Golf ball container

A container that holds the golf balls for sequential dispensing of golf balls from an interior cavity through an opening between a pair of opposing legs that each includes a projecting stop on an interior surface, with the legs flexible for moving from a first position for holding one of the golf balls between the legs and retained by the projecting stops to a second outward position sufficient for the golf ball to pass by the projecting stops. A method of holding and sequentially dispensing golf balls for play is disclosed.

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Description

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to containers for golf balls. More particularly, the present invention relates to containers for carrying golf balls while facilitating selective removal of one of the golf balls from the container for play.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The sport of golf is an entertaining activity involving athletic skill and mental concentration to play a round in as few strokes as possible. There are a number of different types of clubs used in playing golf. These clubs are carried in an elongate open-ended bag. The bag is carried by a shoulder strap. Typically, golf bags include a number of pockets which are closed with zippers, buttons, or snaps. The pockets are used for carrying supplies such as golf balls, golf tees, towels, gloves, score cards, and other accouterments particular for golfing.

To be successful in golf, a golfer must drive the ball within the fairways and the approaches to the greens, while avoiding hazards on the course. Hazards include the rough or tall brush areas, sand traps, water hazards, and other grounds areas that are out of bounds or leave the golfer with a difficult shot. While driving the ball within the fairways is the preferable goal leading to success, golfers often have problems with losing golf balls. For example, drives may the golf ball to hook or slice and send the ball into fairway hazards. The rough particularly poses problems, as the rough includes areas along the sides of the fairways, and a driven ball that hooks or slices may easily carry into the rough. Rough can vary from grass standing slightly taller than the grass in the fairway to tall grass, brush, bushes, and trees. Although golfers assist each other by observing the flight of the ball, balls driven into rough frequently are lost. Generally, if a short search does not locate the ball, the golfer selects and plays a new ball, with a stroke penalty. Similarly, a ball driven into a water hazard typically is not playable, unless closely near a shallow edge of the water hazard. Generally, a ball driven into rough or into a water hazard necessitates having to replace a lost ball to resume play.

While bags have pockets for holding golf balls, selecting a particular ball from a group of balls in a pocket is cumbersome and time consuming. For example, golfers often include in the pockets a number of older balls for practice together with new or better ones of the golf balls for use in play. Selecting a new ball for replacement involves searching through the balls in the pockets of the golf bag or locating the particular pocket with new balls prepositioned for play. In addition to time spent searching for a ball lost in the rough, selecting a new ball from a collection of balls may further delay the play of the round. Some courses have strict time limits on the amount of time one can spend searching for a ball, in order to avoid inconveniencing other players on the course.

Accordingly, there is a need in the art for an improved carrier for holding golf balls for selective access for play when necessary. It is to such that the present invention is directed.

SUMMARY

The present invention meets the need in the art by providing a container for sequential dispensing of golf balls, comprising a housing having an interior cavity for receiving at least one golf ball. The housing defines an opening for communicating the golf ball out of the interior cavity. A pair of opposing legs extend from the housing at the opening. Each leg has on an interior surface a projecting stop. The legs are flexible for moving from a first position for holding the golf ball between the legs and retained by the opposing projecting stops to a second outward position sufficient for the golf ball to pass by the projecting stops.

In another aspect, the present invention provides a method of dispensing golf balls sequentially for play, comprising the steps of:

(a) providing a housing having an interior cavity for receiving at least one golf ball;

(b) holding one of the golf balls between a pair of opposing legs extending from the housing at an opening by opposing projecting stops extending from the legs; and

(c) moving the legs from a first position holding the golf ball to a second outward position relative to the opposing leg sufficient for the golf ball to pass by the projecting stops.

Objects, advantages, and features of the present invention will become readily apparent upon reading the following detailed description in conjunction with the drawings and the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates in perspective partially cut-away view a carrier for golf balls according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates in side view a second embodiment of the carrier for golf balls.

FIG. 3 illustrated in detailed perspective partially cut-away view a third embodiment of the carrier for golf balls.

FIG. 4 illustrates in cross-sectional side view a fourth embodiment of the carrier for golf balls in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates in side view an alternate embodiment of the carrier for golf balls in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

With reference to the drawings, in which like parts have like reference numerals, FIG. 1 illustrates in perspective partially cut-away view a container 10 according to the present invention for holding a plurality of golf balls 12 for sequential removal for play. The container 10 includes a housing 14 that defines an interior cavity 16 for holding the golf balls 12. The housing 14 has a first end 18 and on opposing second end 22. In the illustrated embodiment, the first end 18 is open to the interior 16 and closed by a cap 20. The opposing second end 22 is also open to the interior cavity 16. A pair of opposing legs 24 extend from the housing about the opening in the second end 22. Each of the legs 24 has an interior surface 26 that includes a projecting stop 28. The stop 28 extends towards the opposing stop.

