Title:
Methods for multi-sensory virtual golf instruction
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method and devices are disclosed for instructing students in a physical skill and allowing students to experience specific physical movements involved in a sport or physical skill. The method, program and system comprise instructions, stories, structured activities, games, mechanical figures, and devices which synergistically engage the student's kinesthetic learning facilities. Stimulation of these learning facilities is achieved by engagement in multi-sensory interaction, simulation of physical movements, demonstration of the underlying physics of the movements, interaction with structured activities and games. Educational devices using process-oriented methods are disclosed to engage multiple learning styles in the process of instruction of a sport or physical skill. These devices may include visual, manipulative, and computer-adapted models designed to allow visual, auditory, kinesthetic learners to learn and experience the sport or physical movement. Further, this invention allows motion-impaired individuals a unique opportunity to experience a sport at a kinesthetic level.



Inventors:
Kato, Nancy Dunn (Los Alamitos, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/823261
Publication Date:
01/01/2009
Filing Date:
06/26/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/409
International Classes:
A63B69/36
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HU, KANG
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lin, Crampton (2952 Orvid Ln., Los Alamitos, CA, 90720, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of instructing students in the game of golf comprising: utilizing one or more articulated, mechanical representations provided with one or more points of attachment and one or more points of movement; one or more mechanical representations connected at one or more axes of rotation which when rotated simulate the mechanical motions required to enable the directed motion of a golf ball using a golf club; and further configurable to be used in conjunction with one or more representations of structures designed to simulate the environment of a golf course, and instructional materials designed to facilitate instruction of semantics or rules of play.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the one or more articulated mechanical representation comprises a golf club head and a structural element attached to the mechanical representation of the golf club head wherein the combination can be manipulated to demonstrate the properties of loft and lie of a golf club head.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the mechanical representations connected at one or more axes of rotation comprise a first representation of an upper torso portion connected with the second representation comprising body portion at the midsection and a third representation comprising a pair of hands connected to a golf club wherein the connection between the first representation and the second representation is a fixed connection and the connection between the third representation and the second representation is an articulated connection and designed to be articulated in a rotating motion.

4. The method of claim 3, wherein the first mechanical representation is connected to a fixed point of attachment which provides an articulation point which provides for horizontal motion of the first mechanical representation through the fixed point of attachment.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein the first mechanical representation is a representation of an upper torso portion connected to a fixed point of attachment which provides an articulation point which provides for horizontal motion of the first mechanical representation through the fixed point of attachment.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein the first mechanical representation is a representation of an upper torso and head configured with a golf club and the second mechanical representation is a representation of a lower torso and legs with a point of attachment about the midline or waistline of the torso of both the first mechanical representation and the second mechanical representation; the first mechanical representation designed to articulate in a rotational motion about the point of attachment at the waistline and positioned to demonstrate proper alignment.

7. The method of claim 6, wherein the first mechanical representation is provided with an additional point of attachment in the vicinity of the shoulder and further comprising a third mechanical representation which represents an arm; the third mechanical representation designed to be attached to the first mechanical representation about the representation of the shoulder; said third mechanical representation rotatable around the point of attachment and positionable to demonstrate proper alignment.

8. The method of claim 6 wherein the golf club is a type of golf club known as a wood and the mechanical representation is designed to articulate in a rotational motion about the waistline and positionable to demonstrate proper alignment and swing when using a wood type golf club.

9. The method of claim 6 wherein the golf club is a type of golf club known as an iron and the mechanical representation is designed to articulate in a rotational motion about the waistline and positionable to demonstrate proper alignment and swing when using an iron type golf club.

10. The method of claim 1 wherein the one or more representations of structures designed to simulate the environment of a golf course comprise a structure representing a golf course and one or more structures representing hazards or aesthetic features of a golf course wherein the structures representing hazards or aesthetic features of the golf course are user-configurable.

11. The method of claim 1, wherein the instructional materials designed to facilitate instruction comprise a scorecard.

12. The method of claim 10, wherein the instructional materials designed to faceplate instruction further comprises a scorecard.

13. The method of claim 1, wherein the instructional materials designed to facilitate instruction comprise a set of cards, wherein the cards contain instructional materials designed to instruct the student in the meaning of the terms “hole-in-one,” “birdie,” “par,” “bogey,” and “double bogey.”

14. The method of claim 13 wherein the instructional material designed to facilitate instruction further comprises a scorecard.

15. A computer-implemented method on providing instruction on the game of golf, the computer-implemented method comprising: allowing at least one user to select a manipulative character or structure operable on a user device of said user; and transmitting at least one manipulative character to said user device, wherein said manipulative character is adapted to move based on input by said user using said user device.

16. The method of claim 1 wherein the rotations are performed one of manually, by a prompt and response program, and automatically.

