Title:
OBJECT-RETAINING DEVICE FOR GOLFERS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention is directed to devices for securely holding elongated objects, such as cigars, above the ground. Generally, a device in accordance with the present invention includes an elongated shaft with ground-piercing means, and a cradle which resembles a golf club head coupled to the upper end of the elongated shaft. The cradle's two interior surfaces define a cavity capable of securely retaining objects such as cigars, cigarettes, sunglasses, and other items needing to be stowed by a golfer on a golf course.



Inventors:
Nicastro, John (Woolwich, NJ, US)
Tracy, Tom (West Chester, PA, US)
Application Number:
12/034770
Publication Date:
10/23/2008
Filing Date:
02/21/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A24F13/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WILSON, LEE D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mark J. Rosen (Wayne, PA, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. An object-retaining device comprising an elongated shaft having upper and lower ends, and a cradle coupled to the upper end of the shaft, wherein the cradle has two interior surfaces defining a cavity therebetween capable of securely retaining objects, and wherein the lower end of the shaft comprises ground-piercing means.

2. The device of claim 1, wherein the objects capable of being retained are selected from the group consisting of cigars, cigarettes, eyeglasses, sunglasses, scorecards, writing implements, snack foods, and cell phones.

3. The device of claim 2, wherein the object capable of being retained is a cigar.

4. The device of claim 1, wherein the ground-piercing means is a lower end of the shaft which has been tapered.

5. The device of claim 1, wherein the shaft is about 3 feet in length.

6. The device of claim 1, wherein the cradle resembles a golf club head.

7. The device of claim 1, wherein the shaft comprises aluminum or fiberglass.

8. The device of claim 1, wherein the cradle comprises ABS injection molded plastic or metal alloy.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to novel devices for golfers, capable of retaining objects such as cigars during a round of golf or anywhere one finds the need to retain an object such that it avoids contact with the ground.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is common practice for golfers to have objects in need of being stowed as they approach a golf shot on the tee box or anywhere throughout the golf course. Many golfers enjoy smoking cigarettes or cigars while playing golf. When such a golfer prepares to take a golf swing or stroke the ball, the golfer typically lays the lighted cigarette or cigar on the ground, golf cart floor or fender, golf tee, or another item to keep it from contact with the ground. However, this practice may expose the cigar or cigarette to moisture and is unsanitary because the cigar or cigarette may be exposed to poisons or injurious chemicals on the ground, such as fertilizers and other compounds sprayed on the turf, thus exposing the golfer to potential hazards.

One solution is to use a golf smoke tee, which is a golf tee with a cradle on top for holding objects such as cigars or cigarettes above the ground. U.S. Pat. No. 3,001,529 to Watson discloses such a golf smoke tee, being about 1″ to 2½″ tall, resembling a customary golf tee. One problem with Watson's golf smoke tee is that it is necessary for the golfer to bend low to the ground in order to place the burning cigar or cigarette on the device. This may pose problems for golfers who suffer back problems.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,706,831 to Whitbeck discloses a ball mark repair tool comprising a cigar support, however, this device also suffers the disadvantage of providing only minimal clearance from the ground, thereby requiring the golfer to bend low to the ground in order to use it.

Published US Pat. App. 2003/0084911 to McGraw discloses a portable cigar holder in the general form of a golf tee, with a tapered opening comprising a pin upon which a cigar may be placed. This device also suffers from the drawback of protruding only inches from the ground.

An alternative cigar holder is shown in U.S. Design Pat. No. D385,059 to Jenkins, which suggests a taller vertical shank than Watson, but the Jenkins design does not suggest a means for conveniently driving the device securely into the ground.

US Pat. App. 2004/0182402 to Cervantes discloses a “cigar caddy” comprising a shaft with a handle and a cradle, the cradle resembling a half-pipe of aluminum conduit upon which a cigar may be rested. The cigar merely rests in the cradle, but is not otherwise secured and is therefore subject to falling to the ground in windy conditions, or upon jostling of the device.

Other devices available include the offerings of cigarconcierge.com; clubholder.com; holeinonecigarholder.com, and the Grip Clip Cigar Holder. All these devices have disadvantages overcome by the present invention.

