CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
This application is a continuation-in-part of co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/245,962, filed Oct. 6, 2008, which is a continuation-in-part of co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/734,819, filed Apr. 13, 2007, the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entireties.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This invention generally relates to golf clubs, and more specifically to golf clubs having an improved hosel connection that provides interchangeability between a shaft and a club head.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
In order to improve their game, golfers often customize their equipment to fit their particular swing. In the absence of a convenient way to make shafts and club heads interchangeable, a store or a business offering custom fitting must either have a large number of clubs with specific characteristics, or must change a particular club using a complicated disassembly and reassembly process. If, for example, a golfer wants to try a golf club shaft with different flex characteristics, or use a club head with a different mass, center of gravity, or moment of inertia, in the past it has not been practical to make such changes. Golf equipment manufacturers have been increasing the variety of clubs available to golfers. For example, a particular model of golf club may be offered in several different loft angles and lie angles to suit a particular golfer's needs. In addition, golfers can choose shafts, whether metal or graphite, and adjust the length of the shaft to suit their swing. Recently, golf clubs have emerged that allow shaft and club head components, such as adjustable weights, to be interchanged to facilitate this customization process.
One example is U.S. Pat. No. 3,524,646 to Wheeler for a Golf Club Assembly. The Wheeler patent discloses a putter having a grip and a putter head, both of which are detachable from a shaft. Fastening members, provided on the upper and lower ends of the shaft, have internal threads, which engage the external threads provided on both the lower end of the grip and the upper end of the putter head shank to secure these components to the shaft. The lower portion of the shaft further includes a flange, which contacts the upper end of the putter head shank, when the putter head is coupled to the shaft. This design produces an unaesthetic bulge at the top of the shaft and another unaesthetic bulge at the bottom of the shaft.
Another example is U.S. Pat. No. 4,943,059 to Morell for a Golf Club Having Removable Head. The Morell patent discloses a putter golf club including a releasable golf club head and an elongated golf club shaft. The club head hosel has a plug containing a threaded axial bore. A threaded rod is retained on the connector portion of the shaft, and is threaded into the axial bore of the plug of the club head for operatively connecting the shaft to the head.
Another example is U.S. Pat. No. 5,433,442 to Walker for Golf Clubs with Quick Release Heads. The Walker patent discloses a golf club in which the club head is secured to the shaft by a coupling rod and a quick release pin. The upper end of the coupling rod has external threads that engage the internal threads formed in the lower portion of the shaft. The lower end of the coupling rod, which is inserted into the hosel of the club head, has diametric apertures that align with diametric apertures in the hosel to receive the quick release pin.
Another example is U.S. Pat. No. 5,722,901 to Barron et al. for a Releasable Fastening Structure for Trial Golf Club Shafts and Heads. The Barron patent discloses a bayonet-style releasable fastening structure for a golf club and shaft. The club head hosel has a fastening pin in its bore that extends diametrically. The head portion of the shaft has two opposing “U” or “J” shaped channels. The head end portion of shaft fastens on the hosel pin through axial and rotary motion. A spring in the hosel maintains this fastenable interconnection, but allows manually generated, axially inward hosel motion for quick assembly and disassembly.
Another example is U.S. Pat. No. 5,951,411 to Wood et al. for a Hosel Coupling Assembly and Method of Using Same. The Wood patent discloses a golf club including a club head, an interchangeable shaft, and a hosel with an anti-rotation device. The hosel contains an alignment member with an angular surface that is fixed, by a stud, within the hosel bore. A sleeve secured on the shaft end forms another alignment arrangement element and is adapted to engage the alignment element disposed in the hosel bore. A capture mechanism disposed on the shaft engages the hosel to fix releasably the shaft relative to the club head.
Another example is U.S. Publ. Pat. App. No. 2001/0007835 A1 to Baron for a Modular Golf Club System and Method. The Baron publication discloses a modular golf club including club head, hosel, and shaft. A hosel is attached to a shaft and rotation is prevented rotation by complementary interacting surfaces, adhesive bonding or mechanical fit. The club head and shaft are removably joined together by a collet-type connection.
Another example is U.S. Pub. Pat. App. No. 2006/0105855 A1 to Cackett et al. for a Golf Club with Interchangeable Head-Shaft Connections. The Cackett publication discloses a golf club that uses a sleeve/tube arrangement instead of a traditional hosel to connect the interchangeable shaft to the club head in an effort to reduce material weight and provide for quick installation. A mechanical fastener (screw) entering the club head through the sole plate is used to secure the shaft to the club head.
Still another example is U.S. Pat. No. 6,547,673 to Roark for an Interchangeable Golf Club Head and Adjustable Handle System. The Roark patent discloses a golf club with a quick release for detaching a club head from a shaft. The quick release is a two-piece connector including a lower connector, which is secured to the hosel of the club head, and an upper connector, which is secured to the lower portion of the shaft. The upper connector has a pin and a ball catch that both protrude radially outward from the lower end of the upper connector. The upper end of the lower connector has a corresponding slot formed therein for receiving the upper connector pin, and a separate hole for receiving the ball catch. When the shaft is coupled to the club head, the lower connector hole retains the ball catch to secure the shaft to the club head.
Other published patent documents, such as U.S. Pat. No. 7,083,529 and U.S. Publ. Pat. App. Nos. 2006/0287125, 2006/0293115, 2006/0293116 and 2006/0281575, disclose interchangeable shafts and club heads with anti-rotation devices located therebetween.
There remains a need in the art for golf clubs with an improved connection that provides a method for quickly and easily interchanging the shaft, removable weights and other attachments with the club head.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The invention is directed to a releasable connection system for assembling a golf club. The inventive connection system provides interchangeability between a shaft and a club head.
In one embodiment, the invention is a golf club including a shaft having a tooth, a ferrule attached to the shaft, a club head having a tooth groove to engage the tooth, and a hosel threadedly attached to either the club head or the ferrule. When the tooth is engaged with the tooth groove, the hosel pushes against the other of either the club head or the ferrule to removably attach the shaft to the club head.
In another embodiment, the invention is a method of assembling a golf club including the steps of providing a shaft having a tooth and a ferrule, providing a club head having a tooth groove engagable to the tooth, rotating the hosel in a first direction to threadedly attach the hosel to either of the club head or the ferrule, engaging the tooth to the tooth groove, and rotating the hosel in an opposite direction to removably attach the club head to the shaft.
