Title:
Method of developing a golf grip and swing and fitting equipment to a golf swing and ball travel
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Disclosed is forming a secure golf club gripping style using only the limbs of a body. A limb-only golf swing is thereafter produced using the formed grip, thus eliminating extraneous influences upon said golf swing, including but not limited to golf clubs and other golf equipment that can cause change and/or inconsistency in said swing. Also disclosed is a method of fitting equipment based on limb-only swing performance. One step comprises reproducing the limb-only golf swing as accurately as possible when any club is swung. Another step further comprises fitting the golf club to obtain any desired golf ball travel, wherein the swing performance attained in the prior fitting step is maintained as the principle priority in order to achieve the best overall swing performance and equipment fit. Hence, at least one golf club or other piece of equipment may be produced to any equipment specification(s) determined during the fitting process.



Inventors:
Kostuj, William Alan (Glendale Heights, IL, US)
Application Number:
12/217569
Publication Date:
01/15/2009
Filing Date:
07/07/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/409, 473/201
International Classes:
A63B69/36
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
CHIU, RALEIGH W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WILLIAM A ( BILL) KOSTUJ (1539 HIGHLAND AVENUE, GLENDALE HIEGHTS, IL, 60139-2539, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of developing/analyzing a golf swing and fitting/making golf equipment based on said swing, comprising: forming a golf grip using only a body's limbs, whereby a golf swing can be performed absent any extraneous, swing-influencing elements, including but not limited to golf clubs; developing and/or analyzing a limb-only pre-swing and/or swing of any style using said grip, whereby said pre-swing and/or swing can be developed and/or analyzed absent any extraneous, swing-influencing elements, including but not limited to golf clubs, that can affect the movement(s) and/or position(s) of said pre-swing and/or swing; fitting and/or making at least one piece of golf equipment in accordance with the developed pre-swing and/or swing, whereby at least one part and/or specification of the at least one piece of golf equipment is selected and/or adjusted to reproduce the limb-only movement(s) and/or position(s) as accurately as possible when using the at least one piece of golf equipment; and further fitting and/or making the at least one piece of golf equipment in accordance with desired ball travel and/or other non-swing-influencing factors of golfing performance, whereby the pre-swing and/or swing performance achieved in the preceding step is maintained as the more important priority in order to obtain the best overall equipment fit and golfing performance.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the golf grip is an overlapping style golf grip.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the golf grip is an interlocking style golf grip.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the at least one piece of golf equipment is made in accordance with the at least one part and/or specification determined for said equipment.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein a computer-implemented process and/or golfing analyzer are/is used to aid in developing and/or analyzing the limb-only pre-swing and/or swing movement(s) and/or position(s) and/or the corresponding pre-swing and/or swing movement(s) and/or position(s) when using the at least one piece of golf equipment.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein the timing and/or coordination of performed pre-swing and/or swing movement(s) and position(s) using the at least one piece of golf equipment reproduces the timing and/or coordination of correspondingly performed limb-only pre-swing and/or swing movement(s) and position(s) as precisely as possible.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein the at least one piece of golf equipment is a golf club and/or piece of wearing apparel that can affect pre-swing and/or swing performance.

8. The method of claim 1, wherein the desired ball travel is adjusted through a fitting of at least one golf ball characteristic.

9. The method of claim 1, wherein a computer-implemented process and/or golfing analyzer are/is used to aid in the fitting/making of the at least one piece of golf equipment in accordance with desired ball travel.

10. A method of producing/analyzing a golf swing, comprising: forming a golf grip using only a body's limbs, whereby a golf swing can be performed absent any extraneous, swing-influencing elements, including but not limited to golf clubs; and producing and/or analyzing a limb-only pre-swing and/or swing of any style using said golf grip, whereby said pre-swing and/or swing can be produced and/or analyzed absent any extraneous, swing-influencing elements, including but not limited to golf clubs, that can affect the movement(s) and/or position(s) of said p re-swing and/or swing.

11. The method of claim 10, wherein the golf grip is an overlapping style golf grip.

12. The method of claim 10, wherein the golf grip is an interlocking style golf grip.

13. The method of claim 10, wherein the golf grip is a ten-finger style golf grip.

14. The method of claim 10, wherein a computer-implemented process and/or golfing analyzer are/is used to aid in producing and/or analyzing the limb-only golf grip, pre-swing, and/or swing movement(s) and/or position(s).

15. A method of fitting/making golf equipment, comprising: fitting and/or making at least one piece of golf equipment in accordance with at least one pre-swing and/or swing movement and/or position created when using a limb-only golf grip and performing a limb-only pre-swing and/or swing, whereby at least one part and/or specification of the at least one piece of golf equipment is selected and/or adjusted to emulate the at least one limb-only movement and/or position as accurately as possible when using the at least one piece of golf equipment; and further fitting and/or making the at least one piece of golf equipment in accordance with desired ball travel and/or other non-swing-influencing factors of golfing performance, whereby the pre-swing and/or swing performance achieved in the preceding step is maintained as the more important priority to obtain the best equipment fit and golfing performance.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein a computer-implemented process and/or a golfing analyzer are/is used to aid in producing, analyzing, and/or comparing the limb-only pre-swing and/or swing movement(s) and/or position(s) and/or the corresponding pre-swing and/or swing movement(s) and/or position(s) when using the at least one piece of golf equipment.

17. The method of claim 15, wherein the timing and/or coordination of performed pre-swing and/or swing movement(s) and position(s) using the at least one piece of golf equipment emulates the timing and/or coordination of correspondingly performed limb-only pre-swing and/or swing movement(s) and position(s) as precisely as possible.

18. The method of claim 15, wherein the at least one piece of equipment is produced according to the at least one part and/or specification determined for said equipment.

19. The method of claim 15, wherein the desired ball travel is adjusted through a filling of at least one golf ball feature.

20. The method of claim 15, wherein a computer-implemented process and/or a golfing analyzer are/is used to aid in the fitting and/or making of the at least one piece of golf equipment in accordance with desired ball travel.

