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Publication numberUS2839304 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 17, 1958
Filing dateJul 15, 1955
Priority dateJul 15, 1955
Publication numberUS 2839304 A, US 2839304A, US-A-2839304, US2839304 A, US2839304A
InventorsLerick Lester
Original AssigneeLerick Lester
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Flexible golf tee
US 2839304 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 17, 1958 L. LERICK 7 2,839,304


LESTER LEEICK BYWW United States Patent-O" FLEXIBLE GOLF TEE Lester Lerick, White Plains, N. Y.

Application July 15, 1955, Serial No. 522,224

1 Claim. (Cl. 273-207) This invention relates to an improved form of golf tee featuring a resiliently flexible head.

The rigidity of conventional golf tees causes a number of undesirable effects. Firstly, partial contact between the head of the golf club and the tee will generally break the tee and/ or displace the tee to a position removed from the driving position. In the latter case the tee may be forgotten or the golfer may decide not to hunt for it in his eagerness to continue the game without loss of time. Consequently a large supply of tees must be carried by the golfer to replace the broken or lost ones. Although the cost of these tees is rather negligible, it is a nuisance to the golfer to be continually concerned with the availability of sufficient tees to complete an 18 hole game. Moreover a convenient place is required for their storage and the effort required to continually replace tees may interfere with the deep concentration required to achieve a good score. Secondly, contact between a rigid tee firmly embedded in earth and the golf club results in the partial transfer of energy to the surrounding earth rather than completely to the ball. Thus the full energy of the golfers efiort is not utilized in propelling the ball, resulting in drives of smaller range. Furthermore the reaction of the tee against the club may deflect the club head from the desired accurate path, resulting in unwanted hooks, slices, etc. Moreover the rigidity of a conventional tee causes the generation of a significant frictional resistance between the ball and the supporting tee-head during the impact period. Such frictional resistance reduces the range of the drive, introduces topspin and other unwanted effects, which in most cases are undesirable. A third adverse effect is psychological. Since the golfer is usually aware of the penalties incurred by striking the tee, such awareness causes apprehension which in turn reduces his coordination and golfing proficiency. Thus the provision of a tee which will substantially eliminate these adverse effects will obviously augment the golfers proficiency and also help him derive more pleasure from the pastime.

A number of tee devices have been developed and disclosed relating to the problem of eliminating the adverse effects, resulting from the rigidity of the conventional golf tee.

A representative type of these devices involves a tee comprising a tapering needle-like base pivotally secured to a head adapted to support a golf ball. A spiral spring is secured to both the head and base portion biasing the assembly to an aligned axial position wherein the vertical golf ball axis is concentric with the longitudinal axis of both the head and base prior to being struck by the club. The pivoting structure and the spring arrangement is such that pivotal motion can be had only in one plane. Consequently an arrow is provided on the head indicating the direction which the head can pivot. In use this arrow must be aligned with the desired line of flight of the ball. If the alignment is not proper the tee will function as an ordinary rigid tee subject to the adverse effects outlined above. Thus the utility of this form of pivotable tee is limited by requiring the user to properly align the plane of pivoting with the desired line of travel of the ball. Moreover the spring is mounted within an internal cavity in a fashion requiring a complicated fabrication process thereby increasing costs to an impractical level.

The instant tee devices to be disclosed are generally of the same class as the type described above. However various improvements are incorporated in the forms to be disclosed herein which substantially augment the efliciency and utility of the tee and which also reduce the fabrication costs thereof.

In three of the instant embodiments the pivoting action is universal permitting relative rotation between the head and base of the tee in any direction. The universal joint is achieved in a variety of forms involving springs which bias the assembly to the normal axially aligned condition. Each of the structural arrangements permit universal pivoting, the application of axial pressure by the golfer upon the tee head to cause the tee base to penetrate the ground, involve a minimum of parts, and provide adequate spring action to maintain the axially aligned position. Consequently with any of these forms, it is not necessary to align the tee in any direction.

