Title:
Golf ball and tee retriever
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device for retrieving a golf ball or tee, which comprises a tubular shaft having a pair of trigger arms disposed in said shaft, and movable therein, each of which is connected to a respective opposed openable jaw. The jaws overlie a hemispherical recessed cup sized to receive a golf ball, such that when the jaws are in a closed position, the captured ball is totally within the confines of the jaws and said cup. The jaws are spring loaded such that a release of the trigger arms causes the springs to relax, thereby causing the jaws to return to a closed position retaining the ball. A tee is captured similarly, but within a pair of semicircular cutouts within the base of each jaw upon the application of a gentle tug upwardly by the user. A second pull of the trigger arms release the captured ball or tee.



Inventors:
Ly, Chue Kao (Elverta, CA, US)
Application Number:
09/812871
Publication Date:
09/19/2002
Filing Date:
03/19/2001
Assignee:
LY CHUE KAO
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
294/19.2
International Classes:
A63B47/02; A63B57/00; (IPC1-7): A63B53/00; A63B47/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KRAMER, DEAN J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mark C. Jacobs, Esq. (Sacramento, CA, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A device for retrieving a golf ball without the necessity of bending over, which device comprises: an upper portion comprising a trigger mechanism, and a lower grabbing portion, which lower portion comprises a cup having a downward facing open end, which end is covered over by a pair of side opening jaws, and a shaft which carries the trigger mechanism, and which shaft is connected to the lower portion, and said trigger mechanism is operatively connected to said pair of side opening jaws to move them from a closed position to an open position upon actuation.

2. A device for retrieving a golf ball having a retractable trigger mechanism disposed within, and near one end of a, tubular shaft, which trigger mechanism is connected to, a lower portion comprising a pair of pivotable jaws for opening and closing said jaws, which jaws serve to secure the ball for retention when in a closed position.

3. A device for retrieving a golf ball while in a standing position, which device comprises a tubular shaft having a trigger mechanism comprising a pair of trigger arms, disposed therein, each of which arms is connected to a respective mirror image opposed pivotally open able spring loaded jaw, the said jaws overlying in part and closing off, a hemispherical cup open at its bottom and sized to receive a golf ball, which cup is recessed relative to an interface of said jaws, such that when the jaws are in a closed position, a captured ball is totally within the confines of the jaws and said cup.

4. A device for retrieving a golf ball, while in a standing position, which device comprises a tubular shaft, having a trigger mechanism comprising two trigger arms disposed within said shaft near one end thereof, said shaft being connected at its opposite end to a cup having a bottom facing open end, and said open end of said cup being disposed within,

5. A pair of opposed spring loaded pivotable jaws, each of which has a side and a base, and which jaws overly said cup each one of which jaws is connected to a respective trigger arm, whereby when the trigger arms are in a first position, the jaws are in a first location which overlie the cup's open end, and when the trigger arms are moved to a second position, the jaws move outwardly to a second position, to thereby reveal the cup's open end beneath said jaws.

6. The device of claim 4 wherein the jaws are spring loaded such that release of the trigger arms moves the jaws back to the first position.

7. The device of claim 3 wherein the jaws each have a side and a base which base includes a mirror image semicircular cutout along an edge thereof, such that the jaws can retrieve a golf tee within the circle opening defined by the pair of semicircular cutouts.

8. The device of claim 3 further including a cap disposed on the end of said shaft opposite the end connected to said cup.

9. The device of claim 3 wherein a first Velcro® pad is disposed upon said shaft, and a writing instrument secured to a second Velcro® pad, which second pad is releasably engageable with said first pad.

10. The device of claim 3 wherein the shaft includes a vertical slot therethrough and the trigger mechanism is disposed within the vertical slot.

11. The device of claim 6 wherein the trigger arms are each connected to a wire stud disposed on the side of a jaw.

12. The device of claim 11 wherein the trigger arms are rubber covered.

13. The device of claim 4 wherein each spring loaded jaw comprises a jaw having a pair of coil springs mounted such that one end of each spring is attached to one jaw and the other end is attached on the respective same side on the opposite jaw.