Description:

This non-provisional application claims all the rights and benefits under Title 35, U.S.C. 119(e) of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/948,484 and having a filing date of Jul. 9, 2007.

TECHNICAL FIELD AND BACKGROUND

The present invention generally relates to the field of a golf swing and related golf equipment. More specifically, the present invention relates to first developing a limb-only golf grip and golf swing that is absent any extraneous, swing-altering elements such as golf clubs, and second fitting golf equipment to the developed, limb-only swing.

There is a constant search in the golf industry to find new ways to help increase the performance of golfers through better swinging and related golf equipment design and fitting. The game of golf and in particular a golf swing have reputations as activities that are much more difficult to learn than most other activities that humans commonly engage in. This is despite the fact that golf swings are made at objects (in this case golf balls) that are not in motion when swinging at them as opposed to many other activities. Common sense says that such other activities would fundamentally be more difficult to master, thus the broad statement that golf is more difficult does not fundamentally seem to make sense.

One major reason for the existence of these unwarranted reputations is golfs rather unique format of using many different pieces of equipment from one golf swing to another. Even the best designed and constructed golf clubs as one example are not perfect, with one golf club perhaps having a slightly different grip size than the next, the next golf club having a slightly different golf club balance than the one used after that, and so on. Such differences are often enough for even average golfers to notice. This can result in golf swing changes from club to club. Such swing inconsistencies are often viewed as golfers having faults in their developed golf swings when this is just not the case. The present invention overcomes this situation by separating the pure golf swings made by golfers from the extraneous elements that can affect those pure swings. Thus, golf swings can henceforth be analyzed, understood, and developed better than ever before.

Another major reason for these unwarranted reputations is the unfortunate poor understanding of proper golf club fitting technique that has developed within the golf industry through the years. Incorrect theoretical clubfitting knowledge in several areas and as a result poor recommended fitting practices often culminate in golfers playing worse after they have been fitted for golf clubs. The present invention's method also advances the science and art of golf club fitting. This is accomplished by further implementing a two-step approach to fitting equipment that is based on the foundational, limb-only method of swinging.

The present invention is not expressly limited in its usage to the game of golf. Many other sporting (and non-sporting) activities, even those that may use only a single piece of equipment, may benefit greatly from the present invention. By initially separating equipment used and any other elements deemed influential to the structural action performed in the course of the activity, which can promote change and/or inconsistency in the action, the root, limb-only movement(s) can be better understood and developed. Then adding additional elements such as equipment into the activity, whereby best reproducing the developed, limb-only action may be the first priority with any other factors secondary, also promotes a better understanding and developing of fitting equipment for the activity. Thus, the present invention's method may be used to help improve performance in any number of activities.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention's method begins with forming a secure golf grip using only the limbs of a body to work with, such as by structuring an overlapping or interlocking golf club gripping style. Subsequently, a limb-only golf swing is developed using the formed grip. One of the main objects of such method is to eliminate extraneous influences upon said golf swing. One unique feature of golf is the usual use of many different golf clubs during successive golf swings made. With a virtual impossibility of perfect golf clubs, various, even minor incongruities between different clubs can cause changes and/or inconsistencies from one golf swing to the next. Golf swings are very often considered faulty as a result when in fact they are not.

The fundamentals for forming a limb-only golf grip have existed in golf for more than a century already, but they have not as yet been applied to that effect. This is because the reasoning for forming such a grip has been radically missing. Only the very general, commonly used statement that the hands “work together as a single unit” by applying said fundamentals has been given, with no other reasoning as to why this may be judicious. The present invention soundly corrects these past issues.

The present invention further introduces an original method of fitting golf equipment (not limited to golf clubs) to the developed limb-only golf swing. One step comprises fitting golf club parts and/or specifications such that golf swings produced with any club(s) reproduce limb-only swinging as precisely as possible. Another step comprises further fine-tuning golf club parts and/or specifications to all non-swing facets including desired ball travel, wherein the swing performance achieved in the prior clubfitting step is maintained as the prime priority in order to accomplish the best club fit possible. Thus, the present invention also advances the science and art of equipment fitting, which in the past most often comprised combining at least two fitting facets into a single step that should be separated systematically, often leading to confusion and producing less-than-successful results when trying to improve golfing performance through equipment fitting.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be described by way of exemplary embodiments, but not limitations, illustrated in the accompanying drawings in which like references denote similar elements, and in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates an example of a ten-finger or baseball style golf grip and its features, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates the beginning of the formation of an overlap or Vardon golf gripping style, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 illustrates a partially completed overlapping grip viewed from the left somewhat, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 illustrates a completed overlapping or Vardon golf grip and its unique features, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5 illustrates the beginning of the formation of an interlocking golf gripping style, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 6 through 11 illustrate a front view of a limb-only sequence of a golf swing using an overlapping grip and thus without the need for a club or any other device(s), in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 12 through 17 illustrate a side view of a limb-only sequence of a golf swing using an overlapping grip and thus without the need for a club or any other device(s), in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 18 through 23 illustrate a front view of a sequence of a golf swing using an overlapping gripping style and also using a golf club, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 24 illustrates the use of a launch monitor to determine ball travel characteristics after being struck to aid in the fitting of golf equipment based on ball travel, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 25 illustrates a flow chart of the steps of the method of the present invention, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Embodiments of the present invention include, but are not limited to, various stages of forming a golf grip using only one's limbs and without using any golf clubs or other devices, the learning of a golf swing using only one's limbs and without using any golf clubs or other devices that can negatively influence the performance and/or consistency of a golf swing, and the fitting of equipment used in golf, most notably golf clubs, based upon the learned golf swing.

Various aspects of the illustrative embodiments will be described using terms commonly employed by those skilled in the art to convey the substance of their work to others skilled in the art. However, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the present invention may be practiced with only some of the described aspects. For purposes of explanation, specific numbers, materials and configurations may be set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the illustrative embodiments. However, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that the present invention may be practiced without the specific details. In other instances, well-known features might be omitted or simplified in order not to obscure the illustrative embodiments.

