Patent application title: GOLF TEE
Martin Sanders (Los Angeles, CA, US)
IPC8 Class: AA63B5700FI
Class name: Games using tangible projectile golf tee
Publication date: 2010-08-26
Patent application number: 20100216576
A golf tee comprising parallel golf ball supporting fins extending from an
elongated blade-like main body. The fins bend and flex with the rapid
momentary expansion and compression of the golf ball due the impact from
a golf club, thereby offering a clear and unimpeded exit channel for the
golf ball. The elongated main body tapers to a point for easy insertion
into the teeing ground and has large side surface areas for the clear
display of logos and general indicia.
1. A golf tee comprising:a) a plurality of golf ball supporting fin
elements;b) an elongated main body tapering to at least one spike for
inserting said golf tee into a teeing ground;c) said golf ball supporting
fin elements being extensions of said elongated main body,wherein the
base of said golf ball supporting fin elements connect to form a
substantially open channel and are made from a flexible and resilient
material able to accommodate the rapid momentary expansion of said golf
ball upon being struck by a golf club.
2. A golf tee as of claim 1, wherein said golf ball supporting fin elements are parallel to the target line of said golf ball.
3. A golf tee as of claim 1, wherein upper edges of said parallel golf ball supporting fin elements are curved or cut away to reduce surface area contact with said golf ball.
4. A golf tee as of claim 1, wherein said elongated main body comprises a cavity and an opening to accommodate the nesting of another said golf tee.
5. A golf tee as of claim 1, wherein said fin elements have substantially wide surfaces for convenient handling and the provision of adequate surface areas for the display of logos and indicia.
6. A golf tee as of claim 1, wherein said elongated main body has a plurality of longitudinal concavities to reduce the volume of material inserted into said teeing ground while maintaining rigidity.
7. A golf tee as of claim 1, wherein said main body and said fin elements come in a variety of lengths to provide a range of teeing heights above said teeing ground.
The sport of golf is well known and over many years has grown with international popularity. A sporting activity carried out by recreational enthusiasts to professional golfers alike; golf has been a physical and mental challenge since its debated creation in Scotland around 1456.
Golf has developed a huge industry shared by many companies and organizations, each keen on marking their presence, leadership and expertise in the sport. As such, the branding of equipment and the placement of general indicia, logos and messages throughout the game of golf has become commonplace.
Golf involves playing a ball with a club from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules.
A round of golf typically involves 9 to 18 holes each with an allocated teeing ground from which the golf ball is first struck over various terrains and obstacles towards a hole. It is standard practice amongst most golfers to use a golf tee to elevate the ball above the teeing ground to assist the golfer in striking the golf ball cleanly and efficiently with a golf club. A typical golf tee will be made from wood or resilient polymeric materials and consists of a cylindrical stem, tapering to a spike for insertion into the ground. On the other end is typically a circular head with a concave cup or dish surface to support the golf ball. Such tees are readily available and still in wide use.
However, golfers are very much aware of the performance issues surrounding all aspects of the game of golf, particularly where golf equipment is concerned. Over many years, there have been many improvements in the design and technology of golfing equipment in order to enhance the performance of the golfer. Improving the performance of a golf tee is no exception and golf tees are now receiving more focus and attention by the golf industry as a means to improve the golfer's first shot or "drive" from the teeing ground.
It can be demonstrated using high speed photography that when a golf ball is struck by a golf club, the golf ball will compress at the point of impact and rapidly expand outwards. This rapid distortion of the golf ball upon a standard rigid golf tee can contribute toward many unwanted dynamics and inefficiencies in the golf drive.
As such, issues relating to golf tee friction and golf ball resistance have been addressed in a variety of ways and solutions. Such solutions include tees with bristles or brushes to replace the traditional concave ball supporting dish. When the golf ball distorts, the bristles disperse allowing the ball to exit the tee with minimal friction and impedance. However, such tees are less durable and over time tend to become unusable. Additionally, such bristle or brush-tipped tees require several parts for manufacture, thereby increasing costs. As mentioned, the placement of logos and general indicia is also an important part of golf equipment. Such brush tees have no useful area upon which indicia can be placed and clearly displayed.
Other solutions include tees which claim to reduce the points of contact and coefficient of friction between the golf ball and the golf tee. However, such tees are often made from rigid materials and thereby do not accommodate or address the issue of rapid golf ball expansion during impact. Often being designed around the traditional narrow cylindrical golf tee, they again offer little or no useful surface area for adequate branding or indicia.
Accordingly, there exists a need for a golf tee that reduces contact with the golf ball and possesses a desirable level of flexibility and dispersion to accommodate the rapid expansion of the golf ball during impact. Furthermore, it would be desirable for such a tee to have adequate surfaces and areas onto which can be placed and displayed a variety of logos, messages and general indicia.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The issues and problems as stated previously are herein addressed by the present invention as disclosed.
Accordingly one such embodiment of the present invention provides a means of supporting the golf ball upon two blade-like fins to reduce the contact area between the golf ball and the golf tee. The two fins are arranged parallel to each other thereby creating a clear and unimpeded channel for the golf ball to exit.
