Title:
Golf trainer apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The golf trainer apparatus includes a ball start portion which is on a ball launch site, a green mat, a main body having a ball entrance opening and exit opening, and an internal collection path of the ball injected into the ball entrance opening, an optical sensor for detecting the ball injected into and passing through the ball entrance opening, an algorithm processor for computing the speed of the ball detected by the optical sensor, and retrieving and outputting a predetermined putting distance on an actual green condition according to the computed ball speed, in which algorithm data with respect to ball putting distances obtained by applying a rolling resistance on the actual green for each ball speed is stored in a memory, and a digital distance indicator for indicating the data output from the algorithm processor in dimension of a distance unit.



Inventors:
Yoon, Duck J. (Inchon, KR)
Application Number:
09/932496
Publication Date:
02/21/2002
Filing Date:
08/17/2001
Assignee:
YOON DUCK J.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B67/02; A63B69/36; (IPC1-7): A63B69/36
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MENDOZA, ROBERT J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PARK LAW FIRM (3255 WILSHIRE BLVD SUITE 1110, LOS ANGELES, CA, 90010, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A golf trainer apparatus comprising: a ball start portion which is on a ball launch site; a green mat having an ordinary length and width; a main body having a ball entrance opening and a ball exit opening, and an internal collection path of the ball injected into the ball entrance opening; an optical sensor installed in the inner side of the ball entrance opening in the main body, for detecting the ball injected into and passing through the ball entrance opening; an algorithm processor for computing the speed of the ball detected by the optical sensor, and retrieving and outputting a predetermined putting distance on an actual green condition according to the computed ball speed, in which algorithm data with respect to ball putting distances obtained by applying a rolling resistance on the actual green for each ball speed is stored in a memory; and a digital distance indicator for indicating the data output from the algorithm processor in dimension of a distance unit.

2. The golf trainer apparatus of claim 1, wherein said digital distance indicator is configured to confirm a putting distance at the state where a player gazes at a position adjacent a putting place, in which a transmitter transmitting data output from an algorithm processor is installed at the side of the main body, and a receiver receiving data transmitted from the transmitter and a digit indicator indicating data received at the receiver as a putting distance are installed at the side of an indicator body which is separately provided with respect to the main body.

3. The golf trainer apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a ball drop position detector installed on the green mat so that a drop position of the chip shot ball is detected, to thereby make the digital distance indicator indicate a flying distance of the chip shot ball.

4. The golf trainer apparatus of claim 3, wherein said ball drop position detector is a plurality of optical sensors which are installed with a predetermined interval, for detecting a ball dropped on the green mat.

5. The golf trainer apparatus of claim 1, wherein said optical sensor is configured by two optical detection sensors installed with a predetermined interval for detecting a ball, and said algorithm processor computes the speed of the ball according to a time detected by the two optical detection sensors, which is taken for the ball to pass through the interval between the two optical detection sensors.

6. The golf trainer apparatus of claim 1, wherein said optical sensor uses a single optical sensor for detecting a ball, and said algorithm processor computes the speed of the ball according to a time taken when the ball passes through a sensing area of the optical sensor.

7. The golf trainer apparatus of claim 1, wherein said optical sensor is one of an infrared sensor and a laser sensor.

8. The golf trainer apparatus of claim 1, further comprising: a voice memory outputting a prestored hole cup sound according to whether said optical sensor detects passage of a ball; and a speaker outputting the hole cup sound output from the voice memory as an audible sound.

9. The golf trainer apparatus of claim 5, further comprising a strike zone detection sensor for detecting whether or not the ball entering the ball entrance opening passes through a strike zone.

10. The golf trainer apparatus of claim 6, further comprising a strike zone detection sensor for detecting whether or not the ball entering the ball entrance opening passes through a strike zone.

11. The golf trainer apparatus of claim 9, further comprising ball direction detection sensors for detecting a ball missing the strike zone in both sides of the strike zone detection sensor, and a ball direction indicator added in the digital distance indicator, for indicating whether the ball passes the strike zone or misses which direction.

12. The golf trainer apparatus of claim 10, further comprising ball direction detection sensors for detecting a ball missing the strike zone in both sides of the strike zone detection sensor, and a ball direction indicator added in the digital distance indicator, for indicating whether the ball passes the strike zone or misses which direction.

13. The golf trainer apparatus of claim 11, wherein said strike zone detection sensor and said ball direction detection sensor are optical sensors installed in the upper portion of the ball passage area, for detecting the ball downwards.

