Title:
Golf club rack system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf club rack system removably attachable to the frame of a golf cart. The system employs brackets with clips and retainers. The brackets are frictionally engaged opposite one another to the upright frame member on the cart. Selected golf clubs may be inserted in a horizontal position in a convenient position for access. The system maintains the clubs to prevent chipping and marring of expensive golf clubs. The bracket may also have attachment means for other golf accessories such as towels and beverage containers.



Inventors:
Christiansen, Chris (Prescott Valley, AR, US)
Parr, Christopher (Phoenix, AZ, US)
Application Number:
11/253024
Publication Date:
05/04/2006
Filing Date:
10/17/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B55/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
VANTERPOOL, LESTER L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CHRISTOPHER CHRISTIANSEN (PRESCOTT VALLEY, AZ, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A golf club rack system for use with a golf cart having a pair of spaced-apart, upright frame members, said rack system comprising: (a) a first bracket having: (i) an elongate, generally U-shaped body with opposite ends with a back wall and depending legs; (ii) a first clip positioned adjacent one end of the body; (iii) a second clip positioned adjacent the other end of the body; (b) a second bracket having: (i) an elongate, generally U-shaped body with opposite ends with a back wall and depending legs; (ii) a first clip positioned adjacent one end of the body; (iii) a second clip positioned adjacent the other end of the body whereby said brackets may be oppositely attached to said pair of upright frame members to removably receive a golf club.

2. The golf club rack system of claim 1 wherein said first clip is a metal spring clip and said second clip is a resilient, elastomeric retainer.

3. The golf club rack system of claim 1 wherein said first and second brackets are respectively located on the back wall of said bodies.

4. The golf club rack system of claim 1 wherein said body carries attachment means for an accessory item.

5. The golf club rack system of claim 1 having multiple first and second clips.

6. The golf club rack system of claim 1 wherein said brackets each define a channel extending along said wall and wherein said first and second clips each have a foot slidably received in said channel.

7. The golf club rack system of claim 6 wherein said clips are a resilient material.

8. A mounting bracket comprising: (a) a generally elongate U-shaped body having opposite legs with exterior surfaces and a back wall; (b) said legs each defining a channel extending along their exterior surfaces; and (c) mounting means slidably received in said channels defining an article receiving opening.

9. The mounting bracket of claim 8 further including resilient clips having a foot slidably receivable in one of said channels.

10. The mounting bracket of claim 8 further including a suction cup having a foot slidably received in one of said channels.

11. The mounting bracket of claim 8 further including a ball holder having a cylindrical body and having a flange slidably receivable in one of said channels.

12. A golf club rack system for use with a golf cart having a pair of spaced-apart, upright frame members, said rack system comprising: (a) a first bracket having: (i) an elongate, generally U-shaped body with opposite ends with a back wall and depending first and second legs; (ii) ribs defining first and second channels extending longitudinally along said legs (iii) a first mounting means slidably in said first channel adjacent one end of the body; (iv) a second mounting means slidable in said first channel adjacent the other end of the body on the back wall; (b) a second bracket having: (i) an elongate, generally U-shaped body with opposite ends with a back wall and depending legs; (ii) ribs defining first and second channels extending longitudinally along said legs; (iii) a mounting means slidably in said first channel adjacent one end of the body on the back wall; (iv) a second mounting means slidable in the said first channel adjacent the other end of the body on the back wall whereby said brackets may be oppositely positioned to removably receive a golf club.

13. The golf club rack system of claim 12 wherein said mounting means are resilient, elastomeric members.

14. The golf club rack system of claim 13 further including a suction cup in the second channels of said first and second brackets.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is based on U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/620,117, filed Oct. 18, 2004, entitled “Golf Club Rack.”

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a rack system and more particularly relates to a rack system for temporarily storing golf clubs and other items in a convenient access position when playing using a golf cart.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Golf is an extremely popular game with a long history. Golf is generally believed to originated in Scotland and early golfers played the game by walking the link-style courses. As the game is progressed, the rules of golf have changed little, although technology has impacted the game of golf. One development, which is more recent to the history of golf, is the use of motorized golf carts. Motorized golf carts have become popular both with golfers and golf course management as carts contribute to an increase in the speed of play and lessen the physical demands upon golfers. With the golf cart, the golfer is not required to carry his or her golf clubs. Further, use of golf carts enables many golfers to continue to play the game which they may not be able to due to either age or infirmity.

