Title:
Wrap style hand grip
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A wrap style hand grip (8) with a multiple material surface throughout the length of the grip has an elastomeric body (10) with a spiral formed channel 12 therein. A strip (18) of alternative material is disposed within the spiral formed channel (12) and in combination with the exposed upper surface (17) thereon forms the wrap style hand grip which is particularly suited for use as a golf club grip.



Inventors:
Ulrich, James Jay (Laurinburg, NC, US)
Wyckoff, Dennis Chester (Laurinburg, NC, US)
Application Number:
10/054170
Publication Date:
07/24/2003
Filing Date:
01/22/2002
Assignee:
Eaton Corporation (Cleveland, OH, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B49/08; A63B53/14; A63B59/06; A63B59/00; (IPC1-7): A63B53/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BLAU, STEPHEN LUTHER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Eaton (CLEVELAND, OH, US)
Claims:

We claim:



1. A wrap style hand grip, comprising: an elastomeric body having a generally cylindrical shape, said elastomeric body further having a bore constructed to be slidably received on a workpiece, said elastomeric body having a spiral formed channel extending from an upper portion of said elastomeric body to a lower portion thereof; and a strip of alternative material disposed within said spiral formed channel in combination forming the wrap style hand grip with a multiple material surface.

2. A wrap style hand grip according to claim 1, wherein said strip comprises a material being a member selected from the group consisting of leather, polyurethane, natural fabric, synthetic fabric, natural textile, synthetic cork, thermoplastic material, thermoset material, foamed rubber, and combinations thereof.

3. A wrap style hand grip according to claim 1, wherein said strip comprises a foamed rubber layer bonded to a polyurethane layer.

4. A wrap style hand grip according to claim 1, wherein said strip comprises a polyurethane layer of material.

5. A wrap style hand grip according to claim 1, wherein said elastomeric body comprises an integrally formed cap.

6. A wrap style hand grip according to claim 1, wherein said elastomeric body further comprises a slot at an upper portion of said elastomeric body for receiving one end of said strip.

7. A wrap style hand grip according to claim 6, wherein said strip comprises a tapered starting end constructed to be slidably received within said slot.

8. A wrap style hand grip according to claim 7, wherein said strip further comprises a tapered trailing end constructed to conform with said spiral formed channel at the lower portion of said hand grip.

9. In a slip-on golf club grip fabricated from an elastomer, the improvement comprises a spiral channel extending from an upper portion of the golf club grip to a lower portion of the golf club grip, said spiral channel being constructed to receive a strip of an alternative material for providing a wrap style golf club grip.

10. The slip-on golf club grip as recited in claim 9, wherein said golf club grip further comprises an integrally formed cap.

11. The slip-on golf club grip as recited in claim 9, wherein said golf club grip further comprises a slot in an upper portion of said golf club grip for receiving one end of said strip.

12. A method for making a wrap style hand grip, comprising the steps of: providing a generally cylindrical body portion made from an elastomer; forming a spiral channel therein, the spiral channel extending from an upper portion of the body to a lower portion of the body, the body portion having a bore therein adapted to slide onto an end of a workpiece; and disposing a strip of material within said channel and retaining it therein for making the wrap style hand grip.

13. A method as recited in claim 12, further comprising the step of providing a slot on the upper portion of the hand grip for receiving one end of the strip.

14. A method for making a wrap style hand grip according to claim 13, further comprising the step of forming the strip of material with a foamed polyurethane layer of material.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates in general to a hand grip, and more particularly to a slip-on hand grip with a multiple material surface suitable for use with many tools or items such as a wrap style golf club grip.

[0003] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0004] There are many different types of hand grips used today for a wide variety of items, including without limitation, tools (hammer handles, etc.), racquets (hand ball, badminton, or tennis racquets), bats (baseball or softball), pool cues, umbrellas, fishing rods, or the like. As employed herein, the term “hand grip” is meant to include all of these items as well as others even though the present invention is particularly suited for use as a golf club grip and reference is made specifically thereto. It should be immediately apparent that the present invention is applicable to any of the aforementioned applications among other applications for a hand grip.