14. The golf trainer apparatus of claim 12, wherein said strike zone detection sensor and said ball direction detection sensor are optical sensors installed in the upper portion of the ball passage area, for detecting the ball downwards.

15. The golf trainer apparatus of claim 9, further comprising: a voice memory outputting a prestored hole cup sound according to whether said strike zone detection sensor detects passage of a ball; and a speaker outputting the hole cup sound output from the voice memory as an audible sound.

16. The golf trainer apparatus of claim 10, further comprising: a voice memory outputting a prestored hole cup sound according to whether said strike zone detection sensor detects passage of a ball; and a speaker outputting the hole cup sound output from the voice memory as an audible sound.

17. The golf trainer apparatus of claim 1, wherein assuming that a rolling distance of a ball launched at a particular speed from a putting machine which can control a launching speed of a ball is a ball putting distance, under the same green condition, said algorithm data stored in a memory of said algorithm processor is putting data with respect to a putting speed obtained by making a putting speed detected by the optical sensor detecting the speed of a ball correspond to the pre-measured putting distance when a ball is launched at the same speed as the above particular speed from the putting machine to the golf trainer apparatus, and is passed a predetermined distance which corresponds to the distance between the ball start portion and the optical sensor, to then enter the inner side of the ball entrance opening.

Description:

CLAIMING FOREIGN PRIORITY

[0001] The applicant claims and requests a foreign priority, through the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industry Property, based on a patent application filed in the Republic of Korea (South Korea) with the filing date of Aug. 21, 2000, with the patent application No. 2000-23463, by the applicant. (See the Attached Declaration)

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The present invention relates to a golf trainer apparatus, and more particularly, to a golf trainer apparatus which enables a chip shot exercise as well as a putting exercise in correspondence to a variety of distances even in a narrow space as if those exercises were performed on a green in an actual field.

[0004] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0005] A conventional golf putting trainer apparatus provided only a putting exercise of a limited distance of about 2 meters. A golf putting trainer apparatus which solved the above shortcoming that only a putting exercise of a limited distance of about 2 meters could not help being provided, was filed as Korean Utility Model application No. 1996-4814 by the same applicant and registered as Korean Utility Model registration No. 152039.

[0006] As shown in FIG. 1, the conventional golf putting trainer apparatus disclosed in the Korean Utility Model application No. 1996-4814 includes a ball start portion 22 from which a ball is launched, a target with which the launched ball collides and a green mat 20 on which the launched ball is guided. The golf putting trainer apparatus is characterized by including a case lower plate 39 having a putting hole portion 30 comprised of a short-step upper surface, left and right partitions 34a and 34b and a known target detection plate 36 and a guiding groove 38, and a case cover plate 40 having a ball entrance opening 42, a known digital distance indicator 44 and a ball exit opening 46, and a sliding plate 50 having a supporter.

[0007] In the above-described conventional golf putting trainer apparatus, the target detection plate 36 is installed in the putting hole portion 30 for detecting a hitting intensity of a putted ball and a degree of a follow-through. Accordingly, the detection sensor in the detection plate 36 detects hitting impact of a putted ball, to thereby calculate the collision intensity in terms of distance and make the digital distance indicator 44 indicate a putting distance in digits. As a result, a putting exercise can be done by freely adjusting a distance from the length of about 2 m in an actual putting trainer apparatus to 5 m, 10 m, 20 m, 30 m, etc.

[0008] The above-described conventional putting trainer apparatus calculates the intensity of impact due to collision with the launched ball in terms of distance to thereby indicate a putting distance. However, most of impact sensors have problems of lowering reliability of a putting distance to be indicated since a voltage to impact conversion characteristic has a non-linear characteristic curve. Accordingly, a putting trainer apparatus which can calculate a putting distance more accurately has been needed.

[0009] In addition, in the case that the conventional putting trainer apparatus is used, the head of a golf player has been mostly raised up according to movement of his or her gaze at the final instant of a follow-through. That is, a player is inclined to look at a ball entrance opening provided in the front surface of a case and a digital indicator mounted on the front surface of the case unintentionally in order to recognize his or her putting distance at once. For this reason, his or her head is raised up in the putting direction, to thus make a putting posture bad. As a result, there has been needed a countermeasure capable of avoiding a head-up phenomenon fundamentally at the time of performing a golf putting exercise using a golf putting trainer apparatus.

[0010] Meanwhile, if a launched ball in a field is not dropped on a green where a hole cup is located but dropped out of the green which is not far from the hole cup in the case of a golf play in a field, a chip shot should be performed so that a ball which is flied from the ground and dropped on the green rolls over toward the hole cup according to the proceeding inertia of the ball.

