Title:
Golf club grip for retaining an insert
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
There are disclosed systems and methods for making golf clubs unique and in some cases personalized. A gripping system includes a grip for a golf club that is either completely clear or a portion thereof is clear, and an insert, to be maintained in the grip in contact with the shaft of the club. Typically, the inset is positioned with respect to the grip for maximum viewability. Methods for placing this gripping system onto golf clubs and the like are also disclosed.



Inventors:
Novak, Mikhail (Orlando, FL, US)
Byrd, James Samuel (Winter Park, FL, US)
Application Number:
10/143363
Publication Date:
11/13/2003
Filing Date:
05/10/2002
Assignee:
Performance Golf, Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B53/14; A63B59/00; (IPC1-7): A63B53/14
View Patent Images:
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20060229150Lamination inflatable sports ballOctober, 2006Ou
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Primary Examiner:
BLAU, STEPHEN LUTHER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Novak Mikhail (Orlando, FL, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A gripping system, comprising: at least one insert configured for extending at least partially around the shaft of a golf club; and a gripping member including an inner portion configured for enveloping at least a portion of the shaft of the golf club and at least a portion of said at least one insert, and retaining said at least one insert intermediate said inner portion and the shaft of the golf club.

2. The gripping system of claim 1, wherein said gripping member is clear.

3. The gripping system of claim 1, wherein said insert includes a first side and a second side.

4. The gripping system of claim 3, wherein said first side includes visible matter.

5. The gripping system of claim 3, wherein said second side includes at least one adhesive material.

6. The gripping system of claim 1, wherein said inner portion configured for enveloping at least a portion of the shaft of the golf club, includes a bore, said bore extending from an open end in said gripping member to a closed end of said gripping member.

7. The gripping system of claim 6, wherein said bore is configured to completely envelope said insert.

8. A gripping system, comprising: at least one insert configured for extending at least partially around the shaft of a golf club; and a gripping member including a bore, said bore dimensioned for creating a frictional engagement with at least portions of said insert for placing said at least one insert into contact with the shaft and for creating a frictional engagement with at least portions of said shaft, said frictional engagements being of sufficient force to retain said gripping member on said shaft.

9. The gripping system of claim 8, wherein at least a portion of said gripping member is of a clear material.

10. The gripping system of claim 9, wherein said bore extends from an open end in the gripping member to a closed end of the gripping member, said open end configured for receiving a shaft of a golf club and said closed end being a cover for the end of the shaft of the golf club.

11. The gripping system of claim 9, wherein said gripping member is configured for enveloping said insert.

12. The gripping system of claim 8, wherein said insert includes a first side and a second side.

13. The gripping system of claim 12, wherein said first side includes visible matter.

14. The gripping system of claim 13, wherein said second side includes at least one adhesive material.

15. A method for placing a gripping system on a golf club comprising: providing an insert; providing a gripping member including at least a clear portion, said gripping member having an inner portion configured for fitting along the shaft of a golf club; placing said insert into contact with the shaft of the golf club; and placing said gripping member along the shaft of the golf club in a position to retain at least a portion of said insert in contact with the shaft of the golf club.

16. The method of claim 15, additionally comprising, applying a solvent to at least one of said insert or said inner portion of said gripping member.

17. The method of claim 15, wherein said placing said gripping member along the shaft of the golf club includes placing the gripping member over the shaft of the golf club to a point where said gripping member envelopes said insert.

18. The method of claim 15, wherein said placing said gripping member along the shaft includes aligning said clear portion with respect to said insert.

19. The method of claim 15, wherein said placing said insert into contact with the shaft of the golf club includes attaching said insert to the shaft.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present invention is related to golf clubs, and in particular, to grips for golf clubs that hold an insert in place, allowing for customization of golf clubs.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Golf is one of the world's most popular sports, from both a participant and spectator standpoint. Professional tournaments are increasingly popular, with prize money and endorsements for professional golfers increasing by the millions of dollars. As a participant sport, golf continues to grow rapidly in popularity, with golfers increasing their spending on equipment.

[0003] This increase in equipment spending has resulted from advances in golfing technology, as well as golfers seeking more personalized and custom equipment. For example, many golfers like customized equipment, as it is unique and in many cases personalized.

[0004] Additionally, many businesses look to golf as a way to entertain customers, promote and generate business. As a result of this, many businesses provide their employees and customers with customized golf equipment as promotional items, such as golf balls bearing corporate logos. Other golf equipment has not emerged as a widespread promotional item due to its expense, for example, golf clubs.

SUMMARY

[0005] The present invention improves on the contemporary art by providing systems and methods for making unique or specialized golf clubs, and typically by customizing them, by modifying the grip ends of these clubs.

