device a golf club having a symmetrical faceAugust, 2004Sery



Primary Examiner:
DENNIS, MICHAEL DAVID
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BERENATO & WHITE, LLC (6550 ROCK SPRING DRIVE SUITE 240, BETHESDA, MD, 20817, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A golf club head, comprising: a ball striking face including a forwardly directed front surface and respective side, top, and bottom edges, and a housel for connecting said club head to a shaft; side elements extending from each of said respective side edges of said face to a rear extent of said club head; a bottom surface extending from said bottom edge of said front face to said rear extent of said club head, said bottom surface connecting between said side elements at lower respective edges thereof; a crown surface extending from said top of said front face to said rear extent of the said club, said crown surface being steeply and downwardly sloped toward said bottom surface and connecting to said bottom surface at a rearward edge thereof so as to form a channel on an upper side of said golf club head bounded by said respective side elements and said crown; and, an aero stabilizer connecting across said channel on said upper side of said golf club head at said rearward extent of said club head between respective upper edges of said side elements.

2. A golf club head as in claim 1, further comprising: at least one removable fin mounted within said channel, and engaged in complementary slots located in said aero stabilizer and on said crown, so as to divide said channel into multiple channels on said upper side of said golf club head.

3. A golf club head as in claim 1, further comprising: at least one cavity located in at least one of said side elements for accepting weights to influence a trajectory of said club head during a golf swing.

4. A golf club head as in claim 1, wherein: said aero stabilizer has a front to rear dimension that is ⅓ to ¼ of the overall front to rear dimension of the golf club head.

5. A golf club head, comprising: a ball striking face including a forwardly directed front surface and respective side, top, and bottom edges, and a housel for connecting said club head to a shaft; side elements extending from each of said respective side edges of said face to a rear extent of said club head; a bottom surface extending from said bottom edge of said front face to said rear extent of said club head, said bottom surface connecting between said side elements at lower respective edges thereof; a crown surface extending from said top of said front face to said rear extent of the said club, said crown surface being steeply and downwardly sloped toward said bottom surface and connecting to said bottom surface at a rearward edge thereof so as to form a channel on an upper side of said golf club head bounded by said respective side elements and said crown.

6. A golf club head as in claim 5, further comprising: at least one removable fin mounted within said channel, and engaged in complementary slots located on said crown, so as to divide said channel into multiple channels on said upper side of said golf club head.

7. A golf club head as in claim 6, further comprising: an aero stabilizer element mounted on said club and above said crown so as to extend side to side between said respective side elements and containing on an underside thereof complementary slots to further secure said at least one removable fin.

8. A golf club head as in claim 5, further comprising: at least one cavity located in at least one of said side elements for accepting weights to influence a trajectory of said club head during a golf swing.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of earlier priority based upon the filing of a provisional application Ser. No. 61/080,407, which was filed on Jul. 14, 2008.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1) Field of the Invention

The invention relates generally to an aerodynamically enhanced golf club head. More specifically, the invention relates to a golf club head including rearwardly directed rudders that, in conjunction with the concave crown, actively direct the trajectory of a golf club head during a high speed swing.

2) Background

The United States Golf Association (USGA) sets up guidelines limiting the size and shape of a club head that can be used in their sanctioned tournaments. Most golf companies design within these guidelines with the main goals of beauty and distance. There is no club that helps direct the swing.

The USGA regulates that the front-to-rear dimension may not exceed 5″ and the width of the clubface is also limited to 5″. It also states that the height may not be more than 2.8 inches. Additionally, the club head must not exceed 460 cubic centimeters. Staying within these dimensions does not guarantee USGA approval but exceeding them causes automatic rejection.

