Title:
GOLF BAG WITH PIVOTING BALANCE HANDLE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf bag with a pivoting balance handle is provided. A golf bag according to an embodiment of the present invention comprises a body, and handle, and a strap. The body has a top end and a bottom end. The handle has a first end and a second end. The first end of the handle is pivotally coupled to the top end of the body such that the handle pivots relative to the body to automatically balance the mass of the body. The strap is coupled between the second end of the handle and to the bottom end of the body. Other embodiments are also claimed and described.



Inventors:
Vosloo, Clint (Suwanee, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/672871
Publication Date:
09/06/2007
Filing Date:
02/08/2007
Assignee:
MIZUNO USA, INC. (NORCROSS, GA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D85/20
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MAI, TRI M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TROUTMAN PEPPER HAMILTON SANDERS LLP (ATLANTA, GA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A golf bag comprising: a body having a top end and a bottom end; a handle having a first end and a second end, the first end of the handle pivotally coupled to the top end of the body such that the handle pivots relative to the body to automatically balance the mass of the body; and a strap coupled between the second end of the handle and the bottom end of the body.

2. The golf bag of claim 1, further comprising a frame to receive the body, wherein the handle is coupled to a first end of the frame and the strap is coupled to a second end of the frame so that the handle pivots to automatically balance the mass of the frame and the body.

3. The golf bag of claim 1, wherein the strap is coupled to the body at a plurality of points proximate the bottom end of the body.

4. The golf bag of claim 3, wherein the strap is a Y-strap having two legs coupled proximate the bottom end of the body at a plurality of points along the second end of the frame.

5. The golf bag of claim 4, wherein the two legs of the Y-strap are coupled to the second end of the frame on opposite sides of a central axis of the body.

6. The golf bag of claim 1, wherein the handle comprises an attachment member and a handgrip portion, wherein the attachment member and the handgrip portion are pivotally coupled together, and wherein the attachment member is coupled to the top end of the body and the handgrip portion pivots relative to the attachment member to automatically balance the mass of the golf bag.

7. The golf bag of claim 1, wherein the body defines an upper body portion located above a plane that bisects the body, and wherein the handle is disposed within the upper body portion.

8. The golf bag of claim 1, wherein the handle is coupled to the top end of the body at a plurality of points along the top end of the body.

9. A golf bag carrying apparatus for a golf bag having a first end and a second end, the apparatus comprising: an attachment member coupled to the golf bag at a first point on the golf bag; a handle pivotally coupled to the attachment member, wherein the handle pivots about the attachment member in response to the mass of the golf bag; and a strap coupled to the handle and a second point on the golf bag, the second point being spaced apart from the first point.

10. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein the first point is proximate the first end of the golf bag.

11. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein the second point is proximate the second end of the golf bag.

12. The apparatus of claim 9, the golf bag further defining a middle point disposed between the first end and the second end of the golf bag, wherein the first point and the second point flank the middle point such that one of the strap and the handle spans the middle point.

13. The apparatus of claim 9, the strap being further coupled to a third point on the golf bag, wherein the third point is spaced apart from the first and second points.

14. The apparatus of claim 9, the golf bag further comprising a frame, wherein the attachment member is coupled to the frame at the first point and the strap member is coupled to the frame at the second point.

15. A golf bag handle system to automatically balance a golf bag, the system comprising: a handle member having a first end, a second end, and two pivotally coupled portions, the first end of the handle member being attached to the golf bag at a first point; and a strap member attached between the second end of the handle member and a second point on the golf bag, the second point being spaced apart from the first point, wherein the two pivotally coupled portions of the handle automatically pivot to balance the mass of the golf bag at a balance point between the first and second points.

16. The system of claim 15, wherein the first point is located above a middle portion of the golf bag and the second point is located below the middle portion such that the strap spans the middle portion of the golf bag.

17. The system of claim 15, wherein the strap is further attached to a third point on the golf bag, the third point being spaced apart from the first point.

18. The system of claim 15, wherein the first point is proximate the top of the golf bag and the second point is proximate the bottom of the golf bag.

19. The system of claim 15, wherein the handle member is pivotally coupled to the golf bag at the first point.

20. The system of claim 15 further comprising a frame to receive the golf bag, wherein the handle member is attached to the frame proximate the top of the golf bag and the strap is attached to the frame proximate the bottom of the golf bag.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE AND PRIORITY CLAIM TO RELATED APPLICATION

The present application claims priority to and the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/743,255, filed 8 Feb. 2006, and entitled “Golf Bag With Pivoting Balance Handle,” which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety as if fully set forth below.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates generally to golf bags, and more particularly, to golf bags with a pivoting balance handle that balances a loaded golf bag making the loaded golf bag easier to manually transport.