In yet another embodiment, the invention is a golf club including a club head having a first anti-rotation member, a shaft having a second anti-rotation member which cooperates with the first anti-rotation member to limit the relative rotation between the shaft and the club head, and a sleeve rotatably connected to either the shaft or the club head. The sleeve is threadedly connectable to either the shaft or the club head to releasably connect the shaft to the club head and to compress the first and second anti-rotation members together.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In the accompanying drawings, which form a part of the specification and are to be read in conjunction therewith and in which like reference numerals are used to indicate like parts in the various views:
FIG. 1 is an exploded view of an exemplary driver club showing a shaft, a club head and a first embodiment of the inventive connection system;
FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the two-part hosel of the connection system of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the assembled shaft;
FIG. 4 is a partial cross-sectional view of the connection system of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the assembled driver club of FIG. 1;
FIGS. 6 and 7 are perspective views another embodiment of the inventive connection system;
FIG. 8 is an exploded view of an exemplary driver club and another embodiment of the inventive connection system; FIG. 8A is an alternative of the embodiment of FIG. 8;
FIG. 9 is an exploded view of an alternative of the embodiment of FIG. 8 illustrated with an iron club;
FIG. 10A is an exploded view of another embodiment of the inventive connection system; FIG. 10B is a perspective view of the assembled club head, sheath, shaft, and inserts of FIG. 10A; FIG. 10C is an exploded view of inner shaft insert, sheath, and outer shaft insert of FIG. 10A; and FIG. 10D is an exploded view of shaft inserts, sheath, and assembled shaft and club head of FIG. 10A;
FIG. 11A is an exploded view of another embodiment of the inventive connection system; FIG. 11B is a perspective view of the assembled club head, reverse sheath, shaft and insert of FIG. 11A; FIG. 11C is an exploded view of shaft insert and shaft of FIG. 11A; and FIG. 11D is an exploded view of iron insert, reverse sheath, and club head of FIG. 11A;
FIG. 12A is an exploded view of another embodiment of the inventive connection system; FIG. 12B is a perspective view of shaft insert of FIG. 12A; FIG. 12C is a partial rear, exploded hosel and club head of FIG. 12A; FIG. 12D is an exploded view of shaft and shaft insert of FIG. 12A; and FIG. 12E is a partial cross-sectional view of assembled iron club of FIG. 12A;
FIG. 13A is a force-flow through a set of threaded fasteners; and FIG. 13B is a single threaded right-hand and double threaded left-hand fastener;
FIG. 14A is a partial cross-sectional view of a club head adapted for use with another embodiment of the inventive connection system; FIG. 14B is an enlarged perspective view of a wedge hosel of FIG. 14A; FIG. 14C is an exploded view of shaft and wedge hosel; FIG. 14D is a perspective view of assembled shaft and wedge hosel of FIG. 14A; FIG. 14E is an enlarged perspective view of wedge screw; and FIG. 14F is a partial cross-sectional view of assembled club of this embodiment; FIG. 14G is a cross-sectional view of another embodiment of the wedge hosel; FIGS. 14 H-I are top views of alternatives of the head of the wedge shown in FIG. 14G; FIG. 14J is a cross-sectional view of an alternative of the body of the wedge shown in FIG. 14G;
FIG. 15A is a partial cross-sectional view of a club head for use with another embodiment of the inventive connection system; FIG. 15B is a perspective view of a bendable hosel; FIG. 15C is an exploded view of the shaft, bendable hosel and shaft insert; FIG. 15D is an exploded view showing the club head of FIG. 15A and the assembled shaft and hosel of FIG. 15C;
FIG. 16A is an exploded view of FIG. 15D with a system for retaining the screw in the club head; FIG. 16B is a partial cross-sectional view of the assembled golf club; FIG. 16C is an enlarged perspective view of one embodiment of the retaining system; FIG. 16D is an enlarged cross-sectional view of the club head bore adapted to receive the retainer of FIG. 16C; and FIG. 16E is an enlarged perspective view of another embodiment of the retainer;
FIG. 17A is a partial cross-sectional view of a club head for use with another embodiment of the inventive connection system; and FIG. 17B is a partial cross-sectional view of the assembled golf club with a translucent window;
FIG. 18A is a perspective view of a club head of FIG. 5 with an hosel insert; and FIG. 18B is an enlarged view perspective view of the hosel insert;
FIGS. 19A-C are perspective views of an alternative to the anti-rotation feature of the present invention; FIG. 19D is a schematic view of another serrated anti-rotation surfaces;
FIG. 20A is a cross-sectional view of another embodiment of the present invention; FIGS. 20B-C are cross-sectional views of variations of the embodiment shown in FIG. 20A; FIG. 20D is a cross-sectional view of a damper/spring usable with the present invention;
FIG. 21 is an exploded side view of an exemplary drive club showing a shaft, a club head, and an embodiment of the inventive connection system;
FIG. 22A is an exploded view a shaft, shaft insert and wedge ferrule; FIG. 22B is an assembled view of the shaft, shaft insert, and wedge ferrule of FIG. 22A; FIG. 22C is a top view of a hosel; FIG. 22D is a top view of a hosel tube; FIG. 22E is a bottom view of a hosel tube;
FIG. 23 is a cross-sectional view of a hosel threadedly engaged to a hosel tube;
FIG. 24 is a cutaway side view of a shaft and present invention, wherein the shaft has been rotated into an engaged position, and the hosel has been locked against the wedge ferrule;
FIG. 25A is a shaft insert of another embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 25 B is a top view of a hosel. FIG. 25C is a top view of a hosel tube. FIG. 25D is a bottom view of a hosel tube;
FIG. 26A is an exploded view of another embodiment of the inventive connection system; FIG. 26B is a perspective view of the assembled club head, hosel part, sheath, shaft, and insert of FIG. 26A; FIG. 26C is a partially assembled view of the shaft, sheath and insert of FIG. 26A; and FIG. 26D is a partially assembled view of shaft insert, hosel part, sheath, and assembled shaft and club head of FIG. 26A; and
FIG. 27 is a perspective view of a kit including a plurality of golf club heads in accordance with the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
The present invention is directed to a quick connection system for connecting the shaft to a club head and for changing the shaft or the club head to optimize the golfer's strength to the playing conditions. Such a system can be utilized or customized for various applications, including, but not limited to, the shaft-club head connection, the insertion of adjustable weights in the club head, and the connection of a sole plate to the club head. Several embodiments of the present invention are described below.
Inventive connection system 10 is designed for club fitters to repeatedly change shaft or club head combinations during a fitting session. Inventive connection system 10 is designed to give fitting accounts maximum fitting options with a system that is fast and easy to use.
Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, connection system 10 releasably connects club head 12 to shaft 14, such that different shafts 14 can be connected to different club heads 12. Connection system 10 comprises a two-part hosel, i.e., shaft serrated hosel 16 and driver serrated hosel 18 and internally threaded shaft insert 20. Serrated surface 17 of shaft hosel 16 and serrated surface 19 driver hosel 18 are sized to mate with each other to minimize or prevent relative rotation between shaft hosel 16 and driver hosel 18. Preferably, each serrated surface comprises a plurality of corresponding teeth. Connection system 10 further comprises driver sole insert 22 and screw 24, which are connected to club head 12 on the sole side, as shown.