The interior cavity 16 holds the golf balls 12. In the illustrated embodiment, the cavity 16 is cylindrical as defined by a curved wall of the housing 14. The cavity 16 has a diameter 27 closely approximating that of a golf ball, so that a plurality of golf balls 12 stack sequentially in the housing 14.

The opposing stops 28 define a gap having a distance 29 smaller than the diameter of the interior cavity. The stops 28 hold one of the golf balls between the legs 24. The projecting stops 28 can be integral with the legs 24 or resilient members that attach to the legs, such as with a fastener or adhesive. The members used for the stops 28 are made of a resilient material such as rubber or plastic.

In the illustrated embodiment, the legs 24 also define opposing notches 30 for gripping an exposed surface portion of the golf ball between the legs 24.

A side wall 32 of the housing 14 includes an elongate slot 34. The slot 34 provides a window into the cavity 16 to observe the number of golf balls 12 held within the housing 14.

The container 10 includes attaching devices for securing the container to a golf bag 35. The embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1 includes a first and second strap 36, 38 that engage together and a third and fourth strap 40, 42 that engage together. The pairs of straps 36, 38 and 40, 42 are spaced apart. The straps 36, 38 are elongated band members that attach to the container 10 intermediate the first end 18 and the second end 22. The straps 36, 38 are configured for mating engagement to the opposing strap. In the illustrated embodiment, an outer surface of the strap 36 has a surface 43 of a first character while the strap 38 has a surface 44 of a second character that matingly engages the surface 43 of the first character, for example hook and loop fasteners. In an alternate embodiment (not illustrated), the straps 36, 38 engage by engageable buckles or other conventional matingly engageable clips.

The second pair of straps 40, 42 likewise have surfaces 46, 47 of the first character and second character that matingly engage. In an alternate embodiment (not illustrated) the straps 40, 42 connect with buckles, clips or other conventional strap connectors.

As shown in the illustrated embodiment, the second pair of straps 40, 42 engage a buckle 48 of the strap golf bag while the first pair of straps 36, 38 wrap around a portion of the strap 49 longitudinally spaced from the buckle 48. Attaching the container 10 with the second pair of straps 40, 42 to the buckle 48 keeps the container from sliding longitudinally relative to the golf bag strap 49 while the first set of straps 36, 38 keep the container from pivoting or swinging around as the golf bag is carried during play of the golf match.

FIG. 2 is a side view of an alternate embodiment of the container 50 according to the present invention. In this embodiment, the cap 20 includes a spring-biased arm 52 pivotally attached to a side of the cap 20. The arm 52 extends longitudinally for being received within an opening of the golf bag 35. The arm 52 moves from-a first position biased towards the container 10 and a second position pivoted away from the container 10. With the arm 52 in the second position, the container 10 attaches to the golf bag by inserting the arm into the opening of the golf bag. Upon release, the arm 52 pivots to the first position for bearing against the inner wall of the golf bag 35. The spring biases the arm 52 inwardly towards the container 10 to secure the container in place on the golf bag.

FIG. 3 illustrates in perspective cut-away view a third embodiment of the container 10. A fastener 56 extends through an opening in the side wall of the golf bag 35 and engages the container 10. In the illustrated embodiment, the fastener 56 engages a nut 57 or similar member for securing the container to the golf bag 35.

FIG. 4 illustrates in cross-sectional side view an alternate embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, the housing 58 has an interior cavity sized for receiving golf balls 12 in staggered or side-by-side relation. An opening 60 permits the golf balls 12 to be removed sequentially through an opening between the legs 24. The interior projecting stops 28 hold the golf ball between the legs.

FIG. 5 illustrates in side partially cut-away view an alternate embodiment of the present invention. The container 50 is illustrated using the spring-biased arm 52 for attaching the container 50 to the golf bag 35, but other of the attaching devices may be used. In this embodiment, the container 50 includes a laterally projecting open-ended holder 70. The holder 70 may be cylindrical, rectangular, or other configuration having open opposing ends 72, 74 and a through bore. The holder 70 attaches to the container 50 with adhesive, screws, or other fastening devices, or may be integral with the container. The holder 70 receives through the open ends 72, 74 a shaft 76 of a putter 78. A patch 80 having a surface 82 of a first character attaches to an exterior wall of the container 50. The, patch 80 in the illustrated embodiment attaches adhesively. A golf accessory 84, such as a glove (illustrated in partial view), towel, or other accessory, includes a mating patch 85 having a surface 86 of a second character. The patch 85 having the second character 86 matingly engages the patch 80 having the first character 82. Thus the accessory 84, such as a glove or towel, is readily accessible for use with the container 50 attached to the golf bag 35.

