Title:
Golf tee support apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf tee support apparatus for protecting a golf tee is disclosed. The golf tee apparatus comprises a partially hollow sleeve having a closed first end and an open second end. The first end is pointed and adapted for being inserted into the ground during use and the second end is open and adapted for receiving a golf tee wherein at least part of the golf tee is inserted through the second opening and into the hollow sleeve. At least one raised ridge on an inside surface of the hollow sleeve provides a frictional force on part of the golf tee to hold the tee in a desired position when the tee is at least partially inserted into the hollow sleeve.



Inventors:
Gyorgyi, John (Grayson, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/804687
Publication Date:
11/20/2008
Filing Date:
05/18/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B57/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WONG, STEVEN B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Steven S. Payne (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A golf tee support apparatus for protecting a golf tee, comprising: a partially hollow sleeve having a closed first end and an open second end; said first end being pointed and adapted for being inserted into the ground during use; said second end being open and adapted for receiving a golf tee wherein at least part of the golf tee is inserted through the second end and into said hollow sleeve; at least one raised ridge on an inside surface of said hollow sleeve for providing a frictional force on part of the golf tee to hold the tee in a desired position when the tee is at least partially inserted into the hollow sleeve.

2. The golf tee support apparatus according to claim 1, wherein three raised ridges are located on the inside surface of the hollow sleeve.

3. The golf tee support apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the three raised ridges are spaced apart by approximately 120 degrees.

4. The golf tee support apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said second end has a fluted neck.

5. The golf tee support apparatus according to claim 1, further comprising: at least one vertical slot through said hollow sleeve, wherein the vertical slot allows access into the interior of the hollow sleeve.

6. The golf tee support apparatus according to claim 1, wherein said golf tee support apparatus is constructed out of a plastic/polymer material.

7. A golf tee support apparatus for protecting a golf tee, comprising: a partially hollow sleeve having a closed first end and an open second end; said first end being pointed and adapted for being inserted into the ground during use; said second end being open and adapted for receiving a golf tee wherein at least part of the golf tee is inserted through the second opening and into said hollow sleeve; wherein the inside surface of the at least partially hollow sleeve is tapered from said second end to the first end, wherein the inside surface of the hollow sleeve applies a frictional force on at least part of a golf tee when a golf tee is inserted a distance into the hollow sleeve.

8. The golf tee support apparatus according to claim 7, wherein said second end has a fluted neck.

9. The golf tee support apparatus according to claim 7, further comprising: at least one vertical slot through said hollow sleeve, wherein the vertical slot allows access into the interior of the hollow sleeve.

10. The golf tee support apparatus according to claim 7, wherein said golf tee support apparatus is constructed out of a plastic/polymer material.

11. The golf tee support apparatus according to claim 7, further comprising: at least one raised ridge on an inside surface of said hollow sleeve for providing a frictional force on part of the golf tee to hold the tee in a desired position when the tee is at least partially inserted into the hollow sleeve.

12. The golf tee support apparatus according to claim 11, wherein three raised ridges are located on the inside surface of the hollow sleeve.

13. The golf tee support apparatus according to claim 12, wherein the three raised ridges are spaced apart by approximately 120 degrees.

14. A golf tee support apparatus for protecting a golf tee, comprising: a partially hollow sleeve having a closed first end, an open second end and an interior surface; said first end being pointed and adapted for being inserted into the ground during use; said second end being open and adapted for receiving a golf tee wherein at least part of the golf tee is inserted through the second end and into said hollow sleeve; wherein the interior surface has a first section and second section, wherein the first section has substantially vertical walls and the second section is tapered towards the first end; and at least one raised ridge on the first section of said interior surface for providing a frictional force on part of the golf tee to hold the tee in a desired position when the tee is at least partially inserted into the hollow sleeve.

15. The golf tee support apparatus according to claim 14, wherein three raised ridges are located on the inside surface of the hollow sleeve.

16. The golf tee support apparatus according to claim 15, wherein the three raised ridges are spaced apart by approximately 120 degrees.

17. The golf tee support apparatus according to claim 14, wherein said second end has a fluted neck.

18. The golf tee support apparatus according to claim 14, further comprising: at least one vertical slot through said hollow sleeve, wherein the vertical slot allows access into the interior of the hollow sleeve.

19. The golf tee support apparatus according to claim 14, wherein said golf tee support apparatus is constructed out of a plastic/polymer material.