As best shown in FIG. 3, shaft 14 is at least partially hollow and is sized and dimensioned to receive and retain internally threaded shaft insert 20 therewithin. Preferably, shaft insert 20 is securely attached to shaft 14 by means of adhesives, epoxies or similar materials. Shaft serrated hosel 16 is sized and dimensioned to fit on the outside of shaft 14. A predetermined length 26 of shaft 14 is positioned below shaft serrated hosel 16 for insertion into club head 12. The internal threads of shaft insert 20 are adapted to receive the external threads of fastener 24, such as screw 24.
As best shown in FIG. 4, driver serrated hosel 18 has external threads, as shown, and is threaded into the top of bore 28 of club head 12. Adhesives or epoxies can also be used to affix driver serrated hosel 18 to bore 28. At the bottom of bore 28, driver sole insert 22 is inserted into bore 28 and affixed therein. Preferably, driver sole insert 22 is serrated or threaded on the outside surface to increase the surface area to adhesives or epoxies. The assembled shaft 14 with shaft insert 20 and shaft hosel 16 as shown in FIG. 3 is inserted through driver hosel 18 and into bore 28. Screw 24 is inserted through driver sole insert 22 and is threaded into shaft insert 20 to secure shaft 14 to club head 12. Preferably, distal tip 30 of shaft 14 is spaced apart from the top of driver sole insert 22 and shaft 14 and driver sole insert 22 is separated by gap 32. Gap 32 ensures that screw 24 can fully pull shaft 14 downward toward the sole of club head 12 so that serrated surfaces 17 and 19 fully engage each other to minimize relative rotation between the two hosels 16 and 18 thereby minimizing relative rotation between shaft 14 and club head 12. In other words, gap 32 ensures that screw 24 does not “bottom out” inside threaded shaft insert 20 so that serrated hosels 16 and 18 can fully mate with each other.
Optionally, bore 28 has ledge 34 shown in FIG. 4 formed integrally thereon, e.g., through the casting process, to abut driver sole insert 22 to provide additional structural support for driver sole insert 22 and screw 24. Alternatively, driver sole insert 22 can be formed integrally on bore 28. These alternatives are applicable to all of the embodiments described herein.
Referring to FIG. 5, a fully assembled golf club is shown. Serrated hosels 16 and 18 form a single hosel and the serrated lines 17 and 19 separating the two hosels are preferably located above the top of club head 12. The advantage of locating the anti-rotation device, i.e., shaft serrated hosel 16 and driver serrated hosel 18, above the club head is that no additional mass is added, thereby preserving the mass properties of the club head and eliminating a protrusion at the shaft/hosel intersection. The anti-rotation device uses a standard hosel to make both the shaft serrated hosel and the driver serrated hosel. This means there is no weight gained or lost from the device, which in turn means no change in moment of inertia or center of gravity. Furthermore, serrated lines 17 and 19 add a visual distinction to the golf club and readily identify the golf club as an interchangeable golf club.
Driver sole insert 22 and shaft threaded insert 20, as well as hosel insert 16 and/or hosel insert 18, can be made out of aluminum, stainless steel or titanium. Screw 24 can be any threaded screw, and is preferably a TORX™ drive flat head screw and the sole insert 22 is tapered so that the head of screw 24 can be flushed with sole insert 22, as best shown in FIG. 4.
Referring to FIGS. 6 and 7, another embodiment of connection system 10 is shown. In this embodiment, the two-part hosel of the first embodiment is replaced by a keyed anti-rotation device. This keyed anti-rotation device comprises angled cut-out 36 on the distal tip of shaft 14. Shaft 14 is also hollow and has threaded shaft insert 20 inserted therein and conventional hosel 40 disposed thereon. Driver sole insert 22′ has angled surface 38 sized and dimensioned to match cut-out 36. In this embodiment, shaft 14 is inserted into driver sole insert 22′, and angled cut-out 36 is keyed to angled surface 38 as screw 24 is threaded into shaft insert 20 to minimize or prevent relative rotation between shaft 14 and driver sole insert 22′/club head 12. An advantage of this embodiment is that an anti-rotation device can be added without adding substantial weight to the club head thereby minimizing the effect on the club's swing weight.
Referring to FIG. 8, another embodiment of connection system 10 is shown. In this embodiment, bore 28 does not extend though club head 12. Club head 12 has hosel 42, which has at least one and preferably two or more channels 44. Channel 44 has entry leg 46 and locking leg 48. Leg 46 is adapted to receive post 50 on shaft 14. After post 50 travels through entry leg 46, it passes transverse leg 47 before being received and held in locking leg 48. Disposed within hosel 42 is spring 52 that exerts an upward force on shaft 14 to hold securely post 50 in locking leg 48. Spring 52 is selected so that it can exert a sufficient force to hold post 50 within channel 44. Preferably, spring 52 has a spring constant from about 5 to about 100 pounds-force/inch. More preferably, the spring constant can be in the range of about 20 to about 75 pounds-force/inch and most preferably about 33 pounds-force/inch. A golfer can conveniently insert shaft 14 into hosel 42 after aligning post 50 to leg 46. Thereafter, shaft 14 is rotated along transverse leg 47 and afterward spring 52 pushes shaft 14 up locking leg 48. Post 50 and channel 44 is also known as a bayonet mount or connection.
Although channel 44 is illustrated as a “J-shaped” channel, it can have any shape, e.g., “U”, “L”, “S”, “V” or “W” shape. Also, preferably leg 46 is preferably deep so that as post 50 is moved down into hosel 42, more of shaft 14 overlaps hosel 42 to increase mechanical stability. Alternatively, the top of locking leg may have a reduced diameter section to hold post 50 by press-fit or by increased friction. As illustrated in FIG. 8A, the reduced diameter section can be a triangular section. The reduced diameter section can also be a figure-eight or waist section.
FIG. 9 illustrates another variation of the embodiment of FIG. 8, where hosel 42 has two or more channels 44. Channels 44 can have the shapes or configurations of those described in FIGS. 8 and 8A. An advantage of this embodiment is that having two or more locking legs 48 prevents twisting at the lower end of the leg and it offers a back up should one of the locking legs 48 fail.
Referring to FIGS. 10A to 10D, another embodiment of connection system 10 comprises a first rotatable hosel sheath 70 with internal threads and a second threaded, hollow hosel part 72, which is fixedly attached to club head 74. Preferably, second threaded hosel part 72 is made integral to club head 74, and hosel sheath 70 and hosel part 72 are sized and dimensioned to threadably attach to each other to connect shaft 14 to club head 74. Connection system 10 further comprises an anti-rotation device, made up of first serrated surface 76 disposed on inner shaft insert 80 and corresponding second serrated surface 78 disposed on second threaded hosel part 72.