In a fourth form disclosed herein, pivoting is restricted to one plane as in the case of the conventional type cited above. However the spring arrangement is much simpler and more effective.

In all four forms provided by the instant invention, provisions have been incorporated in the structure to increase the durability of the devices. The springs are either reinforced by solid projections from the tee body or protectively enclosed within cavities in the tee body.

Consequently the primary object of this invention is the provision of a durable flexible golf tee which is adapted for firm insertion into earth and which will flex sufficiently when struck with a golf club to avoid breakage or being propelled a substantial distance from the tee-off position and which will return to its original axially aligned position after the impact period without involving complicated expensive structure.

Another inventive object is the provision of a durable inexpensive golf tee comprising a head which is pivotable from a normally axially aligned position to a deflected position, not in alignment with the tee axis, wherein the head is biased resiliently to the axially aligned position, the connection between the head and the remainder of the tee permitting universal movement.

A further object of this invention is the provision of a flexible golf tee which can be firmly pressed into the ground and which will flex sufficiently during impact between -a golf club and the ball and/or the tee to avoid adversely affecting the accuracy and range of the drive.

A still further object of this invention is the provision of a two part golf tee comprising a head and a base wherein the head is secured to the base by resilient means permitting relative axial and pivotal motion.

A still further object of this invention is the provision of a golf tee comprised of two normally axially aligned parts interconnected by a ball and socket joint, whereby relative pivotal motion at the joint is restrained in all directions by resilient means which permit suflicient bending motion when struck by a golf club to prevent the breakage or loss of the tee and the club from being deflected or obstructed from its intended motion.

A still further object of this invention is the provision of a golf tee of the type set out in the preceding object wherein the ball and socket joint is surrounded by a spring.

A still further object of this invention is the provision of a flexible golf tee which can flex in only one direction, wherein the flexing is resiliently opposed by a plurality of symmetrical springs mounted inexpensively on the tee providing a balanced effect in resisting bending of the tee.

Further objects and novel features will become apparent from the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the attached drawings in which:

Figure 1 is an elevation of a preferred form of the improved golf tee.

Patented June 17, 1358 Figure 4 is an elevation of a modified form of'the inven tion utilizing a ball and socket connection. p

Figure 5 is an elevation of the form of Figure 4 show-;

- ing'the tee-head in a deflected position.

Figure 6 is an elevation of another modification which incorporates a modified ball and socket joint surrounded by a coiled spring. V s i Figure 7 is an elevation of the modification of Figure '6 showing the tee-head in a deflected condition.

Figure 8 is a side elevation of still another modification.

Figure 9 is a front elevation of the modification of Figure 10.

Figure 10 is a top view of the head portion of Figure 8 or 9.

Referring now to Figures 1, 2 and 3, the preferred form of the improved tee is seen to comprise generally a metallic conical base 10 resiliently secured, by means of a tapered coiled spring 11, to a correspondingly metallic tapered head 12 adapted to support a, golf ball upon a slighfly recessed upper surface 13.

The 'base ltl includes a pointed end 14 adapted for penetrating the groundand a reduced cylindrical projection 15 which extends inwardly and axially from a transverse annular shoulder 16 provided at the inner. end of the base 10facing the spring 11. A tag holder l7cornprising a hook-eye18 and a transverse annulus 19 is integrally mounted snugly about the projection 15 and secured to the shoulder 16 by welding, brazing or the like- The outer end 18a of the eye 18 is also secured by welding or the like to the tee base 10. Although it is preferred that the holder 17 and the tee base 10 be made separately, it is obvious that the annulus 19 may be part of the base material and the hook 18 be fabricated as a separate appendageor eliminated if desired.

