Title:
Universal bracket for mounting a variety of golf accessories on a golf cart
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bracket for a golf cart is provided for mounting one of a variety of golfing accessories on a golf cart. The bracket includes a golf cart mounting surface being adapted to attach to the structure of the golf cart on both a driver side and passenger side of the golf cart. The bracket also includes an accessory mounting surface being adapted to attach to one of a variety of golfing accessories on both the driver side and passenger side of the golf cart. Additionally, the bracket is provided with at least one and preferably two vertical gussets extending between the cart mounting surface and the accessory mounting surface. The gussets brace against movement of the accessory mounting surface relative to the cart mounting surface.



Inventors:
Winkler, David R. (Pacific, MO, US)
Application Number:
09/827354
Publication Date:
10/10/2002
Filing Date:
04/05/2001
Assignee:
Covered Solutions, Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B55/60; A63B57/00; A63B71/00; (IPC1-7): A47F5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MARSH, STEVEN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Thompson Coburn LLP (St. Louis, MO, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A bracket for mounting accessory items to a golf cart, the bracket comprising: a golf cart mounting surface being configured to permit the bracket to be mounted at a selected position on a selected structure of the golf cart, the golf cart mounting surface being arranged to permit the bracket to be mounted on one of a variety of makes and models of the golf cart without alteration of the golf cart or the cart mounting surface; an accessory mounting surface connected to the cart mounting surface, the accessory mounting surface being configured to attach to one of a variety of golf accessories without alteration of the one of a variety of golf accessories or the accessory mounting surface, the accessory mounting surface being configured to permit mounting of the one of a variety of golf accessories at a selected location of the one of a variety of golf accessories relative to the golf cart when the cart mounting surface is mounted to the selected position of the bracket relative to the golf cart; and a gusset extending between said mounting surfaces to resist relative deflection therebetween.

2. The bracket of claim 1, wherein the cart mounting surface has a left mounting area and a right mounting area and the left mounting area is used to attach the bracket to the structure of the golf cart on a driver side of the golf cart and the right mounting area is used to mount the bracket to a structure of the golf cart on a passenger side of the golf cart.

3. The bracket of claim 2, wherein the left and right mounting areas of the cart mounting surface each include a hole pattern and each of the hole patterns share a common slotted hole.

4. The bracket of claim 1, wherein the accessory mounting surface has a first mounting area and a second mounting area and the first mounting area is used to attach the one of a variety of golf accessories to the bracket when the bracket is mounted on the driver side of the golf cart and the second mounting area is used to attach the one of a variety of golf accessories to the bracket when the bracket is mounted to the passenger side of the golf cart.

5. The bracket of claim 4, wherein the accessory mounting surface includes a plurality of holes that are arranged to permit the one of a variety of golf accessories to be attached to the bracket at selected vertical and lateral positions of the one of a variety of golf accessories relative to the golf cart.

6. The bracket of claim 5, wherein the first mounting area of accessory mounting surface includes a first hole pattern that is used to mount the one of a variety of golf accessories to the bracket when the bracket is attached to the driver side of the golf cart, and the second mounting area of the accessory mounting surface includes a second hole pattern that is used to mount the one of a variety of golf accessories to the bracket when the bracket is attached to the passenger side of the golf cart.

7. The bracket of claim 1, wherein the one of a variety of golf accessories includes a golf ball washer.

8. The bracket of claim 1, wherein the one of a variety of golf accessories includes a basket.

9. The bracket of claim 1, wherein the one of a variety of golf accessories includes a golf club washer.

10. The bracket of claim 1 wherein the one of a variety of golf accessories includes a container for beverages.

11. A bracket for mounting one of a variety of golfing accessories on a golf cart wherein the golf cart has a mounting means for attaching a rear basket to a structure of the golf cart, a rear golf bag storage area and a strap for retaining a golf bag in the rear golf bag storage area, the bracket comprising: a golf cart mounting surface being adapted to attach to the structure of the golf cart on both a driver side and passenger side of the golf cart outboard of the rear basket using the mounting means for mounting the rear basket to the structure of the golf cart; an accessory mounting surface connected to the cart mounting surface, the accessory mounting surface being adapted to attach to one of a variety of golfing accessories on both the driver side and passenger side of the golf cart outboard of the rear basket; and a gusset extending between the golf cart mounting surface and the accessory mounting surface.

