Title:
Dual-ended extendable and retractable shoulder strap for golf bags
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf bag including a body with a top member at one end and a bottom member at the opposite end is disclosed. A shoulder strap has an upper end located near the top member and a lower end located intermediate the top and bottom members. Separate mechanisms urge the upper and lower ends of the shoulder strap into a retracted position proximate the top member and a position intermediate the top member and the bottom member, respectively, but allow movement of the upper and lower ends of the shoulder strap from the retracted position into an extended position. Each mechanism may include an elastic cord, an anchor connecting the elastic cord to the bottom member, and a ring connecting the elastic cord to an extension on the upper and lower ends, respectively, of the shoulder strap.



Inventors:
Suggs, Gregory M. (Phoenix, AZ, US)
Mcguire, Brian J. (Tempe, AZ, US)
Application Number:
11/407718
Publication Date:
08/24/2006
Filing Date:
04/19/2006
Assignee:
Karsten Manufacturing Corporation (Phoenix, AZ, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
206/315.3, 224/162
International Classes:
A45F3/02; A63B55/00; A63B55/20; B65H75/40
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LARSON, JUSTIN MATTHEW
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KARSTEN MANUFACTURING CORPORATION (PHOENIX, AZ, US)
Claims:
1. A golf bag comprising: a generally tubular body attached at one end thereof to a top member and at the opposite end thereof to a bottom member; a first shoulder strap coupled to said body, said first shoulder strap including: a first upper end located near said top member, and a first lower end located intermediate said top and bottom members; a first mechanism for urging said first upper end into a first retracted position and for allowing movement of said first upper end from said first retracted position into a first extended position; and a second mechanism for urging said first lower end into a second retracted position and for allowing movement of said first lower end from said second retracted position into a second extended position.

2. The golf bag of claim 1, wherein said first mechanism comprises a first elastic cord connected to said first upper end, and said second mechanism comprises a second elastic cord connected to said first lower end.

3. The golf bag of claim 2, wherein said first mechanism further comprises a first anchor for connecting said first elastic cord to said bottom member, and said second mechanism further comprises a second anchor for connecting said second elastic cord to said bottom member.

4. The golf bag of claim 3, wherein said first mechanism further comprises a first ring for connecting said first elastic cord to a first extension on said first upper end, and said second mechanism further comprises a second ring for connecting said second elastic cord to a second extension on said first lower end.

5. The golf bag of claim 4, wherein said first extension on said first upper end extends through said first ring and is anchored to said top member, and said second extension on said first lower end extends through said second ring and is anchored to said location intermediate said top and bottom members.

6. The golf bag of claim 5, wherein said top member includes a first opening formed therein and wherein said first extension passes through said first opening, and said location intermediate said top and bottom members includes a second opening formed therein and wherein said second extension passes through said second opening.

7. The golf bag of claim 6, wherein said first anchor is releasable so that said first elastic cord may be released from said first anchor and said first mechanism may be deactivated, and said second anchor is releasable so that said second elastic cord may be released from said second anchor and said second mechanism may be deactivated.

8. The golf bag of claim 7, wherein said first anchor comprises a first pair of strips with overlapping end portions that are releasably held together, and said second anchor comprises a second pair of strips with overlapping end portions that are releasably held together.

9. The golf bag of claim 8, further comprising a first releasable fastener means on the overlapping end portions of said first pair of strips, and a second releasable fastener means on the overlapping end portions of said second pair of strips.

10. The golf bag of claim 1, further comprising: a second shoulder strap coupled to said body, said second shoulder strap including: a second upper end located near said top member, and a second lower end located intermediate said top and bottom members, wherein neither of said second upper end and said second lower end is retractable and extendable.

11. In a golf bag having a generally tubular body attached at one end thereof to a top member and at the other end thereof to a bottom member, the improvement comprising: a first shoulder strap coupled to said body, said first shoulder strap including: a first upper end located near said top member, and a first lower end located intermediate said top and bottom members; a first mechanism for urging said first upper end into a first retracted position and for allowing movement of said first upper end from said first retracted position into a first extended position; and a second mechanism for urging said first lower end into a second retracted position and for allowing movement of said first lower end from said second retracted position into a second extended position.

