Title:
Golf cart umbrella
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An umbrella for use as a temporary shield on a golf cart is provided. The umbrella comprises a shaft, a handle, and a canopy assembly. The canopy assembly has an annular hub encircling the shaft, a plurality of ribs extending radially outwardly from the annular hub, and a transparent canopy draped over and secured to the plurality of ribs. Fasteners disposed on selected ones of the plurality of ribs secure the umbrella to the golf cart such that the umbrella performs as the temporary shield for the golf cart. As such, the umbrella shields and protects the golf cart user from one or more of the rain, the wind, and the sun.



Inventors:
Lohman, Robert G. (St. Thomas, VI, US)
Application Number:
11/095884
Publication Date:
10/05/2006
Filing Date:
03/31/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
135/33.71
International Classes:
A45B11/00; A45B25/20
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
YIP, WINNIE S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
REINHART BOERNER VAN DEUREN P.C. (ROCKFORD, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An umbrella for use as a temporary shield on a golf cart, the umbrella comprising: a shaft having a first shaft end and a second shaft end; a handle secured to the shaft proximate the first shaft end; and a canopy assembly secured to the shaft proximate the second shaft end, the canopy assembly having: an annular hub encircling the shaft proximate the second shaft end; a plurality of ribs extending radially outwardly from the annular hub; a transparent canopy draped over and secured to the plurality of ribs; and fasteners disposed on selected ones of the plurality of ribs, the fasteners securable to the golf cart such that the umbrella performs as the temporary shield for the golf cart.

2. The umbrella of claim 1, wherein the fasteners comprise engageable hooks and loops.

3. The umbrella of claim 1, wherein the fasteners are straps having snap-hooks.

4. The umbrella of claim 1, wherein each of the fasteners includes a strap that is adjustable for length.

5. The umbrella of claim 1, wherein the transparent canopy is constructed of plastic.

6. The umbrella of claim 1, wherein the transparent canopy forms a square.

7. The umbrella of claim 1, wherein transparent canopy forms a square with beveled corners.

8. The umbrella of claim 1, wherein the plurality of ribs includes one of four ribs and eight ribs.

9. The umbrella of claim 1, wherein shaft comprises telescoping members and the canopy and the plurality of ribs are collapsible.

10. The umbrella of claim 1, wherein the fasteners are securable to the golf cart such that the umbrella extends at least up to two support members on the golf cart.

11. The umbrella of claim 1, wherein the fasteners are securable to the golf cart such that the umbrella extends at least up to two support members on the golf cart and at least up to an overhead canopy and a hood portion of the golf cart.

12. The umbrella of claim 1, wherein the umbrella is securable to at least one of a front portion, a back portion, a driver side portion, and a passenger side portion of the golf cart.

13. The umbrella of claim 1, wherein the transparent canopy provides protection from ultraviolet light.

14. An umbrella for use as a temporary shield on a golf cart, the umbrella comprising: a telescoping shaft having a first shaft end and a second shaft end; a handle secured to the shaft proximate the first shaft end; and a canopy assembly secured to the shaft proximate the second shaft end, the canopy assembly having: an annular hub encircling the shaft proximate the second shaft end; a plurality of resilient ribs extending radially outwardly from the annular hub, each of the resilient ribs having a rib tip portion; a transparent canopy draped over the plurality of ribs, the transparent canopy secured to the plurality of resilient ribs proximate the annular hub and the rib tip portions; and fasteners disposed on selected ones of the plurality of ribs, the fasteners adjustable for length and securable to the golf cart such that the umbrella performs as the temporary shield for the golf cart.

15. The umbrella of claim 14, wherein the fasteners are securable to at least one support member on the golf cart.

16. The umbrella of claim 14, wherein the fasteners comprise at least one of engageable hooks and loops and snap hooks.

17. The umbrella of claim 14, wherein the canopy and the resilient ribs are collapsible toward at least one of the shaft and the annular hub.

18. The umbrella of claim 14, wherein the umbrella is securable to at least one of a front portion, a back portion, a driver side portion, and a passenger side portion of the golf cart.

19. A system for shielding a golf cart user from at least one of rain, wind, and sun, the system comprising: a golf cart having an overhead canopy and support members, the support members securing the overhead canopy above the golf cart; and an umbrella comprising: a shaft having a first shaft end and a second shaft end; a handle secured to the shaft proximate the first shaft end; and a canopy assembly secured to the shaft proximate the second shaft end, the canopy assembly having: an annular hub encircling the shaft proximate the second shaft end; a plurality of ribs extending radially outwardly from the annular hub; a transparent canopy draped over and secured to one or more of the plurality of ribs; and fasteners disposed on selected ones of the plurality of ribs; wherein the fasteners are securable to the support members on the golf cart such that the umbrella extends at least up to the support members and shields the golf cart user from one or more of the rain, the wind, and the sun.

