The invention provides an improved way for transporting and storing golf clubs, securing the clubs on the outside of the bag with their shafts turned upwards and the club heads turned downwards, whereby the interior of the bag becomes available for other equipment and the center of gravity for the bag is low.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The common way to carry the clubs and other equipment when playing golf is using a conventional golf bag pulled on a cart or carried with shoulder strap or a harness. Since the clubs are the most important equipment, is it important to take into consideration their shape and how they are used to be able to design suitable means for transporting and handling them during the game.
There are three different kinds of golf clubs, woods or metal woods with heads of wood or metal, irons with relatively small club heads of solid metal and finally putters with club heads of varying shapes and sizes. All clubs have a club head and a shaft. The upper part of the shaft has a grip normally made of rubber. The angle between the sole of the club head and the shaft is always more than 90 degrees and is called lie. The angle between the front side of the club head and the shaft is called loft and varies from club to club. According to the rules of golf, the player is allowed to use a maximum of fourteen different clubs. Many players no longer use the orthodox allotment with one putter, three woods and ten iron clubs. Since the early 1990's the size of the driver head, wood club number 1, has become far bigger than they used to be. Putter heads, as well, have become far bigger and with very different shapes compared to the old standards. Old putters had an average width of the club head of about 20 mm. Modern putters can have a length and width of the club head exceeding 100 mm.
The length of men's golf clubs varies from about 1160 mm for the longest wood, to about 930 mm for the shortest iron club. The weight varies from about 300 grams for the largest wood club, to about 500 grams for a sand wedge or a putter. Women's golf clubs are a little shorter and lighter than men's clubs. The weight of the club head is about two thirds of the total weight. This goes for all different clubs. Therefore the club head often starts swaying with the movements of the golf bag. To prevent club heads from rattling, causing wear and noise, special measures must be taken to protect, separate and lock them in position. The diameter of the upper end of a grip is about 30 mm, while the diameter of the shaft close to the club head is about 10 mm. Using the conventional method of putting all the shafts inside the golf bag with the club heads above the top of the bag, occupies most of the space inside the golf bag. To create enough space for extra clothes, golf balls, food etc., there must be a lot of pockets on the outside of the bag.
The weight of the club heads makes the centre of gravity high. In order to obtain a low centre of gravity, it is necessary to transport the clubs with their heads lower than the shafts. A very low centre of gravity calls for the clubs being carried with the shafts placed outside the bag, the grips turned upwards and the club heads placed in, under and/or outside the bottom of the golf bag.
Before every shot, the player chooses the club he/she considers most suitable for the next shoot. Therefore, it is important that the clubs are arranged in a specific order so the player quickly can find the club needed. During a round of eighteen holes, the average player picks out and puts back one or more clubs about a hundred times. It is very important that the actual club can be picked from the bag and put back very quickly.
A round of golf takes a long time, something that furthermore underlines the importance of simplicity and swiftness of using your golf equipment. Slow golf is a big problem around the world and it has created a great deal of debate about golf in the future, at golf federations in many countries as well as amongst players themselves.
With the large number of clubs, used by most players, it can be difficult to discover if a club is missing. Therefore, it is important to arrange the clubs in a way, which makes it easy to notice when a club is missing.
When using conventional bags, with the club heads turned up and the shafts and grips turned down, during a rainy day water runs along the shaft to the grip subsequently making it wet and slippery. During rainy conditions, it is especially important to be able to keep the grips dry to prevent the club from slipping out of the player's hands during a shot or to prevent you from gripping it too tight, causing errant shots.
Since the way you transport and store the clubs, in many aspects influences the player's conditions, it is important that the arrangement of the clubs is rational. A well organized device for transporting golf clubs during a round of golf should:
- Be able to carry fourteen golf clubs including putter and different combinations of woods and irons.
- Make it easy to find desired club.
- Make it possible to notice a missing club without doing a special check
- Separate and secure clubs to prevent unwanted noise and wear as well as making the need for special head covers unnecessary.
