Title:
Clip on support for magnetic golf ball marker
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf accessory is formed with a clip fabricated from a ferrous metal attracted by magnetism and is utilized in combination with a flat golf ball marker having a magnet incorporated therein. The clip has a baseplate and a clasp that forms a hooked return and a retaining leg that extends underneath the back face of the baseplate in spaced separation therefrom. The gap between the retaining leg and the back face of the baseplate is slightly less than the thickness of a golf hat or visor bill to which the clip is releaseably attached. The retaining leg is resiliently deflected when the clip is forced onto the edge of the hat or visor bill so that the clip resiliently grips the bill. The magnetic ball marker, once moved into proximity to the baseplate of the clip, exerts a strong magnetic attraction and is held by the force of magnetic attraction on the exposed face of the baseplate of the clip. The clip in combination with the magnetic golf ball marker can be selectively utilized on and detached from different articles of golf headwear.



Inventors:
Tate, John R. (Garden Grove, CA, US)
Application Number:
09/997711
Publication Date:
03/21/2002
Filing Date:
12/03/2001
Assignee:
TATE JOHN R.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B57/00; (IPC1-7): A63B57/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WONG, STEVEN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Charles H. Thomas (Long Beach, CA, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A golf accessory comprising: a clip formed of a metal attracted by magnetism and including a baseplate having opposing exposed and back faces with a peripheral edge extending therebetween and a clasp formed with a hooked return extending out from said peripheral edge and then back to a retaining leg residing beneath said back face of said baseplate, and a flat, golf ball marker having a magnet incorporated therein releaseably engageable with said clip in contact with said exposed face of said baseplate by the force of magnetic attraction.

2. A golf accessory according to claim 1 wherein said exposed face of said baseplate has a convex curvature and said back face of said baseplate has a concave curvature.

3. A golf accessory according to claim 1 wherein said clip is fabricated from a soft ferrous metal configured to form said baseplate, and said hooked return and said retaining leg as aforesaid and said metal is heat treated so that said retaining leg exhibits a resilient spring bias when deflected relative to said back face of said baseplate.

4. A golf accessory according to claim 3 further characterized in that a narrow gap exists between said retaining leg and said back face of said baseplate when said retaining leg is in an undeflected condition.

5. A golf accessory according to claim 4 wherein said gap is between about 0.10 inches and about 0.25 inches in width.

6. A golf accessory according to claim 1 wherein said exposed face of said baseplate is provided with surface ornamentation.

7. In combination: a hat clip formed of a metal attracted by magnetism and including a thin baseplate with opposing exposed and back faces, and a hooked clasp extending laterally out from said baseplate and back beneath said back face to form a retaining leg lying closely adjacent to said back face of said baseplate, and a flat golf ball marker having a top face bearing surface ornamentation and an opposite bottom face and incorporating a magnet therewithin, and said golf ball marker is releaseably engageable with said baseplate with said bottom face of said golf ball marker held in contact with said exposed face of said baseplate by the force of magnetic attraction therebetween.

8. A combination according to claim 7 wherein said hat clip is formed of a ferrous metal configured while in a soft state to form said baseplate, and said hooked clasp as aforesaid and then thermally hardened so that said retaining leg exhibits elastic resiliency when deflected relative to said baseplate.

9. A combination according to claim 8 wherein said retaining leg resides in spaced separation from said back face of said baseplate when in an undeflected condition.

10. A combination according to claim 9 wherein said spaced separation is between about 0.10 inches and about 0.25 inches.

11. A combination according to claim 7 wherein said exposed face of said baseplate bears surface ornamentation.

12. A combination according to claim 7 wherein said back face of said baseplate has a concave curvature.

13. A combination according to claim 12 wherein said exposed face of said baseplate has a convex curvature.

14. A combination according to claim 7 wherein said magnet in said golf ball marker is exposed at said bottom face of said golf ball marker.

15. In combination: an article of golf headwear including a headband for encircling the head of a wearer and a stiff bill extending from said encircling headband and having opposing top and bottom surfaces, a hat clip for engaging said bill and which is formed of metal attracted by magnetism and including a thin baseplate having an exposed face and a back face and a hooked clasp configured to form a return that extends laterally from said baseplate and terminates at a retaining leg located proximate to said back face of said baseplate, and said hat clip is releaseably engageable on said bill with said back face of said baseplate residing in contact with one of said surfaces of said bill and with said retaining leg of said clasp residing in contact with said other of said surfaces of said bill, and a flat golf ball marker having an ornamentally decorated top surface and an opposite undersurface and incorporating a magnet therewithin, and said golf ball marker is releaseably engageable on said baseplate of said hat clip by the force of magnetism.