20. The umbrella of claim 19, wherein the fasteners are securable to one or more of the overhead canopy and the golf cart.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention generally relates to an accessory for a golf cart and, more particularly, to an umbrella for use with a golf cart.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Golfers often use motorized golf carts (or golf cars) to transport themselves, and their golfing equipment, over a golf course. These golf carts can be equipped with a number of accessories depending on the individual needs and desires of the golfer. One of the more popular accessories for such golf carts is an overhead canopy.

Overhead canopies are generally positioned vertically above the golf cart and held in place by one or more support members. These overhead canopies are often constructed of a non-translucent (i.e., opaque), liquid impervious material, such that a golfer sitting in the golf cart is somewhat shielded from the sun and protected from the rain. Unfortunately, unless the golf cart is also equipped with a windshield that extends from the overhead canopy down to a front hood portion of the golf cart, the overhead canopy is only effective to prevent the falling rain from striking the golfer or wetting the golfer's equipment when the cart is stationary. If, on the other hand, the golf cart is moving, the overhead canopy does little to protect the golfer from the rain.

Therefore, an apparatus that can be secured to a golf cart having an overhead canopy, but lacking a windshield, to protect a golf cart user from the rain and wind would be desirable. The invention provides such an apparatus. These and other advantages of the invention, as well as additional inventive features, will be apparent from the description of the invention provided herein.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one aspect, the invention provides an umbrella for use as a temporary shield on a golf cart. The umbrella comprises a shaft, a handle, and a canopy assembly. The shaft has a first shaft end and a second shaft end. The handle is secured to the shaft proximate the first shaft end and the canopy assembly is secured to the shaft proximate the second shaft end. The canopy assembly has an annular hub, a plurality of ribs, a transparent canopy, and fasteners. The annular hub encircles the shaft proximate the second shaft end. The plurality of ribs extends radially outwardly from the annular hub. The transparent canopy is draped over and secured to the plurality of ribs. The fasteners are disposed on selected ones of the plurality of ribs. The fasteners are securable to the golf cart such that the umbrella performs as the temporary shield for the golf cart:

In another aspect, the invention provides an umbrella for use as a temporary shield on a golf cart. The umbrella comprises a telescoping shaft, a handle, and a canopy assembly. The telescoping shaft has a first shaft end and a second shaft end. The handle is secured to the shaft proximate the first shaft end and the canopy assembly is secured to the shaft proximate the second shaft end. The canopy assembly has an annular hub, a plurality of resilient ribs, and a transparent canopy. The annular hub encircles the shaft proximate the second shaft end. The plurality of resilient ribs extends radially outwardly from the annular hub and each of the resilient ribs has a rib tip portion. The transparent canopy is draped over the plurality of ribs. The transparent canopy is secured to the plurality of resilient ribs proximate the annular hub and the rib tip portions. The fasteners are disposed on selected ones of the plurality of ribs. The fasteners are adjustable for length and securable to the golf cart such that the umbrella performs as the temporary shield for the golf cart.

In a further aspect, the invention provides a system for shielding a golf cart user from at least one of rain, wind, and sun. The system comprises a golf cart having an overhead canopy and support members. The support members secure the overhead canopy above the golf cart. The umbrella comprises a shaft, a handle, and a canopy assembly. The shaft has a first shaft end and a second shaft end. The handle is secured to the shaft proximate the first shaft end. The canopy assembly is secured to the shaft proximate the second shaft end. The canopy assembly has an annular hub, a plurality of ribs, and a transparent canopy. The annular hub encircles the shaft proximate the second shaft end. The plurality of ribs extends radially outwardly from the annular hub. The transparent canopy is draped over and secured to one or more of the plurality of ribs. The fasteners are disposed on selected ones of the plurality of ribs. The fasteners are securable to the support members on the golf cart such that the umbrella extends at least up to the support members and shields the golf cart user from one or more of the rain, the wind, and the sun.

Other aspects, objectives and advantages of the invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings incorporated in and forming a part of the specification illustrate several aspects of the present invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of an umbrella constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the umbrella of FIG. 1 when assembled;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a fastener employable by the umbrella of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an alternate embodiment of a fastener employable by the umbrella of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the umbrella of FIG. 1 secured to a golf cart.

