Title:
Golf Clubs and Golf Club Heads Having Various Front Face Characteristics
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf club with a golf club head having various front face characteristics is presented. The golf club head may include a front face having one or more regions including texture to aid in movement of the ball, such as from the sand. In some examples, the front face may include a ball striking portion having regions with distinct and different score line arrangements. For instance, one region of the ball striking portion may have score lines that are more widely spaced than another region of the ball striking portion.



Inventors:
Oldknow V, Andrew G. (Beaverton, OR, US)
Application Number:
13/834896
Publication Date:
09/18/2014
Filing Date:
03/15/2013
Assignee:
NIKE, INC.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/330
International Classes:
A63B53/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080090681METHOD FOR TEACHING BASKETBALL SHOOTINGApril, 2008Montie et al.
20130065712ATHLETIC TRAINING METHOD, SYSTEM, AND APPARATUSMarch, 2013Morris
20020132683Putter head with pre-machined insertSeptember, 2002Buchanan
20060094832Solid golf ballMay, 2006Sakagami et al.
20160346656GRIP TAPE WITH HOT-MELT ADHESIVEDecember, 2016Wang
20040142759Golf swing practice platformJuly, 2004Gianfagna et al.
20070010349Mini-face putter with non-horizontal groovesJanuary, 2007Johnson
20100016094INTERCHANGEABLE SHAFT FOR A GOLF CLUBJanuary, 2010Hocknell et al.
20030162604Method of gripping a golf clubAugust, 2003Matsumoto
20040152537Low resistance golf clubAugust, 2004Albert Jr.
20100075781DIMPLES COMPOSED OF LETTERS OR SYMBOLS INSET INTO COVERMarch, 2010Simonds et al.



Primary Examiner:
DENNIS, MICHAEL DAVID
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Banner & Witcoff, Ltd. (Chicago, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A golf club head, comprising: a golf club head body having a toe end, a heel end, a top portion, a sole portion and a front face, the front face including a first region near the toe end of the golf club head, a second region extending across a central portion of the front face and providing at least a portion of a ball striking region of the front face, and a third region near the heel end of the golf club head, wherein at least one of the first region and the third region includes a texture different from the second region extending across the front face of the golf club head in the region.

2. The golf club head of claim 1, wherein the texture is formed using at least one of shot peening, sand blasting, and spraying the region with textured metal.

3. The golf club head of claim 1, wherein both the first and third regions include the texture.

4. The golf club head of claim 1, wherein the first region extends from a toe edge of the golf club head inward, toward a center of the front face of the golf club head between approximately 0.2 and approximately 0.75 inches.

5. The golf club head of claim 1, wherein the third region extends from a heel edge of the golf club head inward, toward a center of the front face of the golf club head between approximately 0.2 and approximately 0.5 inches.

6. The golf club head of claim 1, wherein the second region does not include texture.

7. A golf club, comprising: a golf club head of claim 1; and a shaft engaged with the golf club head.

8. A golf club, comprising: a shaft; a golf club head body connected to a first end of the shaft, the golf club head body including at least a front face having a ball striking portion, a heel end, a toe end, a sole portion, and a top portion; a textured region formed in at least a portion of the front face; and a plurality of score lines formed in the ball striking portion of the front face.

9. The golf club of claim 8, wherein the textured region is provided in the front face near the toe end of the golf club head body.

10. The golf club of claim 8, wherein the textured region is provided in the front face near the heel end of the golf club head body.

11. The golf club of claim 8, wherein the textured region does not extend into the ball striking portion of the front face.

12. The golf club of claim 8, wherein the textured region is formed using at least one of sand blasting, shot peening, and spraying on metal texture.

13. The golf club of claim 8, wherein the textured region forms less than 25% of the front face of the golf club head body.

14. The golf club of claim 8, wherein the score lines are not formed in the textured region.

15. A golf club head, comprising: a golf club head body including at least a sole portion, a top portion, a heel end, a toe end, and a front face, the front face further including: a ball striking portion configured to contact a ball; and a plurality of score lines formed in the ball striking portion, the score lines having a first spacing arrangement in a first region of the ball striking portion and a second spacing arrangement in a second region of the ball striking portion, wherein the first spacing arrangement is different from the second spacing arrangement.

16. The golf club head of claim 15, wherein the first region of the ball striking portion is an upper portion of the ball striking portion and the second region of the ball striking portion is a lower region of the ball striking portion arranged vertically below the upper portion when the golf club head is oriented in a ball address orientation.

17. The golf club head of claim 16, wherein the score lines of the first spacing arrangement are more narrowly spaced than the score lines of the second arrangement.

18. The golf club head of claim 17, wherein the score lines of the second spacing arrangement are spaced twice as widely as the score lines of the first spacing arrangement.

19. The golf club head of claim 15, wherein the first region of the ball striking portion forms 50% or less of the ball striking portion.

20. The golf club head of claim 15, wherein the first region of the ball striking portion forms between 25% and 60% of the ball striking portion.

21. The golf club head of claim 15, wherein the second region of the ball striking portion forms between 25% and 60% of the ball striking portion.