12. The bracket of claim 11, further comprising a horizontal spacing member intermediate the cart mounting surface and the accessory mounting surface, the horizontal spacing member spacing the accessory mounting surface laterally away from the cart mounting surface whereby the one of the variety of golf accessories is spaced away from the structure of the golf cart and the golf bag storage area thereby making the one of a variety of golfing accessories accessible by a person without interference from the structure of the golf cart and the golf bag retaining means.

13. The bracket of claim 11, further comprising a vertical extension member intermediate the cart mounting surface and the accessory mounting surface, the vertical extension member being obliquely angled to the cart mounting surface and extending adjacent to the rear basket as the vertical extension member depends from the cart mounting surface, the vertical extension member abutting the rear basket thereby preventing the bracket from substantially moving relative to the cart mounting surface.

14. The bracket of claim 11, wherein the mounting means for mounting the rear basket to the golf carts includes mechanical fasteners and the cart mounting surface is configured to receive at least one of the mechanical fasteners when the bracket is attached to the structure of the golf cart.

15. A bracket for mounting one of a variety of golfing accessories on a golf cart, the bracket comprising: a golf cart mounting surface being adapted to attach to the structure of the golf cart on either of a driver side and passenger side of the golf cart; an accessory mounting surface being adapted to attach to one of a variety of golfing accessories on either the driver side and passenger side of the golf cart; and at least one vertical gusset extending between the cart mounting surface and the accessory mounting surface, the gusset bracing against movement of the accessory mounting surface relative to the cart mounting surface.

16. The bracket of claim 15, further comprising a vertical extension member and a horizontal spacing member intermediate the cart mounting surface and the accessory mounting surface, the vertical extension member depending from the cart mounting surface and the horizontal spacing member spacing the accessory mounting surface laterally away from the structure of the golf cart, the gusset attaching to the cart mounting surface, horizontal spacing member and vertical extension member.

17. The bracket of claim 16, wherein the vertical extension member is obliquely angled to the cart mounting surface and abuts the structure of the golf cart as it depends from the cart mounting surface thereby preventing movement of the bracket relative to the golf cart.

18. The bracket of claim 16 wherein the horizontal spacing member spaces the accessory mounting surface laterally away from the cart mounting surface whereby the one of the variety of golf accessories is spaced away from the structure of the golf cart thereby making the one of a variety of golfing accessories accessible by a person without interference from the structure of the golf cart.

19. The bracket of claim 16, wherein the cart mounting surface, vertical extension member, horizontal spacing member, gusset, and accessory mounting surface are formed monolithically.

20. The bracket of claim 16, wherein the cart mounting surface, vertical extension member, horizontal spacing member, and accessory mounting surface are formed monolithically.

21. The bracket of claim 16, wherein the cart mounting surface, vertical extension member, horizontal spacing member, and accessory mounting surface are formed from a single blank stock piece of material.

22. The bracket of claim 15, wherein the at least one gusset is a triangular shaped planar member.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] (1) Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention pertains to a bracket used to attach a variety of golf accessories to a golf cart and at different locations on the cart. Specifically, the invention pertains to an improved design for such a bracket for mounting golf accessories to a golf cart. The bracket is more durable and stronger, and permits attaching a wide variety of golf accessories to a wide variety of makes and models of golf carts, thereby rendering it as a universal bracket.

[0003] (2) Description of the Related Art

[0004] It is generally known to equip a golf cart with the accessories that a golfer may need in the course of playing a round of golf. Golf carts generally have golf tee holder and golf ball holders, score card clips, and various other baskets and containers to hold and store personal belongings and other items that the golfer may need or desire during the course of playing a round of golf. During a round of golf, it is estimated that a golfer may walk anywhere between 5 and 10 miles, depending upon the golfer's shots including his ability to keep the ball within the central portion of the course and the layout of the golf course. Thus, the golf cart is used to bring the necessary items along so that the golfer need not carry the items individually, thus adding enjoyment to the game.

