US 3613760 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Ronald L. Koehnle Bedford, Ohio July 30, 1969 Oct. 19, 1971 Reliable Pattern Works, Inc. Bedford Heights, Ohio Inventor Appl. No. Filed Patented Assignee GOLF CLUB COVER 15 Claims, 4 Drawing Figs.
US. Cl 150/52 G lnt.Cl... A63b 53/00 Field of Search ISO/52.6
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 5/1950 Le Fevre ISO/52.6
2,705,039 3/1955 Halter ISO/52.6 3,117,609 1/1964 Pio 150/526 FORElGN PATENTS 383,013 11/1932 Great Britain ISO/52.6
Primary Examiner-Donald F. Norton AttorneyWatts, Hoffmann, Fisher & Heinke ABSTRACT: A cover for a golf club head is disclosed which includes first and second cover members for enclosing a head of a golf club A nonmetallic hinge connects the members together to provide for movement of the members relative to each other for insertion and removal of the golf club head. Nonmetallic spring means urges the cover members together to enclose the golf club head and for maintaining the hinge assembled.
PATENTEDUBI 19 I911 INVENTOR. FOR/ALL) L. KOEHHLE BY MM 94% f m ATTORNEYS.
GOLF CLUB COVER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to covers for golf clubs and more particularly relates to removable covers for the heads of golf clubs.
2. The Prior Art The prior art has proposed various covers for golf club heads. These covers function to protect the club heads from the elements, scratching or marring, and to enable evaporation of moisture from wet club heads in the covers.
Perhaps the most common type of cover was a socklike fabric cover disposed over the golf club head. These covers frequently included a drawstring arrangement, or an elasticized band, surrounding the shank of the club adjacent the head to maintain the cover in position. Such covers were generally of a sufficiently loosely woven fabric to enable moisture on the golf club head within the cover to evaporate. These covers afforded some protection for the golf club head against the elements and prevented scratching, etc., of the heads.
Golf club heads were frequently rather difficult and bothersome to insert and remove from covers of the type mentioned, particularly when the club and cover were wet. According, these covers frequently were not replaced on the clubhead once removed during play.
The inconvenience of using such covers was recognized in the prior art and various proposals were made to enable relatively easy removal and replacement of covers on golf clubs. These proposals involved providing a golf club cover constructed from a pair of mating cover members which were hinged together and openable to permit insertion and removal of the club head. It was proposed to construct the cover members from a plastic material or by the use of wire frames covered by a suitable material such as leather.
While these proposals had the advantage of being quickly and easily removed and replaced there were other disadvantages in their constructions which prevented wide acceptance of such covers. In most instances, these proposals involved the use of metallic hinges and springs. The springs were usually associated with the hinges and maintained the cover biased closed about the club head. These metallic parts of the covers were subject to corrosion, which impeded operation of the covers and caused breaking of the metallic parts. These parts also substantially increased the number of components of a given assembly thus requiring a relatively large number of manufacturing operations to produce the cover and resulting in a relatively high cost of manufacture of the covers. Furthermore, the assemblies tended to be of somewhat flimsy construction reducing the reliability of operation. Finally, the covers in many cases were unattractivev In some instances, covers were maintained closed by an elastic strap riveted to the cover members. The rivets were subject to corrosion, and not efficiently installed in the cover members. Furthermore, the elastic straps tended to deteriorate. When the straps broke or lost their resiliency, the cover was useless since it could not be maintained in position about the club head.
These golf club covers have been: (1) expensive to manufacture; (2) subject to corrosion or deterioration; (3) unattractive; (4) unreliable; and (5) costly. As a result, the socktype covers have remained in wide usage in spite of the disadvantages.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides a new and improved cover for a golf club head which is: (l) constructed from a small number of noncorrosive parts; (2) extremely easily manufactured and assembled; (3) is highly reliable in operation; (4) attractive; (5) relatively inexpensive; (6) easily removed from and replaced upon a club head; and (7) effective to prevent exposure of the club head to rain, etc. yet readily permits evaporation of moisture from the club.