Golf carts come in various styles and models and are generally either powered by an electric engine or a small gasoline engine. The carts generally have seating for two. Behind the seat is a carrier on which the golfer's clubs may be secured during the round of play. Motorized carts have a body which may be metal or fiberglass and have conventional controls such as a steering wheel, brake, parking brake and are driven in a manner similar to an automobile. Most golf carts are constructed having a frame which supports an overhead roof or canopy which frame generally extends upwardly from the front and rear of the body. The front frame may support a windshield or windscreen which may be permanently affixed, removably secured or may be pivotally affixed to the cart.

One of the disadvantages encountered in golf using a cart is that after playing each shot, the golfer will normally return the club which has been used to the golf bag which is secured to the rear of the cart. Because a standard set of golf clubs contains 14 clubs, properly inserting the club in the bag can become a problem as the shafts of the contained clubs will often interfere with one another. Therefore, it is not uncommon a that a golf club that has not been properly returned to the bag may be dislodged from the golf bag and fall to the ground, possibly damaging the golf club. It is to be noted that today's high-tech golf clubs can be very expensive and a driver may cost as much as $400.00, $500.00 or more. Further, these new high-tech clubs are often made using sophisticated materials such as titanium and carbon fiber. Clubs not properly inserted into the golf bag may also be damaged by engagement with the other clubs due to the vibration and impact caused during normal driving of the golf cart. Therefore, it is generally recommended that clubs such as drivers be placed in the bag and a head cover be placed on the golf club after each use. Many golfers regard this as an inconvenient interruption of the game and will return the club, such as a driver, to the bag without replacing the head cover. As pointed out above, this may result in possible damage to golf clubs.

In view of the foregoing, there exists a need for a golf club rack system which will safely and securely maintain a selection of golf clubs in a position ready for use and which will prevent the clubs from being damaged due to vibration impact during the course of a round of golf.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly, the present invention provides a golf club rack system which is removably securable to the conventional golf club cart and which will secure golf clubs such as drivers and putters in a convenient position for use. Although other clubs such as irons may also be maintained in the golf club rack system of the present invention, the system is primarily intended for use with putters and woods which are the most frequently used clubs. Generally a golfer will be required to use a putter on virtually every hole and the majority of holes on most golf courses are of sufficient length that the golfer is required to tee-off with a wood, as for example a driver through 5 wood.

Briefly, in one embodiment, the present invention provides a golf club rack system which has a pair of brackets oppositely, removably securable to the tubular frame members of the golf cart which frame members extend upwardly to support the golf cart roof or cover. The brackets are generally U-shaped and elongate and may be clamped onto the frame members and retained by frictional force. In one embodiment, suction cups may be attached to the brackets so the brackets may be secured to the windshield of a cart. The surface of the brackets carries clip assemblies which will frictionally engage either the grip or lower shaft sections of the golf club. The clips may either be spring clips of spring steel or a molded elastomer. With the bracket positioned on the upright portions of the frame, clubs may be inserted into the clips so that they will extend generally horizontally between the frame members in a convenient accessible location for placing the clubs in the rack and removing the clubs when required. The clubs are maintained out of contact with one another. The brackets may also be used for other accessory items such as towels and water bottles.

In an alternate embodiment, the elongate bracket, again, has two or more clips which are disposed to retain a golf club such as a putter in the position axially aligned with the frame member.

The brackets may also be modified to provide attachment means for golf accessories such as towels, water bottles, golf ball dispensers and the like.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other advantages and objects of the present invention will become more fully understood and appreciated from the following description, claims and drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a partial perspective view of a golf cart showing the golf club rack system of the present invention with a plurality of golf clubs secured to the rack system extending horizontally between the front cart frame members;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a detail view showing one end of a bracket and associated clip assembly utilized in the golf club rack system;

FIG. 4 is a detail elevational view showing the opposite end of a bracket and clip assembly as used in the golf club rack system of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view showing one of the brackets of the rack system according to the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a plan view showing one of the brackets of the golf club rack system with two golf clubs being secured to the brackets;

