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Title:
Golf-swing training device
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A golf-swing training device consists of a base and a reference bar of variable effective length pivotably mounted thereon. The attitude of the bar defines a swing plane for reference by the golfer in controlling his swing, and the length of the bar is adjusted so as to position the contact element, at the upper end of the bar, for interception by the head of a club moving in the swing plane; the contact element is resiliently deflectable to automatically resume its normal coaxial position after being struck.


Inventors:
Molloy, Matthew (West End, NC, US)
Application Number:
10/411052
Publication Date:
10/02/2003
Filing Date:
04/10/2003
Assignee:
MOLLOY MATTHEW
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/36; (IPC1-7): A63B69/36
View Patent Images:
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Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Suite 200, Ira Dorman S. (330 Roberts Street, East Hartford, CT, 06108, US)
Claims:

Having thus described the invention, what is claimed is:



1. A golf-swing training device comprising: supporting means constructed to stably engage an underlying supporting surface; a reference bar having a lower end portion, and an upper end portion comprised of a resiliently deflectable contact component that automatically resumes a position from which it is deflected, the effective length of said reference bar being variable in the range of about 33 to 46 inches; and means for operatively attaching said lower end portion of said reference bar to said supporting means for angular displacement of said reference bar about at least one axis adjacent said supporting means, said means for attaching being constructed to enable secure positioning of said reference bar in each of a range of attitudes angularly displaced relative to a surface on which said supporting means is disposed; whereby the attitude of said reference bar can be adjusted to dispose said reference bar in each of a multiplicity of reference planes lying adjacent desirable swing paths for a variety of golf clubs, whereby the effective length of said reference bar can be adjusted to dispose said contact component in a selected position in the path of a golf club head moving in a said reference plane and swung by a trainee standing away from said device, and whereby said supporting means is resistant to inadvertent movement and said adjusted attitude of said reference bar is resistant to inadvertent displacement.

2. The device of claim 1 wherein said supporting means is a base.

3. The device of claim 1 wherein said reference bar is pivotably attached to said supporting means by said means for attaching.

4. The device of claim 1 wherein said reference bar comprises a plurality of telescopically interengaged sections.

5. The device of claim 1 wherein said contact component comprises a resilient cellular material.

6. The device of claim 1 wherein said contact component comprises a coil spring.

7. The device of claim 6 wherein said contact component includes a covering of resilient cellular material on said coil spring.

8. A golf-swing training method, including the steps: (a) providing a device comprising: supporting means constructed to stably engage an underlying supporting surface; a reference bar having a lower end portion, and an upper end portion comprised of a resiliently deflectable contact component that automatically resumes a position from which it is deflected, the effective length of said reference bar being variable in the range of about 33 to 46 inches; and means for operatively attaching said lower end portion of said reference bar to said supporting means for angular displacement of said reference bar about at least one axis adjacent said supporting means, said means for attaching being constructed to enable secure positioning of said reference bar in each of a range of attitudes angularly displaced relative to a surface on which said supporting means is disposed, whereby the attitude of said reference bar can be adjusted to dispose said reference bar in each of a multiplicity of reference planes lying adjacent desirable swing paths for a variety of golf clubs; (b) adjusting the attitude and length of said reference bar to substantially match the lie angle and length of a selected golf club disposed in proper ball-hitting position, said reference bar thereby defining the angular orientation of a reference plane; (c) positioning said device away from a trainee standing in position for hitting the ball forwardly, in said flight direction, using said selected club and with a swing that includes a rearward, backswing component and a forward, downswing component, the device being so positioned that the trainee's medial body plane is forward, in said flight direction, of said means for operatively attaching said lower end portion of said reference bar, and so that the trainee is facing a flight-direction plane in which the ball and said means for operatively attaching are disposed, said reference bar being so spaced from the trainee that said contact component of said upper end portion thereof would be contacted by the club head moving in said reference plane; and (d) the trainee undertaking to strike a ball by causing the selected golf club to follow a backswing path with the club head moving above said reference plane and with a downswing path having an intermediate portion in which the club head moves underneath said reference plane.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 09/768,566, filed Jan. 24, 2001 and now abandoned.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] In order to most effectively strike a golf ball, it is important that the club be so controlled as to follow proper paths on both the backswing and also the downswing. Such paths lie along an imaginary reference plane, referred to as a “swing plane,” which is disposed angularly with respect to the ground adjacent the ball, generally parallel to the intended line of flight. Specifically, during the backswing the club head should follow a path outwardly adjacent (i.e., above) the swing plane, relative to the golfer's position, and on the downswing it should follow a path lying generally inwardly of (i.e., beneath) the swing plane. Since keeping the club in a proper relationship to the swing plane is usually more difficult on the downswing (especially under full power) than on the backswing, correction in the downswing phase is generally the more needed and more beneficial aspect.