A cover constructed in accordance with the present invention includes first and second molded plastic cover members and an integral hinge which connects the members together. The cover members move relative to each other about the hinge between a closed position in which the cover surrounds the club head and an open position enabling removal of the club from the cover. A noncorrosive spring structure cooperates with the hinge and cover members to maintain the cover members urged toward the closed position. The spring structure also maintains the hinge in its assembled condition. The cover members are openable by levers which are formed integrally with the cover members and fulcrumed at the hinge. The levers are configured to enable opening of the cover by finger pressure.
In a preferred construction, the cover members are formed of molded plastic. Each member includes a cavity defining a head receiving portion and shank receiving portion. The boundaries of the cavities mate so that the cover members enclose the club head.
The cover members are preferably hinged together along the shank end of the cover. The hinge is defined by a generally cylindrical pintle formed continuously with one cover member and a knuckle formed continuously with the other cover member. The pintle and knuckle of the hinge project from the shank receiving portion of the cover. A groove is formed between the pintle and the adjacent exterior surface of its associated cover member. A second groove is formed between the knuckle and the adjacent exterior periphery of its associated cover member. These grooves are parallel and coextend along the shank receiving portion of the cover.
At least one noncorrosive spring is disposed about the pintle and knuckle. The spring includes portions seated in the grooves and which urge the pintle and knuckle into tight engagement. The spring portions bias the cover members toward their closed position. As the cover members are opened, the bases of the grooves move apart to further deflect the spring.
A preferred spring is nonmetallic and is formed by a split plastic tube having a generally C-shaped cross-sectional shape. The split edges of the tube are seated against the bases of the grooves. These edges are resiliently urged apart when the spring is assembled on the cover urging the pintle and knuckle together. The edges resiliently urge the bases of the grooves toward each other biasing the cover members. While plastic springs are preferred, C-springs of noncorrosive metal, such as stainless steel, can be employed.
In a preferred construction, one lever is formed integrally with each cover member and its associated hinge part. Each lever is located about midway between the heel and shank end of the cover. Hence, the grooves are interrupted approximately midway along the hinge. A pair of the plastic springs are disposed about the hinge along the shank portion of the cover on each side of the levers.
The plastic cover members may be produced in any number of distinctive, attractive colors. They may also be produced from transparent plastic enabling the club head to be viewed through the cover. The semirigid construction of the cover protects the club against scuffing or scratching, and yet is sufficiently loose on the club head to enable moisture on the club head to evaporate while the cover is in place.
Since only four easily assemblable parts are required in the construction of the new cover, manufacturing costs are minimized. The plastic construction is noncorrosive and will not deteriorate readily. The simplicity of construction enhances the reliability of the cover and the parts are rugged.
Furthermore, if desired, the new cover can be weighted to provide a weighted club head for practice swings.
A principal object of the present invention is the provision of a new and improved golf club cover which is attractive, inexpensively produced and purchased, reliable in operation. and easily placed on and removed from a club head.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Other objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description made with reference to the accompanying drawings which form a part of the specification.
FIG. I is an elevational view of a golf club cover constructed in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view seen from the planes indicated by the line 22 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view seen from the plane indicated by the lines 3-3 of FIG. I; and,
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view similar to FIG. 2 showing parts in a different operative position from that shown in FIG. 2.
DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT A golf club cover constructed in accordance with the present invention is shown in FIG. 1. The cover 10 includes first and second cover members 11, 12, respectively, which fit about the head and a portion of the shank of a golf club C (shown in phantom lines).
