Title:
Golf ball teeing tool
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides a pickup or teeing tool or device having a hollow elongated shaft or tube. A handle is affixed to a first end of the shaft and extends at an acute angle with respect to the shaft. A trigger is rotatably attached to the handle for the golfer to operate the tool. A pair of tee-up fixtures are associated with the second end of the shaft. Each tee-up fixture is connected to an activation band which extends inside the shaft to the trigger. Rotating the trigger moves the bands into the shaft toward the handle to displace the tee-up fixtures together to capture and hold the ball and tee. A spring arm connected between each fixture and the shaft can further support the fixtures. Disposing the tool in a vertical orientation, the tee is forced into the ground placing the ball on the tee for driving the ball.



Inventors:
Paine, Sidney B. (Greenville, SC, US)
Application Number:
10/132420
Publication Date:
10/30/2003
Filing Date:
04/25/2002
Assignee:
PAINE SIDNEY B.
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:
Patent Consultants & Services Inc (Greenville, SC, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A golfing tool used by a golfer playing golf when inserting a golf tee in the ground and placing a golf ball on the tee comprising: an elongated shaft having an upper end carrying a hand activation assembly and a lower end supporting a teeing assembly; first and second tee-up fixtures of said teeing assembly for symmetrically supporting and holding the golf ball above the golf tee when the tee-up fixtures are disposed adjacent one to the other; first and second spring arms flexibly connecting the tee-up fixtures to said lower end of said elongated shaft so that said tee-up fixtures are biased apart one to the other in a relaxed configuration to receive the golf ball and the golf tee; first and second activation bands, each attached to a respective tee-up fixture to extend upward to attach to said hand activation assembly; said hand activation assembly having a handle affixed to said elongated shaft and a trigger rotatably attached to said handle, wherein said first and second bands are attached to said trigger so that rotation of said trigger in one direction moves said bands upward, deforms said spring arms and disposes said tee-up fixtures in contact on to the other to hold and support the golf ball and the golf tee, and wherein said handle and elongated shaft is forced downward to push the golf tee into the ground and said trigger is rotated in an opposite direction to release the golf ball to be supported above the ground by the golf tee to continue playing golf.

2. The golfing tool of claim 1 wherein said elongated shaft includes a center bore for receiving said activation bands within said center bore to extend from said trigger to said tee-up fixtures.

3. The golfing tool of claim 2 wherein said activation bands are displaced up said center bore of the shaft by rotating said trigger, wherein said spring arms are deformed by being bent from said relaxed configuration.

4. The golfing tool of claim 2 wherein each tee-up fixture includes a main support body, an attachment portion for receiving and connecting at least a respective activation band and a respective spring arm to said tee-up fixture, a ball contact portion for making contact with a top surface of a supported golf ball and a tee support portion for holding said golf tee, wherein said support body, said attachment portion, said ball contact portion and said tee support portion are made integral one with the other as a single unit.

5. The golfing tool of claim 4 wherein said tee-up fixtures are identical one with the other and disposed so that said ball contact portions and said tee support portions are in close contact with each other when the ball and tee are being supported by the tee-up fixtures.

6. The golfing tool of claim 4 wherein each support body of the tee-up fixture includes a ball cutout for contacting lateral sides of the ball so that said tee-up fixtures cradle the ball on the tee regardless of the orientation of the elongated shaft.

7. The golfing tool of claim 6 wherein said ball contact portions contact a top side of the ball so that forcing the tee-up fixtures downward applies a force on the ball which pushes the tee into the ground.

8. The golfing tool of claim 3 wherein said spring arms are each affixed by fasteners to one end to said shaft and affixed at the other end by another fastener to said attachment portion of said tee-up fixture so that bending of said spring arms from said relaxed configuration helps dispose said tee-up fixtures to contact one another while supporting the ball and tee.

9. The golfing tool of claim 1 wherein said handle includes a trigger pin for rotatably attaching said trigger to said handle and said handle extends at an acute angle from said elongated shaft for improved control by the golfer.

