BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present application is a continuation in part of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/640,054 filed Aug. 17, 2000, which is a division of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/426,786 filed Oct. 22, 1999, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,170,088, issued Jan. 9, 2001.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to an improved badge of the type utilized by contestants or officials at golf tournaments and other golfing events.
2. Description of the Prior Art
In the sport of golf considerable attention is given to contests in the form of tournaments, invitational matches, and other gatherings in which contestants compete against each other. Quite often the right to compete as a contestant is established only through an invitation. The contestants so selected are justifiably proud of their status. Furthermore, it is important for the proper management of such events for the operators and persons in charge of the conduct of these events to be able to readily distinguish the contestants and the officials supervising the contest from the observers. In addition, it is important for the observers to be able to identify the contestants and officials so that the observers can avoid interfering with their field of play, line of sight, and so forth. Also, the observers have a strong desire to be able to recognize the various contestants and officials.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
For these and other reasons contestants and tournament supervisors at a golf tournament, and often at other golfing events, are very typically provided with recognizable badges. These badges often include a generally flat, expansive shield imprinted with the name of the tournament, as well as the name of the contestant or official. However, for tournaments held on an annual or other regular basis it is important for some aspect of these badges to be readily identifiable with the specific tournament currently under way, and for the current contestant or official badge to be distinguishable from badges of prior years. In conventional practice this distinction is achieved by creating a whole new badge design each time the tournament is held.
The present invention involves a contestant, V.I.P, and player badge that has a unique construction that has not previously been used at golf tournaments and other golfing events despite its very considerable advantages. Specifically, the present invention combines the conventional shield of a golf contest badge with a removable, magnetic golf ball marker. The magnetic ball marker is designed with indicia or ornamentation that is unique to the golf tournament or other golfing event at which it is to be used. For example, the face of the ball marker may be hand painted with a tournament logo, year, sponsorship indicia, or some other uniquely identifiable markings. Moreover, the magnetic ball marker serves the dual function of not only identifying the current tournament for which the badge is being used, but is also very useful for marking the position of the player's ball on the field of play.
Also, the ball marker serves as a great collectible that attaches magnetically to any metal surface, such as a refrigerator, a locker, or a personalized recognition plaque. The magnetic ball marker is releaseably attachable to the shield of the badge so that it can be quickly and easily removed from the shield when required for use to mark the position of a golf ball. Moreover, the badge makes a very convenient and extremely accessible storage device for holding the ball marker when the ball marker is not required for use on the field of play.
A very major advantage of the golf contest badge of the invention is that the same basic shield design can be used year after year, yet the badge can be customized for each new tournament by providing it with a golf ball marker uniquely designed for use during a particular tournament. The golf contest badge can be personalized with the name of each player or official participating at a club championship, member-guest tournament, governors cup, or any other event held at a golf club.
A further unique feature of the invention is the combination of a shield for a contest badge, a magnetic golf ball marker, and an article of golf headwear, such as a golfers hat or visor. The great majority of golfers and golf officials wear some article of headwear during golf tournaments and other golf related events that are held outdoors. Golf hats and visors serve the very practical purposes of shading the participants' eyes, providing a measure of protection from the sun, and providing protection from precipitation during inclement weather, as well.
Most golf contest badges are provided with clips on their back surfaces that allow the badges to be clipped onto a shirt pocket or onto a golfer's belt or trousers pocket. The badge is sometimes clipped onto a shirt pocket, since the elevated position on the golfers chest enhances the visibility of the badge. However, many golfers prefer to play the game in shirts that do not have pockets since, with repeated leaning over to pick up a golf ball, articles placed in those pockets are likely to become lost. Also, an article that weighs down a shirt pocket can interfere with a golfer's stroke, particularly a putting stroke. To avoid wearing a contestant badge on a shirt pocket the golfers are faced with the choice of wearing a badge on a belt or on a trousers pocket, or clipping it onto the golfer's bag. However, in these locations the badge is not nearly as visible as it would be if worn on the golfer's body at a higher level.
Some golfers have engaged in the practice of clipping the badge to the bands of their hats or visors. However, when the badge is worn in this manner the orientation of the clip is such that the badge shield must be turned upside down in order to engage the clip on the hat or visor band. Although the badge is still recognizable as being a contest badge, all of the printed indicia, as well as the name of the contestant are oriented upside down to observers.