14. The device of claim 2 wherein the shaft includes a cap on said shaft, and each jaw has a jaw side and a jaw base, and each jaw base has a semicircular cutout therein.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This application pertains to a device for retrieving golf balls and tees from either a standing position or a sitting position within a golf cart.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Golf is sport enjoyed by young and old in many lands. It is a game played from Scotland to Pebble Beach, U.S.A., to Australia. Many people as they age find that either due to an increase in body fat, or due to joint and muscle aches that they are not able to bend down to retrieve their tee after they hit the ball. Nor are they able to bend over to retrieve the ball from the cup or a sand trap as may be required.

[0003] For these men and women, there is indeed a need for a device that would permit them to quickly and easily retrieve their tee and the ball respectively.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF FIGURES

[0004] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of this invention.

[0005] FIG. 2 is a side perspective view of the lower portion of this invention.

[0006] FIG. 3 is a front perspective view of the lower portion of this invention. The rear view is a mirror image thereof.

[0007] FIG. 4 is a left perspective view of the lower portion of this invention. The right side view is a mirror image thereof.

[0008] FIG. 5 is a top perspective view of the lower portion of this invention.

[0009] FIG. 6 is a bottom perspective view of this invention with the jaws in the closed position.

[0010] FIG. 7 is a bottom perspective view of this invention with the jaws in the open position.

[0011] FIG. 8 is a side perspective view of the upper portion of this invention.

[0012] FIG. 9 is a front perspective view of the top portion of this invention.

[0013] FIG. 10 is a view similar to FIG. 7 but with a golf ball disposed in the jaws of this invention.

[0014] FIG. 11 is a perspective view of the operating mechanism of this invention.

[0015] FIG. 12 is an exploded view of an accessory to be mounted on the device of this invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0016] This invention provides a tool or device that permits persons to retrieve either a golf tee or a golf ball from either a standing or seated position. The device features a retractable trigger mechanism disposed in a tubular shaft , which trigger opens and closes a pair of jaws which serve to secure the tee or ball for retention. For the ball, retention is within a cup dispensed above the pair of jaws. For the tee, if standing it is retained in a hemispherical opening between the two jaws; and if lying down prone on the grass, the tee is also retained within the cup disposed above the jaws of the device.

[0017] It is a first object to provide a device that quickly and easily retrieves a golf ball and retains it for the operator.

[0018] It is a second object to provide a device that can retrieve a golf tee from either a vertical or supine position.

[0019] It is a third object to provide a device to pick up a golf ball from a golf hole, a water hazard or sand trap as may be desired.

[0020] It is a fourth object to provide a device that can be easily operated with one hand and which requires no batteries.

[0021] It is a fifth object to provide a retriever device that retains the captured tee or ball once retrieved.

[0022] It is a sixth object to provide a low-cost ball retriever that is low in cost of manufacture.

[0023] These objects and others recited will appear hereinafter or also be obvious from the drawings and the figures provided herein.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0024] The device of this invention is seen to comprise an upper portion consisting of a trigger mechanism, a lower grabbing portion comprising of a cup covered over by a pair of side opening jaws with a shaft in between and which shaft connects the upper and lower portions, and carries the trigger mechanism.

[0025] First we turn to FIGS. 1, 8 and 9 where the upper portion of device 10 is seen. The device 10 comprises an elongated tubular member 17, of plastic such as polyvinyl chloride, chlorinated PVC, or ABS (Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene) of about 1 inch in diameter. Schedule 40 is a suitable product and is preferred to schedule A which has a smaller wall thickness. Tubular member 17 may be of an elongation between two and three feet or even longer for extremely tall persons. A plastic or rubber cap 11 may be threaded on or glued to one end, the upper end 45 of the device. An elongated slot is cut through the wall thickness at 180 degree spacing to provide a resting place for the arms 15A of trigger 15.

[0026] One slot is designated 13A, and the other 13B. Together they form the aligned slot 13. See FIG. 8 for the aligned slot 13, and FIG. 9 for each individual slot.

[0027] The trigger 15 of the trigger mechanism 60—seen in FIG. 11, is formed from a pair of opposed rigid wire members that are disposed in and carried by the shaft in slot 13 as will be discussed supra at the discussion of FIG. 11. The pair of wires are designated trigger arms 15A.

