Title:
GOLF CLUB LIFTER TOOL TO RELEASEABLY MOUNT TO THE CLUB GRIP
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf iron lifter tool formed with an elongated stem surmounted by a pair of semicircular fingers terminating in ends spaced apart a distance to from a throat for receipt of the narrow part of a golf iron shaft and configured to be drawn up the shaft to frictionally engage and compress the golf club grip to be held stationary relative thereto.



Inventors:
Stone, Michael M. (Anaheim, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/123066
Publication Date:
11/19/2009
Filing Date:
05/19/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/285
International Classes:
A63B57/00
View Patent Images:
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20020082099Golf green trainerJune, 2002Chang



Primary Examiner:
BLAU, STEPHEN LUTHER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FULWIDER PATTON LLP (Long Beach, CA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A golf iron lifter tool for use on a conically shaped grip of an iron having a club head projecting laterally at a lateral angle, disposed in one general plane from the shaft and having a back surface facing in one direction and sloped generally forwardly and downwardly at a loft angle, the grip being of the type tapering proximally from a predetermined distal small diameter to a proximal large diameter and the lifter tool comprising: an elongated, one piece body configured on one extremity with a stem defined by a pair of longitudinal, generally coextensive spaced apart legs projecting in one direction to terminate in respective free ends; the body being formed on its extremity opposite the one extremity with a pair of semicircular fingers cooperating to form a yoke with a central opening having a diameter smaller than the proximal large diameter and larger than the predetermined small diameter; and the fingers terminating in ends spaced apart to form a throat for receipt of the shaft whereby the tool may be attached to the golf iron by the user passing the shaft through the throat and drawing the tool proximally on the shaft to receive the arms on the opposite sides of the grip with the tool oriented on the grip with the legs projecting in the one direction and further advancing the yoke on the grip to cause the arms to form an interference fit with the grip to be held securely in place as the iron is dropped on the ground with the head facing upwardly.

2. The iron lifter tool of claim 1 wherein: the tool in constructed of metal.

3. The iron lifter tool claim 1 wherein: the fingers are formed to configure the opening having a diameter of substantially 2.5 centimeters.

4. The iron lifter of claim 1 wherein: the fingers terminate in laterally spaced apart tips for engaging the spikes of a golfer's shoe.

5. The golf iron lifter of claim 1 wherein: at least one finger is formed on its exterior with an elongated blade for engaging grooves on the face of the club head.

6. The golf iron lifter of claim 2 wherein: at least one finger is formed on its exterior with an elongated blade for receipt in grooves in the face of the golf head.

7. The golf iron lifter of claim 1 wherein: the body includes a thread bore for receipt of a mounting pin on a ball marker.

8. The golf iron lifter of claim 1 wherein: the body is constructed of brass.

9. A method of lifting a golf iron of the type including a shaft formed on one end with a grip tapering from a small end configured with a predetermined small diameter to a large end with a selected large diameter and including a golf head projecting laterally from the distal end of the golf shaft in a general head plane and having a back surface facing in one direction: selecting an elongated golf iron lifter tool including a pair of elongated legs projecting in one direction and formed with a pair of yoke arms projecting in the opposite direction, the yoke arms being semi-circular to form a circular opening having a diameter larger than the predetermined small diameter but smaller than the selected large diameter and arms terminating in a throat having a sufficient width to be received over the diameter of the shaft; mounting the tool to the iron by inserting the shaft through the throat and advancing the tool proximately on the shaft oriented to project in the one diameter and passing the yoke arms proximally unto the grip a distance sufficient to cause an interference frictional engagement of the arms with the grip to frictionally hold the tool with the legs projecting in the one direction opposite the direction faced by the club head face; dropping the club onto a golf course surface with the club face facing upwardly and the legs of the tool projecting downwardly to hereby cause the tool to maintain the club grip elevated from the surface; and retrieving the iron by stepping onto the club head face to press the distal edge of the club head toward the surface thereby causing the proximal end of the iron to raise upwardly to be grasped by the golfer.

10. The method of claim 8 wherein: the tool selected as constructed of metal.

11. The method of claim 8 wherein: the tool is selected with the arms configured to form the circular opening with a diameter of substantially 2.5 centimeters.

12. A golf iron lifter tool for use on a iron having a shaft tapering toward a wider proximal extremity and surmounting a conically shaped grip having a small end of a predetermined small diameter and a large end of a selected large diameter and comprising: an elongated stem surmounted by a yoke including a pair of arms cooperating to form a central opening of a diameter smaller than the selected larger diameter and larger than the predetermined small diameter, the yoke being discontinuous to form a throat of a sufficient diameter to receive the club shaft there through for insertion in the opening whereby the shaft may be inserted through the throat into the opening and the tool shifted proximally upwardly on the shaft to be forced onto the grip to frictionally engage the grip to be held positively in position when the iron is dropped onto a green surface.

