Title:
Golf tee recycler
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf tee apparatus is made up of an assembly of a golf tee, preferably the broken off portion of the top of the golf tee; a flexible tube receiving the golf tee at it upper end, and a spike attached to the tube at a lower end of the tube, the spike having a point at its lower end for engagement with the ground surface. The spike and tube are engaged by an adapter where the adapter is threadedly engaged with the spike and frictionally engaged within the tube.



Inventors:
Mundziakiewicz, Norman E. (Medicine Hat, CA)
Application Number:
11/091157
Publication Date:
09/28/2006
Filing Date:
03/28/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/401, 473/402, 473/400
International Classes:
A63B57/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WONG, STEVEN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PATENT LAW & VENTURE GROUP, PLLC (Las Vegas, NV, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A golf tee apparatus comprising: a golf tee; a flexible tube; a spike having a first engagement means at one end thereof and a point at an opposing end thereof; and an adapter having a second engagement means enabled for engagement with the first engagement means of the spike, and a third engagement means enabled for engagement with an end of the tube, the tube of such diameter as to receive the golf tee frictionally.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the golf tee is an upper, broken off portion of a standard golf tee.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the first engagement means is a male thread.

4. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the second engagement means is a female thread threadedly receiving the male thread.

5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the third engagement means is at least one annular upset of larger diameter than an inside diameter of the tube.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Related Applications

none

2. Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to the game of golf and more particularly to an apparatus that is able to use broken golf tees in supporting a golf ball.

3. Description of Related Art

The following art defines the present state of this field and each disclosure is hereby incorporated herein by reference:

Minotti, U.S. Pat. No. Des. 270,463, discloses a design for an ornamental golf tee.

Luther, U.S. Pat. No. Des. 350,798, discloses a design for an ornamental golf tee holder.

Shipman, U.S. Pat. No. Des. 370,511, discloses a design for an all weather golf tee holder.

Terry, Jr., U.S. Pat. No. Des 451,565, discloses a design for a solid golf ball tee.

Legan, U.S. Pat. No. 3,220,727, discloses a device for inserting a hollow conical tee of sufficient rigidity for driving into the ground, said device comprising a housing having a cavity therein for accommodating a plurality of tees therein, a cap on said housing for providing access to said tees, said housing having a conically tapered end section adapted to engage the inside surface of a correspondingly tapered hollow tee, an external peripheral ridge on said housing adjacent said tapered end section, said tapered end section of said housing and said ridge being engagable with the inside tapered surface of said hollow tapered tee and the terminating peripheral edge of the large end of said tapered tee respectively, to apply driving pressure to the edge of the tee as it is driven into the ground by said device, said ridge also limiting the depth of entry of said end section of the housing into the tee.

Blood, U.S. Pat. No. 4,142,719, discloses a device that facilitates the insertion of a golf tee into the ground under controlled conditions of height and angulation independent of ground surface conditions. The device permits controlled golf tee insertion without bending or stooping through the use of a tee holding head wherein the tee is held in place by spaced-apart arm or spring elements extending downward from the outer diameter of a terminal end of a rod housed in a height adjustment sleeve, the sleeve or chamber is provided with spaced apart cutouts which receive the spring arm elements and allow them to be forced apart when a tee head is forced therebetween, the rod having a bearing surface which is substantially contoured to fit the concave upper surface of a standard golf tee head. The height adjustment sleeve, spaced-apart arm elements, vertical tee alignment and contoured bearing surface permit the tee to be inserted into the ground to a predetermined indicated tee height without disturbing the initial positioning and alignment of the tee due to the action of kinetic energy resulting from insertion thrust. The ground friction overcomes the holding friction exerted on the tee by the insertion device once the tee has been inserted into the ground and the insertion device is lifted up and away from the ground.

Jamieson et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,029,855, discloses a golf tee holder and marker accessory to be placed at the teeing area for holding broken tees and for indicating a golfer's position relative to a distant flag placed at a “green” on a golf course. The accessory includes a block member having rectangular sides and a substantially square cross section. A cone shaped aperture extends along the longitudinal axis of the block member. A pair of ground engaging spikes are attached to the bottom end of the block member for easy removal and attachment of the block member to the ground surface. Three sides of the block member is provided with indicia which, when the block is placed at a predetermined position, will indicate to a golfer the relative position of a distant flag to the green, i.e. if the flag is in front, at the rear or in the middle of the green.