10. A golf ball teeing device for a golfer in a standing position to place a golf ball on a golf tee in a ground supported position to drive the golf ball comprising: an elongated shaft being vertically disposed and having an upper and a lower ends; a hand assembly affixed to said top end of said shaft having a handle and a trigger for the golfer to grip when using the device; a teeing assembly connected to said lower end of said shaft having a pair of tee-up fixtures for receiving and supporting the ball and tee; and a pair of activation bands each connected between said trigger of said hand assembly and a respective tee-up fixture of said teeing assembly, wherein rotation of said trigger by the golfer moves the tee-up fixtures into a closed position to support said ball and tee when forcing said tee into the ground, and releasing said trigger positions the ball on said tee while the golfer remains in the standing position for driving said ball.

11. The teeing device of claim 10 wherein the teeing assembly includes a pair of spring arms each affixed at one end to said shaft near said lower end and at an opposite end to said respective tee-up fixture, wherein said tee-up fixtures are biased apart one from the other by said spring arms when said trigger is not being rotated by the golfer.

12. The teeing device of claim 10 wherein said elongated shaft includes a center bore for extending said activation bands within said center bore from said trigger to said tee-up fixtures.

13. The teeing device of claim 10 wherein each tee-up fixture includes a main support body, an attachment portion for receiving and connecting a respective activation band to said tee-up fixture, a ball contact portion for making contact with a top surface of a supported ball and a tee support portion for holding said golf tee, wherein said support body, said attachment portion, said ball contact portion and said tee support portion are made integral one with the other.

14. The teeing device of claim 13 wherein said tee-up fixtures are identical one with the other and disposed so that said ball contact portions and said tee support portions interface each other when the ball and tee are being carried by the tee-up fixtures.

15. The teeing device of claim 14 wherein each support body includes a ball cutout for contacting lateral sides of the ball and said ball contact portions contact a top side of the ball so that said tee-up fixtures cradle the ball on the tee, wherein moving the tee-up fixtures downward applies a force on the ball which pushes the tee into the ground.

16. The teeing device of claim 11 including a shaft extension affixed to said lower end of said elongated shaft, wherein said shaft extension contacts said tee-up fixtures to help push the golf tee into the ground.

17. A method to tee-up a golf ball on a golf tee from a standing position comprising the steps of: a. providing a pick up tool having an elongated shaft with a center bore, a hand assembly including a handle and a trigger affixed at an upper end of said shaft and a teeing assembly connected at a lower end of said shaft; b. installing a pair of tee-up fixtures as parts of the teeing assembly; c. attaching a pair of spring arms between said lower end of the elongated shaft and said tee-up fixtures for biasing said tee-up fixtures to be spaced apart one to the other; d. extending a pair of activation bands through said bore of said elongated shaft to connect said trigger with a respective tee-up fixture; e. placing the golf ball and golf tee between the tee-up fixtures while rotating said trigger; f. rotating said trigger to displace said tee-up fixtures into an engaging position to support and hold the ball and tee; g. placing the elongated shaft in a vertical position and pushing the golf tee into a ground surface; and h. releasing said trigger to position said ball on said tee in a position for driving the ball.

18. The method of claim 17 wherein the step of installing a pair of tee-up fixtures includes the step of providing each tee-up fixture with a ball recess and a tee cutout for holding the ball and tee between adjacent tee-up fixtures.

19. The method of claim 17 wherein the step of attaching a pair of spring arms includes connecting a lower end of each spring arm to a respective attachment portion of said tee-up fixtures.

