FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This patent application claims priority upon, and incorporates by reference in its entirety, U.S. provisional patent application 60/805222 filed Jun. 20, 2006, and entitled “Golf Tee and Packaging for Golf Tee”.
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a golf tee, more particularly one, which is comprised of flexible parts so as not to be easily damaged, as well as the packaging for such a golf tee.
Conventional golf tees are made of wood and easily broken. One solution to reduce the number of broken tees is to have a tee with a top portion and a bottom portion such that the top portion is able to be rotated with respect to the bottom portion.
For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,849,008 is for a golf tee which has a peg and a flexible holder with a seat for holding the golf ball. U.S. Pat. No. 6,873,470 has a spring in the upper portion of the tee to provide flexibility. U.S. Pat. No. 7,156,758 shows a durable golf tee having an upper portion and a lower portion connected by a sleeve.
These different golf tees, however, are difficult to manufacture, resulting in a higher cost to the consumer. Since a standard wooden golf tees are generally inexpensive, a consumer may not purchase such golf tees due to the higher cost.
Additionally, another problem is related to the packaging and selling of tees. Golf tees are generally loosely packaged in a plastic bag. The bags, when filled with tees, are irregularly shaped. Thus, the orderly placement of the bags on a display is difficult.
Further, golf accessories are often used as promotional items given to customers by a business. Tees are usually imprinted with then name of the business on the shank of the tee, and the tee is given to customers. In order to justify the cost of setup, generally a large quantity of tees must be printed. Further, after the tees are given to the customer, the user often stores and uses both the imprinted tees with other tees, thereby reducing the effectiveness of the imprinting.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
An improved golf tee along with an improved method of packaging golf tees is highly desirable.
The foregoing is accomplished by an improved durable golf tee having an upper portion and a lower portion. The upper portion and the lower portion are axially aligned. The upper portion has an upper end for supporting a golf ball and an upper shank. The lower portion has a pointed lower end for inserting the tee into the ground, a lower shank, and an upper end.
The upper end extends into the interior of the upper portion. Generally, the upper end extends through the length of the upper shank to the bottom of the upper end. The distance the upper end extends into the upper shank could, of course, vary from only a slight amount to a great amount.
The upper portion and lower portion are suitably molded from thermoplastic. The upper portion could be over-molded about the lower portion. Alternatively, the upper portion and lower portion could be molded separately, and the lower portion could be inserted into the upper portion.
The tee is formed from two different types of materials. The upper portion is made from a plastic with more flexibility than the lower portion. For example, the lower portion could be made of polypropylene, styrene, polycarbonate, polyethylene or any other suitable material. The upper portion could be made from santoprene, TPE, TPV, silicon or other suitable material.
The upper portion could be provided with various features designed to absorb the shock from a golf club contacting the stem. For example, the upper portion could be provided with ribs which provide an additional means to disperse the energy caused by a golf club's impact with the tee.
The ribs on the upper portion of the tee could aid a user with gripping a tee and inserting it into the ground in damp or dry weather conditions. The grip would also allow a user to insert the invention into clay, dry soil, rough turf, etc.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The golf tee of the present invention can suitably be formed by a method comprising the steps of molding a lower portion with a pointed lower end for inserting the tee into the ground and then over-molding an upper portion about the upper end. Alternatively, the upper portion and lower portion could be produced separately, and then after fabrication of the upper portion and the lower portion, the upper end could be inserted onto the upper end of the substructure portion.
While the novel features of the invention are set forth in the appended claims, the invention will be better understood along with other features thereof from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 shows a golf tee with a peg molded around a cup shaped stem and seat.
FIG. 2 is a cut away view of the golf tee with a cutaway showing the interior of the golf tee.
FIG. 3 is a perspective cut-away view of the golf tee.
FIG. 4 is a side view of the golf tee.
FIG. 5 is a package for golf tees in a fully open position.
FIG. 6 is a package for golf tees in a partially closed position.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENT
FIG. 7 is a package for golf tees in a fully closed position.
