Title:
Internally pressurized golf club face
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf club head having a dual wall internally pressurized face plate and an apparatus for varying the pressurization thereof.



Inventors:
Liou, Jethro (City of Industry, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/030792
Publication Date:
07/06/2006
Filing Date:
01/06/2005
Assignee:
TROPHY SPORTS, INC.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B53/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PASSANITI, SEBASTIANO
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary US LLP (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A golf club head comprising: a sole plate secured to a dual wall faceplate having a strike wall and a back wall separated by an internally pressurizable cavity.

2. The golf club head of claim 1 wherein said golf club head further comprises: a valve providing access to pressurize the cavity between said strike wall and said back wall of said face plate.

3. The golf club head of claim 1 wherein said valve is positioned at the toe of said golf club head.

4. The golf club head of claim 1 further comprising a hozel secured to said back wall of said faceplate, said hozel including a valve interconnecting said hozel and the cavity.

5. The golf club head of claim 1 wherein said dual wall faceplate is formed from a material selected from the group consisting of steel, stainless steel, titanium, and similar metallic materials.

6. The golf club head of claim 1 wherein said dual wall faceplate is secured to a sole plate, said dual wall faceplate and said sole plate are formed from a material selected from the group consisting of steel, stainless steel, titanium, and similar metallic materials.

7. The golf club head of claim 1 wherein said strike wall has a thickness of between 0.1 mm to 6.0 mm.

8. The golf club head of claim 7 wherein back wall is thicker than said strike wall.

9. The golf club head of claim 7 wherein said metallic assembly is formed from a material selected from the group consisting of steel, stainless steel, titanium, and similar metallic materials.

10. The golf club head of claim 1 wherein said back wall has a thickness of between 0.1 mm to 6.0 mm.

11. The golf club head of claim 1 wherein said internally pressurizable cavity has a thickness of between 0.1 mm to 6.0 mm.

12. A golf club head comprising: a dual wall faceplate, having a strike wall having a thickness of between 0.1 mm to 6.0 mm and a back wall having a thickness of between 0.1 mm to 6.0 mm, said strike wall and back wall separated by an internal cavity having a cross sectional thickness of between 0.1 mm to 6.0 mm; a sole plate; a hozel; and a top, wherein said sole plate, hozel and said top are secured to said dual wall faceplate.

13. The golf club head of claim 12 wherein said sole plate, hozel, dual wall faceplate are formed from a material selected from the group consisting of steel, stainless steel and titanium.

14. The golf club head of claim 12 wherein said golf club head further comprises: a valve providing access to pressurize said cavity between said strike wall and said back wall of said face plate.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to a metal “wood” golf club heads and iron golf club heads, and more particularly, to a golf club head having a dual wall internally pressurized face plate and an optional method and apparatus for varying the pressurization thereof.

2. Description of the Related Art

Golf club manufacturers have fabricated multiple designs for golf clubs all with the goal of improving a golfer's performance. Different materials including metals for the “woods” have been used to increase ball flight distance and improve the feel of the club. Various weighting schemes, including perimeter weighting, have been proposed to optimize the center of gravity and moment of inertia of club heads. Oversized club heads have been utilized to attempt to provide a large sweet spot on the ball striking face. However, the weight of golf clubs that can be used in professional or PGA sanctioned events is strictly controlled by golf associations. Accordingly, particularly for the oversized club heads, weight or metal thickness in or around the faceplate may be sacrificed to allow adequate thickness throughout the entirety of the oversized head.

Perhaps the most important factor in hitting a golf ball well is the location of impact of the ball on the striking surface or the faceplate. A ball which is hit in the center or the sweet spot of the faceplate will generally go farther and straighter than a ball impacting near the heel or toe or above or below the sweet spot of the faceplate. For this reason, the weight or mass distribution in or at the periphery of the faceplate becomes increasingly significant for hitting golf balls at a location moving away from the sweet spot to try to compensate for an off center hit. Thus, club designers seek to maximize efficiency of both on target strikes within the sweet spot and off target strikes outside of the sweet spot in the design of golf club heads.