[0005] Slip-on golf club grips made of a molded rubber material or synthetic plastic are well known in the golf industry. The term “slip-on” as employed herein refers to a grip made of one type of material that slides on to a shaft or handle and is secured by way of an adhesive or the like. Slip-on grips are available in many shapes and forms. They can be buffed to leave some cord through the rubber compound to provide a variety of grip styles and feel.

[0006] Wrap style golf grips are also known in the industry. In the past, golf club grips were simply leather or cloth wraps around the golf club shaft. Then, synthetic materials were employed to replace the leather or the cloth. More recently, the wraps are made from various resilient materials that are spirally wrapped about the shaft of the golf club, or alternatively about a sleeve positioned on the golf club shaft as described, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. Re. 35,673.

[0007] Existing wrap styles of hand grips heretofore have all been constructed of a single surface material throughout the grip, and particularly where the hands grip the hand grip. By “single surface material”, it is meant that the surface of the grip is the same material. These existing single surface material wrap style hand grips are lacking in terms of variation in cosmetic or aesthetic appearance and feel throughout the functional length of gripping surface of the hand grip.

[0008] There still exists a need for an improved hand grip which can offer the economic and durability advantages of a slip-on hand grip with the styling and hand feel of a wrap style hand grip. Such a hand club grip would offer a multiple material surface for improved appearance, and a more positive grip in all types of weather and/or playing conditions. The hand grip would be easy on the hands and provide a superior grip with a longer life.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] Accordingly, an object of the present invention is to provide an improved wrap style hand grip with a multiple material surface.

[0010] Another object of the present invention is to provide a wrap style grip that offers the durability of a slip-on hand grip, and yet provides a good grip in all weather and/or playing conditions.

[0011] Still another object of the present invention is to provide a wrap style golf club grip with a multiple material surface that has a distinctive and pleasant appearance as well as the convenience and economy of a one-piece slip-on golf grip.

[0012] The above and other objects of the present invention are accomplished with a wrap style hand grip comprising an elastomeric body having a generally cylindrical shape. The elastomeric body includes a bore constructed to be slidably received on a workpiece. The elastomeric body further includes a spiral formed channel extending from an upper portion of the elastomeric body to a lower portion thereof. A strip of an alternative material to the elastomeric body is constructed to be disposed within the spiral formed channel for forming the wrap style hand grip with a multiple material surface. The strip may be made of a material that includes without limitation polyurethane, leather, a natural fabric or textile, a synthetic fabric or textile, a synthetic plastic or rubber material, a thermoplastic or thermoset material, or any combination thereof.

[0013] The present invention is also directed to a method for making a wrap style hand grip which includes the steps of providing a generally cylindrical body portion made from an elastomer, forming a spiral channel in the elastomeric body from an upper portion of the body to a lower portion of the body, and disposing a strip of an alternative material within the spiral channel to make the wrap style hand grip.

[0014] The various features of novelty which characterize the invention are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages, and specific objects attained by its uses, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, and descriptive matter in which a preferred embodiment of the invention is illustrated.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of the wrap style hand grip as a golf club grip in accordance with the present invention;

[0016] FIG. 2 is a side elevational view showing the elastomeric body as a golf club grip in accordance with the present invention;

[0017] FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the golf club grip;

[0018] FIG. 4 is a bottom plan view of the golf club grip;

[0019] FIG. 5 is a front elevational view of a portion of the strip in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0020] FIG. 6 is a side elevational view of a portion of the strip in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the present invention; and

