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Publication numberUS20070032313 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/580,490
Publication dateFeb 8, 2007
Filing dateOct 13, 2006
Priority dateSep 8, 2004
Also published asCA2518641A1, US20060052181, US20070032312, US20070155533
Publication number11580490, 580490, US 2007/0032313 A1, US 2007/032313 A1, US 20070032313 A1, US 20070032313A1, US 2007032313 A1, US 2007032313A1, US-A1-20070032313, US-A1-2007032313, US2007/0032313A1, US2007/032313A1, US20070032313 A1, US20070032313A1, US2007032313 A1, US2007032313A1
InventorsAnthony Serrano, John Bliss, John Solheim
Original AssigneeKarsten Manufacturing Corporation
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Metal-organic composite golf club head
US 20070032313 A1
Abstract
A golf club head is formed of a hollow body, the rear body portion of which includes a metallic stringer that extends along the crown-skirt interface and a plurality of ribs intersecting the metallic stringer to form a lattice frame, the openings of which are filled with an organic composite material such as graphite epoxy. An additional aperture formed in the skirt is also filled with the same graphite epoxy material. Because the graphite epoxy is lighter than the surrounding metal frame, the rear body portion of the golf club head is lighter than a comparable all metal club head. Yet, the presence of the metallic stringer and frame renders the metal-organic composite rear body portion substantially stiffer than a comparable all-composite rear body portion.
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Claims(20)
1. A method of fabricating a golf club head comprising:
forming a hollow body having a heel end and a toe end, said hollow body further comprising a metallic face and a metallic rear body portion, said metallic rear body portion comprising a crown, a sole, a skirt and an arcuate perimeter region extending substantially continuously from said toe end to said heel end along a junction between said crown and said skirt; and
attaching non-metallic material to said hollow body to form a portion of one of said crown and said skirt, wherein the step of attaching said non-metallic material to said hollow body region comprises:
positioning said nonmetallic material inside said hollow body;
forcing said nonmetallic material against an inner surface of said hollow body to cause said nonmetallic material to conform to at least part of the inner surface of said hollow body; and
curing said nonmetallic material so that it forms said portion of one of said crown and said skirt.
2. The method of claim 1, further comprising forming an aperture in said portion of one of said crown and said skirt.
3. The method of claim 2, further comprising forming said aperture in said crown.
4. The method of claim 2, wherein said non-metallic material spans said aperture.
5. The method of claim 4, wherein said non-metallic material is forced at least partially into said aperture.
6. The method of claim 5, further comprising:
providing a mold having a mold cavity, said mold cavity having an inner surface corresponding to an outer surface of said metallic rear body portion; and
placing said hollow body in said mold cavity, wherein the step of forcing said nonmetallic material against the inside surface of said hollow body further includes causing at least a portion of said nonmetallic material to conform to said inner surface of said mold cavity.
7. The method of claim 6, wherein the step of forcing said nonmetallic material against the inner surface of said hollow body comprises inserting a bladder into-said hollow body and inflating the bladder.
8. The method of claim 1, wherein said arcuate perimeter region forms the rearwardmost portion of said hollow body.
9. The method of claim 1, wherein said non-metallic material comprises a plastic selected from the group consisting of a thermo plastic and a thermoset plastic.
10. A method of fabricating a golf club head comprising:
forming a hollow body having a heel end and a toe end, said hollow body further comprising a metallic face and a metallic rear body portion, said metallic rear body portion comprising a crown, a sole, a skirt and an arcuate perimeter region extending substantially continuously from said toe end to said heel end along a junction between said crown and said skirt;
forming an aperture in one of said crown and said skirt; and
attaching lightweight, non-metallic material to said hollow body to extend from proximal said arcuate perimeter region toward said metallic face to form a portion of one of said crown and said skirt, wherein the step of attaching the lightweight, non-metallic material to said hollow body comprises:
positioning a layer of the lightweight, nonmetallic material inside said hollow body;
forcing said layer of the lightweight, nonmetallic material against an inner surface of said hollow body to cause said layer of the lightweight, nonmetallic material to conform to at least part of the inner surface of said hollow body; and
curing said layer of the lightweight, nonmetallic material so that it forms said portion of one of said crown and said skirt.
11. The method of claim 10, further comprising forming said aperture in said crown.
12. The method of claim 10, wherein said layer of the lightweight, non-metallic material spans said aperture.
13. The method of claim 12, wherein said layer of the lightweight, nonmetallic material is forced at least partially into said aperture.
14. The method of claim 10, further comprising:
providing a mold having a mold cavity, said mold cavity having an inner surface corresponding to an outer surface of said metallic rear body portion; and
placing said hollow body in said mold cavity, wherein the step of forcing said layer of the lightweight, nonmetallic material against the inner surface of said hollow body also includes causing at least a portion of said layer of nonmetallic material to conform to said inner surface of said mold cavity.
15. The method of claim 10, wherein the step of forcing said layer of the lightweight, nonmetallic material against the inner surface of said hollow body comprises inserting a bladder into said hollow body and inflating the bladder.
16. The method of claim 10, wherein said arcuate perimeter region forms the rearwardmost portion of said hollow body
17. The method of claim 10, wherein said lightweight, non-metallic material comprises a plastic selected from the group consisting of a thermo plastic and a thermoset plastic.
18. The method of claim 17, wherein said plastic comprises a fiber-reinforced plastic.
19. The method of claim 18, wherein said fiber-reinforced plastic comprises a fiber-reinforced organic resin.
20. The method of claim 18, wherein said fiber-reinforced plastic comprises at least one layer of prepreg graphite-epoxy.
Description