- Create a low centre of gravity based on method of transportation.
- Take up as little space as possible to make room for other equipment.
- Include a rain cover which makes it possible to during rainy conditions pick out clubs, use and put them back, without making the grips of any other clubs wet.
A conventional golf bag is open at the top and the player puts the club shafts into the bag through the opening in the top with club heads sticking out above the bag. Since the interior of the bag is occupied by the club shafts, the bag has a number of pockets on the outside for the purpose of carrying rain gear, snacks and drinks, golf balls and other things. This has caused especially bags which are meant to be transported on carts to become bigger and bigger.
Even though the conventional bag is the most commonly used golf bag, it has functional deficiencies. The centre of gravity is high and the interior space cannot be used with efficiency. Special measures such as head covers and individual channels for each shaft do not prevent the club heads from rattling and unwanted wear. Due to the clubs having different length shafts, some club heads are covering other club heads, which makes it difficult to quickly find a specific golf club and it also takes time to make sure that no club is missing. The bag is normally protected from rain by a hood covering the club heads. However, the hood must be opened or removed every time you need a club and when the club is put back in the bag again, which means that all other clubs are exposed to the rain and the moisture on the club that was just used. For stability reasons a conventional golf bag is always tilted at a more or less steep angle when the pull cart is parked or the carried bag is put down prior to hitting another shot. The angle, at which the back is titled, causes the clubs to get entangled unless the bag contains individual channels to separate the clubs from each other.
If the clubs are carried with their heads turned towards the ground, the centre of gravity is lower. If the clubs are placed on the outside of the bag there will be a lot of space inside the bag that can be used to carry other equipment/items needed for the game of golf.
If the shafts are arranged symmetrically, with a small even space between every shaft and the upper end of the shafts in level with each other above the top of the bag, you will immediately notice if a club is missing. The shafts of the wooden clubs are longer than the shafts of the iron clubs and the heads of the wood clubs are much bigger than the heads of the iron clubs. If you carry a number of woods with their heads beneath the heads of the iron clubs, the size of the bag can be minimized. By securing the head and shaft of each club, unwanted wear and noise can be avoided. Using a suitable method to secure the shafts will make it possible to protect the grips of all clubs and the whole bag against rain with a simple cover.
The patents GB 2240306 A, GB 2258405 and GB 2269786 are intended for golf bags and carts with the clubs carried outside the bag and with the heads turned towards the ground. The patents are from 1991, 1993 and 1994 respectively. If you examine these patents, you will find that GB 2258405 A is designed only to carry iron clubs, not for either a modern putter or woods. The other two patents cover carrying three woods and eleven other clubs. However, it is not very likely that these designs would make it possible to carry three clubs with modern designed large heads. GB 2269786 A shows a special place for a putter, but GB 2240306 A does not. The designs will more or less force the player in his choice between woods and irons, something a lot of golfers may not accept. None of the patents seem suitable for designing integrated carts with golf bag that will give the golfer desired freedom in his choice of clubs, especially considering the trend of bigger and different shaped club heads for woods as well as putters.
After six years of development and testing, I have found that the club heads should be prevented from moving laterally as well as vertically, which means they should be locked in a specific location. Even the shafts ought to be locked in to prevent rattling against the bag or against each other. I have also found it necessary to design the device of securing the clubs in a way where no particular precision is needed, when taking a club out of the bag or putting it back, in a fast and safe way.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The invention is a device for transport and storing of golf clubs. The clubs are placed on the outside of the bag with their shafts turned upwards and the club heads turned downwards, whereby the interior of the bag becomes available for other equipment and the center of gravity for the bag is low. Every club shaft and club head is secured and placed in a way where they can not come in contact with other clubs, preventing unwanted noise and wear. The grips of the club shafts are sticking up over the top of the bag secured by a device, which separates the shafts with equal space between each shaft whereby a player will automatically notice if a club is missing. Wood clubs, with bigger heads and longer shafts, are placed between the iron clubs, making it easier to identify different types of clubs. There are different devices for woods, irons and putters to ensure a fit to all different sizes and shapes of their respective club heads. The wood clubs with bigger heads are carried on racks placed under the lower edge of the bag, limiting the height and circumference of the bag. The racks for the wood clubs and the holder for a putter include exchangeable and replaceable parts, making it possible to adjust them to fit different size club heads.