20. The golf tee support apparatus according to claim 14, wherein the tapered surface of the second section of the interior surface applies a frictional force on at least part of the golf tee when the golf tee is inserted a distance into the hollow sleeve.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to golf accessories, and more particularly to a golf tee support apparatus for providing protection for golf tees.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The popularity of golf has skyrocketed in the past 20 years. In addition to golf clubs and golf balls a golfer needs a number of golf accessories including golf tees. As illustrated in FIG. 1, a golf tee 10 comprises a main stem 12 with a pointed end 14 which is pushed into the ground to support the golf tee and a fluted head 16 for supporting a golf ball. Golf tees are generally constructed out of wood and are subject to breaking when struck by a golf club. The section of the golf tee 10 that is most prone to breaking is the main stem 12, since the main stem 12 is much thinner than the fluted head 16.

As a result, the typical golfer must purchase a large number of golf tees over the course of a year. In addition to the cost of buying golf tees, there are other environment concerns regarding the use of golf tees. First, considering the number of people who play golf, millions of wooden golf tees must be manufactured each year. Furthermore, many golfers do not bother to pick up their golf tees when they break. As a result, broken golf tees litter every golf course and driving range.

Thus, there is a need for an apparatus to help protect golf tees from breaking thereby reducing the number of tees which need to be purchased as well as providing an apparatus which makes it possible to reuse broken tees.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore a feature and advantage of the present invention to provide a golf tee support apparatus for helping to protect golf tees from breaking and for providing a way to continue to use some golf tees which have broken.

In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, a golf tee support apparatus for protecting a golf tee is disclosed. The golf tee apparatus comprises a partially hollow sleeve having a closed first end and an open second end. The first end is pointed and adapted for being inserted into the ground during use and the second end is open and adapted for receiving a golf tee wherein at least part of the golf tee is inserted through the second opening and into said hollow sleeve. At least one raised ridge on an inside surface of said hollow sleeve provides a frictional force on part of the golf tee to hold the tee in a desired position when the tee is at least partially inserted into the hollow sleeve.

In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, a golf tee support apparatus for protecting a golf tee is disclosed. The golf tee apparatus comprises a partially hollow sleeve having a closed first end and an open second end. The first end is pointed and adapted for being inserted into the ground during use and the second end is open and adapted for receiving a golf tee wherein at least part of the golf tee is inserted through the second opening and into said hollow sleeve. The inside surface of the partially hollow sleeve is tapered from said second end to the first end, wherein the inside surface of the hollow sleeve apply a frictional force on at least part of a golf tee when a golf tee is inserted into the hollow sleeve.

There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, the more important features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof that follows may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are, of course, additional features of the invention that will be described below and which will form the subject matter of the claims appended hereto.

In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein, as well as the abstract, are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception upon which this disclosure is based may readily be utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 illustrates a known golf tee;

FIG. 2 illustrates a cross sectional view of a golf tee support apparatus according to one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 3 illustrates a golf tee inserted into the golf tee support apparatus according to one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 4 illustrates a golf tee support apparatus according to another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 5 illustrates a golf tee support apparatus according to another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 6 illustrates a golf tee inserted into the golf tee support apparatus illustrated in FIG. 5 according to one embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 7 illustrates a golf tee support apparatus according to another embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 8 illustrates a golf tee support apparatus according to another embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 2 illustrates a golf tee support apparatus 20 according to one embodiment of the invention. The golf tee support apparatus 20 comprises a sleeve 22 which is a substantially cylindrical shape and is at least partially hollow but the invention is not limited thereto. The sleeve 22 has a closed end 24 and an open end 26. The golf tee support apparatus 20 may be constructed out of a rigid or semi-rigid plastic/polymer material, such as, for example, nylon, rulon, UHMW, etc., but the invention is not limited thereto. In addition, the golf tee support apparatus may be colored with one or more bright colors so as to help locate the golf tee support apparatus when it is dislodged from the ground as a result of a golf swing but the invention is not limited thereto.

The closed end 24 of the sleeve 22 is pointed so as to facilitate the insertion of the golf tee support apparatus into the ground for use. It will be understood by one skilled in the art that the golf tee support apparatus can be inserted either partially or fully into the ground by a golfer. The open end 26 of the sleeve 22 is adapted to allow a golf tee to be partially inserted into the hollow sleeve 22. In use, the head 16 of the golf tee 10 will be at least partially outside the hollow sleeve so that a golf ball rests on the head 16 of the golf tee 10 and not on any section of the hollow sleeve. This feature is important to many golfers who like the feel of hitting golf balls off of wooden tees rather than plastic tees. The open end 26 may have various shapes and the invention is not limited thereto. For example, the open end 26 may have the same dimensions as the sleeve 22 or may be fluted as is illustrated in FIG. 2.

The golf tee support apparatus 20 helps protect a golf tee in several ways. First, since part or all of the main stem 12 is inserted into the hollow sleeve 22, the most fragile part of the tee is now surrounded by the impact absorbing plastic/polymer material of the golf tee support apparatus 20. In addition, the fluted neck 28 of the open end 26 helps protect the fluted head 16 of the golf tee. As a result, the forces exerted on the golf tee, by a golf club during a swing, are reduced thereby prolonging the useful life of the golf tee.