When the cover members enclose the club C, the cover 10 resembles a golf club head having an abbreviated shank portion 10a, a head portion 10b and a heel 10c. The members 11, 12 are connected by a hinge 13 disposed along the shank portion of the cover and are biased together by a spring structure 14 to enclose the club C..Levers 15, 16 are provided on the cover members 11, 12, respectively. When the levers are pressed toward each other the cover members rotate about the hinge l3 enabling removal of the club C from the cover.
The cover member 11 is preferably formed by a shell of thermoplastic material. The cover member may be vacuum molded from a sheet of the plastic material but is preferably injection molded to provide a thin member having a substantially constant thickness and which closely approximates the shape of a portion of a standard sized golf club head. The member 11 defines a cavity 20 including a head receiving portion 21 and a shank receiving portion 22. The portions 21, 22 are smoothly contoured to the shape of the club head portion. A generally planar edge 23 bounds the cavity 20 for engagement with the cover member 12.
The cover member 12 is constructed from molded thermoplastic material and defines a shell which conforms to the shape of the portions of the club head and shank which are not received by the cover member 11. The cover member 12 defines a cavity 25 including a head receiving cavity portion 26 and a shank receiving cavity portion 27. A surface 260 of the cavity portion 26 coextends with the face of the club C. In the preferred construction, a numeral corresponding to the club type which the cover contains is molded in the surface 260; for example, in the illustrated cover the numeral 1 is molded into the surface 260 to indicate that the cover 10 receives a driver.
A flange 29 extends about the boundary of the cavity 25 and defines a shoulder 30 against which the edge 23 of the cover member 11 rests. The edge 23 thus nests within the flange 29 insuring proper alignment of the cover members ll, 12 when they are closed, yet is not tightly sealed so that the cover 10 breathes.
An ear, or tab, 31 projects from the cover member 12 adjacent the heel of the cover. An opening 32 is formed in the ear 31 for receiving a cord or the like by which the cover may be attached to a club bag, or another cover.
In the illustrated cover, shoulders 33, 34, are provided at the shank ends of the cover members ll, 12, respectively. These shoulders extend radially inwardly about the shank end opening of the cover. The shoulders surround the shank of the club C relatively closely to minimize rattling of the cover on the club head, yet are not so tight against the club shank that ventilation of the cover is prevented.
The hinge I3 is constructed continuously with the cover members. The preferred hinge includes a pintle 35 and a knuckle 40. The pintle is continuous with the member 11 and is a generally cylindrical member which projects from the boundary of the cavity 20 and extends from adjacent the heel of the cover to the end of the shank portion. A groove 36 is defined by the pintle periphery and the external surface of the member 11 adjacent the pintle. The base of the groove 36 is formed by the juncture of the pintle and the shank portion of the cover member.
The knuckle 40 is a semicylindrical member formed continuous with the cover member 12 and defines a semicylindrical concave bearing surface 41 which rides on the pintle. The knuckle projects from the shank portion of the cover and coextends with the pintle. A groove 42 is defined by the convex surface 43 of the knuckle 40 and the external surface of the member 12 adjacent the knuckle. The base of the groove 42 is formed by the juncture of the knuckle and the cover member 12.
The grooves are parallel and coextend along the shank portion of the cover. The grooves 36, 42 are interrupted substantially midway between their ends by the levers I5, 16 which are formed continuously with the members 11, 12, respectively. The lever 15 is continuous with the pintle 35 and the lever 16 is continuous with the knuckle 40. The levers are cantilevered to their respective cover members and hinge parts and the base of each lever merges smoothly into its cover member and hinge part. The levers 15, 16 are preferably solid, and continuous to insure adequate structural strength and rigidity.
The levers flare outwardly away from each other when the cover is closed, FIG. 2. The oppositely facing surfaces 150, 16a of the levers 15, 16 are contoured to be grasped between the thumb and a finger of the user and squeezed toward each other. This rotates the cover members apart about the hinge to open the cover. The levers extend away from each other at about a angle when the members 11, 12 are closed (FIG. 2) and hence enable relative rotation of the cover members through about 90 when the cover is fully opened. This amount of rotation is more than sufficient for removal and insertion ofa club head.