[0021] FIG. 7 is a sectional view of a portion of the wrap style golf club grip.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0022] Referring to the figures, which are not intended to limit the present invention thereto, and where like numerals designate like or similar features throughout the several views, and first in particular to FIG. 1, there is shown a wrap style hand grip as a golf club grip generally designated 8 in accordance with the present invention. As mentioned previously, the present invention is applicable to any item employing a slip-on hand grip and is not intended to be limited to only golf grips. Slip-on golf grips are widely used in the industry and may even be considered “conventional golf grips”. These grips are typically made of an elastomeric material like a rubber compound or a synthetic plastic. The terms “elastomer”, “rubber compound”, “synthetic plastic”, “thermoplastic”, “thermoset material”, or simply “rubber” are used herein interchangeably and are intended to refer to the same material. There are many rubber compounds known in the industry for making a wide variety of slip-on hand grips. These materials offer convenience, economy, and durability. Additionally, the rubber compounds provide good hand feel or grip characteristics desirable in the industry. The material is easy on the hands and yet can provide a positive grip in all types of weather and playing conditions.

[0023] As shown in FIG. 1, the body portion 10 of the golf grip is made of rubber and has a generally cylindrical shape. The body 10 of grip 8 includes a bore 11 therein as seen only in FIG. 4. Bore 11 has a diameter that conforms to the diameter of a shaft or handle, also referred to as a workpiece herein. Bore 11 is adapted to allow the hand grip 8 to be slidably received on the workpiece. Preferably, body 10 further includes a taper that conforms to the workpiece, in this illustrative example, a golf shaft (a portion shown in dashed lines in FIG. 2) on which the golf grip readily slips on and is adhered thereto with a known adhesive. FIGS. 3 and 4 show top and bottom plan views of the tapered golf club grip. The maintenance and installation of slip-on golf grips is well known and requires no detailed explanation here. Grip replacement is a relatively quick and inexpensive process and is performed by most golf professionals and/or professional club makers.

[0024] The elastomeric body 10 has a spiral formed channel 12 that extends from an upper portion 14 of the elastomeric body 10 down to a lower portion 16. An exposed upper surface 17 remains on the elastomeric body 10 as a result of the spiral channel 12. This exposed upper surface 17 is the first part of the multiple material surface of the grip 8. The term “multiple material surface” as employed herein is meant to refer to the surface of the grip being made of different types of materials. It should be understood that the terms “upper portion” and “lower portion” as employed herein are with reference to the golf club grip 8 in its normal orientation. The “upper portion” for a hand grip is that portion nearest the end of the shaft or handle of the workpiece. The “lower portion” is the opposite end of the grip.

[0025] Spiral formed channel 12 is constructed of a width (w1) and a depth (d) that is sized to accommodate a strip 18 (also referred to as a wrap) of alternative material which is positioned within the spiral formed channel 12. The term “alternative material” as used herein is meant to refer to a second or different type of material from the elastomeric body 10. In FIG. 1, the strip 18 is shown in dashed lines and in combination with body 10 forms the wrap style golf club grip 8 according to the present invention. The elastomer body 10 and channel 12 may be formed preferably with a two piece mold and core bar, or alternatively any other suitable molding process. Channel 12 may even be cut into a molded elastomeric body 10.

[0026] As seen in FIG. 1, spiral channel 12 preferably includes a slot 20 adapted to receive a tapered starting end 22 of strip 18 as shown in FIG. 5. Preferably, the tapered starting end 22 of strip 18 is inserted within slot 20 and strip 18 is positioned within the uppermost end of channel 12 and wound around body 10 by placing strip 18 within channel 12 all the way down to the lower portion 16 of the body 10. Strip 18 is secured in channel 12 with an adhesive known in the art or alternatively, strip 18 may have the adhesive supplied to the bottom thereof prior to application and covered with a removable protective tape known in the art with respect to wrap style golf club grips. The trailing end of strip 18 may also be tapered in a similar manner to the tapered starting end 22 so that the strip conforms to the lower most end of the channel in the lower portion 16 of the body 10. Alternatively, strip 18 may simply be cut to fit, and is preferably secured at the bottom of the body 10 with a piece of tape similar to a wrap style golf grip.

