Title:
Stance helper
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A training apparatus for teaching the striking of a ball with a tool having a planer mat, the planer surface having top surface and a bottom surface, the planer surface further having a front edge and a rear edge, the planer mat further having a mechanism for selective cooperative attachment affixed to the top surface; a pair of foot placement pads, respectively a left foot and a right foot, each foot pad having a top surface and a bottom surface, and having a mechanism for selective cooperative attachment formed on the respective bottom surface for selective attachment to the means for cooperative attachment of the planer mat; and an elongate pointer, the pointer having a top surface and a bottom surface, and further having a first end and a second end, the bottom surface of the elongate pointer, proximate the second end having a mechanism for cooperative attachment formed thereon, the means for cooperative attachment adapted for selective attachment to the means for cooperative attachment of the planer mat.



Inventors:
Halonen, Leslie (Loretto, MN, US)
Application Number:
10/136731
Publication Date:
10/31/2002
Filing Date:
04/30/2002
Assignee:
HALONEN LESLIE
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/36; (IPC1-7): A63B69/36
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LEGESSE, NINI F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Angenehm Law Firm, Ltd. (P.O. Box 48755, Coon Rapids, MN, 55448-0755, US)
Claims:

What is claimed:



1. A training apparatus for teaching the striking of a ball with a tool comprising: a. a planer mat, the planer surface having top surface and a bottom surface, the planer surface further having a front edge and a rear edge, the planer mat further having a means for selective cooperative attachment affixed to the top surface; b. a pair of foot placement pads, respectively a left foot and a right foot, each foot pad having a top surface and a bottom surface, and having a means for selective cooperative attachment formed on the respective bottom surface for selective attachment to the means for cooperative attachment of the planer mat; and c. an elongate pointer, the pointer having a top surface and a bottom surface, and further having a first end and a second end, the bottom surface of the elongate pointer, proximate the second end having a means for cooperative attachment formed thereon, the means for cooperative attachment adapted for selective attachment to the means for cooperative attachment of the planer mat.

2. The apparatus as described in claim 1 wherein the planer mat further comprises a pair of outwardly extending aiming aids, each of the aiming aids extending outwardly proximate the front edge of the mat.

3. planer mat is fabricated from a flexible material.

4. The apparatus as described in claim 2 wherein the flexible material of the planer mat is a synthetic rubber.

5. The apparatus as described in claim 1 wherein each foot placement pad is shaped to approximate a respective human foot.

6. The apparatus as described in claim 1 wherein the foot placement pads are constructed of a flexible material.

7. The apparatus as described in claim 6 wherein the flexible material of the foot placement pads is a synthetic rubber.

8. The apparatus as described in claim 1 wherein the one end of the pointer is formed to a point.

9. The apparatus as described in claim 1 wherein the one end of the pointer is formed to a golf ball shaped recess.

10. The apparatus as described in claim 1 wherein the pointer further comprises a tee hole formed in the pointer proximate one end of the pointer.

11. The apparatus as described in claim 1 wherein the cooperative attachment means is hook and loop fasteners.

12. The apparatus as described in claim 11 wherein the loop of the hook and loop fasteners is affixed to the mat and the hook of hook and loop fasteners is affixed to the foot placement pads and the pointer.

13. The apparatus as described in claim 1 wherein the cooperative attachment means is a releasable adhesive.

14. The apparatus as described in claim 1 wherein the cooperative attachment means further comprises a multiplicity of holes formed in the mat, and a multiplicity of matable holes formed in the foot placement pads and the pointer; and a plurality of selectively insertable pins for insertion in the matable holes.

15. The process of teaching a repeatable golf swing comprising the steps of: a. placing a planer mat at a selected location on a horizontal surface; b. aiming the mat toward a selected target area; c. selectively attaching a left foot pad and a right foot pad at selected locations on the planer mat to designate the location of each foot; d. selectively attaching the pointer to the planer mat, the distal end of the pointer designating the placement of a golf ball; and e. taking a stance and swinging to strike the golf ball.