None of the aforementioned devices provide a device to secure objects such as cigars at a distance from the turf in a manner which appears unobtrusively like a golf club in a golf bag. The art, therefore, is in need of improved devices for holding objects, such as cigars and cigarettes, without the disadvantages of current devices.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to devices for securely holding objects, such as cigars, at a convenient distance above the ground. The device of the present invention is suitable for securing a wide variety of items, including, but not limited to, cigars, cigarettes, eyeglasses, sunglasses, scorecards, business cards, writing implements, snack foods, cell phones, and the like. Additionally, the device of the present invention resembles a golf club, and thus appears unobtrusive when stowed in a golf bag, and is conveniently ready for use when the golfer needs to support an object or when approaching a golf shot anywhere on the course.

In one aspect, the present invention is directed to an object-retaining golf device comprising an elongated shaft, at an upper end of which is a cradle resembling the head of a golf club. The cradle or head has a cavity disposed longitudinally therein (and approximately perpendicular to the shaft) for securing and retaining objects. The opposite end, or lower end, of the shaft features a ground-piercing means, i.e., a point for driving and securing the device into the ground, in the form of a spike or other means such as a taper in the shaft itself. A cap or other protective covering may optionally be fitted to the ground-piercing means to protect the golf bag when the device is placed therein.

In one aspect, the device of the invention is an object-retaining device comprising an elongated shaft having upper and lower ends, and a cradle coupled to the upper end of the shaft, wherein the cradle has two interior surfaces defining a cavity therebetween capable of securely retaining objects, and wherein the lower end of the shaft comprises ground-piercing means. The objects capable of being retained includes cigars, cigarettes, eyeglasses, sunglasses, scorecards, writing implements, snack foods, cell phones, and the like.

In another aspect, the ground-piercing means may be a lower end of the shaft which has been tapered, or may be a spike or other means affixed to the lower end of the shaft. The shaft may be a length between about 6 inches and 6 feet, and preferably about 3 feet in length and may be formed of, among others, aluminum or fiberglass

In another aspect, the cradle resembles a golf club head, and may be formed of, among other things, ABS injection molded plastic, metal, or an alloy thereof.

Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from a review of the ensuing description and figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In order to better appreciate how the above-recited and other advantages and objects of the present inventions are obtained, a more particular description of the present inventions briefly described above will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments thereof, which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Understanding that these drawings depict only typical embodiments of the invention and are not therefore to be considered limiting of its scope, the invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1. depicts a side view of a device in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2. depicts a perspective view of a device in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a photograph of a device in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a photograph of several devices in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A device of the present invention comprises an elongated shaft having an upper and a lower end. The shaft may be formed from any sufficiently sturdy material, including but not limited to fiberglass, aluminum, carbon fiber, other metals and alloys, wood, plastic, and the like. The shaft needs only to be sufficiently sturdy such that it remains in an upright position when the lower end is inserted into the ground.

The lower end of the shaft, therefore, features a ground-piercing means which allows the shaft to be inserted into the ground and remain in an upright position. The shaft is preferably tapered itself to allow the shaft to be more easily driven into the ground. Alternatively, the lower end of the shaft may be fitted with a ground-piercing means, such as a spike, a nail, or the like.

In one embodiment, the shaft may optionally have toward the lower end a grip resembling a golf club grip to further enable the device to appear as a golf club, so long as the ground-piercing means is unencumbered. A cap or other protective covering may optionally be fitted to the ground-piercing means to protect the golf bag when the device is placed therein.

The shaft may be of any length between about 6 inches and about 6 feet, preferably between about 2 and 5 feet, more preferably about 3 feet, approximately waist high. Having a shaft approximately waist high allows a person to drive the shaft into the ground while minimizing back strain. Alternatively, the shaft may be less than 3 feet in length, which allows the cigar wedge to be more easily stored when not in use.