[0011] Since the chip shot is crucially dependent upon a parabolic angle formed by a flying ball or a rotational state of the launched ball, a golf player should have his or her own constant sense capable of hitting a ball invariably.

[0012] Although such a chip shot is very important in order to save the number of hits in a golf play, there is no golf trainer apparatus which enables players to perform a chip shot exercise in a narrow place such as indoor.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0013] To solve the above problems, it is an object of the present invention to provide a golf trainer apparatus having various functions in which a more accurate putting distance is measured and indicated than that of a conventional putting trainer apparatus, a head-up phenomenon during putting is fundamentally solved to thereby make a putting posture of a player accurate, and an exercise of a chip shot can be performed freely as necessary.

[0014] To accomplish the above object of the present invention, there is provided a golf trainer apparatus comprising: a ball start portion which is on a ball launch site; a green mat having an ordinary length and width; a main body having a ball entrance opening and a ball exit opening, and an internal collection path of the ball injected into the ball entrance opening; an optical sensor installed in the inner side of the ball entrance opening in the main body, for detecting the ball injected into and passing through the ball entrance opening; an algorithm processor for computing the speed of the ball detected by the optical sensor, and retrieving and outputting a predetermined putting distance on an actual green condition according to the computed ball speed, in which algorithm data with respect to ball putting distances obtained by applying a rolling resistance on the actual green for each ball speed is stored in a memory; and a digital distance indicator for indicating the data output from the algorithm processor in dimension of a distance unit.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] The above object and other advantages of the present invention will become more apparent by describing the preferred embodiments thereof in more detail with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

[0016] FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing a conventional putting trainer;

[0017] FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing a golf trainer according to the present invention;

[0018] FIG. 3 is a block diagram showing a circuitry configuration of the golf trainer according to the present invention;

[0019] FIG. 4 is a schematic plan view showing an embodiment of an optical sensor in the golf trainer according to the present invention;

[0020] FIG. 5 is a schematic plan view showing another embodiment of an optical sensor in the golf trainer according to the present invention;

[0021] FIG. 6 is a perspective view showing an embodiment of a ball drop position detector in the golf trainer according to the present invention; and

[0022] FIG. 7 is a perspective view showing another embodiment of a ball drop position detector in the golf trainer according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0023] Preferred embodiments of the present invention will be described with reference to the accompanying drawings.

[0024] Referring to FIGS. 2 through 8, a golf trainer apparatus according to the present invention includes a ball start portion 122 which is on a ball launch site, a green mat 120 having an ordinary length and width, and a putting hole portion 130 and a main body 140 having a ball entrance opening 142 and a ball exit opening 146, and an internal collection path 138 of the ball injected into the ball entrance opening 142, in the same manner as those of a conventional golf putting trainer apparatus. Guide sticks 124a and 124b are disposed in a respective side of the ball start portion 122 in the green mat 120, in parallel with each other in order to guide a putting direction of a ball.

[0025] As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the golf trainer apparatus according to the present invention includes an optical sensor 162 installed in the inner side of the ball entrance opening 142 in the main body 140, for detecting the ball injected into and passing through the ball entrance opening 142, an algorithm processor 170 for computing the speed of the ball detected by the optical sensor 162, and retrieving and outputting a predetermined putting distance on an actual green condition according to the computed ball speed, in which algorithm data with respect to ball putting distances obtained by applying a rolling resistance on the actual green for each ball speed is stored, and a digital distance indicator 180 for indicating the data output from the algorithm processor 170 in dimension of a distance unit.

[0026] Also, the golf trainer apparatus according to the present invention includes a strike zone detection sensor 164 installed in the inner side of the ball entrance opening 142 in the main body 140, for detecting whether or not a ball B passes a strike zone, a voice memory 192 outputting a prestored hole cup sound according to whether the strike zone detection sensor 164 detects passage of the ball B, and a speaker 194 outputting the hole cup sound as an audible sound. Through the above configuration, since a hole cup sound is output via the speaker 194 if the putted ball B passes through the strike zone via the ball entrance opening 142 accurately and detected by the strike zone detection sensor 164, players can feel such an atmosphere as if they play golf in an actual field.

[0027] It is preferable that the strike zone detection sensor 164 is realized as an optical sensor like the optical sensor 162 for detecting the speed of the ball. Ball detection sensors 163L and 163R are installed in a respective side of the strike zone detection sensor 164, to thereby detect a ball which misses the strike zone. A separate ball direction indicator 188 is additionally installed in the digital distance indicator 180. to thereby confirm whether the ball misses to which direction.

