Title:
Wood-type golf club
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A wood-type golf club for providing a golf shot substantially free from hook or slice, the wood-type golf club having an oval-shaped club head rigidly connected to an elongated shaft. The club head has a centrally located top midpoint, basically above the center of gravity of the club head, and the shaft has a longitudinal center line defining a shaft axis. The shaft axis passes through the top midpoint of the club head, and not through the center of gravity, whereby, upon swinging the golf club to strike a golf ball, the shaft tends to stay in an intended plane of movement, and upon striking a golf ball at the striking face at a point in line with the top midpoint, the club head is substantially free of twisting movement around the shaft axis.



Inventors:
Matthew, Richard G. (Fond du Lac, WI, US)
Application Number:
11/233516
Publication Date:
03/22/2007
Filing Date:
09/22/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/324
International Classes:
A63B53/02; A63B53/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BLAU, STEPHEN LUTHER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GODFREY & KAHN S.C. (Milwaukee, WI, US)
Claims:
1. A wood-type golf club comprising: (a) a club head having: (i) a flattened striking face; (ii) spaced-apart side surfaces; (iii) spaced-apart top and bottom surfaces; and (iv) a top midpoint located behind the striking face on the top surface at a point substantially equidistant between the spaced-apart side surfaces; and (b) a single elongated shaft connected at only one point to the club head wherein the shaft has a longitudinal center line that defines a shaft axis, and wherein that shaft axis passes through the top midpoint of the club head.

2. The wood-type golf club according to claim 1, wherein the club head is at least partially formed from wood or metal.

3. The wood-type golf club according to claim 1, further including fastening means comprising a collar positioned at the top surface of the club head into which the first end of the shaft is rigidly affixed.

4. The wood-type golf club according to claim 3, wherein the shaft is rigidly affixed in the collar by an adhesive.

5. The wood-type golf club according to claim 1, wherein the shaft is rigidly connected to the club head at about a 45 to about 65 angle as measured between the shaft axis and a plane extending parallel along the bottom surface of the club head.

6. The wood-type golf club according to claim 1, wherein the striking face has a loft angle of about 8 to about 25.

7. A wood-type golf club according to claim 1 wherein the club head has a center of gravity, and wherein the top midpoint is positioned vertically above the center of gravity.

8. (canceled)

9. A wood-type golf club according to claim 1 wherein the club head has a center of gravity, and wherein the longitudinal center line of the shaft does not pass through the center of gravity of the club head.

10. A wood-type golf club for providing a golf shot substantially free from hook or slice, comprising: (a) a club head at least partially formed from the group of materials consisting of wood, metal, graphite, or plastic having: (i) a flattened striking face having a loft angle of about 8 to about 25; (ii) spaced-apart side surfaces; (iii) spaced-apart top and bottom surfaces; and (iv) a top midpoint located behind the striking face on the top surface at a point substantially equidistant between the spaced-apart side surfaces; and (b) a single elongated shaft connected to only one point of the club head at a first end of the shaft, the shaft extending to a second, spaced-apart end equipped with gripping means, the shaft having a longitudinal center line which defines a shaft axis, and wherein that shaft axis passes through the top midpoint of the club head, and the shaft being rigidly connected to the club head at an angle between about a 45 to about 65 as measured between the shaft axis and a plane extending parallel along the bottom surface of the club head; whereby, upon swinging the golf club to strike a golf ball, the shaft tends to stay in an intended plane of movement, and upon striking a golf ball at the striking face at a point in line with the top midpoint of the club head, the club head is substantially free of twisting movement around the shaft axis.

11. An improved method of providing a golf shot substantially free from hook or slice, comprising steps of: (a) selecting a wood-type golf club comprising: (i) a head having a flattened striking face, spaced-apart side surfaces, spaced-apart top and bottom surfaces, and a top midpoint located behind the striking face on the top surface at a point substantially equidistant between the spaced-apart side surfaces; and (ii) a single elongated shaft connected to only a single point of the club head at a first end of the shaft, the shaft extending to a second, spaced-apart end equipped with gripping means, and the shaft having a longitudinal center line which defines a shaft axis, and wherein that shaft axis passes through the top midpoint of the club head; (b) addressing a golf ball to be played with the golf club; (c) swinging the golf club through an arc such that the golf ball is struck at the substantially lowest point of the arc whereby, upon swinging the golf club to strike a golf ball, the shaft tends to stay in an intended plane of movement, and upon striking a golf ball at the striking face at a point in line with the top midpoint of the club head, the club head is substantially free of twisting movement around the shaft axis, resulting in a golf shot substantially free from hook or slice.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to golf clubs, and more particularly to a wood-type golf club for providing a golf shot substantially free from hook or slice.