Various operations will be described as multiple discrete operations, in turn, in a manner that is most helpful in understanding the present invention, however, the order of description should not be construed as to imply that these operations are necessarily order dependent. In particular, these operations need not be performed in the order of presentation. The phrases “one embodiment” and “the embodiment” are used often. The phrases generally do not refer to the same embodiment, however, they may. The terms “comprising,” “having,” and “including” are synonymous, unless the context dictates otherwise.

FIG. 1 shows one embodiment of hand positions taken when forming a golf grip, which can be accomplished using only one's own limbs and without the use of an actual golf club or any other device. Such a process of learning how to form a golf grip is a preferable first step in learning how to effectively perform the motion of a golf swing. The process can be further applied to more effectively fit golf equipment. As many as fourteen golf clubs are now allowed under the rules of golf when playing the game. No matter how far technology advances, there can always be at least small imperfections, tolerances, and other differences in the construction of one golf club to the next. Such differences are often enough to affect one's golf swing when changing from one golf club to another. A lack of acceptable golf swing performance ability is often blamed for such differences in swing consistency, when in fact there is nothing wrong at all with the underlying golf swing.

The use of multiple and variable pieces of equipment for the same activity is one of golfs unique features. This unique feature is one very important reason why a reference or base golf swing must be learned without using any golf clubs or other external devices or influences. Achieving this goal results in the most consistent, repeatable, and reliable swing motion possible without any external influences being present to affect the swing. Very precise comparisons may then be made between the base swing and swinging performed with various golf clubs or other devices. While there are devices made to substitute for golf clubs with the intent of helping one learn to hold onto and/or make a better golf swing, none of these devices are necessary when the present invention's method is used and all such devices may be eliminated. Such devices may also attempt to develop golfers' golf grips and/or golf swings based on someone else's idea of what a good golf grip and/or swing should be like, whereas the present invention gives golfers the best opportunity to develop their own most effective grips/swings.

In addition to swing performance inconsistency that can be caused by switching between abundant, imperfect golf clubs, the golf industry unfortunately has a history of developing some rather inadequate golf swing and clubfitting theories and practices. This often results in golfers swinging and playing worse after they take golf club swinging lessons and/or have been fit for golf clubs than before they engaged in those activities. It can often be seen that a golfer that appears to have a less efficient golf swing with a golf club in hand actually has a very efficient golf swing when the golf club is taken out of the golfer's hand and he or she is observed swinging using the present invention's method. Such inefficient swinging with a golf club in hand is the result of ineffective golf swing teaching and/or clubfitting procedure that is quite common throughout the golf industry. This inefficiency might be traced to several factors, including but not limited to the long-used golf club specification of swingweighting, which to this day is not understood well and does not work well for a considerable number of golfers. The present invention's method will overcome these stated problems.

In FIG. 1, shown is a common gripping style of a right-handed golfer who perhaps may not be as experienced at playing golf as some others, with the right hand 20 placed completely beyond the left hand 22. The little finger 24 of the right hand is butted up against the index finger 26 of the left hand, with no overlapping or intertwining of those hand parts. The left thumb 28 may protrude just slightly into the palm of the right hand 20, perhaps being wrapped around by just the little finger 24 of the right hand.

The gripping style of FIG. 1 is often referred to as a ten-fingered or baseball style grip and is often the first, most natural way that beginning players will grip a golf club for a period of time. There are, however, some very talented and experienced golfers that also prefer using this style of gripping a golf club. This gripping style is very closely related to the hand-next-to-hand configurations that are routinely and naturally utilized in most other sporting activities such as swinging a baseball bat or tennis racket. Such a gripping style is also routine in many common, everyday, non-sporting activities as well. These activities can include but not be limited to those using devices having handles, such as tools for construction and gardening and kitchenware for cooking. While the ten-finger grip is still used by some and may be used in connection with gripping a golf club, note in FIG. 1 how, without a common object running through both hands, the axis lines running independently through each hand, 30 for the right hand 20 and 32 for the left hand 22, can easily run at different angles with respect to each other when implementing this gripping style.

Because these angles may not be as consistent as when an actual golf club is used and a golf shaft with a straighter axis (as defined by the rules of golf) runs through the two hands 20 and 22, a resultant golf swing made with the hands at different angles can result in a noticeably different golf swing motion being made than when using an actual golf club. In addition to this difference in hand position angles before a golf swing is even begun, using a baseball style grip when swinging without any golf clubs or golf-club-like devices in hand results in the hands being much more prone to additional changes in angles, positions, and/or movements during actual swinging. This allows yet greater potential for various inconsistencies and/or errors relative to swinging with actual golf clubs.

The embodiment of FIG. 2 shows the beginnings of the most common golf gripping style that has developed through the history of golf thus far. It is usually known as the overlapping grip, sometimes referred to as the Vardon grip, named after past golfer Harry Vardon, who was very instrumental in popularizing this particular gripping style. The common overlapping grip in golf can be very awkward to develop in the beginning for players wanting to learn how to play golf or play golf better. The reasoning behind developing this gripping style as being advantageous toward playing the game of golf well, as generally given by the golf industry, is that this gripping style allows the hands to work better together as a single unit. While this statement is indeed true, it is also a statement that is very much misinterpreted by most and not explained very well within the golf industry. This has resulted in misconceptions regarding why golfers should work toward developing such a gripping style in order to improve their ability at playing golf.

At first glance, it may seem unnecessary and even detrimental to develop such a seemingly unnatural golf gripping style. For one thing, learning how to hit an object that is motionless while swinging at it is inherently easier to accomplish than if the object were in motion while trying to hit it. As such, and putting aside other factors like the comparatively small size of a golf ball that contributes to the game's overall challenge, learning how to swing at and hit a golf ball is easier than, as one example, learning how to swing at and hit a pitched baseball, which can be moving at different speeds and different directions while trying to hit it. Additionally, more swing speed may be developed when the hands are abutting each other on an implement being swung (like a baseball bat) as opposed to the hands being partially overlapped or similar relative to each other. (However, it is true that an abutting grip style generally requires a higher level of coordination and is usually a more difficult skill to develop in order to obtain that higher swing speed). Once gotten used to, coordination about the hands is not as demanding when an overlapping or similar gripping style is implemented, resulting in swing performance that is not as difficult.