[0028] The strike zone detection sensor 164 and the ball detection sensors 163L and 163R emit light in the respective vertical directions to thereby detect the ball.

[0029] Meanwhile, the digital distance indicator 180 is configured to confirm a putting distance at the state where a player gazes at a position adjacent a putting place, in which a transmitter 182 transmitting data output from an algorithm processor 170 is installed at the side of the main body 140, and a receiver 184 receiving data transmitted from the transmitter 182 and a digit indicator 186 indicating data received at the receiver 184 as a putting distance are installed at the side of an indicator body 186a which is separately provided with respect to the main body 140.

[0030] The digit indicator 186 is located in the upper side or lower side of the ball start portion 122 where a ball is placed. Accordingly, a head-up occurring due to movement of the player's eyes for confirming a putting distance at the final putting action is prevented, to thereby make a player keep a putting posture.

[0031] A remote transmission and reception system using infrared light or radio waves can be applied to the transmitter 182 and the receiver 184, respectively.

[0032] When an infrared transmission and reception system is applied, operationally resulting data is modulated by infrared light and then transmitted at a photo-diode used as the transmitter 182, and the modulated infrared light is demodulated in a photo-transistor used as the receiver 184 to obtain data necessary for indicating distances. A reference numeral 182a in FIG. 2 denotes an infrared transmission window.

[0033] When a radio waves transmission and reception system is applied, data is modulated by a high-frequency carrier and then transmitted at the receiver 182, and the transmitted waves are received and demodulated in the receiver 184, to thereby obtain data necessary for indicating distances. Here, an encoder for encoding data to be transmitted and a decoder for decoding received data, can be added, which is a conventional communications technology. Thus, the encoder and the decoder are not shown in the drawings.

[0034] In FIG. 2, a reference character P denotes a printed circuit board on which an electrical circuitry such as the algorithm processor 170, a clock generator 192, the voice memory 192, etc., are mounted. The algorithm processor 170 can be installed at any place in the main body.

[0035] Meanwhile, the ball speed detection optical sensor 162 can be realized in various forms.

[0036] As shown in FIG. 4, in the case of the optical sensor 162 according to a first embodiment of the present invention, two optical sensors 162a and 162b detecting a ball B can be installed spaced from each other by a predetermined distance “s.” Here, the algorithm processor 170 computes the speed of the ball at the positions of the optical sensors according to the time taken when the ball B passes through the distance “s” where the two optical sensors 162a and 162b are installed.

[0037] As shown in FIG. 5, in the case of the optical sensor 162 according to a second embodiment of the present invention, a light transmitter 162c emitting light and a light receiver 162d receiving light emitted from the light transmitter 162c oppose each other in which a passage path of the ball B is interposed between the light transmitter 162c and the light receiver 162d. Here, the algorithm processor 170 computes the speed of the ball at the positions of the optical sensors, according to the time taken when the ball B is detected in the light receiver 162d, that is, the time when the light emitted from the light transmitter 162c is blocked by the ball B and thus is not be received at the light receiver 162d. This is based on the fact that the speed of a ball can be computed if a time of blocking light transmitted from the light transmitter to the light receiver is detected at an interval of 42.7 mm which is the diameter of the typical golf ball.

[0038] In the above-described two embodiments, an infrared sensor or a laser sensor can be applied to the ball speed detection optical sensor 162.

[0039] As described above, the time taken when a ball passes the interval “s” where the two sensors 162a and 162b are installed, or the distance by the diameter “d” of a ball, is measured using the ball speed detection optical sensors 162a and 162b according to the first embodiment, or the ball detection sensors 162c and 162d according to the second embodiment. Since a ball speed detection characteristic from a slow speed to a fast speed reveals a linear characteristic, the speed of the putted ball B can be accurately detected. Accordingly, there has been solved a non-linear detection characteristic in an impact sensor which has been pointed out as a problem at the time of detecting the speed of the ball in the impact sensor whose invention was filed previously by the same applicant.

[0040] Thus, the golf trainer apparatus according to the present invention can calculate and indicate a more accurate putting distance than that of the conventional case. A reference numeral 172 in FIG. 3 denotes a clock generator for providing reference clock so that the algorithm processor 170 can perform a time calculation.

[0041] Also, the algorithm processor 170 includes an algorithm store 171, in which respectively different putting distance algoritim data is stored for each rolling resistance mode of 6-12 feet at a green speed, at the time of measuring the green speed with a Stimp meter measuring a green speed different according to the lengths of lawn grasses, in which the Stimp meter was invented by Mr. Stimpson of the U.S.A. Accordingly, the stored algorithm data is converted for each rolling resistance mode according to necessity of a user. The rolling resistance mode conversion is selected in a dip switch 174 which is connected to the algorithm processor 170.

