|Publication number||USRE38983 E1|
|Application number||US 09/545,111|
|Publication date||Feb 14, 2006|
|Filing date||Apr 6, 2000|
|Priority date||Jun 13, 1995|
|Also published as||US5735752|
|Publication number||09545111, 545111, US RE38983 E1, US RE38983E1, US-E1-RE38983, USRE38983 E1, USRE38983E1|
|Inventors||Anthony J. Antonious|
|Original Assignee||Adams Golf Ip, Lp|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (46), Referenced by (33), Classifications (12), Legal Events (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates to golf clubs, golf shafts, and inserts for golf club shafts, and, in particular, to an improved golf club shaft having a coil or coil-type insert for enhanced swing weight control, stiffness and flex control, shock absorption, vibration elimination or reduction, and other club improvements.
Conventional golf club shafts are made of steel, metal alloys, or composite materials. Shafts have a tapered shape starting from the smaller tip end to the larger butt end and are normally formed with a continuous variable dimensional difference along the entire length of the shaft.
When a golfer hits a shot, the shaft is subjected to a number of complex forces during the swing, at impact, and during the follow through. Generally, conventional shafts have limited control over the swing weight of the club or the control of the torsion applied to the shaft during the swing. Similarly, conventional shafts do not control or adequately eliminate shock and vibration that transfer through the shaft to the golfer's hands, particularly at impact. Furthermore, conventional shafts have limited means to properly control the stiffness and the flexing of the shaft during the swing and therefore do not provide optimum shot control, power transfer, and accuracy.
It is known that the stiffness and/or flexibility of the shaft as well as the flex points thereon can be varied to at least some degree to better fit the shaft to the physical parameters and swing characteristics of a particular golfer. However, the physical characteristics of conventional shafts and the costs associated with producing a properly “fitted” shaft obviously limits the degree to which a particular golfer can obtain or afford the best possible shaft for his or her swing.
There are a number of prior art patents dealing with shaft flexibility and variations in flex point. Some prior art patents of interest relating to golf shafts are shown in Design Pat. No. 236,735 to Bush, U.S. Pat. No. 5,022,652 to Fenton, British Patent No. 471,020, to TRI-ON, and U.S. Pat. No. 5,316,299 to Feshe et al. In the inventor's opinion, these patents and the described inventions have not satisfied the need for a shaft or the combination of a shaft and club head which provides the most optimum characteristics, at an affordable price range for the majority of golfers worldwide.
Among the objects of the present invention is to provide a golf club shaft which performs better at a relatively similar cost to conventional golf club shafts. Another object of the present invention is to provide a golf club shaft having a visible coil or coil-type insert, the combined shaft and insert allowing the selective location of the flex-point along the length of the shaft and the selective control of the stiffness of the shaft. Another object is to provide a shaft insert which can be used to more precisely alter the swing weight of a club. Yet another object is to provide a shaft insert which absorbs shock and greatly reduces or eliminates vibration caused by ground contact or impact with the ball. Still another object of the present invention is the provision of a golf club shaft having an insert which controls and generates torsional forces which combine with centrifugal forces to increase club head speed as the club head is swung to strike a golf ball.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description when viewed in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which set forth certain embodiments of the invention. The objects and advantages of the invention will be realized and attained by means of the elements and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims.
To achieve the objects and in accordance with the purpose of the invention, as embodied and broadly described herein, the invention comprises a golf club shaft for a golf club head comprising at least one tubular section and an insert attached to at least one tubular section for regulating the flexibility of said shaft, the insert having a central section and a pair of couplers integrally formed on opposite ends of the central section, at least one of the couplers being attached to the shaft.
To achieve the objects and in accordance with the purposes of the invention, as embodied and broadly described herein, the invention also comprises a golf club comprising a golf club head, a shaft interconnected at one end to the golf club head and at the opposite end to a grip and means for regulating the swing weight and flex point of club, said means including an insert having a central section and at least one coupler attached to the shaft.