20. A pickup device for retrieving a golf ball and/or a golf tee placed on the ground or in an otherwise inaccessible location comprising: an elongated shaft having an internal bore, an upper end and a lower end; a hand assembly affixed to said first end of said shaft having a handle and a trigger for the golfer to grip when using the device; a teeing assembly associated with said second end of said shaft having a pair of tee-up fixtures for receiving and supporting the ball and tee; a pair of spring arms each connected between said second end of said shaft and a respective tee-up fixture to flexibly connect said fixture to said shaft; and a pair of activation bands, each disposed in said internal bore of said shaft, connected between said trigger of said hand assembly and a respective tee-up fixture of said teeing assembly, wherein rotation of said trigger by the golfer moves the tee-up fixtures into a closed position to independently capture and retrieve said ball and said tee from the ground and/or the inaccessible location.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention is directed to the game of golf and more particularly to a tool or device for a person to tee-up the golf ball on a golf tee from a standing position and to use as a pickup tool.

[0002] The game of golf is being played around the world by more people than ever before. The popularity of golf has increased dramatically in the past few years to become one of the major pastimes for people of all ages. The availability of different tools and devices to improve the ability of a golfer to reduce his score are rapidly on the increase. However, some golfers with physical impairments have had to abandon golf due to difficulties in performing the tasks necessary to play the game. For example, a person having problems with his back or knees has difficulty bending over to push a tee in the ground and to place a golf ball on the tee. The golfer's back is also strained in bending over to retrieve a golf ball as well as a golf tee when they are no longer in play. Assistance from other golfers is generally though of as a sign of weakness on the part of the person having the problem. In some cases the golfer continues to endure the pain associated with this physical problem and, all too frequently, the golfer quits playing golf. A tool to receive, support and grip a golf ball and golf tee so that the golfer can tee-up the golf ball from a standing position without dropping the ball is essential for this golfer to play golf without pain.

[0003] In addition to physical limitations of the golfer, the golf ball may be in an inaccessible location and the assistance of an extended reach or pick-up tool or device to grip and retrieve the golf ball is very useful. These tools are generally known as “reachers” that are capable of reaching out to get the ball. For example, when the golf ball is in a water hazard or under a dense bush, ball retrieval assistance is somewhat necessary. To this end, inventors have devised elongated tools or devices for teeing a golf ball that also provide some sort of pickup tool or device for retrieving golf balls and golf tees. The ability to operate the tool or device with one hand is also important when reaching an inaccessible golf ball.

[0004] Typical of the tools and devices which reach and grip are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,527,492 and 4,926,957. These pickup devices are operated by grasping a handle affixed at one end of a main elongated shaft. Molded cups are spring supported at the other end of the main elongated shaft so that a trigger of the handle, connected by inner springs or fingers to the cups, is depressed to bring the cups together to grasp items between the cups. In U.S. Pat. No. 4,709,839 a similar griping device, shaft and leaf spring is used for a shoe butler. However, no structure is provided with these inventions for gripping and supporting both a golf ball and a golf tee to tee-up the golf ball.

[0005] Inventions which disclose a golf ball teeing device include U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,609,198; 4,077,695; 4,951,947; 5,330,178; 5,383,659; and 5,499,813. In the '695 patent, resilient fingers are attached to a handle to support a golf ball and place the golf ball on a golf tee without bending over. This invention also retrieves golf balls from a water hazard. However, invention '695 does not grip and hold the ball and the tee is not supported or carried by the device for placement in the ground. The teeing devices of '198 and '947 have a housing attached to a lower end of a tubular member to receive the golf ball without gripping the ball. The housing has a slot in the bottom wall to receive the golf tee. A shank or shaft in the hollow shaft or tubular housing is forced downward so as to clamp the golf ball onto the golf tee whereby the tee may be inserted into the ground. However, the housing does not support and grip the golf ball without the clamping action of the shaft, and the tee is not supported laterally when being inserted into the ground. The pick-up and teeing device of '659 includes a needle and housing. The needle is pressed into the golf ball for releasably securing the ball to a shaft end. The device of '659 does not interface with the golf tee. Unlike the present invention of the applicant, the patent of '178 uses two shafts laterally spaced apart for placing the ball and tee in the ground. The teeing device of '813 is also very similar to the devices of '198 and '947. Again the golf ball is not supported by side panels of the receiver and a bottom panel has a slot to support the golf tee. A push rod with a bottom disk having a curved surface extends through the tubular shaft to maintain the golf ball on the golf tee. Once again the lack of lateral support for the golf ball and the golf tee is evident. The teeing devices of '947 and '813 depend on applying a force on a small upper end of the handle or internal shaft to force the tee and/or a spike into the ground. Limited control of the shaft is provided by these handles.

