Title:
Alignment device for a golf club and methods for using same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides an alignment device for aligning a golf club with a person, the golf club comprising a shaft, and a club face, the alignment device comprising a displaceable elongate member connected to the shaft of the golf club, the displaceable elongate member extending axially from the shaft a sufficient extent to enable the displaceable elongate member to be placed against the leading side of the person when the person is holding a golf club with the club face behind and adjacent a golf ball. The present invention also provides for a method of aligning a golf club with a person. The present invention further provides for a method of training a person to impact a golf ball with a golf club.



Inventors:
Bunting, Douglas Robert (Niagara Falls, CA)
Application Number:
10/234330
Publication Date:
03/11/2004
Filing Date:
09/05/2002
Assignee:
BUNTING DOUGLAS ROBERT
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/239, 473/276
International Classes:
A63B69/36; (IPC1-7): A63B69/36
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LEGESSE, NINI F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BERESKIN & PARR LLP/S.E.N.C.R.L., s.r.l. (TORONTO, ON, CA)
Claims:
1. An alignment device for aligning a golf club with a person, the golf club comprising a shaft, and a club face, the alignment device comprising a displaceable elongate member connected to the shaft of the golf club, the displaceable elongate member extending axially from the shaft a sufficient extent to enable the displaceable elongate member to be placed against the leading side of the person when the person is holding a golf club with the club face behind and adjacent a golf ball.

2. An alignment device according to claim 1, wherein the displaceable elongate member is a telescoping member.

3. An alignment device according to claim 2, wherein the telescoping member is collapsible.

4. An alignment device according to claim 1, wherein the displaceable elongate member is a resilient member capable of being deformed under impact with the body.

5. A method of aligning a golf club with a person, the golf club comprising a shaft, and a club face, the method comprising: (a) providing an alignment device comprising a displaceable elongate member on the shaft of the golf club; (b) placing the displaceable elongate member of the golf club up against the leading side of the person; and (c) placing the club face of the golf club behind and adjacent a golf ball.

6. A method according to claim 5, wherein the displaceable elongate member of the golf club is a telescoping member.

7. A method according to claim 6, wherein after step (c) the telescoping member is collapsed while still maintaining the alignment of the golf club with the person.

8. A method according to claim 5, wherein the displaceable elongate member of the golf club is a resilient member capable of being deformed under impact with the body.

9. A method of training a person to impact a golf ball with a golf club, the golf club comprising a shaft and a club face, the method comprising: (a) placing a person into a pre-set impact position to align the golf club with the person comprising the steps of providing an alignment device comprising a displaceable elongate member on the shaft of the golf club, placing the displaceable elongate member of the golf club against the leading side of the person, and placing the club face of the golf club behind and adjacent a golf ball; (b) taking a back swing with the golf club; and (c) returning the club to the position from step (a) so that an axis defined by the golf club intersects the side of the body as the club face impacts the ball.

10. A method according to claim 9, wherein the displaceable elongate member of the golf club is a telescoping member.

11. A method according to claim 10, wherein after step (a) the telescoping member is collapsed while still maintaining the alignment of the golf club with the person.

13. A method according to claim 9, wherein the displaceable elongate member of the golf club is a resilient member capable of being deformed in step (c) under impact with the side of the body.

14. A method of impacting a golf ball with a golf club, the golf club comprising a shaft and a club face, the method comprising: (a) placing a person into a pre-set impact position to align the golf club with the person such that the axis defined by the shaft of the golf club when extended past the top of the shaft would be against the leading side of the person; (b) taking a back swing with the golf club; and (c) returning the club to the position from step (a) so that an axis defined by the golf club intersects the side of the body as the club face impacts the ball.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to an alignment device for a golf club, and to methods for using same.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Golf is a difficult sport to master. A method of swinging a golf club can be said to consist of five main steps, including: addressing a golf ball, taking a back swing, engaging in a downswing, impacting the ball, and following through with the swing. While there are many factors that a person needs to take into account when swinging a golf club, the impact position (i.e., the alignment of the club shaft with the body of the person at the point when the club face impacts the golf ball) is important in determining the distance and direction of the golf ball.