[0005] In addition to the more common items found on a golf cart previously mentioned, it is often desired include a beverage container such as a cooler for beverages. Generally, these coolers are sized to accommodate 6 or 12 standard can size beverages. It is also desired to include a ball and/or a golf club washer on the golf cart for the golfer's convenience. Many times, these accessories are added after the initial purchase of a golf cart in order to suit the individual tastes of the user. Because of the weight and size of these items, they are mounted in areas of the golf cart that do not obstruct the passenger compartment or the golf bag storage area generally found at the rear of the golf cart. Generally speaking, a convenient area to mount such items is along the side of the golf cart above each of the two rear wheel fenders. In this way, these golf accessories may be accessed from the side of the golf cart. During the course of playing a round of golf, the golfer is frequently in this area of the golf cart, and such a location is convenient, for instance, when cleaning a club or a ball before returning it to the golf bag for storage.

[0006] Conventionally, these accessories have been mounted to the golf cart in this area by attaching them to the frame of the golf cart that is used to support the roof/canopy over the passenger compartment. These golf accessories have been mounted to support fixtures that attach directly to the frame with mechanical fasteners, or by using other types of fastening devices such as “u”-shaped bolts that clamp around this support frame of the golf cart. A support fixture 20 of the prior art is shown in FIG. 1. The support fixture 20 is typically used to mount a basket that holds a beverage container to the golf cart. The support fixture 20 has an elongate vertical section 22 extending between a horizontal attachment section 24 and a vertical attachment section 26. The horizontal attachment section 24 has two spaced apart holes 28 that receive mechanical fasteners therethrough and allow the support fixture 20 to be mounted to the frame of the golf cart. The vertical attachment section 26 has slotted holes 30 that receive a second set of mechanical fasteners to attach the basket to the support fixture 20. The slotted holes 30 provide limited vertical adjustment. The beverage container or cooler is then inserted in the basket. The elongate vertical section 22 is provided with a pair of spaced apart holes 32 to give the support fixture 20 an alternate method of attaching the support fixture 20 to the frame of the golf cart depending upon the make and model of the golf cart.

[0007] The arrangement of “u”- bolts 34 as shown in FIG. 2 is commonly used when attaching a ball washer, a club washer or combination ball/club washer to the golf cart. In this case the washer element 36 is provided with an underside support arm 40 and the “u”-bolts clamp 34 around a frame 42 of a golf cart 44, thus drawing the underside support arm 40 tightly against the frame 42.

[0008] It has been seen that these types of attachment devices have many drawbacks. The support fixture of this type is not generally sturdy enough to withstand the use and abuse experienced by these aforementioned golf accessories. The support fixture tends to flex when the basket to which the support fixture is attached is loaded. Moreover, when the golf cart is operated, the support fixture does not dampen this flexing and often the basket and its contents are excessively vibrated or shaken. This in turn often causes undesired agitation of beverages in the cooler or breakage of the glass containers placed inside of the cooler. As a golf course commonly has a hilly terrain with bumps and other obstacles, operation of the golf cart with such support fixtures installed thereon will inevitably cause undesired bouncing and vibration of the basket and its contents.

[0009] When using a golf cart and the accessories attached to it with these types of support fixtures, the support fixtures often become fatigued and bend or even break. As the objects in the basket are accessed, the force used during such access often causes the support fixture to become distorted causing the basket to become skewed. Additionally, the support fixtures generally do not optimally position the golf accessory on the golf cart. Thus, when an object such as a beverage container is placed in the basket, the object often interferes with the frame of structure of the golf cart, the rear golf bag storage area, and the retaining means used to hold the golf bags in the rear storage area. Often because of the arrangement of the vertical frame members on the golf cart that support the roof or canopy over the passenger compartment, the standard size beverage container cannot be conveniently accessed. Consequently, the basket and/or support fixture is often manually adjusted and flexed to alleviate the problem. However, such manual adjustment tends to cause further damage to the support fixture including fatigue failure of the support fixture, basket, frame and the mechanical fasteners used to secure the support fixture to the frame. Along with the damage caused during the normal use of the golf cart, the golf carts are often stored in close proximity to each other when not in use. Because these baskets project from the side of the golf cart, the basket and support fixture is often damaged inadvertently from other objects placed in close proximity to the golf cart. As the basket often becomes skewed as described previously, the basket and/or support fixture is often later manually adjusted, causing many of the same problems just described.

