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Title:
IMPROVEMENTS TO A GOLF CLUB
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/014159
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to improvements to a golf club and at least some of said improvements are related to the gold club known as a putter and in order to allows the stance of the person to be such as to allow improved movement of their limbs with respect to their torso when using the club and, as a result, the efficiency and repeatability of accurate movement and the control of the force applied using the club is improved. The club includes a head portion with a contact face for contact with the ball to propel the same across a surface and the angle of lie between a longitudinal axis of the said putter head and a longitudinal axis of the shaft to which the head is attached is in the range of 50-60 degrees. A further improvement relates to the provision of one or more shock absorbing portions in the golf club head.

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Inventors:
WOODHOUSE PAUL (GB)
SMITH PETER (GB)
Application Number:
PCT/GB2020/051762
Publication Date:
January 28, 2021
Filing Date:
July 23, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
FGX SPORT LTD (GB)
International Classes:
A63B53/00; A63B53/04; A63B60/54
Foreign References:
CA2161710A11996-05-01
US20030119601A12003-06-26
EP1982751A12008-10-22
US20020016214A12002-02-07
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BAILEY WALSH & CO LLP (GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A golf club, said golf club including an elongate shaft and on the shaft there is provided a gripping portion and at an end of the shaft there is provided a head portion, said head portion having a contact face for contact with a ball to apply a force from the golf club to the ball to propel the same across a surface and wherein the angle of lie between the longitudinal axis of the said head and the longitudinal axis of the said shaft is in the range of 50-60 degrees.

2. A golf club according to claim 1 wherein the golf club is a putter.

3. Apparatus according to claim 2 wherein the said lie angle is in the range of 54-58 degrees.

4. A golf club according to claim 3 wherein the lie angle is 56 degrees.

5. A golf club according to any of the preceding claims wherein the lie angle is defined as the angle between the longitudinal axis of the head and the longitudinal axis of the shaft when an underside portion of the head is in contact with a surface on which the ball is located such that the longitudinal axis of the putter head is substantially parallel with the said surface.

6. Apparatus according to claim 2 wherein the length of the said shaft is at least 93 centimetres.

7. Apparatus according to claim 6 wherein the length of the shaft is in the range of 96- 102 centimetres.

8. Apparatus according to claim 7 wherein the length of the shaft is substantially 99 centimetres.

9. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the gripping portion of the club is formed by a handle or sleeve which is located on the shaft at, or adjacent to, the opposite end of the shaft from the end on which the said head is located.

10. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein the golf club is a putter and the head includes a contact face for the ball, an underside portion which lies at an angle to the contact face and the underside extends to the rear of the contact face with respect to the direction of movement of the club to contact the ball.

11. A golf club according to claim 10 wherein the said underside portion is arranged at an angle of substantially 90 degrees to the contact face.

12. Apparatus according to claim 10 wherein the underside portion includes at least one aperture which extends from a position adjacent to the rear of the contact face and along the underside portion in a direction away from the said contact face.

13. A golf club according to claim 12 wherein the said aperture is a slotted aperture and the longitudinal axis of the same extends in a substantially perpendicular direction to the contact face.

14 A golf club according to any of the preceding claims wherein depending inwardly from at least part of a rear and/ or side faces of the head there are provided one or more shock absorbing portions. 15 A golf club according to claim 14 wherein the shock absorbing portions extend from the rear face towards the contact face of the head.

16. A golf club according to claim any of claims 14- 15 wherein the said shock absorbing portions and/or head, are provided with retaining means so as to retain the said shock absorbing portions in position in the head of the club during use of the same.

17 A golf club including a shaft having a first end at which there is provided a gripping portion and an opposing end at which a head is located, said head including a contact face to contact with a ball so as to allow a force to be applied thereto, an opposing, rear face, side faces and an underside and wherein depending inwardly of the head from at least part of the said rear and/or side faces towards the contact face there are provided one or more shock absorbing portions.

18. A golf club according to claim 17 wherein the shock absorbing portions are formed of a resilient material and which move from a rest position to at least partially absorb the force caused by contact between the head and the ball and, once the force has been removed therefrom, the said portions return to substantially the same rest position.

19 A golf club according to claim 17 wherein the said one or more portions do not extend fully to the contact face so that the contact face is substantially uniform.