16. A combination according to claim 15 wherein said magnet is exposed at said undersurface of said golf ball marker and said golf ball marker is releaseably engageable on said baseplate of said hat clip with said magnet of said golf ball marker in contact with said exposed face of said baseplate.

17. A combination according to claim 15 wherein said top surface of said bill has a convex curvature and said bottom surface of said bill has a concave curvature, and said back face of said baseplate has a concave curvature that matches said convex curvature of said top surface of said bill so that said back face of said baseplate resides in contact throughout with said top surface of said bill.

18. A combination according to claim 17 wherein said retaining leg is resiliently biased away from said back face of said baseplate so that said hat clip exerts a resilient grip on said bill which is located between said baseplate and said retaining leg.

19. A combination according to claim 18 wherein said retaining leg has a smooth surface that matches said bottom surface of said bill and resides in contact therewith throughout the entire area of said flat surface of said retaining leg.

20. A combination according to claim 15 wherein said exposed face of said hat clip is provided with surface ornamentation.

Description:

[0001] The present application is a continuation in part of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/640,054 filed Aug. 17, 2000, presently pending, which is a division of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/426,786 filed Oct. 22, 1999, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,170,088, issued Jan. 9, 2001.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates to a system for supporting a magnetic golf ball marker on an article of golf headwear.

[0004] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0005] Golf ball markers have been used for many, many years in order to mark the position of a golf ball on a fairway or green during a game of golf engaged in by competitive players. Golf ball markers are typically formed as small, disc-shaped structures, usually fabricated from metal. Conventional golf ball markers are often stamped from a ferrous material, usually steel or iron. Some conventional golf ball markers have a plain, unadorned appearance, although in more competitive golfing circles ball markers having surface embellishments on their faces are now widely utilized. Conventional ball markers may include the surface sculptured and/or painted reproductions of a golf course or tournament logo, a country club insignia, a corporate or university logo or insignia, or more personalized surface embellishments. Whatever the particular adornment adopted for a golf ball marker by a player, more often than not the player is proud to display the ball marker, since it is frequently indicative of courses or tournaments in which the player has participated or otherwise attests to the player's experience, competence, or interest in participation in the game of golf.

[0006] Systems for enhancing the convenience of access and extent of display of golf ball markers have been devised in the past. For example, golf ball markers may be releaseably mounted by means of magnets in golf divot tools that are utilized to repair divots and spruce up golf greens. Golf divot tools may be formed with one or more shallow, disc-shaped recesses therein at the bottom of which a flat slab of magnetic material is permanently secured. A ferrous ball marker formed of steel or soft iron may then be releaseably held in position in the recess or tray of a golf divot tool by the magnetic force of attraction of the magnetic material. As a consequence, when the divot repair tool is utilized the ball marker is conveniently accessible and is also displayed for all to see.

[0007] In my prior U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,996,116 and 6,163,889, several systems are described in which magnets are embedded in or attached to articles of clothing. For example, those prior applications describe systems in which magnets are attached to or embedded in the bill of a golf hat or visor. Also, U.S. Pat. No. 6,163,889 describes systems in which a magnet may be placed within a patch that is affixed to an article of golf clothing, such as a hat. An iron or steel golf ball marker brought into the proximity of the magnets in any of these articles of clothing will be attracted to the magnets that are secured to the golf clothing or other golf accessory. The golf ball marker may thereby be carried in open display and in an easily accessible manner.

[0008] In a more recent advance in the same field an object formed of a ferrous material, such as a thin, flat iron or steel disc or plate, is permanently secured in position relative to an article of golf clothing or some other golf accessory. A golf ball marker is formed which includes a magnet in its structure. The ball marker must include a top surface which can be stamped, painted, imprinted, or otherwise emblazoned with crests, logos, and other indicia that are preferred and accepted by golfers. However, a magnet is permanently affixed to or incorporated into the structure of an otherwise conventional golf ball marker.

[0009] In these prior systems in which the golf ball marker itself incorporates a magnet into its structure, an object formed of a material attracted by the force of magnetism is incorporated into or permanently attached to the article of golf clothing or golf accessory. This object may be either located beneath a fabric sheet-like surface on the article or it may be mounted externally on the article. If the iron or steel object is concealed from view by an overlying layer of fabric, the fabric must be thin enough so that the magnet on the ball marker can be moved sufficiently close to the iron or steel object so that it will be held by magnetism acting through the fabric. This is typically not a problem in the case of golf clothing and golf accessories that include a layer of fabric, such as golf hats, golf shirts, golf visors, golf gloves, etc. The overlying layer of fabric is typically no greater than about three-sixteenths of an inch in thickness, and often is considerably thinner.