[0028] Each trigger arm 15A may be optionally spray coated with rubber or have rubber “spaghetti” 16 disposed thereon. The rubber coating or covering serves to increase the comfort for the user of the trigger 15 and the device 10.

[0029] The discussion now moves to the lower portion 46 of this device. Reference is made to FIGS. 2, 3,4, 5 and 6. Seen specifically in FIGS. 3 and 4, emanating from one of the spaced bores 19 near the bottom of tubular shaft 17 are a pair of opposed flexible wires 21. As seen in FIG. 2 and FIG. 4, the wires 21 are disposed at about a 60 degree angle from within shaft 17 and are connected at their lower terminals to their respective wire stud 22. Each stud 22 is a threaded bolt that is threadedly engaged with a self tapping bore 36, one of which studs and bore is disposed 180 degrees opposed to the other such stud and bore on the side 39 of a jaw 23.

[0030] Seen also in FIG. 3 wherein adjacent the stud 22 is a spring stud 29 of similar construction. The stud 29 is disposed through a reinforcement washer 35. Two of these studs-washer-bore combinations are found spaced apart opposite sides of each of the two jaws 23, which together with the cup 25 form the grab unit 20. Note that FIG. 4 constitutes a 90 degree rotation of the device as shown in FIG. 3.

[0031] One end of each coil spring 27—there being two opposed such springs, is attached to a stud 29 on one jaw side 39. See FIG. 4. Wherein the two jaws 23 are in open position, but in FIG. 3, the jaws are in closed position.

[0032] The two arcuate jaws 23, are pivotally mounted by pivot bolts 32 which pass through a reinforcing washer 33 into a self tapping aperture near the bottom of cup 25. The reader's attention is turned to the relative disposition of the two jaws 23 to the ball 97 in FIG. 4. Thus it is seen that the jaws 23 when pivoted to an open position, as here, essentially move outwardly to be able to receive either a ball or a tee 98. FIG. 3 shows a tee 98 in a retained position within a pair of mirror image semicircular cutouts, 38 on the base 37 of each jaw wherein the jaws 23 are in a juxtaposed closed position.

[0033] In FIG. 5, a top perspective view, much of what has been discussed infra can be seen. Thus the two wires 21 are seen to diverge outwardly, from their bores 19 per FIG. 2, and then downwardly to a point of connection at their respective studs 22.

[0034] Each jaw is a complex shaped element, each of which can be seen in FIG. 5 to be semicircular in shape, and abutting the other when in a closed position, when viewed from the top, that is in the horizontal plane. While in FIG. 6, each jaw also includes a jaw base 37, which is semicircular in shape and which is disposed at a generally 90 degree angle to the respective jaw side 39. The edge 40 of each jaw 23's base 37 has a centrally disposed mirror image semicircular cutout 38. The total circular opening formed from both openings 38, i.e. the two semicircles define a circular opening which is sized large enough to surround the shaft of a golf tee when closed, beneath the cup portion of the tee. Refer back to FIG. 2 where a tee 98 is shown in retention in the closed position of the two jaws 23 abutting one another on their bottom surface.

[0035] The mounting of the two coil springs 27 is also demonstrated in FIG. 6. The two springs lie in opposed mirror image arc segments an equal amount inward along the respective side 39 of its jaw 23. The pair of springs are mounted such that one end is one jaw and the other end is on the respective same side of the opposite jaw. When in the closed position an interface is formed between the two jaws. In this FIGURE the two coil springs are in their relaxed state.

[0036] The reader should now turn to FIG. 7, the bottom view showing the jaws 23 in open position. Contrast this view with FIG. 6 which shows the entire grab unit 20, to fully understand the movement of the jaws. Here the springs have been moved from a first relaxed position to a second tensed position, as the jaws are opened from their interface, by a tugging upwardly on the two wires connected to the trigger 15. When the trigger is moved upwardly, thus tugging on the wires, the two jaws pivot each on the pair of pivot bolts aforementioned, to open as shown in FIG. 7 to thus reveal the hemispherically shaped cup having a bottom facing opening and which is recessed within the jaws. The pair of coil springs 27 are moved from an at rest position to a stretched position. When the trigger arms are released, they return downwardly within the slot, and the coil springs 27 relax, such that the jaws re-close.