22. A golf club, comprising: a golf club head of claim 15; and a shaft connected to the golf club head.

23. The golf club head of claim 15, further including a third region of the ball striking portion having score lines formed in a third spacing arrangement different from the first and second spacing arrangements.

24. A golf club, comprising: a shaft; a golf club head connected to one end of the shaft, the golf club head including a top portion, a sole portion, a toe end, a heel end, and a front face, the front face including a ball striking portion arranged between a first end portion of the front face and a second end portion of the front face; a textured portion extending across at least one of the first end portion and the second end portion; and a plurality of score lines formed in the ball striking portion, the score lines having a first spacing arrangement in an upper region of the ball striking portion and a second spacing arrangement in a lower region of the ball striking portion, the first spacing arrangement being different from the second spacing arrangement.

25. The golf club of claim 24, wherein the second spacing arrangement includes score lines that are more widely spaced than the score lines of the first spacing arrangement.

26. The golf club of claim 25, wherein the score lines of the second spacing arrangement are spaced twice as far apart as the score lines of the first spacing arrangement.

27. The golf club of claim 24, wherein the textured portion extends across the first end portion and the second end portion.

28. The golf club of claim 27, wherein the textured portion extends across the first end portion, the second end portion, and the ball striking portion.

29. The golf club of claim 28, wherein the textured portion extending across at least one of the first end portion, the second end portion and the ball striking portion has a different texture than the textured portion extending across another of the first end portion, the second end portion and the ball striking portion.

30. An iron-type golf club head, comprising: a golf club head body including: a front face having a ball striking region; and a textured region on the front face generally adjacent to the ball striking region.

31. The iron-type golf club head of claim 30, wherein the textured region is in a toe region of the golf club head body.

32. The iron-type golf club head of claim 30, wherein the textured region is in a heel region of the golf club head body.

33. The iron-type golf club head of claim 30, wherein the textured region is in a toe region and a heel region of the golf club head body to provide a textured region on each side of the ball striking region.

34. The iron-type golf club head of claim 30, wherein the textured region extends upward from a sole of the golf club head body along at least a portion of the front face.

35. The iron-type golf club head of claim 30, further including a plurality of score lines formed in the front face.

36. The iron-type golf club head of claim 35, wherein a first plurality of score lines formed in the front face have a first spacing arrangement and a second plurality of score lines formed in the front face have a second spacing arrangement different from the first spacing arrangement.

37. The iron-type golf club head of claim 30, wherein the golf club head has a loft angle between 45 degrees and 68 degrees.

38. The iron-type golf club head of claim 30, wherein the golf club head has a loft angle between 48 degrees and 60 degrees.

39. An iron-type golf club, comprising: an iron-type golf club head of claim 30; and a shaft connected to the iron-type golf club head.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to golf clubs. In particular, the invention relates to golf clubs and golf club head structures having various front face characteristics, such as texture, varying score line spacing arrangements, and hosel configurations to provide improved golf club performance.

BACKGROUND

Golf is enjoyed by a wide variety of players—players of different genders and dramatically different ages and/or skill levels. Golf is somewhat unique in the sporting world in that such diverse collections of players can play together in golf events, even in direct competition with one another (e.g., using handicapped scoring, different tee boxes, in team formats, etc.), and still enjoy the golf outing or competition. These factors, together with the increased availability of golf programming on television (e.g., golf tournaments, golf news, golf history, and/or other golf programming) and the rise of well known golf superstars, at least in part, have increased golf's popularity in recent years, both in the United States and across the world.

Golfers at all skill levels seek to improve their performance, lower their golf scores, and reach that next performance “level.” Manufacturers of all types of golf equipment have responded to these demands, and in recent years, the industry has witnessed dramatic changes and improvements in golf equipment. For example, a wide range of different golf ball models now are available, with balls designed to complement specific swing speeds and/or other player characteristics or preferences, e.g., with some balls designed to fly farther and/or straighter; some designed to provide higher or flatter trajectories; some designed to provide more spin, control, and/or feel (particularly around the greens); some designed for faster or slower swing speeds; etc. A host of swing and/or teaching aids also are available on the market that promise to help lower one's golf scores.

Being the sole instrument that sets a golf ball in motion during play, golf clubs also have been the subject of much technological research and advancement in recent years. For example, the market has seen dramatic changes and improvements in putter designs, golf club head designs, shafts, and grips in recent years. Additionally, other technological advancements have been made in an effort to better match the various elements and/or characteristics of the golf club and characteristics of a golf ball to a particular user's swing features or characteristics (e.g., club fitting technology, ball launch angle measurement technology, ball spin rates, etc.).

Given the recent advances, there is a vast array of golf club component parts available to the golfer. For example, club heads are produced by a wide variety of manufacturers in a variety of different models. Moreover, the individual club head models may include multiple variations, such as variations in the loft angle, lie angle, offset features, weighting characteristics (e.g., draw biased club heads, fade biased club heads, neutrally weighted club heads, etc.). Additionally, the club heads may be combined with a variety of different shafts, e.g., from different manufacturers; having different stiffness, flex points, kick points, or other flexion characteristics, etc.; made from different materials; etc. Between the available variations in shafts and club heads, there are literally hundreds of different club head/shaft combinations available to the golfer.