Currently there are a number of golf club heads that fit within the design parameters set forth by the USGA. Some of these golf club heads attempt to locate the center of gravity at different places to influence the ball flight, but these solutions fail to meet the needs of the industry because regardless of the location of the center of gravity if the club head is not exactly square to the swing path the best results cannot be achieved. Other golf club heads attempt to use perimeter weighting to get better results on off center hits but these solutions are similarly unable to meet the needs of the industry because even though perimeter weighting may help with off center hits even more improvement can be achieved by also improving the probability of hitting the ball square to the path of the swing. Still other golf club heads seek to vary the thickness around the surface of the club face to increase the rebound of the ball at impact, but these solutions also fail to meet industry needs because even though the rebound of the ball can be improved it can be further improved by helping to assure that the club head impacts the ball squarely at impact.

It would be desirable to have a golf club head that meets the design parameters of the USGA and that more easily allows golfers of all experience levels to hit a golf ball in a straight line. It would also be desirable to have a training aid it will help the golfer feel how the club should feel at impact with the ball and the golfer will be able to try to replicate that same feel and hand position throughout all the clubs in the bag.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention advantageously fills the aforementioned deficiencies by providing an aerodynamically enhanced golf club head that meets the design parameters of the USGA and that more easily allows golfers of all experience levels to hit a golf ball in a straight line. The present invention also provides a training aid it will help the golfer feel how the club should feel at impact with the ball and the golfer will be able to try to replicate that same feel and hand position throughout all the clubs in the bag.

The present invention has a striking face similar to many of the clubs on the current market, but the present invention departs from the current industry standard design by providing a crown of the club that dips down sharply and connects to the back edge of the sole plate which is at the bottom of the clubface. The final shape of this crown is aerodynamically designed and wind tunnel tested to cause the least turbulence and most efficiency. The sides of the clubface are rudders that extend to the rear of the clubface at the same height as the face. There is an optional stabilizer that is a horizontal member similar to the elevator of an airplane and connecting the two rudders. This optional stabilizer is approximately ¼ to ⅓ the width of the front to rear dimension of the club head.

To get the most leverage for the rudders and fins, the present invention golf club head is designed to the USGA maximum allowable width and depth. It is also designed at the maximum height to get the greatest amount of surface area for the rudders and fins. The rudders, fins and stabilizer are kept thin so as not to use too much volume. The crown is lowered as much as required to stay under the maximum volume. The crown will be shaped to get the best aerodynamic response given the volume restriction. The basic club has slots in the crown and underside of the stabilizer for the insertion of optional fins. These fins may be placed at the center and/or ⅓ points and/or ¼ points. This allows for the golfer to use just one fin or two fins or three fins or even five fins to adjust the amount of influence needed. The fins can be fixed or removable at the golfer's option. These fins add to the rudder surface, thereby increasing the influence of the air pressure.

There are weight ports at the rear four corners that are optional. They can be eliminated entirely or filled with insignificant weight. They can be included at just the bottom or top and they can be packaged with inserts of different amounts of weight. The ports being at the extreme four corners of the rear of the club are in the location of maximum leverage making it possible to get the most amount of influence over the club while adding the least amount of weight.

The present invention now will be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, which are intended to be read in conjunction with both this summary, the detailed description and any preferred and/or particular embodiments specifically discussed or otherwise disclosed. This invention may, however, be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein; rather, these embodiments are provided by way of illustration only and so that this disclosure will be thorough, complete and will fully convey the full scope of the invention to those skilled in the art.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the invention.

FIG. 2a is a top perspective view of the invention shown with a single removable center fin 22 for aerodynamics.

FIG. 2b is a top perspective view of the invention shown with two removable center fins 22 for better aerodynamics.

FIG. 2c is a top perspective view of the invention shown with three removable center fins 22 for even better aerodynamics.

FIG. 3 is a side view for a right hand player.

FIG. 4 is a front view for a right hand player.

FIG. 5 is a rear view for a right hand player.

FIG. 6 is a cross section view taken along lines 6-6 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an alternative version of the club showing the optional stabilizer removed.

FIG. 8 is a partial section of the club shown in FIG. 7 showing the pin aligned mating of the stabilizer and the aero side rudders.