FIG. 1. is a view the golf bag without wheels, a handle for pulling or harness for carrying, from three different angles starting with the left side of the bag then the backside and lastly the right side.
FIG. 2. includes two different views; 1. A view from above the bag including shaft railing and shaft cushioning devices. 2. A side view showing enough space between two clubs to a club shaft underneath the shaft railing when putting a club into the bag and a club which has been placed in the bag by first putting the shaft behind the shaft railing after which the club head has been lowered into its securing position.
FIG. 3 is a device for securing twelve iron club heads, shown from three different angles; from above, as a cross section and a detailed view.
FIG. 4 is showing a rack for a wood club head resting on a rack seen from the inside of the bag.
FIG. 5 shows a device to secure a putter from two different angles; a side perspective as well as a view from behind the putter.
FIG. 6 shows the left side of the bag and how the racks for wood club heads, the holder for a putter head, the cushioning for club shafts and iron club heads in its oblong opening are placed at different levels.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
The purpose of the invention is to create a device on a golf bag, which makes it possible for most of the interior space to carry and store other equipment, for the clubs to be carried on the outside of the bag to eliminate clatter or other noises, that arranges the clubs are in a way to make it possible to quickly find a desired club, that you automatically notice if a club is missing, that the loaded bag has a low centre of gravity and all clubs and the bag are protected against rain in such a way that clubs can be removed from the bag and be put back on the bag without exposing other clubs to the rain or making them wet from water on the club being put back on the bag.
Most significant of the bag is a relatively flat front side and a back vaulted in one plane, that the bag is parked in a vertical position and leaning forward about 25 degrees during transport on the golf course, that the clubs are carried with the shafts outside the bag with the grips turned up and level with each other, that the heads of the iron clubs are put into the lowest part of the bag and secured to avoid touching other clubs, that the heads of the woods are resting on a rack under the bag, the racks can be pushed into the bag, making it possible to shorten the bag when removing the woods, that every single grip is secured in a specific position and a rain cover resting on the club shafts.
When parked, the golf cart is vertical to the ground to benefit from the gravitation for the rain cover and for handling of the clubs, especially when putting them back on the bag in their individual positions. Every club can quickly be removed from the bag and put back again using one hand.
Because the clubs heads differ in shape and size and the shafts differ in length, different devices are used to secure the club heads of three different kinds of clubs; woods, irons and putters. The device for securing the shafts is same regardless of club type.
Assuming the bag is manufactured with a hard casing from reinforced plastic or metal, the device for securing the clubs is designed to prevent club shafts rattling against the bag when it is transported on the golf course.
The heads of the iron clubs frequently become dirty when they hit the ground. In order for the bag not to collect dirt and be cleaned easily, open channels are used for securing the club heads. There is no bottom beneath the space where the iron heads are secured and subsequently no dirt from the irons will end up at the bottom of the bag. No bottom on the golf bag makes it possible to mount racks for the wood clubs on the inside of the bag. If necessary, the racks can be adjusted in height to fit club heads of different sizes. To be able to keep the dimensions of the outside of the bag as small as possible, the iron and the wood club heads have been divided into two different levels with the irons inside the bag and the woods under the lower edge of the bag. Due to putter heads nowadays differing a lot in size and shape, a comparatively large space is reserved for the putter head. The space for a putter is placed vertically between the longest wood and the shortest iron club.