This is a continuation of application Ser. No. 10/936,396 filed Sept. 8, 2004.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to golf clubs and, in particular, to so-called metal wood drivers.

Recent developments in golf club design have included improvements in drivers, which are clubs used primarily to strike a golf ball resting on a golf tee. These improvements have resulted in drivers with club heads consisting of a hollow shell usually made of metal, such as steel, aluminum, or titanium. One example of a golf club head consisting of a hollow metal shell is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,851,160 to Rugge, et al. In an effort to obtain better and better performance from these hollow metal wood drivers, however, golf club manufactures have increased the head volume from a moderate volume of 250 cubic centimeters as disclosed in Rugge, et al. to over 400 cubic centimeters in recent years. The striking face of a metal wood driver must be of a certain minimal thickness in order to withstand the impact forces generated upon impact with a golf ball. Accordingly, as head size increases, less and less material is available for fabricating the crown, sole and skirt of the club head while maintaining the club head of these super-oversized drivers within acceptable weight limitations (i.e., around 200 grams mass).

More recently, in U.S. Pat. No. 6,471,604, one golf club manufacturer has suggested a club head having a metallic face bonded to an aft body composed of a non-metal material such as a composite or thermoplastic material. The lightweight plastic rear body enables more metal to be dedicated to the striking face, however, many golfers dislike the impact sound produced by a club head having a low resonance, highly damped non-metallic rear body. Moreover, because of the discontinuity between the all-composite or thermoplastic rear body and the striking face, the striking face is not significantly supported by the rear body. Consequently, more material must be dedicated to striking face itself, thereby canceling out much of the weight savings attributable to the non-metallic rear body.

Accordingly, what is needed is a club head having a metal-organic composite rear body, which is integral to the striking face and therefore maintains some of the stiffness (and frequency) of a fully-metallic rear body, while still providing a lightweight rear body structure.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention comprises a golf club head formed of a hollow body having a metallic face and a rear body portion forming a shell at least a portion of which is made of a metal-organic composite material. According to a preferred embodiment, the rear body portion of the club head includes a metallic stringer that extends along a crown-skirt interface and a plurality of ribs intersecting the metallic stringer to form a lattice frame, the openings of which are filled with an organic composite material such as graphite epoxy. In the preferred embodiment, the lattice frame forms at least a portion of the crown of the rear body portion. An additional aperture formed in the skirt is also filled with the same graphite epoxy material. Because the graphite epoxy is lighter than the surrounding metal lattice frame, the rear body portion of the golf club head is lighter than a comparable all metal club head. Yet, the presence of the metallic stringer and lattice frame renders the metal-organic composite rear body portion substantially stiffer than a comparable all-composite rear body portion.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be better understood from a reading of the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings figures in which like references designate like elements and, in which:

FIG. 1 is a front view of a golf club head incorporating features of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a rear perspective view of the golf club head of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a top view of the golf club head of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a toe-end side view of the golf club head of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a heel-end side view of the golf club head of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a bottom view of the golf club head of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of the golf club head of FIG. 6 taken along line 7-7;

FIG. 8 is a top view of an alternative embodiment of a golf club head incorporating features of the present invention; and

FIG. 9 is a rear perspective view of another alternative embodiment of a golf club head incorporating features of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The drawing figures are intended to illustrate the general manner of construction and are not necessarily to scale. In the detailed description and in the drawing figures, specific illustrative examples are shown and herein described in detail. It should be understood, however, that the drawing figures and the detailed description are not intended to limit the invention to the particular form disclosed but are merely illustrative and intended to teach one of ordinary skill how to make and/or use the invention claimed herein and for setting forth the best mode for carrying out the invention.

With reference to FIGS. 1-7, and in particular FIGS. 1 and 2, golf club head 10 comprises a hollow body 12 formed of a metal material having a front wall including a face 14 for impacting a golf ball, and a hosel 16 adapted to receive a golf club shaft (not shown). Hollow body 12 further comprises a rear body portion 18, which is made up of a crown 20, a sole 22 and a skirt 24 that form a shell. Crown 20 and skirt 24 meet at apex 26 which comprises an area having a small cross sectional radius of curvature 27 (FIG. 7) and which extends in an arcuate path (as viewed in FIG. 3) from a position proximal the heel end 28 of hollow body 12 to a position proximal the toe end 30 of hollow body 12.

The region surrounding apex 26 forms an arcuate perimeter region 32 that smoothly blends the high crown curve of apex 26 into the low crown curve of crown 20 and skirt 24. Arcuate perimeter region 32 preferably extends 0.700 inches above and 0.700 inches below the peak of apex 26, preferably 0.350 inches above and 0.350 inches below the peak of apex 26 and most preferably about 0.250 inches above and 0.250 inches below the peak of apex 26. Arcuate perimeter region 32 is unsupported above and below by any of the metal forming hollow body 12 for at least a portion of its span.

Hollow body 12 may be assembled from a series of forged metal pieces that are welded or brazed together, but in the illustrative embodiment of FIGS. 1-7, comprises a titanium investment casting. Crown 20 is formed with a solid return portion 33 that extends rearward from face 14 and a series of apertures 34 proximal the rear end of hollow body 12. Skirt 24 is formed with solid return portions 35 and 37 that extend rearward from face 14 and an aperture 36 proximal the rear end of hollow body 12. Apertures 34 and 36 cooperate to form a metallic stringer 38 that extends along a portion of the arcuate perimeter region 32 as well as a plurality of ribs 40 that support stringer 38 along a portion of its span. In the illustrative embodiment, a second stringer 42 disposed radially inward from stringer 38 is tied to ribs 40 to form an open lattice frame.

Apertures 34 and 36 are filled with a material that is of lower density than the relatively denser metallic hollow body 12. The material may be a lightweight non-metallic material 44 such as thermoplastic, or thermoset plastic, or preferably a fiber reinforced organic resin such as fiberglass-epoxy, fiberglass-polyester, ceramic-fiber epoxy, aramid-epoxy or other fiber-organic resin composites. Preferably, the non-metallic material comprises graphite-epoxy, which is laid up on the interior surface 46 (FIG. 7) of hollow body 12 extending across all of the stringers 38, 42 and ribs 40 to form a part titanium part carbon graphite composite rear body portion 18.

In the illustrative embodiment of FIGS. 1-7, non-metallic material 44 comprises prepreg layers of graphite epoxy which are laid up on the interior surface 46 of hollow body 12 covering apertures 34, 36 and an inflatable bladder (not shown) is then inserted into the cavity 48 of hollow body 12 through one of the apertures 50 and 52 disposed in the bottom of weight pockets 54 and 56. Hollow body 12 is placed in a mold cavity (not shown) that conforms to the outer surface of the hollow body 12. The bladder is then inflated and the mold heated to cure the prepreg epoxy.