While the invention will be described in connection with certain preferred embodiments, there is no intent to limit it to those embodiments. On the contrary, the intent is to cover all alternatives, modifications and equivalents as included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a golf cart umbrella 10 is illustrated. The golf cart umbrella 10 comprises a shaft 12, a handle 14, and a canopy assembly 16. The shaft 12 includes a first member 18 having a first shaft end 20 and a second member 22 having a second shaft end 24. The first member 18 and second member 22 are in a telescoping relationship with each other. As such, the first member 18 and the second member 22 can be slidably extended or contracted to increase or decrease, respectfully, the length of shaft 12. As those skilled in the art will recognize, the shaft 12 can be divided into more than two segments while still permitting the segments to have a telescoping relationship. The shaft 12 is preferably constructed of a non-metallic or non-conducting material to inhibit the chance of a lightning strike. The handle 14 is secured to the shaft 12 proximate the first shaft end 20. The handle 14 is, in one embodiment, preferably ergonomically fashioned to accommodate a hand and/or fingers.

In a preferred embodiment, the shaft 12 includes a stub portion 26 proximate the second shaft end 24. The stub portion 26, along with the second member 22, form a shoulder 28 proximate the second shaft end 24. In an exemplary embodiment, the stub portion 26 is threaded.

The canopy assembly 16 includes an annular hub 30, a plurality of ribs 32, a transparent canopy 34, and fasteners 36. The annular hub 30 is dimensioned to encircle the stub portion 26 and to be seated upon the shoulder portion 28 of the shaft 12. Therefore, the annular hub 30 is securable to the shaft 12. The plurality of ribs 32 generally extend radially outwardly from the annular hub 30. In a preferred embodiment, each of the ribs is constructed from a resilient material as known in the art. Each of the ribs 32 defines a rib tip portion 38 that is distally disposed away from the annular hub 30.

The transparent canopy 34 is generally draped upon, or stretched over and across, the plurality of ribs 32. The transparent canopy 34 is, in one embodiment, connected to each of the ribs 32 proximate the annular hub 30 and again proximate the rib tip portion 38. Alternatively, the transparent canopy 34 is secured to all or other selected portions of the ribs 32. The transparent canopy 34 can be manufactured from a variety of materials including, for example, clear plastic and/or other substances that are “see-through”. In one embodiment, the transparent canopy 34 is constructed from a material and/or includes a substance that provides protection from ultraviolet light (i.e., provides “UV” protection).

The transparent canopy 34 is preferably resistant or impervious to the passage of moisture. As such, forms of moisture such as, for example, rain, drizzle, and the like, are discouraged from passing through and/or penetrating the transparent canopy 34. The transparent canopy 34 preferably contains a canopy aperture 40 that is sized and dimensioned to receive the stub portion 26 of the shaft 12. When the stub portion 26 is inserted through the annular hub 30 and canopy aperture 40, a threaded nut 42 can be threadably driven toward handle 14 to secure the canopy assembly 16 to the shaft 12. Those skilled in the art will recognize that the canopy assembly 16 can also be secured to the shaft 12 using other methods and/or appliances.

A variety of the fasteners 36, one or more of which are disposed on selected ribs 32 as generally illustrated in FIG. 1, are highlighted in FIGS. 3-4. Alternatively, the fasteners 36 may be disposed on the transparent canopy 34. The transparent canopy 34 may be reinforced where the fasteners 36 are attached to the ribs 32 and/or the transparent canopy 34.

In one embodiment, as illustrated in FIG. 3, the fasteners 36 comprise a strap 44, a buckle 46, and a snap hook 48. The buckle 46 permits the strap 44 to be adjusted for length. Those skilled in the art will recognize that other methods or appliances may be employed to permit the strap 44 to be adjusted for length. As shown, one end of the strap 44 is secured to one of the plurality of ribs 32 while the other end of the strap 44 is connected to the snap hook 48.

In another embodiment, as shown in FIG. 4, the fasteners 36 comprise a strap 50, a buckle 52, and one or more portions of securing material 54. In a preferred embodiment, the securing material 54 is a plurality of engageable hooks and loops sold under the trademark VELCRO®. The VELCRO® brand securing material is commercially available from Velcro USA, Inc., of Manchester, N.H.

