Title:
Golf tee height regulator and installation tool
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf tee height regulator and installation tool includes a main body having a lower tee-engagement face and an extendable measuring shaft movably mounted within the main body. An extension distance indicator means on the extendable measuring shaft displays the extension distance of the base of the shaft from the main body and a set screw releasably secures the extendable measuring shaft in a selected extended position. A golf tee securement foot is mounted on the lower end of the extendable measuring shaft which includes a generally flat base plate and a semi-flexible material sheet mounted thereon having a tee slot operative to partially deform to receive a golf tee therein and releasably frictionally retain the golf tee within the tee slot.



Inventors:
Smith, Michael E. (Council Bluffs, IA, US)
Swirczek, Todd (Council Bluffs, IA, US)
Application Number:
11/588557
Publication Date:
02/22/2007
Filing Date:
10/27/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B57/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WONG, STEVEN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
THOMTE LAW OFFICE, L.L.C. (OMAHA, NE, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A golf tee height regulator and installation tool for use with golf ball tees comprising: a main body having a lower tee-engagement face; an extendable measuring shaft having a lower end and an upper section, said upper section of said extendable measuring shaft movably mounted within said main body for extension and retraction of said lower end thereof relative to said main body; extension distance indicator means operatively associated with said extendable measuring shaft for permitting reading of the extension distance of said lower end from said lower tee-engagement face of said main body; releasable shaft securement means for releasably securing said extendable measuring shaft in a selected extended position; a golf tee securement foot mounted on said lower end of said extendable measuring shaft, said golf tee securement foot including a generally flat base plate and a semi-flexible material sheet mounted on said base plate extending generally perpendicular to said extendable measuring shaft, said material sheet including a tee slot formed therein, said tee slot operative to partially deform to receive a golf tee therein and releasably frictionally retain the golf tee within said tee slot; and said golf tee height regulator and installation tool operative to install a golf tee in a ground surface by having the golf tee fitted beneath said main body with the top golf-ball support surface of the golf tee contacting said lower tee-engagement face and the lower portion of the golf tee being releasably secured within said tee slot of said material sheet on said golf tee securement foot whereby the lower portion of the golf tee below said golf tee securement foot is insertable into the ground surface until said base plate of said golf tee securement foot contacts the ground surface so that the height of the golf tee above the ground surface is determined by the extension of said extendable measuring shaft from said main body.

2. The golf tee height regulator and installation tool of claim 1 further comprising a partial circumferential tee retention wall having a forward opening, said tee retention wall mounted on and extending downwards from said main body and at least partially encircling said lower tee-engagement face for enhanced frictional securement of a tee mounted therein.

3. The golf tee height regulator and installation tool of claim 1 wherein said releasable shaft securement means comprises a threadably mounted set screw operative to frictionally engage said upper section of said extendable measuring shaft to generally prevent extension and retraction of said extendable measuring shaft.

4. The golf tee height regulator and installation tool of claim 1 wherein said extension distance indicator means comprises an extension distance measuring scale with the insignia for said extension distance measuring scale being affixed directly to said extendable measuring shaft.

5. The golf tee height regulator and installation tool of claim 1 further comprising a shaft-receiving recess formed in said main body extending generally upright therewithin, said upper section of said extendable measuring shaft being slidably housed within said shaft-receiving recess such that said extendable measuring shaft is extendable and retractable relative to said lower end of said main body out of and into said shaft-receiving recess.

6. The golf tee height regulator and installation tool of claim 1 wherein said generally flat base plate of said golf tee securement foot is generally C-shaped.