By eliminating metal from portions of the crown 20 and the skirt 24, as represented by apertures 34 and 36, the illustrative embodiment of FIGS. 1-7 accomplishes a club head 10 in excess of 400 cubic centimeters in volume with the hollow body 12 weighing from 150 to 170 grams and the composite filler weighing from 10 to 40 grams. In doing so, the face 14 can be increased to at least 5.00 square inches (preferably approximately 5.30 square inches) with a maximum thickness of between 0.110 and 0.160 inches proximal the geometric center 58 (FIG. 7) of the face 14 tapering downward to a lesser thickness of 0.070 to 0.090 inches towards the perimeter 60 of the face 14. This is accomplished without sacrificing structural integrity and without exceeding the desired total weight of about 200 grams mass. Moreover, the presence of the metallic stringers 38, 42 and ribs 40, which are integrally attached to the face 14 (i.e., formed as a single casting, welded or brazed together as opposed to adhesively bonded or attached with fasteners) provide support for the face 14 not present in pure composite back body designs while also maintaining the desirable dominant natural frequency of at least 3,500 hertz.

With reference to FIG. 8, an alternative embodiment of a metal-organic composite golf club head in accordance with the present invention comprises a hollow body 62 having a crown 64. A series of apertures 66 are formed in crown 64 in three rows, which form a plurality of ribs 68, an outer metallic stringer 70 as well as inner metallic stringers 72 and 74, each of the inner metallic stringers 72 and 74 being displaced radially inward from stringer 70. As with the embodiment of FIGS. 1-7, apertures 66 are filled with a lightweight non-metallic material, preferably a graphite epoxy to seal the interior cavity of hollow body 62 and to provide a smooth exterior surface.

With reference to FIG. 9, another alternative embodiment of a metal-organic composite golf club head in accordance with the present invention comprises a hollow body 82 having a crown 84 and a skirt 86. As with the embodiment of FIGS. 1-7, crown 84 and skirt 86 each have a metallic return portion 88 and 90, respectively, that extends rearward from the face of the club head. Single large apertures 92 and 94 are formed in crown 84 and skirt 86 which results in a metallic stringer 96 that extends almost the full length of arcuate perimeter region 98 of hollow body 82. As with the embodiment of FIGS. 1-7, apertures 92 and 94 are filled with a lightweight non-metallic material, preferably a graphite epoxy.

Although certain illustrative embodiments and methods have been disclosed herein, it will be apparent from the foregoing disclosure to those skilled in the art that variations and modifications of such embodiments and methods may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, it is intended that the invention should be limited only to extent required by the appended claims and the rules and principals of applicable law.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7371191 *Jun 3, 2005May 13, 2008Sri Sports Ltd.Golf club head
US7448964 *Sep 6, 2006Nov 11, 2008Karsten Manufacturing CorporationGolf club head having a crown with thin regions
US7749104Dec 8, 2008Jul 6, 2010Sri Sports LimitedGolf club head
US7998000May 26, 2010Aug 16, 2011Sri Sports LimitedGolf club head
US8777778Jan 3, 2012Jul 15, 2014Karsten Manufacturing CorporationGolf club heads with apertures and methods to manufacture golf club heads
US20130017904 *Dec 20, 2011Jan 17, 2013Taylor Made Golf Company, Inc.,Golf club heads with improved sound characteristics
WO2012094341A2 *Jan 3, 2012Jul 12, 2012Karsten Manufacturing CorporationGolf club heads with apertures and methods to manufacture golf club heads
Classifications
U.S. Classification473/349
International ClassificationA63B53/00, A63B53/04
Cooperative ClassificationA63B2053/0491, A63B2053/0458, A63B2209/023, A63B2053/0408, A63B53/0466, A63B2053/0433, A63B2053/0462, A63B2053/0437, A63B2053/045
European ClassificationA63B53/04L
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 13, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: KARSTEN MANUFACTURING CORPORATION, ARIZONA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:SERRANOL, ANTHONY D.;BLISS, JOHN C.;SOLHEIM, JOHN A.;REEL/FRAME:018415/0432;SIGNING DATES FROM 20061011 TO 20061013