13. The golf iron lifter tool of claim 12 wherein: the tool has an overall length of substantially 9 centimeters and the arms are configured with to form the opening with a diameter of substantially 2.5 centimeters.

14. The golf iron lifter tool of claim 12 wherein: the stem is constructed with a pair of legs forming divot pullers; the tool is substantially 9 centimeters in length.

15. The golf iron lifter tool of claim 12 wherein: the fingers project annularly to cooperate in forming a circular shape of substantially 330 degrees.

16. The golf iron lifter tool of claim 12 wherein: the stem and yoke are constructed of brass.

Description:

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to the game of golf and particularly relief from back pain and the like stemming from the excessive strain and bending to which the back is exposed during the game.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Golf has become an extremely popular sport throughout the U.S. and, indeed, throughout the civilized world. This sport subjects the golfer's back to twisting, turning and bending which often results in injury and irritation from the repetitive twists and bends. Four out of five golfer's will suffer back injuries sometime during their playing career. Because of their conditioning and often poor execution amateurs are at greatest risk.

It is well known that the game of golf can be the cause of, and aggravate any previous injuries to the back. Untold effort and expense have been made to improve technique and equipment to reduce injury and to alleviate and reduce the pain and irritation from back injury. Numerous different techniques have been proposed such as the practice of rotating the shoulders of the same degree on the back swing and seeking to keep the spine straight and vertical during the follow through to reduce the strain on the lumbar spine. There are also procedures available for improving muscle tone, especially the strength of the deep abdominal muscles. It is recognized that these muscles give crucial support to the lower back and provide an important link to between the torso, hips and pelvis as well as the upper limbs during the golf swing. Some players have been forced to resort to a rigid back support device in effort to decrease the amount of compression on the spine.

It is also recommended that care be exercised during the golf outing to avoid excessive bending which will stress the muscles and joints of the lower back. Players are encouraged to use their lower legs and not the back and to bend the knees and not the spine when reaching down to pick up clubs and equipment. One particularly repetitive action taken by players during a round of golf is the constant bending over to pick up balls on the greens and the bending over to lay down irons such as the nine iron or chipping wedge that was utilized to advance the ball to the green to thus free the golfer's hands for manipulating a putter to exercise the final stroke into the cup. The golfer then typically returns to the previously deposited iron or irons and to bend over and pick those irons up to proceed onto the next tee box or return to the golf cart.

In recognition of the deleterious effort from repetitive bending of the lower back and problems caused thereby, various different devices have been proposed to reduce the necessity repetitive bending. Some such efforts have addressed the bending necessary to extract the ball from the cup. These efforts led to the proposed devices including suction style cups to be fitted to the butt end of the club grip or the like for facilitating the reach to the cup plunger over the ball and draw it to about waist level to thus minimize the bending exercise.

Still the golfer is plagued with the task of bending over to retrieve golf irons which may have been deposited on the green surface. Such bending is particularly problematic for players plagued by a sensitive and sore lower back problems.

In a related area of the art, numerous different efforts have been made in the past to provide different styles and forms of divot repair tools, cigar holding devices and even club shaft supports to maintain the proximal ends of the shafts and thus the grips slightly elevated off the green surfaces. Examples of such prior work includes a plastic, fork shaped tool having a pair of fingers designed to snap over the shaft of a golf club so the pointed tips of a pair of divot repair legs will penetrate the surface of the golf green to hold the tool erect and balance the grip end of the club elevated from the grain to avoid contact therewith. A device of this type is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,116,046 to Pace. Such devices, while serving to hold the grip elevated, suffer the shortcoming that the process of penetrating the legs into the surface of the green is inconvenient, time consuming and can damage the green surface and still leaves the golfer with the task of bending over to insert the tool in the green surface and further the task of bending down to retrieve the golf club when the putting exercise is completed.

A combination cigarette holder, cleat tool and club support has also been proposed which includes a cut out to fit about the shaft of the club and including legs or prongs for penetrating the green surface to hold the tool erect and the club shaft supported. A device of this type is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,226,647 to Notarmuzi. Such devices, while serving the function of holding a cigarette or, cleaning a club groove have the shortcoming the tool does not provide for a secure frictional grip with the shaft to maintain the desired clocked position of the tool on the shaft and invites damage to the club shaft which might scar the surface of the club shaft to detract from the appearance thereof or even create stress risers which may result in shaft failure.

