Title:
GOLF PLANING PUTTING STROKE TRAINING DEVICE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to a golf putting training device that trains the user to develop a planing stroke. The device achieves this effect through a combination of tactile and visual cues that reinforce the correct putting motion during repeated practice. Such cues include: a guide rail; an L-shaped guide member, a foot positioning guide; a head and eye positioning mirror; a putting line indicator; a target hoop; center, forward, and rear putting marks; and a square to the plane putter face alignment guide



Inventors:
Tischler II, Edward Anthony (Sunnyvale, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/276308
Publication Date:
05/07/2009
Filing Date:
11/22/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/252, 473/265, 473/270
International Classes:
A63B69/36
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LEGESSE, NINI F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Nader Elziq (110 Russell BLVD Apt 4, Davis, CA, 95616, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A golf planing putting stroke training device comprising: a straight guiderail having a first end and a second end, said guide rail being supported parallel to the ground by a first support rod at the first end and a second support rod at the second end.

2. The golf planing putting stroke training device of claim 1, where said guide rail has a center guiderail setup mark indicating where a putter should be placed in the center putting position, a forward guiderail setup mark indicating where said putter should be placed in the forward putting position, and a rear guiderail setup mark indicating where said putter should be placed in the rear putting position.

3. The golf planing putting stroke training device of claim 1 further comprising: an L-shaped alignment guide member, said L-shaped guide member comprising a first part and a second part, where said L-shaped guide member first part is parallel to an intended putting line and in a plane with said guiderail, and where said L-shaped guide member second part is perpendicular to said first part.

4. The golf planing putting stroke training device of claim 2 further comprising: an L-shaped alignment guide member, said L-shaped guide member comprising a first part and a second part, where said L-shaped guide member first part is parallel to an intended putting line and in a plane with said guiderail, and where said L-shaped guide member second part is perpendicular to said first part, and said L-shaped guide member first part has a center marking vertically aligned with said center guiderail setup mark, and said L-shaped guide member first part has a forward marking vertically aligned with said forward guiderail setup mark, and said L-shaped guide member first part has a rear marking vertically aligned with said rear guiderail setup mark.

5. The golf planing putting stroke training device of claim 1, further comprising: an arced clubface alignment guide that simulates the positioning of a square to the plane of the stroke clubface alignment at varying positions throughout the stroke.

6. A golf planing putting stroke training device comprising: an L-shaped alignment guide member, said L-shaped guide member comprising a first part and a second part, where said L-shaped guide member first part is parallel to an intended putting line, and where said L-shaped guide member second part is perpendicular to said first part.

7. The golf planing putting stroke training device of claim 6, where said L-shaped guide member second part is a ball positioning guide.

8. The golf planing putting stroke training device of claim 7, where said L-shaped guide member has the same functionality when said L-shaped guide member is reflected across the intended putting line to accommodate a left-handed player.

9. The golf planing putting stroke training device of claim 6, further comprising: a forward foot positioning guide removably attached to said L-shaped guide member first part, and a rear foot positioning guide removably attached to said L-shaped guide member first part.

10. The golf planing putting stroke training device of claim 6, further comprising: a target hoop, the plane of said target hoop being perpendicular to and intersecting with said intended putting line.

11. The golf planing putting stroke training device of claim 10, further comprising: a straight ball-to-hoop alignment device placed in line with both the location of the ball and the target hoop.

12. The golf planing putting stroke training device of claim 6, further comprising a head and eye position mirror removably attached to said L-shaped guide member first part, said head and eye position mirror having a number of marking parallel to said L-shaped guide member first part, and said head and eye position mirror being placed inside the intended putting line.

13. The golf planing putting stroke training device of claim 12, further comprising a straight guiderail having a first end and a second end, said guide rail being supported parallel to the ground by a first support rod at the first end and a second support rod at the second end, said guiderail having guiderail mirrors on the top surface of said guide rail.

14. The golf planing putting stroke training device of claim 5, further comprising an arced clubface alignment guide that simulates the positioning of a square to the plane of the stroke clubface alignment at varying positions throughout the stroke.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority as a continuation-in-part of USPTO Application “Putting Stroke Trainer and Method of Use”, application Ser. No. 11/796,713 filed Apr. 30, 2007 and currently pending before the USPTO.

FIELD

Golf putting training devices designed and configured to aid in the development of putting skills and habits through repetitive training.