FIG. 7 is an alternate embodiment showing a bracket according to the present invention modified having a hook for an accessory item such as a towel;

FIG. 8 shows yet another embodiment of the bracket according to the present invention modified having clips for securing accessory items such as a beverage container;

FIG. 9 is a partial detail view of a section of a golf cart with another embodiment of a bracket according to the present invention secured thereto with the bracket maintaining a golf club, such as a putter in a convenient position of use;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view showing the bracket of FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a side elevational view showing the bracket of FIGS. 9 and 10;

FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view of the bracket shown in of FIG. 9;

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of an alternate embodiment of the bracket;

FIG. 13A is a perspective view of the bracket of FIG. 13 provided with suction cups shown reversed from the position of FIG. 13;

FIG. 14 is a partial view of the bracket of FIG. 13 rotated 90°;

FIG. 15 is a partial perspective view showing the rack system of the invention utilizing the brackets of FIG. 13 installed on a golf cart with golf clubs retained by the rack system;

FIG. 16 is a partial side view of one end of the brackets of FIGS. 13 and 13A showing adjustable club retainers;

FIG. 17 is a partial side view of the other end of the brackets of FIGS. 13 and 13A showing adjustable clips;

FIG. 18 is a cross-sectional view of the brackets shown in FIG. 16 showing the mounting of the retainers;

FIG. 19 is a perspective view showing an accessory ball holder detachably secured to a bracket of the type shown in FIGS. 13 and 13A;

FIG. 20 is a side view, partly broken away, showing the ball holder of FIG. 19;

FIG. 21 shows the holder of FIG. 19 mounted on a golf cart frame and attached by a bracket of the type shown in FIGS. 13 and 13A;

FIG. 22 is a top view of the ball holder in a mounted position;

FIG. 23 is a bottom view of the ball holder;

FIG. 24 shows the rack system using brackets as shown in FIG. 13A secured to a cart windshield by suction cups;

FIG. 25 is a partial detail view of a bracket and a suction cup;

FIG. 26 is a side view of a bracket with attached suction cup; and

FIG. 27 is a sectional view of a bracket with attached suction cup.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Turning now to the drawings, particularly FIGS. 1 to 5, it is helpful to set forth the environment in which the golf club rack system of the present invention will be used. As pointed out above, the golf club rack system is intended to be used with a golf cart. As shown in FIG. 1, golf carts GC come in various styles and are made by various manufacturers, but generally have a chassis, not shown, which supports a body B having a seat S with a backrest BR. The body of the cart has an upstanding front frame F secured to the body by bolts or screws. The frame F has a pair of spaced-apart, upright tube members T1 and T2 which support a roof or canopy not shown. The tube members T1 and T2 are located on opposite sides of the cart and define an area between them to which the operator and passenger may forwardly view. This area may have a either a permanently or removable windscreen or windshield which is generally transparent and of a plastic material of acrylic or similar material. A pair of tube frame members generally also extend upwardly at the rear of the cart.

The rack system 10 is intended to be securable to the existing tubular members T1 and T2, as well as the rear frame members, not shown. The tubular members are generally steel are either square or rectangular in cross section as seen in FIGS. 1 and 2.

An embodiment of the rack system is shown in FIGS. 1 through 6 and includes bracket members 12 and 12A. It will be apparent that bracket members 12 and 12A are similar in construction and, when installed, bracket 12A is inverted with respect to the bracket 12. However, description of bracket 12 will also apply to bracket 12A and it is not believed necessary to duplicate this description.

Bracket 12 has an elongate body 14 which has arm sections 16 and 18 depending from an intermediate bight section 20. The ends of the arms 16 and 18 may be slightly flared outwardly at 22, as best seen in FIG. 2, to facilitate insertion on the tubular frame members T1 and T2. The brackets 12 and 12A can be fabricated from any suitable material such as plastic, hard elastomer or even some metals. A preferred material is PVC which is extruded to form the bracket. The arms 16 and 18 preferably depend inwardly slightly as best seen in FIG. 2 and are slightly deflectable so that they may be separated to facilitate installation of the bracket on the tubular members T1 and T2. Once in position, the deflectable arm members will frictionally engage the opposite sides of the tubular member. The bracket may be any suitable length, but preferably is approximately 12″ to 18″ in length. It will be apparent the brackets are easily installable and removable as required.

