US 20020113105 A1
A harness attached to or adapted to be attached to a golf bag to be positioned about the shoulders and neck of the user. According to the preferred embodiment, the harness comprises a unitary padded member defining a collar and back contour piece. The collar and back contour piece are attachable to one another via first and second attachment mechanisms. Preferably, the collar includes first and second articulating joints to enable the harness to readily adapt to the width of a golfer's back. The collar may further include pockets for receiving and holding magnets to impart magnetic therapy. The back contour piece is preferably configured to provide lumbosacral support to the golfer.
1. A golf bag carry harness for use by an individual and adapted for attachment at first and second spaced apart positions on a golf bag, said harness comprising:
a collar fitting around the neck and over the shoulders of the individual and having first and second distal points disposed to be positioned one below each shoulder of said individual;
a first attachment mechanism for attaching said first and second distal points to said first and second attachment positions respectively;
back contour piece formed upon said collar at a point substantially midway between said distal points and extending from said collar down the back of said individual; and
a second attachment mechanism for attaching said back contour piece to said first and second attachment positions.
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 U.S. Pending Application No. 09/459,693 filed Dec. 13, 1999 entitled Golf Bag Carry Apparatus and U.S. Continuation Application No. 09/727,047 filed Nov. 30, 2000 entitled Golf Bag Carry Apparatus
 Many golfers in playing the game of golf prefer to walk, which provides exercise and, in addition, maintains the golfer's physical flexibility to assist in playing the game of golf. In many instances the golfer prefers to carry his bag as opposed to having a caddy do so. It has long been customary to fit a golf bag with a carry strap that goes over the shoulder of the golfer to assist in supporting the weight of the golf bag and the golf clubs as opposed to having the golfer utilize a handle affixed to the bag. Although this type of mechanism has been used for a long period of time, and is successful and in many instances is still used, it has a tendency to apply an undue amount of weight to one shoulder of the golfer thus, tending to tire out that portion of the body prior to the opposite shoulder.
 To alleviate the foregoing, in the recent past a plurality of strap-type devices have been developed which may be affixed to a golf bag and adapted to fit over both shoulders of the golfer to assist in distributing the weight of the golf bag and the golf clubs evenly across the shoulders of the golfer. Such golf bag carrying straps take many forms and are attached to the golf bag in many different ways. In some instances, the straps are sewn directly into seams of the golfbag and thus, become a permanent part of the golf bag. With such structures, if the strap breaks or becomes worn or the like, then the entire golf bag must be replaced. In other instances, there are special openings or fittings which are designed as a part of the golf bag when it is constructed through which the strap must pass in order to cause them to be properly situated for use by the golfer. Such special construction of the golf bag adds additional cost and also renders the golf bag useful only with the specific golf bag carry straps designed for use with it. Therefore, if the golfer grows tired of a particular type of golfbag carry strap, it could not be replaced on the specially designed bag and again the golfer would be required to buy a new bag.
 The golf bag carry straps designed to fit over both shoulders do work reasonably well and do permit a better balancing of the weight on the shoulders of the golfer than was possible prior to their introduction. However, such devices tend to apply forces to the shoulders of the golfer not only in a downward direction, but a backward direction particularly when the golfer is walking, thus, tending to apply an undesired weight or force to the golfer's body resulting in discomfort and creating a situation where the golfer's upper body becomes tired. As a particular example, such straps merely lay vertically along the lumbosacral vertebrae and, although imparting a stressor load thereto, provide nothing in terms of contoured anatomical support. Additionally, such straps are typically formed from multi-piece construction and, as a result, require substantial labor and expense in manufacturing the same and further cause such straps to become vulnerable to tearing or ripping. Such golf bags are further problematic in so far as the same are ill-adapted for widespread versatile use amongst individuals of dissimilar size. More specifically, such straps are typically configured to have a single unitary size that cannot be adjusted for purposes of accommodating the broadness of a given individual's shoulders. In this regard, there is lacking any mechanism by which such straps can adjust to accommodate shoulder breadth.
 Accordingly, there is a substantial need in the art for a golf bag carry strap that is capable of fitting over both shoulders of an individual that further provides a greater degree of lumbosacral back support when in use, and can further easily and readily adjust to accommodate the dimensions of a given individual's shoulders and back. There is a further need in the art for such a golf bag carry strap that is of substantially lower cost to manufacture than prior art straps, and can additionally be modified to impart therapeutically-beneficial modalities, such as magnet therapy and the like. There is yet a further need for such a strap that can be easily and readily substituted for virtually all golf bag carry straps currently in use, can be readily manufactured utilizing existing materials and technology, and can substantially minimize injury and pain typically associated with prior art golf bag carry straps.
