Title:
Interchangeable head putter apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf club apparatus includes a head member which includes a ball striking portion and a shaft connection portion which is attached to the ball striking portion. The shaft connection portion includes head-mounted connector portion. A club shaft includes a shaft-mounted connector portion for connection to the head-mounted connector portion. A force-sensing-to-illumination-producing system is supported by the club shaft. The force-sensing-to-illumination-producing system senses a ball-striking force on the ball striking portion and provides an illumination signal on the club shaft which is representative of the ball striking force on the ball striking portion. A plurality of interchangeable head members, having different weights, can be selectively connected to the club shaft.



Inventors:
Wiseman II, William W. (Yuma, AZ, US)
Application Number:
11/105946
Publication Date:
10/20/2005
Filing Date:
04/14/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B53/02; A63B53/04; A63B53/06; A63B69/36; (IPC1-7): A63B53/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHAN, ALLEN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
1stSgt. William W. Wiseman II (FPO, AP, US)
Claims:
1. A golf club apparatus, comprising: a head member which includes a ball striking portion and a shaft connection portion connected to said ball striking portion, wherein said shaft connection portion includes head-mounted connector portion, a club shaft which includes a shaft-mounted connector portion for connection to said head-mounted connector portion, and a force-sensing-to-illumination-producing system supported by said club shaft, wherein said force-sensing-to-illumination-producing system senses a ball-striking force on said ball striking portion and provides an illumination signal representative of said ball striking force on said club shaft.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein: said head-mounted connector portion includes external threads on said shaft connection portion, and said shaft-mounted connector portion includes internal threads in said club shaft.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said force-sensing-to-illumination-producing system includes: a force sensor/transducer assembly which senses force transmitted from said ball striking portion when a golf ball is struck and transduces said sensed force into electrical signals, a signal processor/light source driver assembly electrically connected to said force sensor/transducer assembly for receiving said electrical signals from said force sensor/transducer assembly and for providing illumination control signals, sequential illumination means supported by said club shaft and electrically connected to said signal processor/light source driver assembly and controlled by said illumination control signals, and a battery power source electrically connected to said signal processor/light source driver assembly for powering said signal processor/light source driver assembly and said sequential illumination means.

4. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein said sequential illumination means include a sequential array of light sources supported by said club shaft and electrically connected to said signal processor/light source driver assembly and electrically powered by said battery power source.

5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein said sequential array of light sources can include LEDs.

6. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein said battery power source includes individual batteries retained in a battery-reception chamber inside said club shaft.

7. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said force sensor/transducer assembly includes: a bias spring contained in said club shaft a floating sensor assembly having a top side in contact with said bias spring, and an anvil portion of said shaft connection portion which presses up against a bottom side of said floating sensor assembly, whereby said floating sensor assembly is sandwiched between said bias spring and said anvil portion.

8. The apparatus of claim 1, further including: a plurality of interchangeable head members which can be selectively connected to said club shaft.

9. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein said plurality of interchangeable head members includes: a lightest weight interchangeable putter head member, an intermediate weight interchangeable putter head member, and a heaviest weight interchangeable putter head member.

10. The apparatus of claim 1, further including: a handle grip portion attached to a top portion of said club shaft.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority based upon my copending Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/563,151; filed Apr. 19, 2004.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to golf clubs, and, more particularly, to golf clubs having interchangeable heads.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Golf clubs having interchangeable heads are well known in the art. They are useful and economical in permitting a single shaft to be used with a variety of heads. In this respect, throughout the years, a number of innovations have been developed relating to such golf clubs having interchangeable heads, and the following U.S. patents are representative of some of those innovations: U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,424,459, 5,868,633, 6,168,534, 6,547,673, and 6,663,502.

When a golfer uses a golf club, it would be desirable if the force exerted by the golf club on the golf ball could be communicated to the golfer. Such information would be very useful to the golfer for controlling one's swing. It is noted that none of the above-cited patents discloses means for communicating with the golfer the force exerted by the golf club on the golf ball, and it would be desirable if such a golf club were provided.

More particularly with respect to U.S. Pat. No. 5,868,633, it is noted that a display of randomly flashing lights is provided when the golf club hits a golf ball. The display of lights has no direct relationship to the force at which the golf club strikes the golf ball. However, it would be desirable if a golf club were provided which provides a quantitative illumination of lights that is quantitatively related to the force exerted by the golf club on the golf ball when the golf ball is hit by the golf club.