The members ll, 12 are biased closed by the spring structure 14. In the preferred construction, the spring structure includes a pair of plastic spring members 50, 51. The spring members 50, 51 are identical and accordingly only the spring member 51 is described in detail. The member 51 is preferably formed from a cylindrical plastic tube; for example, nylon pressure tubing, which is longitudinally split. Viewed in cross section therefore the member 51 is generally C-shaped. The internal diameter of the tube is sufficiently large to freely receive the hinge 13. The member 51 is slid onto the hinge from the heel end of the cover so that the split edges 52, 53 of the spring 51 are seated at the bases of the grooves 36, 42. The pintle and knuckle are received within the member 51.
The pressure tubing is stiffly resilient and strongly resists separation of the edges 52, 53. Accordingly, when the member 51 is assembled to the cover the edges 52, 53 resiliently bear against the bases of the grooves 36, 42. The members 11, 12 are thus biased to the closed position. The edges 52, 53 also maintain knuckle and pintle in bearing engagement and thus prevent the hinge from becoming disassembled.
The levers 15, 16 are fulcrumed about the pintle and knuckle and when they are urged toward each other (FIG. 4) the knuckle 40 and the pintle 35, rotate relative to each other about the pintle axis. This opens the cover and moves the bases of the grooves 36, 42 slightly away from each other. The edges 52, 53 of the springs 50, 51 are thus resiliently urged further apart. Accordingly, the spring members 50, 51 resiliently resist opening of the cover and when the levers are released, the cover is snapped shut by the springs 50, 51.
If desired, the cover 10 may be weighted to function as a weighted club head for practice swinging. In the club head 10 illustrated in the drawings, locating lugs 60 are molded in each of the cover members 11, 12 for retaining suitable weights adjacent the bottom of the head of the club C.
In constructing the cover 10, it is preferred to construct a forming die which is shaped the same but slightly larger than the largest standard club head of a given type; e.g. driver, No. 3 wood, etc. The die is split and the plastic material is formed about the die parts by a suitable molding process to produce the cover members. The dies are also appropriately configured so that the hinge parts are formed simultaneously with the cover members.
The molded cover members are assembled and the spring members are slid over the hinge ends at the heel end and at the shank end of the cover. The springs are frictionally maintained in position. This completes assembly of the cover.
The cover members may also be formed to provide a tubular shank and handle protecting extension 65 (shown in part by broken lines in FIG. 1) continuous with the cover at the end of the shank portion a when the cover is assembled. This tubular extension may be joined to the shank portion of the cover by a frangible section. The shank extension and the cover provides a protective shipping package for a golf club. The extension is easily broken away from the cover proper after shipping.
From the foregoing description of a preferred embodiment of the invention, it should be apparent that a new and improved golf club cover has been provided. Although a single preferred embodiment has been illustrated and described herein in considerable detail the present invention is not to be considered to be limited to the precise construction shown. Numerous changes can be made without departing from the invention: for example, the bases of the levers l5, 16 need not be integral with the hinge and can be positioned sufficiently apart to enable the spring structure I4 to consist of a single spring member extending from adjacent the heel of the cover to its shank end, between the levers; the cavities 20, 25 may be provided with a suitable surfacing material, such as flocking or padding; the part line between the members can be in any suitable location, for example, the hinge can be located at the toe of the club head with one cover member receiving the top of the head and the other cover member receiving the bottom of the head; noncorrosive metallic springs can be utilized in place of the plastic springs referred to.
Other modifications, adaptations and uses may be apparent to those skilled in the art and it is the intention to cover hereby all such modifications, adaptations and uses which come within the scope of this invention.