To assemble the club, upper end 82 of inner shaft insert 80 is inserted into the threaded end of rotatable hosel sheath 70, as shown in FIG. 10C. End 82 is sized and dimensioned to pass through aperture 84 of hosel sheath 70, but the top portion of serrated surface 76 is retained within hosel sheath 70. End 82 is then inserted into aperture 86 and finally attached to outer shaft insert 88. After end 82 of inner shaft insert 80 is fixedly connected to outer shaft insert 88, there is sufficient clearance for first hosel sheath 70 to be freely rotatable to connect to second hosel part 72. Preferably, the length of end 82 is dimensioned so that once end 82 is fully inserted into aperture 86, there remains sufficient clearance between outer shaft insert 88 and hosel sheath 70 for hosel sheath 70 to rotate freely. Outer shaft insert 88 is then inserted into shaft 14. Alternatively, inner sheath insert 80 is inserted into and attached directly to shaft 14 and outer sheath insert 88 can be omitted.
Although this embodiment of the present invention is particularly suited to hosel sheath 70 made of metal, hosel sheath 70 can be made of high impact transparent or translucent materials. Suitable materials include, but are not limited to, polymethacrylate, cellulose acetate butyrate, polycarbonate (Lexan®), and glycol modified polyethylene teraphthalate.
Afterward, as shown in FIG. 10D, shaft 14, with decorative ferrule 90, hosel sheath 70 and both shaft inserts 80 and 88, is assembled with club head 74. More specifically, lower end 83 of inner shaft 80 is inserted into second hosel part 72 to allow corresponding threads of hosel sheath 70 and hosel part 72 to mate and connect shaft 14 to club head 74. End 83 may extend partially or fully into club head 74. Serrated surfaces 76 and 78 also mate to minimize relative rotation between the shaft and the club head.
Referring to FIGS. 11A to 11D, another embodiment of connection system 10 comprises a rotatable hosel reverse sheath 92 with internal threads and a threaded, hollow shaft insert 94, which is fixedly attached to shaft 14. Hosel reverse sheath 92 and shaft insert 94 are sized and dimensioned to threadably attach to each other to connect shaft 14 to club head 98. Connection system 10 further comprises an anti-rotation device, made up of first serrated surface 100 disposed on club insert 102 and corresponding second serrated surface 104 disposed on shaft insert 94.
To assemble the club, upper end 96 of shaft insert 94 is inserted into and fixedly connected to shaft 14 for example by adhesive or epoxy, as shown in FIG. 11C. Preferably, the length of end 96 is dimensioned so that there is a sufficient bond between shaft insert 94 and shaft 14. Threads 106 and second serrated surface 104 should remain outside of shaft 14 and next to decorative ferrule 108.
As shown in FIG. 11D, lower end 110 of club insert 102 is inserted into reverse sheath 92. End 110 is sized and dimensioned to pass through aperture 112 of reverse sheath 92, but the bottom portion of serrated surface 100 is retained within rotatable reverse sheath 92. End 110 is then inserted into hosel 114 and is attached thereto. End 110 may extend partially or fully into club head 98 so long as there is sufficient clearance for reverse sheath 92 to rotate freely. To assemble the club, the assembled version of FIG. 11C is inserted into the assembled version of FIG. 11D. Serrated surfaces 100 and 104 mate to minimize relative rotation between the shaft and the club head and reverse hosel sheath 92 is rotated so that its internal threads mate with threads 106 of shaft insert 94 to connect club head 98 to shaft 14.
Referring to FIGS. 12A to 12E, another embodiment of connection system 10 comprises hollow shaft insert 54 connecting shaft 14 to club head 56. Shaft insert 54 comprises affixing leg 57 and non-affixing leg 58, which have uneven lengths, as best shown in FIG. 12B. Hosel 55 has receiving area 59 adapted to receive shaft insert 54.
To assemble the club, shaft tip 60 is maintained below decorative ferrule 61 disposed on shaft 14, as shown in FIG. 12D. Upper end 62 of shaft insert 54 is inserted into shaft tip 60, and shaft insert 54 is fixedly attached to shaft 14.
Afterward, as shown in FIG. 12E, shaft 14, with decorative ferrule 61 and shaft insert 54 is assembled with club head 56. Specifically, lower end 63 of shaft insert 54 is inserted into receiving area 59 to connect shaft 14 to club head 56. More specifically, affixing leg 57 is inserted into aperture 64 and threadably attached to sole nut 65 in bore 66 of club head 56, while non-affixing leg 58 is mated to receiving area 59 to minimize relative rotation between the shaft and the club head. Preferably, non-affixing leg 58 is conical, wedge, or other key shape.
Referring to FIGS. 1 to 12E and 14A to 15G, the embodiments of the present invention are illustrated with various single thread fasteners. These fasteners can be right-handed or left-handed and can have single thread or multiple threads. These fasteners need to be sufficiently strong to withstand repeated impacts between the golf club and the balls. An impact can create a force of up to 2,000 lbs. and depending on the location of the impact on the hitting face, connection system 10 may experience a torque load of 2,000·x, where x is a distance between the impact location and the neutral axis of the club. For example, a toe impact would produce more torque than a center impact. A heel impact would produce more torque (reverse direction) than a center impact. The density of threads and the dimensions of the threads should be designed to withstand the torque produced by toe and heel impacts.
FIG. 13A illustrates the force-flow lines 120 through a set of threaded fasteners used to clamp two members together. (Further detail can be found in Fundamentals of Machine Component Design by Robert C. Juvinall, copyright 1983, by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.) Direct compressive stress, often called bearing, exists between threaded fastener 122 and corresponding fastener 124. Stress (σ) is defined as load (P) 128 divided by the cross sectional area (A) 130 that exists when the load is acting: σ=P/A. In this particular situation, the area used for the P/A stress calculation is projected area 132 that, for each thread, is π(d2−di 2)/4, where d 134 is outer diameter of fastener cylinder and di 136 is inner diameter of fastener 122 contact with nut 124. The number of threads in contact is t/p, where t is fastener length of engagement 138 and p is fastener thread pitch, typically reported as inches per thread turn. (In practice, thread pitch is known by its reciprocal of threads per inch.) By substitution, σ=(4P/π(d2−di 2))·p/t. This equation demonstrates the advantage of more threaded contacts in the present invention, which is the strength of a set of threaded fasteners is proportionately increased by increasing the threaded fastener contacts. Preferably, fastener threads per inch is 12 to 36 threads/inch. More preferably, fastener threads per inch is 18 to 30 threads/inch and most preferably 24 threads/inch.
