A longitudinally elongated upright support member made of wood or other suitable material includes a planar lower surface adapted to be secured to the supporting surface for a practicing golfer. The upper inclined longitudinal surface of the member has a plurality of vertical transversely-directed slots formed through it at differing elevations, the slots being longitudinally spaced from one another. First and second transverse flexible tabs are seated within selected slots and extend outwardly from the members beyond a common side of it. Simulated golf ball surfaces are integrally formed at the outer end of each tab, the center of one such surface being located above the plane of the lower surface of the member by a distance greater than the corresponding distance between the plane of the lower surface and the center of the remaining golf ball surface.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Numerous golf swing practice devices have been previously developed and marketed to assist golfers in learning and maintaining a proper golf swing. Most such devices simply comprise a support and target in the form of a simulated ball. Contact of a golf club with the simulated ball normally gives the golfer no indication of the direction the ball would be hit in an actual swing nor any indication relating to the quality of his technique.
Other prior devices have been directed to development of the path or arc of a proper swing, but have been relatively complicated in structure and have required the use of floor panels as supports, thereby eliminating the opportunity for the golfer to swing on real turf during use of the devices.
The present arrangement utilizes a structurally simple device to provide both a simulated ball target placed at the normal starting position of a ball and a second simulated ball target used to indicate proper club head movement in the swing after passage through the ball contact zone. The use of these two longitudinally and elevationally spaced target members serves to develop a golf swing having proper body movement during the time of ball contact and immediately thereafter, this portion of the club head movement being of utmost importance for maximum distance and ball control.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The device described herein essentially comprises a longitudinal support having a plurality of laterally protruding tabs that extend to one side of the support. Each tab includes a target area located along a theoretical golf club head arc immediately above a player supporting surface on which the support is located. The coincidence of an actual golf swing and this theoretical arc is indicated by contact of a golf club head and each target area. The target areas preferably comprise simulated golf balls or portions thereof and are both longitudinally and elevationally offset from one another.
It is one object of this invention to provide a relatively simple and inexpensive device for assisting a golfer in maintaining a proper arc at the bottom of a golf swing so as to develop maximum ball distance and control when the same swing of a golf club is used in the game of golf.
Another object of the invention is to provide such a device which can be readily adjusted for differing persons and clubs.
Another object of this invention is to provide such a device wherein the simulated golf ball members can be easily replaced when damaged or destroyed by club head contact.
Another object is to provide a device for suspending golf ball targets laterally over a playing surface, enabling the user to practice a golf swing on turf or other actual terrain.
These and further objects will be evident from the following disclosure, taken together with the accompanying drawings. It is to be understood that the drawings merely illustrate a preferred form of the embodiment and that the invention disclosed is not to be limited to the specifics of this preferred form except as it is defined in the appended claims.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a plan view of the device;
FIG. 2 is a front elevation view of the device;
FIG. 3 is a rear elevation view of the device;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view looking along line 4--4 in FIG. 1; and
FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view looking along line 5--5 in FIG. 2.
PREFERRED FORM OF THE INVENTION
The device illustrated in FIGS. 1-5 comprises a longitudinal member 10 that supports a pair of flexible tabs 15, 16, each including a simulated ball target 19, 20, conforming in size and shape to one-half of a golf ball. The ball targets 19, 20 are located along an arc A--A which is selected as the theoretically desirable path of swing through which a golf club head should move during and immediately after the contact of the club head with a ball. The ball targets 19, 20 are spaced longitudinally from one another and the second ball target 20 is slightly elevated relative to the first target 19. The first ball target 19 is located at the normal elevation above a player supporting surface 23 at which a ball would be placed during a game of golf.
The longitudinal member 10 can be formed of solid wood or can be molded or otherwise fabricated from suitable rigid material, including metals and plastic resins. It includes a horizontal lower surface 11 and a slightly inclined upper surface 12. The upper surface 12 is offset from the horizontal and diverges from surface 11 in the direction of club head movement alongside the member 10, this direction being from right to left in FIGS. 1 and 2.