As explained more thoroughly below, the present invention provides an improved shaft configuration suitable for all types of clubs used to play the game of golf. The addition of the visible insert regulates swing weight and maximizes specific desired flex and stiffness of the shaft. The improved shaft and insert preferably also cooperate to absorb shock at impact and control the torquing and proper uncoiling of the shaft during the shot. These inserts preferably include a coil or coil-like structure which acts as a buffer and/or vibrational dampener or suppressor, thereby providing greater cushioning to reduce or eliminate undesirable vibrations and shock, especially when off-center ball contact is made or “fat shots” occur.
Further, the proper application of the insert promotes greater club head stability at impact because of a quicker recovery capability of the shaft, facilitating the return of the club face to its original “square position.” The desired flexing and precision control are accomplished by selecting the materials and physical characteristics of the insert (such as the proper number of coils, and the thickness of the coils) and properly locating the insert along the shaft. The insert of the present invention can also be varied in mass, size, shape, and location, to optimize the swing weight, flex point, and stiffness of a set of clubs. By varying these parameters, the shaft and resultant club may be fitted to individual golfers or types of golfers of a wide variety of ability.
The shaft of the present invention includes an upper butt portion, an intermediate portion, a lower tip or club head portion, and an intermediate coil insert. The insert is provided with connectors on opposite ends of the coil. The connectors may be shank-type male or a receptor-type female in structure. A shank-type insert fits into the hosel socket of the club head or an adjoining shaft section, while a receptor-type connector fits over an adjoining shaft section.
The insert can either be placed in new shafts of new clubs, or can be added to existing shafts in old sets of clubs, thereby improving the old set. For example, sets of inserts of the present invention can be readily produced in standardized sets, to be sold as kits to alter an old set of clubs into an improved set of clubs having better performance. For example, the shafts of the old set can be cut at the desired location of the inserts, a short section of the shaft approximately equal to the length of the central section of the insert can be removed, and the insert can then be fixed to the remaining tip and butt portions of the shaft.
Preliminary tests conducted with iron and metal wood-type golf clubs using shafts having the coil or coil-type inserts of the present invention have produced results that were superior in feel, control, distance, and accuracy over that of conventional clubs using the same composite material or metal shafts. Golf clubs with the present invention were easier to swing and control.
The insert of the present invention is preferably formed with surface or complete coils which serve to control and develop torsion forces as the golf club is swung. For example, on the back swing, left to right rotational movement of the club creates a coiling action within the coil-type insert to create a torsion-force. On the downswing, the built up torsion-force is uncoiled in a right to left direction to develop an additional propulsion force. This additional force increases the club head speed developed by the centrifugal force of the golf swing, particularly when the flex point of the shaft is optimumly regulated by the insert.
It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory only and are not restrictive of the invention as claimed.
The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate several embodiments of the invention and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention.
Reference will now be made in detail to the present embodiments of the invention, and examples which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Wherever possible, the same reference numbers will be used throughout the drawings to refer to the same or like parts. It should be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention, which may be embodied in various forms. Therefore, the details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limited, but merely as the basis for the claims and as a basis for teaching one skilled in the art how to make and/or use the invention.
The insert 12 can be formed of a variety of materials and in a variety of shapes and sizes, although certain materials, shapes, and sizes are preferred, as will be explained below. In all embodiments, the insert has a central section 18 connected at its opposite end to couplers 20 and 22. These couplers fit into or over the shaft 10 or the club head 24, in a manner such that a tight fit and strong connection can be made between the insert and the shaft or club head. Preferably, the insert and shaft or club head are permanently fixed to one another through the use of epoxy or a similar adhesive, although any acceptable connection technique is within the scope of the invention. It is also possible that the insert could be incorporated into an extended hosel of a club head. The central section of the insert 12 in each preferred embodiment is positioned either between the club head and the shaft or between two portions of the shaft, adds to the length of the club, and is visible when installed on the shaft. The insert preferably has a boss on a male shank connector and a recessed opening on a female receptor, against which the shaft abuts thereby ensuring that the central section of the insert is properly joined and is of the desired length.