According to the present invention the contest badge is provided with the usual flat clip on its back that allows it to be removably hung on an article of the golfers clothing. However, a conventional golfers hat is modified by creating a short slit in the crown of the hat or in the forehead shield portion of a golf visor and reinforcing that slit in the manner of a buttonhole. The slit is just long enough to receive the flat clip on the back of the badge. Consequently, the badge of the invention may be worn in combination with a hat or visor in an upright and legible orientation.
In one broad aspect the present invention may be considered to be a golf contest badge comprising: a backing shield formed with opposing front and back faces and defining a disc-shaped tray having a flat floor laterally surrounded by an upright wall, a ferrous plate permanently secured to the floor of the tray and extending only partially up the upright wall, and a magnetic golf ball marker removably positionable in the tray atop the ferrous plate.
Preferably the floor of the tray of the golf contest badge has a circular shape and the ferrous plate is formed of steel and is configured as a disc with a segment removed therefrom. The golf ball marker has a disc-shaped configuration so that it covers the ferrous plate completely. One portion of the ball marker thereby overhangs the cavity in the tray left by the missing segment of the steel plate. This allows the user to press inwardly against the overhanging portion of the ball marker which thereupon tilts the opposite edge of the ball marker out from the tray where it can be grasped between the fingers of the user and removed for placement on the playing field.
In another broad aspect the invention may be considered to be an improvement in a badge for a golfing event that is formed with a laterally expansive shield having opposing front and back faces. The improvement of the invention is comprised of a tray defined in the front face of the shield and formed with a flat floor surrounded by a low, upright wall, a ferrous slab thinner than the depth of the tray and disposed in the tray atop the floor, and a magnetic ball marker removably disposed atop the ferrous slab and adhering thereto by the force of magnetic attraction. The floor of the tray preferably has a circular shape and the golf ball marker is preferably shaped as a disc of corresponding size. While the shield may be formed of rubber impregnated with magnetized particles of iron, it is preferably formed as a steel plate.
In still another aspect the invention may be considered to be, in combination: a golf contest badge formed with a shield having opposing front and back faces and into the front face of which a shallow cavity having a floor of uniform depth is defined, a ferrous slab having a uniform thickness less than the depth of the floor permanently secured atop the floor in the cavity, and a flat magnetic golf ball marker removably positioned atop the ferrous slab and held thereto by magnetic force. Also, this combination may be enhanced by the further combination of these elements with a golf visor or a golfer's hat having a slit bounded by reinforced edges formed in the forehead protection portion of the visor or the fabric crown of the hat.
The badge has a flat clip projecting from its back face. The clip has an attachment tang extending substantially parallel to the back face of the badge. The tang of the clip has a width narrow enough for insertion into the slit in the golfers hat or visor. Consequently, the golfer is able to wear the badge in his or her hat or visor merely by inserting the clip through the reinforced slit. When the badge is worn this way, all of the indicia on the badge and the name of the contestant are displayed in an upright, clearly legible orientation.
- DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The invention may be described with greater clarity and particularity by reference to the accompanying drawings.
FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view illustrating a golf contest badge in combination with a magnetic golf ball marker according to the invention.
FIG. 2 is a rear perspective view of the golf contest badge and ball marker shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a perspective view showing a golfer's hat with a golf contest badge according to the invention detached therefrom.
FIG. 4 is a perspective view illustrating the combination of the badge and golf ball marker of the invention clipped to the hat of the invention shown in FIG. 3.
FIG. 5 is a sectional elevational detail taken along the lines 5-5 of FIG. 4.
DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENT
FIG. 6 is a perspective view showing the badge and ball marker clipped at a different location on a golfer's visor.
FIG. 1 illustrates a golf contestant's badge indicated generally at 10 formed with a flat shield 12 having a front face 14 and a back face 16. The golf contestant badge 10 is designed to be used in conjunction with a flat, disc-shaped golf ball marker 100, the construction of which is illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 4. The upper portion of the shield 12 in the embodiment illustrated has a generally circular configuration, while the lower portion 17 of the shield 12 is shaped in an elongated rectangular bar-shaped configuration so that the name of the contestant can be printed thereon. The shield 12 is formed of a nonmagnetic material, typically brass or plastic.