Thus, while the foregoing body of prior art indicates it to be well known to use golf clubs that have interchangeable heads, the prior art described above does not teach or suggest an interchangeable head golf club apparatus which has the following combination of desirable features: (1) provides a golf club that has interchangeable heads; (2) provides means for communicating with the golfer the force exerted by the golf club on the golf ball; and (3) provides a quantitative illumination of lights that is quantitatively related to the force exerted by the golf club on the golf ball when the golf ball is hit by the golf club. The foregoing desired characteristics are provided by the unique interchangeable head putter apparatus of the present invention as will be made apparent from the following description thereof. Other advantages of the present invention over the prior art also will be rendered evident.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To achieve the foregoing and other advantages, the present invention, briefly described, provides a golf club apparatus which includes a head member which includes a ball striking portion and a shaft connection portion which is attached to the ball striking portion. The shaft connection portion includes head-mounted connector portion. A club shaft includes a shaft-mounted connector portion for connection to the head-mounted connector portion. A force-sensing-to-illumination-producing system is supported by the club shaft. The force-sensing-to-illumination-producing system senses a ball-striking force on the ball striking portion and provides an illumination signal on the club shaft which is representative of the ball striking force on the ball striking portion.

The head-mounted connector portion can include external threads on the shaft connection portion, and the shaft-mounted connector portion can include internal threads in the club shaft.

The force-sensing-to-illumination-producing system includes a force sensor/transducer assembly which senses force transmitted from the ball striking portion when a golf ball is struck and transduces the sensed force into electrical signals. A signal processor/light source driver assembly is electrically connected to the force sensor/transducer assembly for receiving the electrical signals from the force sensor/transducer assembly and for providing illumination control signals. Sequential illumination means are supported by the club shaft, are electrically connected to the signal processor/light source driver assembly, and are controlled by the illumination control signals. A battery power source is electrically connected to the signal processor/light source driver assembly for powering the signal processor/light source driver assembly and the sequential illumination means.

Preferably, the battery power source includes individual batteries retained in a battery-reception chamber inside the club shaft. A handle grip portion is attached to a top portion of the club shaft.

With one embodiment of the force sensor/transducer assembly, the force sensor/transducer assembly includes a bias spring contained in the club shaft. A floating sensor assembly has a top side in contact with the bias spring, and an anvil portion of the shaft connection portion presses up against a bottom side of the floating sensor assembly. As a result, the floating sensor assembly is sandwiched between the bias spring and the anvil portion.

The sequential illumination means include a sequential array of light sources supported by the club shaft and are electrically connected to the signal processor/light source driver assembly and are electrically powered by the battery power source. The sequential array of light sources can includes LEDs.

A plurality of interchangeable head members can be selectively connected to the club shaft. The plurality of interchangeable head members include a lightest weight interchangeable putter head member, an intermediate weight interchangeable putter head member, and a heaviest weight interchangeable putter head member.

The above brief description sets forth rather broadly the more important features of the present invention in order that the detailed description thereof that follows may be better understood, and in order that the present contributions to the art may be better appreciated. There are, of course, additional features of the invention that will be described hereinafter and which will be for the subject matter of the claims appended hereto.

In this respect, before explaining a preferred embodiment of the invention in detail, it is understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of the construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood, that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception, upon which disclosure is based, may readily be utilized as a basis for designing other structures, methods, and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved interchangeable head putter apparatus which has all of the advantages of the prior art and none of the disadvantages.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a new and improved interchangeable head putter apparatus which may be easily and efficiently manufactured and marketed.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a new and improved interchangeable head putter apparatus which is of durable and reliable construction.

An even further object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved interchangeable head putter apparatus which is susceptible of a low cost of manufacture with regard to both materials and labor, and which accordingly is then susceptible of low prices of sale to the consuming public, thereby making such interchangeable head putter apparatus available to the buying public.

Still yet a further object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved interchangeable head putter apparatus which provides a golf club that has interchangeable heads.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved interchangeable head putter apparatus that provides means for communicating with the golfer the force exerted by the golf club on the golf ball.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved interchangeable head putter apparatus which provides a quantitative illumination of lights that is quantitatively related to the force exerted by the golf club on the golf ball when the golf ball is hit by the golf club.