Regardless of the particular size, shape, and mass of the insert, the addition of the insert to the shaft regulates both the swing weight and the shaft flex point and stiffness of the resultant golf club. Thus, the characteristics and location of the insert can be varied, along with the other conventional elements of the club, to provide the most optimum flex point and swing weight of a given set of clubs.
Preferably, the insert 12 is constructed in a manner which allows the insert to affect the manner in which the shaft and the entire club responds to torsional forces as the club head is swung and to shocks and vibrations when the ground or ball is hit. The central section of the insert preferably includes physical alterations in its configuration that allow the insert to absorb the shock forces generated when the ball is hit. An insert with such alterations acts as a buffer and/or vibrational dampener or suppressor, thereby reducing or eliminating the transfer of undesirable vibrations and shocks to a golfer's hands. Inserts made of certain materials may be sufficiently resilient to act as a buffer and/or vibrational dampener or suppressor, without physical alteration.
Similarly, the insert preferably includes physical alterations or configurations that allow the insert to twist or turn slightly about its axis when the club head is swung. For example, the insert can include coils or a coil-like configuration providing a feature to control torsion. Thus, on the back swing, the insert undergoes a controlled coiling action that in effect produces stored energy in the insert at or about the top of the swing. On the downswing, the built up torsion-force in the insert is uncoiled to develop and impart an additional torsion, propulsion force to the golf ball at impact. Again, inserts made of certain resilient materials may provide this feature and function, without the need for physical alterations to the insert.
The first embodiment of an insert, shown in
The insert 12 shown in
As an example, an insert of the type shown in
In the embodiment shown in
As an example of a titanium insert made according to the first embodiment of the present invention, the insert has a plurality of partial surface coils, preferably at least four, having an outside diameter at the central section of 0.530 to 0.660 inches, a thickness (from inside diameter of the central section to outside diameter of surface coil) of 0.125 to 0.170, and a coil spacing of 8 coils per inch. The coils in this embodiment have a width of approximately 0.100 to 0.125. The central section 18 preferably has a length of at least one-half inch, and the couplers 20 and 22 have a length of one to one and one half inches. The male-type shank couplers at the ends of the insert having outside diameters generally within the range of 0.370 to 0.435 inches, one coupler being slightly larger than the other. Preferably the couplers are frustroconical in shape to match the taper of the shaft into which the are inserted. For irons, the male shanks have a length of 1.250 inches and an outside diameter of 0.370 inches. For woods, the male shanks have a length of 1.250 inches and an outside diameter in the range of 0.408 to 0.435 inches. The insert preferably has a bore 24 throughout its length, preferably so that the thickness of the couplers (inside diameter to outside diameter) is approximately 0.150 to 0.170 inches. The resultant insert has a weight of 15 to 30 grams. The resultant insert can absorb shock and turn slightly relative to torque forces, and yet is sufficiently strong and semi-rigid to alter the flex point and stiffness of the shaft and allow improved club head control throughout the swing of the club.
The insert of the present invention contemplates a number of alternate materials and configurations that can provide the desired objects of the invention and meet the elements and features presented in the claims. For example, it is believed that a wide variety of sizes and shapes of inserts, including a relatively simple cylindrical central section, will provide the features of the invention regarding the regulation of the desired flex point and swing weight of a golf club. It is believed that more complex designing is necessary to achieve the preferred combined features of swing weight regulation, shock cushioning, torsion control, and flex and stiffness regulation. By means of example, the central section 18 can be machined to include a plurality of spaced coils or bands, rather than a helical configuration. Such an insert can be either machined or molded. It is further possible that an insert can be formed of special materials that provide the desired absorption and torsion characteristics through a cylindrical central section, with or without a bore. The invention thus includes all inserts that produce the claimed features provided by the specific embodiments and illustrations disclosed herein, as well as variations readily understood by the application of the principles of the invention disclosed herein.