There are three basic types of golf clubs used in the game of golf: wood-type, iron-type, and putters. A wood-type golf club typically has a thick oval-shaped wood head, or a similar head made of metal, and is generally used during a golf game when distance is more important than accuracy. For example, players generally use a wood-type golf club called a driver to tee off at the beginning of a hole. Fairway woods are another common wood-type golf club, and are used to hit long-distance shots on the fairway. While traditionally fabricated from wood material, it is now common for wood-type golf clubs to be fabricated from metal and other materials as well. An iron-type golf club typically has a thin shaped head made of metal, and is generally used when accuracy becomes more important than distance. Players, for example, generally use iron-type clubs to chip a ball on to the green or to hit shorter distance shots on the fairway. A putter can have many shapes, and is used exclusively on the green to putt the ball into the hole.

A typical wood-type golf club includes an elongated shaft having a longitudinal center line defining a shaft axis and a club head having a center of gravity. The club head is shaped with a flattened striking face for striking the ball. The striking face is angled relative to the center line of the shaft. This angle is commonly called a loft angle. In wood-type golf clubs, the loft angles are typically in the 10° to 25° range. Higher loft angles produce higher loft and typically less distance in a golf shot. Iron-type golf clubs, for instance, have a loft angle range from about 21° to 60°. Putters, on the other hand, have almost no loft angle, ranging from 0° to 4°, because they are used exclusively on greens where loft is not desirable.

In the prior art of wood-type golf clubs, the shaft is connected to the club head at a first end of the club head so that the shaft axis is offset from both the center of gravity of the club head and the midpoint of the top surface of the club head. The shaft axis typically passes through the club head at a point located behind the center of gravity, that is, closer to the golfer, between the first end of the club head and the center of gravity, and the shaft is typically connected to the club head at a point between the midpoint and the first end of the club head. The prior art wood-type golf clubs are difficult to use in a consistent manner, requiring skill that only professional and very experienced golfers may acquire. The average player rarely masters the skills required to hit the prior art wood-type clubs consistently straight. Instead, players often hit the ball off-center to the right or left, resulting in curved shots commonly known as “hook” or “slice” shots. The hook or slice shots can be very frustrating to the average player, and often result in an increase in the number of strokes required for the hole and consequently higher, i.e., worse, scores for the overall game. The balls are also often lost in the rough or on an adjacent fairway, adding to a player's frustration. Further, the greater distance the ball travels, the more off-center the hook or slice shot will be. Thus, players who are good enough to hit the ball a significant distance can be even more frustrated by the hook or slice shots than less apt players. Even professionals sometimes end up in the rough.

The design of the prior art wood-type golf clubs is a significant part of what makes the clubs so difficult to use. The offset design creates two physical obstacles for players to overcome. First, the centrifugal force created by swinging the club tends to force the shaft of the club out of the player's intended plane because of the offset design. Thus, the player must learn to compensate for and overcome this natural tendency. Second, when the club head strikes the ball, the club head acts as a lever and tends to twist or turn the shaft in the player's hand. The player must also, then, learn to compensate for and overcome this natural tendency. Overcoming these natural tendencies is very difficult for the average player to master.

Certain other golf clubs have been proposed that attempt to address certain issues of traditional golf clubs by connecting the shaft of the golf club to the club head along an axial line extending down the shaft through the physical center of the head. Examples of this approach are shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 1,703,199 and 6,595,867 as well as U.S. Published Application Nos. US 2003/0008724 and US 2003/0032496. However, these patents and applications deal with putters and irons. None of them have applied this approach to the unique problems inherent in wood-type golf clubs. As well, when connecting the shaft in this manner, the shaft is still offset from the midpoint on the top surface of the club head and thus, the club suffers from many of the same deficiencies as traditional golf clubs. Particularly it is true of putters that there are no substantial hook or slice considerations, as there are with wood-type clubs. The tendency of the club face of a putter to twist is negligible compared to that of a wood-type club because the stroke is different, the stance of the golfer is different and the arc and velocity of the swing are substantially different.

This invention relates to improvements over the wood-type golf clubs described above, and to solutions to the problems raised or not solved thereby.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a wood-type golf club for providing a golf shot substantially free from hook or slice. In one preferred embodiment of the present invention, the wood-type golf club comprises a shaped club head and an elongated shaft connected to the club head. The club head has a flattened striking face, spaced-apart side surfaces, spaced-apart top and bottom surfaces, and a top midpoint located on the top surface and substantially equidistant from the spaced-apart side surfaces. The shaft is connected to the club head at a first end of the shaft, the shaft extending to a second, spaced-apart end equipped with gripping means. The shaft is connected to the club head at the top midpoint of the club head. Because the shaft is connected at a centrally located top midpoint, when a player swings the wood-type golf club to strike a golf ball, the shaft tends to stay in its intended plane. In addition, upon striking a golf ball with the wood-type golf club with the striking face at a point in line with the top midpoint, the club head is substantially free of twisting movement around the shaft axis.

In another preferred embodiment, the club head can be at least partially formed from wood or metal, and the striking face has a loft angle of about 8° to 25°. The shaft is fastened to the club head using a fastening means, comprising a collar positioned at the top surface of the club head, into which the first end of the shaft is rigidly affixed, preferably by an adhesive. The shaft is rigidly connected to the club head at about a 45° to 65° angle as measured between the shaft axis and a plane extending parallel along the bottom surface of the club head.

