Title:
Golf Training Mechanism And Method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Teaching a golfer a golf movement by applying a force to the muscles of the student while the student is performing the golf movement. The force being applied is either assistive or resistive in order to teach and train the student's muscles. Mechanisms for applying these forces are attachable to the body and typically extend from a portion of the body to a stationary object.



Inventors:
Carbaugh, Curt (New Brighton, MN, US)
Erickson, Jason (Grantsburg, WI, US)
Application Number:
11/683330
Publication Date:
11/15/2007
Filing Date:
03/07/2007
Assignee:
Active Golf Training
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B69/36
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LEGESSE, NINI F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
INSKEEP INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY GROUP, INC (2281 W. 190TH STREET, SUITE 200, TORRANCE, CA, 90504, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of teaching a golf movement, comprising: instructing a student to perform a golf movement; applying a force to the student during the swing, said force having an effect on at least one muscle of said student that is beneficial to performing said golf movement.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein applying a force to the student during the swing comprises applying an assistive force to the student during the swing, said assistive force having a teaching effect on at least one muscle of said student that is beneficial to performing said golf movement.

3. The method of claim 1 wherein applying a force to the student during the swing comprises applying an resistive force to the student during the swing, said resistive force having a training effect on at least one muscle of said student that is beneficial to performing said golf movement.

4. The method of claim 1 wherein applying a force to the student during the swing comprises attaching a device to said student prior to the step of instructing the student to perform a golf movement, said device capable of storing and releasing energy, such that said device changes an energy state during the swing.

5. The method of claim 4 wherein attaching a device to said student prior to the step of instructing the student to perform a golf movement, said device capable of storing and releasing energy, such that said device changes an energy state during the swing comprises attaching a device to said student prior to the step of instructing the student to perform a golf movement, said device capable of storing and releasing energy, such that said device stores energy during the swing.

6. The method of claim 4 wherein attaching a device to said student prior to the step of instructing the student to perform a golf movement, said device capable of storing and releasing energy, such that said device changes an energy state during the swing comprises attaching a device to said student prior to the step of instructing the student to perform a golf movement, said device capable of storing and releasing energy, such that said device releases energy during the swing.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/780,393 filed Mar. 7, 2006 entitled GOLF TRAINING MECHANISM AND METHOD which is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Most people who have tried to learn the game of golf will agree that it constitutes one of the most challenging, frustrating, and demanding pastimes enjoyed, or at least practiced, by millions of people. The level of difficulty adds to the popularity of the sport. Most would also agree that enjoyment of the game increases with ability. Few golfers forget an unusually low scoring round they played during a given year.

The difficulty of the game is easy to explain. There are a number of factors that make the physics of hitting a golf ball understandably complex: (1) A golf club is longer than most of the racquets or bats used in other sports. (2) The contact area (club face) on a golf club is significantly smaller than the contact area of other sports-related striking implements. (3) A golf ball is smaller than almost any other ball found in striking sports. (4) The ball converts nearly all of the energy imparted on it to kinetic energy. (5) The ball spins at a high rate of speed. (6) The club head strikes the ball at over 100 miles per hour when swung correctly. (7) The golf swing uses nearly every muscle in the human body. (8) The ball flies hundreds of yards, leaving the margin for error very small for a decent following shot. (9) A good golfer uses fourteen different clubs during a round, each having a different length and a different club head. (10) A good golfer must be able to hit numerous different types of shots with each of his or her fourteen clubs. With all of these factors adding to the difficulty of the proper golf swing, it becomes easy to understand the healthy market for golf swing aids and instruction techniques.

Heretofore, however, the most popular training technique involves swing analysis by a golf professional, often with the aid of a video camera and a computer, followed by corrective instruction. Corrective instruction has involved verbal instruction, sometimes accompanied by a demonstration, followed by subsequent attempts by the student at correcting an identified problem.

There may be no substitute for the trained eye of a golf professional in identifying swing problems. However, the aforementioned correcting instruction technique is inefficient. Few people possess the athletic ability to listen to verbal instruction from a golf professional and then implement a swing change immediately thereafter. Golf swings, by necessity, are objects of habit. Like playing a complex musical piece on a piano, hitting a golf ball properly requires practice. Through practice, the muscles begin to receive repeated messages stored in the long-term memory of the brain, rather than immediate cognitive notions from the cerebral cortex. This “muscle memory” makes a long time golfer's swing look fluid while a beginner who has not yet memorized a swing, has an awkward swing. Changing a golf swing brings the swing instructions back from deep memory to the cerebral cortex. This is because the swing change is received aurally and must then be interpreted by the cerebral cortex to craft new swing instructions to the muscles. The result is an awkward-feeling swing, even if the golfer is executing the professional's instructions correctly.

