Golf bag with club head locking mechanism

There is a golf bag for organizing, protecting and securing golf clubs with a club head locking mechanism in the throat area of the golf bag, which easily moves from a closed position to an open position, and a drawer or integrated compartment in the throat area.

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Description

This application claims the benefit of and priority to U.S. Patent Application No. 60/831,097, filed Jul. 14, 2006. This current application incorporates by reference the entire Ser. No. 60/831,097 provisional patent application.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to a golf bag with a locking mechanism for the club heads and also a drawer or compartment in the throat area.

2. Description of Related Art

Prior to the present invention, golf bags did not solve all problems with holding and organizing the many types of golf clubs (irons, utility, woods, driver, wedges, and putter) employed by the modern day golf enthusiast.

Problem 1 (Organization of the Clubs): most golf bags provide a multitude of compartments and dividers to separate clubs, but most bags do not specifically organize or tailor compartment space for each particular club or dimension (loft, lie, length or angle).

Problem 2 (Prevention of Club Damage and Keeping Clubs in Order): during most golf outings, players can carry 14 or more clubs in their bags, and it can be very easy to misplace a club or two. When players carry their bags or even for “cart-style” bags, the clubs tend to rattle and bang against each other, which may end up scratching or damaging the shafts or club heads.

From the preceding description, it is apparent that the devices currently being used have significant disadvantages. Thus, important aspects of the technology used in the field of invention remain amenable to useful refinement.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The purpose of the present invention is to provide an apparatus to organize, to secure, and to protect golf clubs, but at the same time, allow the user to easily unlock and to access their clubs. Another purpose is a way to facilitate the club management in a golf bag and to provide a drawer or compartment within the golf bag throat area to maximize the usable space in a bag.

There is presented an apparatus for a golf bag comprising: a housing with a first housing end and a second housing end and a throat apparatus, which is attached to the first housing end. The throat apparatus comprises: a throat body, which has least one first throat opening and at least one elongated slot opening; a slider frame, which has at least one clip, which removably engages the throat body; and at least one sliding locking piece, which has at least one sliding locking piece having at least one sliding locking piece groove. The at least one sliding locking piece is connected to the slider frame through the at least one elongated slot opening on the throat body, whereby the throat apparatus is able to assume a closed position and an open position. The throat body can have at least one second throat opening and at least one drawer. The housing of the golf bag can have at least one drawer and at least one handle.

A golf bag throat apparatus for holding at least one golf club, having a head and a shaft, comprises: a throat body, which has least one first throat opening and at least one slot opening; a slider frame, which has at least one clip or retainer, which removably engages the throat body; and at least one sliding locking piece, which has at least one sliding locking piece groove. The at least one sliding locking piece is connected to the slider frame through the at least one slot opening on the throat body, whereby the throat apparatus is able to assume a closed position and open position. In the closed position of the throat apparatus, the clip or retainer of the slider frame engages the throat body so that the at least one sliding locking piece frictionally engages the club head against the throat body; in the open position of the throat apparatus, the clip or retainer of the slider frame disengages the throat body so that the at least one sliding locking piece moves so that club head is no longer frictionally engaged against the throat body.

A golf bag throat apparatus for holding at least one golf club, having a head and a shaft, comprises: a throat body, which has at least one first throat opening, a first slot opening and a second slot opening; a slider frame, which has at least one retainer, which removably engages the throat body; and a first and a second sliding locking piece. Each sliding locking piece has at least one sliding locking piece groove; the first sliding locking piece is connected to the slider frame through the first slot opening on the throat body; the second sliding locking piece is connected to the slider frame through the second slot opening on the throat body, whereby the throat apparatus is able to assume a closed position and open position. In the closed position of the throat apparatus, the retainer of the slider frame engages the throat body so that the sliding locking pieces frictionally engage the club head against the throat body; in the open position of the throat apparatus, the retainer of the slider frame disengages the throat body so that the sliding locking pieces move so that club head is no longer frictionally engaged against the throat body and is able to be removed.