Throughout a round of golf, many golfers may find themselves hitting from a variety of surfaces, terrains, etc. For instance, a player may hit from the relatively short grass of a fairway, longer grass of the rough, sand of a bunker, etc. all in a single round. Thus, it would be advantageous to provide golf clubs that may aid in improving performance, consistency, etc. from this variety of hitting surfaces.

SUMMARY

The following presents a general summary of aspects of the invention in order to provide a basic understanding of the invention and various features associated with the invention. This summary is not intended to limit the scope of the invention in any way, but it simply provides a general overview and context for the more detailed description that follows.

Aspects of this invention relate to golf clubs and golf club head structures having various front face characteristics configured to aid in improving performance of the golf club. In some arrangements, a golf club head (such as for an iron-type golf club) may include texture in one or more regions of a front face of the golf club head to aid in movement of the ball, particularly when hitting in sand, such as from a bunker. Additionally or alternatively, a golf club head may have a plurality of score lines or grooves formed in the ball striking portion of the front face. In some examples, the ball striking portion may have two or more regions, each having different score line spacing arrangements to provide improved performance of the golf club when hitting from different terrains, such as from a fairway, from the rough, etc.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A more complete understanding of the present invention and certain advantages thereof may be acquired by referring to the following detailed description in consideration with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is an example golf club in accordance with at least some aspects of the invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates one example golf club head having a textured region according to one or more aspects of the invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates another example golf club head having textured regions according to one or more aspects of the invention.

FIG. 4 is an example golf club head having a ball striking portion of the front face with varying score line spacing arrangements according to one or more aspects of the invention.

FIG. 5 is another example golf club head having varying score line spacing arrangements in the ball striking portion according to one or more aspects of the invention.

FIG. 6 is yet another example golf club head having a textured region and varying score line spacing arrangements in the ball striking portion according to one or more aspects of the invention.

FIG. 7 is still another example golf club head having a textured region and varying score line spacing arrangements in the ball striking portion according to one or more aspects of the invention.

FIG. 8 is yet another example golf club head having various texture and score line spacing arrangements according to one or more aspects of the invention.

FIG. 9 is still another example golf club head having an alternate hosel position in accordance with one or more aspects of the invention.

The reader is advised that the attached drawings are not necessarily drawn to scale.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following description of various example structures in accordance with the invention, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, which form a part hereof, and in which are shown by way of illustration various example articles, including one or more golf club or golf club head structures. Additionally, it is to be understood that other specific arrangements of parts and structures may be utilized and structural and functional modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention. Also, while the terms “top,” “bottom,” “front,” “back,” “rear,” “side,” “underside,” “overhead,” and the like may be used in this specification to describe various example features and elements of the invention, these terms are used herein as a matter of convenience, e.g., based on the example orientations shown in the figures and/or the orientations in typical use. Nothing in this specification should be construed as requiring a specific three dimensional or spatial orientation of structures in order to fall within the scope of this invention. Further, the invention generally will be described as it relates to iron-type golf clubs. However, aspects of the invention may be used with any of several types of golf clubs, including wood-type golf clubs, hybrid type golf clubs, utility clubs, and the like and nothing in the specification or figures should be construed to limit the invention to use with the iron-type golf clubs described.

A. General Description of an Illustrative Golf Club with Golf Club Head Having Various Front Face Characteristics

In general, as described above, aspects of this invention relate to golf club and golf club head structures. More detailed descriptions of aspects of this invention follow.

1. Example Golf Clubs and Golf Club Heads Having Various Front Face Characteristics

Aspects of this invention relate to golf club and golf club head structures. In at least some examples, the structure may include a golf club head body having a rear portion, a toe end, a heel end, a top portion, a sole portion and a front face. In some arrangements, the front face may include a first region formed near the toe end of the golf club head, a second region formed in a central portion of the front face and forming at least a portion of a ball striking region of the front face, and a third region formed near the heel end of the golf club head. In at least some examples, at least one of the first region and the third region includes a texture extending across the front face of the golf club head in the region.

In some aspects of the invention, the texture is formed in at least one of the above noted regions using at least one of shot peening, sand blasting, laser peening (or laser ablating), and spraying the region with textured metal. In some examples, both the first region and the third region may include texture while the second region may not include texture. In still other arrangements, the first region, second region and third region may include texture.

In other arrangements, the golf clubs may include a shaft and a golf club head body connected to a first end of the shaft. In some examples, the golf club head body may include at least a front face having a ball striking portion, a rear portion, a heel end, a toe end, a sole portion, and a top portion. The golf club may further include a textured region formed in at least a portion of the front face and a plurality of score lines formed in the ball striking portion of the front face. In some examples, the textured region may be formed in the front face near a toe end of the golf club head body or in the front face near the heel end of the golf club head body. In still other examples, the textured region may be formed in the front face near both the toe end and heel end of the golf club head body. In some arrangements, the texture may not extend into the ball striking portion of the golf club head body.