16. The process as described in claim 15 comprising the further step of marking the location of the foot pads and the pointer on the mat.

17. The process as described in claim 15 comprising the further step of replacing the foot pads to a previously marked location on the mat.

Description:

[0001] This application has a priority based on a previously filed Provisional Application Serial No. 60/287,302 filed Apr. 30, 2001.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The invention herein relates to a golf training aid and more particularly to a golf training aid that assists a user select a stance when addressing the ball and reproducibly repeat the stance after striking the ball.

[0003] The sport of golf has recently achieved a revival in popularity. Many people are taking up or resuming their passion for the sport. The practice of the sport of golf by requires a certain amount of physical coordination, physical dexterity, and strength. More important than the pure physical requirements of golf is that the golfer have the ability to repeatedly strike the ball in a nearly identically manner many times.

[0004] In order to effectively strike the golf ball the golfer must repeatedly assume a proper stance to address the ball. Small changes in the golfer's stance can and often do produce large results in the resulting ball trajectory. The stance of the golfer at address is composed of foot placement and ball placement and club head path. The spacing of the golfer's feet, both, with respect to the other foot, and with respect to the ball will effect the path of the ball. Also, the placement of the ball, both the distance from a line connecting to toes of the golfers shoes, and where along that line the ball is placed effects the flight of the ball. For a golfer to effectively strike the ball, the golfer must be able to repeat the stance to reproduce the desired ball path. Frequently, the learning golfer has difficulty repeating the stance from the previous stroke. This is often manifest by a golfer hitting a “perfect” ball and after spending hours trying, cannot reproduce the “perfect” ball. If the golfer could replace his feet in the same spots, an replace the ball in the same place, he would have better chance of reproducing that “perfect” ball. To further add to the difficulties of golf, the proper stance to be taken will vary with the club selected. The proper stance to use with a lob wedge is quite different from the proper stance to use with a driver. Unfortunately, most golfers are unable to do so. Most average golfers do not have the time or proclivity to practice the hours necessary to be able to repeatedly assume the same stance when addressing the ball and are therefore visited by erratic ball flight.

[0005] One of the difficulties that all too often visits a beginning golfer is that the golfer is unable to repeat a stance, and is therefore unable to reproduce a desired ball path. Various methods an mechanisms have been tried to assist a golfer to learn to repeatedly take the same stance, however, none have been very successful.

[0006] What is needed is an apparatus that can be easily moved, stored, and set up that will assist a golfer to repeat a stance that results in “successful” ball flight for a particular club.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The invention disclosed herein is a training aid or stance helper that assists a golfer to repeatedly assume the same stance when addressing the ball so as to produce a more reproducible ball flight. The invention provides a method and apparatus to assist a person to repeatedly take the same stance when addressing a golf ball so that the person may develop a consistent stance to produce repeatable ball striking. The consistent stance will produce consistent ball striking and the consistent ball striking will produce a more predictable ball path on a selected golf shot.

[0008] The invention is a golf practice station consisting of a mat, a pair of foot shaped pads for attachment on the mat at selected locations, and a pointer also for attachment to the pad at a selected location. The foot pads designate the location of the user's feet and the pointer locates the golf ball. The use of the stance helper urges a user to place the feet in the same location with each stroke since the user will be placing his feet on the respective foot pads and the foot pads are attached to the mat. Similarly, the pointer locates the ball for the user in the same location every time.

[0009] When the stance helper is thus set up and used, the user is taking the same stance for each stroke of the golf club with the ball located at the same location, relative to the user. This removes several variables and a user to concentrate on just the swinging of the golf club.

[0010] When a golfer is not using the stance helper, the golfer must attempt to place his or her feet spaced the same distance apart, and pointed in the same direction each time the golfer takes a stance. Additionally, the golfer must place the ball at the same location, relative to the golfer, each time to repeat the stance and address of the ball. Only then can the golfer concentrate on his or her swing and attempt to repeat the previous swing.