In combining these two principles, a situation comes to light that would seem to impede the achieving of the best golfing performance for a golfer. If a golf swing is already an easier activity to learn than so many other activities that humans have proven they can excel at and accomplish so much at, and if golfers are always on the lookout for, among other things, the ability to hit a golf ball farther, something that an easier ten-fingered or baseball grip might help achieve within one's golf game, then why would a particular gripping style (that can be initially difficult to get used to) be recommended to help make a golf swing even easier than it already is while sacrificing other potential advantages? The answer is in knowing the highly specific reason(s) for developing such a distinct gripping style. The golf industry has asserted that swing difficulty is the reason, but this particular solution is not related to the overall difficulty (or ease) of a golf swing.

It is again established here that one very unique feature of golf is that of regularly swinging multiple, various, imperfect golf clubs on successive swings, variant golf clubs that can affect swinging performance and the consistency of swinging performance. Thus, it is advantageous to learn to effectively perform a golf swing without the use of any golf clubs or golf-club-like devices. Eliminating as many extraneous, swing-influencing elements as possible, including the multiple and various inconsistencies encountered when swinging while switching between many different imperfect golf clubs, is the best and most accurate way of determining crucial swing performance characteristics.

In other activities, even if any equipment used is imperfect, a performer usually at least has the luxury of performing with the identical piece of equipment over and over again, getting more used to it as more repetitions are made and giving the performer a better chance to make any wanted/needed adjustments. The game of golf affords no such luxury, with a switch between a first club and second club perhaps having a slightly different grip size, between the second and a third club maybe resulting in a slightly different golf club balance, and so on, with usually only one swing made with each before a different club must be used in the normal course of playing the game.

These are the real, detailed reasons for the development and existence of a golf club gripping concept such as the overlapping grip. But while this most popular gripping style has been around already for about a century in golf, the true reasoning for its existence has not been properly understood to this point. The correct application of such a gripping method for holding on to a golf club is within a sequence of first learning how to grip a golf club without the use of any golf clubs or other swing-influencing elements, subsequently analyzing and/or learning the golf swing of choice without any golf clubs or other elements or devices present that can affect swing performance or the consistency of swing performance, and furthermore utilizing this formed base swing in the course of most effectively fitting golf equipment to obtain the best golfing performance.

It is when no golf club or other device is in hand when the expression that the hands “work together as a single unit” really develops a crucial meaning that comes into play with respect to golf swing performance. The present invention utilizes this information effectively to implement a new and advanced use of such gripping technique to learn how to swing a golf club and fit equipment related to golf more efficiently. When utilizing a golf club or other device, a common axis through both hands is normally provided, around which the hands of a golfer are placed. There is no need for the hands to work better together as a single unit under this circumstance.

Since many, much more difficult human actions are performed exquisitely using gripping styles on equipment where the hands simply abut each other, the expression that the hands should “work together as a single unit” is an irrelevant and unnecessary concern with respect to golf swing performance when actual golf clubs or golf club substitute devices are used. With no golf clubs or external devices however, a condition under which it is extremely important to learn to swing a golf club because of the game's unique equipment usage feature as already stated, the need for the hands to “work together as a single unit” truly becomes a critical element toward comprehending and learning how to swing a golf club and also fit related equipment correctly.

In FIG. 2, a typical overlapping grip begins with the positioning of the little finger 24 of the right hand 20 essentially underneath the index finger 26 of the left hand 22 (for a right-handed golfer again).

In the embodiment of FIG. 3, a partially completed overlapping grip as viewed somewhat from the left side, the right-hand 20 little finger 24 overlaps the left-hand 22 index finger 26. As a result of this procedure, notice how the left thumb 28 tends to move much further down into the right hand 20, whereas in FIG. 1 the left thumb 28 may be barely protruding into the right hand 20 due to the gripping style.

FIG. 4 shows one embodiment of a completed overlapping golf grip, which is securely formed without the need for any golf clubs or club substitutes. By using such a method of forming a golf grip, the hands can function in an equal manner without using any golf clubs or golf-club-like devices as they would when actual golf clubs are used. This is the only time and place, without any external device being held on to, in which the long-existing phrase in golf of the hands needing to “work together as a single unit” can be justly applied in a relevant context with respect to a golf swing and the subsequent fitting of golf equipment. Take particular note of how much further into the right hand 20 the left thumb 28 extends with this style of gripping a golf club, providing a secure means (the left thumb 28) for at least the middle two fingers 34 of the right hand 20 to hold onto in the course of any golf swing made. Additionally, such a gripping style helps assure that an axis 36 extending through both hands stays at the same, constant angle throughout any swing motion made, the same condition that would occur if a golf club or golf-club-like device were used during a golf swing.

In order to functionally mimic the existence of an actual golf club, some features of taking a no-club golf grip may commonly and naturally be different from that of gripping an actual golf club. These differences may include, but are not limited to, curling up the left hand fingers into the palm of the left hand 22 to emulate the grip end of a golf club when none is present, of which said fingers would normally be positioned around a golf grip if one were present. This may be seen best in FIGS. 1 and 4. Also, the left thumb 28 extending well into the right hand 20 (best seen in FIGS. 3 and 4) acts as a golf grip and/or shaft for the right-hand 20 middle fingers (34 in FIG. 4) to securely hold on to during a swing when a golf club or golf club substitute is not present. Were a golf club actually present, the right-hand middle fingers would usually be predominantly directly around part of a golf grip rather than the left-hand thumb, with the left-hand thumb 28 placed elsewhere on the golf grip.

In referencing FIG. 3 again, with no golf club or club substitute present the left-hand 22 index finger 26 may be protruded out to the approximate position of right-hand 20 little finger 24. The little finger 24 might then be moved beyond the protruding index finger 26 in order to further aid in securing the two hands together when no golf club is used. Making such modifications are rather natural and intuitive when formulating a secure golf grip when any golf clubs or golf-club-like devices are absent. However, well-designed golf clubs, including but not limited to suitably designed golf shafts and grips, will allow golfers to reproduce their same hand positions relative to each other and the remainder of the golfers' bodies as that produced when secure gripping styles are implemented without any golf club or golf-club-like device. A base golf swing, free of any potential extraneous influences, can thus be developed and is essentially defined as the golf swing made using only the limbs of the body. This base swing can then be used as a reference to help solve problems and increase skills and efficiency at playing and/or teaching the game of golf. The base swing might be referenced against particulars not limited to swings with clubs having various specifications and specification values, swing teaching technique, and/or clubfitting technique.