[0003] There exist training devices on the market that aid in guiding a person's golf swing. For example, there are devices adapted to either inhibit or encourage certain body movements during the course of the golf swing. However, the inventor believes that these types of devices do not adequately train a person to achieve an optimum impact position.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] The present invention provides for an alignment device for aligning a golf club with a person, the golf club comprising a shaft, and a club face, the alignment device comprising a displaceable elongate member connected to the shaft of the golf club, the displaceable elongate member extending axially from the shaft a sufficient extent to enable the displaceable elongate member to be placed against the leading side of the person when the person is holding a golf club with the club face behind and adjacent a golf ball.

[0005] In one aspect of the invention, the displaceable elongate member is a telescoping member. Preferably, the telescoping member is collapsible.

[0006] In another aspect of the invention, the displaceable elongate member is a resilient member capable of being deformed under impact with the body.

[0007] The present invention also provides for a method of aligning a golf club with a person, the golf club comprising a shaft, and a club face, the method comprising:

[0008] (a) providing an alignment device comprising a displaceable elongate member on the shaft of the golf club;

[0009] (b) placing the displaceable elongate member of the golf club up against the leading side of the person; and

[0010] (c) placing the club face of the golf club behind and adjacent a golf ball.

[0011] In one aspect of the invention, the displaceable elongate member of the golf club is a telescoping member. Preferably, after step (c) the telescoping member is collapsed while still maintaining the alignment of the golf club with the person.

[0012] In another aspect of the invention, the displaceable elongate member of the golf club is a resilient member capable of being deformed under impact with the body.

[0013] The present invention also provides for a method of training a person to impact a golf ball with a golf club, the golf club comprising a shaft and a club face, the method comprising:

[0014] (a) placing a person into a pre-set impact position to align the golf club with the person comprising the steps of providing an alignment device comprising a displaceable elongate member on the shaft of the golf club, placing the displaceable elongate member of the golf club against the leading side of the person, and placing the club face of the golf club behind and adjacent a golf ball;

[0015] (b) taking a back swing with the golf club; and

[0016] (c) returning the club to the position from step (a) so that an axis defined by the golf club intersects the side of the body as the club face impacts the ball.

[0017] In one aspect of the invention, the displaceable elongate member of the golf club is a telescoping member. Preferably, after step (a) the telescoping member is collapsed while still maintaining the alignment of the golf club with the person.

[0018] In another aspect of the invention, the displaceable elongate member of the golf club is a resilient member capable of being deformed in step (c) under impact with the side of the body.

[0019] The present invention also provides for a method of impacting a golf ball with a golf club, the golf club comprising a shaft and a club face, the method comprising:

[0020] (a) placing a person into a pre-set impact position to align the golf club with the person such that the axis defined by the shaft of the golf club when extended past the top of the shaft would be against the leading side of the person;

[0021] (b) taking a back swing with the golf club; and

[0022] (c) returning the club to the position from step (a) so that an axis defined by the golf club intersects the side of the body as the club face impacts the ball.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0023] For a better understanding of the present invention and to show more clearly how it may be carried into effect, reference will now be made, by way of example, to the accompanying drawings in which:

[0024] FIG. 1 is a front elevational view of a person in a conventional address position;

[0025] FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of a person in the middle of a conventional backswing;

[0026] FIG. 3 is a front elevational view of a person in a conventional impact position;

[0027] FIG. 4 is a side view of a first embodiment of an alignment device according to this invention;

[0028] FIG. 5 is a side view of the alignment device of FIG. 4 in an extended position connected to a shaft of a golf club;

[0029] FIG. 6 is a side view of the alignment device of FIG. 4 in a collapsed position connected to a shaft of a golf club;

[0030] FIG. 7 is a side view of a second embodiment of an alignment device according to this invention;

[0031] FIG. 8 is a side view of the alignment device of FIG. 7 connected to a shaft of a golf club;

[0032] FIG. 9 is a side view of a third embodiment of an alignment device according to this invention;

[0033] FIG. 10 is a side view of the alignment device of FIG. 9 connected to a shaft of a golf club;