[0011] While professional golfers have been sufficiently trained to be able to repeat a stance and a swing, there are simply too many variables for the average duffer. When the average golfer can repeat one part of the stance of the previous swing, they are doing well. The average golfer frequently thinks that they have reproduced the stance and they may have, but, the ball is inadvertently placed slightly differently and therefore the expected ball flight is not achieved.

[0012] With the use of the stance helper, has positive positioning elements to place his feet and positive positioning elements to place the ball. The use positive positioning elements almost force the user to repeat foot and ball placement leading to a much more reproducible ball flight.

[0013] When a golfer is using a stance helper and has found a suitable stance and ball position to produce an acceptable ball flight with a selected club, the golfer may mark on the mat of the stance helper the position of his feet and the pointer indicating the ball position so that should the golfer wish to repeat the exercise at a later date, the stance helper may be set up in an identical manner. The marker used to mark the foot pad and pointer locations may be a non-permanent marker in most instances, but, if the golfer wishes to permanently mark the positions, a permanent marker may be used.

[0014] It is an object of the present invention to provide a golf training aid that assists a user to take a reproducible stance when addressing a golf ball.

[0015] It is an object of the present invention to provide a golf training aid that is portable and durable.

[0016] It is an object of the present invention to provide a golf training aid that is selectably adjustable to the stance necessary for different golf clubs.

[0017] It is an object of the present invention to provide a golf training aid that is selectably adjustable to the stance of different golfers, from small children to large adults.

[0018] It is another object of the invention to provide a golf training aid that may be marked such that a golfer may replace the positioning parts and therefore repeat a previously taken stance.

[0019] It is a further object of the invention to provide a golf training aid that provides for positive adjustment of positioning elements.

[0020] The stance helper is an apparatus that can be easily moved, stored, and set up that will assist a golfer to repeat a stance that results in “successful” ball flight for a particular club.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0021] FIG. 1 is a plan overhead view of the stance helper as the stance helper is set up in a first embodiment.

[0022] FIG. 2 is a plan overhead view of the stance helper as the stance helper is set up in a second embodiment.

[0023] FIG. 3 is a plan overhead view of the stance helper with the respective parts separated for ease of viewing.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0024] As shown in the drawings, the stance helper 10 consists of a mat 12, a pointer 14 and a pair of foot shaped foot positioning pads 16, 18. The mat 12 may be an planer rectangle in shape. The mat 12 may have carrying handles 30 formed therein.

[0025] The mat 12 has front edge 20 and a rear edge 22. A pair of aligners 24 may extend outwardly from the front edge 20 of the mat 12. A front retaining strip 26 is affixed to the top of the mat and extends adjacently along the front edge 20. Similarly, a rear retaining strip 28 is affixed to the top of the mat and extends adjacently along the rear edge 22 of the mat 12.

[0026] The aligners 24 are shown as points extending lengthwise and outward from the front edge 22 of the mat 12. It is understood that the aligners 24 may be of another shape such as points, or notches, or any other suitable shape that assists a user to place the mat 12 pointed toward a targeted area.

[0027] The mat 12 may have carrying handles 30, the handles 30 are preferably a pair of oval openings formed near the ends of the mat 12. However, it is understood that carrying handles 30 may be of any other suitable shape, such as circular or rectangular or alternately, the carrying handles 30 may also be handles such as “D” rings attached to the mat 12 or other attachments so as to provide a handle to assist a user to carry the stance helper 10 to the location chosen for use.

[0028] The mat 12 is sized to have a length sufficient provide a comfortable stance for the tallest anticipated golfer and a width sufficient to allow the comfortable placement of the largest anticipated feet of a golfer. It may be advantageous to the provide the mat in multiple sizes to accommodate golfers of varying sizes, such as, an adult size and a child size.

