Title:
Hand held golf ball pick-up apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A hand held golf ball pick-up device allowing a golfer in a golf cart to pick up a golf ball from a golf cart. The device has a handle long enough for a golfer sitting in the cart to reach the ball on the ground next to the cart. The device also has a receptacle that receives the ball while the ball is sitting on the ground. The receptacle has a lip from which projections project toward an interior of the receptacle. The receptacle can have the shape of the bottom of a golf club. The projections are of a flexible material, such as rubber. The tips of the projections form an opening space through which the ball is pushed into the receptacle. Opposing projections have a distance there between, across the opening, of less than a diameter of the golf ball. The projections hold the golf ball in the receptacle but allow one or more fingers to reach into the receptacle to remove the ball.



Inventors:
Mclaurin, Jeff (Gulf Shores, AL, US)
Beckers, Randall J. (Rockville, MD, US)
Application Number:
11/262983
Publication Date:
05/03/2007
Filing Date:
11/01/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B53/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BLAU, STEPHEN LUTHER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STAAS & HALSEY LLP (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
1. A golf ball pick-up apparatus, comprising: a handle; and a pick-up mechanism attached to the handle, comprising: a receptacle having an interior within which a golf ball is movable and having an opening and a lip with an interior; and projections positioned on the lip and projecting toward the interior of the receptacle and creating an opening space with a size to capture the golf ball in the receptacle.

2. An apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein the opening space is circular and has a diameter less than a diameter of the golf ball.

3. An apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein the opening space is non-circular and a distance between ends of substantially opposing projections is less than a diameter of the golf ball.

4. An apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein the projections comprise fingers.

5. An apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein the projections comprise bristles.

6. An apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein the projections comprise flaps.

7. An apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein the handle has a length allowing a sitting golf cart rider to push the golf ball through the opening space into the receptacle.

8. An apparatus as recited in claim 1, wherein the handle has an inside diameter to allow the all to roll through the handle and out an end away from the pick-up mechanism.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention is directed to hand held golf ball pick-up device allowing a golfer to pick up a golf ball from a golf cart and, more particularly, to a pick up apparatus including a flexible opening through which a ball is pushed by the user into a receptacle.

2. Description of the Related Art

Golf ball pick-up devices typically are of two types, a cart pilled mechanical device used by golf ranges to pick up a large number of golf balls, and hand held devices suitable for picking up single balls. The hand held devices include rubber attachments that can be fit onto a golf club handle, such as a putter, and pole like devices that can be part of a pick-up bag or an umbrella. In these handhold devices the opening for picking up the ball has a diameter that is typically slightly smaller than the ball. When the pick-up device is pressed onto the ball the ball essentially “pops into” the holder. Because the size of the opening for receiving the ball is essentially the same size as the golf ball, the user needs to accurately place the opening onto the ball. This is not a big problem when the user is walking about and can walk up to the ball, stand relatively still and place the opening onto the ball. However, when the user is riding in a golf where the user needs to lean out of the golf cart to pick up the golf ball, the use of these hand held devices is much more of a problem and typically are so difficult to use that these conventional devices are not used in this situation. The need to pick up a golf ball while moving about in a golf cart typically arises in certain types of golf game/tournament formats, such as a scramble format. In these types of formats the players need to pick up their golf balls quickly to keep the pace of play at an acceptable speed. Rather than use one of the conventional hand held pick-up devices, players using carts typically lean out of the carts or stop the cart and get out of the cart to pick up the ball with their hand. Leaning out of the cart is dangerous and getting out of the cart slows down the pace of play.

What is needed is a hand held golf ball pick-up device that does not require the positioning accuracy of the conventional devices and that can be used from essentially a sitting position in a golf cart.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an aspect of the present invention to provide a hand held golf ball pick-up device that does not require a high degree of placement accuracy to pick up the ball.

It is another aspect of the present invention to allow a person sitting in a golf cart to easily pick up a golf ball.

The above aspects can be attained by a hand held golf ball pick-up device allowing a golfer to pick up a golf ball from a golf cart. The device has a handle and a receptacle. The receptacle has a lip from which projections project toward an interior of the receptacle. The projections are flexible. The tips of the projections form an opening space through which the ball is pushed into the receptacle. Opposing projections have a distance there between, across the opening, of less than a diameter of the golf ball. The projections hold the golf ball in the receptacle but allow fingers to reach into the receptacle to remove the ball.

These together with other aspects and advantages which will be subsequently apparent, reside in the details of construction and operation as more fully hereinafter described and claimed, reference being had to the accompanying drawings forming a part hereof, wherein like numerals refer to like parts throughout.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 depicts depict major components of the hand held pick-up device of the present invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates one embodiment of a pick-up mechanism of the present invention.

FIGS. 3-7 depict additional embodiments of the pick-up mechanism.

FIG. 8 shows a golf club shaped embodiment of the device.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

A hand held pick-up device 10 according to the present invention, as depicted in FIG. 1, is designed to allow picking up a golf ball 12 by hand without the need for a high degree of placement accuracy. The device 10 includes a handle 14 and a capture mechanism 16 that has an inside diameter 18 larger than the diameter 20 of the golf ball 12. As a result, the placement accuracy for the pick-up mechanism 16 relative to the ball is lower than that for the conventional pick-up devices.

