Title:
Golf assessment and improvement system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method and system for remotely assessing the physical fitness of a golfer is disclosed. Preferably, a golfer performs one or more fitness tests to determine his/her physical fitness level. Based on the golfer's performance of each of the one or more fitness tests, a workout regimen may be generated to assist the golfer in improving his/her performance of the one or more fitness tests, as well as his/her golfing performance. It is desirable for the method and system to be remotely accessible using a webpage accessible via a data network. In this manner, a plurality of golfers may have a customized workout regimen designed for them without the expense typically associated with such services.



Inventors:
Ladd, Christopher S. (Mattapoisett, MA, US)
Rose, Gregory Alan (Carlsbad, CA, US)
Phillips, David Davis (Olivenhain, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/228349
Publication Date:
03/22/2007
Filing Date:
09/19/2005
Assignee:
Acushnet Company
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/36
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
PAGE, EVAN RANDALL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SMITH, GAMBRELL & RUSSELL (1055 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW Suite 400, WASHINGTON, DC, 20007, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A golf assessment and improvement method, comprising: providing a computing device accessible via a data network, wherein the computing device includes a processor and a memory; providing a plurality of input information about a golfer to the computing device via the data network, wherein the input information includes at least one of a golfer's personal information and a golfer's physical fitness assessment; and generating a workout regimen based on the input information, wherein the workout regimen includes at least one of cardiovascular exercises and muscle strengthening exercises.

2. The method according to claim 1, wherein the providing the golfer's physical fitness assessment comprises: directing a golfer to perform one or more fitness tests; directing a golfer to assess their performance of the one or more fitness tests based on predetermined criteria; and generating a first golf fitness handicap based on the golfer's assessment of their performance.

3. The method according to claim 1, wherein the generating comprises: generating a workout regimen for a predetermined evaluation period; directing a golfer to perform one or more fitness tests after the evaluation period is over; directing a golfer to assess their performance of the one or more fitness tests based on predetermined criteria; generating a second golf fitness handicap based on the golfer's assessment of their performance; and generating a second workout regimen based on the second golf fitness handicap, wherein the second workout regimen in generated for a predetermined period of time.

4. The method according to claim 1, further comprising: recording information about the workout regimen; and storing the information in a database operatively connected to the computing device.

5. The method according to claim 1, wherein the workout regimen includes at least one of cardiovascular exercises, weight-lifting exercises, stretching exercises, Pilates, meditation, and yoga.

6. The method according to claim 2, wherein the workout regimen is based on the first golf fitness handicap.

7. The method according to claim 2, wherein the fitness tests include at least one of a toe touch test, a deep squat test, a seated trunk rotation test, a hip rotation test, a single leg balance test, a pelvic tilt test, a single leg bridge test, a side bridge test, a supine latissimus dorsi test, a reach, roll, lift test, a open book test, and a shoulder rotation 90/90 test.

8. The method according to claim 2, wherein the directing a golfer to perform one or more fitness tests includes providing at least one of a video demonstration, audio instructions, and written instructions describing how to perform each of the one or more fitness tests.

9. A golf assessment and improvement system, comprising: a server accessible via a data network; a memory operatively connectable to the server and having a computer program stored thereon, wherein the memory is capable of storing a plurality of input information provided by a golfer, and wherein the plurality of input information is provided to the memory via the data network; and a processor operatively connected to the server, wherein the processor executes computer program instructions included in the computer program, and wherein the computer program generates a workout regimen based on the plurality of input information.

10. The golf assessment and improvement system according to claim 9, wherein the plurality of input information comprises at least one of a plurality of personal information and a physical fitness assessment.

11. The golf assessment and improvement system according to claim 9, wherein the data network comprises at least one of a local area network, wide area network, a private local area network, and a private wide area network.

12. The golf assessment and improvement system according to claim 9, wherein the processor comprises one of a microprocessor, minicomputer, and mainframe computer processor.

13. The golf assessment and improvement system according to claim 9, wherein the golfer is located in a remote location from the server.

14. The golf assessment and improvement system according to claim 9, wherein the plurality of input information is provided to the memory using a webpage accessible via the data network, and wherein the using the webpage includes authenticating the identity of the golfer.

15. A sports assessment and improvement system, comprising: a server including a processor and a memory, wherein: the server is accessible via a data network; and the memory includes a computer program comprising computer program instructions; and a remotely located computing device capable of accessing the server via the data network, wherein an athlete provides a plurality of input information to the server using the remotely located computing device; wherein the processor is operatively connected to the memory to execute the computer program instructions in order to generate a workout regimen based on the plurality of input information.

16. The sports assessment and improvement system according to claim 15, wherein the workout regimen includes a plurality of exercises, and wherein the workout regimen is accessible by the remotely located computing device.