[0006] A golf ball teeing device is being marketed by Teerific Enterprises. The teeing device provides an effortless way to tee a golf ball without bending over, as well as providing a ball and tee retriever. A frame like structure or rods contacts the top of the golf ball and a golf tee is supported by a notch in a bottom plate. By rotating the shaft handle support surfaces, the ball is directed into a retriever member interior for retrieval of the ball. Neither the ball or the tee are gripped and supported by this teeing device.

[0007] Another golf ball teeing device is sold under the name of Tee EZ Plus by Retco Molding of Cincinnati, Ohio. The ball is placed on a ball ring in between clamp arms which open and close by twisting an elongated shaft. A tee is place on the top of the ball and the clamp arms move into a closed position locking the tee and ball in place. In the teeing area the device is inverted and the tee is pushed into the ground. The golfer can adjust the tee height to six different settings by using a thumb screw on the ball ring. The clamping arms release the ball by rotating the shaft clockwise. A rubber ball retrieving cup is added at the upper end of the shaft. Unlike the present invention of this application, it appears that the clamping section must be held to be able to rotate the shaft and release the ball.

[0008] A need exists to have a teeing tool or device that gives adequate support for both a golf ball and a golf tee. Without adequate vertical and lateral support an effort to tee-up the golf ball is subject to trial and error and the ball can be dropped. A further need exists for a handle at the upper end of the device so that proper control and an adequate physical effort can be applied to achieve an application of the device consistent with its intended use. In addition, a need to have a pickup device with positive gripping of the golf ball and golf tee, especially when they may be in a location that is partially inaccessible.

[0009] Accordingly, an object of the present invention is to provide a golf teeing tool or device which can be operated by a golfer to receive and grip a golf ball and golf tee without the fear of dropping the ball or the tee.

[0010] A further object of the present invention is to provide fixtures for the teeing tool that give positive vertical and lateral support to both a golf ball and a golf tee so that the ball and tee are retained by the fixtures when transporting the teeing tool from place to place, and, from a standing position, to tee-up the golf ball by placing the golf tee in the ground with the golf ball supported on the golf tee.

[0011] Another object of the present invention is to provide the teeing tool or device with a handle extending at an angle from an elongated shaft which can be carried and operated by one hand of the golfer while the other hand is free to carry other golf clubs and the like.

[0012] Still another object of the present invention is to provide a pickup tool that extends the reach of the golfer when being held in one hand for retrieving a golf ball from inaccessible locations such as a water hazard and dense shrubs.

[0013] Yet another object of the present invention is to define a method for providing and using a teeing tool or device for a golfer placing a golf tee in the ground to support a golf ball from a standing position

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0014] The above objectives are accomplished according to the present invention by providing a pickup or teeing tool or device with an hollow elongated shaft or tube. A handle is affixed to a first end of the shaft and extends at an acute angle with respect to the shaft to better control the tool using one hand. A trigger is rotatably attached to the handle for the golfer to operate the tool. First and second tee-up fixtures are associated with the second end of the shaft. Each one of the tee-up fixtures is connected to an activation band which extends inside the shaft to the trigger at the first end of the shaft. The two tee-up fixtures are being biased apart to receive a golf ball and golf tee. Rotating the trigger moves the bands further into the shaft toward the handle. This movement of the bands displaces the tee-up fixtures together to capture and hold the ball and tee when the trigger is held in a rotated position. A spring arm connected between each fixture and the shaft is preferably added to further support the fixtures at the second end of the shaft. Disposing the tool in a vertical orientation the tee is forced into the ground by pushing on the handle. Releasing the trigger places the ball on the tee for driving the ball.