FIG. 9 is a view of the club face of FIG. 7 showing the optional stabilizer using a single center fin.

FIG. 10 is a view of the club face of FIG. 7 showing the optional stabilizer in combination with 2 vertical fins.

FIG. 11 is a view of the club face of FIG. 7 showing the optional stabilizer with 3 vertical fins in place.

FIG. 12 is a section of the club shown in FIG. 7 along 8-8, with the optional stabilizer fixed in position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to an aerodynamically enhanced golf club head.

Referring to the drawing figures: FIGS. 1 and 2a show a perspective view and downwardly directed front view, respectively, of the invention in its most basic form; including at least one optional center fin (22). The club head 10 looks similar to a traditional club head except with the crown 28 of the club extending sharply downwardly in a recessed concave fashion behind the club face 12. The club head 10 is attached in the usual housel 16 and shaft 14 manner to enable swinging of the club head 10. The sides 24 of the club head 10 extend as aero rudders to the back of the club head 10 at the full height of the front. A rearwardly positioned optional stabilizer (20) connects the two sides (rudders) (24). The center fin (22) divides the channel (29) formed by the rudders 24 and fin 22 into two smaller channels (29).

FIG. 2b shows the club head 10 of FIG. 2a but with two fins (22) inserted dividing the channel into three equal channels (29). FIG. 2c shows the club head 10 with three fins (22) inserted dividing the channel into four equal channels (29).

The basic club 10 has slots in the crown 28 and underside of the aero stabilizer 20 for the insertion of optional fins 22. These fins 22 may be placed at the center and/or at the ⅓ points and/or ¼ points of the channel 29. This allows for the golfer to use just one fin or two fins or three fins or even five fins to adjust the amount of influence needed so as help direct the trajectory of the swinging club head. The fins 22 can be fixed or removable at the golfer's option. These fins add to the overall rudder surface, thereby increasing the effectiveness and influence of the air pressure created as the air passes through channel 29 and along rudders 24, fins 22, and aero stabilizer 20.

Referring to the drawing FIGS. 7-12: FIG. 7 shows a perspective view of the invention in its most basic form; including zero optional center fins (122). The club head 110 again looks similar to a traditional club head except with the crown of the club extending sharply downwardly in a recessed concave fashion behind the club face 112. The club head 110 is attached in the usual housel 116 and shaft 114 manner to enable swinging of the club head 110. The sides 124 of the club head 110 extend as aero rudders to the back of the club head 110 at the full height of the front. A rearwardly positioned optional stabilizer (120) connects the two sides (rudders) (124). The replaceable fins (122) divide the channel formed by the rudders 124 into two smaller channels. FIG. 9 shows a single centrally positioned fin 122, held in position by the optional stabilizer 120. FIG. 10 shows a pair of fins 122 held in position by the optional stabilizer 120. FIG. 11 shows a set of three fins 122 held in position by the optional stabilizer 120.

The fins 120 and pinned optional stabilizer 120 are held with heat sensitive epoxy glue commonly used in golf club construction (typically to attach the shaft 114 to the housel 116). The fins 122 and stabilizer 120 may used alone or in any combination to create the necessary aero effect to direct the club for the individual user. Each of the stabilizer 120 and club crown include fin matching slots to align and retain the respective fins. Additionally, the stabilizer 120 may be pinned to the side aero rudders 124 to maintain appropriate alignment.

The final shape of the club head 10, 110 and crown 28, is aerodynamically designed and wind tunnel tested so as to cause the least turbulence and most efficiency during a high speed swing. Some golf swings easily exceed 100 mph. The sides 24 of the clubface perform as rudders as they extend to the rear of the clubface at approximately the same height as the face 12. Air wraps around the back face of the club head and is directed by the rudders 24 into the channel(s) 29 formed into the crown 28 of the club head 10. The air then encounters aero stabilizer 20 that is a horizontal member similar to the elevator of an airplane and connects between the two rudders. The stabilizer depth is approximately ¼ to ⅓ the width of the overall front to rear dimension of the club head 10.