 The present invention resolves the problems existing in the prior art by providing a formed padded harness which includes a collar that fits around the neck and over the shoulders of the golfer and a back contour piece that is adjoined to the apex of the collar and extends downwardly from the neck along the back of the golfer to provide lumbar support. The harness, which includes the collar and back contour piece, preferably consists of a unitary piece of padded material. The arms of the collar near the apex preferably contain articulable joints which enable the collar to be easily and flexibly positioned on any golfer's shoulders, irrespective of size. Similarly, the back contour piece of the harness can be easily adjusted to maximize the lumbar support of the golfer's back. Attaching devices extend from the back contour piece and from the ends of the collar opposite the apex for engagement with appropriate fixtures on the golf bag to allow easy positioning of the harness about the neck and across the shoulders of the golfer.
 The collar of the harness can optionally be lined with magnets to assist in relieving any pain or discomfort of the golfer as a result of carrying the weight of the golf bag. To achieve that end, the arms of the collar may be configured to contain tiny pockets for the insertion of magnets for use in therapeutically relieving pain and discomfort.
 These as well as other features of the present invention will become more apparent upon reference to the drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of a golf bag carry harness constructed in accordance with the principals of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the harness of FIG. 1 attached to a golf bag;
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view illustrating the construction of the collar and taken about the lines 3-3 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary view illustrating in more detail the construction of the back contour piece means;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary perspective view illustrating one means for attaching the harness of the present invention to the golf bag;
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary view illustrating an alterative means for attaching the harness to the golf bag;
FIG. 7 is another alternative means for attaching the harness to the golf bag;
FIG. 8 is yet another alternative means for affixing the harness to the golf bag;
FIG. 9 is another alternative means for affixing the harness to the golf bag; and
FIG. 10 is a perspective view illustrating a golfer carrying a golf bag utilizing the golf carry harness of the present invention.
 The detailed description set forth below in connection with the appended drawings is intended merely as a description of the invention, and is not intended to represent the only form in which the present invention may be constructed or utilized. The description sets forth the functions and sequence of steps for construction and implementation of the invention in connection with the illustrated embodiments. It is to be understood, however, that the same or equivalent functions and sequences may be accomplished by different embodiments that are also intended to be encompassed within the spirit and scope of the invention.
 The golfbag carry harness of the present invention provides an apparatus which the golfer may utilize to very easily and with great comfort support the weight of the golf bag and the golf clubs contained therein when the golfer is walking during the playing of a round of golf. The weight of the golf bag and the golf clubs is evenly distributed over the shoulders and across the back of the golfer as a result of a formed padded collar which fits around the back of the neck and immediately over the shoulders and down the front of the golfer.
 The collar preferably contains articulable joints that enable the golfer to very easily and flexibly position the collar onto his or her shoulder with little or no effort in order to accomplish the desired distribution of the weight. Optionally, the collar can be lined with magnets to alleviate any pain or stress resulting from carrying the weight of the golf bag discussed more fully below. A back contour piece affixed to the apex of the collar may further be provided to increase comfort and lumbar support.
 The manner in which the collar is attached to the golf bag maintains the collar in this position. The attachments means is adjustable to allow the golfer to create the desired pitch for a golf bag and golf clubs to prevent the clubs from falling out of the bag, while providing comfort and the appropriate weight distribution for the golfer, and to position the golf bag across the golfer's back in such a manner as to minimize bumping or swinging of the golf bag against the back of the golfer.
 Referring now to the drawings and more particularly to FIGS. 1 and 2, the golf bag carry harness of the present invention is shown. The primary elements of the harness are a collar 10 and a back contour piece 12. The collar 10 includes an apex 14 which is substantially centrally disposed between distal ends 16 and 18 thereof. The back contour piece 12 is adjoined at the apex 14 of the collar 10, and together, preferably form a contiguous and unitary piece of padded construction. As would be appreciated by those skilled in the art, by forming back contour piece 12 and collar 10 from a unitary piece of padded material substantially reduces the cost and difficulty with manufacturing the golf bag carry harness of the present invention. In this regard, it is well known to those skilled in the art that substantial labor and expense is associated with multi-piece construction, which typically requires increased stitching at the juncture between such pieces. In addition, such multi-piece construction is known in the art to be substantially less durable insofar as the seams between multiple components defines an area which can be subjected to tearing or ripping when subjected to pulling forces, as would be encountered during the use of such straps.