A flat clip 18 is configured with a relatively long fastening tang 19, a U-shaped return 20, and an anchoring tab 22. The anchoring tab 22 is secured to the back face 16 of the shield 12 by a strong adhesive, solder, welding, solvent welding, or any other conventional means, depending upon the materials of which the shield 12 and clip 18 are formed.
A shallow tray 24 is formed in the front face 14 of the shield 12. The structure of the shield 12 surrounding the tray 24 serves as a confining peripheral rim 21 that may bear a golf club or business logo or some other surface ornamentation. The interior perimeter of the peripheral rim 21 forms a short, cylindrical wall 23 that defines within its confines a shallow, disc-shaped tray 24. The tray 24 in the front face 14 of the shield 12 has a circular floor 25. The cylindrical wall 23 of the tray 24 surrounds its circular floor 25. The tray 24 is coaxially centered within the annular portion of the rim 21 of the shield 12 which preferably has an outer diameter of between about an inch and a quarter and an inch and a half. The tray 24 has a uniform depth throughout of about 3.7 millimeters. The circular floor 25 of the tray 24 forms one surface of a web 26 residing at the center of the shield 12. The opposite surface of the web 26 is formed by the central region of the back face 16 of the shield 12. The web 26 is preferably no greater than about one millimeter in thickness.
A substantially flat slab or plate 28 is provided and is formed of a ferrous material such as soft stainless steel or iron. The plate 28 is shaped in the form of a circular disc with a segment removed beneath its straight, lower edge 29, which extends as a chord in the lower region of the disc-shaped tray 24. The flat plate 28 thereby occupies more than half, but less than the entire area of the recessed tray 24 thus leaving an unfilled, segment-shaped portion of the tray, indicated at 30 in FIG. 3, at the lower periphery of the recessed tray 24 proximate the rectangular portion 17 of the badge 10 bearing the name of the contestant. The slab 28 is thinner than the depth of the tray 24. That is, the thickness of the slab 28 is less than the height of the cylindrical wall 23.
The steel plate 28 is preferably less than three millimeters in thickness and is permanently secured, typically by some strong adhesive, to the floor 25 of the tray 24. There is, therefore, a sufficient amount of unoccupied space atop the plate 28 and below the upper edge of the cylindrical wall 23 of the tray 24 to receive a flat, disc-shaped golf ball marker 100. The ball marker 100 fits snugly within the confines of the cylindrical wall 23 of the tray 24.
The structure of the golf ball marker 100 is largely described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,170,088 and in the U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/640,054 filed Aug. 17, 2000, both of which are hereby incorporated herein by reference in their entireties. The magnetic ball marker 100 is formed of a flat slab of ferrous material, such as steel, which is stamped to define a frame 102. The outer, exposed face 104 of the frame 102 normally bears an indicia of a particular tournament and possibly a particular golf club, a business logo, or some other visually prominent decoration. The undersurface 106 of the ferrous frame 102 has a central, disc-shaped cavity defined therein surrounded by an annular, outer portion of the frame 102 which serves as a peripheral rim.
The frame 102 is preferably formed from a type of iron or steel that is capable of some inelastic deformation so that the cavity can be defined by stamping a disc-shaped depression into the undersurface 106 of the frame 102. Alternatively, the cavity may be formed by milling out material from the frame 102 at the center of the undersurface 106 using an end mill and lathe. Other conventional methods of forming the cavity may also be employed.
The cavity within the frame 102 is created to accommodate and seat a small, flat, disc-shaped permanent magnet 110. The magnet 110 may be formed of magnetized iron, but is preferably a rare earth magnet, such as Nd—Fe—B (Neodymium/Ferrum/Boron) alloy. Other rare earth magnetic materials which are also sold commercially are MM Magnet [Magnequench (Bonded NdFeB)], SmCo Magnet (Samarium/Cobalt), and Alnico Magnet (Aluminium/Nickel/Cobalt). The diameter of the magnet 110 is preferably just slightly greater than the diameter of the disc-shaped cavity within the frame 102, so that the magnet 110 can be permanently secured to the magnetically inert frame 102 by force fitting it into the cavity. The permanent magnet 110 is thereby gripped by the peripheral rim of the frame 102. It may also or alternatively be held in position in the frame 102 by adhesive.