17. The method of claim 1, wherein the instructional materials comprises verbal instructions.

18. The method of claim 1, wherein the instructional materials comprises textual instructions.

19. The method of claim 1, wherein the instructional materials comprises pictographs.

20. The method of claim 1, wherein the instructional materials comprises verbal instructions, and textual instructions, and pictographs.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/815,754 filed on 23 Jun. 2006 and fully incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to methods and apparatus to provide instruction in the game of golf. More particularly, this invention relates to methods and processes which utilize models to emulate motions and physical environments encountered in and about golf courses.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Currently there exist many devices to help users learn and improve their golf skills. All of the existing devices require that the user be mechanically functional as they require the user to mechanically and or electrically interact with devices that emulate the physical motions of a golf swing, or conditions on the golf course. US 2007/0093307 to van Onlangs et al. discloses a system and device for practicing and improving on one's golf swing; US 2005/0124434 to MacDonald discloses a method of improving and teaching a golf swing; US 2004/0014531 to Egan et al. disclose a method of improving a user's golf swing by the aid of electromechanical devices. In order to practice the van Onlangs invention, the MacDonald invention, or the Egan invention, the individual being taught must be physically able to execute the motions of the game of golf, a requirement not present in the current invention. Thus, this invention is ideal for physically challenged individuals and for individuals who are unable to easily access a golf course and mechanical devices designed to simulate the environment in a golf course.

This invention is designed to provide an opportunity for all individuals to experience the game of golf. In the past, many individuals have been excluded from experiencing the game of golf, often due to physical or financial restrictions. Traditional golf instruction often involves a human or human-like form demonstrating a motion using words, pictures, images, or devices with the goal that the student be able to mimic this motion. Another method for golf instruction was to attach a device to the student's body or provide a device that interacts with the student's body while the student physically executes the motion. These traditional methods of instruction do not work when the student is unable to physically perform certain motions (for example, students with physical handicaps), or is uncomfortable with human contact (for example, autistic students), or does not have easy access to a facility to physically play the sport. This invention provides an opportunity for all users to experience playing the game of golf without the need for physical contact, without the need for the physical ability to perform the movement, or without access to a golf course or golf clubs. By creating the golf course and manipulating the models included in this invention, this invention allows users to physically experience the game of golf.

Golf is a demanding sport which traditionally requires significant amounts of training, knowledge and skill. Therefore, another advantage of this invention is that it allows the traditional learner to enrich and supplement their traditional golf instructional program by providing information on the rationales and physics behind the design of golf equipment, the physics and mechanics of the motions required to play the game of golf, the interaction between the student and the golf course and the semantics and protocol of the game of golf.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The method and devices disclosed herein comprise instructions, stories, structured activities, games, and mechanical figures which synergistically engage the student's kinesthetic learning facilities by multi-sensory interaction, simulation of physical movements, demonstrating the underlying physics of the movements, engaging and interacting with the student with structured activities and games.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1—Interactive devices designed to instruct the user in golf club loft, lie and length

FIG. 2—Interactive devices designed to instruct the user in proper putting motion and the concept of one piece motion

FIG. 3—Interactive devices designed to instruct the user in the motion of the putting device and the differential effect on arc creation with varying lateral weight distribution

FIG. 4—Interactive devices designed to provide instruction to the user on proper upper body posture, stance, shoulder and arm posture

FIG. 5—Interactive devices designed to provide instruction to the user about proper body positioning when using different types of clubs (e.g., woods, irons)

FIG. 6—Interactive devices designed to instruct the user in proper upper body, spine and shoulder positioning

FIG. 7—Interactive activity designed to instruct the user in the aesthetics and features of a golf course

FIG. 8—Interactive activity designed to instruct the user in the mechanics of the greens

FIG. 9—Interactive instructional game designed to teach golf vocabulary

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

In one embodiment of the invention, the user is provided with printed material, including stories, text, games and articulating devices provided on printed materials.

Referring now to FIG. 1, the user, after being provided with instructions, takes the golf extension shaft extension handle 1 and aligns it with the golf club shaft insertion line 3. Golf club head attachment 4 is affixed to the golf club head 2 and the golf club axis of rotation and line of attachment 6 is aligned with the axis of rotation of the golf club head 2. The golf club head attachment 4 is variably positioned with respect to the axis of rotation of the golf club head 2 to demonstrate golf club loft and lie.

Referring now to FIG. 2, after being provided with instructions, the user aligns the physical demonstration upper model point of attachment to golf club 9 to the physical demonstration upper model 11 and secured to allow the golf club to rotate. The mechanism to allow lateral translation of physical demonstration upper model 14 is aligned with the channel to allow lateral translation of physical demonstration upper model 13 on the physical demonstration model base 12 and with the physical demonstration upper model point of attachment upper body to base 8

Referring now to FIG. 3, after being provided with instructions, the user aligns the mechanism to provide lateral translation of physical demonstration upper demonstration model 18 with the physical demonstration upper model point of attachment upper body to base 15 and manipulates the model to engage the model in lateral motion 19. The golf club point of attachment to physical demonstration upper model 16 is aligned with the physical demonstration model base 17. The user simulates movement of golf club 20 and causes the golf club head 21 to move along the golf club lines of movement 22.

Referring now to FIG. 4, after being provided with instructions, the user aligns the upper golf posture shoulder and spine positioning point of attachment 24 with the upper golf posture shoulder and spine positioning model point of attachment with lower body 27. The wood-type posture and shoulder alignment model is assembled by aligning the upper golf posture shoulder and spine positioning model shoulder point of attachment 25 with the shoulder point of attachment with the upper golf posture shoulder and spine positioning model 28, The upper golf posture shoulder and spine positioning model point of attachment with lower body 27 is aligned with the lower body positioning point of attachment 30.