Another important factor in hitting a golf ball well is the coefficient of restitution (“COR”) of the striking surface of the faceplate of the golf club. Increasing the COR will increase the force imparted to the golf ball and thus the distance the ball will travel for a given club head speed. However, a high COR may also cause a ball that is hit of center of the sweet spot to travel off line further than it would for a lower COR club head. Accordingly, while expert or professional players may be able to utilize and take advantage of high COR club heads on a more consistent basis, average players may only realize the benefit of a high COR club head infrequently, when they hit the ball in the sweet spot, and the remainder of the time a high COR club head may be detrimental.

A club head that combines a high COR or a variable COR, with better off-sweet spot control, would be beneficial to both professional and average golfers.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a golf club faceplate having a double wall defining there between a chamber that can be internally pressurized, during manufacture or with the use of a pump, to vary the COR of the golf club. The double wall faceplate, sole plate and hozel, and potentially the toe, heel, top and rear wall, are preferably formed from metal such as an iron alloy or titanium.

A valve either at the edge of the double wall faceplate or extending through the back wall thereof allows for the introduction of pressurized air or gas into the cavity between the strike wall and back wall of the double wall faceplate. By pressurizing the cavity between the strike wall and back wall of the double wall faceplate, the COR of the club can be adjusted to a players specification.

The above described and many other features and attendant advantages of the present invention will become apparent from a consideration of the following detailed description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A detailed description of the invention will be made with reference to the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a side perspective partial cross sectional view of a golf club head having the double wall faceplate of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side perspective cross sectional view through the double wall faceplate of the golf club of the present invention illustrating the deflection occurring for an on-center hit;

FIG. 3 is a side perspective cross sectional view through the double wall faceplate of the golf club of the present invention illustrating the deflection occurring for an off-center hit;

FIG. 4 is a top perspective partially-cross section view of an alternative embodiment of the golf club head of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 5 is partial view of another alternative embodiment of the golf club head according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIGS. 1-5 show various views and embodiments of a double wall faceplate for a golf club head 10 in accordance with the present invention. The golf club head 10 is depicted as a metal wood, although the concept is also applicable to the design of irons.

FIG. 1 depicts a side-cross section from front to back through the golf club head 10. The golf club head 10 includes a strike wall 12 and a back wall 14, defining there between a cavity 16. The golf club head 10 also includes a top 18 and a sole plate 20. The sole plate 20 may include a rear portion 22. The strike wall 12, back wall 14 and sole plate 20 are preferably formed from metal. The top 18 may be formed from metal or it may be formed from a plastic, graphite or composite material, as discussed for example in pending U.S. application Ser. No. 10/766,220, filed Jan. 28, 2004, herein incorporated by reference.

The strike wall 12 and back wall 14 may be formed to an equal thickness, however, it is preferred that the back wall 14 be thicker and thereby less flexible than the front wall 12. The thicknesses of the strike wall 12 and back wall 14 are preferably in the range of between 0.1 mm to 6.0 mm. The thicknesses may be either constant from the top to bottom and heel to toe, or the thickness may vary. Similarly, the cross-sectional dimensions of the cavity 16 may be constant or may vary from the top to bottom and/or from the heel to the toe. Generally, the cross-sectional dimensions of the cavity are in the range of 0.1 mm to 6.0 mm.

The club head 10 as shown in the cross-sectional view of FIG. 1 has a strike wall 12 and a back wall 14 with uniform thicknesses in the range of 1.5 mm to 3 mm. Further, the cavity 16 has an approximately uniform cross-sectional dimension in the range of 1.5 mm to 3 mm. With this construction, the front face 12 may be deflected toward the back wall 14 up to the full dimension of the cavity 16 before the back wall 14 provides direct physical reinforcement to the strike wall 12. The dimensions of the strike wall 12 and cavity 16 may be selected so that the strike wall 12 will not deflect all of the way back toward the back wall 14 for a normal range of use irrespective of the pressurization of the cavity 16.