FIG. 5 shows the beginnings of another type of popular golf gripping style that accomplishes much the same thing as the overlapping grip. This style is known as an interlocking grip. In this style, the right-hand 20 little finger 24 is placed in between the left-hand 22 index finger 26 and its adjacent finger 38 and underneath the left hand 22. Also, the left-hand 22 index finger 26 is placed in between the right-hand 20 little finger 24 and its adjacent finger 40 and under the right hand 20.

The ability to form a secure grip and make an accurate swing using only the body's limbs applies to every type of swinging motion, and it is equally crucial for developing a stroke and fitting equipment when putting in golf. Due to factors that may include putting strokes generally being shorter than other golf strokes, the length of grass from which putting strokes are usually made, and differences in body posture during the set-up and stroking of putts that may be influenced by the first two factors mentioned, gripping styles for putting can often be somewhat different from that of other golf swings. One very common putting gripping style (although not limited to putting by any means) is called the reverse-overlap grip. In referencing FIG. 3, the reverse-overlap grip is essentially the same as the overlap grip shown, except that the left-hand 22 index finger 26 overlaps the right-hand 20 little finger 24 instead, the reverse of what is shown. Another gripping style that has become popular more recently has been the cross-handed grip, in which the right hand 20 and left hand 22 actually trade places (still for a right-handed golfer). There may or may not be any overlapping of limbs when using a cross-handed gripping style.

Other gripping styles may be developed and used as desired for the purpose of being able to effectively make a base golf swing without the need of any golf clubs or golf-club-like substitute devices as extraneous elements. Such extraneous elements can regularly introduce unwanted inconsistencies and/or errors into a golf swing. The more error-free swing that is able to be performed by way of eliminating as many extraneous, influential elements as possible, the more accurate comparisons will be between the inherent base reference swing and any other swings performed with any other extraneous elements introduced. Better decisions can thus be made regarding various aspects of trying to improve a golf swing, the fitting of equipment, and overall performing ability.

Most people in golf would agree that the style in which a golfer grips a golf club is one of the most prominent factors affecting the way the golfer's swing is developed and performed. The inventor is also in complete agreement with this statement and has now disclosed, using the present invention, the most effective method of gripping a golf club that results in any golf swing being free from the most common external influences upon said swing, including inconsistent golf club creation and potentially poor golf swing and/or clubfitting recommendations. Therefore, a golf swing may now be developed and performed in a much more efficient manner than has ever been possible before.

FIGS. 6 through 11 show a front view sequence of a golfer 42 with an overlapping golf grip formed with his hands 44, thus producing a secure and accurate golf grip throughout any golf swing without the use of any external and potentially swing-influencing golf clubs or golf-club-like devices. FIG. 6 shows a start or an address position. An “address” is a portion of the pre-swing initiated when taking a stance over a golf ball or position of the golf ball and ended with the start of a swing. A “pre-swing” begins with any thought or action to prepare for making a swing and ends with the start of a swing. Although the rules of golf specifically define a golf stroke (swing) as only the forward movement of a swing, a golf “swing” herein is more broadly considered to be any movement begun with a conscious intent to hit a golf ball or simulated golf ball. FIG. 7 shows a golf swing approximately half way back toward a completed backswing, while FIG. 8 displays a typical completed backswing of a golfer. FIG. 9 demonstrates a common forward swing position of a golfer about halfway through the forward swing. FIG. 10 shows a typical impact position when a golfer makes contact with a golf ball, and FIG. 11 displays an approximate follow-through finish of a golf swing.

The embodiment of FIGS. 12 through 17 display the same golfer 42, the same secure overlapping gripping method 44, and the same golf swing positions described in and corresponding to FIGS. 6 through 11, but from a side view.

Different golf swing styles that are taught by different individual teachers or organizations sometimes seem to be as numerous as there are golfers. The present invention does not distinguish between such swinging styles, as any golf swing style imaginable may be taught/learned most efficiently using the present invention. In fact, some features of golf clubs or golf club substitutes can indeed hamper the learning of any swinging style when these elements are incorporated in an attempt to help improve golfer swinging. As one example, a poorly fitted golf club with too large a grip size recommended for a golfer might result in the golfer unfavorably slicing (curving) a golf ball to the right (for a right-handed golfer), potentially resulting in his or her golf swing motion being deemed faulty by the golf swing teacher due to the occurrence. However, upon removing the extraneous golf club from the golfer's hands and having him or her repeat the swing, it might be found that the golfer makes a beautifully formed golf swing in accordance with the swinging style being taught, proving instead that the golf club is incorrectly fitted. The present invention is not subject to such errors.

The present invention allows the teaching and/or learning of any facet of any preferred golf swing using only a body's limbs, eliminating elements such as golf clubs that can and do influence swinging and/or the consistency of swinging. Without using the present invention, a golf swing routinely gets blamed for being faulty or inefficient when in fact there are no inherent problems with the swing. One swing facet that can be worked on using the present invention includes golf gripping style, which may comprise a choice of using a gripping style already discussed such as an overlapping, interlocking, or baseball grip. Additionally, it might be preferred to turn the hands to a weaker position (top of the hands as seen in FIG. 1 rotated to the left) or a stronger position (hands rotated to the right).

Other swing facets that may be worked on include swing plane, footwork, address posture, pre-swing movement, swinging balance, swing tempo and timing, and/or anything else that can be worked on when also adding in golf clubs, golf-club substitutes, and/or any other extraneous elements. In fact, some swing positions cannot be held for any length of time when using a real golf club (due to its weight), but they can be held longer and better when using no club and just one's own limbs. Thus, it could be stated that even more golf swing facets can be better analyzed and worked on when using the present invention. Holding a swing position at the top of the backswing (FIGS. 8 and 14) for the purpose of analyzing and working on that swing aspect is one noted example.