[0034] FIG. 11 is a front elevational view of a person using the alignment device of this invention connected to a shaft of a golf club to place the person into a proper pre-set impact position;

[0035] FIG. 12A is a front elevational view of a person using the alignment device of this invention connected to a shaft of a golf club in a first address position according to one aspect of this invention;

[0036] FIG. 12B is a front elevational view of a person using the alignment device of this invention connected to a shaft of a golf club in a second address position according to a further aspect of this invention;

[0037] FIG. 13 is a front elevational view of a person using the alignment device of this invention connected to a shaft of a golf club in the middle of a backswing;

[0038] FIG. 14 is a front elevational view of a person using the alignment device of this invention connected to a shaft of a golf club in an impact position according to this invention;

[0039] FIG. 15 is a front elevational view of a person using the alignment device of this invention connected to a shaft of a golf club in the follow through portion of the swing;

[0040] FIG. 16 is a perspective view of the person in FIG. 11;

[0041] FIG. 17 is a side elevational view of the person in FIG. 11;

[0042] FIG. 18 is a back elevational view of the person in FIG. 11; and

[0043] FIG. 19 is a top plan view of the person in FIG. 11.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0044] Referring first to FIG. 5, an alignment device 20 of the present invention is shown attached to a shaft 16 of a golf club 10. In the game of golf, a person swings a golf club 10 as shown in FIG. 13 for the purpose of advancing a golf ball 12 towards a hole. The golf club 10 generally comprises a substantially hollow shaft 16, and a club face 18. A grip 14 can be adapted to fit over the exterior of the top end of the shaft 16. When a person swings the golf club 10, the impact position (i.e., the alignment of the club shaft 16 with the body of the person at the point when the club face 18 impacts the golf ball 12) is important in determining the distance and direction of the golf ball 12. The alignment device 20 of the present invention trains the person to optimally impact the golf ball 12 with the club face 18. This results in a powerful and controlled golf swing.

[0045] Referring now to FIG. 4, an embodiment of an alignment device according to the present invention is shown generally at 20. The alignment device 20 comprises a displaceable elongate member, which in this particular embodiment is a telescoping member 22 having a first end 24 and a second end 26. The telescoping member 22 is adapted to be collapsible. Accordingly, the telescoping member 22 is moveable between an extended position and a collapsed position. In one aspect of the invention, the telescoping member 22 may be collapsed by manually applying a force to the first end 24 of the member 22. In another aspect of the invention, the telescoping member 22 can be collapsed by depressing a mechanism (not shown) provided on the shaft 16 of the golf club 10.

[0046] In one aspect of the invention, the telescoping member 22 can be formed to be bendable. For example, the material can be formed into the shape of a spring that is capable of deforming under impact with the body of a person. In another aspect of the invention, the telescoping member 22 can comprise a resilient material that is capable of deforming upon impact with the body of a person. The resilient material can comprise, for example, but is not limited to, one of the following materials: aluminum, titanium, a carbon-based material such as graphite, plastic or rubber. Preferably, the telescoping member 22 is firm and flexible. In yet another aspect of the invention, the telescoping member 22 can be formed to be bendable and can comprise a resilient material that is capable of deforming upon impact with the body of a person.

[0047] Referring now to FIGS. 5 and 6, the alignment device 20 is shown connected to the shaft 16 of the golf club 10. FIG. 5 shows the telescoping member 22 in an extended position, and FIG. 6 shows the telescoping member 22 in a collapsed position. In one aspect of the invention, the second end 26 of the telescoping member 22 can be adapted to be permanently affixed to the shaft 16 of the golf club 10 using any method well known in the art. Accordingly, an alignment device 20 may be purchased and subsequently permanently connected to a single golf club 10 in a set of clubs. In another aspect of the invention, the second end 26 of the telescoping member 22 can be adapted to be releaseably connected to the shaft 16 of a golf club 10. For example, a clamping device (not shown) or any other type of mechanism well known in the art can be provided on the second end 26 of the telescoping member 22 to clamp the member 22 onto the exterior of the shaft 16. Alternatively, a hole (not shown) can be provided in the second end 26 of the telescoping member 22 that can fit over the exterior surface of the grip 14 to mate the alignment device 20 with the shaft 16. Alternatively, a cylindrical member (not shown) can be provided on the second end 26 of the telescoping member 22 that can extend into the interior of the hollow shaft 16 to mate the alignment device 20 with the shaft 16. In this aspect of the invention, the grip 14 will have a hole on the top end to allow the cylindrical member to pass through. This releasable connection allows the person to use the alignment device 20 with any of the golf clubs 10 in the set of clubs as required. In yet another aspect of the invention, the alignment device 20 may be integrally formed onto the shaft 16 during the manufacturing process to produce a training golf club.