[0003] The hand motion of inadequately trained or amateur golfers typically describes a “loop” at the top of their backswings, which proceeds from behind the golfer's head and outwardly toward the ball on the downswing. By reversing the loop, the golfer's hands are caused to move in such a way as to produce a correct, more effective swing. In the past, teaching professionals have heretofore used the so-called “shaft-in-the-ground” method for curing such defects; that technique employs a headless club shaft inserted into the ground at an attitude suitable for defining a proper swing plane.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] It is a broad object of the present invention to provide a novel training device for achieving an improved golf swing.

[0005] It is a more specific object of the invention to provide such a device which is readily adjustable, to enable use by any golfer and for virtually any club, and which is so constructed as to minimize the risk of club damage and injury to the person.

[0006] It is also a broad object of the present invention to provide a novel golf-swing training method.

[0007] Certain of the foregoing and related objects of the invention are attained by the provision of a golf-swing training device comprising: surface-engaging supporting means, a variable effective length reference bar, and means for operatively attaching the lower end portion of the reference bar to the supporting means for angular displacement about at least one axis adjacent the supporting means. The means for attaching is constructed to enable secure positioning of the reference bar in each of a range of angular attitudes, taken respect to a surface on which the supporting means is disposed; i.e., it can be adjusted to dispose the bar in each of a multiplicity of reference planes lying adjacent desirable swing paths for a variety of golf clubs. The effective length of the reference bar can be adjusted to position its upper end portion in the path of the head of a golf club moving in the reference plane.

[0008] The upper end portion of the reference bar comprises a resiliently deflectable “breakaway” contact component made, for example, of a resilient cellular material or a coil spring, and most desirably it will comprise a coil spring covered by such a resilient material in the form of a sleeve or the like. The supporting means will usually take the form of a base constructed to rest stably on the ground, and the reference bar will usually be pivotably mounted thereon. The effective length of the reference bar will typically be variable in the range of about 33 to 46 inches, and it will advantageously comprise a plurality of telescopically interengaged sections.

[0009] Other objects of the invention are attained by the provision of a golf-swing training method utilizing the device described herein. In carrying out the method, the attitude and length of the reference bar are initially adjusted to match substantially the lie angle and length of a selected golf club disposed in proper ball-hitting position. The trainee assumes a position such that the training device is spaced away from the front but then offset laterally to his backswing side (i.e, alongside and rearwardly, relative to his body, along the intended flight path of the ball), and such that: (1) in the address position the shaft of the selected golf club lies substantially in the reference plane defined, (2) the upper end portion of the reference bar is disposed for contact by the club head moving in the reference plane, and (3) the ball location lies substantially in the reference plane. The trainee then undertakes to strike a ball by causing the golf club to follow a backswing path lying outwardly adjacent (above) the reference plane, relative to his own position, and a downswing path having an intermediate portion lying inwardly adjacent (beneath) the reference plane.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] FIG. 1 is a plan view of a golf-swing training device embodying the present invention, depicted in its fully folded and collapsed configuration;

[0011] FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the device of the invention showing the reference bar, or rod, elevated to a selected attitude;

[0012] FIG. 3 is a plan view of the device additionally showing the crosspiece of the base pivoted to its functional position for stably supporting the device on an underlying surface;

[0013] FIGS. 4 through 7 illustrate a set-up procedure employed in preparation for use of the device, FIG. 4 being a front elevational view with the golfer in a simulated address position, FIG. 5 being an overhead view with the golfer standing in a position laterally offset from the device in the forward, ball-flight direction, and FIGS. 6 and 7 being overhead and side elevational views of the golfer addressing a golf ball;

[0014] FIGS. 8 and 9 are side and front elevational views, respectively, showing the golfer at a point about midway through a backswing of the club.

[0015] FIGS. 10 and 11 are side and front elevational views, respectively, of the golfer at a point about midway through his downswing;

[0016] FIGS. 12A and 12B depict a golfer producing an incorrect swing in reference to a swing plane, and FIGS. 12C and 12D show him producing a correct swing;

[0017] FIG. 13 is a fragmentary elevational view, drawn to an enlarged scale, showing details of the construction of the contact component constituting the upper end portion of the reference bar; and

[0018] FIG. 14 is a front elevational view showing deflection that occurs in the upper portion of the reference bar upon club-head impact.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED AND ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENTS

[0019] Turning in detail to FIGS. 1 through 3 of the drawings initially, therein illustrated is a basic form of golf-swing training device embodying the present invention and including a base, generally designated by the numeral 10, which consists of a beam 12 and a crosspiece 14. The crosspiece 14 is pivotably attached to the beam 12 by a nut and bolt fastener 16, and it is received (in its folded, stored position) within an indentation 13 formed along the underside of the beam 12.