 The apex 14 of the collar 10 is designed in a curvilinear fashion so that the interior portion 20 thereof will rest comfortably about the neck of the golfer. Continuing from about the neck region 20 the collar defines a first region 22-24 which rests upon the right and left shoulders respectively of the golfer. The right arm 26 of the collar extends downwardly over the chest of the golfer and terminates at the distal point or end 16. Likewise, the left arm 28 extends downwardly from the left shoulder of the golfer over the golfer's chest and terminates at the distal point or end 18. According to a preferred embodiment, both arms of the collar defined at regions 22 and 24 contain articulable joints 120-122 (FIG. 1) which serve to adjust the arms of the collar according to the width or size of his or her shoulders to maximize the comfort provided by the harness.
 In addition, the arms of the collar may preferably contain tiny pockets 28 for the optional insertion of magnets (FIG. 1). In this regard, the use of magnets is reportedly successful in treating a wide variety of conditions, including arthritis, rheumatism, fibromyalgia, back pain, headaches, muscles strains and sprains, joint pain, tendinitis, and shoulder pain, among many others. To produce the desired therapeutic benefit, it is presently believed that exposure to biomagnetic negative poles, or north poles, has the ability to relieve pain, reduce swelling, promote tissues alkalinization, and increase tissue oxygenation. Exposure to south or positive poles, in contrast, is believed to increase swelling, promote anxiety and other adverse side effects. As such, current magnetic therapy dictates surrounding all or a portion of the body in close proximity to the north or negative poles of such magnets as is facilitated by pockets 28 of the collar of the present invention.
 By referring to FIG. 3, the internal construction of the collar 10 is illustrated. As is therein shown, the collar 10 is constructed from a padding material such as polystyrene foam or the like 30 which includes a non-skid surface 32 which engages the neck, shoulder and chest region of the golfer when the harness is in position to carry the golf clubs. A layer 34 of heavy gauge cloth material such as nylon or canvas or the like is affixed to the padding 30 and covers the opposite surface 36 thereof. As is illustrated, the material 34 is affixed to the padding by stitching at 38 and by a tape 40 which is positioned over the material 34 and under the padding 30 at the edge 42 thereof and then is stitched in place. Thus, the heavy gauge material 34 extends the entire length of the collar 10 and, as will become apparent hereinafter, is the structural member which supports the weight of the golf clubs and the golf bag. The tape 40 extends along the entire outside edge of the collar 10 and into tape 48, which is positioned around the entire side of the back contour piece 12 as viewed in FIG. 1. It should be noted that the tape 40 does not appear on the inside edge, thus providing a greater amount of comfort to the wearer of the golf bag carry harness.
 The back contour piece 12 is constructed in a manner similar to that illustrated in FIG. 3. The outer surface 44 thereof is constructed from a heavy duty cloth material such as canvas or the like, while the opposite surface 46 (FIG. 4) is a padding similar to that shown at 30 in FIG. 3. However, the padding incorporated as part of the back contour piece 12 will be specifically designed and configured to form a complementary shape along the lumbar and/or lumbosacral vertebrae along the wearer's back. In this respect, and contrary to straps of the prior art, the back contour piece 12 will be formed to abut and form a complementary fit along the lower vertebrae of the wearer's back to thus impart the desired support thereto, which advantageously facilitates the wearer's ability to maintain proper posture while wearing the collar of the present invention, as well as more ideally distributes the load imparted by the golf bag upon the wearer's body. As a result, the back contour piece 12 not only provides greater comfort to the golfer, but also minimizes the potential for injury to the golfer's back.
 Attachment means is further provided for affixing the harness to a golf bag 50. Technically all golf bags include a shoulder strap which is attached to the golf bag at spaced apart positions. Traditionally, the attachment points would include such items as a ring 52 at the upper most portion of the bag and a second ring 54 displaced therefrom adjacent the pocket or pouch 56 of the golf bag which is used to carry golf balls and other golfing paraphernalia. The rings 52 and 54 may be O-rings, D-rings or similar type of structure. Typically the shoulder strap is snapped into place at the rings 52 and 54. For purposes of affixing the golf bag carry harness of the present invention, the shoulder strap may be removed and discarded and the collar and flap of the present invention then affixed as shown in FIG. 2. Generally, this attachment of the harness is accomplished by straps shown generally at 58 and 60 which extend from the distal point 16 and 18 of the collar 10 and from the lower portion of the back contour piece 12 as shown.