[0029] The retaining strips 26, 28 are attached to the top surface of the mat 12 forming a first part of a cooperative attachment mechanism. The retaining strips 26, 28 provide for the selectable releasable attachment of the foot pads 16, 18 and the pointer 14 to the mat 12. The retaining strips 26, 28 may be any suitable material that allows the repeated placement and replacement of parts, such as the foot pads 16, 18 or the pointer 14.

[0030] The foot pads 16, 18 are pads shaped approximately in the shape of a foot. The left foot pad 16 approximates the shape of the golfer's left foot and the right foot pad 18 approximates the shape of the golfer' right foot. The foot pads 16, 18 further have retaining pads 17, 19 affixed to the lower surface of each foot pads 16, 18. The retaining pads 17, 19 are for selectable releasable attachment of the foot pads 16, 18 to the retaining strips 26, 28 of the mat 12. The retaining pads 17, 19 form a second part of a cooperative attachment mechanism.

[0031] The foot pads 16, 18 are sized to approximate the foot size of the intended golfer. The foot pads 16, 18 may custom sized for the intended user, that is, made in a small size when the intended golfer is a child, or otherwise has small feet, or the footpads may be made oversize when the intended golfer has large feet. It is preferred, however, that the foot pads 16, 18 be sized so as to facilitate the placement of the golfer's feet so that the golfer can easily replace the feet in the same location to achieve the benefits of the stance helper 10.

[0032] While the foot pads 16, 18 have been described for use with the feet of an able bodied golfer, it is understood that the actual shape of the foot pads 16, 18 may be varied to suit the individual golfer. The obvious variation in the size and shape of the foot pads 16, 18 to better fit the golfer has already been described above, and this is meant to be illustrative and limiting. The foot pads 16, 18 serve the purpose of locating the feet of the golfer, and therefore the body of the golfer in a repeatable location. Another example of a modification of the foot pads 16, 18 would be to replace the foot pads 16, 18 with narrow rectangular pads (not shown) that would be used by a handicapped golfer to locate a wheel chair with respect to the stance helper 10.

[0033] The pointer 14 is a narrow in width, elongate piece that has a first end 40 and a second end 42. A tee hole 44 may be included near the second end 42 of the pointer 14. A pointer retainer 46 is formed on or attached to the lower surface of the pointer 14. The pointer retainer 46 forms the second part of a cooperative attachment mechanism which allows the selective releasable attachment of the pointer 14 to the retainer strips 26, 28 of the mate 12.

[0034] The pointer 14 has a first end 40 and a second end 42. While the pointer 14 is shown in the figures having an arrow point formed on the first end 40 and an arrow tail formed on the second end 42, it is understood that the shape of the respective ends 40, 42 may be of different shapes. A respective end 40, 42 need only be formed to provide a mechanism that allows a golfer to place or tee a ball at a reproducible location. Examples of shapes that would allow the reproducible placement of a golf ball would include the first end 40 point, or the second end 42 indent as shown in the figures, or other shapes, such as golf ball shaped indent, or even simply a mark placed on an end 40, 42 of the pointer 14.

[0035] The pointer 14 may have a tee hole 44 located proximate the second end 42 of the pointer 14. The tee hole 44 is sized to accept a conventional plastic tee. The use of a plastic tee allows a golfer to tee a ball when practicing striking a teed ball.

[0036] The pointer 14 is sized to have a width sufficient to provide the necessary stiffness so that the pointer 14 may be replaced in a selected location and a length sufficient to provide for placement of a golf ball by a tall long armed golfer using a long golf club.

[0037] The retaining strips 26, 26 and the retaining pads 17, 19, and 46 may be any suitable mechanism that allows the selectable attachment and detachment of the respective parts. It is preferred that the mechanism is a form of hook and loop fasteners, commonly available under the trademark name of Velcro®. The preferred form is to place the loop part on the mat 12 and the hook part placed on the foot pads 16, 18 and the pointer 14.