Martino, U.S. Pat. No. 5,156,403, discloses a golf tee that is used with a driving range mat. The tee has a base portion that extends into a hole in the mat, and terminates below the upper surface of the mat. A generally semi-rigid tee portion is slidable in the base portion so the tee portion is vertically adjustable. The base is made of a resilient material, and has an upper wall divided into segments. The hole in the mat may be sized to squeeze the segments inwardly to grip the tee portion more firmly. The tee portion has a base received within the base portion so the tee portion cannot be easily removed from the base portion. The diameter of the base portion is sufficient that the tee portion will not engage the mat when the tee is hit by a golf club, to prevent degradation of the mat.

Ward, U.S. Pat. No. 5,242,170, discloses a two-piece, realignable golf tee that comprises a lower, integrally molded plastic piece comprising a ground spike, a central flange, a relatively thin, flexible retainer shaft extending away from the ground spike in substantially parallel relation, and an enlargement adjacent the outer end of the retainer shaft. An upper, integrally molded plastic piece comprises a sleeve slidably positioned about the flexible retainer shaft. The sleeve defines a bore having a constricted portion adjacent a first sleeve end that faces the ground spike to engage the enlargement, to substantially limit movement of the sleeve away from the spike and out of engagement with the retainer shaft. The central flange is proportioned to serve as a seat for the first sleeve end, with the end of the sleeve opposed to the first end being proportioned to serve as a seat for a golf ball. The two, integrally molded plastic pieces may be assembled in snap-fit relation.

Basso, U.S. Pat. No. 5,413,348, discloses a golf tee anchoring system that includes a substantially indestructible, reusable tee member, an anchoring element which is adapted to be inserted into the ground to prevent the loss of the tee member, and a flexible tether for coupling the tee member to the anchoring element. The reusable tee member incorporates a tubular, resilient upper ball support portion to prevent any tee breakage or dislodgement due to the impact of a golf club head thereagainst.

Dilmore, U.S. Pat. No. 5,766,100, discloses a golf tee apparatus that is designed primarily to be mounted in conjunction with a mat used at a driving range for driving golf balls. The mat includes a hole within which is to be mounted a tube of a main support member. An insert is to be locatable within the tube. The insert has a through opening and a conventional golf tee which has a pointed lower end and a golf ball resting cup at the upper end is mounted in conjunction with the through opening with the pointed lower end being mounted within the through opening. The insert is snugly retained within the tube and the golf tee is snugly retained within the insert. A ball is to be placed on the golf ball resting cup of the golf tee with the golf ball to be struck by a golf club.

Broadbridge, U.S. Pat. No. 5,967,909, discloses a holder that comprises a shank which extends up through an opening in the driving mat. The shank has its dished upper end flush with the top face of the mat to support the golf ball for practicing irons. A conventional golf tee is inserted in a slot at the top of the tee holder for practicing drives.

Green, U.S. Pat. No. 6,341,752, discloses a golf tee support for preventing movement of the tee after the golf ball is hit. The golf tee support includes a housing having a top wall, a bottom wall and a peripheral wall extending therebetween. The top wall has a bore therein. A coil spring has a first end and a second end. The first end of the coil spring is fixedly mounted on the bottom wall of the housing. A rod has a first end and a second end. The first end of the rod is tapered to a pointed tip. The second end of the rod is fixedly coupled to the second end of the spring.

James, U.S. Pat. No. 6,454,669, discloses a dime-sized annulus top end that is provided for a golf tee. Also provided for the golf tee is a removable penetration cone which is a piece of stiff material with a pointed end for inserting into ground and an open hollowed end for receiving and securely holding a golf tee point. The annulus rim golf tee and removable penetration cone, while simple and unobtrusive, stabilize a teed golf ball, reduce re-teeing, and provide easy tee-insertion into all terrain.

Our prior art search with abstracts described above teaches a variety of golf tees and other golf ball supports on a green for use in driving. However, the prior art fails to teach a support engagable with a top end of a broken tee. The present invention fulfills these needs and provides further related advantages as described in the following summary.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention teaches certain benefits in construction and use which give rise to the objectives described below.

In the best mode embodiment of the present invention, a golf tee apparatus is made up of an assembly of a golf tee, preferably the broken off portion of the top of a golf tee; a flexible tube receiving the golf tee at it upper end, and a spike attached to the tube at a lower end of the tube, the spike having a point at its lower end for engagement with the ground surface. The spike and tube are engaged by an adapter where the adapter is threadedly engaged with the spike and frictionally engaged within the tube.

A primary objective of the present invention is to provide an apparatus and method of use of such apparatus that yields advantages not taught by the prior art.