12. The improvement of claim 11, wherein said first mechanism comprises a first elastic cord connected to said first upper end, and said second mechanism comprises a second elastic cord connected to said first lower end.

13. The improvement of claim 12, wherein said first mechanism further comprises a first anchor for connecting said first elastic cord to said bottom member, and said second mechanism further comprises a second anchor for connecting said second elastic cord to said bottom member.

14. The improvement of claim 13, wherein said first mechanism further comprises a first ring for connecting said first elastic cord to a first extension on said first upper end, and said second mechanism further comprises a second ring for connecting said second elastic cord to a second extension on said first lower end.

15. The improvement of claim 14, wherein said first extension on said first upper end extends through said first ring and is anchored to said top member, and said second extension on said first lower end extends through said second ring and is anchored to said location intermediate said top and bottom members.

16. The improvement of claim 15, wherein said top member includes a first opening formed therein and wherein said first extension passes through said first opening, and said location intermediate said top and bottom members includes a second opening formed therein and wherein said second extension passes through said second opening.

17. The improvement of claim 16, wherein said first anchor is releasable so that said first elastic cord may be released from said first anchor and said first mechanism may be deactivated, and said second anchor is releasable so that said second elastic cord may be released from said second anchor and said second mechanism may be deactivated.

18. The improvement of claim 17, wherein said first anchor comprises a first pair of strips with overlapping end portions that are releasably held together, and said second anchor comprises a second pair of strips with overlapping end portions that are releasably held together.

19. The improvement of claim 18, further comprising a first releasable fastener means on the overlapping end portions of said first pair of strips, and a second releasable fastener means on the overlapping end portions of said second pair of strips.

20. The improvement of claim 11, further comprising: a second shoulder strap coupled to said body, said second shoulder strap including: a second upper end located near said top member, and a second lower end located intermediate said top and bottom members, wherein neither of said second upper end and said second lower end is retractable and extendable.

21. A golf bag, comprising: a generally tubular body attached at one end thereof to a top member and at the opposite end thereof to a bottom member; a first shoulder strap coupled to said body, said first shoulder strap including: a first upper end located near said top member, and a first lower end located intermediate said top and bottom members; a first mechanism for urging said first upper end into a first retracted position and for allowing movement of said first upper end from said first retracted position into a first extended position; a second mechanism for urging said first lower end into a second retracted position and for allowing movement of said first lower end from said second retracted position into a second extended position; and a second shoulder strap coupled to said body, said second shoulder strap including: a second upper end located near said top member, and a second lower end located intermediate said top and bottom members.

22. The golf bag of claim 21, wherein said second upper end is substantially permanently affixed near said top member, and said second lower end is substantially permanently affixed at a location intermediate said top and bottom members.

Description:

REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/614,941 filed on Jul. 7, 2003, which application is incorporated by reference, in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to golf equipment and, in particular, to a dual-ended extendable and retractable shoulder strap for golf bags.