[0020] A reference bar, or rod, generally designated by the numeral 18, comprises three telescopically interengaged sections 20, 22 and 24 (typically made of tubular aluminum), and a coil spring 26 coaxially mounted on the end of the upper section 24. As is best seen in FIG. 13, the spring 26 is engaged upon one end of a short steel rod 27, the other end of which is affixed within the end of the upper tubular section 24. The spring 26 and rod 27 (and the adjacent end portion of the section 24) are encased within a covering 28 of resilient cushioning material (such as, for example, of polyurethane foam, which is partially cut away in the figure to show the spring and rod) molded thereupon, which in turn is enclosed within a protective fabric sleeve 29 (such as, for example, of ballistic nylon material, which is also partially cut away), held in place by a Velcro fastening strap 31. The covered spring thus provides a resiliently deflectable “breakaway” contact component constituting the upper end portion of the reference bar 18, and the fabric sleeve 29 protects the foam covering 28 against cutting, tearing and other damage caused by club impact. As will be appreciated, the sections 20, 22, 24 comprising the bar 18 are dimensioned and configured to frictionally engage one another and thereby to maintain their relative positions of extension; a locking feature (not illustrated), such as may be actuated by rotating the top section of the bar about its axis, can be incorporated if so desired to better secure the sections in their mutually extended positions. As will also be appreciated, and as is indicated in later figures, the reference bar may suitably comprise only two telescoped sections.

[0021] The lower end of the bar 18 is attached to the beam 12 by a mounting fixture, generally designated by the numeral 31, consisting of a head 30 in which the lower end portion of the section 20 of the bar 18 is received. The head 30 is journalled in a U-shaped bracket 32, and is pivotably mounted upon a bolt 36 that extends between the upstanding ear portions of the bracket 32 and through a transverse passage in the head 30. Washers 38, made of rubber or other similar material, are interposed at the opposite sides of the head 30 against the ear portions of the bracket 32, and serve to increase friction for maintaining the head 30 in any selected position; needless to say, the nut on the end of the bolt 36 (or a tension-control knob) can be tightened as necessary to positively secure the attitude of the reference bar 18 against inadvertent displacement.

[0022] FIGS. 4 through 12 of the drawings depict the device in use. Initially, the cross-piece 14 is rotated to a position perpendicular to the beam 12 so as to configure the base 10 for stable support on an underlying surface (the ground, the floor, a platform, etc.). It should be appreciated that stable support of the device is essential for effective use so as to prevent rocking, tipping or other movement that would change the attitude of the reference bar 18 relative to the underlying surface, and thus of the defined swing plane (as will be discussed more fully below).

[0023] Using a selected club “C”, the golfer assumes a preliminary, simulated address position facing the device, and adjusts the extension and attitude of the bar 18 so as to substantially match the length and lie angle of the club; the adjusted bar 18 should match the normal set-up position of the club as closely as possible. These steps are indicated in FIG. 4, wherein the golfer is holding the club with one hand, with the blade resting on the ground, while adjusting (as necessary) the attitude and length of bar with the other hand. It will also be noted that, in the embodiment of the device depicted in FIG. 4, bold arrow symbols 15 are applied to the crosspiece 14, and a locating string or tape 17 is attached to the beam 12; a tightening knob 19 is also shown on the end of the bolt 36, that extends through bracket 32, and serves to facilitate adjustment of the force with which the bar 18 is affixed at its selected attitude.

[0024] As depicted in FIG. 5, the golfer then moves laterally (e.g., by sidestepping in the forward, ball-flight direction) an appropriate distance away from the device (typically, two feet or so), as established by bringing the ferrule 21 of the club head into general alignment with the upper end portion (contact component 26/28) of the reference bar 18, with the club held waist high in a generally horizontal position parallel to the target line (intended ball-flight path), as indicated by the tape or string 17. A proper relationship (as shown, for example, in FIGS. 5, 8, 9, 10, and 12) is one in which the contact portion of the reference bar presents an obstacle that is to be avoided during the backswing and the downswing of the stroke. (If the bar 18 intersects the club at a point between the ferrule 21 and the handle of the club, the golfer is standing too close, in a lateral sense; if the head is not in position to touch the bar, he is standing too far away).