BACKGROUND

Putting in the game of Golf is arguably the most important and most precise part of the game of golf. With regard to scoring in the game of Golf, putting statistically has the greatest influence. It has the greatest influence because it encompasses over 40% of the strokes a golfer plays to complete the course of 18 holes of Golf. To ensure a golfer has the best chance of minimizing strokes while putting, the golfer must develop as precisely repeatable a stroke as possible. To perform this precise stroke repeat ably under the pressures of play the stroke must be conditioned into habit. To perform this precise stroke repeat ably under the pressures of play it is also recommended that the golfer's putting technique naturally fits the golfer's individual biomechanical needs. Strokes developed with natural biomechanics have the best opportunity to be trusted and performed under the pressures of play. In recent years it has been shown that it is much easier to condition into habit a stroke that naturally fits the individual's biomechanical needs. It has also been shown that it is much easier to trust a stroke that naturally fits the individual setting out to putt the ball. Studies have shown that golfers are built in varying shapes and sizes, and the study of biomechanics describes exactly how each golfer's golfing machinery is organized. Further studies have shown that strokes that most naturally match the biomechanics of each golfer fall into the category of planing strokes. As far as putting strokes are concerned, planing strokes are strokes in which the shaft of the of the putter club move precisely along one geometrical plane throughout the whole stroke.

Many existing training aids are based on theories of developing in-line, linear, strokes that are commonly called straight-back straight-thru strokes because they are intended to travel straight along a path in-line with the ball and the target. Such existing training aids are intended in patents U.S. Pat. No. 6,572,486 B2 and US 2005/0197199 A1. These type of devices and the strokes they intend to develop fail to satisfy the natural biomechanical needs of planing type strokes. By definition they cannot satisfy any type of planing stroke available to the golfer under the established Rules of Golf. The rules of golf stipulate that the shaft of the putter must diverge from vertical. This means the lie angle of the club must be inclined significantly away from a vertical plane. What this means is that any stroke seeking a linear straight-line motion of the putter head must move off the incline plane used for planing strokes. Additionally, linear type theories recommend that the golfer's eyes are positioned directly above the intended line of the putt. This positions the golfer's eyes in the most advantageous position to view and direct a linear action.

Other existing training aids and devices are designed to promote what are commonly called pendulum strokes. By definition pendulum devices also have a vertical in-line component. The influence of this vertical relationship imparts a direct force that ensures that the putter head must move off a true planing path. Since the putter head must begin to the side of the component that establishes the vertical aspect of a pendulum type motion, the putter head will be forced to move off of the inclined plane as soon as the pendulum moves in a pendulum type action. Pendulum type theories and devices strive to position the golfer's eyes directly above the intended line of the putt for two main reasons. The most commonly discussed reason being to position the eyes in a position to look straight down the intended line of the putt. A second reason is to position the golfer's shoulders as close to the intended line of the putt as possible. This is important because the rules of golf require the putter shaft to diverge from the vertical plane at address precisely for the reason of making it impossible to perform a perfect pendulum type action. Therefore, the so-called pendulum type strokes are actually trying to be as pendulum type as possible under the rules of golf. The closer the golfer can position the shoulders to the line of the putt during the set-up and the stroke the better chance the golfer has of performing a pendulum type stroke. With the shoulders positioned as close to the vertical plane as possible, the shoulders can control a stroke that is as close to a true pendulum as possible. What further makes these techniques more pendulum like is securing a hand and grip position that is aligned directly below the center of the shoulders on a vertical plane. It is this positioning that creates the pendulum relationship. Remember, pendulums require a vertical relationship. As the shoulders rock back and forth in as vertical a manner as possible the hands mirror this movement creating a pendulum type action. This activity encourages the putter head to move more straight-back and straight-thru than a true planing type stroke.