FIG. 3 is a side elevation view of the club head 10 and shows the side nearest a right handed golfer.

FIG. 4 shows a partial transparent front view showing the orientation of the stabilizer (20) and center fin (22) and dividing the channel (29) with respect to the volume of the club head.

FIG. 5 shows the rear view looking into the channels (29) and shows the location of the weight ports (18) at the extreme corners. The weight ports 18 at the rear four corners that are optional. They can be eliminated entirely, filled with insignificant weight, or left hollow. Likewise, the ports 18 can be included at just the bottom or top and they can be packaged with inserts of different amounts of weight. The ports being at the extreme four corners of the rear of the club are in the location of maximum leverage making it possible to get the most amount of influence over the club trajectory or pitch while adding the least amount of overall weight to the club head 10.

FIG. 6 shows a cross section through the club head exposing the shape of the crown 28 or channel 29 bottom covering the upper face of the club head 10.

In general, in order to get the most leverage for the rudders and fins, the present invention golf club head is designed to the USGA maximum allowable width and depth. Clearly, smaller dimensions may be used for ladies and junior golf equipment. It is also designed at the maximum height to get the greatest amount of surface area for the rudders and fins. The rudders, fins and stabilizer are kept as thin so as not to use too much volume but to still provide for the requisite strength to withstand repeated high speed striking of the ball under all conditions. The crown is likewise downwardly swept as much as required to stay under the maximum volume. The crown will be shaped to get the best aerodynamic response given the volume restriction imposed by USGA or other sanctioning body.

The objective of the aerodynamically enhanced golf club head is an invention that assists the golfer in delivering the club head squarely into the back of the ball at impact. The faster the swing the more influence the rudders, fins and stabilizer has over the direction of the club head. The essence of this invention is to use the air pressure developed by the club head traveling through the air to direct the alignment of the club head relative to the swing path. To wit: For those who want to hit the ball in a straight line and are capable of swinging in line with their target this club head will help accomplish their goal. Some golfers prefer to hit a draw (a ball that curves slightly from right to left for a right handed golfer) or a fade (a ball that curves slightly left to right for a right handed golfer). The normal setting of the club face is neutral or 90 degrees to the swing path but drawing or fading the ball can be accomplished by offsetting or “pointing” the club face either left or right respectfully as related to the swing path. This is commonly done by manufactures of traditional golf clubs but can accomplished more consistently with a club head incorporating the aero features of the instant invention that assists the golfer in squaring the club head at impact.

Additional fine tuning can be accomplished to assist golfers that have a chronic problem such as hooking or slicing. For these golfers the club head of the present invention can be made with the rudders and fins slightly offset from square to help deliver the club head with a slightly open (pointing slightly right for a right handed golfer) or a closed face (one that points slightly left for a right handed golfer). Additional fine tuning can be accomplished by using aerodynamically designed airfoils on the rudders and fins. This will add to the influence of the rudders and fins.

Golf swings range in speed from around 60 miles per hour to over 120 miles per hour. This creates a considerable force that can be used by the present invention to influence the direction a club head “points” during a golf swing. The preferred golf swing uses a relaxed fairly loose grip. In using the present invention to train, however, unless the grip is held relatively tightly the average golfer will not be able to feel the influence of the air pressure on the swing. The training objective is to learn to “yield” to this aerodynamic pressure and let the club head of the present invention direct the swing. After learning the feel of the club guiding the swing, a user will learn to replicate the hand position at impact throughout all of the clubs in the set.

While the present invention has been described above in terms of specific embodiments, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to these disclosed embodiments. Many modifications and other embodiments of the invention will come to mind of those skilled in the art to which this invention pertains, and which are intended to be and are covered by both this disclosure and the appended claims. It is indeed intended that the scope of the invention should be determined by proper interpretation and construction of the appended claims and their legal equivalents, as understood by those of skill in the art relying upon the disclosure in this specification and the attached drawings.





 
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