[0010] The “u”-bolt fastener of the prior art has similar problems. Because of the weight of the accessory held by the “u”-bolt, the “u”-bolt fastener often causes damage to the frame of the golf cart. Generally speaking, the frame of the golf cart is an extruded aluminum member and the “u”-bolt is a steel member. The difference in material often precipitates fretting wear damage to the frame. Additionally because of the relative high forces used when operating the ball and/or club washer, the frame is subjected to twisting forces that further damage the frame and also break the plastic support bracket. Also, the “u”-bolt has a similar problem to the support fixture in that it causes excessive vibration and or flexing of the underside support arm that in turn causes undesired agitation and/or vibration of the washer element.

[0011] Therefore, what is needed is an apparatus for mounting a golfing accessory to a golf cart that is sufficiently rigid and durable to withstand repeated use of the golf accessory and the weight of the golf accessory during normal use of the golf cart. Such an apparatus would be comparative in cost to existing support fixtures and “u”-bolt fasteners. Such an apparatus would be able to be mounted to many different makes and models of golf carts without significant alteration of the apparatus or the golf cart. Such an apparatus would be compatible with a variety of different types of golf accessories allowing mounting of the accessory on the golf cart without significant alteration of the accessory or the apparatus. Such an apparatus would be durable and maintain the functionality of other areas of the golf cart.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0012] The bracket of the present invention is an improvement to the prior art support fixtures and “u”-bolts currently used to attach golf accessories to a golf cart. The bracket of the present invention allows attaching a wide variety of golf accessories to a golf cart. The bracket of the present invention also allows attaching one of a variety of golf accessories to a wide variety of makes and models of golf carts. In this way, the bracket of the present invention may be retrofitted onto many existing golf carts expanding the functionality of the golf cart and the functionality of the golf accessory.

[0013] The bracket of the present invention has an improved design over the apparatus of the prior art giving it more durability and a longer life. The bracket of the present invention is able to withstand more extreme use during operation of the golf cart. The bracket of the present invention includes a golf cart mounting surface that is configured to permit the bracket to be mounted at a selected position on a selected structure of the golf cart. The golf cart mounting surface is arranged to permit the bracket to be mounted on a variety of makes and models of the golf carts without alteration of the golf cart or the cart mounting surface. The bracket also includes an accessory mounting surface operably connected to the cart mounting surface. The accessory mounting surface is configured to attach to one of a variety of golf accessories without alteration of the golf accessory or the accessory mounting surface. The accessory mounting surface is configured to permit mounting of the golf accessory at a selected location relative to the golf cart. Depending on the chosen bracket position on the golf cart, the accessory mounting surface is configured to allow mounting of the golf accessory with sufficient access and without interference from the structure of the golf cart on which the bracket is mounted.

[0014] The bracket of the present invention is preferably provided with a horizontal spacing member intermediate the cart mounting surface and the accessory mounting surface. The horizontal spacing member spaces the accessory mounting surface laterally away from the cart mounting surface. Thus, when the one of the variety of golf accessories is mounted on the accessory mounting surface, the golf accessory is spaced away from the structure of the golf cart. This makes the golfing accessory accessible by a person or golfer without interference from the structure of the golf cart itself. The bracket also preferably includes a vertical extension member that positions the accessory mounting surface at a desirable height relative to the golf cart to make the golf accessory more accessible to the golfer. The bracket includes at least one and preferably two vertical gussets extending between the cart mounting surface and the accessory mounting surface. The gussets brace against movement of the accessory mounting surface relative to the cart mounting surface, thus providing further rigidity for the bracket.