Swing changes made in this manner, as mentioned above, feel awkward at first. The golfer usually leaves a golf lesson and heads for a driving range where he or she tries to “teach the muscles” the new swing through repetition. Hopefully, the new instruction set will work its way back into the memory of the brain, after hitting hundreds of golf balls, such that the golfer can eventually swing the golf club using the new swing without actively thinking about the differences. The swing becomes ingrained and the golfer becomes better.

However, quite often the new instructions being taught to the muscles get changed during the “memorizing phase” on the range. Swing changes necessary to correct a problem often seem counterintuitive. The golfer trying to implement a swing change battles the natural tendency of the brain to send its old memorized signals to the muscles rather than the new instructions from the cerebral cortex. Without substantial, frequent practice in the presence of a professional, the new swing that gets implemented is often different than the one the professional verbalized. Hence, usually swing changes are effectively made only in small, easy to remember increments.

A great many golf training tools are designed to provide the feedback necessary to keep a golfer focused on the proper new technique when a golf professional is not present. Some tools give visual feedback, others give aural feedback. Still others are result-based negative feedback. If a swing is improper, an obviously undesirable event happens. One example is a club with a hinged shaft that bends if swung improperly.

Though many of these tools are helpful teaching aides, none replaces or speeds the difficult conversion of verbal instruction into memorized muscle response. There is thus a need for teaching device and/or method that provides direct information to the muscles rather than through the ear of the golfer.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a device and technique that addresses the aforementioned need. Specifically, the present invention is a device and a teaching method that teaches a golfer to implement a swing change by teaching the golfer's muscles, rather than relying solely on educating the golfer's brain and the hoping the golfer properly trains his or her own muscles with the information provided.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a component of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a front elevation of the component of FIG. 1 with a golfer standing thereon;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a component of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a component of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a component of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a component of the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a component of the present invention;

FIG. 8 is a plan view of the present invention being used on a golfer; and,

FIG. 9 is a plan view of the present invention being used on a golfer.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Turning now to the Figures and first to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown a floor component 10 of the present invention. The floor component 10 includes a platform 12 on which a golfer stands when using the present invention. A back arm 14 extends in the direction of the backswing of the golfer and a fore arm 16 extends in the direction of the follow through of the golfer's swing. The arms 14 and 16 are angled away from the platform 12 and positioned such that they do not interfere with the golfer's swing. Each of the arms 14 and 16 has a plurality of attachment points 18, the function of which is explained below. Preferably, the floor component 10 includes attachment points 18 that are vertically in line with the golfer's waist, knees, and ankles, at a minimum. The back arm 14 and fore arm 16 are shown as having telescopically adjustable lengths, an optional feature. To further enhance adjustability, the back arm 14 and fore arm 16 may be made to slide in the directions of arrows 15 and 17, respectfully, or pivot around axes 19 and 21, respectfully. Additionally, the floor component 10 also includes an optional attachment point 20 on or near the platform 12, the function of which is also explained below.

FIG. 3 shows a belt 30 of the present invention. The belt 30 is sized to fit around the waist of a golfer and has a plurality of attachment points 32 placed in various positions around the outside of the belt 30.

The present invention also includes one or more straps 40 like the one shown in FIG. 4. The strap 40 is sized to fit around the ankle or knee of a golfer and is preferably adjustable such that it may also be used to fit around the wrist, arm, or thigh of a golfer as well. The strap 40 includes at least one attachment point 42.

Turning now to FIG. 5, there is shown a practice club 50 of the present invention. The practice club 50 is like a standard golf club with an attachment point 52 at the toe of the club head 54. Attachment point 52 is shown as a loop though it could just as effectively be formed as a hole through the club head 54 or as a clamp-like device that attaches to a standard golf club. Using a band like the band 70 shown in FIG. 7 and explained below, the practice club 50 may be attached to an attachment point 18 on the back arm 14.

FIG. 6 shows another practice club 60 of the present invention. The practice club 60 is like a standard golf club with an attachment point 62 at the end of the grip 64. Using a band like the band 70 shown in FIG. 7 and explained below, the practice club 60 may be attached to the attachment point 20 of the floor component 10. Though the attachment point 20 is shown extending from a front side of the floor component 10, it may optionally be placed somewhere on the platform 12 in either a removable fashion or in a place that will not otherwise interfere with a golf swing.

FIG. 7 shows a band 70 of the present invention. Band 70 is formed of a stretchable material such as rubber, latex, or the like. Using the method of the present invention, explained below, a golf professional uses the band 70 to attach a golf club, such as practice club 50 or 60, or a golfer wearing either a belt 30, strap 40, or combination thereof to an attachment point 18 or 20 of the floor component 10 of the present invention.