[0042] The different putting distance algorithm data for each rolling resistance mode, that is, a putting distance with respect to a ball speed for each rolling resistance mode, is stored in advance as data in the algorithm store 171 of the algorithm processor 170.

[0043] A putting machine which can set a launch speed of a ball and launch the ball and an apparatus for measuring slope of a green are used, at the time of experiment under a field condition.

[0044] Assuming that a rolling distance of a ball launched at a particular speed from a putting machine is a ball putting distance, under the same green condition, a putting speed detected by the optical sensor 162 detecting the speed of a ball is stored in correspondence to the pre-measured putting distance when a ball is launched at the same speed as the above particular speed from the putting machine to the golf trainer apparatus according to the present invention, and is passed a predetermined distance which corresponds to the distance between the ball start portion 122 and the optical sensor 162, to then enter the inner side of the ball entrance opening 142. Algorithm data obtained by experimenting such an experiment is performed at a respectively different speed for a number of times is stored in the algorithm store 171 of the algorithm processor 170.

[0045] Also, the green mat 120 is made in the same manner as an actual green condition, while performing an experiment using a putting machine in both the green mat 120 and the actual green.

[0046] Meanwhile, it is possible to perform a chip shot exercise or a putting exercise, using the golf trainer apparatus according to the present invention.

[0047] That is, in addition to the above-described configuration, the golf trainer apparatus according to the present invention further includes a ball drop position detector 166 installed in the green mat 120 so that the drop position of the chip shot ball B is detected, to thereby indicate a flying distance of the chip shot ball on the digit indicator 186 in the digital distance indicator 180. A plurality of indication cells can be installed in the digit indicator 186 so that a flying distance and a putting distance of the ball can be indicated in digits, respectively.

[0048] The ball drop position detector 166 can be embodied in various forms.

[0049] In an embodiment of the ball drop position detector 166 as shown in FIG. 6, a plurality of optical sensors 166 installed with a predetermined interval, for detecting the ball dropped on the surface of the green mat 120 can be applied. Here, in order to save the installation cost of the optical sensors 166 and keep an accuracy in detection of the chip shot distance, it is preferable that the predetermined interval is determined in correspondence to the diameter “e” of the ball. In the embodiment of FIG. 6, the light transmitter 166a and the light receiver 166b in the optical sensor 166 are installed in both sides of the green mat 120, which face each other.

[0050] In another embodiment of the ball drop position detector 166 as shown in FIG. 6, a plurality of impact detection sensors 166c installed on the surface of the green mat 120 with a predetermined interval can be applied. A reference numeral 120b denotes a base mat in which the impact detection sensor 166c is interposed between the green mat 120 and the base mat.

[0051] Although still another embodiment of the ball drop position detector 166 is not shown in the drawing, an x-y touch plate formed on an x-y matrix line, for outputting an x-y coordinate value at a contact point as an electrical signal can be applied as the ball drop position detector.

[0052] When the golf trainer apparatus further including the ball drop position detector 166 having the above-described configuration is used, a chip shot distance, that is, a putting distance along which a dropped ball rolls over to the hole cup, as well as a flying distance of the ball between the ball start portion 122 up to the point where the ball dropped, are indicated through the digit indicator 186 on the digital distance indicator 180. As a result, a chip shot can be exercised even in an indoor narrow space.

[0053] As described above, the golf trainer apparatus according to the present invention provides the following effects.

[0054] An optical sensor detects a passage time of a ball in a predetermined interval, and calculates the speed of the ball according to the passage time. Thus, an accuracy of a putting distance indicated on a digital distance indicator is enhanced in comparison with a conventional putting trainer apparatus.

[0055] Also, a mode for each rolling resistance of greens different according to the length of the lawn grasses can be set. Thus, a putting distance depending upon each mode for the green rolling resistance can be confirmed via a digital distance indicator. Therefore, a golf player can learn a variety of putting senses.

[0056] Further, the present invention enables users to perform chip shot exercises even in an indoor narrow space, to thereby make the users learn accurate chip shot senses.

[0057] In addition, a digit indicator on a digital distance indicator for making users confirm a putting distance of a ball during a performing a putting, and a flying distance as well as a putting distance during performing a chip shot is located at the side of a ball start portion. Thus, movement of eyes of a player does not occur nearly, to thereby enable the player to perform a golf playing exercise so that a head-up can be prevented during taking a putting action.