The head 12 comprises an intermediate portion 20 hav ing an inner transverse annular shoulder 21 from-which projects axially a reduced cylindrical projection '22. Extendingintegrally from the portion 26 is a ball supporting section 23 also of conical contour. The exterior surface ofsection 23 has a substantially larger taper than that of the remainder of the tee providing thereby an enlarged outersurface 13 to receive the ball in a stable fashion.

Opposing cylindrical projections 15 and 22 are s'ufficiently spaced to permit relative pivotal, axial and transverse movement between the base 16 and the head 12 without obstruction. However it is possible to cause these motions with the projections 15 and 22 in sliding contact. Consequently the invention includes the latter construction. The opposite ends of the spring 11 'are secured rigidly to the annulus 19 and the shoulder 21 by welding, brazing or the like. The said annulus 19 and shoulder 21 function as spring abut nents. it should be noted that the internal surfaces of the spring 11 are just slightly spaced from the projections 15 and'22 whereby the projections restrict radial spring deformations to a minimum. This feature is designed to protect the spring from dam age resulting from the impact of the driving club.

The hook-eye 18 is provided to receive a chain linkage 24 to which is attached a tag 25. The tag provides additional resistance to prevent or reduce displacement of the tee from the ground. Should the tee be displaced however the tag 25 will facilitate the recovery of the tee.

In addition to reinforcing the spring 11, the'projections 15 and 22 also provide the structure required to press the tee into the ground. For example, axial pressure exerted manually by the golfer upon tee head 12 causes projection 22 to bear against projection 15 thereby transferring the pressure to base 10 resulting in penetration of the earth.

. With the tee thus embedded firmly in theground; the device is ready for use. A ball is placed upon the head ameter to permit the ball to swivel within the socket 27.

surface 13 and the golfer is ready to swing. Since relative motion can be had between the head and base in any direction, it is not necessary to align the tee in any manner whatsoever. Should the golf club strike either the head 12 or the spring 11, the head 12 will both pivot-rela tive to the tee axisand-move transversely relative to the base. Consequently a portion of the energy of impact is dissipated in deflecting the spring and is not transferred to the base, thereby increasing the probability of the base remaining fixed. Moreover shearing stresses are transferred to the annulus 19 thereby reducing the lever arm of the couple which is tending to displace the tee; thus a smaller displacing couple is introduced than would be for the case of the rigid tee. It is obvious then that a flexible tee head will substantially reduce the possibility of the tee being displaced or brokem It should be also apparent that the relative movement of the tee head reduces the resistance offered by the tee in opposition to the arcuate path of the club. Thus the club is permit-tedto move along its intended path with virtually no resistance. The possibility of hooks, slices, etc. are reduced and the driving range is increased.

It has been determined by actual experimentation that all of the above outlined desirable results are actually atduced as he addresses the ball. Persons using this device in experimentation have noted reductions in score as' great as 10 to 15 strokes and have been able tocomplete a full 18 hole course without the loss or breakage of a single tee. a

The head and base portions of the tee are preferably made from brass and the spring from steel- However this preference is not intended to limit the scope of the possible materials that can be employed in fabricating the device. Other metals such'as zinc, copper, steel, iron, aluminum, etc.'can be employed in making the head and base portions. Similarly other appropriate metals can be used to fabricate the spring. It is also possible to substitute a rubber tube for the spring to provide the resiliency required. Other nonmetallic materials-may also obviously be employed, such as plastics, wood, hard rubber, ceramics for forming the head and base.