[0027] Strip 18 in accordance with the present invention is made of a second or alternative material which is different from the elastomer exposed upper surface 17 that includes, but is not limited to, a thermoplastic material, a thermoset material, a rubber material such as a foamed rubber material, polyurethane, a synthetic leather, leather, synthetic cork, a textile or fabric material like felt, other synthetic materials or fabrics, or combinations thereof. FIG. 6 depicts a side view of the strip 18 which includes a polyurethane layer 24 adhered to a foam rubber layer 26. While strip 18 is depicted as having straight edges, it should be understood that strip 18 may have edges that are skived or beveled. In addition, even though spiral formed channel 12 is shown with straight walls, it should be understood that spiral formed channel 12 may also have beveled walls that conform with the skiving of strip 18. The width (w2) of channel 12 and strip 18 are selected to conform within normal molding tolerances with each other so that strip 18 can be readily placed and secured within channel 12. For illustrative purposes only, the width of strip 18 is between about 1 and 2 centimeters (cm) wide, and is preferably about 1.5 cm. The thickness (t) of strip 18 can be selected as any desired thickness to provide a comfortable hand feel or grip. An example of a suitable thickness, again for illustrative purposes only, is between approximately one and two millimeters thick (t) and the depth (d) of channel 12 is selected to conform with the thickness (t) of the strip 18 if it is desired that the wrap lays even with the exposed upper surface 17 formed in the elastomeric body 10 by channel 12. An example of the wrap 18 laying even with the exposed upper surface 17 is shown in FIG. 7. As is shown in FIG. 1, the exposed upper surface 17 spirals in an alternating arrangement with strip 18 to provide the multiple material surface along the full length of the grip. The hand grip has at least two different types of material on the surface thereof in an alternating arrangement over the full length of the hand grip.

[0028] Alternate embodiments include having the thickness (t) of the strip 18 selected to be greater than the depth (d) of the channel 12 so that the wrap 18 is higher than the exposed upper surface 17. Similarly, strip 18 may have a thickness less than the depth of the channel 12 so that the exposed upper surface 17 is higher. It should be immediately apparent that changes in the thickness, depth, and width of the strip 18 and/or channel 12 can be readily made for a custom feel and design to the wrap style golf grip in accordance with the present invention. As mentioned previously, strip 18 may further include an adhesive covered with a removable protective tape to allow strip 18 to be firmly positioned within channel 12. Alternatively, a separate adhesive may be applied to secure strip 18 within channel 12.

[0029] Another feature of the present invention is that it allows strip 18 to be of any selected color or texture to provide for an aesthetically pleasing color and feel combination in addition to providing a multiple material surface. In addition, the exposed upper surface 17 on body 10 may include depressions 30, as seen in FIG. 2, that are painted to provide even more of a custom design for the golf club grip. In this manner, the wrap style golf club grip according to the present invention provides broad variation in the cosmetics of the grip as well as feel throughout the full functional length of the grip. This allows for a unique and pleasingly different appearance and feel characteristic in wrap style handgrips based on surface construction of multiple materials throughout the length of the grip.

[0030] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method for making a wrap style hand grip which comprises the steps of providing a generally cylindrical body 10 made from an elastomer, forming a spiral channel 12 in the body 10 so that the channel 12 extends from an upper portion 14 of the body 10 to a lower portion 16 of the body 10, the body 10 further including a bore 11 therein adapted to slide onto an end of a workpiece, and disposing a strip 18 of a different material within the channel 12, and securing the strip 18 within the channel 12. Strip 18 can be pre-wrapped on the body 10 to form a one piece, slip-on unit, or alternatively, strip 18 may be wrapped on body 10 after body 10 is installed on the golf club shaft.

[0031] The elastomeric body 10 preferably includes an integrally formed cap 32 therewith which includes a central aperture 34. Alternate embodiments may include providing for a separate end cap that is constructed to be placed over the elastomeric body 10 and adhered thereto through either an interference type fit, or an adhesive, or a combination thereof.

[0032] While specific embodiments of the invention have been shown and described in detail to illustrate the application of the principles of the invention, it will be understood that the invention may be embodied otherwise without departing from such principles.