Title:
Container for shipping golf equipment
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A container for shipping golf equipment. The container includes a back panel, side panels, and a front panel which define the interior of the container. The interior includes an upper portion and a lower portion. The front panel is at least partially removable from the side panels to allow access to the interior of the container. An air bladder is affixed to the side panels within the upper portion of the interior. The air bladder includes a sealable fill stem through which the air bladder may be inflated. The inflated air bladder is used to substantially immobilize the golf equipment during shipping.



Inventors:
Yang, Roger (Walnut, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/268009
Publication Date:
04/08/2004
Filing Date:
10/08/2002
Assignee:
YANG ROGER
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
383/3, 206/522
International Classes:
A63B55/00; (IPC1-7): B65D85/34; A63B55/00; B65D30/00; B65D85/32
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MAI, TRI M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NORTON ROSE FULBRIGHT US LLP (LOS ANGELES, CA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A shipping container comprising: a back panel; side panels affixed to and extending from the back panel; a front panel at least partially removably affixed to the side panels, the combination of the back panel, side panels, and front panel defining an interior of the container, the interior having an upper portion and a lower portion; and a first air bladder affixed to the side panels within the upper portion of the interior, the first air bladder including a sealable fill stem.

2. The shipping container of claim 1 further comprising an air pump coupled to the sealable fill stem.

3. The shipping container of claim 1 further comprising a second air bladder affixed to the back panel within the upper portion of the interior; and a pressure equalization tube coupling the first air bladder to the second air bladder.

4. A method of transporting golf equipment, the golf equipment including golf clubs stored in a golf bag with a portion of the golf clubs extending from the golf bag, comprising: placing the golf bag with the golf clubs in a shipping container, the container including a back panel, side panels, and a front panel that define an interior of the container, the front panel being at least partially detachable from the side panels to allow access to the interior of the container, wherein an air bladder is affixed to the side panels within the interior of the container, the air bladder including a sealable fill stem; inflating the air bladder via the sealable fill stem to substantially immobilize the portion of the golf clubs extending from the golf bag; securing the front panel to the side panels to enclose the interior of the container; and transporting the container.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The field of the present invention is shipping containers, and specifically shipping containers used for shipping golf equipment.

[0003] 2. Background

[0004] To the golf enthusiast, possibly the most important detail that must be attended to prior to tee time entails ensuring that one's golf bag and golf clubs actually arrive at the golf course. Actual arrival of the golf equipment is not typically a concern when playing at a local golf course and the equipment is personally transported. However, actual arrival of the equipment is important when playing golf while traveling away from home because the equipment is often separately shipped or checked as baggage. Regardless of where the golf course is located, having one's golf equipment arrive undamaged is just as important as actually getting the equipment to the golf course. Undamaged golf clubs are especially important because damage such as a bent shaft or a dinged face can destroy the usability of the golf clubs. Perhaps even more important, if such damage goes unnoticed and the clubs are used, one's golf game can be thoroughly destroyed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] The present invention is directed towards a container for shipping golf equipment. The container comprises a back panel, side panels, and a front panel. The panels define and enclose the interior of the container, which includes an upper portion and a lower portion. The front panel is at least partially removable from the side panels to allow access to the interior of the container. An air bladder is affixed to the side panels within the upper portion of the interior and includes a sealable fill stem through which it may be inflated. Thus, when equipment such as a golf bag and golf clubs are placed in the container for shipping, the air bladder may be inflated to substantially immobilize the portions of the golf clubs that extend from the golf bag. Additional air bladders may be included within the upper portion of the interior to, improve the immobilization.

