Title:
GOLF SHAFT PROTECTOR
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sports shaft protector comprising an elongate flexible sheet member having a design, color or indicia on a surface, a detachable pressure sensitive adhesive applied over the design or indicia, and a release agent covering the pressure sensitive adhesive.



Inventors:
Hansen, Greggery Eric (Tucson, AZ, US)
Application Number:
11/696688
Publication Date:
10/18/2007
Filing Date:
04/04/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/316
International Classes:
B65D65/02; A63B53/12
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MAI, TRI M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HAYES SOLOWAY P.C. (TUCSON, AZ, US)
Claims:
1. A sports shaft protector comprising an elongate flexible sheet member having a design, color or indicia on a surface, a detachable pressure sensitive adhesive applied over the design or indicia, and a release agent covering the pressure sensitive adhesive.

2. The protector of claim 1 wherein the substrate comprises a transparent or translucent plastic material.

3. A set of protectors as claimed in claim 2 in graded lengths.

4. The protector of claim 1 applied to a golf shaft.

5. The protector of claim 1 applied to a cue stick.

6. The protector of claim 1 applied to a ski pole.

7. The protector of claim 1 applied to a walking stick.

8. The protector of claim 1 wherein the design comprises a custom graphics design.

9. The protector of claim 1 wherein the design comprises a promotional or advertising design.

10. The protector of claim 1, wherein the protector is colored.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/744,892 filed Apr. 14, 2006.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to sporting devices, and particularly, to replaceable shields for the protection of golf club shafts and will be described in connection with such utility, although other utilities are contemplated such as, for example, protection of other sporting devices such as cue sticks, ski poles, walking sticks, and the like.

2. Description of the Related Art

Existing mainstream golf club shafts include either a carbon shaft or a steel shaft, and users make a choice depending on their own physical capacities or characteristics and performances of material. In recent years, users tend to attach importance to decorative properties in addition to performances or characteristics when choosing a golf club. For example, amateur golfers may choose a steel shaft since it is used by so called leading professional golf players. However, since steel shafts are heavy in comparison with carbon shafts, and many amateur golfers cannot handle steel shafts skillfully, carbon shafts have been painted to look like steel shafts.

However, in the case of painted shaft, when they are scratched or the paint peels off, the clubs look terrible.

The foregoing discussion of the prior art derives in part from U.S. Pat. No. 6,679,787 to Unosawa who proposed providing a golf shaft with a permanently applied multi-ply covering formed for example, of a glass fiber pre-peg wound on and set up in-situ on the golf shaft. While the golf shaft covering described in the Unosawa patent serves the dual purposes of protection and decoration, the covering cannot be applied or replaced by the consumer.

Golf clubs are commonly stored within a golf club bag before, during and after a game of golf. Golf club shafts incur damage when stored in a golf bag. Damage is caused by friction between the golf club shaft and the top edge of the golf bag. Additional damage is caused to golf club shafts while being stored within a golf bag from contact between golf club heads and golf club shafts. The damage is not only cosmetic; it also affects the integrity of the golf club shaft especially in the case that the shaft is of composite construction such as graphite. Changes in the integrity of a golf club shaft alter the consistency of the flexibility of the shaft. The flexibility of a golf club shaft is a defining characteristic of the golf club shaft's expected performance. When the flexibility of a golf club shaft changes the performance of the shaft is diminished.

Steel golf club shafts are very common however; none offer the decorative properties of painted carbon or composite golf club shafts.

The distribution of gifts and incentives by companies to prospective clients and employees is a common business practice. These gifts and incentives are very commonly customized to display the company's name and or logo. The addition of the company's name or logo to the gift or incentive adds advertising utility to the gift or incentive. Currently no options are available to apply customized graphics to a golf club shaft that are removable and designed specifically for a golf club shaft. The existing promotional product industry currently offers golf balls, golf towels, golf tees and many other promotional products that enable customization of golf oriented gifts and incentives. Customization of golf club shaft graphics is not currently available to the promotional product and advertising industries.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