17. The golf assessment and improvement system according to claim 16, wherein the athlete can store performance information regarding the plurality of exercises on the server.

18. The golf assessment and improvement system according to claim 16, wherein the processor is capable of generating individual workout regimens for two or more athletes, and wherein performance information regarding the two or more athletes regarding the plurality of exercises may be analyzed individually to determine a more effective workout regimen for each of the athletes.

19. The golf assessment and improvement system according to claim 15, wherein the remotely located computing device includes one or more video cameras.

20. The golf assessment and improvement system according to claim 15, wherein the workout regimen includes at least one of a video demonstration, audio instructions, and written instructions of one or more exercises.

21. The golf assessment and improvement system according to claim 15, wherein the remotely located computing device comprises a wireless computing device.

22. An interactive method of performing a sports assessment and improvement plan, comprising: using an interactive process to evaluate an athlete's physical attributes that are related to a particular sport, including acquiring a plurality of input information from fitness tests; and generating a workout regimen based on the plurality of input information, wherein the workout regimen is directed to improving the athlete's physical attributes.

23. The interactive method of performing a sports assessment and improvement plan according to claim 22, wherein the fitness tests include one or more of a toe touch test, a deep squat test, a seated trunk rotation test, a hip rotation test, a single leg balance test, a pelvic tilt test, a single leg bridge test, a side bridge test, a supine latissimus dorsi test, a reach, roll, lift test, a open book test, and a shoulder rotation 90/90 test.

24. The interactive method of performing a sports assessment and improvement plan according to claim 22, wherein the workout regimen includes at least one of cardiovascular exercises, muscle strengthening exercises, yoga, Pilates, stretching, and meditation.

25. The interactive method of performing a sports assessment and improvement plan according to claim 22, wherein the using comprises: remotely accessing a server via a data network; and providing the plurality of input information to the server.

26. The interactive method of performing a sports assessment and improvement plan according to claim 22, wherein the sport comprises at least one of baseball, hockey, basketball, football, tennis, soccer, swimming, track and field, boxing, skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, and field hockey.

27. The interactive method of performing a sports assessment and improvement plan according to claim 25, wherein the remotely accessing comprises accessing the data network using a wireless computing device.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a method and system for determining an athlete's fitness level or ability. More specifically, the present invention relates to method and system that generates a custom workout/exercise regimen based on an individual athlete's fitness level or ability.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Avid golf fans that watch television coverage of golf tournaments often hear announcers talking about a particular professional golfer's workout regimen. Indeed, many of the top professionals such as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Vijay Singh have workout regimens designed specifically to enhance their strengths and to minimize their weaknesses. Because amateur golfers often desire the benefit of the tools available to the professionals, the demand for these services has increased due to the growing popularity of the sport.

However, services such as these are often provided by golf companies, possibly in combination with professional physical fitness trainers. Though the services may vary considerably, a golfer typically goes to a facility designated by a golf company, where his physical fitness is assessed. This may involve determining the golfer's strength, flexibility, and stamina. Once the golfer's physical fitness has been assessed, a workout regimen may be designed to allow the golfer to improve their strength, flexibility, and stamina, with the goal of improving their golf game.

Of course, custom services such as these are expensive, and therefore out of reach to all but professionals and a few wealthy amateur golfers. In particular, these services often require a golfer to travel to a golf company's facility to have his/her fitness evaluated. Thus, the traveling and time required are often prohibitive. Therefore, a continuing need exists for a method and system for generating a workout regimen according to an individual golfer's physical fitness level. Moreover, a continuing need also exists for a method and system that are able to generate a customized workout regimen in an affordable manner without sacrificing the quality of the assessment and workout regimen. Furthermore, a continuing need exists for a system that is capable of generating the customized workout for a plurality of golfers without requiring travel and while minimizing the expenses to a golfer.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

While applying to virtually every sport, the invention will typically be discussed herein with regard to golf. According to one aspect, the present invention comprises a sports assessment and improvement method. The method includes providing a computing device accessible via a data network. The computing device preferably includes a processor and a memory. In addition, a plurality of input information about a golfer may be provided to the computing device via the data network. The input information may include at least one of a golfer's personal information and a golfer's physical fitness assessment. Finally, a workout regimen based on the input information may be generated. It is desirable for the workout regimen to include at least one of cardiovascular exercises and muscle strengthening exercises.

In one embodiment, providing the golfer's physical fitness assessment includes directing a golfer to perform one or more fitness tests, and then having the golfer assess his/her performance of the one or more fitness tests based on predetermined criteria. Then, a first golf fitness handicap may be generated based on the golfer's assessment of their performance. The workout regimen is preferably based on the golf fitness handicap.