FIG. 2 shows a more detailed bottom view 30 and a side cutaway type view 32 of the pick-up mechanism 16 relative to the golf ball 12. In this embodiment the pick-up mechanism 16 includes a cup shaped receptacle 34 where the ball resides after it has been captured (a ball is shown in the receptacle 34 in dashed lines in the side view 32). The receptacle can be made of a number of different materials, such as plastic, rubber, metal or a composite material. As shown the interior of the receptacle 34 is large enough so that the ball can move around in the receptacle 34. A circular shaped opening 36 of the receptacle 34 includes finger like projections 38 that project toward the center of the opening 38 parallel to the an imaginary surface formed by the opening. The projections are positioned at the “lower” edge or lip of the receptacle 34. These projections extend radially into the opening such that a distance 40 between opposing tips (or virtually opposing tips when the tips are not positioned directly opposite each other) of the projections 38 is less than the diameter of the ball 12. A typical golf ball has a diameter of around 1.75 inches and the tip to tip spacing would be less than that, say around 1.65 inches. The projections 38, in this embodiment, are of a flexible material, such as rubber or plastic, that will bend to allow the ball to be pushed through the opening into the receptacle 34.

The receptacle 34 is of such an interior size, and the projections 38 are sufficiently flexible and sufficient space exists between the projections 38, so that the user can stick one or more fingers of the users hand “through” the projections 38 and into the receptacle 34 to remove the ball by grasping it or levering it out. During use the receptacle opening 36 is placed over the ball and pushed down onto the ball. The ball flexes the projections 38 and pops into the receptacle. Because the opening 36 is large relative to the size of the ball, the placement accuracy of the opening over and onto the ball during pick up need not be high. For example, the ball can be offset to one side of the interior of the opening receptacle and still be picked up. This can even allow the user to pick up the ball from a moving golf cart.

The receptacle 34 and projections 36 can be made of different materials, such as metal and plastic respectively. When the material are of different types that can be attached to each other with in a number of different ways including using conventional glue, screws, rivets, etc. However, the receptacle and projections can be formed of a single material such as plastic or rubber, which is what is depicted in FIG. 2.

FIG. 3 depicts a second embodiment of the present invention where the projections 50 are stick like. Again the projections 50 are flexible allowing the ball to be pushed past the projections 50 into the interior of the cup like receptacle 52. The projections 50 in this embodiment can be brush bristles attached to or bound to a bristle holder 54, using, for example glue. The holder 54 is attached to the interior surface of the receptacle 52 along its lower edge. The holder 54 can be attached to the receptacle 52 using glue, screws, etc.

FIG. 4 illustrates a further embodiment where the projections 60 are flap like flexible projections. In this embodiment, a small air gap 62 exists between the flaps 60.

The opening of the receptacle need not be circular. The opening can be of any shape, such as triangular, square (rectangle), oval, or even irregular as depicted in FIG. 5. FIG. 5 is a bottom view of pick-up mechanism 70 where the shape 72 of the opening and the bottom edge of receptacle 74 is shaped like the bottom of a driver or wood type golf club. In this embodiment bristle type projections 76 are shown, however, the projections can be finger or flap like.

For non-circular shaped openings, a body 90 of the receptacle 92 can extend inward, as depicted in FIG. 6, to form a circular shaped opening 94 from which the projections 96 project.

The projections have been shown in prior figures as forming an open space through which the ball passes shaped somewhat like a circle. However, the open space need not be circular as depicted in FIG. 7. In this embodiment the opening 110 is rectangular and an open space 112 is shaped like a rectangle where the brush type projections reflect the shape of the opening. In this embodiment, the projections also do not surround the open space. Note FIG. 5 shows an open space shape that is not similar to the opening shape. In versions where the open space is not circular, the open space typically has projections arranged so that the ball will be “captured” by the projection. This involves projections that are substantial in opposition having a distance there between of less than a diameter of the golf ball. For example, bristles within the groups of bristles 114 and 116 even though they are may not be aligned exactly opposite each other are in opposition to each other and form virtual edges that are separated by less than the diameter of the golf ball. This is so that a golf ball can be pushed through the opening but will not pass through the opening of its own accord when under the influence of typical forces such as gravity and the force involved in picking the device off of the ground.

FIG. 8 depicts a golf club shaped pick-up device 120 where the pick-up mechanism 122 is shaped like the head of a driver/wood type club. This embodiment can have an opening like that shown in FIG. 5, as shown, or one of the other types previously discussed. The shaft or handle 124 of this embodiment is preferably around 36 inches long, the length of a typical wood, allowing a person in a golf cart to reach a ball on the ground next to the cart. A conventional grip 126 can also be used on the handle. By making the pick-up mechanism the shape of a golf club head, the pick-up device will not look out of place on a golf cart.

The device 10 of the present invention will typically be carried during play in the passenger compartment area of the golf cart. To make this more convenient, the handle can include a hook or other position holding mechanism allowing the device 10 to be conveniently within reach of the golfers riding in the cart. The holding mechanism can be a snap-in carrier attached to an interior front panel of the cart compartment or to a carrying basket typically located behind the passenger seat, or some other mechanism.

Because the top surface of the golf club “head” of the golf club shaped embodiment has a relatively large surface area it can be used for a logo of an entity, such as an entity sponsoring a golf tournament, such as a scramble type tournament. The logo could be that of a golf club/course, club maker, sponsoring company, etc.

The projections have been described as projecting substantially parallel with a virtual surface formed by the opening. However, the projections can project somewhat upward with respect to the handle or project somewhat downward with respect to the handle.

The many features and advantages of the invention are apparent from the detailed specification and, thus, it is intended by the appended claims to cover all such features and advantages of the invention that fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation illustrated and described, and accordingly all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.

The handle 124 can be hallow and with an inside diameter sufficient to allow the golf ball to roll through the handle 124 and the grip 126 and out of the end, so that the user can receive the ball into their hand through the end of the shaft 124 at the end of the grip 126, by tilting the club head 122 into the air.