The modification depicted in Figures 4 and 5 comprises ahead 26 having a ball socket 27 adapted to receive acomplementary shaped ball 28 which projects axially from the inner end of a conical base 29. The socket 27 is formed within an arcuately shaped flange 30-which encloses a substantial portion of theball 2S therebypreventing the ball from leaving the socket. The ball 28 is integrally connected to the inner end 31 of the base 29 by a short curvate transition post 32 which is'reduced in di- As in the first embodiment the head 26 includes an enlarged outer surface 33 adapted to receive a golf ball. Axial opposing recesses 34 and 35 are provided respectively in the head 26 and the ball 28 in communication with the small space between the ball and socket for the purposes of receiving an axial spring rod 36. The spring rod fits snugly within the recesses but permits a sliding motion between the rod and the recess walls during pivotal motion. The recess 35 tapers outwardly toward the socket walls to provide'an enlarged area adjacent the socket. Thus the rod 36 can deflect laterally about the enlarged portion without impinging upon a sharp corner which could causestructural failure of the rod. The foregoing structure permits a predetermined pivotal motion of socket relative to the ball in opposition to the resistance provided by the spring rod 36 as seen in the deflected position of Figure 5. The said pivotal motion can occur in any direction due to the universal type of conec-tion. When the deflecting forces are removed, the rod. 36 will snap the head back to its original axial position. A tag and chain for reducing the displacement tendency of the tee may again be secured to the tee base by means ofthe eye 37. The explanation of the function of the swivel type connection is similar to that recited in conection with Figures 1 and 2 The modification shown in Figures 6 and 7 is somewhat similar to the modification of Figures 4 and 5. However the head 38 in the instant species is provided with a socket which is formed by a plurality of equally spaced longitudinal fingers 39 which project symmetrically from an inner transverse surface 40. A portion 41 of the surface 40 is arcuate and is adapted to receive snugly and slidingly a portion of a ball 42 which is retained within the fingers 39. The inner surfaces of the fingers 39 are bevelled to provide a point contact with the ball below the principal axis of the ball. Thus the ball is retained Within the space surrounded by the fingers and can pivot in any direction relative thereto.

The base 43 is conical as in the previous forms and includes an inner shoulder 44 from which projects a post 45 equipped with the ball 42 at its inner end. The fingers 39 also include transverse inner surfaces 46 which oppose the shoulder 44. Surfaces 46 and shoulder 44 function as abutments for a tapered spring 47 which snugly surrounds post 45 and resists pivotal displacement of the head relative to the base. The operation of this form is self evident in view of the preceding forms. Although the external spring of this species is sturdier than the spring of Figures 4 and 5, the spring of Figures 4 and 5 is internal and hence shielded from contact with the golf club. The ball and socket variations of Figures 5 and 6 are respectively more suitable for different fabrications technique.

The modification depicted in Figures 8, 9 and differs generally from the three foregoing forms in that pivotal motion is restricted to one direction. In this modification a conical base 48 is provided which includes an car 49 projecting axially from the end 50 of the base. The ear 49 is transversely perforated to receive a pin as will be disclosed. The head 51 is tapered to conform to the conical shape of the base and is provided with a cavity 52 at the end adjacent the car 49. The head 50 and the base 48 are swivelly joined by placing the car 49 within the cavity 52 and inserting a pin 53 through the ear perforation and aligned perforations provided through the collars 54 and 55 which project from the head 51 on either side of the ear 49. The pin 53 may be then secured by conventional means to the collars 54 and 55 if desired to prevent the pin from leaving the assembly. The collars 54 and 55 include circular portions 56 and 57 respectively which slidingly abut complementary surfaces 58 and 59 formed at the inner end 50 of the base 58. To prevent dirt and foreign matter from gaining access to the cavity 52 the surfaces 58 and 59 are tapered as better seen in Figure 9. The front portion 60 of the inner base end is inclined (see Figure 8) providing a limiting abutment for the pivotal motion of the head relative to the base. The front portion of the head is cut away at 61 providing clearance to permit the pivotal motion. At a predetermined point spaced axially from the center of rotation a second abutment 62 is provided on the head 51. The abutment 62 will contact the abutment 60 after a specific pivotal motion has taken place preventing further motion in that direction. Likewise complementary transverse abutments 63 and 64 are respec- .tively provided at the rear portions of the opposing inner ends of the head and base. These latter abutments prevent clockwise rotation of the head relative to the base beyond the axially aligned position of Figures 8 and 9. As better seen in Figure 9, a pair of spirally Wound springs 65 and 66 are each coiled about the pin 53 on either side of the ear 49 and terminally secured at opposite ends to both the head and the base. Thus counterclockwise motion of the head relative to the base is resiliently resisted by the springs biasing the assembly to the axially aligned position. Since motion is restricted in a direction normal to the pin axis an arrow 67 indicating this direction is provided on the outer ball retaining surface 68 (Figure 10). The disposition of the springs symmetrically on either side of the tee axis provides a balanced eflicient biasing action not attained by previously disclosed devices. Moreover the springs are mounted in the same cavity which houses the ear 49 thereby not requiring a more complicated cavity configuration utilized in previous disclosures. Excepting for the uni-directional pivotal motion provided by this latter form, the function and results of this form is similar to that described in connection with the form depicted in Figures 1 and 2. The modification disclosed in connection with Figures 8, 9 and 10 is somewhat sturdier and more durable than the preceding embodiments in that the springs are enclosed and protected from club impact. The motion limiting abutments can absorb a greater shock than either the ball and socket arrangements or the preferred form of Figures 1 through 3. However the preferred form of Figures 1 through 3 provide a more universal pivoting function, is easier to fabricate and is hence more economical and practical.