Referring now to FIG. 5, after being provided with instructions, the user assembles the models which demonstrate the difference in the posture line of alignment for wood-type golf club 35 and the posture line of alignment for iron-type golf club 31, the differing distances between stance and wood type golf club 37 which is greater than the distance between stance and iron type golf club 33, and the fact that the golf ball 34 will be partially visible above the golf club head on a wood-type golf club.

Referring now to FIG. 6, after being provided with instructions, the user 39 manipulates the shoulder to upper golf posture shoulder and spine positioning model demonstrating improper arm positioning, arm too close to body 38 and manipulates the shoulder to display the upper golf posture shoulder and spine positioning model demonstrating improper arm positioning, arm too far away from body 41 and to display the upper golf posture shoulder and spine positioning model demonstrating proper shoulder positioning 40.

Referring now to FIG. 7, after being provided with instructions, the user places various components, such as golf course hole segments 43, golf course hazards 44, golf course landscaping 45 and golf course holes 46 on the model golf course base 42 to design a golf course. After the golf course is designed, students can play rounds of golf on this course and keep score on a scorecard 47.

Referring now to FIG. 8, after being provided with instructions, the user places various elements on a golf course green area and uses this structure to play a game of golf. These various elements comprise: a tee box 48, a student model with eyes to track the ball 49, ball lines (connecting lines from ball to hole) 54, a golf pin with optional flag 50, a golf hole 51, a golf course green 52, and a golf course apron 53

Referring now to FIG. 9, after being provided with instructions, the user can use game elements provided with text, pictures or pictographs to both engage in a game and simultaneously learn the vocabulary and scoring rules of the game of golf. These game elements comprise: a playing piece demonstrating golf scoring term “hole-in-one” 55, a playing piece demonstrating golf scoring term “birdie” 56, a playing piece demonstrating golf scoring term “par” 57, a playing piece demonstrating golf scoring term “bogey” 58, playing piece demonstrating golf scoring term “double bogey” 59, and a playing piece allowing student to engage in scoring of game 60.

This invention facilitates instruction of a sport or physical movement by providing and utilizing devices to engage students of all learning styles, visual learners, auditory learners and tactile/kinesthetic learners, Visual and auditory learners obtain information through their visual and auditory senses. Tactile/kinesthetic learns learners through moving, doing and touching. This invention provides an opportunity for all students to learn, experience and understand the physics and mechanics behind the equipment by using articulated devices, including, but not limited to the devices illustrated in FIGS. 1-9. Students can learn, experience and understand the game by using equipment appropriate for each area of the golf course and motions appropriate for each portion of the golf course and conditions while utilizing the devices that allow them to learn and experience scoring of the game.

Specific physical movements are demonstrated and skills are taught with the aid of devices represented in FIGS. 1-9. For example, the devices illustrated in FIG. 2 demonstrate the use of a “one piece motion,” which is when the physical demonstration upper model moves in a “one piece motion,” this causes all of the body parts below this point also move. The devices illustrated in FIG. 2 also illustrates that the large muscles of the shoulders (not the hands) direct the muscle of the golf club. The devices illustrated in FIG. 3 demonstrate the effect of weight shift lateral movement, the creation of multiple lateral arcs, when the desired effect is the creation of a single arc. The devices illustrated in FIG. 4 demonstrate an element of proper golf posture, ensuring that the hands aligned with and below the shoulders. The devices illustrated in FIG. 5 demonstrate the difference in body posture required to use wood clubs and iron clubs. The longer length of the wood club relative to an iron club dictates that the body be held in a more upright posture, dictates a longer ground distance between the player and the ball, and dictates a higher tee height, or distance from tee'd up ball to the ground.

In another preferred embodiment, the present invention utilizes a computer or other electronic device to performed above, utilizing computer models and virtual devices to enable the instruction disclosed above.

Another alternative embodiment would be to utilize three-dimensional models articulated to engage in specific physical movements involved in a sport. A student could activate a mechanical or electrical means to control the motion of the model and participate in the sport.

An additional alternative would be to use this same method in the teaching of another sport. For example, it would be possible to experience the sport of rhythmic gymnastics by describing physics and mechanics behind the design of the various pieces of equipment, and describing the physics and mechanics behind the interaction of the human with the equipment and providing the user an opportunity to choreograph a routine or providing an opportunity for physically challenged individuals to experience the movements of the sport.

It can thus be seen that the present invention provides numerous advantages not found in the prior art. For example, the present invention provides the ability for physically challenged individuals to engage and receive instruction in the game of golf, and provides opportunities for individuals unable to access traditional golf course instructional materials and golf courses, to experience playing a game of golf.

While the invention has been particularly shown and described with respect to preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that changes in form and details may be made therein without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. For example, all the interactions can be performed via a computer or other electronic devices. Therefore, the disclosure of methods and devices as set forth above are exemplary and not in a limiting sense.