Other tools have been proposed which include an articulated combination divot puller and club support including resilient arms to embrace the shaft of the club so the legs of the divot puller may be inserted in the surface of the green to hold the club handle elevated.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention includes a stem surmounted by a pair of fingers terminating in spaced apart ends for receipt over the narrow neck of an iron shaft and configured so the tool may be drawn proximally on the shaft to be received in close fit, frictional engagement onto the club grip to be held firmly in position on the grip.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a golf iron lifter tool embodying the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a front view thereof;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view, in reduced scale, showing the tool being attached to a golf iron in the narrow shaft area;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 3 but showing the tool advanced up the golf club grip to firmly engage same;

FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4 but showing the golf iron dropped on the surface of, for instance, the green and the club head resting face up on the green surface; and

FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 5 but showing a user's foot pressing down on the face of the club head to raise the golf grip for convenient grasping in an elevated position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to FIG. 1, in one aspect of the present invention, the lifter facilitating tool of the present invention includes, generally, a stem formed by a pair of co-extensive legs 15 and 17 surmounted by a ring shaped yoke 19 formed with a circular central opening 21 and discontinuous on one side to form a throat 23 of a width sufficient receive the narrow shaft part of an iron 25. The yoke is configured such that the opening 21 is of a diameter sufficient to allow the user to advance the tool up the shaft to the position shown in FIG. 4 or beyond to frictionally engage the grip, generally designated 27, to compress the grip and form an interference therewith to be frictionally held in position with the legs 15 and 17 generally projecting perpendicularly in the direction opposite the face of the club head, generally designated 31, so the club and tool act as a unit. Thus, the golfer may merely drop the club on the surface of the green with the back of the club head face down causing it to come to rest with the spaced apart legs 15 and 17 supported at their tips on the green surface to thus maintain the club grip 27 elevated and the face of the canted club head 31 facing upwardly. Thus, when the golf iron is to be retrieved the golfer may merely step on the face of the golf-head with his or her shoe 33 as depicted in FIG. 6 to thrust the back of the golf head fully downwardly flat the green surface thus elevating the grip end of the golf iron upwardly to an elevated position so that the golfer may hook his or her putter under the proximal end of the shaft to raise the grip to be griped without any significant degree of bending either at the knees or back.

Recorded history reflects that the first game of golf was played at Bruntsfield Links, in Edinburgh, Scotland in A.D. 1456, Edinburgh Burgess Golf Society. Since that time golf has grown to become a world wide sport played in many different countries. The game is played with several types of clubs, including so called irons, wedges, wood, drivers and utility clubs. While not played on a standardized playing area, the game is played on courses which typically include eighteen separate holes, each located in a short grass area called a “green” separated from on another by respective T-boxes by fairways, roughs and hazards. The golf clubs are typically carried in a golf bag or the like which may be carried by individual golfers or mounted on respective golf carts which transports the players about from on striking location to the next and up to a prescribed area circumscribing the respective greens. Players often times ride two to a cart and leave their golf bags on the carts, retrieving the particular club for each specific golf shot along the way. As the players approach a green, sometimes guarded by different types of hazards such as sand or grass traps, water or the like, they typically show respect for the last fifty or hundred yards around the green and leave the cart some distance away, withdrawing one, two, three or more short range irons, such as nine iron, sand wedge and/or pitching wedge, as well as a putter to carry with them to the spot where their respective balls landed from the previous shot to then progress on with additional strokes toward the target green. Once their respective ball lands on or near the green surface, the player typically turns to the putter to roll the ball on toward the cup.

It is common practice for a golfer approaching or coming on to the green to bend over and lay the irons utilized in the approach shots on the green near the edge thereof while he or she takes his or her putting strokes to place the ball in the cup; then retrieving the ball erecting the flag and returning to the location of the irons to bend over, pick them up, and head back to the golf cart. It is this repetitive bending to put the irons down and then to retrieve them over a course of 18 greens, or more, that contributes significantly to back injuries and the aggravation of existing afflictions which are so common in this game which repetitively stresses the lower back. In effort to reduce the stress of repetitive bending, golfer's sometime resort to retrieving irons placed on the green by seeking to hook the head of the putter or some other reach tool in effort to retrieve the irons without bending over. This is a tedious and unrewarding task. Consequently, golfer's have long been left with the dilemma of either cutting back on their golfing activity or enduring the pain associated with the aggravation of existing back injuries or infliction of new injuries themselves due to repetitive bending.

In effort to overcome these problems, I have developed a method of depositing a golf iron on the surface of the green and retrieving same without the necessity of bending over. The tool 1 utilize in this method is that shown in FIG. 1 and may be constructed of metal or plastic or other desirable material. Preferably the tool is constructed of dense material such as steel or even more preferably brass to provide mass which will tend to hold the grip end of the club down as it is dropped on the green so there is no need to insert the tool into the surface of the green to maintain it erect. This tool includes the stem depicted in this embodiment as laterally spaced legs 15 and 17 which may also serve as divot pullers. My method takes advantage of the fact that a golf club shaft is typically tapered growing wider towards the proximal end and is surmounted proximally by a conically shaped grip 27 typically constructed of fabric or composite material to define high friction surface, sometimes treated to exhibit a tacky or sticky feeling and often times incorporating a foam liner to provide a cushioning effect for enhancing the golfer's grip.