Increasing fastener contacts could increase the golfer's fastener tightening and untightening time, which is undesirable to a method for quickly and easily interchanging the shaft, removable weights and other attachments with the club head. Typically, threaded fasteners comprise a single helical groove 140 disposed on a cylindrical rod from end thread 142, however if the helix angle 144 is increased other threads may be cut between the grooves of the first thread, so fasteners can have two 146 or more parallel threads, as shown in FIG. 13B. (Further detail can be found in Fundamentals of Machine Component Design by Robert C. Juvinall, copyright 1983, by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.) A fastener thread is assumed to be single thread, unless otherwise stated. Lead is the distance a threaded fastener advances axially in one turn. On a single threaded fastener 140, the lead 148 and pitch 150 are identical; on a double thread fastener 146, the lead 152 is twice the pitch 154, etc. The end result is that the threaded fastener will advance twice as far in a single turn on a double thread fastener than it would on a single thread fastener, etc., so double, triple, or more threads are used whenever rapid advance is desired. The advantage of multiple parallel threads is that the thread count of the fastener connection can be increased to strengthen the fastener connection while minimizing the golfer's time to connect the threaded connectors together. Preferably, fasteners will be multiple thread and have the same direction. More preferably, fasteners will be double thread and have the same direction.
Referring to FIG. 13B, a thread may be either right-hand 140 or left-hand 146. Almost all threaded fasteners tighten, or move away from the viewer, when rotated clockwise; a left-hand thread advances when turned counterclockwise. A fastener thread is assumed to be right-hand unless otherwise stated. During use of an assembled golf club, swinging the golf club and hitting the ball tends to tighten or loosen threaded connections, depending on whether the club is right- or left-handed and whether the thread is right- or left-hand. For right-handed golf clubs, left-hand threading would tighten during ball striking; for left-landed golf clubs, right-hand threading would tighten during ball striking. Preferably, fastener threading would be matched to loosening and tightening needs, so that the club can be readily assembled and disassembled before and after use.
Referring to FIGS. 14A to 14E, another embodiment of connection system 10 comprises a wedge hosel 160 with tapered receiving area 162, a hollow club head insert 164 that is fixedly attached to club head 166, and a wedge screw 168 with a first smooth tapered end 170 and a second threaded cylindrical end 172. Tapered receiving area 162 of wedge hosel 160 is adapted to receive tapered head 170 of wedge screw 168. Connection system 10 further comprises an anti-rotation device, made up of first serrated surface 174 disposed on wedge hosel 160 and corresponding second serrated surface 176 disposed on club head insert 164. Additionally, when tapered head 170 is inserted into receiving area 162, tapered head 170 also minimizes relative rotation between club head 166 and shaft 14. Wedge screw 168 is preferably aligned substantially perpendicular or orthogonal to the shaft.
To assemble the club, shaft tip 178 is maintained below decorative ferrule 180 disposed on shaft 14, as shown in FIG. 14C. Upper end 182 of wedge hosel 160 is sized and dimensioned to fit on the outside of shaft 14, and wedge hosel 160 is fixedly attached to shaft 14 by means of adhesives, epoxies or similar materials. Shaft tip 178 is retained within wedge hosel 160, as shown in FIG. 14D. Preferably, upper end 182 of wedge hosel 160 is flush with decorative ferrule 180.
Club head insert 164 is inserted the top of bore 184 of club head 166 and affixed therein with diametric aperture 186 of club head insert 164 aligned with threaded side aperture 188 of club head 166. Preferably, club head insert 164 is serrated or threaded on its outside surface to increase the surface area to adhesives or epoxies. Alternatively, club head insert 164 is made integral to club head 166.
Thereafter, shaft 14 and wedge hosel 160 assembly, as shown in FIG. 14F, is inserted the top of bore 184 of club head 166. The interaction of serrated surfaces 174 and 176 of wedge hosel 160 and club head insert 164 directs shaft 14 within bore 184 so that tapered receiving area 162 of wedge hosel 160 aligns with side aperture 188 of club head 166. Tapered end 170 of wedge screw 168 is inserted through side aperture 188 of club head 166 into receiving area 162 of wedge hosel 160 and threaded end 172 of wedge screw 168 is releasably fastened into threaded side aperture 188 of club head 166.
Wedge 168 may comprise two components: wedge shell 169 and threaded fastener 171, as shown in FIGS. 14G-J. Fastener 171 fits within wedge shell 169 and is rotatably connecting hosel 160 to club head 12. The two-component wedge is similar to the one-component wedge, except that the threads are located on the inner threaded fastener 171 and wedge shell 169 has substantially smooth outer surface to fit snugly to receiving area 162. The end of wedge shell 169 can be conical, as shown in FIG. 14H or tapered, as shown in FIG. 14I. The conical end has an advantage of self-centering as two component wedge 168 is being inserted into hosel 160. The tapered end has an advantage of providing an anti-rotation tendency between wedge 168 and hosel 160. Alternatively, wedge housing 169 can have a cylindrical outer shape as shown in FIG. 14J. In the cylindrical embodiment, all of outer surface 173 is in contact with hosel 160 to provide enhanced contact between these two parts. A cover 175 is optionally provided to keep wedge 168 free of debris.
FIGS. 15A to 15D illustrate another embodiment of connection system 10 with a bendable hosel 190. Hosel 190 is designed to bend preferable at section 192, where the outer diameter of hosel 190 has a substantial change. Hosel 190 can be bent about section 192 to change the loft and/or lie angle of the golf club. Any bendable hosel with predetermined bends or any hosel with a weakened section can be used. Hosel 190 can be bent by automatic/motored or hydraulic bending tools, commonly used in golf pro shops, e.g., Steelclub Angle Machine sold by Mitchell Golf Equipment Co., and those used to bend pipes in the plumbing art. Suitable bendable hosels are disclosed in commonly owned, co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/621,754, filed on Jan. 10, 2007, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. Hosel 190 should be bendable only by equipment made for bending hosels, and not by impact with golf balls.
Similar to the embodiment in FIGS. 14A-14F, this connection system also has an anti-rotation device comprising a first serrated surface 194 on the hosel and a corresponding second serrated surface 196 on hollow club head insert 198. To assemble the golf club, shaft insert 200 with internal threads in first inserted into shaft 14, and then bendable hosel 190 is attached to the outside of shaft 14, as shown in FIGS. 15C-15D. The shaft and hosel assembly is then inserted into club head 202. A screw 204 is inserted into heel opening 206 of club head 202 and is threaded into shaft insert 200 to retain shaft 14 to club head 202, similar to the retaining mechanism shown in FIGS. 1-4 and described above.