Though some theories and devices strive to develop a pendulum motion that creates a plane type relationship between the shoulders and the ball location, they fail to produce an actual planing action. This is due to the requirement of the rules of golf defining that the shaft of the putter be positioned on an inclined plane that is significantly flatter than the vertical plane of a true pendulum motion. Additionally, if the golfer positions his or her eyes over the intended line of the putt, the shaft of the putter by definition will be much flatter than the shoulder plane relationship desired for pendulum type strokes. Therefore, all pendulum type strokes establish a shoulder plane relationship that is more vertical than the shaft angle of the putter and therefore any pendulum type putting action that can be argued to be a planing type stroke will be directed on a plane that is dramatically different than a true planing stroke. This is because pendulum type strokes strive to have the putter head move either straight-back and straight-thru, or on an incline plane that is much more vertical than the inclined plane of the putter shaft. Additionally it is the positioning of and the motion of the shoulders that define this inclined plane. True planing strokes have the structural advantage of the putter shaft moving on the incline plane established by the putter shaft at address. Further studies of pendulum type strokes and devices designed to train pendulum type strokes will show that at address the golfer's forearms and putter shaft are positioned significantly below the shoulder plane and fail to provide any structural advantage. It is only the shoulder positioning that provides structural influence in relations to the plane being recommended. Furthermore, pendulum type strokes can be performed without the putter shaft maintaining one specific geometric plane. Additionally, studies have shown that positioning the body in such a manner that it can use the shoulders muscles to promote a pendulum type stroke creates stress and tension in the body while diminishing use of the golfer's arms and hands. Diminishing arm and hand use has been shown to diminish the golfer's touch and feel, mechanisms that help the golfer precisely deliver the proper amount of energy throughout the impact interval of the stroke. Planing strokes that utilize the structural advantage of planing the shaft of the putter use arm and hand feel to precisely deliver the proper amount of energy. Examples of patents related to pendulum types devices and strokes are U.S. Pat. No. 4,900,030 and U.S. Pat. No. 5,332,211.

As can be seen in all pendulum type strokes, the pendulum motion is being controlled by muscular adjustments as compared to structural transfer. A true planing stroke has structural transfer of the putter shaft along the established plane. The putter shaft is positioned precisely on the structural plane and remains precisely on the structural plane throughout the entire stroke. The golfer may accomplish this planing action with wrist action control only, wrist and arm action control, or wrist, arm, and shoulder action control. With wrist action control only, the shaft of the putter and the golfer's wrists are positioned and structurally maintained in the plane relationship. With wrist and arm action control the putter shaft the golfer's wrists and the golfer's forearms must remain structurally on-plane. With wrist, arm, and shoulder action control the putter shaft, golfer's wrist, forearms, and upper arms must remain structurally on-plane.

An example of a putting training aid that encourages a planing action and shows the difference between pendulum strokes and strokes that satisfy the planing requirements is U.S. Pat. No. 5,465,971. U.S. Pat. No. 5,465,971 was invented by Edward A. Tischler, the same Edward A. Tischler who invented the present invention. The present invention can be used in conjunction with U.S. Pat. No. 5,465,971 showing it is suitable for strokes other than pendulum and straight-line linear strokes.

To further develop the precise nature of putting with a planing type stroke, the golfer must position his or her feet precisely the same distance away from the intended line of the putt every time the stroke is made. To accomplish this, the present invention uses adjustable foot guides to ensure the golfer positions his or her feet in exactly the same position every time. These fore mentioned adjustable foot guides accommodate stance width, stance alignment, and stance distancing away from the intended line of the putt. For example, some golfer's specific biomechanics require more weight to be positioned on the front foot (left foot for right-handed golfers). These golfers will stand with the rear foot (right foot for right handed golfers) further away from the intended line of the putt than the front foot. Biomechanics determines that positioning more weight on the front foot than the rear foot automatically adjusts the golfer's shoulder and arm alignments in what is called an open address alignment. Positioning the rear foot further away from the line adjusts the shoulder and arm alignments back into the proper structural plane alignments. Some golfer's biomechanics require that the golfer stand with a 50-50 weight distribution. These golfers automatically find their arm and shoulder alignments seeking the desired structural plane for a planing stroke. Some golfer's specific biomechanics require more weight to be positioned on the rear foot (right foot for right-handed golfers). These golfers will stand with the front foot (left foot for right handed golfers) further away from the intended line of the putt than the front foot. Biomechanics determines that positioning more weight on the rear foot than the front foot automatically adjusts the golfer's shoulder and arm alignments in what is called a closed address alignment. Positioning the front foot further away from the line adjusts the shoulder and arm alignments back into the proper structural plane alignments. Therefore, where precision is required there is a need to precisely identify exactly where the feet need to be positioned. Precisely identifying foot positions and alignments require a means of consistently marking the exact distance between each foot as well as exactly how far away from the ball line each foot is located. The present invention accomplishes these goals unlike any prior art by providing adjustable foot guides the range from 2 inches in length to 20 inches in length. An example of these foot guides is shown in the drawings, however not limited to the type of construction shown in the drawings.