As shown, the insert 12 in
The present preferred placement of the insert for wood-type club heads is in the upper half of the shaft, more preferably the upper third of the shaft, and most preferably proximate (within three inches of) the bottom of the grip of a club. This placement also will work well with irons, but the inclusion of inserts at or near the club head is believed to be best for irons, particularly for a golfer having the ability to use and control clubs of a greater swing weight. For golfer having less control, the preferable position of the insert for irons will be in the upper half of the shaft.
In each of these embodiments, the outside diameter of the central section can be larger for a given shaft size, since the female connector fits over the shaft. For example, as seen in
It will be appreciated that any combination of male shank and female connectors may be used with a shaft in accordance with the present invention depending upon a variety of parameters including shaft material and the strengths thereof as well as the desired location of the insert.
It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made in the golf club shaft of the present invention and in construction of this golf club shaft without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US695579 *||Sep 24, 1901||Mar 18, 1902||Charles Roome Parmele||Golf-club.|
|US1418039 *||Mar 30, 1922||May 30, 1922||Sinclair Tousey||Golf club|
|US1426202||Sep 15, 1921||Aug 15, 1922||Metallic Shaft Company||Shaft for golf clubs and the like|
|US1428015 *||Aug 30, 1919||Sep 5, 1922||Dienner John A||Golf club|
|US1565070 *||Mar 6, 1924||Dec 8, 1925||Edwards Edward T||Golf club|
|US1586469||Jun 25, 1920||May 25, 1926||Revell Alexander H||Golf club|
|US1774385||Oct 9, 1929||Aug 26, 1930||Metallic Shaft Company||Metallic tube or shaft|
|US1968616||Dec 31, 1931||Jul 31, 1934||Leonard A Young||Golf club shaft|
|US1985427 *||Jan 6, 1934||Dec 25, 1934||Richardson William H||Flexible ferrule|
|US2250429||Jun 6, 1933||Jul 22, 1941||American Fork & Hoe Co||Golf club|
|US2464850||Dec 4, 1946||Mar 22, 1949||Crawshaw Paul G||Sectional golf club shaft|
|US3206205||May 13, 1963||Sep 14, 1965||Mcloughlin George H||Breakable golf club|
|US3317211 *||Dec 8, 1960||May 2, 1967||Debski Merrill M||Weighted practice golf club including improper swing sensing means|
|US3341202 *||Mar 12, 1964||Sep 12, 1967||William K Stars||Golf club|
|US3963239 *||Jun 28, 1974||Jun 15, 1976||Hirokazu Fujii||Baseball bat|
|US4157181||Jun 12, 1978||Jun 5, 1979||Fansteel Inc.||Graphite fiber tapered shafts|
|US4555111 *||Aug 26, 1983||Nov 26, 1985||Alvarez Manuel R||Practice bat|
|US4836545||Nov 7, 1988||Jun 6, 1989||Pompa J Benedict||Two piece metallic and composite golf shaft|
|US5022652 *||Sep 24, 1990||Jun 11, 1991||Spalding & Evenflo Companies||Lightweight steel golf shaft|
|US5083780||Jan 29, 1990||Jan 28, 1992||Spalding & Evenflo Companies, Inc.||Golf club shaft having selective reinforcement|
|US5184819||Oct 31, 1990||Feb 9, 1993||Jacques Desbiolles||Golf club|
|US5205561 *||Nov 25, 1991||Apr 27, 1993||Lux Michael S||Golf club|
|US5226652 *||Jun 18, 1992||Jul 13, 1993||Maruman Golf Kabushiki Kaisha||Golf club with improved impact property|
|US5253867||Jul 11, 1991||Oct 19, 1993||Gafner Donald M||Multi-component shaft for golf clubs|