The present invention introduces such refinements. In its preferred embodiments, the present invention has several aspects or facets that can be used independently, although they are preferably employed together to optimize their benefits. All of the foregoing operational principles and advantages of the present invention will be more fully appreciated upon consideration of the following detailed description, with reference to the appended drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an exploded view of one embodiment of the invention, namely, the golf bag throat with the sliding locking piece 20, the throat body 16, the slider or sliding frame 80, and the throat drawer 85.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the entire golf bag with the golf bag throat 15; note the additional drawers or compartments 86 on the golf bag housing.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the entire golf bag with the golf bag throat and additional drawers 86 on the golf bag housing.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the golf bag throat.

FIG. 5 is a top view of the golf bag throat.

FIG. 6 is a top view of the golf bag throat with golf clubs inserted.

FIG. 7 is a side view of the golf bag throat in the closed position; note the clip 100 holding the sliding locking pieces into a secure position.

FIG. 8 is a side view of the golf bag throat in open position; note that the clip 100 can move from a first position (secured) to a second position (unsecured).

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of the golf bag throat along the sight lines in FIGS. 5 and 6.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the slider frame or frame for sliding locking piece 80.

FIG. 11 is a bottom view of the golf bag throat.

FIG. 12 is a side view of the throat in the closed position with golf clubs.

FIG. 13 is a side view of the throat in the open position with golf clubs.

FIGS. 14-24 are additional views of alternate embodiments of this invention.

PARTS LIST

  • 10 Golf Bag
  • 15 Throat of golf bag
  • 16 Throat Body
  • 17 Throat Locking Mechanism
  • 20a, 20b Sliding Locking Piece
  • 25a, 25b—shaft openings or first openings
  • 30a, 30b—second openings or club head openings in throat
  • 35a, 35b—locking piece openings for club head
  • 40 golf club
  • 45 club head
  • 50 face or hitting surface of club head
  • 55 back of club head
  • 60 hosel of golf club
  • 65 shaft of golf club
  • 70 axis of shaft of golf club
  • 80 slider frame or frame for sliding locking piece
  • 85 drawer on throat
  • 86 drawer on golf bag
  • 90 clip or retainer on slider frame
  • 95a, 95b elongated slot in throat body
  • 100 cleft or region on throat body for engaging the clip or retainer 80

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to FIGS. 1-13 and 14-24, there is illustrated an apparatus for a golf club locking mechanism apparatus for a golf bag, specifically in the throat area. FIG. 1 shows an exploded and close up view of a throat piece 15 for a golf bag 10 that has two rows of first throat openings.

The golf bag throat 15 has a throat locking mechanism 17, which comprises at least one sliding locking piece 20, a throat body 16, and a slider frame 80, which mounts the at least one sliding locking piece 20. The throat body 16 also has at least one slot or elongated slot 95, which allows a channel of movement along one axis of the golf bag throat (see also FIG. 8). In FIG. 1, there are two rows of sliding locking pieces (20a and 20b) and first throat openings (25a and 25b) and two elongated slot openings (95a and 95b) in this embodiment.

As shown in FIG. 1, the at least one sliding locking piece 20 and the slider frame 80 fit around the golf throat body 16; the sliding locking piece 20 and the slider frame 80 can sandwich the golf bag throat body 16.

There are various ways for combing these three basic pieces of the locking mechanism (throat body; sliding locking piece; and slider frame), but one preferred way is shown in FIG. 1. The sliding locking pieces are attached to the frame 80 through a channel, slot, a hole or an opening 95 (there can be at least one) in the throat body. The attachment devices can be screws, bolts, glue, plugs or the like.

The slider frame 80 can mirror the outer perimeter of the throat body 16; there can be a clip or retainer 90, which keeps the golf bag throat mechanism in a locked position (FIG. 12). The clip can be released to allow the golf bag throat mechanism to assume an unlocked position (FIG. 13). This retainer, clip, grasping or locking element 90 has a first end, which is the engagement end to the corresponding receptacle or cleft 100 on the throat body 16, and a second end, which is attached or integrated to the frame 80.