In this embodiment, a workout regimen may be generated for a predetermined evaluation period. A golfer may then perform one or more fitness tests after the evaluation period is over, and assess his/her performance based on predetermined criteria. A second golf fitness handicap based on the golfer's assessment of his/her performance may then be generated. Then, a second workout regimen based on the second golf fitness handicap may be generated for a predetermined period of time. A golfer may optionally record information about his/her workout regimen, such as the number of repetitions, the weight lifted, and the like. This information may be stored in a database operatively connected to the computing device.

The fitness tests that a golfer performs may include at least one of a toe touch test, a deep squat test, a seated trunk rotation test, a hip rotation test, a single leg balance test, a pelvic tilt test, a single leg bridge test, a side bridge test, a supine latissimus dorsi test, a reach, roll, lift test, an open book test, and a shoulder rotation 90/90 test. In one embodiment, a video demonstration, audio instructions, and/or written instructions describing how to perform each of the fitness tests may be included. The workout that is generated may include any type of exercise known to those skilled in the art, such as cardiovascular exercises, muscle strengthening exercises, stretching exercises, Pilates, meditation, and yoga.

According to another aspect of the present invention, a golf assessment and improvement system is provided. The system includes a server accessible via a data network. Also included is a memory that is operatively connectable to the server. The memory preferably has a computer program stored thereon, and it is also capable of storing a plurality of input information that is provided by a golfer. The plurality of input information may be provided to the memory using a webpage accessible via the data network. The webpage may optionally require the identity of the golfer to be authenticated.

Further, a processor that is also operatively connected to the server may be included. It is desirable for the processor to execute computer program instructions included in the computer program so that a workout regimen based on the plurality of input information may be generated. In one embodiment, the plurality of input information comprises at least one of a plurality of personal information and a physical fitness assessment.

It is desirable for the data network to comprise at least one of a local area network, wide area network, a private local area network, and a private wide area network. Moreover, the processor preferably comprises one of a microprocessor, minicomputer, and mainframe computer processor. It is possible for the golfer to be located in a remote location from the server. For instance, a server could be located at a golf company's testing facility while the golfer may be located at his/her home.

A sports assessment and improvement system that includes a server may be included according to yet another aspect of the present invention. Accordingly, the server includes a processor and a memory. The memory preferably includes a computer program comprising computer program instructions, and the server may be accessible via a data network. Additionally, a remotely located computing device capable of accessing the data network via a webpage may be included. Optionally, one or more video cameras may be used with the computing device. An athlete preferably provides a plurality of input information to the server using the remotely located computing device. In one embodiment, the processor is operatively connected to the memory to execute the computer program instructions in order to generate a workout regimen based on the plurality of input information.

In one embodiment, the athlete can access the workout regimen, which includes a plurality of exercises, using the remotely located computing device. Once the workout regimen has been accessed, the athlete may perform the exercises according to a video demonstration, audio instructions, and/or written instructions. Information regarding the athlete's performance of the exercises may then be stored on the server. In this embodiment, a plurality of athletes may access the server to generate their own workout regimens. After each of the athletes stores information regarding his/her workout on the server, the information may be analyzed to determine, for example, which exercises are most effective and/or beneficial. Using this analysis, a more effective workout regimen may be designed.

According to another aspect, the present invention comprises an interactive method of performing a sports assessment and improvement plan. The method includes using an interactive process to evaluate an athlete's physical attributes that are related to a particular sport, including acquiring a plurality of input information from fitness tests. Additionally, the method includes generating a workout regimen based on the plurality of input information. The workout regimen is preferably directed to improving the athlete's physical attributes.

In one embodiment, the interactive process includes remotely accessing a server via a data network and then providing the plurality of input information to the server. The remote access may be accomplished by using a wireless computing device. The workout regimen that is generated may include at least one of cardiovascular exercises, muscle strengthening exercises, yoga, Pilates, stretching, and meditation. According to this aspect, the present invention may be used with any sport, such as baseball, hockey, basketball, football, tennis, soccer, swimming, track and field, boxing, skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, and field hockey.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Further features and advantages of the invention can be ascertained from the following detailed description that is provided in connection with the drawings described below:

FIG. 1 shows an overview of an exemplary system according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a flow chart showing exemplary steps according to one embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 3 is a flow chart showing exemplary steps according to another embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Other than in the operating examples, or unless otherwise expressly specified, all of the numerical ranges, amounts, values and percentages such as those for number of exercises, physical characteristics, inputs, and others in the following portion of the specification may be read as if prefaced by the word “about” even though the term “about” may not expressly appear with the value, amount, or range. Accordingly, unless indicated to the contrary, the numerical parameters set forth in the following specification and attached claims are approximations that may vary depending upon the desired properties sought to be obtained by the present invention. At the very least, and not as an attempt to limit the application of the doctrine of equivalents to the scope of the claims, each numerical parameter should at least be construed in light of the number of reported significant digits and by applying ordinary rounding techniques.