I. In a cover for a golf club:
a. first and second molded cover members for enclosing at least a head of a golf club;
b. a nonmetallic hinge between said members providing for relative movement of the over members away from each other to enable removal of a golf club head;
c. said hinge comprising a first hinge part continuous with one cover member and defining a hinge bearing surface, and a second hinge part continuous with the other cover member and defining a second hinge bearing surface, said bearing surfaces moving with said respective cover members when said members move relative to each other; and,
d. spring means engaging said cover members at least adjacent said hinge for urging said cover members toward each other to enclose a club head.
2. A cover as claimed in claim 1 wherein said first hinge part comprises a pintle and said second hinge part comprises a knuckle engaging said pintle, said knuckle coextending with said pintle and said second bearing surface providing at least a semicylindrical bearing surface slidable on said pintle.
3. A cover as claimed in claim I wherein said spring means comprises at least one nonmetallic spring member having a C- shaped cross section, said hinge disposed within said spring member and split edges of said Spring member urging said cover members together.
4. A cover as claimed in claim 4 wherein said spring member is comprised of a longitudinally split plastic tube.
5. A cover as claimed in claim I and further including a lever continuous with each cover member, said levers fulcrumed at said hinge.
6. In a golf club cover:
a. first and second cover members for enclosing at least a head ofa golf club;
b. a hinge defined at least in part bybearing surfaces on respective ones of said members and providing for movement of one cover member relative to the other to enable removal of the golf club head;
c. nonmetallic spring means for urging said cover members together for enclosing a club head and resiliently resisting opening of said cover; and,
d. said nonmetallic spring means including force applying surfaces engaging said cover members to maintain said hinge assembled while urging said cover members together.
7. A cover as claimed in claim 6 wherein said hinge is com prised of a pintle member integral with one cover member and a knuckle integral with the other cover member, said spring means comprising at least one longitudinally split plastic sleevelike member defining a generally C'shaped cross-sectional shape, said knuckle ans pintle extending into said plastic sleeve between split edges thereof and resiliently stressing said spring.
8. A cover as claimed in claim 6 wherein said spring means comprises at least one longitudinally split plastic tube having split edges seated in grooves in each of said members adjacent said hinge, said edges resiliently urged apart by engagement with said grooves and maintaining said members biased closed.
9. A cover as claimed in claim 8 wherein said cover members and said hinge are defined by molded plastic material with hinge parts formed continuously with respective ones of said cover members.
10. In a cover for a golfclub:
a. first and second cover members for enclosing at least a head of a golf club;
b. a nonmetallic hinge between said members providing for relative movement of the cover members away from each other to enable removal of a golf club head;
c. spring means engaging said cover members at least adjacent said hinge for urging said cover members toward each other to enclose a club head; and,
d. said hinge and adjacent surfaces of said cover members defining generally parallel grooves and said spring means including portions seated in said grooves to resiliently maintain said hinge assembled and to urge the cover members toward each other.
11. A cover as claimed in claim 10 wherein one groove is defined between a hinge pintle and said first member, and another groove is defined between a hinge knuckle and said second member, said spring means including at least one spring member having force applying portions disposed in said grooves.
12. A cover as claimed in claim 111 wherein said spring member includes a longitudinally split tubular member and said force applying portions are defined by at least part of the split edges of said spring member.
13. In a cover for a golf club:
a. first and second cover members for enclosing at least a head ofa golf club;
b. a nonmetallic hinge between said cover members providing for relative movement of the cover members away from each other to enable removal of a golf club head; and,
c. spring means engaging said cover members at least adjacent said hinge, said spring means including force applying surfaces engaging said cover members to maintain said hinge and cover members assembled while continuously urging said cover members toward their relative positions for enclosing a golf club head.
14. A cover as claimed in claim 15 wherein said cover members and said hinge are composed of molded plastic material.
face portion spaced from said hinge; and,
d. spring means for biasing the cover parts toward the closed condition, said spring means comprising spring force applying parts engaged with respective spring seat surface portions whereby to apply the biasing force to cover portions