To further ensure the precision of the golfer's biomechanical structure while putting with a planing type stroke, the position of the golfer's head and eyes must remain constant and inside the line of the putt. The present invention uses a variety of mirrors to ensure the golfer can precisely position his or her head and eyes. Other prior attempts to use mirrors for eye-line and head alignments have done so solely for the purpose of positioning the golfer's eyes directly over the intended line of the putt. These attempts place a mirror on and about the intended line of the putt. The mirror is positioned so that the line of the putt bisects the mirror. This type of mirror positioning accommodates either pendulum stroke efforts or linear stroke efforts. Planing strokes require the head and eyes to be inside the line of the putt so that the golfer's optical view more naturally matches the visual cues and relationships necessary for a planing stroke. The present invention accomplishes this by using fixed, adjustable, and detachable mirrors on the top edge of the guide rail and the L-shaped alignment guide member.

Further studies have shown that some golfers putt best when the arc of the planing stroke travels an equal amount during the backstroke portion of the stroke as it does in the follow-thru portion of the stroke, while other golfers perform best with a shorter backstroke portion of the stroke than the follow-thru portion of the stroke, while other golfers perform best with a backstroke portion traveling much longer than the follow-thru portion of the stroke. The present invention accommodates these needs by positioning marks on the top of the guide rail. There is a forward mark positioned for use by golfers that use a longer backstroke with a shorter follow-thru. These golfers address the ball while positioning the putter shaft on the forward mark. There is a centered mark for golfers that use a stroke that has a backstroke that equal in length to the follow-thru portion of the stroke. These golfers address the ball while positioning the putter shaft on the center mark. There is a rearward mark to be used by golfers that use a shorter backstroke than the follow-thru portion of the stroke. These golfers address the ball while positioning the putter shaft on the rearward mark. All alignment guides, mirrors, and foot-positioning guides are adjustable to be positioned in conjunction with the above-mentioned starting marks.

The present invention has an additional feature of an arced clubface alignment guide that simulates the positioning of a square to the plane of the stroke clubface alignment at varying positions throughout the stroke. To accomplish this, the clubface alignment guide uses markings on the top side of the guide showing the relative alignment of a square to the plane putter face alignment as the golfer planes the putter shaft along the guide rail. This helps the golfer develop the eye-hand and grip coordination necessary to maintain a square to the plane clubface alignment throughout the whole stroke.

This clubface alignment guide is generally positioned outside the toe of the putter at set-up, however it can also be positioned inside the heel of the putter at address. There is a center-line on the clubface alignment guide to help with positioning the guide accurately. When this alignment guide is positioned outside the toe of the putter it is positioned close enough to clearly identify the relationship between the putter and the lines on the alignment guide. This alignment guide is adjustable to be positioned outside the toe of the putter in all three set-up positions. That is, it can be used when the putter is set-up on the forward mark, center mark, or the rearward mark on the top of the guide rail.

The L-shaped alignment guide member is designed with a reversible ball positioning guide at rear end of alignment guide member. This ball positioning guide is reversible so that right-handed and left-handed golfers can use the device. This alignment guide member also uses an identical, adjustable, and reversible ball positioning guide to be positioned in alignment with the set-up markings on the guide rail. The L-shaped alignment guide member has markings that match-up identically with the markings on the guide rail. These ball positioning guides allow the golfer to position the ball in the same position every time. It also allows each golfer to customize this positioning for their specific needs.

A further advantage of the present invention is the use of a hoop to simulate a down the line mark that the ball must roll through. Present studies have shown that due to the binocular nature of human vision the true line looks askew as we view it from an inside the ball line eye and head positioning. Golfers often draw lines on the golf ball, pick a mark on a down the line portion of the putt, and then aim the lines drawn on the ball at and down the line at the mark. This helps them believe everything is aimed properly. However, once the golfer sets up to the ball and looks at the alignments the alignments often look all wrong. Human optics are binocular in nature and can distort the view of a straight line when view from a side-on vantage point. The positioning of the hoop down the line with the use of the track rolling the ball down the line helps reinforce the true optical view of the line of a straight putt as viewed by the golfer using a planing stroke. With continued use, what once looked askew will be viewed as the true straight line to the intended hole.