|US5259614||Aug 6, 1992||Nov 9, 1993||Greer Julian A||Composite seamless filament-wound golf club shaft and method|
|US5277423||Jul 14, 1992||Jan 11, 1994||Skis Rossignol S.A.||Vibration-damping device for an instrument having a shaft and a striking head|
|US5294119||Sep 28, 1992||Mar 15, 1994||Taylor Made Golf Company, Inc.||Vibration-damping device for a golf club|
|US5297791 *||Oct 13, 1992||Mar 29, 1994||Fujikura Rubber Ltd.||Golf club shaft and method of producing the same|
|US5316299 *||Oct 16, 1992||May 31, 1994||Taylor Made Golf Company||Golf club shaft|
|US5335909||Apr 16, 1993||Aug 9, 1994||Green Jr Robert||Wood head no hosel golf club|
|US5354056 *||Mar 18, 1993||Oct 11, 1994||Bradley K. Stone||Golf club and method|
|US5362048 *||Dec 6, 1993||Nov 8, 1994||Haste J William||Golf club|
|US5390921||Apr 5, 1994||Feb 21, 1995||De Ruyter; Eugene J.||Tubular golf shaft extending devices|
|US5465959||Dec 16, 1994||Nov 14, 1995||Advanced Composite Designs Co., Ltd.||Golf club body made of composite material and having a bent front section|
|US5485948 *||Jul 26, 1993||Jan 23, 1996||Mccrink; Edward J.||Shaft and method of making same|
|US5499814||Sep 8, 1994||Mar 19, 1996||Lu; Clive S.||Hollow club head with deflecting insert face plate|
|US5692970||Mar 14, 1995||Dec 2, 1997||Radius Engineering||Composite golf club shaft|
|US5857923||Mar 22, 1995||Jan 12, 1999||Pack-A-Putter Corporation||Separable golf club shaft|
|USD236735 *||Sep 9, 1975||Golf club shaft or similar article|
|USD245441 *||Mar 26, 1976||Aug 16, 1977||Golf putter|
|CA532592A *||Nov 6, 1956||J. Teskey Charles||Table hockey game|
|GB451584A *||Title not available|
|GB452584A *||Title not available|
|GB471020A *||Title not available|
|GB190322968A *||Title not available|
|GB191501819A *||Title not available|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US7399235||Dec 1, 2006||Jul 15, 2008||Eaton Corporation||Variable mass grip|
|US7458903||Jun 8, 2006||Dec 2, 2008||Eaton Corporation||Hand grip and method of making same|
|US7798912||Sep 17, 2007||Sep 21, 2010||Eaton Corporation||Variable hardness hand grip|
|US7909705||Apr 17, 2008||Mar 22, 2011||Eaton Corporation||Variable mass grip|
|US8105522||Oct 29, 2008||Jan 31, 2012||Eaton Corporation||Compression mold and molding process|
|US8241156 *||Apr 3, 2007||Aug 14, 2012||Sims Steven C||Shock/vibration dampening|
|US8257194||Sep 23, 2009||Sep 4, 2012||Nike, Inc.||Device for stiffening a golf club shaft|
|US8296907||May 15, 2009||Oct 30, 2012||Eaton Corporation||Light weight grip and method of making same|
|US8425344||Jan 18, 2011||Apr 23, 2013||Callway Golf Company||Variable length golf club shaft|
|US8425345||Jan 19, 2011||Apr 23, 2013||Callaway Golf Company||Variable length shaft|
|US8454451||Mar 1, 2011||Jun 4, 2013||Callaway Golf Company||Variable length golf club shaft|
|US8491411 *||Aug 25, 2011||Jul 23, 2013||Taylor Made Golf Company, Inc.||Golf-club shafts having selectable-stiffness tip regions, and golf clubs comprising same|
|US8529367||May 3, 2011||Sep 10, 2013||Callaway Golf Company||Variable length golf club shaft|
|US8678944||Dec 12, 2011||Mar 25, 2014||Callaway Golf Company||Variable length shaft|
|US8852022 *||Jul 9, 2013||Oct 7, 2014||Taylor Made Golf Company, Inc.||Golf-club shafts having selectable-stiffness tip regions, and golf clubs comprising same|