[0010] In other applications, the ferrous metal object in the article of golf clothing or other golf accessory may be positioned externally. For example, the ferrous object may be formed as a thin iron or steel sheet or plaque that is fastened externally atop the bill of a golf cap or visor. When located on the exposed surface of an article of golf clothing or other golf accessory, the ferrous object will typically have a decoration and/or surface ornamentation. When the ferrous object is externally mounted, such as atop the bill of a golf cap or visor, the ball marker will be attracted to and directly contact the ferrous object that is secured to the article of golf clothing.

[0011] These prior systems for providing a mounting on golf clothing, headwear, or other golf accessories for attracting a magnetic golf ball marker have certain disadvantages, however. Specifically, the systems require the article of golf headwear, clothing or the golf accessory to be specially constructed so as to include a metal attracted by magnetism in the structure of the article of golf clothing or the golf accessory. This requires an alteration and modification of the conventional manner of fabricating such articles. Also, when iron or steel is incorporated into the structure of an article of golf clothing, either concealed beneath a fabric layer or mounted on top of the article, it becomes a permanent part of the article. This is disadvantageous since moisture can cause the iron or steel structure to rust and permanently stain the article of clothing with rust stains. Articles of golf clothing are frequently exposed to moisture, either due to rain or a light drizzle, or even high humidity during a round of golf. Also, if the article of golf clothing is washed, rust is likely to form and stain the hat, sun visor or other article of golf clothing.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0012] The present invention provides a novel system for mounting a golf ball marker having a magnet incorporated into its structure onto the exterior of an article of golf clothing, such as a hat or sun visor utilizing a mounting structure that can be readily removed from the article of golf clothing. A golfer can therefore remove the mounting structure if it appears likely that the article of clothing will be exposed to a significant amount of moisture that could result in rust stains emanating from the mounting structure.

[0013] Furthermore, the removable mounting structure of the present invention provides a golfer with the flexibility of moving the mounting structure from one article of clothing to another. Golfers will frequently wear different hats for different occasions. As a typical example, commemorative golf hats and sun visors are normally sold for each different golf tournament. The participants typically wear a selected hat for the appropriate tournament as the occasion demands. By utilizing the removable mounting system of the invention, the golfer can simply transfer the portable golf ball marker mounting device onto the hat or sun visor selected for the occasion.

[0014] On the other hand, the removable mounting clips for supporting a magnetic golf ball marker may be fashioned and customized with surface ornamentation for specific golf tournaments or golf courses or country clubs. A golfer can than utilize a favorite hat or sun visor at different tournaments and at different golf courses while also utilizing a mounting clip and magnetic golf ball marker specifically designed for the occasion. That is, the golfer can temporarily customize an article of golf clothing with surface ornamentation appropriate for the occasion by utilizing a removable support clip and magnetic golf ball marker having surface ornamentation specifically designed for that occasion.

[0015] In one broad aspect the present invention may be considered to be a golf accessory comprising: a clip formed of a metal attracted by magnetism and including a baseplate having opposing exposed and back faces with a peripheral edge extending therebetween and a clasp formed with a hooked return extending out from the peripheral edge and then back to a retaining leg residing beneath the back face of the baseplate, and a flat golf ball marker having a magnet incorporated therein releaseably engageable with the clip in contact with the exposed face of the baseplate by the force of magnetic attraction.

[0016] In another aspect the invention may be considered to be a combination comprised of a hat clip and a flat golf ball marker. The hat clip is formed of a metal attracted by magnetism and including a thin baseplate with opposing exposed and back faces, and a hooked clasp extending laterally out from the baseplate and back beneath the back face to form a retaining leg lying closely adjacent to the back face of the baseplate. The golf ball marker has a top face bearing surface ornamentation and an opposite bottom face and incorporates a magnet therewithin. The golf ball marker is releaseably engageable with the baseplate with the bottom face of the golf ball marker held in contact with the exposed face of the baseplate by the force of magnetic attraction therebetween.