Notwithstanding that the numerical ranges and parameters setting forth the broad scope of the invention are approximations, the numerical values set forth in the specific examples are reported as precisely as possible. Any numerical value, however, inherently contains certain errors necessarily resulting from the standard deviation found in their respective testing measurements. Furthermore, when numerical ranges of varying scope are set forth herein, it is contemplated that any combination of these values inclusive of the recited values may be used.

Implementation

As mentioned above, athletes such as amateur golfers and professional golfers can benefit from physical fitness tests and customized workouts. To maximize the availability of such services, it is desirable to provide the ability to access these services from many different locations. Accordingly, the present invention preferably uses a media device that is capable of being accessed by a plurality of people located in a plurality of locations. The present invention also relates to a method and computer program product for allowing an athlete, e.g., a golfer, to perform a variety of tests that indicate that athlete's level of physical fitness. A customized workout routine, specific to that athlete, is preferably designed based on the physical fitness assessment. Preferably, a golfer is able to track his/her progress, over time, as he/she performs the workout regimen. It may be desirable for the workout regimen to be automatically changed after a predetermined period of time based on, for example, successfully or unsuccessfully reaching desired fitness objectives. Varying the exercises included in the workout regimen also beneficially conditions the athlete's muscles from a plurality of angles and keeps the workouts interesting and challenging.

In one embodiment, the method and system of the present invention may be implemented using one or more computing devices. The computing device may be a programmed, general-purpose computer system, such as a personal computer, workstation, server, and/or minicomputer or mainframe computer. In addition, the computing device may include a handheld wireless computing device, e.g., a Blackberry, personal digital assistant (PDA), or any other handheld computing device known to those skilled in the art. Preferably, the handheld wireless computing device is capable of wirelessly accessing and communicating with a data network.

The computing device preferably includes a processor (CPU), input/output circuitry, a network adapter, display, and a memory. The processor preferably executes computer program instructions in order to carry out desired functions in accordance with the present invention. Typically, the processor comprises a microprocessor, such as an INTEL PENTIUM® processor, but may also comprise a minicomputer or mainframe computer processor. The input/output circuitry provides the capability to input data to, or output data from, the computing device. For example, the input/output circuitry may include input devices, such as keyboards, a mouse, touch pads, trackballs, scanners, cameras, video cameras, and the like. Output devices may include video adapters, monitors, and printers. Input/output devices, e.g., modems, may also be included. The network adapter preferably interfaces the computing device with a data network. The data network may be any standard local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), e.g., Ethernet, Token Ring, or the Internet, or a private or proprietary LAN/WAN.

FIG. 1 shows an overview of an exemplary system according to one embodiment of the present invention. According to this embodiment, a remotely located golfer is able to use his/her computing device 10, e.g., a personal computer, to access another computing device 12, e.g., a server including a processor and a memory, via a data network 14. The memory preferably includes a computer program that comprises computer program instructions. In this embodiment, a golfer preferably accesses the server using a website, e.g., via the World Wide Web. However, any method or apparatus known to those skilled in the art may be used to establish a connection between the computing devices 10 and 12. After gaining access to the server, the golfer enters his/her input information (described below) into appropriate fields on the website. The input information may then be transmitted to the server, where the processor executes the computer program instructions. Preferably, the computer program generates a workout regimen based on the input information provided by the golfer. In this manner, a plurality of workout regimens may be generated for a plurality of remotely located golfers.

In one embodiment, the website may require a golfer to authenticate his/her credentials, e.g., to enter a usemame and password, to verify the golfer's identity. This may be desirable, for example, to allow a golfer to store his/her physical fitness assessment and modify his/her preferences, or to allow a golf company to allow for billing and payment via the data network. In one embodiment, for example, authenticating his/her credentials allows the golfer access to a personalized webpage.

The present invention is not intended to be limited to any particular implementation, such as the computing device accessible via a data network described above. Those skilled in the art will recognize that the present invention is capable of implementation using a plurality of methods, apparatus, and/or systems, the entirety of which may be used in combination with the present invention, as described herein. For example, in another embodiment the present invention may comprise a computer program that may be stored in a computer program product e.g., a magnetic tape, Random Access Memory (RAM), Read Only Memory (ROM), optical disk, or other type of memory known to those skilled in the art. A golfer may obtain the computer program product and run the program using a computing device, such as a personal computer.

The Input Information

According to one aspect of the present invention, a golfer is required to provide input information. One example of input information that is desirable is a golfer's personal information, which may be used to generate his/her profile. If the present invention is implemented using a webpage accessible via a data network, the personal information may be typed into a window on the webpage manually by a golfer, or alternately a golfer may choose from a plurality of options that are provided via, e.g., a drop-down menu, a “clickable” link, or a selectable button on a webpage.