|US8968366||Jan 4, 2007||Mar 3, 2015||DePuy Synthes Products, LLC||Method and apparatus for flexible fixation of a spine|
|US8979900||Feb 13, 2007||Mar 17, 2015||DePuy Synthes Products, LLC||Spinal stabilization device|
|US20070123871 *||Jan 4, 2007||May 31, 2007||Tae-Ahn Jahng||Method and apparatus for flexible fixation of a spine|
|US20070225710 *||Feb 13, 2007||Sep 27, 2007||Tae-Ahn Jahng||Spinal stabilization device|
|US20070259743 *||Apr 3, 2007||Nov 8, 2007||Sims Steven C||Shock/vibration dampening|
|US20070276380 *||Feb 13, 2007||Nov 29, 2007||Tae-Ahn Jahng||Spinal stabilization device|
|US20070287551 *||Jun 8, 2006||Dec 13, 2007||Eaton Corporation||Hand grip and method of making same|
|US20070293346 *||Jun 8, 2007||Dec 20, 2007||Callaway Golf Company||Putter and extension device therefor|
|US20080085793 *||Oct 10, 2006||Apr 10, 2008||Palomaki Teddy D||Arrow vibration dampening apparatus|
|US20080132350 *||Dec 1, 2006||Jun 5, 2008||David Keith Gill Et Al.||Variable mass grip|
|US20090017935 *||Sep 9, 2008||Jan 15, 2009||Eaton Corporation||Hand grip and method of making same|
|US20090075747 *||Sep 17, 2007||Mar 19, 2009||Chiang Chung Kou||Variable hardness hand grip|
|US20100287735 *||May 15, 2009||Nov 18, 2010||Eaton Corporation||Light weight grip and method of making same|
|US20100292022 *||May 12, 2009||Nov 18, 2010||Nike, Inc.||Shaft stiffening device|
|US20110070968 *||Sep 23, 2009||Mar 24, 2011||Nike, Inc.||Device for stiffening a golf club shaft|
|US20110106167 *||Oct 18, 2010||May 5, 2011||Tae-Ahn Jahng||Adjustable spinal stabilization system|
|US20110312435 *||Aug 25, 2011||Dec 22, 2011||Taylor Made Golf Company, Inc.||Golf-club shafts having selectable-stiffness tip regions, and golf clubs comprising same|
|US20130296065 *||Jul 9, 2013||Nov 7, 2013||Taylor Made Golf Company, Inc.||Golf-club shafts having selectable-stiffness tip regions, and golf clubs comprising same|
|U.S. Classification||473/317, 473/318|
|International Classification||A63B53/12, A63B53/10, A63B59/00|
|Cooperative Classification||A63B53/10, A63B60/06, A63B2060/0081, A63B60/08, A63B60/10, A63B60/54|
|May 8, 2001||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: GENERAL ELECTRIC CAPITAL CORPORATION, NORTH CAROLI
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:ADAMS GOLF IP, L.P.;REEL/FRAME:011806/0365
Effective date: 20010327
|Dec 6, 2007||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: WACHOVIA BANK, TEXAS
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:ADAMS GOLF IP, L.P.;REEL/FRAME:020206/0645
Effective date: 20071113
|Oct 6, 2009||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12
|Aug 9, 2012||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: EXACT RESEARCH INC., IDAHO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ANTONIUS, ANTHONY J.;REEL/FRAME:028757/0218
Effective date: 20000125
Owner name: ADAMS GOLF IP, LP, TEXAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:EXACT RESEARCH INC;REEL/FRAME:028757/0449
Effective date: 20000228
|Sep 11, 2012||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: TAYLORMADE-ADIDAS GOLF COMPANY, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ADAMS GOLF IP, LP;REEL/FRAME:028932/0669
Effective date: 20120910