 As is illustrated in FIG. 1 and FIG. 5, the distal point 16 of the chest portion 26 of the collar 10 includes a buckle 62 which is permanently affixed to a short strap 64 which in turn is securely stitched as shown at 66 to the distal point 16. Also extending from the distal point 16 is a strap 68. The strap 68 is disposed on the side opposite from the strap 64 and is also stitched securely and permanently in place by the stitching 66. Strap 68 loosely hangs from the distal point 16 of the chest portion 26 of the collar 10. To secure the distal point 16 to the golf bag 50, the strap 68 would be passed through the ring 52 and would then be returned to the buckle 62 where it would be passed through the appropriate openings and cinched in place to securely affix the distal end 16 to the golf bag 50. A buckle 70 and strap 72 is also affixed to the distal point 18 of the chest section 28 of the collar 10 in a manner substantially the same as that shown in FIG. 5.
 Referring now more particularly to FIGS. 1 and 4, the attachment means which is secured to the back contour piece 12 is illustrated in greater detail. As is therein shown, a first strap 74 having buckles 76 and 78 is positioned in place along the edge 80 of the back contour piece 12. An additional strap 82 is positioned on the opposite side from the strap 74 and such is shown in FIG. 4. The strap 82 is continuous and extends well beyond the buckles 76 and 78. Each of the straps 74 and 82 are continuous one piece straps. The two straps are stitched together along the edge 80 of the back contour piece 12 as is illustrated by the stitching 84 and 86. In this manner the strap 82 provides extensions or continuations 88 and 90 thereof which cooperate with the straps 68 and 72 to secure the golf bag carry harness of the present invention to the golf bag 50. As is illustrated in FIG. 2, the strap 88 is passed through the ring 52 and is returned to the buckle 76 where it is then secured in place. Similarly, the strap 72 and the strap 90 are passed through the ring 54 returned to the buckles 70 and 78, respectively, and are secured in place. It will be recognized that through the utilization of the straps and the buckles, the effective length of the straps 58 and 60 may be adjusted to position the golf bag in a manner to accommodate the desired pitch thereof as well as the distribution of the weight across the shoulders, neck and back of the golfer. The adjustment will also position the bag at the height desired by the golfer to make it more comfortable to carry the golf clubs.
 All of the attaching means in the preferred embodiment has been illustrated and described as including straps and buckles which are affixed to a collar 10 and back contour piece 12. Other types of attachment means may be utilized. In each instance the attachment means will provide appropriate adjustment capability to position the golf bag as desired by the golfer to provide the ultimate in comfort in carrying the bag. One such alternative fastening or attaching means is illustrated in FIG. 6. In this instance, there is provided a strap 92 which has the appropriate Velcro (hook and loop fastener) attachment structure attached thereto as illustrated at 94 and 96. The end 98 of the strap 92 would be passed through one of the rings 52 or 54 depending upon where the strap 92 was attached. The strap would then be folded back upon itself and the two Velcro (hook and loop fastener) locking portions 96 and 94 brought together to secure the strap at the desired length to position the golf bag as above discussed.
 In FIG. 7, an additional attaching means alternative embodiment is illustrated. In this instance, a strap 100 would have a snap hook 102 affixed permanently to the end 104 thereof. The snap would be inserted into the appropriate ring 52 or 54 depending upon where the strap 10 is attached. As is illustrated, a buckle member or similar such structure 106 would be disposed between the hook 102 and the portion of the strap 100 affixed to the harness. This buckle would be utilized to provide movement of the hook toward or away the harness as is illustrated by the arrow 108 to accomplish the desired adjustment.
 In reference now to FIG. 8 an additional strap 110 is illustrated with male and female snap members at 112 and 114 respectively. The end 116 of strap 110 would be inserted through one of the rings 52 and 54 depending upon where the strap 110 was attached and the male snaps 112 would be brought into an appropriate position to accomplish the desired adjustment with one or more of the female receptacles 114 for the snaps and upon being snapped into place adjustment would be accomplished and the harness would be affixed to the golf bag 50 as above described.
 Referring now more specifically to FIG. 10, the golf carry harness is illustrated in position about the neck and over the shoulders and down the chest of the wearer. The straps 58 and 60 are properly affixed to the golf bag 50 and are adjusted to the length desired so that the golf bag rides comfortably across the back of the golfer slightly above the hips and across the waist. In this position the golf bag does not bounce, more evenly distributes the weight of the golfbag, is appropriately balanced and is easily taken off by the golfer and just as easily returned to position when it comes time to carry the bag.
 As is evident from the foregoing discussion, there may be a variety of different attachment means. Any one of which could be utilized in order to accomplish the desired adjustment to position the golf bag carry harness constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention and the desired position with regard to the golf bag to provide the ultimate comfort to the golfer while walking the golf course carrying his or her bag.