FIGS. 16A-16E illustrate a system for retaining screw 204 within club head 202 during the changing of hosel or club head. The connection system shown in FIG. 16A is similar to that shown in FIG. 15D, except for hollow screw cap 208. After screw 204 is inserted into heel opening 206, as discussed in the preceding paragraph, screw cap is inserted into heel opening 206 and is sized and dimensioned to be positioned at a predetermined distance, l, below the top of screw 204, as best shown in FIG. 16B. Distance l is preferably greater than the depth of the teeth of serrated surfaces 194 and 196. When a user wishes to change the hosel or club head, the user would insert a screwdriver to similar tool into heel opening 206, through hollow screw cap 208 to the top of screw 204. The user would then unscrew screw 204 to move screw 204 a distance l, or until the top of screw 204 comes into contact with screw cap 208. At this point, the user can pull shaft 14 upward to disengage first serrated surface 194 of hosel 190 from the corresponding second serrated surface 196 of club head insert 198. The user then can freely rotate shaft 14 relative to club head 202 to separate shaft 14 from club head 202. The advantage of using screw cap 208 is that screw 204 is kept within the club head and the chance of misplacing screw 204 is minimized.
Screw cap 208, as shown in FIG. 16C, may have waist 210, and heel opening 206 may have at least one ledge 212, as shown in FIG. 16D, adapted to be received within waist 210 to keep screw cap 208 securely within the club head. Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 16E may have one or more protrusions 214, as shown in FIG. 16E, to provide an interference fit between screw cap 208 and the walls of heel opening 206.
In another embodiment, the club head may have an opening 216 formed on its heel as shown in FIG. 17A. Opening 216 is adapted to receive a high impact transparent or translucent cap 218, which allows the user to view the mechanisms of connection system 10, as best shown in FIG. 17B. Suitable materials include, but are not limited to, polymethacrylate, cellulose acetate butyrate, polyearbonate (Lexan®), and glycol modified polyethylene teraphthalate, discussed above.
Another way to change the lie and/or loft angle of the golf club is illustrated in FIGS. 18A and 18B. Here, golf club 10 which includes club head 12, shaft 14 and hosel parts 16 and 17, shown above in FIG. 5, has hosel insert 220 disposed between hosel parts 16 and 17. Hosel insert 220 have serrated surfaces on its top and bottom to match the serrated surfaces of hosel parts 16 and 17, so that hosel insert 220 would fit flush in between. To change the loft/lie angle of club 10, first side 222 and second side 224 of hosel insert 220 are different from each other, or top line 226 is not parallel to bottom line 228, as illustrated by lines 226′ and 228′. In other words, hosel insert 220 is askew. In one example, if first side 222 is shorter than second side 224, then
angle α>angle β
and α=91° and β=90°, then the shaft angle has been shifted by 1°. If the shaft coincides with the vertical axis then the shaft would have been shifted toward first side 222 by an amount equal to
In this example, if first side 222 and second side 224 are oriented in the toe-heel direction, then hosel insert 220 can change the lie angle. If first side 222 and second side 224 are oriented in the front-rear direction, then hosel insert 220 can change the loft angle.
It is noted that hosel insert 220 does not need to have the serrated top and bottom surfaces as shown, so long as these surfaces match the corresponding surfaces on hosel parts 16 and 17. For example, if the corresponding surfaces of hosel parts 16 and 17 are linear or curvilinear, then the top and bottom surfaces of hosel insert 220 can assume the same shape. Furthermore, hosel insert 220 can be positioned above club head 12, as shown; however, it can also be located inside the club head.
Furthermore, one of the hosel parts, can be made integral with club head 12, as illustrated in FIG. 20A. The hosel parts are preferably made from low density aluminum so that more mass can be distributed elsewhere to improve inertia and center of gravity properties. FIG. 20A is similar to FIGS. 1-5 and is illustrated with similar reference numbers. As shown, hosel part 18 is made integral to club head 12 and matching serrated surfaces 17 and 19 are positioned above club head 12, similar to the view shown in FIG. 5. Furthermore, hosel insert 220, shown in FIGS. 18A-B, can be used with this embodiment to change the lie and loft angle without bending the hosel. Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 20B, matching serrated surface 17 and 19 are positioned internal to club head 12. In this embodiment, serrated surface 19 may be formed directed on club head 12 during the casting process, and hosel part 18 can be omitted. Also, threaded shaft insert 20 can be omitted, when hosel insert 16 has threaded internal surface 238, sized and dimensioned to receive screw 24 to attach hosel 14 to club head 12, as shown in FIG. 20C. An advantage of this embodiment, is that it has fewer parts than the embodiments shown in FIGS. 20A and 20B and that instead of the smaller contact surface between shaft insert 20 and hosel 14, a larger contact surface between hosel 14 and hosel 16 is available to be epoxied together to withstand the impact force between club and golf balls.
To minimize the possibility of vibration caused by ball-club impacts, a damper or a pre-load spring can be added, for example between the shaft and the club head or portion thereof as shown in FIG. 20D. FIG. 20D is an enlarged portion FIG. 20C, showing damper/spring 240. It is noted that damper/spring 240 can be used with any of the embodiments discussed and claimed herein. Part 240 can be an elastomeric or viscoelastic member designed to absorb vibration caused by impacts, and can be compressed between the hosel and the club head, as shown. Alternatively, part 240 can be one or more spring washers being compressed between the hosel and the club head to absorb the vibration. Suitable spring washers include, but are not limited to, Belleville or cupped spring washers, star spring washers, wave spring washers, curve spring washers, and locking washers.
Also, any of the threaded connections described herein, can be reinforced by a threaded helical coil, commercially available as Helicoil™ from many sources, including Emhart Teknologies. These coils are precision formed screw thread coils made from stainless steel, titanium or other durable metals, that have a diamond shaped cross-section. These coils are inserted into threaded holes, and are adapted to receive threaded fasteners. These coils are designed to be placed snugly between the threaded fasteners and threaded holes, and are designed to spread the load evenly among the threads. Typically, these coils are harder than the holes and the fasteners to minimize the possibility of thread tripping.
Typically, shafts 14 are long and slender and their geometry affects the number of teeth that can be present on serrated surfaces 17 and 19, as shown generally in FIGS. 1-2, as well as the geometry of these teeth. The size of the teeth also needs to be sufficiently robust to withstand the stresses and torque applied to the shaft. The cutting tools have their own limitation as to how small they can cut the serrated teeth. The inventors of the present invention have discovered that in one preferred embodiment three teeth on each hosel insert 16, 18 can sufficiently perform the anti-rotation function, as shown in FIGS. 19A-C. As shown, hosel part 16 has three thick tapered teeth 230 and hosel part 18 has three corresponding thin tapered teeth 232. Alternatively, thick tapered teeth 230 can be associated with hosel part 18 and vice versa. The slopes of tapered teeth 230 and tapered teeth 232 are substantially the same and are from about 20° to about 40°, preferably from about 25° to about 35°, and more preferably about 30°. Such angle extends the wear of the teeth and allows debris and dirt to escape. Teeth 232 can be from about 0.07 inch to 0.25 inch in height, preferably between about 0.09 inch to about 0.20 inch in height, and more preferably between about 0.10 inch to about 0.15 inch in height.
