Patent application title: Golf club wedge head
Byron Butler (Murrieta, CA, US)
IPC8 Class: AA63B5304FI
Class name: Golf club or club support head
Publication date: 2012-08-30
Patent application number: 20120220388
An improved golf club wedge configured for reliable ball contact out of
deep rough and other difficult lies, employs a striking surface leading
edge that precedes the hosel by a significant onset. Nevertheless, the
wedge hereof hits the golf ball along a lower and longer trajectory than
its closest predecessor by reducing the distance from the hosel/face
center line to that leading edge along both the striking face and the
sole. Moreover, the wedge of the present invention uses a bigger bounce
as well, which gives the head a more acceptable appearance and makes it
more compatible with other clubs in a set of golf clubs.
1. A golf club wedge head having a loft of 48.degree. to 64.degree. and
having a hosel for accepting a shaft, said head further comprising a ball
striking surface defined by a toe, a heel, a top line and a curved
leading edge having a forwardmost point; said hosel having a center line
intersecting and extending along said striking surface rearward of said
leading edge forwardmost point; the shortest distance between said
forwardmost point and said center line along said striking surface being
less than 2.75 cms.
2. The golf club wedge head recited in claim 1 wherein said shortest distance along said striking surface is less than 2.5 cms.
3. The golf club wedge head recited in claim 1 wherein said head further comprises a rear surface and a sole which in combination with said striking surface define the external surfaces of said head; said center line lying in a vertical plane which intersects both said striking surface and said sole and is substantially perpendicular to an underlying support surface during address; the shortest distance along said support surface between said vertical plane and a point of projection of said forwardmost point of said leading edge, being less than 2.2 cms.
4. The golf club wedge head recited in claim 3 wherein said shortest distance along said support surface is less then 2.0. cms.
5. A golf club head for use as a wedge having a loft in the range of 48.degree. to 64.degree. and comprising a planar striking surface, a rear surface and a sole, said striking surface being defined along its perimeter by a toe, a heel, a top line and a curved leading edge having a forwardmost point; the head also having a hose along which a virtual center line extends and defines a vertical plane which intersects said striking surface and said sole; the shortest distance from said vertical plane to said forwardmost point of said leading edge along said striking surface being less than 2.75 cms.
6. The golf club head recited in claim 5 wherein said shortest distance from said vertical plane to said forwardmost point of said leading edge along said striking surface is less than 2.5 cms.
7. The golf club head recited in claim 5 wherein said vertical plane is substantially perpendicular to an underlying support surface during address, the shortest distance along said support surface between said vertical plane and a point of projection of said forwardmost point of said leading edge, being less than 2.2 cms.
8. The golf club wedge head recited in claim 7 wherein said head further comprises a rear surface and a sole which in combination with said striking surface define the external surfaces of said head; said center line lying in a vertical plane which intersects both said striking surface and said sole and is substantially perpendicular to an underlying support surface during address; the shortest distance along said support surface between said vertical plane and a point of projection of said forwardmost point of said leading edge, being less than 2.0 cms.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Field of the Invention
 The present invention relates generally to the field of golf clubs and more specifically to an improved wedge head designed to provide a straight and substantial distance golf shot typical of wedges, but from a location in the heavy rough formed from deep grass and in other difficult lies.
 The present invention is designed especially as an improvement over the golf club head disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,168,536 issued Jan. 2, 2001 to Lovett and in its continuations U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,565,451 and 6,932,714 issued May 20, 2003 and Aug. 23, 2005, respectively. Lovett's disclosure shows a wedge wherein the striking surface has two innovative features. In one such feature, the leading edge of the striking surface is arcuately shaped to provide a prominently curved blade-like structure wherein the bottom or lower periphery of the striking surface meets the front edge of the sole so as to cut through heavy grass during the forward-directed portion of the golf club swing. The second feature described by Lovett is the significantly forward relationship of this curved blade-like structure relative to the center-line of the hosel. This feature is referred to as "forward face progression", and is defined by two distances between the hosel center line projected on to the striking face and sole of the head and the most prominent extent of the leading edge of the striking face. One such distance, referred to as D1 is measured along the plane of the striking face. The other such distance is referred to as D2 and is measured along the sole as a straight line projection. These two distances are required to be within defined specific ranges, namely from 2.75 cms to 5.7 cms for D1 and from 2.2 cms to 3.4 cms for D2. The respective distances D1 and D2 will depend on the loft angle of the wedge being between about 48° and 64°, but will always be within those stated ranges. Unfortunately, a wedge made according to Lovett's teaching is unsatisfactory.