The design of the golf bag, especially the device for securing the golf clubs, is shown in FIGS. 1-6. FIG. 1 shows the golf bag without wheels, a handle for pulling or harness for carrying, starting with the left side of the bag then the backside and lastly the right side. The bag is tapered from the bottom up, causing the sides to lean inwards. The framework 1 is at the top made with a device for securing the club shafts, consisting of a shaft railing 2 and a cushioning 3, a space for securing the heads of the iron clubs 4, four racks for securing the heads of wood clubs 5, a space for securing the club head of a putter 6 and rubber stripping 7 and 8 to lessen vibrations from club shafts. The bottom of the bag consists of a bulkhead 9, which separates the upper part of the bag, meant for storage of other equipment, from the lower part, meant for securing club heads.
FIG. 2 shows the view from above the top of the bag 10, shaft railing 2 and shaft cushioning 3. The shaft railing 2 is manufactured using a metal wire covered in a soft material. The shaft cushioning 3 is manufactured from plastic foam with sealed cells and suitable softness elastic enough to hold the club shafts in place when the clubs are secured. The shaft cushioning 3 consists of fourteen half circle shaped vertical depressions 11, designed to steer and secure the shafts with equal distance between each other. The shaft railing 2 should be positioned outside a continuation of the bag's side compared to the shaft in parked position. That way the shaft will automatically be secured between the railing 2 and the cushioning 3 by the tension created by the weight of the club head, the force from the securing the club head combined with the long lever of the shaft. The lower picture shows enough space 14 between two clubs 12 and 13 to a club shaft underneath the shaft railing 2 when putting a club into the bag. A club 15 has been placed in the bag by first putting the shaft behind the shaft railing 2 after which the club head has been lowered into its securing position. Every position for the club head lies in a vertical line under the corresponding position to secure the shaft when the bag is parked. Because the club head is relatively heavy, it will automatically seek its way to the point being secured in a position, which makes it makes easy to put the club head in the correct position. Devices to secure different types of club heads are shown in FIG. 3, FIG. 4 and FIG. 5. To remove a club from the bag, pull the club head out of its securing position, lift the club a few centimeters, move the club head away from the bag and finally lower the shaft beneath the shaft railing 2.
The lower picture also show that the shaft of a club 15 does not get in contact with the bag's side as its upper end is resting against the shaft cushioning 3 while its lower end rests on a rubber stripping 7, which eliminates the club 15 rattling against the outside of the bag.
FIG. 3 shows a device for securing twelve iron club heads named “securing bridge” 16, manufactured of plastic foam with individually sealed cells. The upper picture is showing the “securing bridge” from above. The dark shaded parts are twelve channels for securing iron club heads.
The middle picture shows a cross section 16 of a “securing bridge” that is resting on a cross section of a rib 17. The rib is mounted square to the inside of the bag's wall, whereby the “securing bridge” also is leaning inwards/downwards in the bag. The whole “securing bridge” is resting on the rib, which is mounted approximately 25 mm below the lower edge of the oblong hole in the bag 4, through which the heads of the iron clubs are put. Because the walls of the bag are leaning inwards towards the top, the “securing bridge” will also be locked vertically. The “securing bridge” can easily be removed from the bag to be cleaned or replaced by another bridge, without the use of any tools.
The lower picture shows the profiles cross sections of a few channels 18. Because the rib, on which the “securing bridge” is resting, is parallel to the angle of the oblong hole 4, the “securing bridge” is leaning upwards from the right to left side of the bag seen from behind. The channels have parallel walls and each one has its own specific profile to fit the iron club heads of different lofts and lies. Every channel has a narrowing 19 about 15 mm from the bottom of the channel, for best possible securing of the club head.
FIG. 4 is showing a rack for a wood club head. The left picture shows a wood club head 26 resting on a rack 5 seen from the inside of the bag. The rack 5 is manufactured from metal, covered by a soft material to prevent wear and rattling noises. Inside the lower edge of the bag 20, two legs 21 of the rack 5 is mounted in one rack each 22 and 23, which have been screwed to the inside of the bag 24. The depth of the rack beneath the bag can be adjusted with two stop screws 25. The screws are easily accessible thanks to no bottom below the bulkhead 9.