[0015] The bracket of the present invention provides a universal interface between a wide variety of golf accessories and a wide variety of makes and models of golf carts. While the principal advantages and features of the present invention have been discussed above, a fuller understanding of the invention may be attained by referring to the description of the preferred embodiment which follows.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

[0016] Further objects and features of the invention are revealed in the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment of the invention and in the drawing figures wherein:

[0017] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a support fixture of the prior art;

[0018] FIG. 2 is a partial rear view of a golf cart with a golf accessory mounted on the golf cart using a “u”-bolt of the prior art;

[0019] FIG. 3 is a front elevation view of a bracket of the present invention;

[0020] FIG. 4 is a side elevation view of the bracket of FIG. 3;

[0021] FIG. 5 is a plan view of the bracket of FIG. 3;

[0022] FIG. 6 is partial rear view of a golf cart with a golf accessory mounted on the golf cart using the bracket of FIG. 3;

[0023] FIG. 7 is a partial side view of a golf cart with a golf accessory mounted on the golf cart using the bracket of FIG. 3;

[0024] FIG. 8 is a partial rear view of a golf cart with golf accessories mounted on the golf cart using the bracket of FIG. 3; and

[0025] FIG. 9 is partial plan view of the golf cart of FIG. 8.

[0026] Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views of the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0027] The preferred embodiment of the bracket 50 of the present invention is best shown in FIGS. 3, 4, and 5. The bracket 50 includes a cart mounting surface 52 arranged horizontally on the bracket 50 and an accessory mounting surface 54 that is arranged generally vertically on the bracket 50. The accessory mounting 54 surface is generally perpendicular to the cart mounting surface 52 but spaced laterally and vertically away from the cart mounting surface 52, as will be explained later. One and preferably two vertically extending gussets 56 are provided intermediate of the cart mounting surface 52 and the accessory mounting surface 54. The gussets 56 brace against relative movement between the accessory mounting surface 54 and the cart mounting surface 54, thus stiffening the bracket 50

[0028] Preferably, the bracket 50 is provided with a vertical extension member 58 and a horizontal spacing member 60 intermediate of the cart mounting surface 52 and the accessory mounting surface 54. The vertical extension member 58 depends from the cart mounting surface 52 at an oblique angle 62 relative to the cart mounting surface 52. The oblique angle 62 enables the bracket 50 to abut a structure 64 of a golf cart 66 when the bracket 50 is installed on the golf cart 66. The abutting contact between the bracket 50 and a structure 64 of the golf cart 66 further stabilizes the bracket 50 and prevents unwanted movement therebetween as will be explained later. By eliminating any gap between the bracket 50and the structure 64, the aesthetics of the cart are also improved. Preferably, the angle 62 is between 5 and 10 degrees off vertical but may be any other angle as necessary depending on the orientation of the abutting structure 64 of the golf cart 66. The vertical extension member 58 as well as the vertically extending gusset 56 is dimensioned according to the size dimensions of a golf accessory 70 and its accessibility requirements.

[0029] The horizontal spacing member 60 extends laterally away from the vertical extension member 58 and preferably defines a horizontal plane that is parallel to the cart mounting surface 52. The horizontal spacing member 60 laterally spaces the accessory mounting surface 54 from the cart mounting surface 52 and therefore the golf cart structure 64, as will be explained later. The horizontal spacing member 60 is preferably arranged perpendicular to the accessory mounting surface 54 although the accessory mounting surface 54 may be arranged off vertical 1 to 3 degrees. In this way, when the golf accessory 70 is mounted to the bracket 50, the weight of the golf accessory 70 causes the accessory mounting surface 54 to deflect slightly under the load causing the golf accessory 70 to be more vertically aligned relative to the bracket 50.