[0015] In one embodiment of the invention a golfing tool is used by a golfer playing golf when inserting a golf tee in the ground and placing a golf ball on the tee. The tool comprises an elongated shaft having an upper end carrying a hand activation assembly and a lower end supporting a teeing assembly. First and second tee-up fixtures of the teeing assembly symmetrically support the golf ball above the golf tee when the tee-up fixtures are disposed adjacent one to the other. First and second spring arms flexibly connect the tee-up fixtures to the lower end of the elongated shaft so that the tee-up fixtures are biased apart one to the other in a relaxed configuration to receive the golf ball and the golf tee. First and second activation bands, each attached to a respective tee-up fixture, extend upward to the hand activation assembly. The hand activation assembly further comprises a handle affixed to the elongated shaft and a trigger rotatably attached to the handle. The first and second bands are attached to the trigger so that rotation of the trigger in one direction moves the bands upward, deforms the spring arms and disposes the tee-up fixtures in contact on to the other to hold and grip the golf ball and the golf tee. The handle and elongated shaft are forced vertically downward to push the golf tee into the ground. The trigger is rotated in an opposite direction to release the golf ball to be supported above the ground by the golf tee to continue playing golf.

[0016] In another embodiment of the invention, a golf ball teeing device for a golfer in a standing position is provided to place a golf ball on a golf tee in a ground supported position to drive the golf ball. The device comprises an elongated shaft being vertically disposed and having an upper end and a lower end. A hand assembly is affixed to the top end of the shaft having a handle and a trigger for the golfer to grip when using the device. A teeing assembly is connected to the lower end of the shaft having a pair of tee-up fixtures for receiving and supporting the ball and tee. A pair of activation bands, each connected between the trigger of the hand assembly and a respective tee-up fixture of the teeing assembly, are provided so that rotation of the trigger by the golfer moves the tee-up fixtures into a closed position to support the ball and tee when forcing the tee into the ground. Releasing the trigger positions the ball on the tee while the golfer remains in the standing position for driving the ball.

[0017] In a further embodiment of the invention, a method is defined to tee-up a golf ball on a golf tee from a standing position. The method comprises a first step of providing a pick up tool having an elongated shaft with a center bore, a hand assembly including a handle and a trigger affixed at an upper end of the shaft and a teeing assembly connected at a lower end of the shaft. A second step includes installing a pair of tee-up fixtures as parts of the teeing assembly. A third step includes attaching a pair of spring arms between the lower end of the elongated shaft and the tee-up fixtures for biasing the tee-up fixtures to be spaced apart one to the other. In a forth step the method comprises extending a pair of activation bands through the bore of the elongated shaft to connect the trigger with a respective tee-up fixture. A fifth step includes placing the golf ball and golf tee between the tee-up fixtures while rotating the trigger. In a sixth step the method comprises rotating the trigger to displace the tee-up fixtures into an engaging position to support and hold the ball and tee. A seventh step includes placing the elongated shaft in a vertical position and pushing the golf tee into a ground surface. An eighth step includes releasing the trigger to position the ball on the tee in a position for driving the ball.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0018] The construction designed to carry out the invention will hereinafter be described, together with other features thereof.

[0019] The invention will be more readily understood from a reading of the following specification and by reference to the accompanying drawings forming a part thereof, wherein an example of the invention is shown and wherein:

[0020] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the golfing or teeing tool of this invention in a position for placing the tee in the ground with a golf ball correctly positioned above the tee supported by tee-up fixtures;

[0021] FIG. 2 is a vertical side partial elevation view of the upper hand activation assembly end with a cut-away portion and a lower teeing assembly end, rotated ninety degrees, of the tool showing different positions of the tee-up fixtures as a function of the position of the trigger;

[0022] FIG. 3 is an enlarged perspective view from above the teeing assembly end of the golfing tool showing the golf ball and tee held by the tee-up fixtures;

[0023] FIG. 4 is an enlarged perspective view from below the teeing assembly end of the golfing tool to better illustrate the tee support portions of the tee-up fixtures and the center bore of the elongated shaft;