The open end 26 and the inner dimensions of the sleeve 22 may vary so as to be adapted to receive golf tees with different base diameters and the invention is not limited thereto. For example, some common golf tee base diameters are 0.171 inches and 0.1875 inches and the inner dimensions of the sleeve 22 maybe selected to accommodate golf tees with these dimensions. The length of the hollow sleeve 22 may vary and be up to 4″ long so as to accept all tees meeting the USGA standards, but the invention is not limited thereto.

The interior surface of the hollow sleeve 22 may also comprise one or more pressure ridges 30 for holding a golf tee in place via frictional forces when the golf tee is inserted into the sleeve 22. As illustrated in FIG. 2, the three ridges may be spaced apart by approximately 120 degrees but the invention is not limited thereto. The height of the ridges may vary but are preferably 1/32″ or 1/64″ in height but the invention is not limited thereto. In addition, the ridges preferably begin near the base of the fluted neck 28 and extend at least a portion of the length of the hollow sleeve, for example, 1.5″, but the invention is not limited thereto.

As illustrated in FIG. 3, the ridges 30 press against part of the main stem 12 of the golf tee 10 when the golf tee 10 is inserted into the hollow sleeve 22. The frictional forces created between the ridges 30 and the main stem 12 are weak enough to allow a golfer to move the golf tee 10 up and down in the hollow sleeve 22 to raise and lower the height of the golf tee 10 to a desired height above the ground while being strong enough to hold the golf tee in the proper position selected by the golfer.

Furthermore, the ridges 30 allow a golfer to use a broken tee even though the broken tee may not have a main stem 12 which is long enough to hold a golf ball at the desired height by itself. Since the ridges 30 in this embodiment are located near the top of the hollow sleeve 22, a broken tee which still has a section of the main stem 12 connected to a usable fluted head 16 can still be used by a golfer. The broken stem 12 is inserted into the hollow sleeve 22 and held in place by the ridges 30. Thus, broken golf tees can be reused which reduces the demand for new golf tees and potentially reduces the number of broken tees littering golf courses and driving ranges.

As illustrated in FIG. 4, the golf tee support apparatus 20 may have at least one vertical slot 32 through the hollow sleeve 22. The slot 32 allows access into the hollow sleeve 22 from the outside. During use, a part of the golf tee 10 may break off inside the hollow sleeve 22 and become trapped in the hollow sleeve by the ridges 30. In order to remove the broken section of the golf tee 10 from the hollow sleeve, a golfer may stick a sharp object, such as the pointed end of a gold tee, through the slot 32 to touch and exert pressure on the trapped section of the golf tee. Using pressure from the sharp object, the trapped section of the golf tee can be slide out of the hollow sleeve 22 through the open end 26.

According to another embodiment of the invention, the interior surface of the hollow sleeve of the golf tee support apparatus 40 may be tapered from the open end 26 to the closed end 24 as illustrated in FIG. 5. In this embodiment, there are no ridges inside the hollow sleeve 22 to help secure the golf tee in the proper position. Instead, the tapered interior surface of the hollow sleeve is used to hold the golf tee in the proper position. As illustrated in FIG. 6, the golf tee 10 can only penetrate part of the length of the hollow sleeve before the diameter of the tapered surface becomes equal to or smaller than the diameter of the golf tee 10. At this point the golf tee 10 is locked into position by the frictional forces between the tapered interior surface and the golf tee 10.

According to another embodiment of the invention, the golf tee support apparatus 40 illustrated in FIG. 5 may further comprise ridges 30 on the interior surface of the hollow sleeve 22 as illustrated in FIG. 7.

According to another embodiment of the invention, a golf tee support apparatus 50 is disclosed which has a hollow sleeve 52 which is partially straight and partially tapered. In this embodiment a top section 54 of the hollow sleeve 52 has a substantially vertical surface which starts just below the bottom of the fluted head 56 and extends downward for a desired length, for example 2 inches At the bottom of the top section 52, a bottom section 60 begins wherein the interior surface of the hollow sleeve 52 is tapered towards the closed end 58. According to this embodiment, the top section 54 further comprises pressure ridges 30. In this embodiment, the golf tee may be held in place by the ridges 30 and/or the tapered interior surface of the hollow sleeve 52. In addition, the golf tee support apparatus 40 may also comprise the slot 32 in the hollow sleeve 22 to help with the removal of a broken section of a golf tee inside the hollow sleeve 22 as described above with reference to FIG. 4.

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 which fall within the true spirits and scope of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and variations 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.