BACKGROUND

Golfers typically use golf bags to store and transport golf clubs and other golfing equipment. As most golfers know, playing golf requires numerous clubs because each club has different hitting characteristics and an assortment of quality golfing equipment. Rather than carrying a full set of golf clubs by hand, golf bags enable golfers to easily transport golf clubs and golf equipment while playing golf. Golf bags also allow golfers to store their equipment in one place and easily transport their golf equipment when traveling. Indeed, most golfers utilize golf bags to store golfing equipment such as golf balls, shoes, attire, and refreshments consumed by golfers when playing golf. While golf bags enable golfers to store many items, the weight from these items can cause golf bags to become heavy and difficult to transport by hand. In addition, the mass distribution of the items stored in a golf bag may cause different portions of a golf bag to weigh more than other portions thereby making golf bags harder to transport.

Golf bags come in many different shapes and sizes and have various different features directed at making golf bags easier to transport. For example, some golf bags have shoulder straps that allow golfers to support the mass of a golf bag on their shoulders. An example of such a golf bag is discussed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,499,761 to Reimers and U.S. Pat. No. 6,491,197 to Walker. The golf bags disclosed in these patents both describe shoulder strap assemblies used to balance the load of a golf bag. These shoulder strap assemblies, however, do not automatically balance the load of a golf bag. Rather, a golfer using these shoulder strap assemblies must first manually adjust the shoulder strap assemblies before balancing a loaded golf bag. In addition, the shoulder assemblies in the patents to Reimers and Walkers focus solely on shoulder strap balancing assemblies and not automatic handle balancing systems.

Other types of golf bags carrying assemblies also exist. For example, some golf bags have double shoulder straps allowing golfers to carry a golf bag much like a backpack. Still, some golf bags have pivoting legs actuated by various means so that golf bags can stand without the assistance of a golfer. In addition, most golf bags have various types of handles so golfers can hand carry golf bags.

Golf bag handles are usually made from nylon, or other strong fabric, sewn to the exterior of a golf bag. Some manufactures provide a plastic molded grip on these handles. Other types of golf bag handles are formed into a golf bag metal frame. These metal handles are generally located at the same place as the fabric handles and can also be coated with a foam padding to provide a cushioned, friction-inducing surface for grasping the handle.

While these conventional golf bag handles enable golfers to carry loaded golf bags, there are drawbacks associated with them. One drawback is that these handles do not adjust to balance the load of a golf bag when carried. Many golfers who have carried golf bags have experienced the uneven weight of a loaded golf bag that makes carrying heavily loaded golf bags challenging. Another drawback is that conventional golf bag handles are attached to the golf bag near the top of golf bag. Such placement does not provide an ideal handle because the handle does not span a large portion of the length of a golf bag. In addition, this handle positioning does not enable the mass of the golf bag to be evenly distributed when using the handle to move the golf bag.

BRIEF SUMMARY

The various embodiments of the present invention provide a golf bag with a pivoting balance handle that solves the above mentioned problems associated with conventional golf bag handles. The pivoting balance handle can be configured to span a large portion of the length of a golf bag and can be configured to have pivoting segments to move in response to a golf bag's load condition. Golf bags according to the embodiments of the present invention enable golfers to easily pick up and transport a golf bag without having to worry about evenly loading the golf bag. In addition, golf bags in accordance with the embodiments of the present invention provide golfers the ability to carry heavily loaded golf bags without having to worry about the uneven mass distribution of a loaded golf bag or becoming injured from carrying a golf bag with an uneven mass distribution.

A golf bag according to an embodiment of the present invention comprises a body, and handle, and a strap. The body has a top end and a bottom end. The handle has a first end and a second end. The first end of the handle is pivotally coupled to the top end of the body such that the handle pivots relative to the body to automatically balance the mass of the body. The strap is coupled between the second end of the handle and to the bottom end of the body. The body can also define an upper body portion located above a plane that bisects the body, and the handle can be disposed in the upper body portion.

These and other features as well as advantages, which characterize the various preferred embodiments of present invention, will be apparent from a reading of the following detailed description and a review of the associated drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a side view of an embodiment of the present invention utilized in conjunction with a golf bag.

FIG. 2 illustrates a front view of an embodiment of the present invention utilized in conjunction with a golf bag.

FIG. 3 illustrates a front view of an embodiment of the present invention coupled to a golf bag frame.