The present invention also contemplates a method of providing a golf shot substantially free from hook or slice. The method comprises the steps of selecting a wood-type golf club according to the present invention, addressing a golf ball to be played with the golf club, and swinging the golf club through an arc such that the golf ball is struck substantially at the lowest point of the arc resulting in a golf shot substantially free from hook or slice.

There are a number of advantages of the present invention. Foremost, the wood-type golf club provides a user with the means to hit a golf shot substantially free from hook or slice, allowing average golfers to achieve better, lower scores and thereby making the game of golf more enjoyable. Requiring the shaft top be connected to the club head at a centrally located top midpoint reduces the tendency for the centrifugal force created by swinging the club to force the shaft of the club out of the intended plane. Further, the design reduces the tendency for the shaft to twist or turn in the player's hand because the club head is centered at the end of the shaft.

Various other features, objects, and advantages of the invention will be made apparent to those skilled in the art from the accompanying drawings and detailed description thereof.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view of a golf player holding and preparing to use the wood-type golf club according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a top elevational view of the club head of the wood-type golf club shown in FIG. 1 with a fragmentary portion of the club shaft, illustrating the relationship between the shaft and the top midpoint of the club head;

FIG. 3 is a rear elevational view of the club head shown in FIG. 2 illustrating the relationship between the shaft and the top midpoint of the club head; and

FIG. 4 is a side elevational view of the club head shown in FIG. 2 illustrating the relationship between the shaft and the top midpoint of the club head.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to the drawings, FIGS. 1-4 illustrate a preferred embodiment of the wood-type golf club 10 of the present invention. Golf club 10 has an oval-shaped club head 12 connected to an elongated shaft 14. The club head 12 can be at least partially formed from wood, metal or composite material. The preferred material is wood, but the term “wood” and “wood-type” when used in connection with golf clubs is commonly used, and is used herein, to describe clubs formed of wood, graphite, metal, composite material, or any combination thereof. The club head could even be formed of other materials, including plastic. The club head 12 has a flattened striking face 16 for striking a golf ball 11, two spaced-apart side surfaces 18, a top surface 20, a bottom surface 21, and a top midpoint 22. The top midpoint 22 is located behind the striking face 16 on the top surface 20 at a point substantially equidistant between the spaced apart side surfaces 18. Most specifically, the top midpoint 22 is located vertically above the center of gravity of the club head.

As shown in FIG. 1, the shaft 14 has a first end 24 rigidly connected to the club head 12 and a spaced-apart second end 26 with a grip 28. FIGS. 2-4 show the shaft 14 having a longitudinal center line 30 defining shaft axis 32, which passes through the top midpoint 22 of the club head 12, above the center of gravity of the club head, and not through the center of gravity itself. With the shaft axis 32 passing through the centrally located top midpoint 22, the shaft 14 tends to stay in its intended plane when a player swings the golf club 10 to strike a golf ball 11. In addition, the club head 12 is substantially free of twisting movement around the shaft axis 32 when striking a golf ball 11 at the striking face 16 at a point equidistant between the spaced-apart side surfaces 18 and thus in line with the top midpoint 22 as shown best in FIG. 2.

The shaft 14 is preferably but not necessarily connected to the club head 12 with a collar 34 positioned on the top surface 20 of the club head 12. The first end 24 of the shaft 14 is inserted into the collar 34 and affixed therein, preferably with adhesive. Other means of rigidly affixing the shaft to the club head are contemplated by this invention, including welding. The collar 34 could be molded or cast as part of the club head 12 as shown in FIGS. 1-4, or could be a separate piece fastened to the club head 12 by any known fastening means, such as adhesive, welding or with the use of mechanical fasteners. As shown in FIG. 3, the shaft 14 is connected to the club head 12 at about a 45° to 65° angle 38 as measured between the shaft axis 14 and a plane 39 extending parallel along the bottom surface 21 of the club head 12.

As shown in FIG. 4, the flattened striking face 16 has a loft angle 40. The loft angle 40 for a wood-type golf club, including the wood-type golf club of the present invention, can range from about 8° to 25°. Higher loft angles 40 produce higher loft and typically less distance in a golf shot. Iron-type golf clubs, for instance, have a loft angle range from about 21° to 60°. Putters, on the other hand, have almost no loft angle, ranging from 0° to 4°, because they are used exclusively on greens where loft is not desirable. Further, in the art of putters, considerations of hook and slice are non-existent.

The present invention also contemplates a method of providing a golf shot substantially free from hook or slice. The method comprises the steps of selecting a wood-type golf club 10 according to the present invention, addressing a golf ball 11 to be played with the golf club 12, and swinging the golf club 10 through an arc such that the golf ball 11 is struck at a substantially lowest point of the arc resulting in a golf shot substantially free from hook or slice.

While the invention has been described with reference to preferred embodiments, those skilled in the art will appreciate that certain substitutions, alterations and omissions may be made to the embodiments without departing from the spirit of the invention. Accordingly, the foregoing description is meant to be exemplary only, and should not limit the scope of the invention.