7. A golf tee height regulator and installation tool for use with golf ball tees comprising: a main body having a lower tee-engagement face and a partial circumferential tee retention wall having a forward opening; an extendable measuring shaft having a lower end and an upper section, said upper section of said extendable measuring shaft movably mounted within said main body for extension and retraction of said lower end thereof relative to said main body; an extension distance indicator scale on said extendable measuring shaft for permitting reading of the extension distance of said lower end from said lower tee-engagement face of said main body; releasable shaft securement means for releasably securing said extendable measuring shaft in a selected extended position; a golf tee securement foot mounted on said lower end of said extendable measuring shaft, said golf tee securement foot including a generally flat base plate and a semi-flexible material sheet mounted on said base plate extending generally perpendicular to said extendable measuring shaft, said material sheet including a tee slot formed therein, said tee slot operative to partially deform to receive a golf tee therein and releasably frictionally retain the golf tee within said tee slot; and said golf tee height regulator and installation tool operative to install a golf tee in a ground surface by having the golf tee fitted beneath said main body with the top golf-ball support surface of the golf tee contacting said lower tee-engagement face and releasably held within said partial circumferential tee retention wall and the lower portion of the golf tee being releasably secured within said tee slot of said material sheet on said golf tee securement foot whereby the lower portion of the golf tee below said golf tee securement foot is insertable into the ground surface until said base plate of said golf tee securement foot contacts the ground surface so that the height of the golf tee above the ground surface is determined by the extension of said extendable measuring shaft from said main body.

8. The golf tee height regulator and installation tool of claim 7 wherein said releasable shaft securement means comprises a threadably mounted set screw operative to frictionally engage said upper section of said extendable measuring shaft to generally prevent extension and retraction of said extendable measuring shaft.

9. The golf tee height regulator and installation tool of claim 7 further comprising a shaft-receiving recess formed in said main body extending generally upright therewithin, said upper section of said extendable measuring shaft being slidably housed within said shaft-receiving recess such that said extendable measuring shaft is extendable and retractable relative to said lower end of said main body out of and into said shaft-receiving recess.

10. The golf tee height regulator and installation tool of claim 7 wherein said generally flat base plate of said golf tee securement foot is generally C-shaped.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED PATENTS

This continuation-in-part patent application claims priority based on a Non-Provisional patent application Ser. No. 11/179,939 filed Jul. 13, 2005.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field

The present invention is directed to golf tee insertion devices and, more particularly, to a golf tee height regulator and installation tool which includes a main body having a lower tee-engaging face, an extendable measuring shaft slidably mounted in the main body, the measuring shaft having a measurement scale printed thereon to show the height of the tee inserted into the ground by use of the present invention and a golf tee securement foot mounted on the lower end of the shaft for preventing the shaft from penetrating the ground such that once the measuring shaft is extended the selected distance, a golf tee supported by the securement foot and the tee-engaging face of the device is insertable into the ground up to the point where the foot contacts the ground, at which time the device is disengaged from the golf tee and the tee is set at the desired height each time the device is used.

2. Description of the Prior Art

There are many different devices proposed for inserting golf tees into the ground, including Baxter, U.S. Pat. No. 4,313,604 and Lee, U.S. Pat. No. 6,428,429. These prior art devices are not ideally suited to ensuring proper height insertion of the golf tee into the ground each and every time, as they include functional features which render use of the devices difficult or problematic at best. For example, in Baxter, the top of the tee is engaged by a circular flat plate which is about the same size as the tee head itself, and the plate does not include any circumferential walls or the like to prevent the plate from sliding off of the tee head when the tee is being inserted into the ground. While this will not be terribly important when the ground is relatively soft, in very hard ground it is quite likely that the plate will slip off of the tee head during insertion unless the tee is exactly vertical and there are no sideways forces applied to the Baxter device. In practice, it is clear that perfect insertion of the golf tee will occur rarely if at all, and therefore there is a need for a golf tee installation device which includes better tee securement elements.

In Lee, however, the disadvantage is that the golf ball itself is used as the base for driving the tee into the ground, which introduces more variables into the equation of force application to the golf tee. Furthermore, the Lee device must be supported next to the tee and ball during insertion in order to function correctly, and this may be a task that is too difficult for some elderly and less physically gifted golfers to perform. Consequently, there is a need for an improved golf tee installation device which addresses and corrects the shortcomings of the inventions found in the prior art.

Therefore, an object of the present invention is to provide a golf tee height regulator and installation tool.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a golf tee height regulator and installation tool which includes improved tee securement elements to generally prevent slippage of the tee during insertion into the ground.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a golf tee height regulator and installation tool which includes an easy-to-use measurement scale to determine the height of the tee head above the ground surface post-insertion.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a golf tee height regulator and installation tool which may be used by virtually any golfer regardless of flexibility, strength or age.