[0030] One or more vertically extending gussets 56 are provided intermediate of the cart mounting surface 52 and the accessory mounting surface 54. Preferably, the gussets 56 attach to the vertical extension member 58, the horizontal spacing member 60 and the cart mounting surface 52. Two gussets are preferably provided to add strength to the bracket 50 and to give the bracket 50 a cosmetic appeal from its symmetrical look. As the vertical extension member 58 is obliquely angled and is arranged off vertical, the gusset 56 is preferably arranged as a triangular shaped planar member. Each gusset may have non-communicating holes therethrough to reduce the weight of the bracket. The gusset may also have another shape such as a crescent shape or have another configuration such as a bar extending between the cart mounting surface 52, vertical extension member 58 and horizontal spacing member 60.

[0031] As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, another gusset 61 may be provided between horizontal spacing member 60 and the back surface corresponding to the accessory mounting surface 54 in order to further strengthen the bracket. This gusset 61 preferably is shorter than either surface to which it extends, although not necessarily so.

[0032] Preferably, the bracket 50 is made from a steel material such as hot rolled steel. More preferably, the cart mounting surface 52, vertical extension member 58, horizontal spacing member 60, and accessory mounting surface 54 are formed integrally. Even more preferably, the cart mounting surface 52, vertical extension member 58, horizontal spacing member 60, and accessory mounting surface 54 are formed monolithically from a single rectangular piece of sheet stock material. The bracket 50 may be formed from the rectangular stock blank using any number of metal cold working methods as are known in the art. The use of hot rolled steel as a material permits ease of cold working processes and stability of the finished bracket once cold worked. The vertical gussets 56 are preferably edge welded or spot welded to the cart mounting surface 52, the vertical extension member 58 and the horizontal spacing member 60. Again, hot rolled steel is preferred because of its weldability and stability after welding. Because the bracket 50 will be subjected to various environmental elements, it is desirable to coat the metallic bracket 50 with a powdered metal finish or other suitable protectant such as enamel. The bracket may also be made from other materials such as high strength plastics and common mold injection manufacturing processes. In employing such methods, the entire bracket 50 including gussets 56 may be formed monolithically from a single material.

[0033] The cart mounting surface 52 is configured to allow the bracket 50 to be mounted to a selected structure of the golf cart 66. As shown in the drawing figures, the cart mounting surface 52 is configured to allow the bracket to be mounted to the golf cart frame 64 on either a driver side 72 or a passenger side 74 of the golf cart. The cart mounting surface 52 is also configured to allow attaching the bracket 50 to another position on the golf cart 66. For instance, when a sweater basket 80 shown in FIGS. 8 and 9 is not provided with the golf cart 66, the cart mounting surface 52 may also be configured to attach to the golf cart 66 at such a position in the center of the golf cart 66 behind seats 82 in a passenger compartment 84 of the golf cart 66 and between the passenger compartment 84 and a rear golf bag storage area 86.

[0034] To facilitate mounting the bracket 50 on either the driver side 72 or passenger side 74 of the golf cart 66 for a variety of makes and models of golf carts, the cart mounting surface 52 is provided with a left mounting area 90 and a right mounting area 92. Preferably, the left and right mounting areas 90,92 are symmetrically arranged on the cart mounting surface 52. When the bracket 50 is mounted on the driver side 72 of the golf cart, the left mounting area 90 is used and when the bracket 50 is mounted on the passenger side 74 of the golf cart, the right mounting area 92is used. This allows one bracket 50 to be mounted on either side 72, 74 of the golf cart 66 without alteration of the golf cart frame or structure 64 or the cart mounting surface 52. The cart mounting surface 52 preferably includes a plurality of holes 94 where the left and right mounting areas 90, 92 each have a hole pattern 96, 98 that corresponds to a common arrangement of mechanical fasteners used on the golf cart frame or structure 64. Thus, when mounting the bracket 50 to the driver side 72 of the golf cart, the left mounting area hole pattern 96 aligns with the mechanical fastener arrangement commonly found on a driver side structure of the golf cart and when mounting the bracket 50 to the passenger side 74 of the golf cart, the right mounting area hole pattern 98 aligns with the mechanical fastener arrangement commonly found on a passenger side structure of the golf cart. Preferably, the first and second hole patterns 96, 98 have a common shared hole 100. The common hole 100 is preferably slotted to account for slight variations between the arrangement of mechanical fasteners on the driver and passenger side structures of the golf cart 66.