Each of the disclosed embodiments however, offer advantages in fabrication dependent upon the specific fabrication equipment available.

It is now apparent that a plurality of improved flexible tees have been disclosed hereinabove and as will be further defined in the appended claims which will reduce the loss and breakage of tees to a significant minimum and which will improve the users game and technique thereby permitting the user to derive the maximum of pleasure from the game.

Although specific preferred embodiments have been described herein, the depicted forms should not be interpreted as limiting the inventive scope since many other modifications are attainable by changes in size, shape, material, arrangement, etc., not amounting to invention or beyond the skill of an ordinary mechanic.

Having duly disclosed the instant invention, a grant of Letters Patent is sought for the improvements involved herein and as defined by the following claim:

A flexible golf tee comprising a head and a base connected with a resilient element, said head comprising a top transverse surface adapted to support a golf ball and an inner transverse shoulder parallel to and spaced from the top surface including an axial projection of smaller transverse dimension than the shoulder symmetrical about the axis of the head extending from the shoulder toward the base, said base including a tapered end adapted for insertion into the ground and an outer transverse shoulder remote from the end opposite and normally parallel to the said inner transverse shoulder including a projection axially aligned with the first said projection and extending from the second said shoulder toward the first said projection, said resilient element being radially spaced from and encompassing the said projections, the axial extent of the said projection being such that the said element biases the projections away from each other in spaced relationship and whereby the pressure required to force the tee into the ground causes the projections to contact each other against resilient opposition from the resilient element.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,519,298 DeMun Dec. 16, 1924 1,785,088 Hodge et al. Dec. 16, 1930 1,807,377 Brokaw May 26, 1931 2,057,894 Harvey Oct. 20, 1936 2,440,473 Hughes Apr. 27, 1948 2,470,817 Hendricks May 24, 1949 FOREIGN PATENTS 781,287 France 1935