FIGS. 2 and 3 are partial cross-sectional views similar to FIG. 1 showing the deflection of the strike wall 12 during impact with a golf ball 30. FIG. 2 illustrates the deflection when the golf ball 30 is struck in the sweet spot near the center of the strike wall 12. For this circumstance, the deflection of the strike wall is rearward at the location of contact with the golf ball 30. However, when the cavity 16 is pressurized and the back wall 14 has a sufficient structural rigidity to resist deflection, the internal pressurization of the cavity 16 may cause the periphery of the strike wall to deflect outward on impact with the golf ball 30. As the golf club 10 and golf ball 30 advance following the initial impact, the strike wall 12 will spring back from the initial deflection and impart the energy absorbed by the deflection to the golf ball 30. The golf ball 30 is depicted as oblong during the impact as it will also go through a deformation and restoration cycle upon being stuck by the golf club 10.

FIG. 3 depicts the deflection of the strike wall 12 during impact with a golf ball 30 for an off-sweet spot hit. In FIG. 3, the point of impact is above the sweet spot of the strike wall 12. Due to the increased structural resistance to deflection close to the periphery of the strike wall 12, and because of the contoured surface curving back close to the periphery, there is less deflection inward or near the top of the strike walls 12 close to the periphery then there is on the lower side of the strike wall 12 below the golf ball 30. This differential has a tendency to compensate for the off-center strike of the golf ball 30, imparting a corrected trajectory as if the ball had been struck in the sweet spot. This compensation extends the dimension of the sweet spot towards the periphery of the strike wall 12. A similar effect occurs for hits moving toward the toe or heel of the strike wall 12.

While the cavity 16 is formed during the process of securing, for example by welding, the strike wall 12 and the back wall 14. During the process, the cavity 16 may be sealed at atmospheric pressure, under a partial vacuum or under pressure. Sealing cavity 16 under a partial vacuum will tend to make the deflection of the strike wall 12 more pronounced and reduce the coefficient of restitution of the golf club. By comparison, sealing the cavity under pressure will reduce the deflection of the strike wall 12 and increase the coefficient of restitution for the golf club.

Moreover, the present invention contemplates the incorporation of a valve into the golf club head 10 that allows the user to selectively pressurize the space within cavity 16. As shown in FIG. 4, a value 40 is incorporated into the toe 22 of the golf club head 10 traversing through the strike wall 12. The valve is configured to allow attachment to a pump 42, or pressurized cartridge 44, that can be used to pressurize the cavity 16. Preferably, the cavity 16 is pressurized with a compressible gas or air. However, cavity 16 could be filed with an incompressible fluid.

FIG. 5 depicts an alternative configuration for the invention wherein a valve 50 is incorporated into heel 22 side of the club head 10 (for a right handed club), and is joined to the back wall 14 at the intersection with the bottom of the hozel 46. This configuration allows for the pressure to be introduced through the shaft of the golf club, or for a pump to be built into the shaft of the golf club.

The valve 40 of FIGS. 4 and 5 is preferably a one-way valve allowing air or other fluid media to be pumped into cavity 16. However, the valve 40 may also be configured to allow for a release of pressure from cavity 16 if desired.

The club head 10 may incorporate a composite cover, designed so as to fit snugly over and conform to the top plate 18, and the toe 22 and heel 24 portion of the sole plate 20. The composite cover is bonded to the metallic portion 12 using an appropriate bonding material, such as a glue, epoxy or solvent based adherent.

The hozel 46 is positioned in the hollow interior of the golf club head at the joint between the heel 24 of the sole plate 20 and the back wall 14 and is formed and placed in the club head 10 to receive a golf club shaft. The hozel 16 is preferably aligned with or offset from the center of gravity of the club head 10. The club head 10 depicted is for a right handed user, while a club head for a left handed user would have a mirror image construction.

The materials used to form the metal portion 12 of the club head 10 include steel, stainless steel, titanium, and other metallic materials having similar or enhanced strength and resilience properties, however titanium is preferred.

Having thus described different embodiments of the invention, other variations and embodiments that do not depart from the spirit of the invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art. The scope of the present invention is thus not limited to any one particular embodiment, but is instead set forth in the appended claims and the legal equivalents thereof.