The present invention overcomes the aforesaid and other disadvantages of the prior art by providing a wrap in the form of a removable sheath that is effective in providing shaft protection, is easily attached to and detached from the shaft by the consumer, which essentially has no effect on the oscillation damping rates of the shaft, and is relatively inexpensive. Basically, the present invention provides a one-piece wrap formed of a dimensionally stable thin flexible sheet material coated on one side with a removable pressure sensitive adhesive material. Preferably the flexible sheet material comprises an elongate die cut material preferably about thirty-two inches long, and tapered along its long axis whereby it may be wrapped over a selected length of a golf club shaft between the grip and the club head. The wrap may be translucent or opaque, so that a design or pattern on the golf club shaft or on the back surface of the wrap is visible after the wrap is applied to a shaft. A pressure sensitive removable material is coated on the back surface of the shield.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Further features and advantages of the invention will be seen from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, where in like numerals depict like parts and wherein:

FIG. 1 is an elevational view of the golf shaft protective wrap showing my invention;

FIG. 2 is a side edge view of the right side of FIG. 1, the undisclosed opposite side being identical;

FIG. 3 an elevational view of the opposite side of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a bottom plan view of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged fragmented view of the top portion of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged fragmented view of the bottom portion of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 8 is a block flow diagram illustrating a process for applying a golf club shaft protective wrap in accordance with my invention; and

FIG. 9 is an elevational view showing the golf shaft protective wrap applied to a golf club shaft.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to the drawings, there is depicted a basic embodiment to the present invention comprising an elongated member 10 formed of a elongated sheet material. Member 10 preferably has a length in the range of 20-35 inches, preferably about 32.5 inches, and is tapered from one end 12 of width of about 1.8125 inches to the other end 14 of width of about 1.1875 inches so that the member 10 may be completely wrapped around the shaft 16 of a golf club (FIG. 9), without overlap. Member 10 preferably is formed of a transparent or translucent or opaque plastic material such as poly vinyl.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention a design, color or indicia 20 is printed on one surface 22 of the member 10 which is intended to be the inner surface. A pressure sensitive adhesive 24 is coated on the inner surface over the design, color or indicia 20, and the adhesive covered by a release sheet 26.

Critical to the practice of the present invention is the use of a removable or detachable pressure sensitive adhesive. As used herein, the term “removable or detachable” pressure sensitive adhesive” means an adhesive which exhibits a bond to the substrate member 10 greater than the bond to the shaft, and which may be removed essentially completely from the shaft, leaving essentially no adhesive residue, by peeling the member 10 from the shaft. Small amounts of residual adhesive may be removed, if necessary, by a solvent. Permanent pressure sensitive adhesives should not be used, since they are difficult for the consumer to apply, and cannot be removed without damaging the shaft. Also, by using a detachable or removable pressure sensitive adhesive, it is possible to remove and replace a protective sheath should the sheath become cut or damaged. Using a removable or detachable pressure sensitive adhesive also permits the consumer to replace the protective wrap with a new decoration. The removable pressure sensitive adhesive also should be water resistant and UV light resistant.

Various removable pressure sensitive adhesives are known in the art and are described in the literature (see for example U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,563,205 and 5,420,195) and are available commercially. The presently preferred adhesive comprises 3M™ Polyester Label Material with High-Stability Adhesive 5771 (Ultra Removable) adhesive available from 3M Corporation.

Referring to FIG. 5, the removable shields of the present invention are formed as follows:

First a color, pattern or decoration 20 is printed on one side 22 of a flexible sheet material 10. A pressure sensitive adhesive 24 is then applied over the color, pattern or decoration for example, by spraying, rolling or knifing, and permitted to set. A release liner 26 is then applied over the adhesive layer. The shield is then cut to size and shape using, for example, a die cutter, knife or laser cutter. The cut shields then may be stacked and shipped for use, i.e., for application to the shaft 16 of a golf club as shown in FIG. 9.

In one embodiment of the invention, the shields may be sold as a set of shields of graded lengths, i.e. for a full set of clubs. Alternatively, the shields all may be a single length and cut to length by the user. Also, if desired, the shields may be printed with custom graphics to add advertising utility to existing golf club shafts. Or golf clubs could be produced with shaft shields with custom graphics applied and used as a promotional or advertising product.

Various other changes may be made in the above invention without parting from the spirit and scope thereof. For example, the decorative-protective shields my be applied to cue sticks, ski poles, walking sticks and the like. Also, shields may be custom printed with the owner's name, initials or the like, or the shields may be printed with advertising given away as premiums. Still other changes are possible.