Title:
GOLFER TRAINING DEVICE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golfer training device includes a sensor, a feedback output device configured to output a feedback and a processor in communication with the sensor and the feedback output device. The processor is configured to instruct the feedback output device to output the feedback when the sensor is in close proximity to either an elbow or chin of a golfer.



Inventors:
Wortman, Alex A. (Ann Arbor, MI, US)
Application Number:
12/269158
Publication Date:
10/15/2009
Filing Date:
11/12/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/207, 473/276, 473/409
International Classes:
A63B69/36
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SKAARUP, JASON M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BRINKS HOFER GILSON & LIONE (P.O. BOX 10395, CHICAGO, IL, 60610, US)
Claims:
1. A method for training a golfer, the method comprising the steps of: determining if an elbow area of a swing arm of the golfer is in close proximity with a hip training device attached to a hip of the golfer when the golfer is performing a downswing; and providing feedback to the golfer if an elbow area of a swing arm of the golfer is in close proximity with the hip training device when the golfer is performing the downswing.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein close proximity is less than 5 inches

3. The method of claim 2, wherein close proximity is actual contact.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the hip training device comprises a contact sensor.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein the hip training device comprises a proximity sensor.

6. The method of claim 1, further comprising the steps of: determining if a chin of the golfer is in close proximity with a first shoulder training device attached to a first shoulder of the golfer when the golfer is performing the backswing; and providing feedback to the golfer if the chin of the golfer is in close proximity with the first shoulder training device when the golfer is performing the backswing.

7. The method of claim 1, further comprising the steps of: determining if a chin of the golfer is in close proximity with a first shoulder training device attached to a first shoulder of the golfer when the golfer has completed a golf swing; and providing feedback to the golfer if the chin of the golfer is in close proximity with the first shoulder training device when the golfer has completed the golf swing.

8. The method of claim 1, further comprising the steps of: determining if a chin of the golfer is in close proximity with a first shoulder training device attached to a first shoulder of the golfer when the golfer is performing a backswing; providing feedback to the golfer if the chin of the golfer is in close proximity with the first shoulder training device when the golfer is performing the backswing; determining if a chin of the golfer is in close proximity with a second shoulder training device attached to a second shoulder of the golfer when the golfer has completed a golf swing; and providing feedback to the golfer if the chin of the golfer is in close proximity with the second shoulder training device when the golfer has completed the golf swing.

9. The method of claim 1, wherein the first and second shoulder training devices each comprise a contact sensor.

10. The method of claim 1, wherein the first and second shoulder training devices each comprise a proximity sensor.

11. A golfer training device, the golfer training device comprising: a sensor; a feedback output device configured to output a feedback; a processor in communication with the sensor and the feedback output device; and wherein the processor is configured to instruct the feedback output device to output a feedback when the sensor is in close proximity to either a elbow or chin of a golfer.

12. The device of claim 11, wherein the sensor is a proximity sensor.

13. The device of claim 11, wherein the sensor is a contact sensor.

14. The device of claim 11, wherein the feedback output device is a buzzer.

15. The device of claim 11, wherein the processor is a 555 timer.

16. The device of claim 11, wherein the device further comprises a belt clip for attaching to the belt of the golfer.

17. The device of claim 11, wherein the device further comprises an attachment mechanism for attaching to the shoulder of the golfer.

18. The device of claim 17, wherein the attachment mechanism is Velcro.

19. The device of claim 17, wherein the attachment mechanism is a clothes pin.

20. The device of claim 11, further comprising an audible device for encouraging the golfer.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application 61/044,996, filed Apr. 15, 2008.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention relates to sports training devices and more specifically to sports training devices for golf.

2. Description of the Known Technology

Golfing is a sport that requires a significant amount of finesse. As a golfer swings at a golf ball, even the slightest variation in the golfer's swing can affect the distance and direction the ball travels. As it is well known, golfers spend significant amount of time using any resources to improve their performance.

It has been observed that golfers, especially untrained golfers, while attempting to hit the ball, struggle to produce a proper and effective swing path. On the backswing there is a tendency to not make a suitable full shoulder turn, and on the downswing there is a tendency for untrained golfers to go “over the top.” An “rover the top” swing is a swing from the outside to the inside of the target line. Finally, there is a tendency to not finish the full swing cycle by completely following the swing through.