In still other examples, golf club heads may include a golf club head body having at least a rear portion, a sole portion, a top portion, a heel end, a toe end, and a front face. In some arrangements, the front face may further include a ball striking portion configured to contact a ball and a plurality of score lines formed in the ball striking portion. In some examples, the score lines may have a first spacing arrangement in a first region of the ball striking portion and a second spacing arrangement in a second region of the ball striking portion. The first spacing arrangement may be different from the second spacing arrangement. In some examples, the score lines of the first spacing arrangement may be more narrowly spaced than the score lines of the second spacing arrangement. In some arrangements, the first region may be an upper portion of the ball striking portion and the second region may be a lower portion of the ball striking portion. In still other arrangements, the ball striking portion may further include a third region having score lines formed in a third spacing arrangement different from the first spacing arrangement and the second spacing arrangement.

Still other aspects of the invention relate to golf clubs including a shaft and a golf club head connected to one end of the shaft. In some examples, the golf club head may include a rear portion, a top portion, a sole portion, a toe end, a heel end, and a front face. The front face may include a ball striking portion arranged between a first end portion of the front face and a second end portion of the front face. The golf club may further include a textured portion extending across at least one of the first end portion and the second end portion and a plurality of score lines formed in the ball striking portion. In some examples, the score lines may have a first spacing arrangement in an upper region of the ball striking portion and a second spacing arrangement in a lower region of the ball striking portion, the first spacing arrangement being different from the second spacing arrangement. In some arrangements, the score lines of the first spacing arrangement may be more narrowly spaced than the score lines of the second spacing arrangement.

Additional aspects and specific examples of the articles described above will be described in detail more fully below. The reader should understand that these specific examples are set forth merely to illustrate examples of the invention, and they should not be construed as limiting the invention.

B. Specific Examples of the Invention

Referring to the figures and following discussion, golf clubs and golf club heads in accordance with the present invention are described. As discussed above, the golf club and club head structures described herein may be described in terms of iron-type golf clubs including wedges. However, the present invention is not limited to the precise arrangements disclosed herein but applies to golf clubs generally, including hybrid clubs, wood-type golf clubs, utility-type golf clubs, and the like.

Example golf club and golf club head structures in accordance with this invention may relate to “iron-type” golf clubs and golf club heads, e.g., wedges, etc. The club heads described herein may include a multiple piece construction and structure, e.g., including one or more of a sole member, a face member (optionally including a ball striking face integrally formed therein or attached thereto), one or more body members or parts, a face plate, a face frame member (to which a ball striking face may be attached), etc. Of course, if desired, various portions of the club head structure may be integrally formed with one another, as a unitary, one piece construction, without departing from the invention (e.g., the body member(s) may be integrally formed with the sole member, the face member may be integrally formed with the sole and/or body, etc.). Optionally, if desired, the various portions of the club head structure (such as the sole member, the face member, the body member(s), etc.) individually may be formed from multiple pieces of material without departing from this invention (e.g., a multi-piece body, a multi-piece sole, rear cavity inserts, etc.). Also, as other alternatives, if desired, the entire club head may be made as a single, one piece, unitary construction, or a face plate member may be attached to a one piece club head body. More specific examples and features of golf club heads and golf club structures according to this invention will be described in detail below in conjunction with the example golf club structures illustrated in FIGS. 1 through 9.

FIG. 1 generally illustrates an iron-type golf club, such as a wedge, in accordance with one example of this invention, and generally designated with the reference numeral 100. The golf club 100 includes a golf club head 102 and a hosel area 104 at which the head 102 is connected to a shaft 106. The hosel area 104 may be of any desired design and construction without departing from this invention (e.g., an exteriorly extending hosel member 104, as shown; an internal hosel member; a releasable hosel member; etc.), including conventional designs and constructions as are known and used in the art. Likewise, the shaft 106 may be made of any desired materials and connected to the hosel area 104 (or directly to the club head 102) in any desired manner, including conventional materials, connected in conventional manners, as are known and used in the art. As some more specific examples, if desired, the shaft 106 may be made from steel (including stainless steel), aluminum, or other metal or metal alloy materials; graphite based materials; composite or other non-metal materials; polymeric materials, combinations of various materials, etc. The shaft 106 may be connected to the hosel area 104 and/or directly to the club head 102 via cements or adhesives, via mechanical connection systems, and the like. If desired, the shaft 106 may be connected to the hosel area 104 or to the club head 102 by a releasable mechanical or adhesive connection that easily allows the club head 102 and shaft 106 to be separated from one another (and optionally thereafter engaged with a different head or shaft), or adjusted as desired.

A grip member 108 or other handle element may be provided on and/or integrally formed with the shaft 106. Any desired materials may be used for the grip member 108, such as rubber based materials (synthetic or natural); polymer based materials (including cord or other fabric or textile containing polymers); leather materials (synthetic or natural); etc. The grip member 108 or other handle element may be engaged with or formed as part of the shaft 106 in any desired manner without departing from this invention, including through the use of adhesives or cements, mechanical connectors (e.g., threaded connections), welding, soldering or the like. In some arrangements, the grip or handle member 108 may be integrally formed as a unitary, one-piece construction with the shaft member 106. In at least some example structures according to this invention, the grip member 108 will be made of conventional materials as are known and used in the art, and it will be attached to the shaft member 106 in conventional manners as are known and used in the art.