With reference to FIG. 2, exemplary steps according to one embodiment of the present invention are now described. In this embodiment, the golfer may be prompted to provide a plurality of personal information to generate a profile. This information may include the golfer's age, height, weight, gender, golf handicap, and the like. Optionally, the profile may include other personal questions, such as how long the golfer has been exercising, any injuries they may have sustained in the past, and the like. Skilled artisans will recognize that a plurality of other physical characteristics may be included in the profile as desired. In addition, the present invention may accommodate other input information that may be helpful in generating a customized workout. These inputs may include, for example, days of the week that are more convenient to workout and the fitness equipment to which the golfer has access.

In addition to their personal information, it is desirable to have other information about the golfer. In one embodiment, this additional input information is determined by assessing the physical fitness level of the golfer. In order to determine a golfer's physical fitness level, he/she is directed to perform one or more fitness tests. After performing each test, the golfer is required to provide qualitative or quantitative answers to questions regarding his/her performance of those tests, e.g., the number of repetitions performed, the amount of weight lifted, or yes/no answers. In a similar manner to the entering of profile information described above, the answers to these questions may be typed manually into a window on a webpage, or a golfer may choose from among a plurality of answers that are present in, for example, a drop-down menu.

In one embodiment, a wireless computing device may be used to receive instructions on how to perform each fitness test, provide information regarding a golfer's performance of each fitness test, and/or gain access to an administrator who can answer questions that he/she may have, e.g., via email, phone, chat room, or the like. One advantage of using such a wireless device is that the golfer does not have to write the results of their performance, e.g., on a piece of paper, and then enter his/her results at a later time, e.g., when they have access to a fixed computing device such as a desktop computer. In addition, a golfer may see a video demonstration, or written instructions, on how to perform a particular exercise using the wireless computing device. This provides the advantage of allowing a golfer to view a demonstration during their workout. The golfer may then transmit any desired information via a data network during his/her performance of the fitness tests.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the fitness tests that a golfer may be requested to perform may include, but are not limited to: a toe touch; deep squat; seated trunk rotation; hip rotation while lying on your back; single leg balance test; pelvic tilt test; single leg bridge test; side bridge test; supine latissimus dorsi test; a reach, roll, lift test; an open book test; and a shoulder rotation 90/90 test. Skilled artisans will recognize that a plurality of other tests may be used to evaluate the physical fitness of a golfer or other athlete. Accordingly, the examples listed above only represent a few of the plurality of possible tests, and are not intended to limit the present invention. In one embodiment, the tests may be performed using equipment that may be purchased at a retail store. In such an embodiment, it may be necessary for the golfer to purchase such equipment before performing the various tests. Alternately, a golfer may receive a prepackaged set of equipment from a golf manufacturer that allows them to perform the required tests.

The number of exercises used to evaluate a golfer may vary based on a plurality of factors. For example, it may be desirable to use fewer tests when time, or the exercise equipment available, is limited. When time or equipment are not limited, it may be desirable to use a greater number of tests to increase the accuracy of the fitness evaluation. Alternately, it may be preferable to use a smaller number of tests based on a golfer's preferences. For instance, if a golfer is only interested in evaluating a particular part of their body, fewer tests may be required. Conversely, if a golfer is interested in a full body evaluation, a larger amount of tests may be performed.

In one embodiment, the present invention includes the capability to perform a “full evaluation,” or a “quick evaluation.” The “full evaluation” may be performed on golfers who have the time, desire, and necessary equipment to have their fitness thoroughly evaluated. A full evaluation may require a golfer to perform more tests and to answer more questions regarding his/her performance of those tests. As a consequence of the more detailed evaluation, a more helpful and detailed workout regimen may be generated. In contrast, a “quick evaluation” may be performed on a golfer that has limited time, desire, or available equipment. In this embodiment, the quick evaluation preferably focuses on the aspects of the golfer's fitness that are deemed most important by asking the golfer to perform specific tests, e.g., a overhead squat test, a toe touch test, and a half-kneel test. The resulting fitness regimen may include fewer exercises that focus on improving core aspects of a golfer's physical fitness. The quick evaluation may be desirable, for example, at a kiosk or other exhibition that seeks to quickly demonstrate the capabilities of the present invention, e.g., at a golf show or golf tournament.

The input information may include information regarding a golfer's previous injuries or other physical limitations. In one embodiment, this information may be used to perform a “health check,” which allows the present invention to account for a golfer's injuries or limitations when determining what physical fitness tests to administer. For example, if a golfer indicates that he/she has had a knee injury in the past, physical fitness tests that place excessive stress on his/her knees may be eliminated or modified. Similarly, the fitness tests may be chosen to prevent placing unnecessary stress on other body parts, e.g., heart, fingers, hands, elbows, legs, and the like, depending on the input information provided by the golfer.