These together with still other objects of the invention, along with 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 the specific objects attained by its uses, reference should be had to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which there are illustrated preferred embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will be better understood and the above objects as well as objects other than those set forth above will become more apparent after a study of the following detailed description thereof. Such description makes reference to the annexed drawing wherein:

FIG. 1 is a side view showing a preferred embodiment of the interchangeable head putter apparatus of the invention, having struck a golf ball and having an illuminated light source.

FIG. 2 is a front view of the embodiment of the interchangeable head putter apparatus shown in FIG. 1 taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1, wherein the golf ball is absent.

FIG. 3 is an enlarged, partial cross-sectional view of the embodiment of the interchangeable head putter apparatus of FIG. 1 taken along line 3-3 thereof.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged, partial cross-sectional view of the embodiment of the interchangeable head putter apparatus of FIG. 1 taken along line 4-4 thereof.

FIG. 5 is a partial exploded perspective view of the embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. 1-4, wherein alternative interchangeable putter heads are shown.

FIG. 6 is a schematic diagram of electrical circuitry employed in the preferred embodiment of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

With reference to the drawings, a new and improved interchangeable head putter apparatus embodying the principles and concepts of the present invention will be described.

Turning to FIGS. 1-6, there is shown a preferred embodiment of the interchangeable head putter apparatus of the invention generally designated by reference numeral 10. In the preferred embodiment, golf club apparatus 10 includes a head member 12 which includes a ball striking portion 14 and a shaft connection portion 18 which is attached to the ball striking portion 14. The shaft connection portion 18 includes head-mounted connector portion. A club shaft 20 includes a shaft-mounted connector portion for connection to the head-mounted connector portion. A force-sensing-to-illumination-producing system is supported by the club shaft 20. The force-sensing-to-illumination-producing system senses a ball-striking force on the ball striking portion 14 and provides an illumination signal on the club shaft 20 which is representative of the ball striking force on ball striking portion 14.

The head-mounted connector portion can include external threads 28 on the shaft connection portion 18, and the shaft-mounted connector portion can include internal threads 30 in the club shaft 20.

The force-sensing-to-illumination-producing system includes a force sensor/transducer assembly 22 which senses force transmitted from the ball striking portion 14 when a golf ball 11 is struck and transduces the sensed force into electrical signals. A signal processor/light source driver assembly 24 is electrically connected to the force sensor/transducer assembly 22 for receiving the electrical signals from the force sensor/transducer assembly 22 and for providing illumination control signals. Sequential illumination means are supported by the club shaft 20, are electrically connected to the signal processor/light source driver assembly 24, and are controlled by the illumination control signals. A battery power source 26 is electrically connected to the signal processor/light source driver assembly 24 for powering the signal processor/light source driver assembly 24 and the sequential illumination means.

Preferably, the battery power source 26 includes individual batteries 26 retained in a battery-reception chamber 38 inside the club shaft 20. A removable access cap 40 is connected with the top of the club shaft 20 for allowing access to the battery-reception chamber 38 for changing spent batteries 26 when necessary. handle grip portion 42 is attached to a top portion of the club shaft 20.

With one embodiment of the force sensor/transducer assembly 22, the force sensor/transducer assembly 22 includes a bias spring 34 contained in the club shaft 20. A floating sensor assembly 32 has a top side in contact with the bias spring 34, and an anvil portion 36 of the shaft connection portion 18 presses up against a bottom side of the floating sensor assembly 32. As a result, the floating sensor assembly 32 is sandwiched between the bias spring 34 and the anvil portion 36.

The sequential illumination means include a sequential array of light sources supported by the club shaft 20 and are electrically connected to the signal processor/light source driver assembly 24 and are electrically powered by the battery power source 26. The sequential array of light sources can includes LEDs.

A plurality of interchangeable head members 12 can be selectively connected to the club shaft 20. As shown in FIG. 5, the plurality of interchangeable head members 12 include a lightest weight interchangeable putter head member 12a, an intermediate weight interchangeable putter head member 12b, and a heaviest weight interchangeable putter head member 12c.