Another objective of the invention is to provide a means for reusing broken golf tees.

A further objective of the invention is to provide a support for a broken tee that will not damage a golf club face.

A still further objective of the invention is to provide such a tee holding device that is small, easy to use, and does not wear out.

Other features and advantages of the embodiments of the present invention will become apparent from the following more detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of at least one of the possible embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings illustrate at least one of the best mode embodiments of the present invention. In such drawings:

FIG. 1 is a frontal elevational perspective view of one embodiment of the invention showing its several parts in a spaced apart relationship;

FIG. 2 is a frontal elevational perspective view thereof as partially assembled;

FIG. 3 is a frontal elevational perspective view thereof as fully assembled;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view thereof showing the manner in which the invention responds to a golf club strike; and

FIG. 5 is a perspective view thereof showing the manner in which the invention is used to support a golf ball in an elevated position on a turf.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The above described drawing figures illustrate the present invention in at least one of its preferred, best mode embodiments, which is further defined in detail in the following description. Those having ordinary skill in the art may be able to make alterations and modifications in the present invention without departing from its spirit and scope. Therefore, it must be understood that the illustrated embodiments have been set forth only for the purposes of example and that they should not be taken as limiting the invention as defined in the following.

In FIG. 1, a frontal elevational perspective view of the invention apparatus is shown with its several parts in a spaced apart relationship, and in FIGS. 2 and 3, as assembled. This golf tee apparatus comprises a golf tee 10; a flexible tube 20; a spike 30 having a first engagement means 32 at one end thereof and a point 34 at an opposing end. Preferably, the golf tee 10 is merely an upper, broken off portion of a standard golf tee. Also, the invention comprises an adapter 40 a second engagement means 42 enabled for engagement with the first engagement means 32 of the spike 30, and a third engagement means 44 enabled for engagement with an inner surface 22 at an end of the tube 20. The tube 20 is of such diameter as to receive the golf tee 10 frictionally and the third engagement means 44 in an interference fit tight enough to withstand a significant blow to the tube 20 or to the tube 20 and the spike 30 during golf practice.

Preferably, the first engagement means 32 is a male thread as best seen in FIG. 1. Preferably, the second engagement means 42 is a female thread threadedly receiving the male thread 32 as best seen in FIG. 2.

Preferably, the third engagement means 44 is at least one annular upset of larger diameter than an inside diameter of the tube 20.

In use, a broken-off upper portion of a standard wooden golf tee 10 is inserted tightly into the flexible tube 20 as shown in FIG. 4. Next, the adapter 40 is jammed into the other end of the tube 20, and the spike 30 is threaded into the adapter 40. This assembly is then inserted vertically into a ground surface on a golf course or driving range and a golf ball 50 is placed onto the golf tee 10, as shown in FIG. 5.

The enablements described in detail above are considered novel over the prior art of record and are considered critical to the operation of at least one aspect of one best mode embodiment of the instant invention and to the achievement of the above described objectives. The words used in this specification to describe the instant embodiments are to be understood not only in the sense of their commonly defined meanings, but to include by special definition in this specification: structure, material or acts beyond the scope of the commonly defined meanings. Thus if an element can be understood in the context of this specification as including more than one meaning, then its use must be understood as being generic to all possible meanings supported by the specification and by the word or words describing the element.

The definitions of the words or elements of the embodiments of the herein described invention and its related embodiments not described are, therefore, defined in this specification to include not only the combination of elements which are literally set forth, but all equivalent structure, material or acts for performing substantially the same function in substantially the same way to obtain substantially the same result. In this sense it is therefore contemplated that an equivalent substitution of two or more elements may be made for any one of the elements in the invention and its various embodiments or that a single element may be substituted for two or more elements in a claim.

Changes from the claimed subject matter as viewed by a person with ordinary skill in the art, now known or later devised, are expressly contemplated as being equivalents within the scope of the invention and its various embodiments. Therefore, obvious substitutions now or later known to one with ordinary skill in the art are defined to be within the scope of the defined elements. The invention and its various embodiments are thus to be understood to include what is specifically illustrated and described above, what is conceptually equivalent, what can be obviously substituted, and also what essentially incorporates the essential idea of the invention.

While the invention has been described with reference to at least one preferred embodiment, it is to be clearly understood by those skilled in the art that the invention is not limited thereto. Rather, the scope of the invention is to be interpreted only in conjunction with the appended claims and it is made clear, here, that the inventor(s) believe that the claimed subject matter is the invention.