FIG. 4 illustrates a side view of an embodiment of the present invention coupled to a golf bag frame.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS & ALTERNATIVE EMBODIMENTS

The embodiments of the present invention provide a golf bag with an automatic balancing handle. The automatic balancing handle can comprise multiple parts or members that are pivotally connected so the balancing handle can move in response to the mass of a loaded golf bag. The balancing handle enables golfers to easily manually transport a golf bag that may be loaded unevenly due to the uneven weight of golf clubs and positioning of storage compartments on a golf bag. A golf bag with an automatic balancing handle of the present invention can automatically adjust so that the mass of the golf bag is balanced about the handle of the golf bag. Thus, the embodiments of the present invention provide a golf bag that is easy to carry because the user does not have to worry about carrying an uneven golf bag. In addition, the embodiments of the present invention also assist in preventing injury from carrying unevenly weighted golf bags.

A golf bag according to an embodiment of present invention comprises a body, an attachment member, and a handle. The body has a top end and a bottom end. The body also has a first region, a second region, and a third region. The second region is generally disposed between the first region and the third region. The attachment member is coupled to the body of the golf bag above the second region of the body. The handle has a first end and a second end, and can comprise the attachment member and a handgrip portion. The first end of the handle is pivotally coupled to the attachment member such that the handle pivots about the attachment member to automatically balance the mass of the body. The attachment member is coupled to the body in the first region of the body.

The strap is coupled to the second end of the handle and to the body below the second region of the body. The strap enables the handle to pivot to balance the mass of the golf bag because it is connected between the handle and a point below the second region of to provide a force moment to the handle. The strap is preferably coupled to the body in the third region of the body or at the bottom end of the body. The strap can also be coupled to the body at a plurality of points below the second region of the body.

The golf bag can also comprise a frame to receive the body in some embodiments of the present invention. The attachment member can be coupled to a first end of the frame, and the strap can be coupled to a second end of the frame so that the handle pivots to automatically balance the mass of the frame and the body. The strap can be a Y-shaped strap having two legs coupled to the second end of the frame at a plurality of points along the second end of the frame. The two legs of the Y-strap are coupled to the second end of the frame on opposite sides of a central axis of the golf bag at the second end of the frame. The attachment member is coupled to the first end of the frame at a plurality of points along the first end of the frame.

In another embodiment of the present invention, a golf bag carrying apparatus for a golf bag has a first end and a second end. The golf bag carrying apparatus comprises an attachment member, a handle, and a strap. The attachment member is coupled to the golf bag at a first point on the golf bag. The first point is proximate the first end of the golf bag. The handle is preferably pivotally coupled to the attachment member, such that the handle pivots about the attachment member in response to the mass of the golf bag. The strap is coupled to the handle at a second point on the golf bag. The second point can be spaced apart from the first point, and can be proximate the second end of the golf bag in some embodiments.

The golf bag can further define a middle point or line disposed generally between the first end and the second end of the golf bag. The middle point or line can be located within a plane that bisects the body of the golf bag. The first point and the second point can flank the middle point, and the strap or the handle can span the middle point. The strap can also be coupled to a third point on the golf bag, which can be located proximate the bottom end of the body. The third point can be spaced apart from the first and second points.

As discussed above, the golf bag can further comprise a frame in some embodiments. The attachment member can be coupled to the frame at the first point and the strap can be coupled to the frame at the second point. Also, the handle and the strap can also be coupled to the frame.

Referring now the drawings, in which like numerals represent like elements, the various embodiments of the present invention are herein described. FIG. 1 illustrates a side view of an embodiment of the present invention utilized in conjunction with a golf bag 100 and FIG. 2 illustrates a front view of an embodiment of the present invention utilized in conjunction with a golf bag 100. The golf bag 100 can generally comprise a top region 105, a middle region 110, and a bottom region 115. The middle region 110 can be disposed about the middle of the golf bag 100, the top region 105 can be located above the middle region 110, and the bottom region 115 can be located below the middle region 110. In addition, the top region 105 can be proximate a first end 120 of the golf bag 100 and the bottom region 115 can be located proximate a second end 125 of the golf bag 100.

The golf bag 100 can have a generally cylindrical construction having a generally cylindrical side wall 102, a bottom 103, and an open top 104. The side wall 102 and bottom 103 are preferably constructed from a durable, lightweight material. Presently preferred materials include rigid or semi-rigid materials such as plastics and the like because such materials protect golf clubs carried within the golf bag 100. Such a rigid or semi-rigid material may be covered with a cloth or cloth-like material for protection and to enhance the comfort of carrying the bag. Cloth-like materials along with leather and leather-like materials can be used if desired. The length and width of the golf bag 100 are not critical. The golf bag 100 and can have an overall length ranging from approximately 30 inches to approximately 46 inches, and can have a width ranging from approximately 5 inches to approximately 10 inches. Other length and width dimensions are also possible.