20 A golf club according to any of the preceding claims wherein the head is formed of a metal or metal alloy.

Description:
Improvements to a golf club

The invention to which this application relates is to improvements to a golf club which, improve the ease and accuracy of striking a golf ball using the club, and as a result, improved accuracy of movement of the ball which is struck by the golf club in play.

In particular, although not exclusively, at least some of the improvements are best suited to a golf club in the form of that known as a putter which is the form of club which is typically used when the ball is on, or close to, a putting green of a golf course. The putting green is typically provided with the hole into which the ball is to be moved to complete the playing of a particular hole of the course and the putting green tends to have shorter cut grass than the remainder of the course such as the fairway or rough and has a generally smooth flat or gently undulating surface. It will be appreciated that the putting green, the putter and the technique used to propel the ball are quite distinct from tho se used to propel the ball on the remainder of the golf course. In particular the ball is hot so that the same moves along and across the surface whereas from the tee, fairway or rough the aim is to propel the ball through the air towards the putting green and for which golf clubs known as woods, drivers and irons can be selectively used.

As the grass on the putting green is provided to be relatively short and the surface is relatively smooth in comparison to the grass and surface which is provided on the fairway and/ or rough which skirts the fairway the putter is conventionally provided o f a different configuration to the other clubs which a player may have in their golf bag and which are available for selection for use. For example, for hitting the ball longer distances, the player may select to use a driver or wood club which is typically provided with a handle portion on a shaft which has at, one end, a relatively large golf club head. To propel the ball along the fairway or to remove the same from the rough or bunkers, the player typically has a range of golf clubs, known as irons, which again have a handle portion, a shaft and at a free end of the shaft, a head and the contact face of the head is provided at a particular angular orientation with respect to the grass or sand surface at the time of contact with the ball and the angle of orientation differs between the range of irons so as to select the particular club which is believed to suit the particular style of shot which is desired to be applied to the ball at that time.

The conventional putter club has a gripping portion at one end of a shaft and a putting head at the opposing end which has a contact surface which, when the ball is contacted by the putter to propel the same, has a contact surface which is substantially perpendicular to the grass surface on which the ball is located at the time of contact between the ball and the putting head. The angle between the respective longitudinal axes of the shaft and the head is substantially 90 degrees.

While it is known to have many variations of the particular design of the features of the putting head of the club and/or the materials from which the putting head or the shaft of the club is made, the same general concept has been used for putter designs for many years and this is that the shaft and head are configured and respectively located such that when the putter is being used, the player is forced to have a particular grip and stance and more specifically, a particularly upright stance, when using the putter. This upright stance is notably different to the stance of the player when using other golf clubs during play on other parts of the gold course. Furthermore, the particularly upright stance which is encouraged by the conventional putter configuration also causes the player to hold their arms relatively rigid, with their elbows located close to their chest so that the arms and chest effectively move“as one” and with the general aim being to ensure that there is a minimum of variation in the movement of the respective limbs of the player and thereby to attempt to ensure that the putter head follows a particular, tightly controlled, trajectory and that the player can achieve this in a repetitive manner so that all they have to then concentrate on is the particular direction and speed at which they hit the ball using the golf club.

A problem which the applicant has identified is that this particular stance, which is encouraged and controlled by the conventional putter configuration, is an unnatural stance for the player and, as such, and often despite many hours of practice, and while certain players may be able to achieve good results using that particular stance, it is more likely that players may not be able to achieve good results at all or, at best, only occasionally and therefore there is a problem with reliability of their use of the putter club.

As such, the aim of the current invention is to provide a new form of putter which allows a more natural and fluid stance to be achieved by the player when using the putter club whilst still allowing sufficient control of the putter, and in particular the putter head and the contact face, at the time of contact with the golf ball to be achieved to thereby ensure that the golf ball is struck with an intended force required to move the ball the required distance and in a direction to travel across the grass surface.

A further aim is to provide an improved characteristic of the contact face and club head so as to improve the use of the same and allow the force which is applied from the player, through the golf club and into contact with the ball, to have greater focus on the ball and thereby increase the force, improve control of the traj ectory and/ or distance of movement of the ball which can be achieved.

In a first aspect of the invention, there is provided a golf club, said golf club including an elongate shaft and on the shaft there is provided a gripping portion and at an end of the shaft there is provided a head portion, said head portion having a contact face for contact with a ball to apply a force from the golf club to the ball to propel the same across a surface and wherein the angle of lie between a longitudinal axis of the said head and a longitudinal axis of the said shaft is in the range of 50-60 degrees.