[0024] FIG. 5 is a front elevation view of one tee-up fixture of the golfing tool, a rear elevation view of the one tee-up fixture and a front elevation view of the other tee-up fixture being a mirror image of the view shown;

[0025] FIG. 6 is an exterior side elevation view of the one tee-up fixture of FIG. 5;

[0026] FIG. 7 is an interior side elevation view of the one tee-up fixture of FIG. 5;

[0027] FIG. 8 is a cross sectional view of the tee-up fixtures of the golfing tool showing the movement (direction of arrows) of the tee-up fixtures to capture and hold the golf ball and tee;

[0028] FIG. 9 is a front elevation view of another embodiment of the teeing assembly of the invention showing a shaft extension of the elongated shaft to contact the tee-up fixtures; and

[0029] FIG. 10 is a side elevation view of the other embodiment of FIG. 9.

DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0030] Referring now in more detail to the drawings, the invention will now be described in more detail. A golfing or teeing tool or device of this invention is illustrated in FIG. 1. A golfer places a golf ball 10 on a golf tee 12 from a standing position by gripping a handle 50 and a trigger 52 of a hand activation assembly B and holding the tool in a generally vertical orientation, as illustrated. The golf ball and tee are supported and held by a teeing assembly A at a lower end 34 of an elongated shaft 30. The shaft extends from hand activation assembly B at an upper end of the elongated shaft to the teeing assembly A. A pair of tee-up fixtures 20 support the golf ball and the golf tee at the lower end of the teeing assembly. A pair of activation bands 36 and 38 extend from the tee-up fixtures to trigger 52 of the hand activation assembly for activating and displacing the tee-up fixtures. The activation bands preferably extend upward within a center bore of the elongated shaft. The activation bands can be external to the shaft and can be cables in lieu of bands, within the scope of this invention. However, activation bands having a lateral spring effect of this invention can be used to control the movement of the tee-up fixtures. Activation bands hold the tee-up fixtures adjacent one to the other when actively disposed upward into the bore of the shaft by trigger 52. Alternatively, in a relaxed position, they dispose the tee-up fixtures apart for placing the ball and the tee within the tee-up fixtures.

[0031] A pair of spring arms 42 and 44 are preferably used to help support the tee-up fixtures. The spring arms are each affixed by at one end to elongated shaft 30 and at the other end to a respective tee-up fixture. When the spring arms are relaxed the tee-up fixtures are spaced apart, as illustrated by the dashed lines of FIG. 2. When activation bands 36 and 38 are displaced upward in the center bore of the shaft by rotating the trigger, the spring arms are deflected so that tee-up fixtures 20 are in contact one with the other for gripping and supporting the ball and tee, as illustrated in FIG. 1. The tool of this invention can be designed to use only activation bands 36 and 38 to bias the tee-up fixtures apart and bring them together. The use of spring arms 42 and 44 are preferred to provide more stability for teeing assembly A.

[0032] To describe the structure and operation of the tool or device of this invention in more detail, refer to the illustration of FIG. 2. Hand activation assembly B, affixed to upper end 32 of elongated shaft 30, has been rotated 90 degrees with respect to teeing assembly A to illustrate how moving parts of the tool relate one to the other. The dashed lines indicate the tool in a configuration to receive golf ball 10 and golf tee 12 when trigger 52′ is not being rotated with respect to handle 50 of the activation assembly. The trigger is rotatably attached to the handle by a trigger pin 56. Activation bands 36 and 38 are pivotally attached to the trigger by a pivot pin 53. Before rotating the trigger, a first tee-up fixture 22′ is displaced from a second tee-up fixture 24′ and activation bands 36′ and 38′ extend from a center bore 31 of elongated shaft 30. When the trigger is rotated by the golfer, as illustrated by the arrows, activation bands 36 and 38 are displaced into the center bore of elongated shaft 30 and a first tee-up fixture 22 is laterally displaced to make contact with a second tee-up fixture 24. At the same time, the ball and tee are placed between the tee-up fixtures to be captured and cradled between tee-up fixtures 22 and 24. Capture of the ball and tee by the tee-up fixtures occurs when the tool is in a generally horizontal position; so that the golfer continues to stand upward, while reaching both ends of the shaft, to perform this task.