[0006] An embodiment disclosed herein is directed to a gripping system, typically for a golf club. This system includes at least one insert configured for extending at least partially around the shaft of the golf club, and a gripping member or grip. The gripping member typically includes an inner portion configured for enveloping at least a portion of the shaft of the golf club and at least a portion of the at least one insert. This inner portion is also configured for retaining the at least one insert intermediate the inner portion and the shaft of the golf club. The gripping member is typically clear, for example, transparent, or includes a clear, for example, transparent, portion or portions through which the insert is visible, with little if any distortion, as if there were not any intervening material.

[0007] Another disclosed embodiment is directed to a gripping system, typically for a golf club, having at least one insert configured for extending at least partially around the shaft of a golf club, and a gripping member or grip. The gripping member includes a bore, the bore dimensioned for creating a frictional engagement with at least portions of the insert for placing the at least one insert into contact with the shaft and for creating a frictional engagement with at least portions of the shaft. These frictional engagements are of sufficient force to retain the gripping member on the shaft. The gripping member is typically clear, for example, transparent, or includes a clear, for example, transparent, portion or portions through which the insert is visible, with little if any distortion, as if there were not any intervening material.

[0008] Another embodiment disclosed herein is directed to a method for placing a gripping system on a golf club. The method includes the steps of providing an insert and providing a gripping member or grip including at least a clear, for example, transparent, portion, the gripping member having an inner portion configured for fitting along the shaft of a golf club. The insert is then placed into contact with the shaft of the golf club, and the gripping member is placed along the shaft of the golf club in a position to retain at least a portion of the insert in contact with the shaft of the golf club. The gripping member may be aligned or adjusted once on the shaft of the golf club, so the inset is readily visible.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] Attention is now directed to the attached drawings, wherein like reference numeral or characters indicate corresponding or like components. In the drawings:

[0010] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a golf club with an embodiment of the disclosed system;

[0011] FIG. 2 is a detailed view of the embodiment of the disclosed system of FIG. 1;

[0012] FIG. 3 is a partial cross sectional view of the embodiment of the disclosed system;

[0013] FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of the embodiment of the disclosed system taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 3; and

[0014] FIG. 5 is an exploded view of the embodiment of the disclosed system in use with a golf club.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] FIGS. 1 and 2 show the disclosed gripping system in an exemplary use with a golf club 20. This golf club 20 is representative of all golf clubs, for example, those commonly known as woods, irons, or putters. The golf club 20 includes a shaft 22 and a club head 23. Both the club 20 and the shaft 22 include an upper or grip end 24, an intermediate section 25 and a lower end 26, to which the club head 23 is attached, in a typical orientation.

[0016] A grip or gripping member 30, typically covers or envelopes the upper end 24 of the shaft 22. An insert 32, typically extending around, but could also extend partially around, the grip end 24 of the shaft 22 (or club 20), is typically completely covered or enveloped (surrounded) and firmly retained with respect to the upper end 24 of the shaft 22 within the grip 30. This insert 32 is typically viewable (visible) through the grip 30.

[0017] Turning also to FIGS. 3 and 4, the grip 30, typically includes an inner bore 34, that extends from an open end 36 (with an opening 37), to a closed end 38 (formed by a cover piece 39). This closed end 38 covers the edge 40 of the shaft 22, as the cover piece 39, typically in close proximity to or abutment with the edge 40 of the shaft 22 (when in use) covers over potentially sharp edges of the edge 40. The bore 34 typically extends through the grip 30, so as to receive the shaft 22 of the club 20, such that the club 20 is balanced.

[0018] The grip 30 for example, can be divided into segments 42 (to in some cases, look like the traditional grips of wrapped leather or other materials), can also include an arced (rounded) outer surface 44 (here, for example, to accommodate the palms and fingers of a golfer) and a flat outer surface 46 (here, for example, to accommodate the thumbs of a golfer), all to enhance gripping by the user. The grip 30 can also include surface pits (not shown) or perforations (not shown) as well as surface bumps or protrusions. The grip 30 can also include protrusions and/or indentations for further accommodating fingers. Other surface arrangements, for the shape of the grip 30 are also permissible.

[0019] The bore 34 is typically cylindrical (of circular or rounded cross section) in shape and of a diameter, that coupled with the material of the grip 30 allows the grip 30 to fit over the upper end 24 of the shaft 22 in a frictionally tight and snug manner, such that extreme manual force must be employed to separate the grip 30 from the golf club 20. Additionally this frictional fit or frictional coupling of the grip 30 on the shaft 22 is such that the insert 32 is fully enveloped and firmly engaged within the grip 30, and typically in a snug pressing contact with the club shaft 22, as forced by the bore walls 34a or portions thereof, so as to be secure in the grip 30 and unable to move. Other bore shapes and dimensions are also permissible, provided that they engage the requisite club and retain the insert 32 similar to that detailed above.