In one embodiment, the said club is a putter.

In one embodiment, the said lie angle is in the range of 54 to 58 degrees and more preferably is 56 degrees.

Typically the lie angle is defined as the angle between the longitudinal axis o f the head and the longitudinal axis of the shaft when the underside portion of the head is in contact with the surface. The relevant longitudinal axis of the putter head is the axis which extends along the width of the contact face rather than an axis which extends from the contact face towards the rear of the head.

In one embodiment, the length of the shaft is at least 93 centimetres and more typically is in the range of 96- 102 centimetres and more preferably is substantially 99 centimetres in length. Typically, the gripping portion of the club include s a handle or sleeve which is located on the shaft at or adjacent to the end of the shaft which opposes the end on which the head is located.

Typically, the provision of the club as described, allows the player to stand with their feet at an increased distance from the ball than would be the case when using a conventional putter club. As such, it allows the player’s arms to be moved from the relatively bent position which is used using a conventional putter club to a substantially more extended position using the putter club in accordance with the invention, whilst ensuring that the putter club head is still correctly oriented with respect to the surface and ball when contacting the same.

In one embodiment the putter head includes a contact face for the ball, an underside portion which may lie at substantially 90 degrees to the contact face and the underside portions extends to the rear of the contact face.

The particular shape and dimensions of the underside portion may be varied to suit particular club designs. In one embodiment the underside portion includes at least one aperture which extends from a position adjacent the rear of the contact face and along the underside.

In one embodiment the said aperture is a slotted aperture and the longitudinal axis of the same extends in a substantially perpendicular direction to the contact face.

In a further aspect of the invention which may be utilised in combination with the features already set out, or independently thereof, there is provided a golf club including a shaft having a first end at which there is provided a gripping portion and an opposing end at which a head is located, said head including a contact face to contact with a ball so as to allow a force to be applied thereto, an opposing, rear face, side faces and an underside and wherein depending inwardly of the head from at least part of the said rear and/ or side faces towards the contact face there are provided one or more shock absorbing portions.

In one embodiment, the shock absorbing portions are formed of a resilient material so as to allow any force applied thereto during use of the club to be at least partially absorbed and, once the force has been removed therefrom, for the said portions to move back to substantially the same rest position as before the force was applied.

In one embodiment, the shock absorbing portions can be provided in one or more parts of the head and in one embodiment, extend from a rear face of the head towards the contact face. Typically, the said one or more portions do not extend fully to the club face so that the club face is provided of a uniform material, most typically a metal or metal alloy from which the head is formed.

In one embodiment, the said shock absorbing portions and/ or head, are provided with retaining means so as to retain the said shock absorbing portions in position in the head of the club during use of the same.

Typically the said shock absorbing portions can be provided in a number of different configurations.

Typically, in this embodiment the head, and golf club in total, is provided with a shock absorbing capability to thereby minimise shock and vibration to the player gripping the club at that time when hitting the golf ball. In one embodiment the provision of the shock absorbing portion is implemented in the golf club referred to as an iron.

Specific embodiments of the invention are now described with reference to the accompanying drawings; wherein

Figures l a - d illustrate different views of a club in accordance with a first embodiment of the invention;

Figures 2a- b illustrate an embodiment of a head for use with the form of club of Figures l a-d;

Figures 3a and b illustrate the difference in the distance between the user and the ball when using a conventional putter club and a putter club in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

Figures 4-6 illustrate a golf club head in accordance with a further embodiment of the invention; and

Figure 7 illustrates a club of a type to which the embodiment shown in Figures 4- 6 relates.

Referring firstly to Figures l a-d there is illustrated a golf club and more specifically a putter club 2, in accordance with the invention. The putter 2 includes a shaft 4 with a handle or gripping portion 6 via which the club is held by a player when using the club to hit a golf ball and the gripping portion is located at and/or adjacent to one end 8 of the shaft 4. At the opp osing end 10 of the shaft there is provided a head portion 12 which is used to hit the golf ball.