The club head 102 itself also may be constructed in any suitable or desired manner and/or from any suitable or desired materials without departing from this invention, including from conventional materials and/or in conventional manners known and used in the art. For example, in the example structure 102 shown in FIG. 1, the club head 102 includes a ball striking face member or portion 102a (optionally including a ball striking face plate (not shown in FIG. 1) that may be integrally formed with the face member or portion 102a or attached to the golf club such that the face plate and a frame member for the face plate together constitute the overall ball striking face member or portion 102a). In some arrangements, the ball striking face member or portion 102a and/or ball striking face plate may be connected to the remainder of the club head using one or more mechanical fasteners and/or using fusing techniques (e.g., welding, cements, etc.). The club head 102 of this illustrated example further includes other portions or segments including a top 102c, a sole 102d, and at least one rear body portion (not shown in FIG. 1) located between the top portion 102c and the sole 102d (e.g., material extending from the face member 102a, around the club head periphery from the heel end or edge 105 to the toe end or edge 103). This body portion, which extends to a location substantially opposite the striking face, may include a rear portion of the club head structure.

A wide variety of overall club head constructions are possible without departing from this invention. For example, if desired, some or all of the various individual parts of the club head 102 described above may be made from multiple pieces that are connected together (e.g., by welding, adhesives, or other fusing techniques; by mechanical connectors; etc.). The various parts (e.g., top 102c, sole 102d, and/or rear body portion(s) may be made from any desired materials and combinations of different materials, including materials that are conventionally known and used in the art, such as metal materials, including lightweight metal materials. More specific examples of suitable lightweight metal materials include steel, titanium and titanium alloys, aluminum and aluminum alloys, magnesium and magnesium alloys, etc.

As additional examples or alternatives, in order to reduce the weight of the club head 102, if desired, one or more portions of the club head structure 102 advantageously may be made from a composite material, such as from carbon fiber composite materials that are conventionally known and used in the art. Other suitable composite or other non-metal materials that may be used for one or more portions of the club head structure 102 include, for example: fiberglass composite materials, basalt fiber composite materials, polymer materials, etc. As some more specific examples, if desired, at least some portion(s) of the top member 102c may be made from composite or other non-metal materials. Additionally or alternatively, if desired, at least some portion(s) of the sole member 102d may be made from composite or other non-metal materials. As still additional examples or alternatives, if desired, one or more portions of the club head's rear body member may be made from composite or other non-metal materials. As yet further examples, if desired, the entire body portion of the club head behind the club head face member 102a, or optionally the entire club head 102, may be made from composite or other non-metal materials without departing from this invention. The composite or other non-metal material(s) may be incorporated as part of the club head structure 102 in any desired manner, including in conventional manners that are known and used in the art. Reducing the club head's weight (e.g., through the use of composite or other non-metal materials, lightweight metals, metallic foam or other cellular structured materials, etc.) allows club designers and/or club fitters to selectively position additional weight in the overall club head structure 102, e.g., to desirable locations to increase the moment of inertia, affect the center of gravity location, and/or affect other playability characteristics of the club head structure 102 (e.g., to draw or fade bias a club head; to help get shots airborne by providing a low center of gravity; to help produce a lower, more boring ball flight; to help correct or compensate for swing flaws that produce undesired ball flights, such as hooks or slices, ballooning shots, etc.).

The various individual parts that make up a club head structure 102, if made from multiple pieces, may be engaged with one another and/or held together in any suitable or desired manner, including in conventional manners known and used in the art. For example, the various parts of the club head structure 102, such as the ball striking face member or portion 102a, the ball striking plate 102b, the top 102c, the sole 102d, and/or the body portion(s) may be joined and/or fixed together (directly or indirectly through intermediate members) by adhesives, cements, welding, soldering, or other bonding or finishing techniques, and the like. In some arrangements, the various parts of the club head 102 may be joined by mechanical connectors (such as threads, screws, nuts, bolts, or other connectors), and the like. If desired, the mating edges of various parts of the club head structure 102 (e.g., the edges where members 102a, 102b, 102c, and/or 102d, contact and join to one another) may include one or more raised ribs, tabs, ledges, or other engagement elements that fit into or onto corresponding grooves, slots, surfaces, ledges, openings, or other structures provided in or on the facing side edge to which it is joined. Cements, adhesives, mechanical connectors, finishing material, or the like may be used in combination with the raised rib/groove/ledge/edge or other connecting structures described above to further help secure the various parts of the club head structure 102 together.

The dimensions and/or other characteristics of a golf club head structure according to examples of this invention may vary significantly without departing from the invention, and may include conventional dimensions and/or other characteristics as are known and used in the art.