[0020] The grip 30 is typically an integral or one-piece member. It is typically formed by molding processes and the like, and of materials such as Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE), one TPE, for example, being Vulcathane® rubber, available from Percise Golf, Pomona, Calif., 91768. These TPEs are such that in their processed form, the resultant grip 30 is typically clear (e.g., transparent), allowing for the insert 32 to be visible to the average human eye with minimal, if any distortion (the insert 32 can be seen as if there were no intervening material). Alternately, the grip 30 can be formed of materials that in their processed form are translucent. The grip 30 can also be formed from single or multiple clear (e.g., transparent) or translucent portions, using the aforementioned TPEs. The TPE material for the grip 30 in its processed form is typically spongy and tacky, but characteristics can be adjusted by various polymer/elastomer working techniques.

[0021] While the grip 30 shown is a wrapped grip, this is exemplary only for the types of grips that can be used. For example, other grips suitable for use include those similar to a Ping® Type Grip (flat front like grip 30 but without wrap lines or perforations), and a paddle-type or Golf Pride™ Special grip. Other exemplary grips include standard golf grips (same as grip 30 but completely round), junior golf/putter grips (same as standard golf grip but smaller, so as to be suitable for children and young adults), a long putter grip (formed of two pieces, affixed to different parts of the shaft corresponding to where each of the hands are held—here both pieces could envelope the respective inserts, these inserts in accordance with the inserts described herein), etc. Variations of these grips as well as modifications of these grips for putters, irons and woods is also permissible, and as such, can be constructed in accordance with that detailed for the grip 30.

[0022] The insert 32 is, for example, a sticker. Its front side 32f typically includes matter, that is typically visible to the sight range of a normal human eye, placed thereon, for example, printing, such as wording, art, designs, logos, emblems, photographs, or the like, or backgrounds, even of a single color, while its rear side 32r (the side to be placed into contact with the shaft 22) typically includes adhesive or the like. For example, the insert 32 could be similar to a bumper sticker, with a thickness, for example, of approximately 2 millimeters. The inset is of a material, typically sheet-like, such as paper, polymeric, elastomeric or the that allows for it to be curved or rounded, to conform to the shape (for example, the curvature) of the shaft 22. The sheet-like nature of the material allows the insert to be thin (of a thickness so as not to cause bulging of the grip 30). While a single insert is shown, multiple inserts (also conforming at least partially to the shape of the shaft 22), both overlapping and non-overlapping, or combinations thereof are also permissible.

[0023] Alternately, images can be printed on regular paper, polymeric or elastomeric sheet material, or the like, and affixed to the shaft end 24 with double sided tape, adhesives or the like. Additionally, in some cases, the printed paper, polymeric or elastomeic sheet, is laminated, to prevent colors from running or bleeding. This is particularly useful, with images produced on printer paper and specialized printer paper stock from ink-jet and laser, and other computer printers.

[0024] Turning now to FIG. 5, an exemplary assembly and disassembly of the system disclosed herein is detailed. Initially, the club 20, grip 30 and insert 32 are separate pieces. The shaft 22 of the club, especially where the insert will rest, i.e., the upper or grip end 24 should be clean. The insert 32 is then wrapped around the shaft 22 at the upper end 24 thereof. If the insert 32 has an adhesive rear side, the adhesive should be exposed prior to wrapping. Wrapping should be performed so as to avoid wrinkles in the insert 32.

[0025] Optionally, solvents, including hairspray, or other similar lubricating materials, for example WD-40® lubricant, can be applied to the insert 32 as well as into the bore 34 of the grip 30. The grip 30 is then slid onto the shaft 22, with sliding continuing until the cover piece 39 abuts the edge 40 of the shaft 22. The grip 30 can be adjusted, typically by twisting, such that the desired portions of it align with the desired portions of the image on the underlying insert 32. Additional adhesives may be used at any time during the aforementioned process, should additional securement be desired.

[0026] Should removal of the grip 30 be desired, for example, to remove the insert 32, or replace the insert 32, the grip 30 can be slid off of the shaft 22. Placement of a new insert 32 and reattachment of the grip 30 would be in accordance with the process detailed above.

[0027] While the present invention has been shown in use with golf clubs, this is exemplary only, as the invention could be easily modified to any other articles with shafts, handles or the like. Exemplary articles can include baseball bats, hockey sticks, hammers, and the like.

[0028] While preferred embodiments of the present invention have been described, so as to enable one of skill in the art to practice the present invention, the preceding description is intended to be exemplary only. It should not be used to limit the scope of the invention, which should be determined by reference to the following claims.





 
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