One end 24 of the bracket 12 has one or more expandable clips disposed adjacent the opposite ends 26 and 28. A pair of clips 30 and 32 are shown positioned adjacent end 24. The clips 30 and 32 are similar in construction and, as best seen in FIG. 3, each clip is a spring clip of a resilient material such as spring steel. Each clip has a base 34 and pair of opposed, upstanding arms 36 and 38. Each of the arms are bent inwardly at 40, 42 forming an arcuate article-receiving area 46. An article such as a shaft of a golf club can be inserted in the article retaining area 46 causing the arms to deflect outwardly to snugly engage the article. As pointed out above, clip 32 is similarly configured. The clips are secured to the bight section 20 of the bracket by any suitable means such as mechanical fasteners 48 or by adhesives.

A retainer assembly 50 is also shown disposed adjacent opposite end 28 of the bracket, as seen in FIG. 4. The retainer assembly 50 is shown as integrally formed of a suitable elastomeric material having resilient characteristics. The material can be natural or synthetic rubber or a plastic such as polyurethane. The clip assembly 50 defines a plurality of generally circular article-receiving areas 52, 54 and 56. An opening 58 is provided at the upper portion of each of the article-receiving areas so that an item such as a section of a golf club shaft may be inserted into the retainer. The resiliency of the elastomeric material will allow the shaft to be inserted and frictionally retained in the clip.

When the bracket system is installed, bracket 12 will be secured to the member T1 as shown in FIG. 1 with the clips 30 and 32 positioned above the retainer 50. The opposed bracket 12A is substantially identical to the bracket 12, but, when installed, it is inverted so that the retainer 50 is disposed above the spring clips 30 and 32. The brackets are disposed opposite one another. In this manner, golf clubs C1 and C2 can be secured to the bracket in the upper position with the larger grip areas being received in the clips 30 and 32. The narrower, lower shaft area above the hosel of the club is secured within the molded elastomeric clips. The elastomeric retainer will provide better protection to prevent damaging of the lower shaft area. The larger club grip area is generally enclosed in leather or rubber and therefore is more suitable for insertion in the clips 30 and 32. Additional clubs C3 and C4 may also be inserted in a horizontal position below the clubs C1 and C2. The lower clubs are positioned spaced from the upper clubs and are in reverse position with their grips being secured in the clip members on brackets 12A and the lower shaft area being secured in the resilient clips associated with bracket 12. It is noted that a substantial view area to both the driver and passenger is provided about club C1 and between C2 and C3.

When installed, the golf clubs C1 to C4 are in a convenient, accessible position. The golfer may easily remove and replace a club as required. The clubs are held in a secure position in which they will not engage one another, avoiding damage such as chipping or marring to the clubs. Since multiple clubs may be secured to the rack assembly, both the cart driver and passenger may use the rack at the same time, each placing one or two clubs in the rack.

Since the brackets 12, 12A are removable, light and compact, they may be carried by the golfers and installed on a cart at the time of use. The installation is quick and will not damage the cart and requires no permanent affixation components. Golf courses can make the racks available as a convenience to golfers at minimum cost. The brackets also provide a location for placement of advertising messages, logos and brands. Since the brackets may be fabricated at low cost, the rack assemblies may be provided by sponsors to users at little or not cost.

Brackets, according to the present invention, may also be used in conjunction with frame members to secure other accessory which may be used by a golfer. In FIG. 7, bracket 112 is shown. Bracket 112 is constructed similar to bracket 12 and may include clip assemblies as previously described. A hook 114 is shown extending from a sidewall of the bracket to which an accessory item such as a towel T or other item may be hung.

In FIG. 8, bracket 212 is shown again as has been described with reference to FIG. 12. The bracket 212 has a pair of spaced-apart, semi-circular arms 214 and 216 extending from the surface of the bracket 212. A second pair of arcuate arms 214A and 216A are spaced from arms 214 and 216. The arms are of a suitable deflectable material, either metal or plastic, to allow the insertion of a beverage bottle BB or container as shown.