In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the tapered teeth (or prongs) on serrated surfaces 17 and 19, such as teeth 230 and 232, do not come into contact with the opposing hosel part, so that the tapered teeth or prongs don't bottom out or come into contact with the opposing hosel part. In other words, a gap 236 shown in FIG. 19A is present when hosel parts 16 and 18 are assembled. This provides a manufacturing tolerance so that hosel parts 16 and 18 can fit flush together. For example, if no gap 236 is allowed and one of the teeth is slightly longer than the rest, then when assembled this longer tooth prevents the two hosel parts from coming flush together. FIG. 19D illustrates another example of gap 236 with tapered teeth 230 and 232 having substantially the same size.
In accordance to another aspect of the present invention, connection system 10 places a portion of the shaft in tension to affix shaft 14 to club head 12, and the hosel is being utilized as the member that stretches this portion of the shaft to retain club head 12 to shaft 14.
As shown in FIG. 21, connection system comprises hosel tube 300, which is sized and dimensioned to be inserted and affixed to club head 12, so that preferably no portion of hosel tube 300 extends outside of the club head. Hosel tube 300 has upper enlarged end 301 which contains internal threads. These internal threads are designed to be threadedly engaged with the external threads 318 on hosel 302, when hosel 302 is received by enlarged end 301 of hosel tube 300. Hosel 302 preferably does not extend below enlarged end 301 and the smaller portion of hosel tube 300 serves as a stop against further advancement of hosel 302.
Both hosel 302 and hosel tube 300 have internal keyways. More specifically, hosel 302 has two keyways 316 on opposite sides of interior of hosel 302, as best shown in FIG. 22C, which is a top view of hosel 302, and hosel tube 300 has single keyway 312, as best shown in FIG. 22D, which is a top view of hosel tube 300. Opposite from keyway 312, hosel tube 300 has a female tooth groove 310, as best shown in FIG. 22E, which is the bottom view of hosel tube 300. Groove 310 may have any cross-sectional shape capable of receiving a matching tooth in an anti-rotational fashion. Preferably, groove 310 has either a triangular cross-section or a truncated triangular (or trapezoidal) cross-section.
Connection system 10 further has shaft insert 304 and wedge ferrule 326. Shaft insert 304 has tooth 306 and body portion 324, which is inserted into and permanently affixed to shaft 14, as shown in FIG. 22B. Tooth 306 is designed to be received by and to prevent relative rotation between club head 12 and shaft 14. Tooth 306 may have any cross-sectional shape that can maintain anti-rotational contact with groove 310, and preferably has a shape that can maintain at least two points of contact with groove 10. More preferably, tooth 306 is either trapezoidal or circular cross-section, to engage groove 310 having an either triangular or trapezoidal cross-section at least two contact points to form the anti-rotation connection. Preferably, either tooth 306 or matching groove 310 has an elastomeric coating, at least on the portion that engages each other. Wedge ferrule 326 is affixed to the outside of shaft 14 at a predetermined distance from tooth 306 of shaft insert 304, which is described in detail below.
To assemble connection system 10 to shaft 14 and club head 12, hosel 302 is screwed into enlarged end 301 of hosel tube 300 until hosel 302 abuts the smaller portion of hosel tube 300 and keyway 312 of hosel tube 300 aligns with one of keyways 316 of hosel 302. The shaft assembly of FIG. 22B is inserted through hosel 302 and into hosel tube 300 such that shaft insert tooth 306 passes through keyways 312 and 316. Shaft 14 is then rotated about 180 degrees to align shaft insert tooth 306 with female tooth groove 310. Shaft 14 is pulled upward, as shown, to seat or engage tooth 306 in groove 310 to form an anti-rotation connection. Hosel 302 is then unscrewed from hosel 300 until it abuts wedge ferrule 326. Wedge ferrule 326 is affixed at a predetermined location on the outside of shaft 14 such that hosel 302 can abut wedge ferrule 326 while still being threadedly engaged to hosel tube 300. When hosel 302 abuts wedge ferrule 326, a portion of shaft 14 between ferrule 326 and shaft insert tooth 306 is held in tension. This tension ensures that shaft 14 is properly connected to club head 12 and cannot rotate with respect to club head 12. FIG. 24 illustrates assembled connection system 10.
Connection system 10 can be easily disassembled by screwing hosel 302 back into hosel tube 300 such that hosel tube 302 abuts the smaller portion of hosel tube 300 and one of hosel keyways 316 aligns with hosel tube keyway 312. Shaft 14 is then pushed into hosel tube 300 to unseat tooth 306 from groove 310. Shaft 14 is then rotated about 180 degrees to align tooth 306 and keyways 316 and 312. Shaft 14 can then be pulled free of hosel tube 300 and hosel 302.
This embodiment provides an efficient, reliable, tool-free mechanism of attaching and detaching various shafts from various club heads.
In another embodiment, shaft insert 304 has two teeth 306 on opposing sides of the shaft insert, as shown in FIG. 25A, and hosel 302 has two keyways 316, as shown in FIG. 25B, and hosel tube 300 has two keyways 312 and two female tooth grooves 310, as shown in FIGS. 25C and 25D, sized, dimensioned and located to engage two teeth 306. This embodiment assembles similarly to the prior embodiment except shaft 14 is only required to rotate about 90 degrees to align teeth 306 with grooves 310, and a corresponding about 90 degrees to align with keyways 312 and 316 during disassembly.
In other alternative embodiments, there may be more than two teeth 306, and more than two keyways 312 and grooves 310 to correspond to the more than two teeth 306. Alternatively, one or more hooks can replace teeth 306, and a peg can replace grooves 310. In yet other embodiments, grooves 310 can be replaced by channels, as described with reference to FIG. 8. In other embodiments, hosel tube 300 may have teeth, and the teeth may engage grooves or channels on shaft 14 or shaft insert 304.
In other embodiments, the connection system 10 may be inverted, such that hosel 302 threadedly engages wedge ferrule 326, and counter-rotates against hosel tube 300 or club head 12 to place connection 10 in tension.
In some embodiments, a spring may be disposed within hosel tube 300, to push shaft 14 upward, biasing shaft insert tooth 306 in groove 310, while hosel 302 is being rotated to engage wedge ferrule 326. In other embodiments, connection system 10 may include a vibration damping system. Such a system may comprise an elastomeric coating on one or more of the hosel, the hosel tube, the wedge ferrule, the shaft insert, the shaft, or any of the components thereof, including, in particular, the female tooth groove or peg, the shaft insert tooth or hook, the internal threads of the hosel tube, the external threads of the hosel, the upper end of the shaft insert, among others. In yet other embodiments, the hosel tube may have a stabilizer portion inside the bore, wherein the stabilizer portion engages a portion of the shaft insert to provide additional lateral stability between the shaft insert and the hosel tube.