[0035] As shown in FIG. 5, the cart mounting surface 52 is provided with two fastener holes 94 on opposite sides of the bracket 50 outboard of each of the gussets 56 and the shared slotted common hole 100 in the center position. This positioning of the holes 94, 100 allows ease of access to the mechanical fasteners without interference from either of the gussets 56. In the configuration of the cart mounting surface 52 shown in FIG. 5, any two of the two fasteners holes 94 and the shared common slotted hole 100 are dimensioned and arranged to align with two mechanical fasteners/hole commonly found on the golf cart frame or structure 64. Thus, when installing the bracket 50 on a golf cart as shown in FIG. 7, the two outboard holes 94 align with the mechanical fasteners used to attach the sweater bracket 80 to the golf cart 66. Thus, for the make and model of the golf cart 66 shown in FIG. 7, the two outboard holes 94 need only be used regardless of whether the bracket 50 is mounted to the driver side 72 of the golf cart or the passenger side 74 of the golf cart. For other makes and model of golf carts, the left 94 and center hole 100 (the left hole pattern 96) or right 94 and center hole 100 (the right hole pattern 98) may be used depending on the side of the golf cart 66 on which the bracket 50 is to be mounted.

[0036] The accessory mounting surface 54 is also configured to allow flexibility in the attaching of the golf accessory 70 to the bracket 50. The accessory mounting surface 54 preferably includes a first mounting area 110 and a second mounting area 112 that permits attaching the golf accessory 70 at selected positions on the accessory mounting surface 54 relative to the bracket 50 depending upon the position of the bracket 50 on the golf cart 66. Preferably, when the bracket 50 is mounted to the frame or structure of the golf cart on the driver side 72 of the golf cart, the first mounting area 110 is used, and when the bracket 50 is mounted to the frame or structure of the golf cart on the passenger side 74 of the golf cart, the second mounting area 112 is used. Within each of the first and second mounting areas 110, 112, the golf accessory 70 may be selectively positioned so as to accommodate the size and accessibility requirements of the golf accessory 70. Preferably, the first and second mounting areas 110, 112 include a plurality of mounting holes 114, each arranged in a corresponding hole pattern that matches the hole pattern commonly found on the golf accessory 70. In this way, the golf accessory 70 is mounted to the accessory mounting surface 54 without alteration of the golf accessory 70 or the accessory mounting surface 54.

[0037] As shown in FIG. 3, the accessory mounting surface 54 is provided with two four-hole patterns 116, 118 on opposite sides of the accessory mounting surface 54. Preferably, each hole pattern 116, 118 is symmetrically arranged on the accessory mounting surface 54. Each hole pattern 116, 118 matches the hole pattern commonly found on the golf accessory mounting means. Referring to FIG. 7, the first four-hole pattern 116 (the left four-hole pattern as shown in FIG. 7) is used to attach a basket 120 to the accessory mounting surface 54 when the bracket 50 is mounted to the passenger side 74 of the golf cart. Accordingly, the second four-hole pattern 118 (the right four-hole pattern as shown in FIG. 7) is used to attach the basket 120 to the accessory mounting surface 54 when the bracket 50 is mounted to the driver side 72 of the golf cart. This arrangement moves or shifts the golf accessory 70 to the rear of the golf cart, which in turn creates greater accessibility for the golf accessory 70, as will be explained later. By providing a plurality of vertical holes within each hole pattern 116,118, the golf accessory 70 may also be mounted at selective vertical positions on the accessory mounting surface 54 as may be required depending upon the size and accessibility requirements of the golf accessory 70.