The analyzing, learning, and/or teaching of any style of golf swing can be achieved using the present invention better than has ever been possible before. Eliminating as many extraneous influences on a golf swing as possible, such as golf clubs or golf club substitutes, can be used to great advantage. While no additional help is necessary in order to analyze, teach, and/or learn any style of golf swing using the present invention, supplemental aid may be used as desired, including but not limited to using computer-implemented and/or video resources. Specific golf swing positions may be compared against pre-existing examples of another golfer's swing positions for example. As another example, when some people analyze a swing it is very important for them to know the exact positioning of a golf club head at any point during the swing. In such an instance, a golf club substitute means that might be computer generated may be added to a computer and/or video analysis of a golfer. By using such means, the detailed positioning of any part of a golf club might still be analyzed during golfer swinging, yet the present invention's distinct advantage of eliminating unwanted extraneous golf club swing influence(s) during golf swing performance can still be implemented.

With the present invention providing a better method of teaching, learning, and/or performing a golf swing, the invention's method may be further extended to also improve the past means of fitting golf equipment, including all golf clubs. Alternately, the steps of the present invention's method of using only the body's limbs to develop a golf grip and swing might be separated from the equipment fitting steps, for which an independent equipment fitting method may be formed.

Golf club fitting methods of the past have predominantly been comprised of single-step methods. In many cases this single step was one of fitting golf clubs based on the way a golf ball travels after being hit by a golfer, with an underlying assumption that the straighter, longer, and more solid the golf shot result is, the better the golfer is swinging. This statement, however, is regularly proven false, with golfers routinely making good golf swings and still obtaining bad golf ball travel results, or getting very good ball travel results from a swing that is not performed well at all. In other cases, golf ball travel results and swing performance are both considered in the course of fitting golf clubs to a golfer, but the two aspects are treated mainly as a single, intertwined, and inseparable unit where the same fitting principles could apply to either golfing aspect in essentially the same manner. As a result of these two predominant ways of thinking, a two-step fitting process has never been successfully developed, resulting in a less-than-successful golf club fitting industry to this point. Insufficient attention has been given to the fitting of golf clubs directly to golf swinging performance as a separate and distinct fitting step, and the present invention rectifies this situation.

Inconsistent attention paid to golf swing performance in the fitting of golf clubs is very often defined by the word “feel.” Unfortunately, there is abundant confusion within the golf industry regarding certain golf club fitting theories and practices. As such, the word “feel” in golf has in the past been defined in many different ways by different club fitters and golfers, contributing to this confusion and a lack of better success within the clubfitting trade. A leading reason for this confusion is that certain golfing aspects and terms that should always be clearly separated and independent from each other have never been properly divided. The present invention distinctly separates golf swing performance from golf ball travel results, correctly defines the expression of “swing feel” as it should apply in golf, and divides the club fitting process into a highly efficient, two-step method. The term “ball travel” as used within the present invention shall broadly refer to any and all facets of equipment fitting not particularly connected to direct swing performance. In addition to the obviousness of golf ball flight, this may include but not be limited to data from impact patterns between clubfaces and golf balls, divot information through the ground and/or associated marks on clubhead soles, and measurements taken before ball travel begins, such as shaft flexing profiles.

One common sense, elementary statement made in golf is that in order to consistently play the game to the best of one's ability, the single most important factor in achieving this goal is that one must consistently swing to the best of one's ability. The inventor is in total agreement with this statement. Therefore, the first fundamental of fitting any golf club to any golfer should be to fit the club in accordance with the way one performs his/her golf swing. A major ingredient in the determination of the quality of a performed golf swing is what is commonly referred to as the “feel” of one's swing. The term “feel” as used in golf may be defined in multiple, distinct ways. One more discreet definition can be “the feel obtained at impact between golf club and golf ball,” which can include the amount of physical vibration felt by one during impact. This type of “feel” might be more crucial to golfers who experience arthritis in their hands, elbow problems, or other physical ailments, and this particular “feel” can be affected by golf club grip size and material, shaft flex and material, and more. Another discreet definition for “feel” can be “the feel of the clubhead on the end of the golf shaft when starting the downswing,” and this “feel” may be an important contributing feeling when one is trying to determine what shaft flexibility to use in one's golf clubs. These two definitions of “feel” may technically be more appropriately grouped under a distinct heading of types of “golf club feel.” Neither of these definitions, however, is anywhere related to the term “swing feel” in golf.

Since it has already been established how the extraneous element of golf clubs can so easily and so often influence the performance of one's golf swing, it stands to reason that in order to most efficiently define the term “swing feel” in golf, every effort must be made to remove the potential influence(s) of any golf clubs or golf club substitutes from the base or default definition of “swing feel.” The present invention allows such an authoritative definition of “swing feel” to be formulated. In referring back to FIGS. 6 through 11 if needed, the definition of “swing feel” in golf, as newly and better defined here, distinctly becomes “the feel obtained anywhere or anytime in the course of golf swing performance using only the limbs of the body to swing with, absent any golf clubs or golf club substitutes, and also eliminating all other extraneous elements deemed potentially influential respecting golf swing performance.” “Golf club substitute” is defined here as any extraneous device or circumstance used other than only the limbs of the body in the course of swinging and which may affect the performance of said swinging.

Despite the expression's greatly improved definition here, “swing feel” may always retain a “subjective” component to it that might depend on unscientific human feelings. Therefore, other means may be used to help assess swinging performance as well. These might include but not be limited to the watchful eye of a qualified entity regarding swing performance and/or equipment fitting, video comparisons against pre-existing swing style movements and/or positions, and/or computer-implemented aids for golf swing and golf club fitting analysis.