Referring to FIGS. 1, 2, 3 and 4, there is a first embodiment of a golf tee 10 of the present invention. The golf tee 10 has an upper portion 12 and a lower portion 14. The upper portion 12 and the lower portion 14 are axially aligned. The upper end 22 of the lower portion 14 is contained within the upper portion 12. The upper end 22 could be entirely or partially contained within the upper portion 12.
The upper portion 12 has a seat 16 for supporting a golf ball. The upper portion 12 also includes a plurality of ribs 18 circumscribing the upper portion.
The golf tee could be made from a variety of materials. For example, the lower portion 14 could be made of polypropylene, styrene, polycarbonate, polyethylene or any other suitable material. The upper portion 12 could be made from santoprene, TPE, TPV, silicon or other suitable material. The mechanical flexibility of the upper portion 12 is generally more than the mechanical flexibility of the lower portion 14.
The upper end 22 extends upward into the upper portion 12. The lower portion 14 includes a shank 20 and the upper end 22. The upper end 22 is contained within the upper portion 12. The upper end 22 has a generally upside down cone shape, with the top 24 of the upper end having a larger diameter than that of its base 26. The top 24 is generally of the same shape as the seat 16.
The upper end could have, for example, an hour glass shape. The upper end could extend for a substantial distance into the upper portion. For example, in a 2.5 inch golf tee, the shank of the lower portion is approximately 60% of the tee and the upper portion is approximately 40% of the tee. The upper end is approximately 90% of the upper portion of the golf tee, and is surrounded by the upper portion. The upper end could be completely enclosed by the upper portion, or, alternatively, only a portion of the upper end could be contained within the upper portion.
The largest diameter of the upper portion is approx 0.5 inches. The smallest diameter of the upper end is approx 0.1 inches. The largest diameter of the upper end is approx 0.35 inches. The largest diameter of the shank is approx 0.25 inches.
The central portion 28 of the upper end 22 could have a diameter less than that of the top 24 or the base 26.
The upper portion 12 can be flexed with respect to lower portion 14. By changing the diameter and length of the central portion 28 of the upper end 22, the ease of flexing the upper portion 12 with respect to the lower portion 14 could be altered. This allows for the ability to provide tees with different flexibility so that golfers may be provided with a variety of different flexibilities of golf tees.
The seat 16 has a bowl 30 for holding a golf ball. As can be seen from FIG. 1, the seat 16 could have a smaller diameter than that part of the upper portion 12 having the largest diameter. By having a relatively small diameter, the seat 16 has minimal surface area in contact with the golf ball, thereby improving the energy transfer from a golf club head to the golf ball.
A unique packaging for the golf tees described herein, or for any golf tees, is shown in FIG. 3.
The packaging consists of a tri-fold apparatus. A first cover 50 is attached to a second cover 52 by way of a living hinge or mechanical pivot 54. The second cover is attached to a golf tee array 56 by way of second living hinge or mechanical pivot 58.
The golf tee array 56 consists of a plurality of tees 60, 62, 64, 66 on a tree 68. The tree 68 is shown as an array of parallel tees, but, in fact, the tree 68 could be comprised of a variety of different arrangements of tees. For example, the tees could be arranged to overlap, or could be arranged so that the tip of the tee is aligned with the head of an adjacent tee.
The second cover 56 includes four tabs 70 for holding a business card. A business card is inserted under the tabs 70, thereby allowing the business card to be prominently displayed on the exterior of the case.
The four tabs 70 are a means to hold the business card in place on the case. However, a variety of alternate means are available to hold the business card in place. For example, a clip, a fastener, glue, Velcro, a magnet, or any other suitable fastener could be used.
The packaging could be made of plastic. However, other suitable materials such as metal or wood could also be used.
The golf tee tree 68 folds into the second cover 54, as shown in FIG. 4. As shown in FIG. 5, the first cover 50 then folds onto or over the second cover 54, thereby enclosing the tree 68 within the first cover 50 and the second cover 54.
The resultant packaging provides a simple and convenient means to transport golf tees. Additionally, the business card holder on the packaging allows the packaging to be used as a promotional device.
While the foregoing invention has been described with respect to preferred embodiments, it shall be understood that various other changes and modifications to the invention can be made within the spirit and scope of the invention, as claimed.