[0006] Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved container for shipping golf equipment. Other objects and advantages will appear hereinafter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0007] In the drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to similar components:

[0008] FIG. 1 is a partial cut away view of a container for shipping golf equipment;

[0009] FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the container of FIG. 1 with a golf bag and golf clubs placed therein; and

[0010] FIG. 3 is a partial exploded view of the container of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0011] Turning in detail to the drawings, FIG. 1 illustrates a container 10 for shipping golf equipment comprising a back panel 20, side panels 22, and a front panel 24. Each of the panels preferably has a rigid exterior and an interior formed of Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) dense foam padding. The side panels 22 are affixed to the periphery of the back panel 20 and extend outwardly therefrom at approximately a right angle. The front panel 24 is affixed to the side panels 22 so that an enclosed interior space is formed in the container 10. The interior of the container 10 is of an appropriate size and shape to hold a golf bag and golf clubs. On a first side 25, the front panel 24 is hingedly affixed to the side panels 22. All other sides of the front panel 24 are affixed to the side panels 22 with a zipper 26 so that the front panel 24 may be partially detached from the side panels 22 and rotated to expose the interior of the container 10. Those skilled in the art will recognize that the front panel may affixed to the side panels in many different manners while still allowing access to the interior of the container.

[0012] The interior of the container 10 includes an upper portion 28 and a lower portion 30. An air bladder 32 is affixed to the side panels 22 within the upper portion 28. The air bladder 32 is constructed of a material that is capable of retaining pressurized air over extended periods of time without significant pressure loss. Such air bladders are well known to those skilled in the art. The air bladder 32 includes a sealable fill stem 34 through which the air bladder 32 may be inflated. A portable air pump 36 is coupled to the fill stem 34 for pressurizing the air bladder 32. The portable air pump 36 may be removably affixed to the fill stem 34 so that alternative pressurized air sources may be used to inflate the air bladder 32. When the air bladder 32 is inflated, it fills the upper portion 28 of the interior. Preferably, the air bladder 32 is inflatable to fill approximately 90%-100% of the upper portion 28 by volume, however, the air bladder 32 may fill less than 90% of the upper portion 28 by volume while still maintaining functionality of the invention as described herein. Once the air bladder 32 is inflated, the fill stem 34 may be sealed to ensure the air bladder 32 remains pressurized.

[0013] FIG. 2 illustrates the container 10 with a golf bag 50 and golf clubs 52 placed therein and the air bladder 32 inflated in preparation for shipping. The golf clubs 52 are stored in the golf bag 50 in the traditional manner, with the handle and upper shaft portion placed down into the golf bag and the lower shaft portion and head protruding from the golf bag. The golf bag 50 and golf clubs 52 are placed into the container 10 with the lower shaft portion and head of the golf clubs in the upper portion of the interior. Thus, the air bladder 32, when inflated to fill the upper portion as shown in FIG. 2, exerts pressure on the upper shaft portions and heads of the golf clubs 52. A sufficiently inflated air bladder will substantially immobilize the upper shaft portions and heads of the golf clubs. The amount of pressure required for substantial immobilization depends upon, among other things, the size and weight of the golf clubs and the types stresses experienced by the container during shipping.

[0014] FIG. 3 shows the back panel 20 and side panels 22 of a container for shipping golf equipment. A first air bladder 40 is affixed to the side panels 22 and a second air bladder 42 is affixed to the back panel 20, both in the upper portion of the interior. The air bladders 40, 42 are coupled with a pressure equalization tube 44 which permits pressurized gases to freely flow between the air bladders. By coupling the air bladders in this manner, a single sealable fill stem, included with either of the air bladders, may be used to inflate the air bladders. In FIG. 3, the fill stem 34 is included with the first air bladder. Alternatively, each air bladder may have its own sealable fill stem, eliminating the need for the coupling pressure equalization tube, although such may still be included. An optional third air bladder may be affixed to the front panel (not shown in FIG. 3). Such a third air bladder may either be coupled to one of the other two air bladders, preferably the first, using a second pressure equalization tube or include its own sealable fill stem.

[0015] Thus, a container for shipping golf equipment is disclosed. While embodiments of this invention have been shown and described, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that many more modifications are possible without departing from the inventive concepts herein. The invention, therefore, is not to be restricted except in the spirit of the following claims.