The picture to the right is showing the rack 5 seen from the side. If there is a need to minimize the length of the bag, for example to put it into a limited space, the wood clubs can be taken out of the bag and each rack 5 pushed into the bag until the stop screws 25 hit the top of the racks 22 and 23. Outside the lower edge of the bag, there is a rubber stripping 8 to prevent unwanted wear on the club shafts and noise from shafts rattling against the bag's sides. By adjusting the depth of the racks 5 under the stripping 8, its lower edge will be slightly suppressed by the club head the club and the head will thereby be secured.
There are two factors that characterize designs of wood clubs; the longer the shaft is the bigger and lighter the head is, and the shorter the shaft is, the smaller and heavier the head is. Therefore, the racks 5 should differ in width and depth. The smaller racks, meant for high lofted woods with shorter shafts, should be mounted at the back, and bigger racks, meant for woods with lower lofts and longer shafts, should be mounted on the sides of the bag closer to the front. This will result in the upper end of the woods shafts being in level with each other. The screw holes 24 in the racks 22 and 23 are not in line with the holes for the vertical legs of the rack 21, which makes it possible to position the rack in four different positions to fit racks with different widths. With racks of different widths, the bag can easily be adapted to fit clubs with many different club head sizes by simply adjusting the depth using the stop screws 25.
FIG. 5 shows a device to secure a putter 6. The putter shaft is secured by using the same method as all other clubs using the shaft railing 2 and the shaft cushioning 3.
Classical putters have relatively small club heads with the length from heel to the toe being much bigger than the width. Modern putter designs feature bigger and bigger heads where the width of the putter head has increased significantly while the height of the putter head has remained relatively unchanged at about 25 mm. In order to be able to fit putters of different sizes and shapes, the device for securing the putter, is a rectangular hole 6 through the side of the bag. The left picture is showing a section, seen parallel with the side of the bag, with a putter 29 which is placed in the hole 6 through the bag's side.
The picture to the right shows a modern putter design with a wide putter head 29, which has been secured in a chamber designed specifically for putters 6. All of the chamber's edges are covered with rubber material 27 and 28. The upper edge 28 can easily be changed to a different profile, with a higher or lower flange, to fit putter heads of different heights. A recess can also be made in the flange to fit a putter with a narrow club head. Based on these factors, the chamber will fit booth narrow and wide putter heads.
The bag is supposed to lean forward during transport. The lie of the putter's head, the angle of the bag and the weight of the putter itself, pushes the putter into a secured position. Center of gravity also helps keeping the putter secured.
FIG. 6 shows the left side of the bag and how the racks for wood club heads 5, the holder for a putter head 6, the cushioning 3 for club shafts and iron club heads in its chamber 4 are placed at different levels. This design provides enough space for all types of club heads in a very compact golf bag with small outer dimensions. The picture also shows that an iron club 30 could be replaced by a wood club, which would rest on an empty rack 5 designed for wood club heads. This option is also available in two positions on the right side of the bag. The picture also clearly shows that the rubber strips 7 and 8, in combination with the shaft cushioning 3, prevent the shaft to get in contact with the side of the bag and thereby eliminating unwanted rattling noises and wear.
The grips on the clubs are protected from rain by a cover 31. The cover is resting on the grips and its front is attached to the front edge of the bag. This method of protecting the grips from moisture is made possible by the technical solution of securing the golf clubs, which starts by pushing the shaft end of each golf club under the shaft railing 2, at the same time underneath the rain cover 31 and finally by lowering the club head into its secured position. Securing a club underneath the cover 31 can be done without being obstructed by the cover 31 itself and exposing the grips to moisture caused by inclement weather. Even a cover 31 made from a non transparent material, does not prevent a club to be taken from or put back onto the bag. Other solutions to secure the club shafts with clips or something like that would demand a cover that in some way had to be divided or opened.