To assemble the golf club apparatus 10 of the invention, an interchangeable head member 12 is selected from the interchangeable head members 12a, 12b, and 12c, such as shown in FIG. 5. The external threads 28 of the shaft connection portion 18 are screwed into the internal threads 30 of the club shaft 20. When this is done, the anvil portion 36 of the shaft connection portion 18 presses up against the floating sensor assembly 32, which in turn presses up against the bias spring 34.

When the handle grip portion 42 is grasped and the golf club apparatus 10 is used to strike a golf ball 11, as shown in FIG. 1, a portion of the ball-striking force is transmitted from the ball striking portion 14, through the shaft connection portion 18, to the anvil portion 36, and to the force sensor/transducer assembly 22. The signals from the force sensor/transducer assembly 22 are sent to the signal processor/light source driver assembly 24 which processes the signals and drives the sequential array of light sources, shown as lamps 16 or LEDs.

A number of different relationships can be provided between the ball-striking force and the illumination of the sequential array of light sources. For example, the force sensor/transducer assembly 22 and the signal processor/light source driver assembly 24 can be calibrated so that a ball-striking force is represented by a specific light source 16. The lightest ball-striking force can illuminate the bottom light source 16 in the sequential array of light sources. The hardest ball-striking force can illuminate the top light source 16 in the sequential array of light sources. Intermediate ball-striking forces can illuminate intermediate light sources 16 in the sequential array of light sources.

The lightest weight putter head can weigh 325 grams, as an example. This putter head can be used for short putts. An intermediate weight putter head can weigh 365 grams, as an example. This putter head can be used for medium range putts. The heaviest weight putter head can weigh 390 grams, as an example. This putter head can be used for most distant putts.

Another relationship between the ball-striking force and the illumination of the sequential array of light sources can be stated as follows. The golf club apparatus 10 of the invention can be used to demonstrate the distance from the putter to the cup.

As a first example, a first golf ball 11 is struck by one ball striking portion 14, and the light source 16 indicates the color green. Beside the green light is a label indicating 325 grams. The distance the ball travelled would dictate using the 325 gram interchangeable head member 12 for putts of that distance.

As a second example, a second golf ball 11 is struck, and a light source 16 indicates the color yellow. Beside the yellow light is a label indicating 365 grams. The distance the ball travelled would dictate using the 365 gram interchangeable head member 12 for putts of that distance.

As a third example, a third golf ball 11 is struck, and a light source 16 indicates the color red. Beside the red light is a label indicating 390 grams. The distance the ball travelled would dictate using the 390 gram interchangeable head member 12 for putts of that distance.

Various embodiments of the invention can have various decorative and colorful decals or patterns indicative of different subject matter, such as, for example, sports teams, beverages, patriotic motifs such as red, white, and blue colors, among others.

The components of the interchangeable head putter apparatus of the invention can be made from inexpensive and durable metal and plastic materials.

As to the manner of usage and operation of the instant invention, the same is apparent from the above disclosure, and accordingly, no further discussion relative to the manner of usage and operation need be provided.

It is apparent from the above that the present invention accomplishes all of the objects set forth by providing a new and improved interchangeable head putter apparatus that is low in cost, relatively simple in design and operation, and which may advantageously be used to provide means for communicating with the golfer the force exerted by the golf club on the golf ball. With the invention, an interchangeable head putter apparatus provides a quantitative illumination of lights that is quantitatively related to the force exerted by the golf club on the golf ball when the golf ball is hit by the golf club.

Thus, while the present invention has been shown in the drawings and fully described above with particularity and detail in connection with what is presently deemed to be the most practical and preferred embodiment(s) of the invention, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that many modifications thereof may be made without departing from the principles and concepts set forth herein, including, but not limited to, variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use.

Hence, the proper scope of the present invention should be determined only by the broadest interpretation of the appended claims so as to encompass all such modifications as well as all relationships equivalent to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification.

Finally, it will be appreciated that the purpose of the annexed Abstract is to enable the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the public generally, and especially the scientists, engineers and practitioners in the art who are not familiar with patent or legal terms or phraseology, to determine quickly from a cursory inspection the nature and essence of the technical disclosure of the application. Accordingly, the Abstract is neither intended to define the invention or the application, which only is measured by the claims, nor is it intended to be limiting as to the scope of the invention in any way.