When a golf bag has dual shoulder straps, such as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,954,255 issued to J. N. Beebe et al., the dual straps are intended to be used in a particular manner to carry the golf bag. In other words, although the dual straps may appear to be identical, one of the straps is specially designed for use on a person's right shoulder and the other strap is specially designed for use on a person's left shoulder. Also, the dual straps must be placed on a person's shoulders in a particular sequence for proper use. In a golf bag with dual straps such as disclosed in the Beebe et al. patent, a problem exists because it is sometimes confusing for a person to determine which strap to place on the right shoulder and which strap to place on the left shoulder.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a golf bag having a generally tubular body attached at one end thereof to a top member and at the other end thereof to a bottom member. A shoulder strap has an upper end located near the top member and a lower end located intermediate the top and bottom members. A first mechanism located near the top member urges the upper end of the shoulder strap into a retracted position and allows movement of the upper end of the shoulder strap from the retracted position to an extended position. Similarly, a second mechanism located intermediate the top and bottom members urges the lower end of the shoulder strap into a retracted position and allows movement of the lower end of the shoulder strap from the retracted position to an extended position. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, each mechanism comprises resilient means such as an elastic cord connected to the upper end and lower end, respectively, of the shoulder strap. The upper end of the shoulder strap is returned to the same location adjacent the top member each time the shoulder strap is moved into its retracted position by the first mechanism thereby making it easier for a person to locate the shoulder strap and utilize it to lift the golf bag with little or no bending over. Likewise, the lower end of the shoulder strap is also returned to its same location intermediate the top and bottom members each time the shoulder strap is moved into its retracted position by the second mechanism. Each mechanism may also include an anchor connecting its elastic cord to the bottom member, and a ring connecting the elastic cord to an extension on the shoulder strap upper end and lower end, respectively. When the present invention is used on a golf bag with dual shoulder straps, it is intended that only one of the straps will be equipped with the above-described mechanisms so that a person may easily distinguish the straps from each other and then determine which strap is for the right shoulder and which strap is for the left shoulder. This overcomes the identification problem mentioned above.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A more complete understanding of the present invention may be derived by referring to the detailed description and claims when considered in connection with the drawing figures, where like reference numbers refer to similar elements throughout the figures, and:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a golf bag embodying the preferred embodiment of an extendable and retractable shoulder strap;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged sectional view of a mechanism for extending and retracting the shoulder strap when the shoulder strap is in an extended position;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged sectional view of the mechanism shown in FIG. 2 when the shoulder strap is in a retracted position;

FIGS. 4 and 5 are enlarged sectional views taken along lines 4-4 and 5-5, respectively, in FIG. 2; and

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a golf bag embodying the preferred embodiment of a dual-ended extendable and retractable shoulder strap.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The description of exemplary embodiments of the invention herein makes reference to the accompanying drawings, which show exemplary embodiments by way of illustration. While these exemplary embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention, it should be understood that other embodiments may be realized, and that logical and mechanical changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Thus, the description herein is presented for purposes of illustration only and not by way of limitation.

Turning now to the figures, FIG. 1 is a diagram of a golf bag 10 including a generally tubular body 12 attached at one end thereof to a top member 14 which is open. The other end of the body 12 is attached to a bottom member 16 which is closed. Golf clubs may be inserted and removed through the top member 14 in conventional manner. The golf bag 10 also includes a storage pocket 18 mounted along one side of the body 12.

The top and bottom members 14, 16 are preferably formed of rigid material such as molded plastic while the body 12 is preferably formed of flexible material such as nylon fabric. U.S. Pat. No. D454,249 issued to G. J. Schmidt, incorporated herein by reference, discloses a golf bag divider top that may be used as the top member 14, and U.S. Pat. No. D372,362 issued to L. J. Bryant et al, also incorporated herein by reference, discloses a golf bag bottom assembly that may be used as the bottom member 16.

A shoulder strap 20 has an upper end 22 located near the top member 14 and a lower end 24 located intermediate the top and bottom members 14, 16. The shoulder strap 20 may be placed over a person's shoulder and utilized in conventional manner to carry the golf bag 10. If desired, the shoulder strap 20 may be preformed with a permanent curvature that matches a person's shoulder. The upper end 22 of the shoulder strap 20 is connected to a mechanism 26 best shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 which normally urges the shoulder strap 20 into a retracted position shown in broken lines in FIG. 1 and which allows movement of the shoulder strap 20 from that retracted position to an extended position shown in solid lines in FIG. 1. The lower end 24 of the shoulder strap 20 is connected to the body 12 by conventional means such as sewing or riveting.

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, the mechanism 26 includes resilient means such as an elastic cord 28 which passes through an anchor 30 that connects the elastic cord 28 to the bottom member 16. The anchor 30 is secured by stitching 32 to an outer wall 16a of the bottom member 16. As best seen in FIG. 5, the anchor 30 consists of a pair of strips 34, 36 made of fabric such as nylon that have overlapping end portions 34a, 36a. These end portions 34a, 36a of strips 34, 36 are releasably held together by utilizing releasable fastener means such as a conventional hook and loop fastener. Therefore, the anchor 30 is releasable so that the elastic cord 28 may be released from the anchor 30 and the mechanism 26 may be deactivated if desired.