A plurality of identical vertical transverse slots 13 are formed through the upper portion of member 10 and are illustrated as being open to the upper surface 12. Each slot 13 includes a base enlargement 14, which is illustrated as being cylindrical in cross-section (FIG. 4). Because of the inclination of surface 12, the base of each slot 13 also lies in a similarly inclined plane relative to the lower surface 11, which is horizontal in actual use.
The integral tabs 15, 16 and simulated ball targets 19, 20 are preferably molded of a suitable flexible or resilient resin, such as polyethylene. The tabs 15, 16 are elongated vertically and are of a thickness such that the tab is flexible primarily in a horizontal direction. The tabs 15, 16 extend horizontally to one side of member 10. The lower edge of each tab 15, 16 is enlarged by provision of a bead 17 that is complimentary to the base enlargement 14 previously described. This enables the tabs 15, 16 to be keyed within slots 13 and prevents vertical displacement of the tabs 15, 16 during use. The ends of tabs 15, 16 opposite to the ball targets 19, 20 may include upright enlarged stops 21 to prevent accidental lateral movement of the tabs 15, 16 when struck by a golf club head.
The simulated ball targets 19, 20 are hollow hemispheres that are open and face in the direction of the practice swing. The outer convex surface of each ball target 19, 20 is dimpled in the same manner as the outer cover of a conventional golf ball. The elongated tabs 15, 16 space the ball targets 19, 20 outward from member 10 and permit them to yield in response to club head contact. Their resilient nature returns the ball targets to their original extended positions after such contact. The combination of the simulated ball targets and resilient tabs result in an effective "feel" or simulation of actual ball contact when struck by a moving golf club head.
Member 10 should be constructed of wood or other material of sufficient weight to permit it to stand upright on surface 11. No other support is required when practicing light strokes with a putter or chipping wedge. When used to practice full strokes on turf, permanent or removable spikes 22 or other suitable fastening elements should be utilized.
The member 10 is mounted in an upright vertical position parallel to the simulated direction of ball travel. The tabs 15, 16 are arranged within slots 13 so as to center the simulated ball targets 19, 20 along the theoretical arc A--A. Normally the ball targets 19, 20 will be identically spaced to one side of the member 10 and the second ball target 20 contacted by the golf club head along arc A--A will be slightly elevated relative to the first target 19. Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the left ball target 20 is elevated slightly above the target 19, the latter being positioned at the normal elevation of a golf ball relative to the player supporting surface 23.
An instructor or other person supervising use of the device must first select the proper longitudinal spacing between the ball targets 19, 20 to indicate the desired theoretical arc A--A. This longitudinal spacing will differ depending upon the height of the golfer and the length of the club shaft being used for practice purposes. The longitudinal spacing must increase with increased height and with increased shaft length. As an example, an average sized golfer might require the ball targets 19, 20 to be about 16 inches apart when using a driver and about 12 inches apart when using a six iron.
The golfer then stands on the player supporting surface 23 at the location proper for hitting a ball at the lower end of member 10, this simulated ball location being indicated by the ball target 19. He then swings the club head (not shown) to strike the ball target 19 and successively strike also the second ball target 20. To accomplish this properly the golfer must move his hips to transfer his body weight properly between his right foot and his left foot and he must also reach out as his club head contacts and follows through the area of simulated ball engagement. Carrying out this practice sequence results in two essential practices in developing a proper golf swing. The first is the shift of his body weight from right to left at the proper instant. The second is the follow through or reaching from the time of simulated ball engagement until the passing through the area of the second ball target. In order to follow the theoretical path, it is also essential that the golfer maintain his head in a stationary position looking downward. Successive use of the device with a variety of clubs has been found useful in developing and maintaining a proper golf swing.
While the illustrated example and above description apply to a right-handed golfer, the device is readily usable also by a golfer who is left-handed. The only modification necessary is the reversal of tabs 15, 16 in order that ball targets 19, 20 are projected to the opposite side of member 10.
Minor modifications might be made in the device without deviating from the basic concepts disclosed herein. For these reasons, only the following claims are intended as restricting definitions of the scope of the invention.