[0037] The cup 25 has a central bore 26 therein at its closed end, to which is cemented or otherwise attached, hollow tubular shaft 17. See FIG. 7.

[0038] FIGS. 8 and 9 depict the upper area of the shaft 17 in two different orientations used to show the relative placement of the trigger 15. Trigger 15 has two arms, 15A, one of which is disposed through a slot 13A and other through a slot 13B in the side wall of the tubular shaft. These two aligned slots 13A, 13B, communicate with each other in combination with the interior of the tubular shaft 17. For comfort of the user the trigger 15 may be preferably slightly arcuate as shown in FIG. 9, but such is not required. The trigger members 15 may be rubber covered by a sleeve 16 or spaghetti, to enhance user comfort. A cap 11 closes off the end of the tubular shaft distant from the grab unit 20. Such cap 11 may be threaded on, adhered, or integrally molded in place with the formation of the shaft.

[0039] FIG. 10 is a view from the same vantage point as FIG. 7. From this view it is easy to see that cup 25 is sized to readily receive golf ball 97. It is also seen that the two jaws 23 separate adequately upon opening to permit the ball 97 to be fully enveloped by the grab unit 20 such that when the jaws 23 close, the ball 97 is totally within the grab unit 20.

[0040] In FIG. 11, the internal operating mechanism of this device is seen. The trigger arms 15A of trigger 15 are each seen to be a slightly arcuate wire segment connected by a U-shaped center section 15U. Each of the two control wires 21 are knotted through the base or crook of the U-shaped center section 15U and are retained by cleat 62 from becoming unknotted.

[0041] While not illustrated, a single wire may be used to serve as both control wires 21, by being tied at the midpoint into the U-shaped section 15U, while also being crimped into position to prevent disengagement in a manner similar to that done in a two-wire system.

[0042] In FIG. 12, a small accessory is seen the mountable to the shaft 17. A Velcro® pad 52 is adhered to the shaft 17, and a matingly engageable complimentary pad 53 also of Velcro® is attached to a pencil or pen 54. The writing instrument can be removed for use as needed to keep score, yet is always present when needed, disposed along the shaft away from the trigger 15.

METHOD OF USE

[0043] When a player is desirous of retrieving a ball, from the hole or from on the grass, he/she lifts the trigger arms 15 upwardly within the slots 13A,13B [FIG. 8]. Such effort tugs on the two wires 21 [FIG. 11]. The two wires, when raised by the triggers 15, pull the binding posts 22 upwardly, causing the jaws 23 to pivot open. The jaws which partially overlie the cup, move in an arc upwardly to reveal the cup 25. The cup is placed in contact with ball 97 and such “impact” can be perceived by the user. He/she then releases the trigger arms 15, which then move downwardly and the jaws are brought back to a closed position by the two springs 27, which want to relax, the jaws close underneath the ball 97 and cause it to be retained totally within the confines of the grab unit 20. A second actuation of the trigger when the device is raised off the ground, causes the jaws to open again and the ball to fall by gravitational pull.

[0044] The effort to retrieve a tee requires the same motion. Actuation once to retrieve, actuation a second time of the trigger to drop the tee. If the tee 98 is vertically disposed in the ground, the semicircular cutouts 38 fit around the shaft of the tee when closed around the vertical tee. A tug on the device upwardly removes the tee from the ground.

[0045] If the tee is lying down, a push motion of one jaw upon the tee 98, not unlike a dust pan and brush is used to capture the tee within the confines of the two jaws 23 and cup 25.

[0046] It is seen that I have developed a tool useful for golfers like Casey Martin who must ride in a cart, as well as for other aged and infirm players who have difficulty bending over to retrieve the ball and/or tee. The device of this invention is light weight, and the body of which can be made of plastic such as PVC or ABS, in white or in colors. It is within the skill of the art to determine the exact resistance needed in the coil springs 27, which may be approximately ¼ inch in diameter.

[0047] Since certain changes may be made in the above described apparatus without departing from the scope of the invention herein involved, it is intended that matter contained in the above description and shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.