The elastic cord 28 is tied to a ring 38 that is located near the top member 14, as seen in FIG. 2, when the shoulder strap 20 is in its extended position. The ring 38 connects the elastic cord 28 to an extension 23 on the upper end 22 of the shoulder strap 20. The extension 23 extends through the ring 38, as best seen in FIG. 4, and is anchored by stitching 40 to an outer wall 14a of the top member 14. The upper end extension 23 of the shoulder strap 20 passes through an opening 15 formed in the top member 14. When the shoulder strap 20 is in its retracted position, the ring 38 is moved downward (as seen in FIG. 3) toward the bottom member 16 and the upper end 22 of the shoulder strap 20 contacts the top member 14.

It will be understood that the shoulder strap 20 is normally urged into its retracted position shown in broken lines in FIG. I by the mechanism 26. When a person utilizes the shoulder strap 20 to lift the golf bag 10, the shoulder strap 20 will be moved into its extended position shown in solid lines in FIG. 1. The movement of the shoulder strap 20 from its retracted position to its extended position is allowed by a stretching action of the elastic cord 28 as illustrated in FIG. 2. When the shoulder strap 20 is released, it is moved into its retracted position by a retracting action of the elastic cord 28 as illustrated in FIG. 3. Each time the shoulder strap 20 is moved into its retracted position by the mechanism 26, the upper end 22 thereof is returned to the same location where it is in contact with the top member 14 adjacent the opening 15. This limits the retracting action of the elastic cord 28 while making it easier for a person to locate the shoulder strap 20 and utilize it for lifting the golf bag 10 with little or no bending over.

In a golf bag (not shown) which has dual shoulder straps instead of the single shoulder strap 20, only one of the dual straps will be equipped with the mechanism 26. This enables a person to easily distinguish the straps from each other and then determine which strap is for the right shoulder and which strap is for the left shoulder.

With reference now to FIG. 6, a golf bag 100 includes a generally tubular body 120 attached at one end thereof to a top member 140 which is open. The other end of the body 120 is attached to a bottom member 160 which is closed. Golf clubs may be inserted and removed through the top member 140 in conventional manner. The golf bag 100 also includes a storage pocket 180 mounted along one side of the body 120.

The top and bottom members 140, 160 are preferably formed of rigid material such as molded plastic while the body 120 is preferably formed of flexible material such as nylon fabric. U.S. Pat. No. D454,249 issued to G. J. Schmidt, incorporated herein by reference, discloses a golf bag divider top that may be used as the top member 140, and U.S. Pat. No. D372,362 issued to L. J. Bryant et al., also incorporated herein by reference, discloses a golf bag bottom assembly that may be used as the bottom member 160.

A shoulder strap 200 has an upper end 220 located near the top member 140 and a lower end 240 located intermediate the top and bottom members 140, 160. The shoulder strap 200 may be placed over a person's shoulder and utilized in conventional manner to carry the golf bag 100. If desired, the shoulder strap 200 may be preformed with a permanent curvature that matches a person's shoulder. The upper end 220 of the shoulder strap 200 is connected to a mechanism 260 (which includes resilient means such as an elastic cord 280 which passes through an anchor 300 that connects the elastic cord 280 to the bottom member 160) similar to mechanism 26 shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, which normally urges the upper end 220 into a retracted position shown in broken lines in FIG. 6 and which also allows movement of the upper end 220 from that retracted position to an extended position shown in solid lines in FIG. 6. The lower end 240 of the shoulder strap 200 is connected to a mechanism 270 (which includes resilient means such as an elastic cord 285 which passes through an anchor 305 that connects the elastic cord 285 to the bottom member 160) similar to mechanism 26 shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, which normally urges the lower end 240 into a retracted position shown in broken lines in FIG. 6 and which allows movement of the lower end 240 from that retracted position to an extended position shown in solid lines in FIG. 6. Notably, embodiments of the invention contemplate that elastic cords 280 and 285 may both pass through a single anchor rather than through anchors 300 and 305, respectively.