Other variations of this structure allow for at least one handle on the slider frame 80 to be placed or situated in different locations on the throat body, including on the outer perimeter and also above the throat body. This handle or handles can be mounted to the sliding locking piece 20 or on the slider frame 80; if the handle is mounted on the slider frame 80, then the handle should be allowed passage through at least one channel or opening on the golf bag throat body 16. See FIG. 14-24 for the embodiments with handles.

In one preferred embodiment of this invention, the slider frame 80 has a dimension or size that allows for independent movement within the throat body. FIG. 1 and FIG. 10 show a substantially rectangular design with a large opening on the middle of the slider frame 80 and the clip 90 at a one of the terminal ends of the slider frame 80.

This independent movement or allowance of moving the slider frame 80 from at least a first to a second or even multiple positions within the throat body allows the user to secure and to lock the club heads or face heads within the throat locking mechanism or throat apparatus (from closed and locked position to an open and unlocked position) and further described below.

Other embodiments allow for not only free sliding movement, but measured and controlled movements along a grooved guide or ruled interaction between the sliding frame 80 and the throat body 16; other versions could allow use of guides with teeth.

In another embodiment, the clip 90 on the slider frame 80 also allows for mounting a simple lock (key or combination) via a hole or opening for security of the clubs from moving about or being removed without the owner's consent.

FIG. 2-3 show perspective views of one embodiment of the golf bag with the throat located at the top or opening of the bag; the user will place the handle or shaft of club into the openings 25 in the throat and into the bag cavity. Note that the bag has several compartments, cavities, and pockets; see also the integrated compartment/drawer 85 of the throat in FIG. 1.

Golf Bag Throat Body

The golf bag throat body 16 has at least one first throat opening area 25. As shown in FIGS. 6 and 12, there are two rows of relatively parallel first throat opening areas (25a and 25b) to allow the user to insert the handle and shaft of the club into the throat and into the bag cavity. When the entire shaft is inserted, the hosel or second end of the club head will rest near this first throat opening (25a or 25b).

Adjacent to this first throat opening, there is at least one second throat area or second throat opening (30a or 30b) for the club head to lie; FIG. 1 shows two rows of second throat openings 30a and 30b, which correspond to the first throat opening areas 25a and 25b, respectively. In FIG. 1, the rows of first and second throat openings are relatively parallel to one another; other embodiments allow for other configurations, such as circular or spiral organization of the first throat openings. In FIG. 1-8, the preferred embodiment has two rows of club head openings, but other embodiments may allow for other geometric or row configurations (including but not limited to 3 or 4 rows or diagonal or cross shaped arrangements).

FIGS. 5-6 also show a third row of golf bag throat openings; these openings are intended for housing longer golf clubs such as drivers or woods. In FIG. 5-6, this third row of openings are oriented relatively perpendicular to the two rows of first and second throat opening areas. Other embodiments may place additional club shaft receptacle openings on different locations of the golf throat body.

Locking Piece—Sliding

Referring to FIG. 1, attached to the golf bag and through slot 95, there is at least one sliding locking piece 20. The sliding locking piece 20 can move along the sides of the throat body or in a forward or backward direction as shown in FIG. 8; the sliding locking piece 20 can move independently of the throat 15 to a first or locked or closed position (FIG. 7) to a second or unlocked or open position (FIG. 8). The sliding locking piece 20 is placed relatively parallel to the first shaft openings 25.

In FIG. 1, the sliding locking piece 20 has at least one groove or space 35, which corresponds to the first throat opening 25; however, the exact alignment of the groove 35 with opening 25 depends on the closed or open position as described further below. This grove or space 35 provides a natural resting or nook for the club head or club face of the golf club (usually, irons).

Closed Position (First Position):

In the first or closed position of the locking apparatus, the locking piece groove 35 is in substantially the same alignment as the first throat opening 25, but the relative position the locking piece 20 is slightly off alignment to the first openings 25 so that when a club head is placed in the locking piece openings 35, the club head will be kept in place with frictional resistance between the club head and the locking piece groove 35 and the throat body 16.