[0017] In still another aspect the invention may be considered to be a combination of an article of golf headwear, a hat clip, and a flat golf ball marker. The article of golf headwear includes a headband for encircling the head of a wearer and a stiff bill extending from the encircling head band and having opposing top and bottom surfaces. The hat clip is suitable for engaging the bill and is formed of metal attracted by magnetism. The hat clip includes a thin baseplate having an exposed face and a back face and a hooked clasp configured to form a return that extends laterally from the baseplate and terminates at a retaining leg located proximate to the back face of the baseplate. The hat clip is releaseably engageable on the bill with the back face of the baseplate residing in contact with one of the surfaces of the bill and with the retaining leg of the clasp residing in contact with the other of the surfaces of the bill. The flat golf ball marker has an ornamentally decorated top surface and an opposite undersurface. The golf ball marker incorporates a magnet within its structure. The golf ball marker is releaseably engaged on the baseplate of the hat clip by the force of magnetism.

[0018] The bills of conventional golf hats and some visors may be constructed of a single, stiff material, such as plastic. Alternatively, the bills of conventional articles of golf headwear may be constructed with a stiff interior core formed of plastic or cardboard covered on top and underneath with layers of fabric. The hat clip of the invention with its baseplate for supporting a golf ball marker may be utilized with both types of golf headwear bills.

[0019] Both of the conventional types of golf headwear bills are typically curved convex upwardly and concave downwardly. That is, the top surface of the bill has a convex curvature and the bottom surface of the bill has a concave curvature. The upper surface of the bill is typically highest at the longitudinal centerline of the article of headwear and is curved downwardly somewhat toward its lateral edges.

[0020] In a preferred embodiment of the invention the back face of the baseplate of the golf ball marker mounting clip has a concave curvature that matches the convex curvature of the top surface of the bill so that the back face of the baseplate resides in contact throughout with the top surface of the bill. Similarly, the upper side of the retaining leg facing the back face of the baseplate has a convex curvature that matches the bottom surface of the bill and resides in contact therewith throughout its entire area. Preferably, the retaining leg has a flat surface facing toward the back face of the baseplate.

[0021] The metal clip of the invention may be contoured to conform to the curvature of the bill of the hat or visor by fabricating it from a soft metal that is formed to the shape of the bill. The metal is then heat treated to harden the structure of the clip so that the retaining leg has a certain springy resiliency relative to the baseplate. Preferably also, the golf ball marker mounting clip of the invention is formed so that in its natural shape there is a slight gap between the retaining leg and the back face of the baseplate. This gap should be wide enough so that the retaining a leg will be resiliently deflected away from the baseplate as the clip is pressed onto the edge of the headwear bill and as the edge of the visor is received between the back face of the baseplate and the resilient retaining leg. Preferably, the spaced separation of the retaining leg from the back face of the baseplate, when the baseplate is in an undeflected condition, is between about 0.10 and about 0.25 inches. Since the bills of most articles of golf headwear are about one-quarter of an inch in thickness, a gap of this distance will allow the clip employed in the invention to firmly grip the edge of the headwear bill.

[0022] The magnetic ball marker system of the invention has the advantage that the ball marker will be attracted to a ferrous object that can be removably attached to an article of golf clothing or some golf accessory. The ball marker will thereby cling to the external surface of the article of golf clothing or the golf accessory due to the force of magnetic attraction between the magnet incorporated into the structure of the golf ball marker and the iron or steel object that is releaseably secured to the structure of the golf clothing or golf accessory.

[0023] The invention may be described with greater clarity and particularity by reference to the accompanying drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0024] FIG. 1 is a perspective view, partially broken away, of an article of golf headwear upon which the clip has been mounted so that a magnetic golf ball marker adheres to it.

[0025] FIG. 2 is an exploded, perspective view illustrating the clip and golf ball marker shown in FIG. 1 in isolation from the article of golf headwear.

[0026] FIG. 3 is a sectional elevational detail taken along the lines 3-3 of FIG. 1.

DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENT

[0027] FIG. 1 illustrates an article of golf headwear, namely a golf hat 10. The golf hat 10 is formed with a crown 12, the lower edge of which contains a headband 14 for encircling the head of a wearer. A stiff, generally crescent-shaped hat bill 16 projects forwardly from the forehead area of the crown 12 of the hat 10. The construction of the golf hat 10 is conventional, and need not be described in great detail.

[0028] A hat clip 20 is provided for engaging the edge of the bill 16. The hat clip 20 is illustrated in detail in FIGS. 2 and 3 and is formed of a metal attracted by magnetism, preferably magnetic stainless steel.