FIG. 2 illustrates one example golf club head 202 having various front face characteristics according to at least some aspects described herein. The golf club head 202 may includes a toe end 203 and a heel end 205. The toe end 203 location is determined by placing a vertical plane tangent to the toe of the club when the club is oriented in a ball address position (and the measurements are measured from that plane). The heel end 203 location is determined by placing a vertical plane tangent to the heel of the club when the club is oriented in a ball address position (and the measurements are measured from that plane). The ball striking face 210 may include a front portion or a front face 209 which may be defined as the overall flat area of the ball striking face 210.

As illustrated in FIG. 2, the golf club head 202 may be a wedge, such as a sand wedge, pitching wedge, lob wedge, gap wedge, etc. For ease of understanding the front face of the golf club head 202 may be described as having three regions, a first region 210a located near the toe end 203 of the golf club head 202, a second region 210b located in a central region of the front face 209 and forming at least a portion of the ball striking face 210, and a third region 210c located near the heel end 205 of the golf club head 202. These three regions may each have different characteristics which may have varying effects on a ball during play.

In the example shown in FIG. 2, the first region 210a includes a textured or otherwise uneven surface. The texture provided may be cut into the face 209 of the club head 202, may be sprayed onto the front face 209 of the club head 202 (e.g., sprayed with textured metal, or other suitable materials etc.) or may be introduced to the front face 209 via another processing method, such as sand blasting, shot peening, laser peeing (or laser ablation) and the like. In some examples, the texture provided may be an aggressive texture, such that it substantially disrupts the smoothness of the surface of the front face 209. For example, the texturing may be provided to a degree up to the limits of compliance with USGA regulations. Other texturing may be provided in accordance with industry standards without departing from this invention.

The first region 210a may generally extend inward, from the toe end 203 of the golf club head 202, toward a center of the front face 209 of the golf club head 202. In some examples, the first region 210a may comprise between 5% and 20% of the surface area of the front face 209 of the golf club head 202. In other examples, the first region 210a may comprise between 7% and 15% of the surface area of the front face 209 of the golf club head 202. In some arrangements, the first region 210a may extend between 0.1 and 1 inches inward (and in some examples, between 0.2 and 0.75 inches inward or even between 0.2 and 0.5 inches) from the toe edge 203 of the golf club head 202. In one exemplary embodiment, the textured surface extends from the sole portion 102d to the crown portion 102c.

The addition of texture to one or more regions of the front face 209 of the golf club head 202 may aid in improved ball striking performance. For instance, when hitting a golf ball located in a bunker, it may be preferable to hit behind the ball (e.g., contacting the sand positioned behind the ball) and use the movement of the sand to lift and/or push the golf ball up and into the air (and out of the bunker). Generally, the more sand the golf club moves, the better the ball will be pushed/lifted up and out of the bunker. The addition of the texture aids in movement of the sand because the textured portion of the front face 209 grabs more sand as the golf club head 202 begins passing through the sand during the stroke (as compared to the smooth and/or polished surfaces along the edges of conventional golf clubs). That is, the textured portion aids in providing more and/or earlier movement of the sand in the stroke in order to aid in lifting/pushing the ball up and out of the sand during the shot.

FIG. 3 illustrates another arrangement in which texture is added to portions of the front face 309 of the golf club head 302 to aid in improving performance of the golf club in various course conditions. The ball striking face 310 may include a front portion or front face 309 which may be defined as the overall flat area of the ball striking face 310. Similar to the arrangement of FIG. 2, the front face 309 may be considered in three regions, a first region 310a near a toe end 303 of the golf club head 302, a second region 310b in a central region of the front face 310 golf club head 302 and a third region 310c near a heel end 305 of the front face 310 of the golf club head 302. Also similar to the arrangement of FIG. 2, the front face 309 includes texture 311a formed in the first region 310a. Additionally, in the arrangement of FIG. 3, texture 311b is included in the third region 310c. That is, the portions of the front face 309 outside of the ball striking area, are textured to aid in improving performance associated with the golf club head.

In some examples, the texture 311a of the first region 310a may be substantially the same as (e.g., same type of texture, texturing process, size of distortions in the face, etc.) the texture 311b in the third region 310c. Alternatively, the texture 311a in the first region 310a may be different from the texture 311b in the third region 310c. The texture 311 may be provided using known texturing techniques, such as those described above with respect to FIG. 2.

The size and configuration of the first region 310a may be substantially similar to the arrangements and configurations described above with respect to FIG. 2. Further, the third region may extend inward, from a heel edge 305 of the golf club head 302 toward a center of the front face 309 of the golf club head. In some examples, the third region 310c may comprise 3% to 15% of the surface area of the front face 309 of the golf club head. In some arrangements, the third region may extend between 0.1 and 0.75 inches (and in some examples, between 0.2 and 0.5 inches) inward from the heel edge 305 of the golf club head 302. In an exemplary embodiment, the texture 311a, 311b in the regions 310a, 310c extends from the sole portion 102d to the top portion 102c.