This apparatus also allows for a locking clip 90, tab, button, female/male plug, or any other structure to hold the sliding locking piece in the closed position until the user decides to release the locking mechanism to the open position and to remove a club from the bag.

In the closed position, the locking mechanism (also the club head resting grooves) slide to push the club head against the locking mechanism 20 and the throat body 16. Note that the shaft and hosel does not move except for rotating (about the shaft axis) when the locking mechanism moves from the open to the closed position and visa versa. In the closed position, the club heads are squeezed and held by the shifting of the locking piece. This movement of the locking piece can be fairly minimal or greater depending on the particular embodiment.

Open Position (Second Position)

In the second or unlocked or open position, the user releases the locking clip 90, moves the sliding locking piece forward or to a second position so that the frictional resistance to the club head is released or minimized and that the club head can be easily removed or replaced by the user; there is no or little resistance to keep the club head in place against the throat and the locking mechanism in the open position. In this open position, the club heads still are resting in the locking piece grooves and the second areas of the throat body, but since there is no longer frictional resistance being applied, the clubs can be inserted and removed and retracted without any restraint.

This embodiment could be created to push the locking mechanism to the rear of the throat as well, with appropriate placement of the throat and locking mechanism and openings and clip. In addition, springs or other devices that store a potential energy could be used to urge or to push the sliding locking piece from a closed to an open position and visa-versa.

Shapes of the first and second openings of the throat and the sliding locking piece groove 35 can be various shapes and can be fitted specifically to a particular golf club head dimension (loft, lie, angle, and height). Other embodiments allow for different types of surfaces within the above openings and grooves, including rubber or other grasping surfaces. These surfaces should allow for the closed position to securely hold the club heads, but at the same time, protect the surfaces of the club heads.

Operation: the user will release the clip 90 and push or allow the sliding locking piece 20 to move to the open position of the throat apparatus; place the club in the opening 25 and space 35 and second openings 30; push the sliding locking piece 20 in its original closed position and allow the retainer to re-engage the throat body.

In one embodiment, the golf bag throat apparatus comprises: (a) at least one or a multitude of first openings (shaft areas) to accept the golf club shaft and hosel; (b) adjacent to each first opening is a corresponding number of second openings (head areas) to adapt to fit each type of golf club head (by loft, lie, and length); (c) these first and second openings are normally aligned along two lines (a) and (b); (d) Along each of (a) and (b) openings, there is a complementary grooved locking piece 20.

This grooved locking piece 20 partially holds the end of the golf club head; and this locking piece partially fits within the space of the second openings 30 on the golf bag throat body. The grooved piece can be moved along the lines (a) and (b). There are two positions for this locking mechanism: (1) open position: the club head lies relatively or substantially perpendicular to lines (a) and (b); the head fits within the aligned second opening area also the grooved locking piece. In this open position, the user can easily remove or insert the club head into the bag; (2) closed position: the user will shift the sliding locking piece along lines (a) or (b) to a second or closed position, and the club head lies at angle other than perpendicular or 90 degrees in relation to lines (a) and (b). Please note that in the closed position, the angle positioning of the club head in relation to lines (a) and (b) is not critical; however, there will be a difference in the position of the club head angle than in the open position, since the closed position of the locking apparatus will move or shift the sliding locking piece 20 to provide frictional resistance against the club head.

In this closed position, the locking piece applies pressure to a first side of the club head and rotates the club around its shaft axis to this closed position; when the club head has traveled to its closed position, it is held in place by frictional force. This closed position can also be maintained with a physical lock, Velcro, or male-female connection.

Drawer or Compartment in the Throat Area:

The throat portion of the bag also can include at least one drawer 85, pocket or compartment for storage. This is different from most golf bags that have drawers in the body or housing of the bag and not the throat area. This invention also includes drawers or compartments in the body or housing of the bag.

This throat and locking piece can be made from a variety of materials including plastics and other lightweight but sturdy materials. This locking mechanism can be applied to other organizations of club heads in the throat, including circular or spiral organizations. Further, there can be more than one or two sliding locking mechanisms. There can be a locking mechanism for each separate club head in other embodiments.