[0029] The hat clip 20 includes a thin, generally oval-shaped baseplate 22 that has an exposed face 24 and a back face 26. As shown in the FIG. 2, the exposed face 24 of the baseplate 22 is provided with surface ornamentation. A peripheral edge 25 extends between the exposed face 24 and back face 26 around most of the circumference of the baseplate 22. As illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, the hat clip 20 has a hooked clasp 28 that extends out from the peripheral edge 25. The hooked clasp 28 is configured to form a generally U-shaped return 30 that extends laterally from the edge of the baseplate 22. The return 30 terminates at a retaining leg 32 located proximate to the back face 26 of the baseplate 22. As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 3, the hat clip 20 is releaseably engageable on the bill 16 of the hat 10 with the back face 26 of the baseplate 22 residing in contact with the upper surface 34 of the hat bill 16. The flat, retaining leg 32 of the spring clip 20 resides in contact with the opposite, undersurface 36 of the hat bill 16.

[0030] A flat, disc-shaped golf ball marker 40 having an ornamentally decorated top surface 42 and an opposite undersurface 44 is provided with a magnet 46 incorporated therewithin. The construction of the magnetic golf ball marker 40 is described in detail in U.S. application Ser. No. 09/640,054 filed Aug. 17, 2000, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. As illustrated in the sectional detail view of FIG. 3, the magnet 46 is shaped as a flat, circular disc seated in a cavity or pocket defined in the underside of the body 48 of the magnetic ball marker 40. The lower face of the magnet 46 lies in the plane of the undersurface 44 of the magnetic ball marker 40 so that the magnet 46 is exposed at the bottom face forming the undersurface 44 of the magnetic golf ball marker 40. Since direct contact is possible between the lower surface of the magnet 46 and the exposed face 24 of the spring clip 20, a very strong magnetic bond exists between the magnetic ball marker 40 and the baseplate 22 of the spring clip 20 when the ball marker 40 is placed onto the baseplate 22 of the spring clip 20. The golf ball marker 40 is thereby releaseably engageable on the baseplate 22 of the hat clip 20.

[0031] As illustrated in FIG. 3, the top surface 34 of the hat bill 16 has a convex curvature, and the bottom surface 36 of the hat bill 16 has a concave curvature. Typically the order of magnitude of curvature of the bottom surface 36 of the hat bill 16 is a circular, arcuate curve having a radius of curvature of approximately six inches from one lateral edge of the hat bill to the other.

[0032] The spring clip 20 is a ferrous metal originally fabricated in a relatively soft state on a form having a shape substantially the same shape as the edge of the hat bill 16 illustrated in FIG. 3. The spring clip 20 is initially configured to form the baseplate 22 and the hardened clasp 28 as previously described while in a softened state and is molded on the form to the shape illustrated in FIG. 3. The spring clip 20 is then removed from the form and heat treated so that it is thermally hardened to increase its rigidity. It thereupon becomes relatively hard and stiff and the retaining leg 32 becomes elastically and resiliently deflectable from an undeflected condition located a selected spaced distance from the back face 26 of the baseplate 22. The gap between the retaining leg 32 and the back face 26 of the baseplate 22 is quite narrow. If, as in the preferred embodiments, the hat bill 16 is slightly thicker than the gap between the back face 26 of the baseplate 22 and the facing surface of the retaining leg 26 when the retaining leg 26 resides in its normal, undeflected condition, the retaining leg 32 will be resiliently biased away from the back face 26 of the baseplate 22 when the spring clip 20 is pressed onto the edge of the hat bill 16, as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 3. With this resilient deflection, the resilient spring bias of the retaining leg 32 exerts a resilient grip upon the hat bill 16, which is held snugly between the baseplate 22 and the retaining leg 32.

[0033] It should be noted that the back face 26 of the baseplate 22 has a concave curvature that matches the convex curvature of the top surface 34 of the hat bill 16 so that the back face 26 of the baseplate 22 resides in contact throughout with the top surface 34 of the hat bill 16. Likewise, the surface of the retaining leg 32 facing the baseplate 22 is smooth and has a convex surface that matches the concave undersurface 36 of the hat bill 16. The flat upper face of the retaining leg 32 thereby resides in intimate contact with the hat bill undersurface 36 throughout its total surface area.

[0034] Undoubtedly, numerous variations and modifications of the invention will become readily apparent to those familiar with golf ball marking systems. Accordingly, the scope of the invention should not be construed as limited to the specific embodiment depicted and described, but rather is defined in the claims appended hereto.