[0048] Referring now to FIG. 7, another embodiment of an alignment device according to the present invention is shown generally at 28. The alignment device 28 comprises a displaceable elongate member 30 having a first end 32 and a second end 34. In one aspect of the invention, the displaceable elongate member 30 can be formed to be bendable. For example, the material can be formed into the shape of a spring that is capable of deforming under impact with the body of a person. In another aspect of the invention, the displaceable elongate member 30 can comprise a resilient material that is capable of deforming upon impact with the body of a person. The resilient material can comprise, for example, but is not limited to, one of the following materials: aluminum, titanium, a carbon-based material such as graphite, plastic, rubber or foam. Preferably, the displaceable elongate member 30 is firm and flexible. In yet another aspect of the invention, the displaceable elongate member 30 can be formed to be bendable and can comprise a resilient material that is capable of deforming upon impact with the body of a person.

[0049] Referring now to FIG. 8, the alignment device 28 is shown connected to the shaft 16 of the golf club 10. In one aspect of the invention, the second end 34 of the displaceable elongate member 30 can be adapted to be permanently connected to the shaft 16 of the golf club 10 using any method well known in the art. In another aspect of the invention, the second end 34 of the displaceable elongate member 30 can be adapted to be releaseably connected to the shaft 16 of a golf club 10. For example, a clamping device (not shown) or any other type of mechanism well known in the art can be provided on the second end 34 of the displaceable elongate member 30 to clamp the member 30 onto the shaft 16. Alternatively, a hole (not shown) can be provided in the second end 34 of the displaceable elongate member 30 that can fit over the exterior surface of the grip 14 to mate the alignment device 28 with the shaft 16. Alternatively, a cylindrical member (not shown) can be provided on the second end 34 of the displaceable elongate member 30 that can extend into the interior of the hollow shaft 16 to mate the alignment device 28 with the shaft 16. In this aspect of the invention, the grip 14 will have a hole on the top end to allow the cylindrical member to pass through. This releasable connection allows the person to use the alignment device 28 with any of the golf clubs 10 in the set of clubs as required. In yet another aspect of the invention, the alignment device 28 may be integrally formed onto the shaft 16 during the manufacturing process to produce a training golf club.

[0050] Referring now to FIG. 9, another embodiment of an alignment device according to the present invention is shown generally at 36. The alignment device 36 comprises a displaceable elongate member 38, a spring 40, and a base 42. In one aspect of the invention, the displaceable elongate member 32 can comprise a resilient material that is capable of deforming upon impact with the body of a person. The resilient material can comprise, for example, but is not limited to, one of the following materials: aluminum, titanium, a carbon-based material such as graphite, plastic, rubber or foam. Preferably, the displaceable elongate member 38 is firm but flexible.

[0051] Referring now to FIG. 10, the alignment device 36 is shown connected to the shaft 16 of the golf club 10. In one aspect of the invention, the base 42 can be adapted to permanently connect the alignment device 36 to the shaft 16 of the golf club 10 using any method well known in the art. In another aspect of the invention, the base 42 can be adapted to releaseably connect the alignment device 36 to the shaft 16 of a golf club 10. For example, the base 42 may comprise a clamping device (not shown) or any other type of mechanism well known in the art that is adapted to clamp the alignment device 36 onto the shaft 16. Alternatively, a hole (not shown) can be provided in the base 42 that can fit over the exterior surface of the grip 14 to mate the alignment device 36 with the shaft 16. Alternatively, a cylindrical member (not shown) can be provided on the base 42 that can extend into the interior of the hollow shaft 16 to mate the alignment device 36 with the shaft 16. In this aspect of the invention, the grip 14 will have a hole on the top end to allow the cylindrical member to pass through. This releasable connection allows the person to use the alignment device 36 with any of the golf clubs 10 in the set of clubs as required. In yet another aspect of the invention, the alignment device 36 may be integrally formed onto the shaft 16 during the manufacturing process to produce a training golf club.