In separating golf clubs into smaller parts and specifications, most of these parts and specifications can be fit directly to golf swing performance, including by “swing feel,” without regard to golf ball travel results. This is a foundational first step of an effective fitting method to correctly integrate a club with a learned golf swing. Golf club parts include but are not limited to golf grips, shafts, and club heads. Golf club specifications that may directly affect golf swing performance can include but are not limited to grip size, swingweight, shaft weight, and total golf club weight. Some clubfitting practitioners list no less than twenty influential golf club specifications. Some specifications, though, such as club head loft, are usually more influential of ball travel results than of direct swinging performance. More detailed descriptions of various golf club specifications and their potential influences can be found in any number of widely available clubfitting materials.

The present invention does not specify any particular order that such parts and specifications are to be fit. Such decision(s) may vary by clubfitting program, organization, or individual clubfitter. Any number of specifications may have to be reanalyzed after being initially fit, as when any club specification is changed, that change might affect the choice of value of any other given club specification.

One of the goals of club designers and makers is to produce golf clubs such that golfers can utilize their bodies and formed swings to the fullest of their physical and emotional abilities. This includes developing golf grip designs that result in golfers' hands being placed in the same positions relative to each other (and relative to the remainder of the golfers' bodies) when they take hold of said golf grip designs as their hands are when they form their golf grip hand positions without the use of any golf clubs or golf club substitutes. There is no better way for golfers, golf club designers, makers, fitters, and even golf swing teachers to help achieve this goal than to start the clubfitting process by a first step of fitting golf clubs directly to golf swing performance that is as unaffected by extraneous factors as possible, including but not limited to initially eliminating golf clubs.

FIGS. 18 through 23 show golfer 42 using the same secure golf gripping style 44 and introduce a golf club 46. FIGS. 18 through 23 should be correlated with the same positions illustrated in FIGS. 6 through 11. The objective of this next step of the present invention's comprehensive method of better learning a golf swing and fitting golf clubs comprises striving to make the identical swing with any given golf club in hand (FIGS. 18-23) as the swing made using only the limbs of the body (FIGS. 6-11). (If considering the golf swing development steps and the golf equipment fitting steps to be distinct inventions, then this is the initial step of an independent method invention of improved equipment fitting).

In further elaborating about “swing feel,” which can be a very consistent, repeatable, and easily memorizable activity when performed in accordance with the definition stated above, golfers could be very familiar with the positions of every part of their bodies at any point during their unaffected swings, as well as the overall speed (tempo) and coordination of moving body parts in a specific order (timing) of their swings. “Swing feel” applies to all types of golf swings made, from the fullest, hardest of golf swings down to the smallest, most subtle of chipping or putting strokes. Such “swing feel” may be utilized alone in this step and communicated to the clubfitter. Despite improved technology analysis devices, subtle differences in “swing feel” may be detectable by the human brain even before, as an example, a complex computer reveals any swing change(s). Expanding on that previously noted, however, any other desired means may be used to aid in or replace “swing feel” to analyze and determine golf club parts and specifications to be used in the course of fitting golf clubs directly to golf swing performance as the first priority.

Preferred choices of golf club specification values in implementing this clubfitting step might be selected based upon, as one example, detected swing performance changes among golf clubs having different grip sizes while all other golf club parameters remain unchanged. Choosing a golf club swingweight value might likewise be decided by varying golf club swingweight values while keeping the remaining golf club parameters unchanged. Other club-to-club changes and comparisons can be made as desired, with the limb-only swing(s) serving as the root swing(s) against which any/all other swings are to be evaluated against and serving as the swing(s) to be duplicated as exactly as possible when using clubs.

Golf club specifications can also affect golfer pre-swing movement and positioning, including during the address (depicted in FIGS. 6, 12, and 18). Golf club specifications that can affect pre-swing movement and positioning are, but are not limited to, grip size and club head face angle, which can influence hand position relative to the body while preparing to swing, and swingweight, which may affect the speed at which pre-swing movements are made. Such factors can influence the performance of a subsequent golf swing. Club length might also be chosen to intentionally alter one's body posture or spine angle at address, which may also affect succeeding swinging performance. Therefore, the step of the present invention's method that fits clubs by directly emulating swinging that is performed without using any golf clubs or golf club substitutes as its first priority, may also include emulating any or all limb-only pre-swing actions that can, in turn, be highly influential toward subsequent golf swing performance.

Sequentially is the choosing of golf club parts or specifications to obtain the desired golf ball travel as a secondary priority of fitting, without compromising the golf swing performance achieved in the previous step, to complete a most advanced fitting method. Some golf club specifications, including but not limited to golf club head loft, club lie (the angle of the club head relative to the club shaft), and shaft flexibility, may ordinarily but not always be considered to have an effect on ball travel but not on the performance of a golf swing directly. Such specifications may now be selected to fine-tune golf ball travel in any manner desired, with the highest priority remaining the quality of swinging performance acquired in the prior step to best fit any clubs. No particular order is specified for fitting such club parts and/or specifications. As it is when fitting directly to swing performance as the first priority, changing any given parameter may affect any other parameter. Parts and specifications might have to be analyzed more than once during the fitting process, thus making any such explicit fitting order fallible.

Many other golf club specifications, though, including but not limited to swingweight and grip size, can affect both direct golf swing performance and also subsequent ball travel characteristics. In accordance with using the preferred embodiment of the present invention, if a particular golf grip size results in a less desirable golf ball travel curvature characteristic after being struck by a golfer, yet the identical grip size results in the best “swing feel” for the golfer over other grip sizes and/or the best swing performance match to the golfer's limb-only swing(s), then that particular golf grip size should be chosen for the golfer. Other golf club specifications might then be adjusted instead of grip size to help achieve desired ball travel results and without negatively affecting the golfer's swing performance.

Another example might involve choosing between two popular golf shaft models of today named Dynamic Gold S300 and X100. Both are essentially the same design except for step locations on them that are changed by two inches, resulting in different stiffness qualities and diameters along each of their lengths. Developed swing speed and/or ball travel results are two of the most common elements looked at when deciding between the two shafts. However, the two-inch difference in step patterns, which can come into play in the form of different shaft diameters felt under different parts of the hands when gripping each model, can result in profound differences in direct swing performance between the two golf shafts. Yet such direct swing performance is most often ignored in clubfitting and replaced with the aforesaid and/or similar elements that are generally less effective at producing the best overall playing improvement. In accordance with using the present invention, the first priority in choosing between these two shafts should be based on direct swinging performance that most closely matches limb-only swinging. Other elements may subsequently be altered as desired, with the understanding that retaining the highest level of direct swing performance equals the best club fit at clubfitting's most fundamental level.