The disclosed embodiments in this application are merely exemplary of the invention, which can be embodied in various forms, and specific structural and functional details disclosed are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention in virtually any appropriately detailed structure. Further, the terms and phrases used are not intended to be limiting; but rather, to provide an understandable description of the invention.

Those having ordinary skill in the art will understand that changes can be made to the specific embodiments without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. The scope of the invention is not to be restricted, to the specific embodiments, and it is intended that the appended claims cover any and all such applications, modifications, and embodiments within the scope of the present invention. The terms “a” or “an” are defined as “one” or “more than one.” The term plurality is defined as “two” or “more than two.” The term another is defined as at least a second or more. The terms including and/or having are defined as comprising (i.e., open language). The term coupled is defined as connected, although not necessarily directly, and not necessarily mechanically. Any element in a claim that does not explicitly state “means for” performing a specific function, or “step for” performing a specific function, is not be interpreted as a “means” or “step” clause as specified in 35 USC 112, P6. The use of “step of” in the claims is not intended to invoke the provisions of 35 USC 112, P6.

Claims

1. An apparatus for a golf bag comprising:

A housing with a first housing end and a second housing end;
A throat apparatus, which is attached to the first housing end, and comprises:
A throat body; The throat body has least one first throat opening; The throat body at least one elongated slot opening;
A slider frame; The slider frame having at least one clip, which removably engages the throat body;
At least one sliding locking piece; The at least one sliding locking piece having at least one sliding locking piece groove; and The at least one sliding locking piece is connected to the slider frame through the at least one elongated slot opening on the throat body, whereby the throat apparatus is able to assume a closed position and an open position.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the throat body has at least one second throat opening.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the throat body has at least one drawer.

4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the housing of the golf bag has at least one drawer and at least one handle.

5. A golf bag throat apparatus for holding at least one golf club, having a head and a shaft, comprising:

A throat body; The throat body has least one first throat opening; The throat body having at least one slot opening;
A slider frame; The slider frame having at least one retainer, which removably engages the throat body;
At least one sliding locking piece; The at least one sliding locking piece having at least one sliding locking piece groove; The at least one sliding locking piece is connected to the slider frame through the at least one slot opening on the throat body;
Whereby the throat apparatus is able to assume a closed position and open position; In the closed position of the throat apparatus, the retainer of the slider frame engages the throat body so that the at least one sliding locking piece frictionally engages the club head against the throat body; In the open position of the throat apparatus, the retainer of the slider frame disengages the throat body so that the at least one sliding locking piece moves so that club head is no longer frictionally engaged against the throat body.

6. The apparatus of claim 5 herein the throat body has at least one second throat opening.

7. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein the throat body has at least one drawer.

8. A golf bag throat apparatus for holding at least one golf club, having a head and a shaft, comprising:

A throat body; The throat body has least one first throat opening; The throat body having a first slot opening and a second slot opening;
A slider frame; The slider frame having at least one retainer, which removably engages the throat body;
A first and a second sliding locking piece; Each sliding locking piece having at least one sliding locking piece groove; The first sliding locking piece is connected to the slider frame through the first slot opening on the throat body; The second sliding locking piece is connected to the slider frame through the second slot opening on the throat body;
Whereby the throat apparatus is able to assume a closed position and open position; In the closed position of the throat apparatus, the retainer of the slider frame engages the throat body so that the sliding locking pieces frictionally engage the club head against the throat body; In the open position of the throat apparatus, the retainer of the slider frame disengages the throat body so that the sliding locking pieces move so that club head is no longer frictionally engaged against the throat body and is able to be removed.

9. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein the throat body has at least one second throat opening.

10. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein the throat body has at least one drawer.

Patent History

Publication number: 20080011631
Type: Application
Filed: Jul 14, 2007
Publication Date: Jan 17, 2008
Inventor: James Kim (Los Angeles, CA)
Application Number: 11/778,044

Classifications

Current U.S. Class: 206/315.600; 473/282.000
International Classification: A63B 55/00 (20060101);