 The prior art wedge of Lovett is unsatisfactory in two principal respects, in performance in regard to trajectory of the golf ball and in club head appearance. The trajectory of the golf ball is simply too high and too short for the loft of the wedge. The appearance of the Lovett wedge is too drastic and as a result the head looks odd, particularly at loft angles of 56° or higher and doesn't track the entire set of clubs in appearance. In other words, the wedge of Lovett looks out of place among the other clubs of a set and doesn't hit the ball the way one would expect. Therefore, although the Lovett wedge does enable good ball contact out of difficult lies such as heavy rough, it still needs improvement to overcome the above-noted deficiencies.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The wedge of the present invention overcomes the aforementioned deficiencies of the noted prior art wedge so that it hits the ball along a lower and longer trajectory and so that it looks less odd and more conventional and more as though it belongs to the rest of the set of clubs. The wedge of the present invention employs a less prominent arcuate leading edge and what appears to be a less pronounced striking face/hosel relationship where even though the leading edge of the striking face is in front of the hosel center line as the club head travels toward the golf ball, the mass of the club head that leads the hosel, is significantly reduced as compared to the Lovett wedge. The invention herein employs a less prominent leading edge and therefore the distance D1 along the plane of the striking face is less than the low end of the D1 range of Lovett. The distance D2 along the underlying surface adjacent the sole of the club is also less than the distance D2 of Lovett. In a preferred embodiment, D1 of the present invention for a loft angle of 57° is about 2.5 cms and D2 is about 2.0 cms. The resulting wedge has the wave action and grass depressing advantages of the prior art wedge, but it has a more conventional ball trajectory which is lower and longer and it has a more conventional appearance which better comports with the appearance of the remaining clubs of a full set.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 The aforementioned objects and advantages of the present invention, as well as additional objects and advantages thereof, will be more fully understood herein after as a result of a detailed description of a preferred embodiment when taken in conjunction with the following drawings in which:
 FIG. 1 is a front view of a preferred embodiment of the invention;
 FIG. 2 is a bottom view thereof;
 FIG. 3 is a rear view thereof;
 FIG. 4 is a top view thereof;
 FIG. 5 is a toe view thereof; and
 FIG. 6 is a heel view thereof.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
 Referring to the accompanying drawings, it will be seen that a wedge head 10 according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention comprises a ball striking surface or face 12 defined by a top line 16, a leading edge 18, a toe 20 and a heel 22. Surface 12 has a plurality of parallel score lines 13 which add friction between surface 12 and a golf ball during impact. The ball striking surface 12 is a planar surface of the three-dimensional head, the remaining surfaces of which include a rear surface 15 and a sole 24, shown best in FIGS. 3, 5 and 6 in their relation to the hitting or striking face 12.
 Club head 10 is, of course, provided with a hosel 14 for connecting the head to a golf club shaft. Hosel 14 has a virtual center line 17 that extends down the hosel (see FIG. 4) and onto the striking surface 12. It also extends as a plane 19 down to the underlying surface. A projection 21 of leading edge 18 onto the underlying surface defines a distance D2.
 The sole 24 includes a flattened or planar area 26 which may be helpful in reducing the friction encountered between the head 10 and the grass surface in front of the golf ball during the swing.
 The precise extent of the improvement described herein relative to the Lovett patent (U.S. Pat. No. 6,168,536) and its continuation patents (U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,565,451 and 6,932,714) can be best understood by comparing FIG. 5 herein to FIG. 5 of those patents and by comparing the relative dimensions D1 and D2. In making that comparison, it will be readily apparent that the wedge head of the present invention has less onset, but more bounce than that of the Lovett patents. Moreover, where Lovett specifies a D1 of greater than 2.75 cms and D2 of greater than 2.2 cms, the present invention requires a D1 of less than 2.75 cms and a D2 of less than 2.2 cms. In fact, the preferred distances D1 and D2 in the present invention are at least less than 2.5 cms for D1 and at least less than 2.0 cms for D2. As a result of these distinctions, the leading edge of the striking face in the present invention is considerably less prominent than that of the Lovett patents even though it is still well ahead of the hosel center line projected onto the striking surface. Moreover, the leading edge is higher relative to the sole and not as far in front of the hosel. In more standard golf club terms the onset is smaller and the bounce is greater.
 Thus, it will now be understood that the improved wedge of the present invention combines the advantages of the prior art wedge, but avoids the principal disadvantages thereof. Specifically, the improved wedge still promotes good ball contact along a predictable and controlled trajectory out of deep rough and other difficult lies. However, that trajectory is longer and lower than the improved predecessor wedge and the improved wedge no longer exhibits a radical and relatively unorthodox appearance that is not geometrically compatible with the remaining club heads of a complete set of golf clubs.
 While an exemplary embodiment has been disclosed herein according to statutory requirements, it will be understood that the scope hereof is determined only by the appended claims and their equivalents.
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