One embodiment of the carrier 10 illustrated in FIG. 1 is configured for holding six golf balls in a cylindrical tube having a 1.875 inch inner diameter and a ⅛ inch wall thickness, and a length of 10.5 inches. The legs 24 are 1 inch long and the apex of the opening defined between the opposing legs can be rounded or peaked.

The container 10 of the present invention sequentially meters golf balls 12 held in the cavity 16. The golf balls 12 are held in the cavity 16 with one golf ball held between the legs 24 by the stops 28. To remove a golf ball 12 from the cavity 16, the opposing exposed surface portions of the golf ball are gripped. The notches 30 facilitate gripping access to golf ball. A pulling force exerted on the golf ball 12 moves the legs 24. The legs 24 move from the first position with the stop members 28 holding the golf ball 12 to the second position with the legs flexed outwardly. In this second position, the golf ball 12 is readily moved past the projecting stops 28 and thereby removed from the container 10. Upon removal of the golf ball 12, the legs 24 flex inwardly to the first position. The stops 28 contact and hold the next golf ball in the container 10.

The container 10 attaches to the golf bag for holding and sequentially dispensing the golf balls 12 for use. With respect to FIG. 1, this is accomplished by threading the opposing straps 40, 42 through the buckle 48 of the strap 49 for the golf bag. This positions the container 10 at an upper portion of the golf bag. The first set of straps 36, 38 extend around a portion of the strap 49. The straps 36, 38 prevent the container 10 from pivoting and swinging back and forth as the golf bag is carried during a round of golf. The second set of straps 40, 42 hold the container 10 at the upper portion of the golf bag. This prevents the container 10 from moving longitudinally along the strap of the golf bag.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, the arm 52 pivots to the second position and extends into the open end of the golf bag. Upon release, the arm pivots towards the container 10 and bears upon an inner wall of the bag to hold the container to the golf bag.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3, the fastener 56 extending through the sidewall of the golf bag engages the container 10, and secures the container to the golf bag.

The embodiment in FIG. 4 holds balls in staggered side-by-side relation for dispensing through the opening between the legs 24. This embodiment is similarly attached to the golf bag by mechanisms discussed above with reference to FIGS. 1-3. The container operates as described above by pulling the golf ball from between the legs 24.

It is to be appreciated that the container 10 has an opening closed by the cap 20. The cap can be threaded, clipped, or friction fit upon the open end of the housing. Upon removal of the cap, the container 10 is filled with golf balls. In an alternate embodiment, the container 10 is closed at the first end 18. Golf balls 12 insert into the cavity 16 through the opening between the legs 24.

The container 50 illustrated in FIG. 5 readily carries the putter 78 conveniently accessible for use by passing the shaft 76 through the open ends 72, 74 of the holder 70. Similarly, the accessory 84 is readily available for use by matingly connecting the patches 80, 85 by engaging the opposing mating surfaces 82, 86, for example using VELCRO brand hook and latch fabric connectors. Other similar connector devices may be used for detachably engaging the accessory 84 to the container 50, such as clips, pins, buttons, and other detachably engaging connectors.

While this invention has been described in detail with particular references to illustrated embodiments thereof, it should be understood that many modifications, additions and deletions, in additions to those expressly recited, may be made thereto without departure from the spirit and scope of the invention.

Claims

1. A container for sequential dispensing of golf balls, comprising:

a housing having an interior cavity for receiving at least one golf ball;
the housing defining an opening for communicating the golf ball out of the interior cavity;
a pair of opposing legs extending from the housing at the opening, each leg having on an interior surface a projecting stop and the legs flexible for moving from a first position for holding the golf ball between the legs and retained by the opposing projecting stops to a second outward position sufficient for the golf ball to pass by the projecting stops.

2. The container as recited in claim 1, wherein the housing comprises an elongated cylinder having a first diameter closely sized to a diameter of the golf ball to be received within the interior cavity.

3. The container as recited in claim 2, wherein a distance between the opposing projecting stops are spaced a second distance apart, the second distance less than the first diameter.

4. The container as recited in claim 2, wherein the legs define arcuate surfaces extending coaxially with the cylinder with opposing side edges that define a gap with the respective side edge of the opposing leg.

5. The container as recited in claim 4, wherein each side edge of the leg defines a notch therein, for gripping the golf ball held between the legs for removal therefrom.

6. The container as recited in claim 1, wherein the housing defines a window in a surface thereof, whereby the number of golf balls within the interior cavity are observable.

7. The container as recited in claim 1, further comprising means for attaching the housing to a golf bag.

8. The container as recited in claim 7, wherein means for attaching comprises a pivotable arm attached to the housing and a spring that acts to bias the arm towards the housing, whereby the arm disposed inwardly of the golf bag holds the housing on an outward surface of the golf bag.