Referring to FIGS. 26A-26D, another embodiment of connection system 10, similar to connection system 10 as described with reference to FIGS. 10A-10D, is shown. In this embodiment, connection system 10 comprises a first rotatable hosel sleeve 350 with internal threads, and a second threaded hosel part 352, which is fixedly attached to club head 74. Preferably, second threaded hosel part is made integral to club head 74, and hosel sleeve 350 and hosel part 352 are sized and dimensioned to threadedly attach to each other to connect shaft 14 to club head 74. Hosel sleeve 350 also preferably comprises wrench ports 351. Wrench ports 351 are indented portions of hosel sleeve 350 that allow a tool, such as a specially designed wrench, to be placed around shaft 14 and slid down over sleeve 350 to engage sleeve 350 to allow sleeve 350 to be rotated. Connection system 10 further comprises an anti-rotation device, made up of female anti-rotation device 354 disposed on hosel part 352 and male anti-rotation device 356 disposed on a shaft insert 358. Female anti-rotation device 358 is preferably a groove, as shown best in FIG. 26A. Male anti-rotation device 356 is preferably a tooth, as shown best in FIG. 26C. Male anti-rotation device 358 and female anti-rotation device 356 are preferably sized and dimensioned to engage one and other in an anti-rotational fashion. The position of the male and female anti-rotation devices can be reversed.
To assemble the club, hosel sleeve 350 is slid over shaft 14 and is free to rotate around and to move up and down on shaft 14, as shown in FIG. 26C. Upper end 360 of shaft insert 358 is fixedly attached inside the tip of shaft 14, preferably by adhesive. Retaining edge 362 on shaft insert 358 extends beyond the perimeter of shaft 14 and ensures that sleeve 350 cannot completely slip into shaft 14. Retaining edge 362 is also sized and dimensioned to prevent hosel sleeve 350 from sliding off of shaft 14. More specifically, retaining edge 362 is designed to catch the top of hosel sleeve 350. Retaining edge 362 may extend completely around shaft insert 358 or, alternatively, may only be present directly over male anti-rotation device 356. Sleeve 350 is then slid up shaft 14 to expose male anti-rotation device 356 so that it can be matched female anti-rotation device 354, as seen in FIG. 26D. Sleeve 350 is then slid down shaft 14 and threaded onto hosel part 352 to connect shaft 14 to club head 74, and to pull hosel sleeve 350 against retaining edge 362 to compress the connection between male and female anti-rotation devices 354 and 352 to ensure shaft 14 cannot rotate relative to club head 74.
Preferably, sleeve 350 cannot be threaded onto or off of hosel part 352 by hand. In this instance, wrench ports 351 can be used to allow a tool to engage sleeve 350 so that sleeve 350 may be rotated. Preferably, the tool used is a spanner wrench, which has a slip torque value, such that if a user attempts to create more torque than the slip torque value with the spanner wrench, the portion of the wrench that engages wrench ports 351 rotates. This ensures that an operator assembling the club will not over or under-tighten sleeve 305 on hosel part 352.
In other embodiments, connection 10 may be inverted, such that sleeve 350 is rotatably connected to club head 74, and is threadedly attachable to shaft 14 to connect shaft 14 to club head 74. Alternatively, female anti-rotation device 354 may be attached to shaft insert 358 and male anti-rotation device may be attached to hosel part 352.
The quick connection system of the present invention allows optimization of a golfer's equipment for a variety of playing conditions. Generally fitting systems are used only by fitting professionals and include golf club heads having a variety of loft angles, lie angles, face angles and weighting so that the professional fitter may optimize ball flight characteristics for a golfer. During a fitting session, however, the various club configurations are used on a single, consistent playing surface. As a result, little consideration is given to the playing surface conditions (e.g., turf or sand) and/or weather conditions which are particular to a specific time and course.
In an embodiment of the present invention, shown in FIG. 27, an interchangeable golf club head kit 380 is provided that includes a plurality of golf club heads 382 that have different club head attributes so they are suited to different playing conditions. A golfer having such a kit is able to easily and conveniently change the configuration of their golf clubs between rounds to suit different turf and/or weather conditions.
Golf club heads 382 are disposed in a retainer 384 and each of club heads 382 is provided with at least one club head attribute that varies across the club heads of the kit. In an embodiment, golf club heads 382 have a wedge configuration and each is configured for a particular turf condition, such as by providing different sole configurations that provide alternate behaviors during turf interaction. Preferably, each of the plurality of golf club heads 382 has the same static loft angle, but a different sole configuration when compared to the other club heads 382 of kit 380. More preferably, the static loft angle of each of club heads 382 is greater than about 50°, and preferably between about 50° and about 70°. At least a portion of the plurality of golf club heads 382 is disposed in a retainer 384, which may be a box, bag, tray, etc. Retainer 384 may include retention members 386, such as nests or clips, to retain each club head 382 in a predetermined location and/or orientation. For example, kit 380 includes a plurality of club heads 382 having different sole configurations and retaining members 386 are configured to display club heads 382 so that the different sole configurations are visible when they are in retainer 384. Additionally, the nests may be shaped so that club heads 382 may be easily removed, such as by including a finger slot 388. The kit may also include indicia 390 disposed on a portion of retainer 384 that differentiate the plurality of golf club heads 382 so that a user may easily select an appropriate configuration for particular playing conditions. In an example, indicia 390 indicate the particular attribute that varies through the club heads, such as sole configuration. In an embodiment, at least one indicium 390 is associated with each nest that specifies the sole configuration included in the retained golf club head 382. Additionally, kit 380 may include a tool, such as a wrench or torque wrench, for manipulating a quick connection system included in the golf club head. Any quick connection system, such as those described above, may be included in the golf club heads of the kit.
Club head attributes include striking surface configuration, club head finish, sole configuration, location of the center of gravity, value of the moment of inertia, etc. Examples of striking surface configurations include groove dimensions, surface roughness dimensions, groove and/or roughness patterns, etc. Examples of club head finishes include various polishes, bead blast, nickel coating, chrome coating, black nickel coating, physical vapor deposition coating, etc. Examples of sole configurations include measured bounce angle, effective bounce angle, sole camber, sole curvature, heel relief, toe relief, sole width, trailing edge configuration, leading edge configuration, etc.
The embodiments of the present invention are illustrated with driver-type or iron-type clubs. However, it is understood that any type of golf club can utilize inventive connection system 10. Additionally, connection system 10 can be used with non-golf equipment, such as fishing poles, aiming sights for firearms, plumbing, etc.
While it is apparent that the illustrative embodiments of the invention disclosed herein fulfill the objectives stated above, it is appreciated that numerous modifications and other embodiments may be devised by those skilled in the art. Elements from one embodiment can be incorporated into other embodiments. Therefore, it will be understood that the appended claims are intended to cover all such modifications and embodiments, which would come within the spirit and scope of the present invention.