The physical components of the training technique of the present invention, explained above, provide a numerous ways in which a golfer may be attached to the floor component 10 of the present invention. However, a golf professional is needed to identify a swing flaw and use the present invention to correct that swing flaw using the training method of the present invention.

The method of the present invention thus begins with a swing analysis, not unlike those presently done by many golf professionals around the world. A golfer swings at a golf ball while a golf professional looks for swing flaws. Often, the golf professional will utilize video cameras and replay software so that he or she may review the swing in slow motion to analyze the swing more closely and show the golfer the flaw being corrected. However, a video camera is not crucial to practicing the method of the present invention.

Once a flaw is identified, the golf professional may decide to use assistive or resistive training, or both, to “teach the muscles” how to swing correctly. Both assistive and resistive training are made possible by the aforementioned components of the present invention. Each of these training techniques is now explained individually.

Assistive Training

Assistive training is a term used herein to describe a technique whereby a golfer's body is urged in a desired direction or configuration by the bands 70 of the present invention. Doing so shows the golfer what it feels like to correct a swing flaw rather than simply providing verbal instructions or showing the golfer the flaw on a video tape and expecting the golfer to reinstruct his or her muscles to correct the flaw. By guiding the muscles in the correct direction, the golfer is able to immediately imitate the proper swing after the bands 70 are removed. Hence, the golfer's muscles are “taught” rather than the golfer's brain, so to speak.

Reference is now made to FIG. 8 to demonstrate an example of where a golf professional might find assistive training useful. One common swing flaw is a failure to rotate the hips “through the ball” such that the hips face the target on the follow through. This is a flaw that is difficult to fix because concentrating on hip motion distracts the brain from making an otherwise fluid swing. The hips are a large component of a golf swing and affect almost all of the other components. Thus, simply telling the golfer to rotate their hips “through the ball” usually results in a hip slide, rather than a rotation, or throws of the timing of the swing enough so that the golfer can no longer make adequate contact with the ball.

FIG. 8 shows how a golf professional might attach a band 70 of the present invention between a golf student having a problem rotating his hips to the floor component of the present invention such that assistive training shows the golfer how to properly rotate his hips. The golfer 80 is shown in a cutaway through the torso for clarification. Hence, the golfer 80 stands on the platform 12 and addresses a ball 82. A belt 30 is placed around the golfer's waist and a band 70 is wrapped around the golfer and attached to an attachment point 32 on the belt at one end, and at the other end to an attachment point 18 on the fore arm 16 of the floor component 10. The band 70 is wrapped around the golfer in the manner shown such that the golfer's body will be urged to rotate in a counter clockwise direction, appropriate for a right-handed golfer.

The golf professional has many attachment points 18 and 32 from which to choose. Hence, the professional must decide which attachment points 18 and 32 to use based on the height of the golfer, the length of the band 70 and the desired strength of the assist. Stretching the band further results in stronger assistive training.

Furthermore, the example shown in FIG. 8 merely provides one assistive training technique for one golf flaw. The golf professional will quickly realize that between the plurality of attachment points 18 on both arms 14 and 16, and the attachment points 32 and 42 provided by the belt 30 and straps 40, almost every aspect of the golf swing can be taught through assistive training.

Additionally, the example shown in FIG. 8 provides only one way to use assistive training for that particular swing flaw. For example, if the golf professional noticed that the configuration of FIG. 8 results in a forward hip slide, another swing flaw, the band 70 could be wrapped further around the golfer's waist and attached to an attachment point 18 on the back arm 14. Doing so would not only urge the golfer's torso to rotate in a counter clockwise direction, it would also urge the golfer rearward, thus preventing a forward hip slide.

Hence, the extreme flexibility of the device and method of the present invention is demonstrated. The need for knowledgeable professional assistance is also shown.

Resistive Training

Whereas assistive training “teaches” the muscles by showing the golfer what a flaw correction should feel like, resistive training “trains” the muscles by exercising them to work harder than they would during a normal golf swing. Resistive training works on the principle that if a muscle or muscle group performs a series of repetitions against unusually high strain or load, the muscle group will perform that same motion effortlessly when the strain or load is removed. This principle is practiced often by athletes. For example, many baseball players swing two bats, or one bat with weights attached prior to approaching the plate when it is their turn to bat. Having swung two bats or a heavy bat, swinging a normal bat will seem easy and effortless at the plate.