FIG. 4 illustrates another golf club head 402 having face characteristics according to at least some aspects of this invention. The golf club head 402 includes a ball striking face 410 that includes a front portion or a front face 409 which may be defined as the overall flat area of the ball striking face 410. The front face 409 may further include a ball striking portion 412. For ease of understanding, the ball striking portion 412 may be referred to as having different regions and, in some examples, the different regions may have different performance characteristics. A score line 206 is utilized on FIG. 4 to illustrate these different regions. Using the overall face height FH as a base dimension, the score line 206 may run horizontal through the approximate “center” of the front face as shown in FIG. 4, for example at 0.5*FH. For instance, the golf club head 402 includes a ball striking portion 412 having two regions: an upper region 412a and a lower region 412b, in which the lower region 412b is positioned vertically below the score line 206 and the upper region 412a along the ball striking portion of the front face of the golf club head 402 when the club is oriented in a ball address orientation. Additionally, the upper region 412a is positioned vertically above the score line 206. In some examples, the upper region 412a and the lower region 412b may comprise between a surface area with the score line located at the approximate midpoint of the face height, or 0.5*FH. In some examples, with the club oriented in a ball address position, the upper region 412a may comprise the approximately an upper half of the ball striking portion 412 (e.g., the portion of the ball striking portion 412 above the score line 206 extending through a midpoint of the face height FH) and the lower region 412b may comprise an approximate lower half of the ball striking portion 412 (e.g., the portion of the ball striking portion 412 below the score line 206 extending through a midpoint of the face height FH). Alternatively, one of the upper region 412a or lower region 412b may comprise more than an approximate half of the ball striking surface 412. That is, one region may extend above or below the score line extending through the midpoint of the face height FH. For example, the upper region 412a may be defined as the surface area above a score line 206 located at approximately 25% of the face height (0.25*FH) while the lower region 412b may be defined as the surface area below the score line 206. In another example, the lower portion 412b may be defined as the surface area below a score line 206 located at approximately 75% of the face height (0.75*FH) while the upper region 412a may be defined as the surface area above the score line 206. In still other examples, the score line 206 may be located at approximately ⅓ of the face height (⅓*FH) or ⅔ of the face height (⅔*FH). Various arrangements and divisions between the upper and lower regions are possible without departing from the invention.

As shown in FIG. 4, the ball striking portion 412 includes a plurality of score lines or grooves 420 formed therein. In some examples, the spacing of the score lines 420a in the upper region 412a may be different from the spacing of the score lines 420b in the lower region 412b. For instance, the upper region 412a and the lower region 412b may each have distinct score line spacing patterns to provide different or varying performance characteristics. For instance, the score lines 420b in the lower region 412b may be more widely spaced apart than the score lines 420a in the upper region 412a. In some examples, the spacing between the score lines 420b in the lower region 412b may be twice as wide as the spacing between the score lines 420a of the upper region 412a. In other examples, the space of the score lines 420b in the lower region 412b may be between 25% and 75% wider than the score lines in 420a in the upper region 412a. In other examples, the spacing of the score lines 420b in the lower region 412b may be between 25% and 200% wider than the score lines 420a in the upper region 412a. In other embodiments, the spacing of the score lines 420b in the lower region 412b may be separated by approximately 0.1 inches with the spacing of the score lines 420a in the upper region 412a separated by approximately 0.2 inches. In other embodiments, the spacing of the score lines 420b in the lower region 412b may be separated by approximately 0.1 inches with the spacing of the score lines 420a in the upper region 412a separated by approximately 0.3 inches. In other embodiments, the spacing of the score lines 420b in the lower region 412b may be separated by approximately 0.25 inches with the spacing of the score lines 420a in the upper region 412a separated by approximately 0.5 inches. Various arrangements and divisions between the upper and lower regions are possible without departing from the invention.

The varying score line arrangements between the upper region 412a and the lower region 412b may provide improved performance characteristics for the golf club head 402 in various playing conditions, types of terrain, etc. That is, the difference in score line arrangements may benefit the user when using the golf club in different conditions (e.g., fairway, rough, sand, etc.). For instance, the score lines 420b of the lower region 412b having greater spacing between them may allow more contact between the metal surface of the golf club head and the ball when striking a ball, for instance, in a fairway, where grass may be short and may have minimal interference between the ball and the ball striking surface 412. In these example instances, score lines may have a limited impact on ball flight and thus, reducing the number of score lines or increasing the spacing between the score lines may aid in providing more consistency between shots.

Additionally or alternatively, the score lines 420a in the upper region 412a may be more closely arranged to increase spin imparted on a golf ball during shots in which debris (such as water, grass, sand, etc.) may be between (and may interfere with contact between) the ball and the ball striking surface 412 of the golf club head 402. Further, a player may be more likely to contact a ball high on the ball striking portion 412 when hitting a ball in long grass (rough) etc. and thus, the score line 420a spacing in the upper region 412a may provide improved spin and overall performance of the golf club. The increased score line density at the upper region 412a provides more groove volume at that region to remove water, grass, sand, etc. from between the ball and ball striking portion 412 on shots from longer grass (in longer grass, the club head is more likely to strike the ball toward the top of the face, especially if the ball is “sitting up” somewhat in the grass).

