|Número de publicación||USRE42544 E1|
|Tipo de publicación||Concesión|
|Número de solicitud||US 11/998,435|
|Fecha de publicación||12 Jul 2011|
|Fecha de presentación||28 Nov 2007|
|Fecha de prioridad||22 Abr 2004|
|También publicado como||US7140974, US20050239575, USRE43801|
|Número de publicación||11998435, 998435, US RE42544 E1, US RE42544E1, US-E1-RE42544, USRE42544 E1, USRE42544E1|
|Inventores||Bing-Ling Chao, Brian Weed, Peter Larsen, Gery Zimmerman, Benoit Vincent|
|Cesionario original||Taylor Made Golf Company, Inc.|
|Exportar cita||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Citas de patentes (44), Otras citas (1), Citada por (16), Clasificaciones (21), Eventos legales (1)|
|Enlaces externos: USPTO, Cesión de USPTO, Espacenet|
The present invention relates generally to golf clubs and, more particularly, to an golf club head having an improved face plate support.
Many factors must be considered when designing a golf club head. One factor is the distribution of mass about the club head, which is typically quantified by parameters such as moments of inertia (MOI) magnitude and center of gravity (CG) location. Rotational moments of inertia of a club head about the club head CG are measures of a club head's resistance to rotation about the CG and are related to the distribution of mass within the club head about the CG. It is desirable for a club head to have high moments of inertia about the CG, particularly to promote forgiveness for off-center hits. To achieve high moments of inertia about the CG, designers typically position mass to the periphery of the golf club head and backwards from the face plate. In addition, a club head's CG is spaced from the face plate at a prescribed location to achieve a desired launch angle upon impact with a golf ball. As a result, for wood-type club heads (i.e., fairway woods and drivers), large internal volumes are typically desirable.
Another factor in club head design is the face plate of the club head. Upon impact with a golf ball, the face plate of a club head deflects and rebounds, thereby imparting energy to the struck golf ball. The club head's coefficient of restitution (COR) is the ratio of the difference between the ball speed after impact and the club speed after impact and the club speed before impact. A thin face plate generally will deflect more than a thick face plate. Thus, a properly constructed club with a thin, flexible face plate can impart a higher initial velocity to a golf ball than a club with a thick, rigid face plate. In order to maximize the MOI about the CG and achieve a high COR, it typically is desirable to incorporate thin walls and a thin face plate into the design of the club head. Thin walls afford the designers additional leeway in distributing club head mass to achieve desired mass distribution, and a thin face plate may provide for a high COR.
Thus, thin walls are important to a club's performance. However, overly thin walls can adversely affect the club head's durability. Problems also arise from stresses distributed across the club head upon impact with the golf ball, particularly at junctions of club head components, such as the junction of the face plate with other club head components (e.g., the sole, skirt, and crown). One prior solution has been to provide a reinforced periphery about the face plate, such as welding, in order to withstand the repeated impacts. Another approach to combat stresses at impact is to use one or more ribs extending substantially from the crown to the sole vertically, and in some instances extending from the toe to the heel horizontally, across an inner surface of the face plate. These approaches tend to adversely affect club performance characteristics, e.g., diminishing the size of the sweet sport, and/or inhibiting design flexibility in both mass distribution and the face structure of the club head. Thus, these club heads fail to provide optimal MOI, CG, and/or COR parameters, and as a result, fail to provide much forgiveness for off-center hits for all but the most expert golfers.
It should, therefore, be appreciated that there exists a need for a golf club head having a face plate support that facilitates performance and durability. The present invention fulfills this need and others.
Briefly, and in general terms, the present invention provides a golf club head having enhanced durability and performance characteristics. The club head includes a face plate and a body having a face plate support for receiving the face plate. The body includes a top, a toe end and a heel end, a sole, and a forward wall. The forward wall defines a front opening about which the face plate support is disposed. The face plate support receives the face plate, thereby enclosing the front opening of the body.