[0038] It is understood that other fastening methods may be used. Examples of other selectable releasable attachment mechanisms would include releasable adhesives, and mechanical fasteners. Mechanical fasteners would include clamping type of fasteners that would hold the foot pads 16, 18 or the pointer 14 in place clamping to the mat 12 and holding in place with friction. Another type of mechanical fastener that may be used would be to provide a multiplicity of holes in both the mat 12 and the and the foot pads 16, 18 and the pointer 14 so that foot pads 16, 18 would be aligned in a selected location and pins placed through the aligned holes to retain the foot pads 16, 18 in the selected location with the pointer 14 being similarly retained.

[0039] The parts of the stance helper may be fabricated from any suitable material or from different materials. The mat 12 must be somewhat flexible yet retain its shape sufficiently so that so that it remains at the location of placement. The mat 12 must also contain or retain the retainer strips 26, 28 in a fixed location. Similarly, the foot pads 16,18 and pointer 14 must be somewhat flexible, yet resilient and tough to allow the golfer to stand on the foot pads 16,18 while wearing shoes and the pointer 14 must also be able to withstand being occasionally struck with a golf club.

[0040] It has been found that fabricating the stance helper 10 from a synthetic rubber is advantageous and provides the necessary properties for long life and use. Additionally, the construction of the stance helper 10 from synthetic rubber allows a golfer to mark the positions of both the foot pads 16,18 and the pointer 14 during use, and easily replace the foot pads 16,18 and the pointer 14 to the same location at a future time.

[0041] In its use, a golfer will move the stance helper 10 to a selected location, either indoors or outdoors. The golfer will then locate and selectively attach the foot pads 16, 18 on the mat 12 to a selected location for the stance that is intended to be practiced. The location of the foot pads 16, 18 on the mat 12 may be either an initial location or may be resetting the foot pads 16, 18 to a previously marked location.

[0042] Once the foot pads 16, 18 are located on the mat 12, the pointer 14 is located and selectively attached to the mat 12. The location of the pointer 14 on the mat 12 may be either an initial location or may be resetting the pointer 14 to a previously marked location.

[0043] With the stance helper 10 now set up for use, the golfer selects a golf ball and places the ball at the location as indicated by the pointer 14. Usually the location of the golf ball is indicated by the second end 42 of the pointer or is on a tee placed in the tee hole 44 of the pointer. However, the ball location may be indicated by the first end 40 of the pointer. The golfer now selects a golf club.

[0044] The golfer will take his stance by placing a left food on the left foot pad 16 and aligning the foot with the left foot pad 16. The right foot of the golfer is then placed on the right foot pad 18 and aligned. The golfer now has taken his stance and may address the previously placed ball by gripping the club and going through any pre-swing ritual the golfer has acquired.

[0045] The golfer initiates his swing and strikes the ball. The golfer may then observe the ball flight and learn from the ball flight. The golfer may now place another ball and retake his stance and repeat the swing to intending to reproduce the ball flight.

[0046] When an acceptable ball flight is obtained, the golfer may repeat his stance and swing by merely replacing his feet on the foot pads 16, 18 and placing another ball at the point indicated by the pointer 14 and repeating the swing. By repeating the stance and swing, the golfer teaches his body a proper stance to take and the golfer is more likely to be able to retake a like stance when actually on the course during a round of golf.

[0047] Certainly, too, a golfer may modify his stance so as to obtain an intended ball flight, but, with the stance helper 10, the golfer assisted to retake a previous stance so that the ball flight will become more consistent.

[0048] In an alternate method of use, the golfer will set up the mat 12 and foot pads 16, 18 as previously described, but, the pointer 14 will no longer be attached to the mat 12 to determine ball location. The pointer 14 will be placed a spaced distance from and parallel to the front edge 20 of the mat 12. A golf ball may then be placed on the pointer or preferably in a tee placed in the tee hole 44.

[0049] In this method of use, the pointer 14 is used to track the path of the head of the golf club. This assists the golfer to make a “square” swing and strike the ball properly.

[0050] Although the present invention has been described with reference to preferred embodiments, workers skilled in the art will recognize changes may be made in form and detail without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention