Title:
Force relieving golf tee
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
One embodiment of the invention includes an improved golf tee having a cradle with top and bottom surfaces, an intermediate stem having first and second ends, and a terminal stem having first and second ends, wherein the first end of the intermediate stem is connected to the bottom surface of the cradle, the second end of the intermediate stem is connected to the first end of the terminal stem, and the second end of the terminal stem is adapted to be inserted into the ground, and wherein an angle is formed by the intermediate stem and the terminal stem.



Inventors:
Cirone, Michael (Cathedral City, CA, US)
Cirone, Dominick (Scottsdale, AZ, US)
Application Number:
11/231792
Publication Date:
03/22/2007
Filing Date:
09/22/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B57/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20080248901PITCHING TARGETOctober, 2008Mosier et al.
20020065143Golf club head with multiple dimpled faceMay, 2002Shin
20090069120Golf round pace regulatorMarch, 2009Mosher
20090143158Pendular golf position alignment and golf swing training devices and methods, especially for use with putters and similar clubs to train golfersJune, 2009Fidge
20020022537Low spin golf ball comprising a metal, ceramic, or composite mantle or inner layerFebruary, 2002Nesbitt et al.
20060122012Method for isolating ionomers from a golf ball componentJune, 2006Ishida
20060089214Baseball device with soundApril, 2006Cracolici
20090264229BLADE FOR A STICKOctober, 2009Forsberg
20060211520Golfing practice deviceSeptember, 2006Price
20080015040Racking balls on a pool tableJanuary, 2008Burlock et al.



Primary Examiner:
WONG, STEVEN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP (McLean, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A golf tee comprising: a cradle having a top surface and a bottom surface, wherein the cradle is adapted to hold a golf ball in place; an intermediate stem having a first end and a second end, wherein the first end of the intermediate stem is connected to the bottom surface of the cradle; and a terminal stem having a first end and a second end, wherein the first end of the terminal stem is connected to the second end of the intermediate stem, wherein the terminal stem and the intermediate stem form an angle equal to or greater than 90 degrees but less than 180 degrees, and wherein the cradle and the intermediate stem are adapted to rotate around an axis running through the terminal stem when struck by a golf club.

2. The golf tee of claim 1, wherein the top surface of the cradle is a concave surface.

3. The golf tee of claim 1, wherein the second end of the terminal stem is adapted to be inserted into the ground.

4. The golf tee of claim 3, wherein the second end of the terminal stem is pointed.

5. The golf tee of claim 1, wherein the terminal stem has a circular cross section.

6. The golf tee of claim 1, wherein one or more of the cradle, the intermediate stem, or the terminal stem is comprised of wood.

7. The golf tee of claim 1, wherein one or more of the cradle, the intermediate stem, or the terminal stem is comprised of plastic.

8. The golf tee of claim 7, wherein the plastic is biodegradable.

9. The golf tee of claim 1, wherein one or more of the cradle, the intermediate stem, or the terminal stem is comprised of metal that does not harm the golf club when struck.

10. A golf tee comprising: a cradle having a top and a bottom surface, wherein the cradle is adapted to hold a golf ball in place; an intermediate stem having a first end and a second end, wherein the first end of the intermediate stem is connected to the bottom surface of the cradle; and a terminal stem having a first end and a second end, wherein the first end of the terminal stem is connected to the second end of the intermediate stem, wherein the terminal stem and the intermediate stem form an angle equal to or greater than 90 degrees but less than 180 degrees, and wherein the intermediate stem forms a line segment when viewed from an overhead perspective.

11. The golf tee of claim 10, wherein the line segment is adapted to point toward a target.

12. The golf tee of claim 10, wherein the top surface of the cradle is a concave surface.

13. The golf tee of claim 10, wherein the second end of the terminal stem is adapted to be inserted into the ground.

14. The golf tee of claim 13, wherein the second end of the terminal stem is pointed.

15. The golf tee of claim 10, wherein one or more of the cradle, the intermediate stem, or the terminal stem is comprised of wood.

16. The golf tee of claim 10, wherein one or more of the cradle, the intermediate stem, or the terminal stem is comprised of plastic.

17. The golf tee of claim 16, wherein the plastic is biodegradable.

18. The golf tee of claim 10, wherein one or more of the cradle, the intermediate stem, or the terminal stem is comprised of metal that does not harm a golf club when struck.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a golf tee for aiding in the alleviation of certain undesirable forces from a golf swing and aiding in the improvement of golf swing plane and/or golf swing alignment.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Golf tees are generally known in the art. Typically, a golf tee provides a cradle attached to a single stem. The stem may extend downward in a direction that is perpendicular to the plane of the cradle. This conventional design results in a straight line or “stick” tee configuration. A portion of the stem is typically inserted into the ground to stabilize the tee so that a golf ball may be placed in the cradle. The portion of the stem that is inserted into the ground may vary from golfer to golfer depending on the desired golf ball height relative to the face of the golf club that will be used to strike the ball.

When a golf club makes contact with a golf ball resting on a conventional golf tee, more often than not, the golf tee is also struck by a golf club. This typically produces one or more undesirable forces when a conventional stick golf tee is used. A first undesirable force includes contact between the club head and a portion of the conventional tee stem. For example, if the leading edge of the club head is swung under a teed-up golf ball, the club head may strike the cradle and/or stem of the tee prior to, during, or even after contact with the ball is made. This “club-to-tee” contact (as opposed to “club-to-ball” contact) may impede the golfer's swing, reduce club head speed, alter a golfer's swing path/plane, and/or produce other undesirable effects.

A second example of an undesirable force that may be produced by conventional tee configuration originates from interaction between the stem of the conventional golf tee and the ground in which it is placed. A golf club head's forward motion may cause the above ground portion of the tee to move forward. Because the conventional tee is a straight “stick,” the surface of the ground works as a lever and the below ground portion of the tee (e.g., portions of the stem) move in a direction opposite of the above ground portion. The ground resists this movement or “pushes back” on the below ground portion of the tee. This force is translated through the stem of the tee and may impede the golfer's swing, reduce club head speed, alter a golfer's swing path/plane, and/or produce other undesirable effects.

Additionally, when using a conventional golf tee, a golfer generally estimates the portion of the tee's stem to place into the ground to achieve the golfer's desired ball height. As this estimation is prone to error, the golfer may frequently hit the golf ball from varying heights on different strokes during a golf round when a single height would be preferred.

Another problem with conventional golf tees is that they form a singular point when viewed from above (which is the perspective usually observed by a golfer about to make a stroke). Thus, the golfer has no consistent linear frame of reference by which to aim his or her stroke. This may cause a greater percentage of errant golf shots.

These and other drawbacks exist with conventional golf tees.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention addressing these and other drawbacks relates to a golf tee having a configuration that aids in the alleviation of certain undesirable forces from a golf swing, aids in improving golf club head speed, aids in improving golf swing plane and/or alignment, provides a benchmark for golf ball height, and/or provides other benefits.

According to one embodiment of the invention, a golf tee may comprise a cradle, an intermediate stem, and a terminal stem. The cradle may comprise any implementation for holding a golf ball. In some embodiments, the cradle may include top and bottom surfaces. In one embodiment, the top surface of the cradle may comprise a concave piece of material such as, for example, wood, which cradles at least a portion of the golf ball to hold it in place. Another example of the cradle may include a wire ring that is capable of holding the golf ball in place. Other implementations of the cradle, including those using any number of materials (e.g., plastic, biodegradable plastic, rubber, metal, or other materials) may be used.

In one embodiment, the golf tee may include an intermediate stem having first and second ends. In some embodiments, the intermediate stem may include an elongated or linear piece of stiff material such as, for example, wood. Other materials (e.g., plastic, biodegradable plastic, rubber, metal, or other materials) may be used. The first end of the intermediate stem may be connected, either directly or indirectly, to the bottom surface of the cradle.

In one embodiment, the golf tee may include a terminal stem having first and second ends. In some embodiments, the first end of the terminal stem may be connected, either directly or indirectly, to the second end of the intermediate stem. In one embodiment, the connection between the intermediate stem and the terminal stem may be such that the intermediate stem and the terminal stem form an angle. In some embodiments, the angle formed between the intermediate stem and the terminal stem may be an angle equal to or greater than 90 degrees but less than 180 degrees. Other angles may be used.

In some embodiments, the terminal stem may include an elongated or linear piece of stiff material. For example, the terminal stem may include a dowel-like piece of wood, having a circular cross-section. Other materials (e.g., plastic, biodegradable plastic, rubber, metal, or other materials) may be used. In some embodiments, the cross-section of the terminal stem may not be circular. In some embodiments, the second end of the terminal stem may be removably inserted into the ground. In some embodiments, the second end of the terminal stem may be pointed to facilitate placement of the terminal stem into the ground.