One or more of the fasteners 36, as depicted in FIGS. 1, 3, and 4, are preferably secured to the ribs 32 in the general area of the rib tip portion 38. In an exemplary embodiment, when the transparent canopy 34 measures approximately fifty-three inches by fifty-three inches (53″×53″), one or more of the fasteners 36 are secured to the ribs 32 approximately eight and one half inches (8½″) from the rib tip portion 38 toward the annular hub 30. As such, the fasteners 36 are particularly suited to engage the supporting members of conventional and standard golf carts such as those commercially available from E-Z-GO (a division of Textron, Inc.) and Club Car, Inc., both of Augusta, Ga.

Referring to FIG. 5, a golf cart 56 having one or more support members 58 and an overhead canopy 60 is depicted. The golf cart 56 includes a front portion 62, a back portion 64, a driver side portion 66, and a passenger side portion 68. The front portion 62 of the golf cart 56 further defines a hood portion 70. As shown, the support members 58 secure the overhead canopy 60 vertically above the golf cart 56 (as oriented in FIG. 5). Therefore, the overhead canopy 60 somewhat shields and protects a golf cart user from the rain and the sun, particularly when the golf cart 56 is stationary.

When the golf cart 56 is moving, since the area between the support members 58 (i.e., the area between the overhead canopy 60 and the hood portion 70) is left open, many of the benefits provided by the overhead canopy 60 are lost or severely diminished. For example, when the golf cart 56 is traveling forward, any falling rain is able to pass under the overhead canopy 60 and between the supporting members 58 and strike the golf cart user and equipment in the golf cart. In addition, whether the golf cart 56 is moving or at a standstill, the overhead canopy 60 provides little or no protection from the wind.

To remedy the inadequate protection problems, as shown in FIG. 5, the golf cart umbrella 10 is temporarily secured to the golf cart 56 using the fasteners 36. As illustrated, the golf cart umbrella 10 is latched to the support members 58 such that the transparent canopy 34 extends past (or at least up to) the support members as well as past (or at least up to) the overhead canopy 60 and the hood portion 70. In this arrangement, the golf cart umbrella 10 functions as a “temporary windshield” that directs rain and/or wind away from the user of the golf cart. If the transparent canopy 34 includes a UV blocking material or substance, the golf cart umbrella 10 will also protect the golf cart user from the harmful effects of the sun.

If desired by the golf cart user, the golf cart umbrella 10 can also be selectively secured to one of the driver side portion 66, the passenger side portion 68, or the back portion 64 of the golf cart 56 by attaching fasteners 36 to corresponding support members 58. Likewise, if weather conditions warrant, two or more of the golf cart umbrellas 10 can be simultaneously attached to the golf cart 56.

In summary, the golf cart umbrella 10 can be secured to the golf cart 56, in a variety of positions, to shield and/or protect a golf cart user from falling rain, the wind, and/or the sun. Thus, the golf cart user can continue to comfortably golf despite unfavorable or inclement weather. When the undesirable weather passes, the golf cart umbrella 10 can be unfastened from the golf cart 56, collapsed and/or telescoped into a compact form of itself, and conveniently stored in the golf cart 56, in a golf bag, or elsewhere.

The use of the terms “a” and “an” and “the” and similar referents in the context of describing the invention (especially in the context of the following claims) is to be construed to cover both the singular and the plural, unless otherwise indicated herein or clearly contradicted by context. The terms “comprising,” “having,” “including,” and “containing” are to be construed as open-ended terms (i.e., meaning “including, but not limited to,”) unless otherwise noted. Recitation of ranges of values herein are merely intended to serve as a shorthand method of referring individually to each separate value falling within the range, unless otherwise indicated herein, and each separate value is incorporated into the specification as if it were individually recited herein. All methods described herein can be performed in any suitable order unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context. The use of any and all examples, or exemplary language (e.g., “such as”) provided herein, is intended merely to better illuminate the invention and does not pose a limitation on the scope of the invention unless otherwise claimed. No language in the specification should be construed as indicating any non-claimed element as essential to the practice of the invention.

Preferred embodiments of this invention are described herein, including the best mode known to the inventors for carrying out the invention. Variations of those preferred embodiments may become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art upon reading the foregoing description. The inventors expect skilled artisans to employ such variations as appropriate, and the inventors intend for the invention to be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein. Accordingly, this invention includes all modifications and equivalents of the subject matter recited in the claims appended hereto as permitted by applicable law. Moreover, any combination of the above-described elements in all possible variations thereof is encompassed by the invention unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context.