In summary, though seemingly similar looking devices have been used to help train putting strokes, the present invention addresses the newest understood necessities related to biomechanically sound planing type strokes, and it does so in the most comprehensive, adjustable, portable, and precisely repeatable manner possible to date. The present invention is significantly different than prior devices and is a significant improvement upon any prior existing device that strives to solve the precise issues of developing a repeatable putting stroke. It is significantly different because it solves the concerns and needs of planing type putting strokes while defining and making readily adjustable the precise nature of consistently repeating the set-up and execution of biomechanically sound planing type putting stroke.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A shows the basic setup of the planing putting training device with all features adjusted to the center setup position.

FIG. 1B shows the basic setup of the planing putting training device with all features adjusted to the forward setup position.

FIG. 1C shows the basic setup of the planing putting training device with all features adjusted to the rear setup position.

FIG. 2 shows setup planing putting training device with the guiderail but without the L-shaped alignment guide member.

FIG. 3 shows a top down view of the basic setup of the planing putting training device with all features adjusted to the center setup position.

FIG. 4 shows 3 different embodiments of the foot position guides and their shorter and longer forms.

FIG. 5 shows the use of adjustable sleeves to mark how deep to insert vertical support rods into the ground.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Various embodiments of the present invention are described hereinafter with reference to the drawings. It should be noted that the drawings are not drawn to scale and that elements of similar structures or functions are represented by like reference numerals throughout the drawings.

The device includes a guide rail 103, horizontally aligned and parallel to the ground, that the shaft of the putter tracks against as the putting stroke is performed. The horizontal guide rail 103 is supported by vertical support rods 102A and 102B that are inserted adequately into the ground so as to secure the guide rail at a constant height above the ground as well as in a constant and parallel alignment in relations to the intended line of the of the putt. Adjustable sleeves 115 mark how deep to insert vertical support rods 102A and 102B in to the ground. The horizontal guide rail 103 is constructed with specific tactile, visual, and audio feedback related to the manner in which the putter shaft tracks along the rail. The device also includes precise alignment features to ensure the putter, ball, golfer's feet, and the golfer's head position are precisely and consistently positioned with the same geometric alignments every time the device is in use. One alignment feature is a set of guiderail setup marks 104A, 104B, and 104C. Center guiderail setup mark 104A indicates where to align the putter when putting from the center position. Similarly, forward guiderail setup mark 104B indicates where to align the putter when putting in the forward position and rear guiderail setup mark 104C indicates where to align the putter when putting in the rear position. Another of these alignment features include an eye and head alignment mirror 109 used to identify exactly how far inside the line of the intended putt the golfer's head and eyes are to be consistently positioned. The mirror 109 also includes alignment lines to indicate whether the golfer's eyes are parallel to the intended line of the putt as well as inside the line of the putt the proper distance. The mirror 109 is removeably attached flush with and parallel to the flat surface of the L-shaped alignment guide member 101. The on the top surface of the guiderail 103, are guiderail mirrors 112. These mirrors can be used in the same way mirror 109 is used for head and eye alignment when the guiderail 103 would otherwise be blocking the view of mirror 109. The L-shaped alignment guide member 101 is another alignment feature that rests on the ground and has markings for ensuring that the golf ball will be positioned the same position each and every time the device is used. Additional alignment features are foot position guides 108A and 108B, which may be removably attached at a number of foot position guide attachment points 114, so that the foot position guides are positioned to ensure the golfer's stance width and stance alignments are in a constant relationship to the intended line of the putt. Attachment may be by any generally known method in the art for removable attachment, for example, in this embodiment, a hook and eye attachment is used. Specific embodiments of the foot position guides are shown in their shorter forms 401A, 402A, and 403A, and their longer forms 401B, 402B, 403B. Additionally the device includes an arced clubface alignment guide 110 that marks the positioning of a square to the plane of the stroke clubface alignment at varying positions throughout the stroke. Used with the training device is an arched hoop 111 positioned down the intended line of the putt that simulates either the position of the golf hole or a mark along the intended line used as a visual cue for aiming as well as learning the true optical view of the intended line from the golfer's address (i.e. starting) position. Before putting begins, a ball-to-hoop alignment device 113 can be used to indicate a straight line from the ball's starting position to the target hoop. The ball-hoop alignment device 113 may take the form of anything that could be used to indicate a straight line, such as a straight rod, a taught string, or a laser beam. The ball-hoop alignment device 113 may be removed after alignment is complete but before commencing putting.