FIG. 9 shows an example of how resistive training might be used to correct the previously mentioned swing flaw whereby the golfer fails to rotate his hips “through the ball.” As in FIG. 8, the golf professional has placed a belt 30 around the waist of the golfer, who is standing on the platform 12 of the floor component 10. A band 70 is attached at one end to an attachment point 32 of the belt 30 and at the other end to an attachment point 18 on the back arm 14. The band 70 is configured around the golfer 80 such that the golfer must exert extra force against the band 70 in order to rotate the hips properly. Doing so several times strengthens the necessary muscles and makes it obvious to the golfer what the desired result is. After a predetermined number of repetitions have been completed, the band 70 is removed and the golfer naturally rotates his hips properly during the next several swings.

Further Examples

The above description has discussed the basic premise of the present invention, and one skilled in the art will quickly realize the endless possibilities the present invention provides for unprecedented training capabilities. By way of example only, the following attachment combinations are also provided:

Knee Attachments for Right Handed Player:

1. Assistive right knee: A band 70 is attached between a strap 40 on the right knee and the fore arm 16. This teaches a player to feel how the knees should work together through the impact position and into the finish. This also assists in getting the hips to turn.

2. Resistive right knee: A band 70 is attached between a strap 40 on the right knee and the back arm 14. This trains the right knee to stay flexed on the takeaway. Most people straighten the right knee. This exercise illuminates how it should feel pushing off the right leg on the downswing. This also aids in hip turn when cord 70 is removed.

3. Assistive left knee: A band 70 is attached between a strap 40 on the left knee and the fore arm 16 of the floor component 10. This shows a golfer how it feels to have their left hip and knee bump forward on the downswing.

4. Resistive left knee: A band 70 is attached between a strap 40 on the left knee and the back arm 14 of the floor component 10. This forces the left knee to move forward on the downswing. Automatic implementation occurs after the strap 40 is removed after performing numerous repetitions with the strap 40.

Hip Attachments for Right Handed Player:

1. Assistive left hip: A band 70 is attached between a belt 30 near the left hip and the fore arm 16 of the floor component 10. This promotes the left hip “bump” or initial move on the downswing.

2. Assistive right hip: Shown in FIG. 8 and described above.

3. Assistive left hip wrap: Combines #1 and #2 together using two bands 70, one attached to the left hip and the other wrapped around the golfer as shown in FIG. 8.

4. Resistive left hip: Shown in FIG. 9 and described above. This forces a player to bump and rotate through the ball. It also promotes correct weight shift to the left side. Also aids in a better turn on the backswing by pulling left hip back with left shoulder.

5. Resistive right hip wrap: A band 70 is attached between a belt 30 near the right hip and is fed around the back of the golfer to the fore arm 16 of the floor component 10. This forces a player to bump and rotate through the ball. More tension around hips makes for a more prominent bump and rotation through the ball.

6. Resistive right hip: A band 70 is attached between a belt 30 near the right hip and the back arm 14 of the floor component 10. Promotes weight shift off of right side during the swing.

Ankle Attachments for Right Handed Player:

1. Assistive right ankle: A band 70 is attached between a strap 40 on the right ankle and the fore arm 16. This demonstrates a correct “rolling” motion of the right foot into the ball and through impact. A player is prevented from “squashing the bug” as in baseball/softball players.

2. Resistive right ankle: A band 70 is attached between a strap 40 on the right ankle and the back arm 14. This promotes correct “rolling” motion of right foot into the ball at impact after the band 70 is removed.

Using the Practice Club 50

1. A band 70 is attached between the club head 54 at the attachment point 52 and the back arm 14. Doing so is a resistive technique that promotes the golfer to turn the club over at impact after performing numerous repetitions using the practice club 50.

Using the Practice Club 60

1. A band 70 is attached between the end of the shaft at the attachment point 62 and the attachment point 20 on the floor component 10. Doing so is a resistive technique that promotes the golfer to move back in the back swing and extend the club away from the body after performing numerous repetitions using the practice club 60.

One skilled in the art will quickly realize that the invention has been shown and described for a right-handed golfer. A left-handed version of the present invention will simply be a mirror image of that shown and described. Moreover, as the floor component 10 is preferably symmetric along on axis through the center of the device, a left handed golfer may use the floor component 10 as described by simply hitting the ball in the opposite direction or turning the floor component 10 around.

Although the invention has been described in terms of particular embodiments and applications, one of ordinary skill in the art, in light of this teaching, can generate additional embodiments and modifications without departing from the spirit of or exceeding the scope of the claimed invention. Accordingly, it is to be understood that the drawings and descriptions herein are proffered by way of example to facilitate comprehension of the invention and should not be construed to limit the scope thereof.





 
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