Finally, an object of the present invention is to provide a golf tee height regulator and installation tool which is relatively simple and durable in design and is safe, efficient and effective in use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a golf tee height regulator and installation tool for use with golf ball tees which includes a main body having a lower tee-engagement face and an extendable measuring shaft having a lower end and an upper section, the upper section of the extendable measuring shaft movably mounted within the main body for extension and retraction of the lower end thereof relative to the main body. An extension distance indicator means is operatively associated with the extendable measuring shaft for permitting reading of the extension distance of the lower end from the lower tee-engagement face of the main body and a releasable shaft securement device releasably secures the extendable measuring shaft in a selected extended position. A releasable golf tee securement foot is mounted on the lower end of the extendable measuring shaft, the releasable golf tee securement foot including a generally flat base plate and a semi-flexible material sheet mounted on the base plate extending generally perpendicular to the extendable measuring shaft, the material sheet including a tee slot formed therein, the tee slot operative to partially deform to receive a golf tee therein and releasably frictionally retain the golf tee within the tee slot. Finally, the golf tee height regulator and installation tool is operative to install a golf tee in a ground surface by having the golf tee fitted beneath the main body with the top golf-ball support surface of the golf tee contacting the lower tee-engagement face and the lower portion of the golf tee being releasably secured within the tee slot of the material sheet on the golf tee securement foot whereby the lower portion of the golf tee below the golf tee securement foot is insertable into the ground surface until the base plate of the golf tee securement foot contacts the ground surface so that the height of the golf tee above the ground surface is determined by the extension of the extendable measuring shaft from the main body.

The golf tee height regulator and installation tool as thus described provides a substantial improvement over the various golf tee insertion devices currently available. For example, the device utilizes the main body of the device to apply downward force to the golf tee (via the lower tee-engagement face) which will greatly facilitate insertion of the golf tee into the ground surface. Also, because the height scale is printed directly on the extendable shaft in the preferred embodiment, it is a very simple and quick procedure to set the preferred height of the golf tee after insertion. Finally, because the golf tee is releasably held by frictional contact at two locations on the golf tee, the golf tee is more securely supported within the device than with other devices, yet the golf tee may be quickly and easily released from the device once implanted in the ground. The present invention thus provides a substantial improvement over those devices and methods found in the prior art.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the golf tee height regulator and installation tool of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the device being used to insert a golf tee into the ground.

FIG. 3 is a detail bottom plan view of the securement foot and rubber sheet holding a tee therein.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the present invention showing the extension and retraction of the measuring shaft.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The invention or TeeDriver, shall contain an ergonomically designed handle for easy handling attached to a shaft with a “U” shaped slotted groove to hold the head of a golf tee. Inserted into the shaft, shall be a rod that will have a measuring system on said rod. Attached to the rod shall be a “U” shaped foot with a rubber/neoprene insert that will hold the bottom of the golf tee.

Methods in the past and present involved using trial and error to establish the non precise placement of a golf tee into the ground.

The TeeDriver is a device for placing a golf tee into the ground at a precise height, using a measuring scale. It is comprised of a handle which is ergonomic and can be round, oval or any shape. The shaft which holds the golf tee and is attached to the handle, has a slotted groove that is crescent or “U” shaped. The shaft can be 1 inch to 5 feet in height to accommodate golfers that do not want to bend over to place their tee into the ground. The rod of the TeeDriver is adjustable in height, using a thumb screw to tighten into place, and can very in length from ¼ inch to 6 inches in length. The foot, which is attached to the bottom of the rod, holds the golf tee in place with the rubber/neoprene groove until it has been placed in the ground at the specific height, at which point the TeeDriver can be removed, leaving the set tee in the ground.

The golf tee height regulator and installation tool 10 of the present invention is shown best in FIGS. 1-4 as including a main body 12 which is preferably constructed of a molded plastic or metal material and which preferably would have a height of approximately one to three inches and a diameter of approximately one-half to one inch. The lower end 14 of main body 12 would preferably be formed to include a lower tee-engagement face 16 which includes a partial circumferential tee retention wall 18 which extends downwards from the tee-engagement face 16, as shown best in FIG. 4. In the preferred embodiment, the inner diameter of the tee retention wall 18 would be slightly greater than the external diameter of the top golf ball support surface 92 of a golf tee 90, as shown best in FIGS. 1-2, although the diameter of the tee retention wall 18 may be modified or changed depending on the diameter of the golf tee 90, specifically the top support surface 92 of golf tee 90 to be retained therein. Tee retention wall 18 would further include a forward opening 20 into which and out of which the top support surface 92 of golf tee 90 may be slid. It is further preferred that the lower tee-engagement face 16 of main body 12 be generally flat and rigid to provide a sturdy force-transferring surface through which downward force on the main body 12 may be transferred to the golf tee 90 for insertion of the golf tee into the ground surface 100 in which the golf tee 90 is to be placed. The method by which this insertion is performed will be described later in this disclosure.