In another embodiment, the shaft may be formed of telescoping sections, allowing a smaller profile for storage, and permitting the shaft's height to be adjustable to suit a variety of users. Such an adjustable telescoping shaft may have securing means, such as threaded rings which release and exert pressure upon unscrewing and screwing. Such telescoping sectioned shafts are known to those of skill in the art.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the upper end of the shaft is coupled to an object-retaining cradle or head. The cradle may be crafted to resemble an actual golf club head, so long as it comprises a cavity capable of retaining objects, such as cigars. The cradle has two exterior surfaces and two interior surfaces, such that the cavity is formed by the two interior surfaces of the cradle, as shown in the Figures. The interior surfaces join at the base of the cradle, such that the distance between the two interior surfaces is greatest at the top of the cradle, while the distance decreases to zero at the base of the cradle. The interior angle formed by the surfaces is selected such that the cradle is capable of securely retaining a wide variety of objects and cigar sizes, from the smallest cigarettes to the largest cigar ring size (e.g., Churchills), as well as other objects. The interior angle can range from about 15 degrees to about 60 degrees, preferably from about 25 to about 45 degrees, more preferably from about 30 to about 40 degrees. In one embodiment, either or both of the interior surfaces feature a set of grooves, dimples, ribs, knobs, protrusions, rubber, or the like, to assist in retaining the object. Optionally, a securing device, such as a spring-loaded clip that flexes to the size and shape of the object to be held, may be affixed to one interior surface, and flexibly affixed to the other interior surface, in order to securely retain an object. Other securing devices may be used, such as hook and loop straps, elastic cords, and the like.

The cradle is coupled to the shaft by any of a variety of means, including but not limited to glue, screws, tube-to-shaft connectors, and the like. The cradle may also serve as a handle allowing the user to remove the device from a golf bag, insert it into the ground, and remove and replace the device in the golf bag when no longer in use.

The cradle may be formed from at least one of any sufficiently sturdy material, including but not limited to fiberglass, aluminum, other metals and alloys, wood, plastic, carbon fiber, cast iron, cast aluminum, and the like. In a preferred embodiment, the cradle comprises ABS injection molded plastic, or a metal or an alloy thereof, such that it appears to resemble a functional golf club, is sufficiently sturdy to retain objects and also withstand the force necessary to drive the device into the ground, and safely and securely retains objects such as cigars.

The cradle may also have affixed upon the interior surfaces thereof a material providing greater friction than that from which it is made. For example, a coating of higher frictional material may be applied to at least one of the interior surfaces, or a thin film of rubber, neoprene, porous plastic, or the like may be applied thereon.

A wide variety of accessories may be removable or fixedly attached to the device of the present invention. For example, a clip suitable for holding a cigar lighter, cigar cutter, or other smoking paraphernalia may be present on an exterior surface of the cradle, or proximal to the cradle on the upper end of the shaft. Likewise, a clip for holding a scorecard or writing implement may be present on the device.

Additional embodiments within the scope of the invention will be appreciated by those of skill in the art. While embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention, and all such modifications and equivalents are intended to be within the scope of the appended claims. For example, while the device of the present invention has been described with particular application to use by golfers, those of skill in the art will readily appreciate that the device is suitable for other outdoor activities.

EXAMPLES

The following Examples serve to illustrate the present invention and are not intended to limit its scope in any way.

Example 1

The Cigar Wedge

FIGS. 1-4 show an example of the present invention, in which an elongated shaft (1) comprising fiberglass is coupled to a cradle (head) (2) comprising ABS injection molded plastic. The cradle has two outer surfaces (3) and two inner surfaces (4) defining a cavity (5) in which objects may be retained. The shaft's lower end (6) is tapered to allow efficient, convenient insertion into the ground. The shaft is approximately 3 feet long, and the cradle adds approximately 3 inches to the length of the device when coupled thereon. The cradle is approximately 4 inches wide, with the largest distance in the cavity between the two interior surfaces being about 3 inches, where the angle between the interior surfaces is approximately 34 degrees.

When the user of the device has an object, such as a cigar, which needs to be securely retained on the course of play, the user simply removes the device from the golf bag, much as one would remove a desired golf club. Approaching the ball, the user then inserts the device into the ground by holding the cradle and pushing or stabbing the lower end into the ground. The device is then ready for service, and the golfer may place the object or cigar into the cavity of the cradle. While not strictly necessary, applying even gentle pressure when placing the cigar into the cavity further secures the cigar therein. The shape of the cavity and friction with the interior surfaces thereof securely hold the object above the ground at a convenient height.

The present invention is not to be limited in scope by the specific embodiments described above, which are intended as illustrations of aspects of the invention. Functionally equivalent methods and components are within the scope of the invention. Indeed, various modifications of the invention, in addition to those shown and described herein, will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the foregoing description. Such modifications are intended to fall within the scope of the appended claims. All cited references are hereby incorporated by reference.