More specifically, and by way of example, the face plate support is configured to enhance the durability and performance of the club head. The face plate support includes portions proximate to the crown, the toe end, and the heel end. Each of these face plate support portions includes a peripheral member extending rearward from the forward wall and a rear member extending inward from the peripheral member, with respect to the front opening. The face plate support can also include a portion proximate to the sole of the body. The face plate support contributes to increased COR even about the periphery of the face plate while providing durable support. Thus, the face plate can be designed with an emphasis or performance. For example, the face plate can be configured with a face thickness variation that provides a maximum COR over a larger face area than otherwise possible. Preferably, the face plate is formed from composite material; however, a lightweight metal face plate may alternatively be attached to a metal body of the club head. In addition, in an exemplary embodiment, a junction of the peripheral and tear members of the face plate support has a maximum thickness of between about 1.5 and 2 mm.
For purposes of summarizing the invention and the advantages achieved over the prior art, certain advantages of the invention have been described herein above. Of course, it is to be understood that not necessarily all such advantages may be achieved in accordance with any particular embodiment of the invention. Thus, for example, those skilled in the art will recognize that the invention may be embodied or carried out in a manner that achieves or optimizes one advantage or group of advantages as taught herein without necessarily achieving other advantages as may be taught or suggested herein.
All of these embodiments are intended to be within the scope of the invention herein disclosed. These and other embodiments of the present invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments having reference to the attached figures, the invention not being limited to any particular preferred embodiment disclosed.
Embodiments of the present invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the following drawings in which:
The drawings include preferred embodiments of golf club heads in accordance with the present invention. With reference to
The body 24 includes a sole 38, a top (i.e., crown 40), a skirt 42, and a forward wall 44. The face plate support 34 includes a peripheral member 46 extending rearward from the forward wall 44 and a rear member 48 extending inward with reference to the front opening 36. The face plate support 34 includes portions proximate to the crown 40, the toe 30, the heel 32 and the sole 38. More particularly, in the exemplary embodiment, the face plate support 34 is continuous about the front opening 36. In other embodiments, portions of the face plate support 34 can be configured as a plurality of tabs spaced apart about the front opening 36. One such example is depicted in
With reference to
With reference now to
At a junction 50 of the peripheral and rear members 46, 48 of the face plate support 34, there is preferably a maximum thickness TJ between about 1.5 mm and 2 mm. In the preferred embodiment of
Preferred dimensions for the body 24 of the golf club head 20 of
With reference now to
With reference now to
With reference again to
Various weight configurations may be used, such as those disclosed in co-pending U.S. patent applications Ser. Nos. 10/290,817 and 10/785,692, which are incorporated herein by reference. In the exemplary embodiment, the weights 26 are attached by screws, such as those available from Textron, Inc., under the brand names TORX® or TORX PLUS®. Screws, such as those available from Textron, Inc., under the brand name CAMCAR®, can be used as one or more of the weights. In the exemplary embodiment, four weights 26 having a combined mass of about 23 g are provided as shown in
With continued reference to
A hollow club head having features of the present invention can range in volume from about 130 cc to about 460 cc. Preferably, the head has a volume of at least 360 cc and more preferably at least 400 cc. The removable weights preferably comprise a mass of between about 20 g and 30 g., for a total head weight between about 180 g to 205 g. The moment of inertia IZZ is preferably at least 300 kg-mm2 for the present invention and more preferably is at least 350 kg-mm2.
The club head may be formed by casting techniques known to those skilled in the art, preferably by investment casting a titanium alloy such as Ti-6Al-4V. Alternatively, a soluble wax core may be used to create the specific internal structures (e.g., face plate support, weight recess) to achieve the desired club head MOI and CG location parameters. In particular, a separate wax mold may be created for the recesses for the weights 26 that is then attached to a main wax mold for the club head body 24, such as by gluing the two wax molds. In the exemplary embodiment, the forward, heel and toe recesses 90 are formed as part of a unitary head body 24. Alternatively, the weight recesses 90 may be separately formed and welded to an internal location of the club head body 24. Of course, alternative embodiments of the present invention may include integral, thickened wall portions 92, such as shown in
In several exemplary embodiments, the face plate 22 is formed of composite material; nonetheless, a lightweight metal face plate 22 can also be used. Referring now to
The composite face plate 22 can be manufactured by stacking and cutting the plies in predetermined orientations. This may be done in smaller groups of plies that are eventually stacked to form the final thickness of the face plate 22. More particularly, the plies of prepreg can be arranged in specific groups in which each ply has a predetermined orientation with reference to a horizontal axis. For example, a first or outermost ply may comprise 1080 glass fabric oriented at 0 degrees, followed by 48 plies of 34/700 prepreg oriented such that 12 plies each are at 0, +45, 90 and −45 degrees. Another ply of 34/700 at 90 degrees precedes the final or innermost ply of 1080 glass fabric oriented at 0 degrees.