Patent Citations
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US1519298 *Oct 31, 1923Dec 16, 1924De Mun James BrydenGolf-ball tee
US1785088 *Jan 14, 1930Dec 16, 1930American Patents CorpGame apparatus
US1807377 *May 16, 1930May 26, 1931De Witt P BrokawGolf tee
US2057894 *Dec 18, 1930Oct 20, 1936Roy Harvey Adrian LeGolf tee
US2440473 *Mar 21, 1945Apr 27, 1948William Hughes JosephTee for golf balls
US2470817 *Apr 29, 1947May 24, 1949Hendricks Homer DFlexible golf tee
FR781287A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3414268 *Sep 24, 1965Dec 3, 1968Harry H. ChaseGolf tee with seat formed by coacting central part and radiating petals
US3575420 *Oct 31, 1968Apr 20, 1971Turner Frank EPivotable plastic golf tee
US3645537 *Oct 5, 1970Feb 29, 1972Raymond Lee Organization IncTilttop golf tee
US3874662 *Nov 19, 1973Apr 1, 1975Chm Enterprises IncBatting tee
US3966214 *May 27, 1975Jun 29, 1976Collins Dalford DTilt top golf tee
US4418916 *Jun 8, 1981Dec 6, 1983Matsura NorioTilt top gulf tee
US4645208 *Sep 25, 1985Feb 24, 1987Morabeto James WGolf tee
US4993708 *Mar 7, 1989Feb 19, 1991William ProssorBatting tee
US4998732 *Nov 15, 1989Mar 12, 1991Gallant Thomas MGolf tee
US5242170 *May 14, 1992Sep 7, 1993Super Tee, Inc.Golf tee
US5375838 *Feb 7, 1994Dec 27, 1994Labriola; Louis A.Golf tee
US6341752Feb 25, 2000Jan 29, 2002Vincent L. GreenGolf tee support
US6783470 *Sep 17, 2002Aug 31, 2004Hyung Choon LeeGolf tee
US6899644May 19, 2003May 31, 2005Gary G. SongReusable golf tee with bi-directionally pivotal head
US7156758 *Nov 13, 2004Jan 2, 2007Alex LuDurable golf tee
US7344456 *Nov 9, 2004Mar 18, 2008Hayton Paul JFlexible golf tee
US7494429 *May 18, 2004Feb 24, 2009Hyung Choon LeeGolf tee with a momentarily releasable upper body; equipped with two retracting springs at the moment of impact
US7704166 *Sep 5, 2003Apr 27, 2010E T LimGolf tee
US7704168 *Jan 22, 2009Apr 27, 2010Franklin Sports, Inc.Self-righting tee ball stand
US7717811Oct 19, 2007May 18, 2010Michael Joseph MerulloAdjustable golf tee with associated measuring device
US7780551Jan 15, 2008Aug 24, 2010Karsten Manufacturing CorporationGolf tee and methods to manufacture golf tees
US7780553 *Nov 25, 2008Aug 24, 2010Palmer Andrew DGolf practice apparatus
US8083615Mar 14, 2008Dec 27, 2011Karsten Manufacturing CorporationSet of golf tees
US8246491 *Jul 15, 2010Aug 21, 2012Karsten Manufacturing CorporationGolf tee and methods to manufacture golf tees
US8439771 *Mar 14, 2012May 14, 2013Larry FlemingGolf training tee
US8460127 *Sep 9, 2011Jun 11, 2013Vasanth I. KumarMethods and systems for biomechanic characterization
US8936521 *Jun 24, 2013Jan 20, 2015Abraham C. LeeFoldable golf tee
US8974322Jul 15, 2013Mar 10, 2015Brian D. JonesShaped golf tee
US8974323 *Jun 11, 2013Mar 10, 2015Vasanth I. KumarMethods and systems for biomechanic characterization
US20120064985 *Sep 9, 2011Mar 15, 2012Vasanth I. KumarMethods and systems for biomechanic characterization
US20130331206 *Jun 11, 2013Dec 12, 2013Vasanth I. KumarMethods and systems for biomechanic characterization
WO1991017801A1 *May 17, 1991Nov 28, 1991Lars ErikssonGolf tee
WO2005021109A1 *Jul 19, 2004Mar 10, 2005Coughlan ColinGolf tee
WO2005058430A1Dec 17, 2003Jun 30, 2005Werner TrawoegerGolf tee
U.S. Classification473/397, 473/396
International ClassificationA63B57/00
Cooperative ClassificationA63B57/0018, A63B57/005
European ClassificationA63B57/00C8, A63B57/00C