The golf bag 100 can also comprise one or more storage compartments. For example, the golf bag can comprise external zippered pouches, a small upper pouch near the open top 104 and a large pouch near the enclosed bottom 103. The small pouch can be enclosable by means of a zipper and provides space for the storage of small articles such as keys, wallets, rings and the like. The large pouch can also be enclosable by means of a zipper and can be used to store extra golf balls, tees, towels, shoes and other such golfing equipment. The golf bag 100 can also comprise other storage compartments having many orientations and positioned along the sidewall 102 of the golf bag 100.

As shown the golf bag 100 can comprise a frame 101 for receiving and supporting the golf bag 100. Those skilled in the art will understand that golf bags can be utilized with or without frames, such as frame 101, and that the embodiments of the present invention can be utilized with any type of golf bag, including golf bags that do not have a frame, such as the frame 101.

The frame 101 can have numerous characteristics in accordance with some embodiments of the present invention. The frame 101 is preferably constructed of a light-weight material capable of providing a rigid support structure for the golf bag 100. For example, the frame 101 can be constructed of hollow light-weight aluminum. The frame 101 may also extend the entire length of the golf bag 100 or only a partial portion along the length of the golf bag 100. The frame 101 can also have a generally cylindrical shape with an open top and support legs that extend through the sidewall 102 of the golf bag 100. The frame 101 can also have a bottom adapted to support the golf bag 100 in a substantially vertical position when the golf bag 100 is stood on its bottom 103. For example, the frame 101 can be configured to have multiple stand feet, such as feet 107, 108, 109, for maintaining the golf bag 100 in a generally upright position when the golf bag 100 is not being carried. In other embodiments, the frame 101 can also be adapted to form a tri-pod-type stand with additional support legs that are actuated when the golf bag 100 is placed on a support surface.

The golf bag 100 can also comprise an attachment member 130, a handle member 135, and a strap 140. The attachment member 130 can be attached to the golf bag 100 above the middle region 110 of the golf bag 100. For example and as shown in the FIG. 1, the attachment member 130 can be coupled to the golf bag 100 in the top region 105 at the first end 120. Also as shown, the attachment member 130 can be attached to the frame 101 at the first end 120 of the golf bag 100. The handle member 135 can be coupled to or connected to the attachment member 130 at a pivot point 138 such that the handle member 135 can pivot about the attachment member 130 at the pivot point 138. In some embodiments, the attachment member 130 may also be configured to pivot about the handle member 135 at the pivot point 138. Still yet in other embodiments, and as discussed in more detail below, the handle member 135 can be pivotally coupled to the first end 120 of the golf bag 100.

The strap 140 can also be coupled to the golf bag 100 in numerous manners. For example, the strap 140 can be connected between the handle member 135 and a point below the middle region 110 of the golf bag 100. Also and as shown in FIG. 1, the strap 140 can be attached to the handle member 135 above the middle region 110 of the golf bag 100 and the second end 125 of the golf bag 100.

The attachment member 130 and the handle member 135 define a handle apparatus 141 capable of automatically balancing the golf bag 100. The strap 140 can also form part of the handle apparatus 141 as shown in FIG. 1. The handle member 135 automatically balances the golf bag 100 by pivoting about the attachment member 130 such that the mass of the golf bag 100 pivots the handle member 135 about the attachment member 130. For example in operation, suppose the golf bag 100 is loaded with a golf club set and other types of golfing equipment. When a person picks up the golf bag 100 with the handle member 135 the mass of the loaded golf bag will cause the handle member 135 to pivot about the attachment member 130 at the pivot point 138 such that the mass of the golf bag 100 is automatically balanced about the middle region 110. A user does not need to make any manual adjustments to the handle apparatus 141 when utilizing the handle apparatus 141 to automatically balance the golf bag 100. The handle member 135 and the strap 140 thus enables the golf bag 100 to balance when the golf bag 100 is unevenly loaded and being manually transported.

The handle member 135 can have various characteristics in accordance with the various embodiments of the present invention. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the handle member 135 can be connected between the attachment member 130 and the strap 140. The handle member 135 can be a single unitary handle or may be made of multiple pieces. The handle member 135 can be formed of many rigid-lightweight materials, such as plastic. The handle member 135 can also be molded to fit a user's hand and otherwise adapted to provide a surface that is easy to grip and firmly grasp to form a handgrip portion. For example, the handle member 135 can be curved to have a contoured outer surface and have a molded gripping surface for a user's fingers. The handle member 135 can also be configured so that the strap 140 is releasably attached to the handle member 135.