Although the arrangement of FIG. 4 illustrates a ball striking portion 412 having two regions with different score line density or spacing, a plurality of regions including three or more regions may also be provided, and one or more of the regions may have different performance characteristics. For instance, FIG. 5 illustrates a golf club head 502 that includes a ball striking face 510 that includes a front portion or a front face 509 which may be defined as the overall flat area of the ball striking face 510. The front face 509 may further include a ball striking portion 512. For ease of understanding, the ball striking portion 512 may be referred to as having different regions and, in some examples, the different regions may have different performance characteristics. The ball striking portion 512 illustrated in FIG. 5 includes three different score line arrangements in three different regions. For instance, the score lines 520a in the upper region 512a may be more closely spaced than the score lines 520b in the lower region 512b, similar to the arrangement of FIG. 4. Additionally, the golf club head 502 may include a middle or transition region 512c formed in the ball striking portion 512. The transition region 512c may be positioned between the upper region 512a and the lower region 512b and may have score lines 520c arranged at a distance between each score line 520c that is between the distance between score lines 520a in the upper region 512a and the distance between the score lines 520b of the lower region 512b. This transition region 512c may provide further performance improvement by providing another variation to the score line arrangements that may be useful, for instance, in shorter rough or other instances in which a player may hit a ball at or just above a center of the ball striking portion 512. As was described above for FIG. 4, various arrangements and divisions between the upper region 512a, the lower region 512b, and the transition region 512c are possible without departing from the invention.

FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrate various other golf club head arrangements in which a textured front face may be used in conjunction with various score line spacing arrangements to provide improved performance characteristics. The reference numbers used in FIGS. 6 and 7 correspond to those used in the preceding figures, but the “6xx” and “7xx” series of numbers are used, respectively. FIG. 6 illustrates a golf club head 602 having a ball striking face 610 that includes a front face 609 including texture 611 in a first region 610a and a ball striking portion 612 having more closely packed score lines 620a in the upper region 612a than the lower region 612b. These features may provide improved performance of the club when striking a ball in the sand because the texture 611 may aid in movement of the sand and, thus, improved movement of the ball, while also providing improved performance on fairways, in the rough, etc. by providing variations in the score line arrangements which may be useful in different terrains, conditions, etc.

FIG. 7 illustrates a golf club head 702 having a score line spacing arrangement on the ball striking portion similar to that shown in FIG. 4. In addition, the front face 709 of the golf club head 702 generally includes texturing 711 extending across substantially all of the front face 709 and extending from a toe end 703 to a heel end 705. This texturing across the front face 709 may further aid in movement of, for instance, sand, during a bunker shot and thereby providing improved movement of the ball during those shots. In some arrangements, the texture 711 extending across the front face 709 may be generally the same type, size, etc. texturing. In other examples, different regions of the front face 709 may have different texturing arrangements, such as deeper pits or higher peaks to the texture, wider spacing of the texture, etc. These variations in texture may further provide improved performance of the golf club.

FIG. 8 illustrates another example golf club head 802 that may include one or more features described herein. The golf club head 802 may be generally and iron-type golf club head and may include one or more aspects of the invention, such as different score line arrangements (as shown) in the ball striking portion, texture in one or more regions of the front face, etc. Further, the golf club head 802 may have a more rounded shape to aid in moving the club through, for instance, grass that may form the rough of a golf course. For instance, the sole 814 of the golf club head 802 may have additional bend or camber to aid in moving the club through the grass.

FIG. 9 illustrates yet another aspect of the invention that may be used in conjunction with the features and aspects described above. FIG. 9 illustrates a golf club head 902 having a hosel 930 positioned higher on the golf club head 902 than a conventional hosel and, in some arrangements, further away from the sole 914 and/or the leading edge 914a of the golf club head 902. This arrangement may reduce interference of debris, such as sand, grass (long or short), etc. with the hosel 930 during a swing. Interference of debris with the hosel 930 may slow down and/or turn the club head 902 during impact. This may affect contact with and/or the trajectory of the ball. Moving hosel 930 upward and away from the sole 914 and the leading edge 914a may reduce this interference, thereby aiding in providing more consistent shots.

As mentioned above, one or more aspects of this invention may be used in conjunction with any type of golf club head. For example, aspects of this invention may relate to iron-type golf club heads. In one exemplary embodiment, aspects of this invention may be used with a wedge type golf club head. Wedge type golf club heads may include a sand wedge, pitching wedge, gap wedge, lob wedge, and the like. In some arrangements, the golf club may have a loft angle in the range of 45 degrees to 68 degrees. In one example, the loft angle range may be between 48 degrees and 64 degrees and/or even within the range of 48 degrees to 60 degrees, thereby corresponding to the loft angle of typical wedges, including conventional sand wedges.

CONCLUSION

While the invention has been described in detail in terms of specific examples including presently preferred modes of carrying out the invention, those skilled in the art will appreciate that there are numerous variations and permutations of the above described systems and methods. Thus, the spirit and scope of the invention should be construed broadly as set forth in the appended claims.