Preferably, the outer diameter of the frame 102 is either one inch or three-quarters of an inch. These are the standard sizes for golf ball markers that are widely utilized in the game of golf. The diameter of the cavity in the frame 102 is preferably about 11.98 millimeters and the depth of the cavity in the frame 102, as measured from the undersurface 106, is preferably about 0.62 millimeters. The overall thickness of the frame 102, as measured at its periphery, is preferably between about 1.2 millimeters and 1.3 millimeters. By forming the frame 102 of steel or iron, the strength of the magnetic field produced by the magnet 110 is enhanced.
The magnet 110 preferably has a diameter of twelve millimeters and a thickness of 0.6 millimeters. As a consequence, when the magnet 110 is pressed into the cavity in the frame 102 the interference fit between the outer diameter of the magnet 110 and the inner diameter of the cavity creates a very slight inelastic deformation in the ball marker frame 102 so that the magnet 110 may be permanently locked in the cavity without the use of an adhesive. The annular rim of the frame 102 is deformed slightly to mechanically lock the permanent magnet 110 in the cavity of the frame 102 of the golf ball marker 100. In the magnetic golf ball marker 100, the magnet 110 is permanently seated in the cavity and is laterally surrounded by the structure of the slab of ferrous material forming the frame 102. Although illustrated as being a plain, undecorated, disc-shaped structure, the ball marker 100 more typically has on its exposed face 104 which is visible in FIGS. 1 and 3, some ornamental design relating to a specific golf tournament and/or a particular country club or business logo.
The contestant badge 10 and magnetic ball marker 100 may be used advantageously in combination with a golfer's hat 200, as illustrated in FIGS. 3, 4, and 5. As shown in FIG. 3 the basic structure of the golf hat 200 is conventional. That is, the hat 200 has a fabric crown 202, a bill 204, and a hat band 206. Unlike conventional hats, however, the hat 200 has a short, horizontal slit 208 defined in the crown 202 parallel to and spaced about two inches above the lower edge of the hat band 206. The slit 208 is reinforced by thread at its edges in the manner of buttonholes that are typically formed in different articles of clothing, such as shirts and blouses. The slit 208 is preferably between about one-quarter of an inch and about three-quarters of an inch in length, and is cut to accommodate the width of the flat tang 19 of the clip 18 on the back of the contestant badge 10.
As illustrated in FIGS. 3, 4, and 5, the wearer of the hat 200 can easily and removably attach the contestant badge 10 to the hat 200 by inserting the tang 19 of the clip 18 on the back of the badge 10 into the reinforced slit 208. The contestant badge 10 can thereby be worn on a hat in a highly visible manner in which the magnetic ball marker 100 is easily accessible to the wearer. To remove the ball marker 100 when the contestant badge 10 is being worn on the hat 200 as illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, all the wearer must do is to reach up with one hand, depress the lower edge of the magnetic ball marker 100 into the segment-shaped cavity 30, grip the upper edge of the ball marker 100, and pull it way from the badge 10, thereby overcoming the magnetic force of attraction between the magnetic ball marker 100 and the steel slab 28. Following use, the ball marker 100 may be just as easily returned to its storage position in the tray 24 of the contestant badge 10.
While the embodiment of the FIGS. 3, 4, and 5 illustrates the contestant badge 10 attached to the side of the crown 202 of the golfer's hat 200, the slit 208 may be formed in other locations as well. FIG. 6 illustrates the contestant badge 10 being worn on a golf visor 300 in which the reinforced slit that receives the clip 18 on the back of the contestant badge 10 is formed in the forehand protection area 302 of the visor 300. The forehead protection area 302 of the visor 300 projects upwardly from the visor band 306 at the location of the visor bill 304.
Undoubtedly, numerous variations and modifications of the invention will become readily apparent to those familiar with golf contests and golf accessories. Accordingly, the scope of the invention should not be construed as limited to this specific embodiment depicted and described, but rather is defined in the claims appended hereto.