In one embodiment, the number of tests that may be performed is preferably about 5 or greater. More preferably, the number of tests that may be performed is about 15 or greater. Most preferably, the number of tests that may be performed is about 30 or greater. In another embodiment, the number of tests that may be performed is preferably between about 1 and about 100. More preferably, the number of tests that may be performed is between about 1 and about 50. Most preferably, the number of tests that may be performed is between about 1 and about 25. According to another aspect of the present invention, the number of tests that is performed is preferably about 100 or less. More preferably, the number of tests that may be performed is about 75 or less. Most preferably, the number of tests that may be performed is about 50 or less.

In addition to listing the tests that are to be performed, the present invention provides the golfer with assistance that explains how they are to be performed. In one embodiment, the assistance may comprise written, step-by-step instructions. Alternately, the assistance may include a verbal recitation of the instructions. Most preferably, however, the assistance includes a video demonstration of each fitness test, accompanied by verbal and written instructions on how a particular test should be performed. It is desirable for the tests to be structured such that a golfer may evaluate his/her own performance. However, in other embodiments a golfer may print out a list of the fitness tests and ask a professional to evaluate his/her performance after observing them perform the tests. The professional may be a professional golf instructor, a certified personal trainer, or some other qualified professional. In one embodiment, the professional may provide their evaluation of a golfer's performance using a wireless computing device.

According to another aspect of the present invention, the input information may include an analysis of the golfer's posture and/or swing. In one embodiment, this may be accomplished by using one or more video cameras to capture images of the golfer's posture and golf club swing. The outputs of the video cameras are preferably attached, or otherwise operatively connected to, e.g., by using wired or wireless methods or apparatus, the golfer's computer or wireless computing device, allowing the acquired video to be stored. Once the video images have been captured, they may be analyzed to determine aspects of the golfer's stance and the kinematics of their swing.

In one embodiment, this may be accomplished by analyzing the acquired video images using, for example, a software program. The software program is preferably capable of automatically analyzing the golfer's swing, posture, and stance. Once these aspects of the golfer's game have been analyzed, the present invention may be used to suggest exercises that may be useful to correct any mistakes that a golfer may be making.

One example of a software program that may be used in combination with the present invention comprises drawing one or more lines over portions of the image, and then calculating the angle between two or more lines. The lines may be automatically generated, or they may be manually drawn by a golfer using, for example, a mouse. Once the lines have been drawn, the angles between two or more lines may be analyzed to generate information regarding the posture, stance, or swing of the golfer.

For instance, it may be desirable to draw a line that tracks the golfer's right leg and hip. Analyzing the angle between the golfer's right leg and hip over the course of a golf swing may show, e.g., that a golfer's hips or leg is moving too much or too fast. This may be repeated using different lines to analyze a plurality of aspects of a golfer's swing and posture. Then, exercises that can improve their swing or posture may be recommended to improve the golfer's performance. One example of a method and apparatus that may be used for these purposes is described in U.S. Pat, No. 6,669,571 to Cameron et al., the entirety of which is incorporated herein. Another example of software that may be used in combination with the present invention is described at http://www.myecoaching.com. In an alternate embodiment, if a golfer does not have a video camera and/or computer available to them, they may have their swing evaluated at a remote location, e.g., a golf store or country club, where a professional golfer or instructor may evaluate his/her swing and posture. The golfer may then use the evaluation to answer one or more questions regarding his/her performance, allowing the present invention to suggest exercises that may be useful in correcting any imperfections.

According to one aspect of the present invention, the tests that a golfer performs may be used to assign a golfer a “golf fitness handicap.” After every test is performed, the golfer answers a question regarding his/her performance, as described above. Based on the answer that the golfer provides, his/her performance is quantified using a numerical score. After each of the exercises are performed, and the numerical scores are added, and the result is referred to as the “golf fitness handicap.”

In one embodiment, one goal of performing the fitness routine is to get the golf fitness handicap to zero. For example, if ten tests are performed by a golfer, a score between 0 and 3.6 may be awarded for each test, e.g., failing a test is worth 3.6 points, passing a test is worth 0 points, and performance in between passing and failing can be awarded between 0 and 3.6 points. Thus, a golfer that fails every test would be awarded a golf fitness handicap of 36 points (10 tests×3.6 points for each test =36 points). Similarly, a golfer that passes every test would be awarded a golf fitness handicap of 0 points (10 tests×0 points for each test =0 points).

Alternately, if twelve tests are performed by a golfer, a score between 0 and 3 may be awarded for each test, e.g., failing a test is worth 3 points, passing a test is worth 0 points, and performance in between passing and failing can be awarded between 0 and 3 points. Thus, a golfer that fails every test would be awarded a golf fitness handicap of 36 points (12 tests×3 points for each test =36 points). Similarly, a golfer that passes every test would be awarded a golf fitness handicap of 0 points (12 tests×0 points for each test =0 points). In this embodiment, a fitness regimen may then be generated with the goal of reducing the golfer's golf fitness handicap to zero, i.e., they pass all of the tests that are administered.