Prior art solutions are generally limited to personal trainers or cumbersome training devices that are not suitable for everyday use. Additionally, because these prior art devices are not suitable for everyday use, golfers, especially untrained golfers, do not receive the constant feedback necessary to develop a proper golf swing. Therefore, there is a need for a system and method for training golfers to correctly swing.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In satisfying the above need, as well as overcoming the enumerated drawbacks and other limitations of the known technology, the present invention provides a golfer training device. The golfer training device includes a sensor, a feedback output device configured to output a feedback and a processor in communication with the sensor and the feedback output device. The processor is configured to instruct the feedback output device to output the feedback when the sensor is in close proximity to either an elbow or chin of a golfer.

Further objects, features and advantages of this invention will become readily apparent to persons skilled in the art after a review of the following description, with reference to the drawings and claims that are appended to and form a part of this specification.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A illustrates a training device;

FIG. 1B illustrates an exploded view of the training device;

FIG. 2 illustrates an electrical schematic of the training device;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a golfer utilizing the training device;

FIG. 4 is another perspective view of the golfer utilizing the training device near the beginning of a swing cycle;

FIG. 5 is perspective view of a golfer using the training device midway through the swing cycle; and

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a golfer using the training device completing the swing cycle.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIGS. 1A and 1B, an assembled view (FIG. 1A) and disassembled view (FIG. 1B) of a training device 10 is shown. It should be understood that the training device 10 may be sized and shaped so as to better fit on the hip of the golfer or the shoulders of the golfer, as will be shown and described in the paragraphs that follow. Here, the training device 10 includes a housing 30 containing a variety of electronic components 14 which will be described in more detail later in this description and in FIG. 2.

The housing 12 defines a cavity 16 wherein the electronic components 14 are located. Below the housing 12, opposite of the cavity 16, is a back plate 18 attached to a backside 20 of the housing 12. The back plate 18 generally includes an attachment device 22, opposite of the housing 12, the attachment device 22 may be any device capable of attaching the training device 10 to the clothing of a person. For example, the attachment device 22 may be a pin or may be a belt buckle clip.

Attached to the housing 12, opposite of the back plate 18, is a contact plate 24. The contact plate 24 is fixed in such a way as to allow limited relative motion between itself and housing 12. The movement of contact plate 24 closes an electric switch when the contact plate 24. The electronic components 14 can be configured such that when the contact plate 24 is actuated, a form of feedback, such as an audible noise from a speaker or physical vibration from a vibrator will occur. This feedback provides instant feedback regarding if the golfer is properly swinging a golf club. Of course, it should be understood that the contact plate 24 is only one form of contact detection. The contact plate 24 may be replaced with any suitable contact sensor or may be replaced with a proximity sensor. Of course, it should be understood that more than one sensor may be utilized as appropriate.

Referring to FIG. 2 an electrical diagram of the electronic components 14 is shown. It is noted that the electronic components 32 include a power switch 26 and a feedback selector switch 28. It should be understood that the power switch 34 and a feedback selector switch 28 may be combined into a single three position switch 30 (See FIG. 1) with settings such as “off,” “on-buzzer,” and “on-vibrate.”

The power switch 28 turns the training device 10 on or off. The feedback selector switch 28 selects the form of feedback, such as audile feedback or physical feedback. Audible feedback is outputted by a buzzer 32, while physical feedback is outputted by a vibrator 34. When the three position switch is set to “off” —the device 10 will be off. When the three position switch is set to “on-buzzer”—the device 10 will be on and the switch 28 will be set to operate the buzzer 32. When the three position switch is set to “on-vibrate”—the device 10 will be on and the switch 28 will be set to operate the vibrator 34.

The electronic components 14 also include a 555 timer 40. When the contact plate 24 of the training device 10 is actuated, the switch 42 will be closed. When the switch 42 is closed, the 555 timer 40 sends a signal to the output devices to either provide a buzz or a vibration based on the feedback selection switch 28. As it is well known in the art, the 555 timer 40 can be configured to output a signal to the buzzer 32 or vibrator 34 for a preset period of time at a preset frequency. This preset period of time and frequency can be adjusted by adjusting the values of capacitor C1 and resistors R1 and R2. Of course, it should be understood that the 555 timer 40 can be replaced with one or more processors.