9. The container as recited in claim 7, wherein means for attaching comprises spaced-apart first and second straps, the first strap for attaching to a buckle of a carrying strap of the golf bag and the second strap for attaching to the carrying strap of the golf bag, whereby the housing is attached to the carrying strap while the first strap restricts the housing from longitudinal travel relative to the carrying strap.

10. The container as recited in claim 9, wherein the first and second straps each have opposing matingly engageable surfaces of a first and second character for selective and detachable engagement.

11. The container as recited in claim 7, wherein means for attaching comprises at least one threaded connector extending through a side wall of the golf bag and engaging the housing for securing the housing to the golf bag.

12. The container as recited in claim 1, wherein an end of the housing opposing the legs is selectively opened for disposing the golf ball within the interior cavity.

13. The container as recited in claim 12, further comprising a cap selectively deteachably attached to the end of the housing for closing the housing, whereby upon removal of the cap opens the housing for receiving the golf ball.

14. The container as recited in claim 2, wherein the projecting stops are resilient members attached to the interior surface of the respective leg.

15. The container as recited in claim 14, wherein the resilient members are formed of rubber.

16. The container as recited in claim 1, further comprising an open ended holder extending laterally from a sidewall of the housing, for receiving a shaft of a golf club to be carried.

17. The container as recited in claim 1, further comprising a patch attached to the housing and having a surface of a first character for selective and detachable engagement to a patch on a golf accessory having a surface of a second character.

18. A container for sequential dispensing of golf balls, comprising:

an elongated housing having an interior cylindrical cavity for receiving a plurality of golf balls and having a first diameter;
the housing defining an opening for communicating the golf balls sequentially out of the interior cavity;
a pair of opposing legs extending from the housing at the opening, each leg having on an interior surface a projecting stop and the legs flexible for moving from a first position for holding the golf ball between the legs retained by the opposing projecting stops to a second outward position sufficient for the golf ball to pass by the projecting stops, the projecting stops defining a gap therebetween having a distance less than the first diameter, the legs defining opposing notches for gripping respective surface portions of the golf ball between the legs for removal therefrom.

19. The container as recited in claim 18, wherein the housing defines a window in a surface thereof, whereby the number of golf balls within the interior cavity are observable.

20. The container as recited in claim 18, further comprising means for attaching the housing to a golf bag.

21. The container as recited in claim 20, wherein means for attaching comprises a pivotable arm attached to the housing and a spring that acts to bias the arm towards the housing, whereby the arm disposed inwardly of the golf bag holds the housing on an outward surface of the golf bag.

22. The container as recited in claim 20, wherein means for attaching comprises spaced-apart first and second straps, the first strap for attaching to a buckle of a carrying strap of the golf bag and the second strap for attaching to the carrying strap of the golf bag, whereby the housing is attached to the carrying strap while the first strap restricts the housing from longitudinal travel relative to the carrying strap.

23. The container as recited in claim 22, wherein the first and second straps each have opposing matingly engageable surfaces of a first and second character for selective and detachable engagement.

24. The container as recited in claim 20, wherein means for attaching comprises at least one threaded connector extending through a side wall of the golf bag and engaging the housing for securing the housing to the golf bag.

25. The container as recited in claim 19, wherein an end of the housing opposing the legs is selectively opened for disposing the golf ball within the interior cavity.

26. The container as recited in claim 25, further comprising a cap selectively deteachably attached to the end of the housing for closing the housing, whereby upon removal of the cap opens the housing for receiving the golf ball.

27. The container as recited in claim 19, wherein the projecting stops are resilient members attached to the interior surface of the respective leg.

28. The container as recited in claim 27, wherein the resilient members are formed of rubber.

29. The container as recited in claim 18, further comprising an open ended holder extending laterally from a sidewall of the housing, for receiving a shaft of a golf club to be carried.

30. The container as recited in claim 18, further comprising a patch attached to the housing and having a surface of a first character for selective and detachable engagement to a patch on a golf accessory having a surface of a second character.

31. A method of dispensing golf balls sequentially for play, comprising the steps of:

(a) providing a housing having an interior cavity for receiving at least one golf ball;
(b) holding one of the golf balls between a pair of opposing legs extending from the housing at an opening by opposing projecting stops extending from the legs; and
(c) moving the legs from a first position holding the golf ball to a second outward position relative to the opposing leg sufficient for the golf ball to pass by the projecting stops.

Patent History

Publication number: 20070241128
Type: Application
Filed: Apr 14, 2006
Publication Date: Oct 18, 2007
Inventor: Jason Smith (Snellville, GA)
Application Number: 11/404,722

Classifications

Current U.S. Class: 221/281.000; 206/315.900
International Classification: B65H 1/30 (20060101); B65D 85/00 (20060101);