Club shafts 30 often taper from a narrow waist and near the club head 31 from a diameter of about one centimeter upwardly to a diameter of about 1-1½ centimeters adjacent the club grip. The grip itself may taper, for example, from a diameter of two centimeters on the narrow end to 2½ centimeters or more on the proximal end. My method may benefit from the expedient of constructing my tool with the yoke 19 surmounted on the stem defined by the legs 15 and 17 such that the opening 21 therein is about 1.25 centimeters in diameter and constructing the semicircular fingers forming the opposite sides of the yoke 19 to cooperate in forming a ring of about 330 degrees to terminate in free ends spaced laterally apart about 1.2 centimeters to form the throat 23 of a sufficient width so the shaft may be easily received at its narrow end through the throat to dispose the shaft within the opening 21 so the tool may be moved up the shaft and unto the grip to be forced toward the large end thereof thus compressing the sidewalls of the grip to form a high friction interference fit to thereby positively hold the tool in a fixed annular and longitudinal position relative to the shaft 25 and club head 31. As will be appreciated by those skilled in the art the club head is typically formed with an upwardly and rearwardly slanted club face 39 formed with horizontal grooves 41 for enhancing performance of the ball when struck with the club face. The club head itself is formed with a lower leading edge 43 and then tapers upwardly and rearwardly to a top edge 45 at an angle sufficient to create the desired loft angle for the face 39. As will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, for most traditional irons, it can be said that the club head is located in one general plane which includes the shaft and has a loft angle which typically dictates a generally corresponding loft angle for the back side of the club head. It is these characteristics in a golf iron head which I utilize to achieve my new method of lifting the club handle without bending over.

While my tool may take many different forms, in one preferred embodiment the overall length is about 9 centimeters from end to end and about 6 centimeters from the lower most portion of the opening 21 to the bottom tips of the legs 15 and 17. This size provides for a compact tool which may be conveniently stored in small pockets of a golf bag or, in the golfer's pockets. The stem defined by the legs 15 and 17 may take many different forms but typically have a length of at least about 4 centimeter and it conveniently go up to any length dictated by the convenience for storage and which will provide for elevation of the handle of the golf iron to prevent contact with moisture on the surface of the green and which will maintain the iron properly oriented for elevation thereof.

I have discovered that by orienting my tool such that the stem formed by the legs 15 and 17 projects generally perpendicularly rearwardly relative to the general plane of the club face, when dropped on the green surface, the top edge 45 will lay generally flush with the green surface as shown in FIG. 5 to thus cooperate with the fixed position of my tool so that, as the tips of the leg 15 and 17 come to rest on the green surface, the edge 45 and tips of the legs will cooperate in tripod fashion to hold the club oriented with the face up as depicted in FIG. 5. Then, when the golfer elects to retrieve the club, he or she may position his or her shoe on the bottom edge shown in FIG. 6 to press downwardly thereon to rock the club head about the bottom edge to bring the back side of such head down flat on the green surface thus causing the body of the elongated shaft to rock upwardly at the proximal end thus raising the grip 27 to an elevated position to be conveniently grasped by the golfer without any significant bending. Then, the tool may be conveniently drawn downwardly on the grip and along the axis of the club shaft to the narrowed lower portion thereof to be removed and pocket for use on the next green. As will be appreciated by those of skilled in the art, the golfer may carry several of my tools with him or her such that when two or three or more of his or her irons are to positioned on the green he or she will have the benefit of the lifting action described above.

In the preferred embodiment of my tool, I form my stem with a neck configured centrally with a threaded bore 46 which may receive the threaded stem of a ball marker to hold the ball marker in place for convenient access.

In one preferred embodiment, I also form one of the fingers of my yoke ring 19 with an elongated blade 47 on the exterior thereof for use in cleaning the grooves 41 of the club face. Preferably my blade 47 is constructed of hard metal so that, in the event the grooves are deformed, the blade may be used to straighten the grooves and drive any swaged metal back from the groove itself.

Conveniently, I also form the free extremities of the fingers forming my yoke 19 with parallel spaced apart, axially projecting, cylindrical pins 51 and 53 configured for engagement with the cleats of a golf shoe for facilitating rotation removal thereof.

From the foregoing, it will be appreciated that the method of my present invention provides a convenient and effective solution to the problem of conveniently maintaining the club grip elevated above the surface of the green to avoid contact with moisture on such surface. In one aspect if my invention, my method addresses the problems associated with repetitive bending to retrieve irons deposited on the golf club greens and tends to reduce injuries and aggravation of injuries stemming from the repetitive bending.