The strap 140 can also have multiple characteristics in accordance with the various embodiments of the present invention. In particular, the strap 140 can be configured to attach to multiple places on the golf bag 100 and the handle member 135. For example and as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the strap can be configured as a Y-shaped strap having a first leg 142, a second leg 143, and a third leg 144. The legs 142, 143, 144 of the strap 140 can be coupled together with a coupling member 146 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The coupling member 146 can be adapted to adjust the tightness of the strap 140 or can be releasably attached to the legs 142, 143, 144 of the strap 140. In some embodiments, the coupling member 146 may not be utilized to couple the legs 142, 143, 144 together, as the legs 142, 143, 144 can be attached in many ways, including being sewn together.

The legs 142, 143, 144 of the strap 140 can be attached or coupled to the golf bag 100 in many ways in accordance with the embodiments of the present invention. The first leg 142 can be attached to the handle 135, and the second and third legs 143, 144 can be attached to multiple places below the middle region 110 of the golf bag 100. For example, the second and third legs 143, 144 can be attached proximate the bottom 103 of the golf bag 100. In addition, the second and third legs 143, 144 can be attached at different points proximate the bottom 103 and may be even attached at opposing points along the bottom 103 of the golf bag 100. The opposing points can be located on opposite sides of a central axis of the golf bag 100. The strap 140 can be made with many lightweight rigid materials, such as nylon and similar fabric-type straps.

As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the attachment member 130 can also have various characteristics in accordance with some embodiments of the present invention. FIG. 3 illustrates a front view of an embodiment of the present invention coupled to a golf bag frame 101 and FIG. 4 illustrates a side view of an embodiment of the present invention coupled to a golf bag frame 101. The attachment member 130 can have a triangular-shaped construction with three sides 301, 302, 303. Two of the sides 301, 302 can define the pivot point 138 where the handle 135 can be pivotally coupled to the attachment member 130. In some embodiments of the present invention, the handle apparatus 141 may comprise multiple pivot points 138 so that multiple parts of the handle apparatus 141 pivot relative to each other. In addition, all three of the sides 301, 302, 303 can define ends 304, 305 that can be coupled to the frame 101. As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the ends 304, 305 can be inserted into the frame 101 to secure the attachment member 130 to the frame 101. In some embodiments of the present invention, where a frame 101 is not included, the attachment member 130 can be coupled to the top of a golf bag 100 in similar fashion. For example, the attachment member 130 can be directly connected to the golf bag 100 with a fabric sewn attachment.

While the attachment member 130 and the handle 135 are shown as two separate components in the handle apparatus 141, some embodiments of the present invention may utilize a one piece handle apparatus 141 that has multiple portions. As shown, the handle apparatus 141 can have multiple portions 130, 135. The two portions 130, 135 can be pivotally coupled to each other enabling the portions 130, 135 to pivot relative to each other.

The handle apparatus 141 can have a first end, a second end, and two pivotally coupled portions 130, 135. The first end of the handle apparatus 141 can be attached to the golf bag 100 at a first point. The strap 140 can be attached between the second end of the handle apparatus 141 and a second point on the golf bag 100. The second point is preferably spaced apart from the first point, and the two pivotally coupled portions 130, 135 automatically pivot about pivot point 138 to balance the mass of the golf bag 100 when grasped by a user. The first point can be located above the middle region 110 of the golf bag 100 and the second point can be located below the middle region 110 of the golf bag 100 such that the strap member 140 spans the middle region 110 of the golf bag 100. The pivoting motion of the two portions 130, 135 can enable the mass of the golf bag to be balanced about a balance point located between the first and second points.

The strap 140 can also be attached to a third point on the golf bag 100. The third point can be spaced apart from the first point and the second point. The first point can be proximate the top 104 of the golf bag 100 and the second point can be proximate the bottom 103 of the golf bag 100. The handle apparatus 141 can be pivotally coupled to the golf bag 100 proximate the top 104 of the golf bag 100 in accordance with some embodiments of the present invention. In addition, the handle apparatus 141 can be attached to the frame 101 proximate the top 104 of the golf bag 100 and the strap 140 can be attached to the frame 101 proximate the bottom 103 of the golf bag 100.

While the various embodiments of this invention have been described in detail with particular reference to exemplary embodiments, those skilled in the art will understand that variations and modifications can be effected within the scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims. Accordingly, the scope of the various embodiments of the present invention should not be limited to the above discussed embodiments, and should only be defined by the following claims and all applicable equivalents.