The face plate 22 preferably achieves its final desired shape or dimensions by die cutting. The final desired bulge and roll of the face plate 22 may be achieved during the last of two or more “debulking” or compaction steps of two minutes each to reduce air trapped between plies. Preferably a third debulking step includes forming a panel having the final desired bulge and roll, and more preferably an additional fourth debulking step is provided to form the panel to a final face thickness, where the duration of the fourth debulking step is about three minutes. The weight and thickness of the resulting panel are preferably measured prior to the curing step.
Preferably, the composite golf club face comprises low fiber area weight (FAW) materials, and has a thickness less than about 4 mm. The weight savings from the use of the composite face is about 20 g to 25 g compared to a 2.7 mm thick face plate formed from a titanium alloy such as Ti-6Al-4V, for example. For fairway wood golf club heads, the face plate is preferably at least 60 mm wide and 25 mm high. For driver-type golf club heads, the face plate is preferably at least 80 mm wide and 50 mm high.
Attaching a composite material face plate 22 to a metallic club head body 24 may be accomplished with adhesives. In order to prevent peel and delamination failure at the face-body junction, the composite face plate 22 should be recessed from or substantially flush with the plane of the forward surface of the metal body 24 at the junction, as shown in
In a preferred embodiment shown in
A surface roughness can be provided to the composite face plate 22 to facilitate adhesive bonding. In a first approach, a layer of textured film may be placed on the composite material before curing, thereby forming a given surface roughness on the cured composite material. An example of such a textured film is ordinary nylon fabric. Curing conditions do not degrade the fabric, and an imprint of the fabric texture is transferred to a surface of the composite material. Tests have shown that adhesion of urethane and epoxy, such as 3M® DP460, to the textured composite surface was greatly improved and superior to adhesion to a metallic surface, such as cast titanium alloy. In a second approach, the texture can be incorporated into a mold surface, allowing the textured area to be controlled precisely. For example, in an embodiment having a composite face plate joined to a cast body, the texture can be located on surfaces of the composite face plate where shear and peel are dominant failure modes.
It should be appreciated from the foregoing that the present invention provides a golf club head that includes a face plate and a body having a top, a sole, a toe end, a heel end, and a forward wall. The forward wall defines a front opening about which a face support is disposed. The face support receives the face plate, thereby enclosing the front opening of the body. A face plate is received in a face support provided at the front opening. The face support includes portions proximate to the top, the toe end, and the heel end. Each portion of the face support includes a peripheral member extending rearward from the forward wall and a rear member extending inward from the peripheral member, with respect to the front opening. The face support can be combined with a preferred face construction and weight elements to optimize club head performance to help a golfer achieve greater distance and control.
Although the invention has been disclosed in detail with reference only to the preferred embodiments, those skilled in the art will appreciate that additional golf club heads can be included without departing from the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is defined only by the claims set forth below.
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|Clasificación de EE.UU.||473/329, 473/342, 473/345, 473/346|
|Clasificación internacional||A63B53/08, A63B53/04, A63B53/06|
|Clasificación cooperativa||A63B53/0466, A63B53/047, A63B2053/0408, A63B2053/0416, A63B2053/0412, A63B2053/0491, A63B53/06, A63B2053/0425, A63B2053/0433, A63B2053/042, A63B2209/023|
|Clasificación europea||A63B53/04L, A63B53/06, A63B53/04M|