The elastic cord 280 is tied to a ring 380 that is located near the top member 140 (similar to elastic cord 28 and ring 38 shown in FIG. 2) when the upper end 220 is in its extended position. The ring 380 connects the elastic cord 280 to an extension 230 on the upper end 220 of the shoulder strap 200. The extension 230 extends through the ring 380, and is anchored by stitching to an outer wall of the top member 140 similar to that which is shown in FIG. 4. The upper end extension 230 of the upper end 220 passes through an opening (similar to opening 15) formed in the top member 140. When the upper end 220 is in its retracted position, the ring 380 is moved downward (similar to that shown in FIG. 3) toward the bottom member 160 and the upper end 220 contacts the top member 140.

Likewise, the elastic cord 285 is tied to a ring 385 that is located intermediate the top and bottom members 140, 160 when the lower end 240 is in its extended position. The ring 385 connects the elastic cord 285 to an extension 235 on the lower end 240 of the shoulder strap 200. The extension 235 extends through the ring 385, and is anchored by stitching to an outer wall of the body 120 similar to that which is shown in FIG. 4. The lower end extension 235 of the lower end 240 passes through an opening (similar to opening 15) formed in the body 120 at a location intermediate top and bottom members 140, 160. When the lower end 240 is in its retracted position, the ring 385 is moved downward (similar to that shown in FIG. 3) toward the bottom member 160 and the lower end 240 contacts the body 120 at a location intermediate top and bottoms members 140, 160. [0024] It will be understood that the upper end 220 and lower end 240 are normally urged into their retracted positions by mechanisms 260 and 265, as shown in broken lines in FIG. 6. When a person utilizes the shoulder strap 200 to lift the golf bag 100, the upper end 220 and lower end 240 will be moved into their respective extended positions as shown in solid lines in FIG. 6. The movement of the shoulder strap 200 from its retracted position to its extended position is allowed by a stretching action of the elastic cords 280 and 285 similar to that which is illustrated in FIG. 2. When the shoulder strap 200 is released, it is moved into its retracted position by a retracting action of the elastic cords 280 and 285 similar to that which is illustrated in FIG. 3. Each time the shoulder strap 200 is moved into its retracted position by the mechanism 260, the upper end 220 thereof is returned to the same location where it is in contact with the top member 140. Likewise, each time the shoulder strap 200 is moved into its retracted position by the mechanism 265, the lower end 240 is returned to the same location where it is in contact with the body 120 intermediate the top and bottom members 140, 160. These configurations limit the retracting action of the elastic cords 280 and 285, while making it easier for a person to locate and utilize the shoulder strap 200 for lifting the golf bag 100 with little or no bending over.

In a golf bag (not shown) which has dual shoulder straps instead of the single shoulder strap 200, only one of the dual straps will be equipped with mechanisms 260 and 265. In other words, the additional shoulder strap does not extend and/or retract. In one particular embodiment, the additional shoulder strap is substantially permanently attached to golf bag 100. As such, this type of configuration enables a person to easily distinguish the two straps from each other and then determine which strap is for the right shoulder and which strap is for the left shoulder.

Benefits, advantages, and solutions to problems have been described herein with regard to specific embodiments. However, the benefits, advantages, solutions to problems, and any element(s) that may cause any benefit, advantage, or solution to occur or become more pronounced are not to be construed as critical, required, or essential features or elements of any or all the claims or the invention. The scope of the present invention is accordingly to be limited by nothing other than the appended claims, in which reference to an element in the singular is not intended to mean one and only one unless explicitly so stated, but rather one or more. All structural and functional equivalents to the elements of the above-described embodiments that are known to those of ordinary skill in the art are expressly incorporated herein by reference and are intended to be encompassed by the present claims.