One embodiment of design of the head portion 12 of the putter 2 is shown in Figures 2a-b and it shown that the head 12 includes a contact face 14 which is used to contact with and propel the ball along the surface 16, most typically the surface of a putting green, as indicated in Figure la. Located to the rear of the contact face 14 there is provided an underside portion 19 which, in this embodiment, extends and is shaped so as provide a shallow rear to the head and which can be provided to extend to a distance to suit particular design requirements. Also, in this embodiment, the underside portion 19 includes a slotted aperture 18 which extends through the underside portion so that the surface 16 is viewable therethrough and the slot extends from a location 20 near the rear of the contact face to a location 22 towards the far edge 21 of the underside portion 19. The longitudinal axis 24 of the slot is substantially perpendicular with the longitudinal axis 26 which extends along the width of the contact face 14 of the head 12.

As shown in Figures l a-d, the configuration of the shaft 4 and head are such that the angle of lie 28 between the longitudinal axis 26 of the head and the longitudinal axis 30 of the shaft is in the range of 50 to 60 degrees and most preferably 56 degrees . This is a substantially shallower angle of lie than that of conventional clubs which is typically in the range of 80 to 90 degrees and this difference has a significant beneficial effect. Furthermore, the length of the shaft 4 is provided to be at least 93 centimetres and more typically is in the range of 96- 102 centimetre s, and more preferably is substantially 99 centimetres in length.

As a result of the angle of lie and length of the shaft as described the stance of the player using a putter club in accordance with the invention is significantly changed with respect to their stance when using a conventional putter club.

For example, as shown in Figure 3a when the player is using a conventional putter, the distance X between the toes of the feet 34 of the player and the centre of the ball 32 when the conventional putter is in the required position to contact the ball is typically in the range of 25-30 centimetres with slight variation possible depending on the player’s grip and as shown in Figures 3a.

In contrast, in the current invention, and as shown in Figure 3b, the combination of the shaft and head configuration of the putter club in accordance with the invention results in that when the club is positioned to contact with the ball 32 on the surface 16 and with the longitudinal axis 26 substantially parallel with the surface 16 and with the player thereby in the correct stance, the distance Y between the toes of the feet 34 of the player and the centre of the ball 32 is significantly greater and typically within the range of 60- 66 centimetres. This, in turn provides greater freedom for the player and allows the player to visualise the line in which they wish to propel the ball when they use the club to strike the same and an increased freedom to create an arc of movement of the club.

The angle between the contact face and the underside portion lower face which is closest to the surface 16 is typically substantially 90 degrees. Furthermore guides or reference features may be provided on the head and/or shaft to further aid the use of the putter club by the player.

As a result of the changes made to the club in accordance with the current invention, tests have shown that the movement of the players arms is substantially freed with respect to their torso and when moving the club to a sufficient extent so as to ensure that control of movement can still be maintained. As a result the efficiency and repeatability of accurate movement of the ball, both in terms of accuracy of force and direction, is significantly improved. Turning now to the further aspect of the invention as shown in Figure 4- 7 then in Figure 7, there is illustrated a club 42 of a type to which the invention relates, and which comprises a shaft 44 with a handle portion 46 at one end and a head 48 at the other end.

As shown in Figures 4-7, the head 48 is provided with a body 50 which has a contact face 52 which is provided to contact and move a golf ball 54 shown in broken lines in Figure 5, so as to move the golf ball in a forward and upwards direction as indicated by arrow 56 and the specific trajectory and distance is determined by the smoothness of contact between the contact face 52 and the golf ball 54, the force applied via the golf club by the player and the particular angle of the contact face 52 as it contacts the golf ball 54.

The rear face 60 o f the head which opposes the contact face 52, is provided with one or more shock absorbing portions 62 and, as shown in Figures 4-7, these shock absorbing portions can take different forms but, in each case, the shock absorbing portions 62 are formed of a substantially flexible and resilient material such as rubber or at least a material which is more flexible than the material, such as a metal or metal alloy, which is used to form the head 48. Thus, when impact is made between the head and the golf ball, the resilient portions provide an absorbing feature of the head as they absorb the impact forces applied to the contact face 52.

It is therefore believed that the provision of the shock absorbing portions as herein described allow an improved use of a golf club.

In one embodiment the shock absorbing features are provided in a golf club in the form of a club of a type which is known as an iron. The player will typically have a range of irons to select from their golf bag dependent upon the required traj ectory of the ball, the distance of travel and the particular surface on which the ball is located.

The present invention therefore provides significant advantages to the player using the club with one or more of the features described included therein and in particular the club head.