The angular connection between the terminal stem and the intermediate stem creates a horizontal offset between the terminal stem and the cradle. The horizontal offset between the terminal stem (which anchors the golf tee into the ground) and the cradle (which holds the golf ball in place) may aid in the alleviation of certain undesirable forces from a golf swing caused by a golf tee by inducing the above ground portions of the golf tee (e.g., the cradle and the intermediate stem) to rotate around an axis formed by the terminal stem. Thus, resistance from the ground does not travel through the golf tee to the club head during the swing. This may provide many beneficial results during the golf swing.

Additionally, the golf tee may produce a consistent golf ball elevation for use during different golf strokes. The angular connection between the intermediate stem and the terminal stem may serve as a benchmark for a golfer's preferred tee height. The length of the terminal stem, the intermediate stem, and/or the angle formed therebetween may be varied during manufacturing to produce tee-height-benchmarks of varying heights.

In some embodiments, the golf tee may be used as an alignment device. Because of the horizontal offset between the cradle and the terminal stem, the intermediate stem of the golf tee produces a line segment when viewed from an overhead perspective. The line segment may be used to assist a golfer in aligning the golfer's stroke and/or swing plane. The line segment may be pointed along a target line and may provide an aiming device that does not exist when a traditional golf tee/golf ball combination is viewed from above. The line segment may also provide a linear frame of reference, which the golfer may use to align/practice his or her swing plane prior to attempting to strike the golf ball, to judge the correctness of a swing plane during a stroke, and/or for other purposes.

These and other objects, features, and advantages of the invention will be apparent through the detailed description of the preferred embodiments and the drawings attached hereto. It is also to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and not restrictive of the scope of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary golf tee according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2A illustrates an exemplary golf tee according to one embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2B illustrates an exemplary golf tee according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 3B illustrates an exemplary golf tee according to an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 3B illustrates an exemplary golf tee according to an embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary embodiment of golf tee 100, according to an embodiment of the invention. In one embodiment, golf tee 100 may comprise a cradle 101, an intermediate stem 103, and a terminal stem 105. Golf tee 100 may be constructed of nearly any rigid or semi-rigid material such as, for example, wood, plastics, metals, wire, rubber, or other material (or any combination thereof). In some embodiments, golf tee 100 may be constructed of a metal that will not harm a golf club when struck. In other embodiments, golf tee 100 may be constructed of biodegradable plastic. In some embodiments, the individual components of golf tee 100 (e.g., cradle 101, intermediate stem 103, terminal stem 105, or other portions not illustrated or discussed herein) may be constructed of separate elements, which may include different materials (e.g., terminal stem 105 and intermediate stem 103 may be constructed of wood, while cradle 101 may be constructed of rubber). In other embodiments, golf tee 100 and its various components described herein, may be manufactured from a single mold, machined from a single piece of material, or otherwise manufactured into a unitary element that is comprised of a single material. In some embodiments, part or all golf tee 100 may be constructed from a solid material, having no interior cavities other than those necessary for cradling or otherwise holding a golf ball in place.

Cradle 101 may include any implementation for holding a golf ball. In some embodiments, cradle 101 may include top and bottom surfaces. In one embodiment, cradle 101 may include a concave piece of material such as, for example, wood plastic, metal, wire, rubber, or other material, that cradles (and thus supports) at least a portion of a golf ball to hold it in place.

In one embodiment, golf tee 100 may include an intermediate stem 103 having first and second ends. The first end of intermediate stem 103 may be connected, either directly or indirectly, to the bottom surface of cradle 101. In some embodiments, intermediate stem 103 may include an elongated or linear piece of stiff material such as, for example, wood, plastic, metal, wire, rubber, or other material. Other materials may be used.

In one embodiment, golf tee 100 may include a terminal stem 105 having first and second ends. In one embodiment, the first end of terminal stem 105 may be connected, either directly or indirectly, to the second end of intermediate stem 103. In one embodiment, intermediate stem 103 and terminal stem 105 may be connected, attached, or shaped such that intermediate stem 103 and terminal stem 105 form an angle 201. In some embodiments, the angle 201 formed by intermediate stem 103 and terminal stem 105 may be an angle equal to or greater than 90 degrees but less than 180 degrees. For example, as illustrated in FIGS. 2A and 2B, when golf tee 100 is placed into ground 107 such that terminal stem 105 is perpendicular to the plane of ground 107, angle 201 between intermediate stem 103 and terminal stem 105 may produce an angle 203 between ground 107 and intermediate stem 103 that is equal to or greater than 0 degrees, but less than 90 degrees.