Referring to FIG. 3, a golfer 50 is preparing to swing at the golf ball 52 using a club 54. In this embodiment, there are three training devices 10a-10c. The training devices 10a-10c are like those described in the previous paragraphs as training device 10. The training device 10a is located on or near the right hip of the golfer 50. It should be understood that the golfer 50 is a right handed golfer. If the golfer 50 was a left handed golfer the training device 10a would be placed on the left hip of the golfer 50.

The training devices 10b and 10c are located on or near the right and left shoulders, respectively, of the golfer 50. The training devices 10a-10c can be attached to the golfer 10 by any one of a number of ways. Generally, training device 10a has a clip that attaches to the belt of the golfer, and devices 10b and 10c have either pins or magnetic holds that allow the devices to fasten to the shoulder area of the shirt or jacket of the golfer 50. However, any suitable means for attaching the training devices 10a-10c to the golfer 50 can be utilized, including adhesives, specially made clothes for the golfer 50 integrating the training devices 10a-10b, Velcro or even a common clothes pin.

FIG. 4 shows the golfer 50 preparing to hit the ball 52. Here, the golfer 50 raises the golf club 54 above the golfer 50. It is noted that as the golfer 50 performs a backswing, which places the golf club 54 above the golfer 50, the training device 10c comes into close proximity to the chin 58 of the golfer 50.

As described previously, the training devices 10a-10c are proximity and/or mechanical devices that are activated upon close or actual contact and will provide a form of feedback to the golfer 50. Generally, the training devices 10a-10c can determine that they are within close proximity and/or actual contact to another object because the contact plate 24, shown in FIG. 1, will be actuated by the other objects.

As stated before, this feedback may be audible or a physical, such as vibration. When the chin 58 of the golfer 50 is proximate to the training device 10c, the training device 10c will provide a form of feedback to the golfer 50. Generally, when the golfer 50 is positioned as shown in FIG. 4, the shoulder is in the proper position relative to the chin 58 of the golfer. As it is apparent, the shoulder of the golfer moves to the chin 58 of the golfer coming into close proximity and/or in contact with the training device 10c and the training device 16c provides feedback to the golfer 50 indicating to the golfer 50 that the shoulder of the golfer 10 has moved into the proper position. Thereafter, the golfer 50 can begin the downswing.

Referring to FIG. 5, the golfer 50 is shown performing a downswing. During a downswing, the golfer 50 brings the head 55 of the club 54 in contact with the ball 52. When an elbow area 60 of the golfer 50 comes into proximity of and/or actual contact with the training device 10a, the training device 10a will provide feedback to the golfer 50. It has been discovered that bringing the area of the elbow 60 close to the hip of the golfer 50, it will reduce the phenomenon known as going “over the top.” This phenomenon is when the golfer 50 swings the club 54 from the outside to the inside of the target line. Generally, this creates a slicing action, driving the ball to a location undesired by the golfer 50.

FIG. 6 shows the golfer 50 completing the swing cycle. As stated in the background section, golfers, especially untrained ones, have a tendency of not following through properly when swinging the club 54. The training device 10b, when coming into proximity of and/or into contact with the chin 58 of the golfer 50, it will emit feedback to the golfer 50, informing the golfer 50 of his full shoulder turn and properly completed swing path.

It has been observed that by providing feedback from the training devices 10a-10c, the untrained golfer can quickly become a trained golfer because the training devices 10a-10c provide instant feedback if the golfer 50 is swinging the golf club 54 properly. Generally, in the past, this could only be accomplished by receiving input from a third party, such a golf trainer or golf partner or using a cumbersome device. However, the training devices 10a-10c can provide this feedback in a matter less embarrassing and more convenient to the golfer 50.

It should also be understood that the buzzer 32 of FIG. 2 may also be an audible device, such as a speaker. As the golfer 50 is performing the swing cycle, buzzer 32 may emit an audible sound for providing positive encouragement and/or entertainment to the golfer.

As a person skilled in the art will readily appreciate, the above description is meant as an illustration of the principles of this invention. This description is not intended to limit the scope or application of this invention in that the invention is susceptible to modification, variation and change, without departing from spirit of this invention, as defined in the following claims.