Such golf ball supporting fins are extensions of an elongated main body which tapers into a single spike for easy insertion into the teeing ground
The golf ball supporting fins are made from a flexible polymeric material allowing lateral dispersion to accommodate the rapid expansion of the golf ball during impact. When such lateral dispersion occurs, the golf ball momentarily experiences reduced contact with the golf ball supporting fins and is presented with a clear and unimpeded exit channel. As such, resistance to the golf ball is substantially reduced and energy transferred into the golf drive is maximized.
Additionally, the polymeric material used in the manufacture of the present invention should be such that adequate strength and rigidity is retained to support a golf ball upon the fins in a stable manner and to also allow for the spiked portion of the tee to be easily pressed into the teeing ground.
An additional aspect of the present invention is that the golf ball supporting fins and elongated main body have substantially wide surface areas upon which logos, messages and general indicia can be placed, through a variety of methods.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a golf tee according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 2a shows a side view of a golf ball positioned upon a golf tee according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 2b shows a front view of a golf ball positioned upon a golf tee according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 3a shows a side view of a golf tee according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention at the moment when impact occurs between the golf club and the golf ball.
FIG. 3b shows a front view of a golf tee according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention at the moment when impact occurs between the golf club and the golf ball.
FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of a golf tee according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention illustrating the lateral dispersion of the golf ball supporting fins.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
The golf tee of the present invention is now described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings.
The invention is not limited to the embodiments as illustrated in the accompanying drawings. In fact many variations of the preferred embodiment are possible by those experienced in the art and as such should be considered as part of the fundamental approach and essence of the disclosed invention.
Referring now to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a golf tee 2 in accordance with the present invention.
The golf tee 2 comprises two parallel golf ball supporting fins 6. The fins 6 have upper edges 8 upon which a golf ball is placed. The upper edges 8 of the golf ball supporting fins 6 have curved features 24 with which to cradle the golf ball yet reduce contact with the same.
The golf ball supporting fins 6 have wide surface areas 10 upon which can be placed a variety of logos, messages and general indicia.
The golf ball supporting fins 6 converge and meet to form a junction channel 16 and a golf tee main body 34. The main body 34 tapers toward a ground piercing spike point 12.
In order to reduce the volume of material of 34 to be inserted into the teeing ground, concavities 14 are provided. The concavities 14 reduce the volume of the tapered main body 34 and retain rigidity and stability for insertion into the teeing ground through spike point 12.
The material used in the manufacture of the golf tee 2 would typically be polymeric in nature. An example of such a material would be a High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) or a suitable Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) in order to provide adequate flexible properties within the golf ball supporting fins 6 yet enough rigidity within the tapered body 34 to insert into the teeing ground.
Referring now to FIG. 2a, the golf tee 2 is shown in a side view supporting a golf ball 4 upon contact edges 8. The shapes of contact edges 8 are curved in a manner to support the golf ball 4 yet reduce contact around areas 24.
Still referring to FIG. 2a, the golf tee 2 is shown inserted into the ground 32 via the spiked point 12 up to a typical level on the tapered main body part 34.
As can also be seen in FIG. 2a the wide surface areas 10 of the golf tee 2 are sufficient and visible to display a variety of logos, messages and general indicia. A typical method by which to apply such indicia would be through screen printing or tampon printing processes. It can be easily appreciated that a variety of decorative methods could be applied to surfaces 10 in order to create a broad range of looks or appearances. Examples of such alternative decorative methods include stickers, transfers, painting, stencils and laser etching processes.
Referring to FIG. 2b, the front view of golf tee 2 shows a golf ball 4 clearly supported by the two parallel fin structures 6 at contact edges 8. The golf ball supporting structures 6 are spaced apart at a suitable distance to support the golf ball 4 in a stable manner. The parallel golf ball supporting fins 6 merge together to form a central channel 16. This front view is the desired alignment of the golf tee 2 where the central channel 16 presents a clear exit line for the golf ball 4 towards a desired target.
As can be clearly seen in FIG. 2a and FIG. 2b, the golf tee 2 can be manufactured as one single part, using an injection molding process for example. This greatly simplifies the process of manufacture and the overall cost of the part while maintaining the required functionality of the outlined features and advantages. In more advanced manufacturing techniques the single part could be co-molded or composed of two materials each with different properties in order to achieve the required flexibility of the golf ball supporting fins 6 and the required rigidity of the elongated main body 34 and spike 12.
Drawings FIG. 3a and FIG. 3b show side and front views respectively of the golf tee 2 during the moment of impact between a golf ball 18 and a golf club head 20. Referring to FIG. 3a, the golf ball 18 is being struck by a golf club head 20. The golf club head 20 is rapidly moving in a direction 30 towards the ball. As the golf ball 18 is struck by club face 40, the golf ball 18 distorts and compresses around area 26. This causes rapid expansion of the golf ball 18 at areas 28.
During the moment of impact, FIG. 3b shows how the rapid expansion of the golf ball 18 around areas 28 causes the golf ball supporting fins 6 to disperse outward in the lateral direction 22. The continued momentum of supporting fins 6 moving in the direction 22 momentarily reduces contact between the golf ball 18 and supporting fins 6 around the areas 28. As can be seen in FIG. 4, when the golf ball supporting fins 6 disperse outwards in direction 22, the central channel 16 becomes wider at the top, offering a clear unimpeded exit for the golf ball. This reduction in contact allows the exiting golf ball to continue along a path of trajectory and towards a target with maximum energy transfer and thus increased accuracy and distance.
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