Swing performance determinations regularly include subjective decisions, and like most other devices and processes may also contain tolerances, in which acceptable swinging performance might be achieved within a certain range of a golf club specification or golf swing motion. Swingweight is one good example, where even the best of golfers can often swing well with three consecutive values of swingweight. While “swing feel” may be a little heavy at the highest of these swingweight values and a little light at the lowest, overall swing performance is often still acceptable within such range. Thus, while an undetermined amount of direct swinging performance may be sacrificed in doing so, it may be possible to slightly alter any given golf club specification in order to try and obtain better golf ball travel while still maintaining acceptable swinging performance.

As a different example, a particular golf club that results in a noticeable and unwanted change to a golfer's swing plane might still be preferred over other club choices because the timing element of the golfer's swing may be felt to be best with the particular club, determined to be a more important swing factor, and determined to be not practically achievable with the other club choices available. Subsequent modification(s) to the particular golf club (such that the golfer's swing timing is not adversely affected) may be made if desired to adjust golf ball travel if the change in swing plane contributes to a less-than-desirable ball travel result. Golf ball travel results also regularly include subjective decisions and tolerances.

FIG. 24 shows the golfer 42 having just completed a golf swing and hit a golf ball 48. Several golf club and golf ball travel statistics may be measureable with a launch monitor 50. The golf club 46 has already been configured pursuant to the direct swinging performance fitting step described earlier and displayed in FIGS. 6-11 and 18-23. Launch monitors and/or similarly named devices have become very prevalent in recent times for aiding in analyzing certain golfer, golf club, and/or golf ball travel data. While the use of such devices (often computer-implemented) can be a valuable help in the right hands, launch monitors primarily focus on ball travel results and not the direct swinging performance of golfers. The launch monitor results 52, displaying one likely measurement, indicate the ball launch angle 54 as thirty degrees. It might be pre-determined that the best overall golf ball distance achievable from the golfer 42 for the particular golf club being used 46 may be obtained with a ball launch angle of twenty-five degrees. The golf club head 56 might subsequently be adjusted or replaced with a club head having mutual characteristics except for five degrees less club head loft. Thus, golf ball travel can be fine-tuned and improved for the golfer 42, yet in a way and/or using a golf club specification that does not adversely influence the golfer's swing performance as determined and achieved in the preceding step.

FIG. 25 is a complete flow chart embodiment of the present invention's method. First is forming a secure golf grip using only a body's limbs 58. Second is developing a golf swing using the formed grip 60, using only the body's limbs to work with and absent the use of any golf clubs or substitution devices. The next step 62 initiates the clubfitting process by fitting at least one golf club to the developed swing, whereby swinging performance with the at least one golf club is reproduced as accurately as possible to the developed, limb-only golf swing. Continuing, the step of 64 comprises the completion of the clubfitting process by further fitting the at least one golf club to obtain a desired golf ball travel result, whereby the swing performance achieved in 62 is judiciously maintained. As noted earlier, the successive steps of 62 and 64 may comprise their own unique equipment fitting method, whereas the steps of steps 58 and 60 may comprise a novel swing development method, both within the scope of the present invention.

Other factors within swing development and equipment fitting processes can influence both “swing feel,” including but not limited to wearing apparel of all types, and ball or other object travel results, including but not limited to features of the ball or object itself. Therefore, it is preferable to not limit the scope of the present invention to features such as merely clubs respecting equipment fitting.

While seemingly contrary to following the most sound and logical route of first developing and/or improving golf swing performance and subsequently fitting any golf clubs to the best swing performance, it may instead be desired by some fitters to implement the present invention's clubfitting method steps (62 and 64) in reverse order than what has been presented to this point. In any such cases, ball travel results would be the first priority and swing performance the second priority. Direct swinging performance might still fall within the guidelines of the embodiment(s) presented, wherein swinging performance success or failure is determined by how well golf swings are reproduced with any golf clubs in hand relative to limb-only swings without using any golf clubs or golf-club-like devices. However, different golf club specification values may initially be chosen using ball travel results as the higher priority. While golf swing performance may still seem to be acceptable at the end of such a fitting process, golf club specifications may be of a totally different configuration as a result of this reversal of the clubfitting method. Such outcomes may occur due to the natural ability of many golfers to adjust their swings a certain amount no matter what type of equipment is tested.

Most people even only moderately experienced at golf are aware of how much a golf swing can be affected by certain changes in golf club specifications. In light of this knowledge, fitting golf clubs to golfers by way of ball travel as the first priority and swing performance as the second priority can be considered a form of fitting a golf swing to clubs and/or ball travel results rather than fitting golf clubs and/or golf ball travel to a golf swing. It can ordinarily be stated that fitting golf clubs directly to a swing as the first priority is the recommended method to achieve the best overall golfing performance, but the reverse method may be used if deemed advantageous toward producing the most effective clubfitting. Via either means, at least one golf club or other piece of equipment may thus be produced to any equipment specification(s) determined during the fitting process.

Thus, it can be seen from the above descriptions, a method of developing a limb-only golf grip and swing such that said grip and swing may be developed absent extraneous elements, including but not limited to golf clubs, which can negatively affect the movement, positioning, and/or consistency of said golf grip and swing, and fitting equipment to a golf swing and ball travel results, where one step comprises obtaining the best swinging performance by fitting the equipment directly to the limb-only swing as the primary priority, and where a succeeding step comprises fitting the equipment to ball travel results and/or any other golfing performance elements while maintaining the swing performance achieved in the prior step has been disclosed. While the present invention has been related in terms of the foregoing embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that the invention is not limited to the embodiments depicted. The present invention can be practiced with modification and alteration within the spirit and scope of the appended claims. Thus, the description is to be regarded as illustrative instead of restrictive on the present invention.