Referring to FIGS. 9 through 12, yet another embodiment of the present invention is shown, again having a bracket 312 having a central bight section 320 and depending arms 316 and 318. The bracket is generally elongate and may be frictionally secured to a frame member T1 of the cart as shown in FIG. 9. In this embodiment, the bracket is shown with the section 320 abutting a surface of the member T1 which faces the golf cart driver or passenger. The bracket 312 may be utilized by itself to secure a single golf club in a convenient position for use. As mentioned above, a golfer will normally utilize a putter on almost every hole played, therefore, during a round, a putter is repeatedly removed and replaced from a bag. With the present invention, the putter can be conveniently secured in a position with an easy grasp of the user on the cart frame. The golfer does not have to repeatedly remove and replace the putter in the golf bag. The putter is secured by a plurality of clips 330, 332 and 334. Each of clips may be a spring clip such as that described with reference to FIG. 3 or may be a molded, elastomer retainer similar to that described with reference to FIG. 4. The clips are resilient having separable arms 336, 338 which will receive and retain the grip portion of the putter P. The golfer can simply grasp either the grip or shaft of the putter, applying a separating force. The golfer, when returning to the cart, can replace the putter in the convenient position by inserting the grip into the clips to retain the putter in place. The embodiment 312 may be used in conjunction with other embodiments described herein and positioned in a non-interfering, convenient location on the cart frame.

FIG. 13 shows yet another embodiment of the invention n which bracket 412 is an extruded or molded member having a bight section 420 and depending legs 416 and 418 which flare outwardly at their distal ends. A first channel 425 is integrally formed and extends axially along leg 418. The channel is defined by converging ribs 428, 429. A second channel 425a extends along leg 416. One or more clips 430 are shown as slidably received in channel 425 adjacent bracket end 414. The clips 430 are preferably a resilient material having an area 446 sized to accommodate the larger grip end of a golf club. The base 442 of clips 430 are formed having longitudinal slots 433 which receive the walls 428, 429. Thus, the user may insert the number of clips desired and selectively position them along the bracket. Frictional engagement will maintain the clips in the selected position.

Retainers 450 are slidably positioned in channel 425 adjacent opposite end 428. The retainers 450 are preferably a resilient material such as rubber or plastic having a base 451 which is slotted at 452 to be slidably received in channel 425. The retainers each have an article receiving area 456 defined by legs 460, 462 which are angularly disposed relative to the bracket so that one of the legs may easily be manually deflected using a thumb or finger to release a contained golf club or to insert the shaft into area 456.

The channels also provide a mounting location for suction cups 480 as best seen in FIGS. 13A, 14 and FIGS. 24 to 26. Channel 412 in FIG. 13A is shown with the clips 430 and retainers 450 in channel 425 and suction cups 480 slidable in channel 425A. Suction cups 480 having a suction head 482 on a base 484. The base 484 is configured similar to base 451 having slots so that suction cups are slidable along the bracket. This is best seen in FIG. 27. The suction cups may be used to mount the brackets to the outer surface of a windshield as an alternative to clamping the brackets to the cart frame members T1 and T2 as seen in FIG. 24.

The rack system o the invention also accommodates mounting of accessories. One such accessory is shown in FIGS. 19 to 23 and is a golf ball holder and dispenser 600. The holder has a cylindrical sleeve-like body 602 in which a number of golf balls GB may be placed. The top is open. A deflectable arm 612 retains the balls in the body and may be manually deflected to release a ball.

A circular flange 620 is provided near the top of the body and has apertures 622 for insertion of golf tees, not shown.

A longitudinal flange 625 is slotted similar to flange 451 so the holder may be engaged in a channel 425 of bracket 412. A golfer may then choose to attach the holder 600 in a convenient location of one of the brackets by simply inserting the base of the holder into the channel. The holder may be used with a bracket independent of use as a club holder or may be attached as seen in FIG. 22 to channel 425A which is disposed toward the cart interior.

From the foregoing, it will be seen that the present invention provides a simple, convenient and extremely useful accessory for use with a golf cart. The accessory is in the form of a rack which may be used to secure clubs in a convenient position, ready for use and also protect the clubs from possible damage that may occur due to vibration impact imparted by the motion of the cart.

It will be obvious to those skilled in the art to make various changes, alterations and modifications to the invention described herein. To the extent such changes, alterations and modifications do not depart from the spirit and scope of the appended claims, they are intended to be encompassed therein.