[0038] Referring to FIGS. 6 through 9, the mounting of the bracket 50 on the golf cart 66 and the mounting of the golf accessory 70 on the bracket 50 will be explained. As stated previously, the bracket 50 is preferably mounted to the golf cart frame or structure 64 where a person would have easy access to the golf accessory 70. Given the common arrangement of a golf cart 66, this is usually found at the side of the golf cart 66 above a rear wheel fender 122 between the passenger compartment 84 and the rear golf bag storage area 86. As shown in FIGS. 6 through 9, the bracket 50 is mounted on the golf cart frame 64 between the seats 82 in the passenger compartment 84 and the rear golf bag storage area 86. The bracket 50 attaches to the golf cart 66 using the same mechanical fasteners 124 used to secure the sweater basket 80 to the golf cart 66. The cart mounting surface 52 is arranged to fit under the frame 64 and accept the mechanical fasteners 124 from the sweater basket 80. Thus, in attaching the bracket 50 to the golf cart 66, the nut 126 of each of the mechanical fasteners 124 for sweater basket 80 need only be removed. The cart mounting surface 52 is then placed adjacent the frame 64 and attached to the cart 66 using the same fasteners 124 and nuts 126. In this position, the bracket vertical extension member 58 abuts the side of the sweater basket 80 providing enhanced rigidity and stability for the bracket 50. As stated previously, the vertical extension member 58 depends from the cart mounting surface 52 at the oblique angle 62 which in this case matches the side angle of the sweater basket 80.

[0039] The horizontal spacing member 60 laterally positions the accessory mounting surface 54 and golf accessory 70 so that the golf accessory 70 may be accessed without interference from the golf cart frame 64, the passenger seats 82, rear golf bag storage area 86, or a rear golf bag storage area retaining means 128 that is generally positioned across the rear of the sweater basket across the rear golf bag storage area 86. For instance, the horizontal spacing member 60 has sufficient length to enable a person to freely open the lid of a standard 12 beverage container or cooler 130 placed in the basket 120. However, the length is dimensioned so as to maintain the rigidity of the bracket 50 as is critical during operation of a ball and/or club washer element 132 that may be attached thereto. Additionally, the horizontal spacing member 60 must be dimensioned so as to limit the distance the golf accessory 70 projects from the side of the golf cart 66. As shown in FIG. 6 and 7, the golf accessory 70 is positioned above the rear wheel fender 122 and the bracket 50 entirely supports the weight of the golf accessory 70.

[0040] As stated previously, the accessory mounting surface 54 is provided with first and second mounting areas 110,112. This enables the golf accessory 70 to be selectively positioned on the bracket 50 to accommodate the size and accessibility requirements of the golf accessory 70. In the case of the standard 12 beverage container or cooler 130, it is desirable to shift the center of the cooler 130 rearward in the golf cart 66 toward the rear golf bag storage area 86. This enables one to more freely open the lid of the beverage container 130 without obstruction from the golf cart frame or structure 64 or the passenger seats 82, especially a vertical frame member 134 that supports the golf cart canopy over the passenger compartment 84. However, the accessory mounting surface 54 must be sized accordingly so that the golf accessory 70 does not foul the rear golf bag storage area 86 or the retaining means 128 for holding the golf bags within the storage area when the accessory 70 is installed on the bracket 50.

[0041] The bracket of the present invention is an improvement to the support fixtures of the prior art. The bracket of the present invention provides a universal interface between any number of makes and models of golf carts and any number of types of golf accessories. The bracket provides a rigid support for golf accessories and the bracket is capable of withstanding more extreme forces during normal use when the golf accessory is accessed and/or operated. Moreover, the bracket eliminates unwanted vibration and flexing as the cart is driven so as to stabilize the golf accessory and prevent unwanted agitation or vibration of beverages or the like. Through its universality, it may be conveniently offered by an after market supplier as capable of satisfying many needs and yet be stocked and/or supplied as a single part, thereby reducing inventory requirements and the like.

[0042] In view of the above, it will be seen that the several objects of the invention are achieved and other advantageous results attained. As various other changes could be made in the above construction without departing from the scope of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense. The terms “left” and “right” have been used in a general sense for ease of description and to illustrate the cooperative relationship of the elements of the apparatus of the invention. It is not intended to limit the invention in any way from the use of such terms. The invention shall be limited solely by the scope of the claims set forth below and their legal equivalents.





 
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