The present invention also includes the ability to modify the tests that are administered in response to the golfer's golf fitness handicap. For instance, if a golfer fails every test, i.e., they have a golf fitness handicap of 36, the types of tests that are administered may be modified, or the difficulty of the tests may be decreased, in order to better assess the golfers physical fitness. Likewise, if a golfer passes every test, i.e., they are awarded a golf fitness handicap of 0, the types of tests that are administered may be modified, or the difficulty of the tests may be increased. However, it may also be desirable for a golfer that has a golf fitness handicap of 0 to maintain their current level of physical fitness, i.e., workouts may be designed that allow a golfer to maintain their level of physical fitness, rather than being designed to improve any particular aspect. In this case, the tests that are administered are not changed. However, the golfer may be re-evaluated periodically to ensure that their golf fitness handicap has not increased from 0. Of course, skilled artisans will recognize that this is just one manner in which a golfer's performance may be determined. Other methods known to those skilled in the art may also be used alone, or in combination with the specific embodiments of the method described herein.

In some embodiments, a golfer may have questions regarding particular aspects of the present invention, e.g., how to perform a particular exercise or how to evaluate their performance. The present invention includes a telephone number, email address, chat room, or the like, that allows a golfer to communicate with a golf professional or other administrator that is familiar with the present invention. In one embodiment, this information may be included on a website accessible by the golfer. Allowing a golfer to communicate with a person who can respond to their inquiries allows the input information, and the resulting workout regimen, to be more accurate. An administrator, or other person, may track the questions asked and use this information to enhance or alter directions given with respect to a given exercise.

The Fitness Regimen

Once the golfer's input information has been determined, a fitness regimen may be generated based on the inputs. As used herein, “fitness regimen” and “workout regimen” are synonymous, and may be used interchangeably. According to one aspect of the present invention, the fitness regimen may be automatically generated by a computer program. The fitness regimen or workout routine may include cardiovascular exercises, stretching, muscle strengthening exercises, meditation, yoga, Pilates, and other physical and mental exercises known to those skilled in the art. In one embodiment, the fitness regimen may be based on objectives specified by the golfer. Thus, a golfer may choose which types of exercises they want to be included in, or excluded from, their workout regimen, e.g., weight lifting, cardiovascular exercises, or stretching, or they may request that the workout regimen include any combination of the available exercises that will give them the greatest chance of maximizing their fitness.

As mentioned above, the input information may include information regarding a golfer's previous injuries or other physical limitations. This “health check,” is preferably performed so that the golfer's injuries or limitations may be accounted for when the fitness regimen is generated. For example, if a golfer indicates that he/she has had a knee injury in the past, a workout regimen may be designed to prevent placing undue stress on the golfer's knees. Similarly, the workout regimen may be designed to prevent placing unnecessary stress on other body parts, e.g., heart, fingers, hands, elbows, legs, and the like, depending on the input information provided by the golfer.

The “quick evaluation,” described above, includes less input information, which may lo result in an exercise regimen that includes fewer exercises. In one embodiment, the quick evaluation results in an exercise regimen including about 20 or less exercises. More preferably, the quick evaluation results in an exercise regimen that includes about 15 or less exercises. In another embodiment, the quick evaluation results in an exercise regimen that preferably includes between about 1 and about 30 exercises. More preferably, the quick evaluation results in an exercise regimen that includes between about 1 and about 15 exercises.

The “full evaluation,” on the other hand, includes a greater amount of input information, which may result in a greater number of exercises. Preferably, the full evaluation results in an exercise regimen that includes about 50 or less exercises. More preferably, the full evaluation results in an exercise regimen that includes about 40 or less exercises. In another embodiment, the full evaluation preferably results in an exercise regimen that includes between about 1 and about 60 exercises. More preferably, the full evaluation results in an exercise regimen that includes between about 1 and about 40 exercises.

In other embodiments, the amount of input information, and resultant exercise regimen, may vary. Preferably, a fitness regimen includes about 5 or more exercises. More preferably, a fitness regimen includes about 15 or more exercises. Most preferably, a fitness regimen includes about 30 or more exercises. In another embodiment, a fitness regimen preferably includes between about 1 and about 100 exercises. More preferably, a fitness regimen includes between about 1 and about 75 exercises, and most preferably a fitness regimen includes between about 1 and about 50 exercises. According to yet another embodiment, a fitness regimen preferably 30 includes about 125 or less exercises. More preferably, a fitness regimen includes about 100 or less exercises. Most preferably, a fitness regimen includes about 80 or less exercises.