Slidably housed within main body 12 is an extendable measuring shaft 30 which includes a lower end 32 and upper section 34 which is housed within the main body 12, as shown best in FIGS. 1, 2, and 4. In the preferred embodiment, the extendable measuring shaft 30 would be a longitudinally extended shaft which fits within shaft-receiving recess 22 of main body 12, as shown best in FIG. 2. The extendable measuring shaft 30 may be generally cylindrical in shape, or may be constructed as a square or rectangular tube design, any of which would be acceptable with the present invention so long as the measuring shaft 30 may be extended and retracted from the main body 12, as shown in FIG. 4. In the preferred embodiment, extendable measuring shaft 30 would have an overall length of approximately four to seven inches and would extend beyond the lower end 14 of main body 12 a adjustable distance of between one quarter inch and six inches in order to provide a broad range of tee height placements to accommodate virtually any user of the present invention.

To determine the precise extension length of the extendable measuring shaft 30 from the main body 12, an extension distance measuring scale 40 is provided, with the insignia for the measuring scale 40 being affixed directly to the extendable measuring shaft 30, as shown in FIGS. 1, 2, and 4. In the preferred embodiment, the extension distance measuring scale 40 would show the extended distance of the extendable measuring shaft 30 from main body 12 in inches and fractions thereof to permit the user of the present invention to know exactly how far the extendable measuring shaft 30 is extended from the main body 12. Of course, different measurement scales may be used in connection with the present invention, such as metric or other such measuring scales, depending on the local preferences of the users of the present invention.

Mounted at the lower end 32 of extendable measuring shaft 30 is a golf tee securement foot 50 which, in the preferred embodiment, would be a plastic or metal generally C-shaped flat plate 52 which supports a rubber, neoprene or plastic semi-flexible sheet 54 having a forwardly extending tee-receiving groove or slot 56 formed therein, the rubber sheet 54 fitting within and secured by the flat plate 52 of golf tee securement foot 50, as shown best in FIGS. 3 and 4. In the preferred embodiment, the flat plate 52 would include a flat base surface 53 which is designed to engage the ground surface 100 on which the present invention is being used in order to provide a stable foot surface to prevent the extendable measuring shaft 30 from penetrating the ground surface 100 during insertion of the golf tee 90 into the ground surface 100. Of course, the precise size, shape and dimensions of the golf tee securement foot 50 are not critical to the present invention so long as the intended function of the prevention of penetration of the extendable measuring shaft 30 into the ground surface 100 is maintained.

For fixing the extendable measuring shaft 30 in an extended position, a frictional set screw 36 is threadably mounted in main body 12 adjacent the shaft-receiving recess 22 of main body 12, as shown best in FIGS. 1, 2, and 4. In operation, the set screw 24 would be threadably extended into the shaft-receiving recess 22 until it frictionally engages the upper section 34 of extendable measuring shaft 30, as shown in FIG. 2. By tightening the frictional set screw 24, the frictional contact between the set screw 24 and extendable measuring shaft 30 is increased, thus retaining the extendable measuring shaft 30 in its specified extended or retracted position, depending on the desires of the user of the present invention. By loosening the frictional set screw 24, the frictional contact between the frictional set screw 24 and extendable measuring shaft 30 is released and the extendable measuring shaft 30 is one again free to slide in and out of the shaft-receiving recess 22 of main body 12. Of course, other types of extendable measuring shaft securement devices may be used with the present invention, as would be understood in the prior art, but it has been found that the frictional set screw 24 of the present invention provides an easy-to-use and reliable device by which the extendable measuring shaft 30 may be releasably secured in a selected extended or retracted position.