[0025] As can be also seen in FIG. 5, the posterior/anterior medial plane “M” of the golfer's body is forwardly (in the flight path direction) of the mounting fixture 31 and, as seen in FIGS. 6-8, for example, the fixture 31 is in a plane spaced in front of the golfer's foot position. The longitudinal axis of the crosspiece 14 may be used as a reference for parallel alignment of the shaft (particularly when the club is held horizontal), and to facilitate positioning of the ball in the reference plane; the bold arrow indicia 15 thereon emphasize those functions. The locating tape or string 17, attached to the beam 12, enables ready replication of a proper distance between the ball location and the training device, once determined. The relationships that should exist between the device, the golfer, and the ball, at set-up, are depicted in FIGS. 6 and 7.

[0026] As indicated above, the golfer's objective in utilizing the training device is to control his swing so that the club head follows a path lying just outside (i.e., above) the plane “P” (shown in FIGS. 12, and defined by the bar 18) on the take-away and backswing (as depicted in FIGS. 8 and 9, and by the arrows in FIGS. 8 and 12C), and so that, on the downswing, the path has an intermediate portion which lies just inside (i.e., underneath) the plane “P” (as depicted in FIGS. 10 and 11, and by the arrows in FIGS. 10 and 12D). These swing paths can be compared to the corresponding incorrect backswing and downswing paths depicted in FIGS. 12A and 12B, respectively.

[0027] Forcing the golfer to take the club on a more outside or straight-back path on the take-away, and to return it on an inside path partially beneath the plane of the reference bar, promotes the desired inside-out swing. This reverses the direction of a faulty hand loop, and causes the club to stay on the target line longer, both before and after ball impact. Although the golfer would of course ultimately endeavor to hit the ball using a full-speed swing, in the course of training he would normally begin slowly (e.g., at 20 percent of his natural swing speed) and progressively increase velocity as a properly grooved swing is developed.

[0028] The deflectable “break-away” component 26/28 will generally be about 12 to 24 inches long (18 inches being perhaps optimal); it is cushioned to avoid damage to the club as well as injury to the golfer's hands and, as indicated above, the foam element is in turn advantageously protected against cuts and excessive impact damage by fabric sleeve 29. It will be appreciated that the component 26/28 allows the upper end portion of the bar 18 to be deflected (as depicted in FIG. 14) when it is hit by the club (as will invariably occur during practice), and to thereafter (as depicted in all other figures in which the device is shown) resume its coaxial position automatically. As mentioned above, this is an essential function of the device because impact upon the contact component, and hence its deflection, will often occur on the backswing, and the contact component must therefore automatically spring back or otherwise return to its original position for defining the swing plane reference on the downswing, where a need for correction is often most prevalent. Needless to say, moreover, if impact causes the reference bar 18 itself to assume (and maintain) an attitude different from that at which was initially set, the primary purpose and function of the device would be frustrated; not only must the bar be adjustably affixed on the base against inadvertent displacement, therefore, but the base itself must of course be stably positioned on the supporting surface.

[0029] It is self-evident that the device can be used irrespective of whether a golfer is right-handed or left-handed, and in any indoor or outdoor environment in which the game is played or practiced (the base will desirably be about one inch high so as to approximate the thickness of a typical driving range mat). While being intended primarily for use in correcting the over-the-top loop defect described, the device can be employed for remedying other flaws as well. For example, a tendency toward an excessively outside backswing can be corrected by so orienting the reference bar as to define a plane that lies slightly above the shaft angle at address, thereby promoting a stroke that is comprised of path components lying beneath the bar on both the take-away and also on the downswing. Additional purposes for which the device can be used include the teaching of basic hand control, and the correction of a tendency to lift the club outside on the take-away motion; the device can also be employed by offsetting from the golfer forwardly along the flight path, so as to demonstrate factors that contribute to a proper follow-through.

[0030] Many variations can of course be made in the device described without departing from the concepts of the present invention. For example, rather than employing a simple, rectilinear pole attached directly to a base, a more complex reference bar, articulated other than by direct pivotal mounting, might be provided. Furthermore, a driven stake, rather than a base designed for resting on the ground, might serve as the means for supporting the reference bar.

[0031] Thus, it can be seen that the present invention provides a novel training device for achieving an improved golf swing. The device is readily adjustable to enable use by any golfer for virtually any club, and it is constructed to minimize the risk of club damage and injury to the person. The invention also provides a novel golf-swing training method.