[0033] With the trigger not being rotated by the golfer, spring arms 42′ and 44′ are made to be in a relaxed position to help bias first and second tee-up fixtures 22′ and 24′ apart one from the other, as illustrated again by the dashed lines in FIG. 2. With the trigger rotated by the golfer, the activation bands 36′ and 38′ pull the tee-up fixtures inward toward one another and upward. This movement bends the activation bands and the spring arms, to a position indicated by the solid lines, to stabilize the tee-up fixtures when supporting the ball and tee. The spring arms and the activation bands are attached to the tee-up fixtures by fasteners 35 and 37.

[0034] The support provided by tee-up fixtures 20 of the teeing assembly A, for positively supporting and holding the golf ball and golf tee, are essential for the teeing tool of this invention. First and second tee-up fixtures 22 and 24 provide support on two opposite lateral sides of golf ball 10 and golf tee 12, as illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4. Spring arms 42 and 44 are affixed to elongated shaft 30 at one end and to attachment portions 25 and 27 of the tee-up fixtures at the other end to help support the tee-up fixtures below the lower end 34 of the elongated shaft. Activation bands 36 and 38 move into center bore 31 of shaft 30 to bring tee-up fixtures 22 and 24 respectively in contact one with the other when the trigger is rotated, as previously disclosed (see FIG. 2). In addition, these activation bands are preferably made to also provide a spring arm effect to help support the tee-up fixtures below the lower end of the shaft. Fasteners 35 and 37 attach the spring arms and activation bands to the attachment portions. In one embodiment of the present invention, the spring type activation bands are used alone without the spring arms to flexibly support tee-up fixtures. Preferably the spring arms and the activation bands are both used to provide a more positive support and stronger spring action when operating the teeing tool. This added spring support is useful in keeping the tee-up fixtures together when forcing the golf tee into the ground.

[0035] The tee-up fixtures each include a ball contact portion (14, 16), a body portion (21, 23), an attachment portion (25, 27) and a tee support portion (26, 28). Ball contact portions 14 and 16 extend from an upper edge of the fixture body 21 and 23 respectively. The contact portions have lower surface areas 14a and 16a which contact golf ball 10 when forcing the golf tee into the ground. Tee support portions 26 and 28 extend from a lower extent of the fixture body 21 and 23 respectively. The tee-support portions are each extended below the body portion to provide added support for golf tee 12. The golf tee is supported and held over a portion of its length, as illustrated in FIG. 4. This support uniquely provides added lateral support when forcing the golf tee in the ground.

[0036] Additional details of the unique tee-up fixtures of the present invention are provided by referring to FIGS. 5, 6, 7 and 8. Three elevation views of first tee-up fixture 22 are shown in FIGS. 5, 6 and 7. The second tee-up fixture 24 can be made identical to the first tee-up fixture so that the tee-up fixtures are disposed by rotating one fixture 180 degrees from the other. The tee-up fixtures are symmetrically mounted so that they interface at contact surfaces 14a and 16a. Therefore, the following discussion of first tee-up fixture 22 also applies to second tee-up fixture 24.

[0037] Attachment portion 25 includes an attachment recess 25a to receive spring arm 42 and activation band 46. Threaded fastener opening 35a receives fastener 35 in attaching both the spring arm and the activation band to the first tee-up fixture. Ball recess 21a of body portion 21 uniquely supports one lateral side of the golf ball. In addition, tee cutout 26a of tee support portion 26 uniquely supports one lateral side of the golf tee.

[0038] Once again, the tee-up fixtures are biased apart one from the other when the trigger is not rotated for holding the golf ball and golf tee. A cross sectional view of the first and second tee-up fixtures 22 and 24 biased apart is illustrated in FIG. 8. When golf ball 10 and golf tee 12 are positioned as shown between the tee-up fixtures, activation of the golfing tool by the golfer rotates the tee-up fixtures in the direction indicated by the curved arrows. As the tee-up fixtures approach one another, golf ball 10 fits into ball recess 21a of the body portion 21 and ball recess 23a of body portion 23. These ball recesses provide positive support for the golf ball in any direction. That is, with the elongated shaft of the teeing tool disposed horizontally, vertically or in any other orientation, the golf ball held is supported by the tee-up fixtures. As the tee-up fixtures approach one another, golf tee 12 fits into a tee cutout 26a of tee support portion 26 and tee cutout portion 28a of tee support portion 28. These tee cutouts or recesses provide positive support for the golf tee in any orientation of the golfing tool.

[0039] Ball contact portions 14 and 16 of the tee-up fixtures have ball contact surfaces 14b and 16b respectively for contacting a top portion 10a of golf ball 10. This contact is necessary for forcing the ball to push the golf tee in the ground. Forces are transferred from hand activation assembly through the elongated shaft to the spring arms and through the activation bands attached to the trigger to the tee-up fixtures (FIGS. 1 and 2). Once again, spring arms and activation bands are sized to fit into attachment recesses 25a and 27a of the attachment portions 25 and 27 respectfully of the tee-up fixtures. Threaded fastener holes 35a and 37a receive the attachment fasteners that connect the spring arms and attachment bands to tee-up fixtures 22 and 24.

[0040] The golf ball is usually placed in the golfing tool when the shaft is horizontal. The golfer grips the handle and the trigger in one hand and positions the ball and tee with the other hand; so that the tee-up fixtures capture and hold the golf ball and golf tee in their proper relationship for teeing the ball on the tee. Therefore, unlike the art, there is no need for the golfer to bend over or hold the teeing tool vertical when placing the golf ball and golf tee in the tee-up fixtures. By maintaining a grip on the handle and trigger with one hand, the golf ball and golf tee remain under the aligned control of the golfer regardless of the orientation of the golfing tool. This feature is very useful when the golfing tool is being used to retrieve a golf ball from an inaccessible area, such as a water hazard. The golfing tool is turned vertical for placement of the golf tee in the ground. The bending rigidity of the spring arms and the activation bands keep the golf ball and golf tee cradled and held within the tee-up fixtures. Again, the ability of the tee-up fixtures to grip and hold the ball is a feature unique to the present invention.

[0041] In another aspect of the invention a shaft extension 35 can be added to lower end 34 of the elongated shaft 30 to assist in pushing the golf tee into the ground, as illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 10. A front elevation view is illustrated in FIG. 9 and a cut-away side elevation view is illustrated in FIG. 10. The shaft extension is attached to the lower end of the shaft using a fastener 35a and extends to contact an upper surface 14c of ball contact portion 14 of tee-up fixture 22 and an upper surface 16c of ball contact portion 16 of tee-up fixture 24. Side openings 35b in the shaft extension allow activation bands 36 and 38 to extend from within the center bore of the elongated shaft without interference, as illustrated in FIG. 10. As the activation bands are retracted into the shaft, as shown by the arrows of FIG. 9, spring arms 42 and 44 deflect so that tee-up fixtures 20 move inward toward one another and upward toward the shaft extension to contact the shaft extension. Forcing the shaft downward, as shown by the shaft arrows, applies forces on upper surfaces 14c and 16c so that the ball contact portions 14 and 16 contact golf ball 10 which forces golf tee 12 below a surface 15 of the ground. Support for the golf tee is again provided by tee support portions 26 and 28. This positive support for the golf tee keeps the golf tee from buckling sideways when pushing handle 50 (see FIG. 2) to force the tee into the ground. This positive support feature is unique to this invention.

[0042] While a preferred embodiment of the invention has been described using specific terms, such description is for illustrative purposes only, and it is to be understood that changes and variations may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the following claims.