The golf tee height regulator and installation tool 10 of the present invention may be used to install a golf tee 90 in the following manner. First of all, the extension length of extendable measuring shaft 30 is selected by loosening the frictional set screw 24, sliding the extendable measuring shaft 30 out of the shaft-receiving recess 22 and tightening the frictional set screw 24 once the proper extension distance is measured on the extension distance measuring scale 40 of extendable measuring shaft 30. Once the frictional set screw 24 is tightened, the extendable measuring shaft 30 is retained in its selected extended position. A golf tee 90 would then be inserted into the device by extending the top support surface 92 of the golf tee 90 into the tee retention wall 18 in contact with the lower tee-engagement face 16 of main body 12. The shaft 94 of the golf tee 90 would then be inserted into the slot 56 of rubber sheet 54 held within flat plate 52 of golf tee securement foot 50, as shown best in FIGS. 1, 2, and 3. The width of the slot 56 is slightly less than the diameter of shaft 94 of golf tee 90 such that the semi-flexible rubber material used to construct rubber sheet 54 frictionally engages the sides of the shaft 94 via slot 56 thus acting to releasably frictionally retain the shaft 94 of golf tee 90 within slot 56 of rubber sheet 54. The golf tee 90 would then be inserted into the ground as shown in FIG. 2 by pressing down on the top portion 26 of main body 12, which in the illustrated embodiment is generally golf ball shaped but may in fact be of any selected size or shape, and as the downward force is applied to the main body 12, that downward force is transferred through the lower tee-engagement face 16 of main body 12 to the top support surface 92 of golf tee 90. The lower portion of shaft 94 of golf tee 90 is thus inserted into ground surface 100 until the flat base surface 53 of flat plate 52 of golf tee securement foot 50 encounters the ground surface 100. Further insertion of the golf tee 90 into the ground surface 100 is then prevented via this contact between the flat plate 52 and ground surface 100 and because the extension distance measuring scale 40 has disclosed the exact length of extendable measuring shaft 30 which extends beyond main body 12, the exact height of the golf tee 90 above ground surface 100 is known. Furthermore, each successive golf tee 90 inserted by use of the present invention may be inserted into the ground surface 100 to exactly the same height as the initial golf tee was inserted, therefore ensuring that each and every tee is inserted to the same height to facilitate repeatability of the golf swing as the golf ball 96 will be supported at the same height each and every time a golf tee 90 is used.

It should also be noted that the golf tee height regulator and installation tool 10 of the present invention may be further fitted with an extension handle (not shown) which would have a length of approximately two to four feet to permit golfers of limited mobility to insert golf tees 90 into the ground surface 100 without having to bend over to insert the golf tee 90. Not only that, but it also permits those same golfers to insert the golf tee 90 the same distance each and every time, thus gaining the benefits of the repetition of the insertion depth of the golf tee 90 to facilitate repeatability of the golf swing. The size, shape and length of the handle shaft may be modified or changed depending on the intended use of the present invention, but it is believed that a standard length handle shaft of approximately two to four feet would be sufficient to permit the majority of golfers to use the golf tee height regulator and installation tool 10 of the present invention regardless of their deficiencies in mobility and flexibility.

It is to be understood that numerous additions, modifications and substitutions may be made to the golf tee height regulator and installation tool 10 of the present invention which fall within the intended broad scope of the appended claims. For example, the size, shape and construction materials used in connection with the present invention may be modified or changed so long as the intended functional aspects of the present invention are maintained. Furthermore, although the present invention has been described as including the rubber sheet 54 and slot 56, other golf tee shaft securement devices may be used with the present invention so long as the intended functional feature of quickly and easily releasing the golf tee shaft 94 from the device is maintained. Finally, it should be noted that the top portion 26 of main body 12 may be of any selected size or shape so long as it is relatively comfortable to apply downward force thereto for insertion of the golf tee 90 supported by the golf tee height regulator and installation tool 10 of the present invention. It should be noted that the lower tee-engagement face 16 of main body 12 provides a far more steady and substantial surface for engaging the golf tee 90 than that shown or provided in the prior art, and it is this feature, among others, which renders the present invention unique and novel over the prior art.

There has therefore been shown and described a golf tee height regulator and installation tool 10 which accomplishes at least all of its intended objectives.