Terminal stem 105 may include a linear or elongated piece of stiff material. For example, terminal stem 105 may include a dowel-like piece of wood, plastic, metal, wire, rubber, or other material, having a circular cross-section. Other materials may be used. In some embodiments, the cross-section of terminal stem 105 may not be circular. In some embodiments, the second end of terminal stem 105 may be removably inserted into ground 107, as illustrated in FIGS. 2A and 2B. In some embodiments, the second end of terminal stem 105 may be pointed to facilitate placement of terminal stem 105 into ground 107.

The connection between terminal stem 105 and intermediate stem 103 creates a horizontal offset between terminal stem 105 and cradle 101. The horizontal offset between terminal stem 105 (which anchors golf tee 100 into ground 107) and cradle 101 (which holds a golf ball in place) may aid in the alleviation of certain undesirable forces during a golf swing caused by traditional golf tees. FIG. 2A illustrates golf tee 100 as may be utilized by a right-handed golfer. A right-handed golfer may approach golf tee 100 and a golf ball 109 from the left side (marked by “Point A” in FIG. 2A). When the right-handed golfer is situated on the left side of golf tee 100 such that the target line of the golfer's stroke is perpendicular to intermediate stem 103 and perpendicular to the plane of the page of FIG. 2A (pointing into the plane of the page of FIG. 2A), a golf swing aimed at propelling golf ball 109 forward along the target line may result in contact between the club head and the golf tee. However, due to the perpendicular nature of the target line and intermediate stem 103, and due to the horizontal offset between cradle 101 and terminal stem 105, the above ground portion of golf tee 100 (e.g., cradle 101 and intermediate stem 103) rotates around an axis 205 traveling through the center of terminal stem 105. In some embodiments, axis 205 may be perpendicular to the plane of ground 107. In some embodiments, wherein the connection between intermediate stem 103 and terminal stem 105 is a static connection (e.g., golf tee 100 is a unitary structure), the forces causing cradle 101 and intermediate stem 103 to rotate around axis 205 also cause terminal stem 105 to rotate within ground 107.

The rotation of golf tee 100 reduces resistance from golf tee 100 to the club head during the golf swing. This reduction in resistance is due in part because the rotation reduces or eliminates movement (other than rotational movement) of the below ground portion of golf tee 100. Thus, resistance from the ground does not travel through golf tee 100 to the club head during the swing. This may provide many beneficial results during the golf swing. Additionally, the reduction in resistance may preserve the structural integrity of golf tee 100, reducing the number of golf tees broken or lost by the golfer during a round.

FIG. 2B illustrates an exemplary golf tee 100 when used by a left-handed golfer. The left-handed golfer may approach golf tee 100 from the right, or “Point B” in FIG. 2B, with a target line pointing into the page. The aid in alleviation of certain undesirable forces may be similar.

Additionally, golf tee 100 may produce a consistent golf ball elevation for use during different golf strokes. The angular connection between terminal stem 105 and intermediate stem 103 may serve as a benchmark for a golfer's preferred tee height. The length of terminal stem 105, intermediate stem 103, and/or the angle 201 therebetween may be varied during manufacturing to produce tee-height benchmarks of varying heights.

FIGS. 3A and 3B illustrate an exemplary use of golf tee 100 as an alignment device. FIG. 3A illustrates golf tee 100, wherein club head 113 is about to strike golf ball 109 forward along a target line. When viewed from above, the angular connection between intermediate stem 103 and terminal stem 105 produces a line segment 111. FIG. 3B illustrates an overhead perspective view of golf tee 100, including line segment 111, and a target line. Line segment 111 may be used to aid in the alignment of a golfer's stroke, aid in adjustment of the golfer's swing plane, and/or for other purposes. Line segment 111 may be pointed along the golfer's target line and may provide an aiming device not provided with a traditional golf tee/golf ball combination when viewed from above (as it provides a linear reference). The linear frame of reference provided by line segment 111 may also be used by the golfer to align or practice his or her swing plane prior to attempting to strike golf ball 109, to judge the correctness of a swing plane during/after a stroke, and/or for other purposes. While FIGS. 3A and 3B illustrate that golf ball 109 and golf tee 100 may be positioned such that golf ball 109 is closer to a target than terminal stem 105, one of skill in the art would realize that golf tee 100 may be positioned such that terminal stem 105 may be closer to the target than golf ball 109.

Other embodiments, uses and advantages of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from consideration of the specification and practice of the invention disclosed herein. The specification should be considered exemplary only, and the scope of the invention is accordingly intended to be limited only by the following claims.