In one embodiment, each exercise may be accompanied by instructions detailing how to properly perform the exercise. It may be desirable for the instructions to be written and/or verbal. Written instructions may be desirable because a golfer can print them out and take them to a gym or other workout facility. Preferably, however, each exercise includes a video demonstration that illustrates how to properly perform the exercise, along with verbal and written instructions that describe what is proper and/or improper. According to one aspect of the present invention, the video demonstration and/or written instructions may be accessed and displayed using a wireless computing device. In this manner, a golfer may observe how to properly perform an exercise during their workout.

With reference to FIG. 3, one exemplary embodiment of the present invention is now discussed. According to this exemplary embodiment, the fitness regimen is initially designed for a predetermined evaluation period. The predetermined evaluation period is preferably chosen to allow a golfer enough time to get used to the exercises, while also noticing tangible results. Once the predetermined evaluation period has expired, the golfer may be required to perform the fitness tests (described above) again to re-evaluate his/her golf fitness handicap. After the golf fitness handicap has been re-evaluated, a new workout regimen may be designed for the golfer. This may be repeated any number of times as desired by the golfer.

The predetermined evaluation period is preferably about 10 workouts or more. More preferably, the predetermined evaluation period is about 18 workouts or more. Most preferably, the predetermined evaluation period is about 30 workouts or more. In another embodiment, the predetermined evaluation period is preferably between about 1 and about 30 workouts. More preferably, the predetermined evaluation period is between about 1 and about 20 workouts.

It may be desirable for the workout regimen to include a variety of exercises that are shuffled such that the golfer doesn't repeat the same workouts every day. Specifically, it may be desirable to have a golfer lift weights for one workout and then do cardiovascular exercises for the next workout. Alternately, it may be desirable for the golfer to perform power exercises for one workout, stretching exercises for another workout, and cardiovascular exercises for a third workout. These are just examples, and may be modified by those skilled in the art.

In one embodiment, the present invention also includes a spreadsheet for a golfer to log information about his/her workouts, e.g., the number of repetitions, number of sets, duration of the activity, and the like. Preferably, the spreadsheet is accessible via a data network, e.g., the Internet, and storable on a central database or server. It may be desirable for the golfer to use a wireless computing device to access the spreadsheet and log his/her information. One advantage of using a workout log is that a golfer's progress may be charted over a period of time. Moreover, graphs or other visual displays may be generated by the spreadsheet program, e.g., Microsoft Excel, that allows a golfer to visually chart his/her progress.

One advantage of storing the workout log on a central database or server is that data from a plurality of golfers may be analyzed to determine trends in their progress. This may be desirable, for example, to determine which exercises are most beneficial, or most effective, for the greatest number of golfers. Alternately, it may be desirable to determine if a particular exercise actually helps achieve the progress that it purports to achieve. Thus, by analyzing the data in this manner, the exercises included in a workout regimen may be modified or changed to make them more effective. In one aspect of the present invention, the data analysis may be implemented using computer software that can determine trends in large amounts of data, e.g., data mining software.

As mentioned previously, one advantage of the present invention is that a golfer may obtain a customized fitness regimen without the cost typically associated with these servers. In one embodiment, the present invention, as described herein, can be provided to a golfer for a cost of about $1000 per year, or less. More preferably, the present invention may be provided to a golfer for a cost of about $500 per year, or less. Most preferably, the present invention may be provided to a golfer for a cost of about $250 per year, or less.

Although the present invention has been described with reference to particular embodiments, it will be understood to those skilled in the art that the invention is capable of a variety of alternative embodiments within the spirit of the appended claims. For example, the present invention may be used to generate a workout regimen for athletes that participate in any sport including, but not limited to, baseball, hockey, basketball, football, tennis, soccer, swimming, track and field, boxing, skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, and field hockey.

In many of these sports, strength, stamina, and flexibility are important to the success of an athlete. For instance, it may be desirable for a baseball player to increase their flexibility or strength to improve their batting ability. Alternately, a hockey player may want to increase their stamina, flexibility and/or their lower body strength. Thus, according to another aspect, the present invention includes the ability to generate a workout regimen that is customized for an athlete that participates in any sport. According to this aspect of the present invention, the input information may be different for each sport, i.e., the fitness tests that an athlete performs may be specifically tailored for the sport, e.g., a hockey player may be required to perform fitness tests that focus on assessing his/her lower body strength, e.g., squats, the rotation of their shoulders, hips, or wrists, flexibility, e.g., the splits, whereas a baseball player may want to focus on his/her upper body strength, ankle strength, the rotational flexibility of their torso, strength of their wrists, and the like. The workout regimen that is generated may then be customized accordingly. Of course, these are just examples. Skilled artisans will recognize that the fitness tests and workout regimen may be customized in a wide variety of ways, all of which are encompassed within the scope of the present invention.