[0052] It is appreciated that the above embodiments are merely illustrative examples of a possible alignment device. There are many different variations that can be made to the structure of the device that will fall within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0053] Reference will now be made to FIGS. 1-3, which illustrate a person swinging a golf club 10 in accordance with conventional golf theory. FIG. 1 illustrates the person holding the golf club 10 in a conventional address position. The leading side of the body is shown generally at 44 and for a right-handed golfer is the left side of the body. The leading side of the body 44 generally comprises a leading arm 46 having a shoulder joint 48, a wrist 50, and a leading leg 52. The opposite side of the body is shown generally at 54 and for a right-handed golfer is the right side of the body. The opposite side of the body generally comprises an arm 56 and a leg 58.

[0054] People generally believe that the center of the golf swing is the center of the body, which is shown generally at 60. Accordingly, when setting up the address position the person tends to align the shoulders to be perpendicular to the spine (i.e., setting up the address position such that the body pivots about the center of the body 60). Moreover, while addressing the ball the person tends to distribute the weight of the body substantially equally between the both of the legs 52, 58.

[0055] FIG. 2 illustrates the person in the middle of a conventional backswing. As the golf club 10 is raised during the backswing, the weight of the person is loaded onto leg 58, with the majority of the weight loaded onto leg 58 at the top of the backswing.

[0056] FIG. 3 illustrates the person in a conventional impact position. As the golf club 10 is lowered during the downswing, the weight is shifted back onto the leading leg 52. Thus, the majority of the weight of the person is distributed to the leading leg 52 at the point of impacting the golf ball 12.

[0057] While setting up the address position shown in FIG. 1, the person places their hands on the grip 14 in a natural position, and the club face 18 is placed squarely behind and adjacent the golf ball 12. As referred to above, this address position is based on the understanding that the center of the swing is the center of the body 60. Most people attempt to return back to the address position at the point of impacting the golf ball 12 with the goal that the club face 18 is square when it impacts the golf ball 12. However, in practice, people are typically not able to return back to the address position at the point of impacting the golf ball 12. As a result, the club face 18 tends to be open (i.e., not square) at the point of impact, which can cause the golf ball 12 to slice. The applicant believes that the conventional golf theory results in a golf swing with poor control.

[0058] In contrast to the foregoing, reference will now be made to FIGS. 11-19, which illustrate a person using an alignment device attached to the shaft 16 of a golf club 10 according to the present invention. The alignment device of the present invention is adapted to make the shoulder joint 48 of the leading arm 46 the center of the golf swing. The shoulder is a ‘ball in socket’ joint that moves in a circular motion to create speed and control. Accordingly, the alignment device of the present invention is designed to train a person to optimally impact a golf ball 12 with the club face 18 by ensuring that the center of the swing is the shoulder joint 48 of the leading arm 46. This results in a powerful and controlled golf swing.

[0059] A general overview of a method of using the alignment device to train the person to optimally impact the golf ball 12 is described below. Initially, the alignment device is used to set the person up into a pre-set impact position. The person can then optionally relax into an address position, while ensuring that the placement of the hands on the grip 14 remains unchanged. The person can then take a natural backswing. The person then enters the downswing and advances the club face 18 towards the golf ball 12. The person is naturally guided back to the initial pre-set impact position at the point of impacting the golf ball 12. The person then follows through with the golf swing to complete the motion of the golf swing.

[0060] FIGS. 11, 16, 17, 18 and 19 show different views of a person using an alignment device of the present invention to place the person into a pre-set impact position. Setting up a pre-set impact position prior to taking a swing allows the person to effectively predetermine their impact position. In other words, during the downswing the wrists will unfold back into the natural position that was set up by the pre-set impact position. Thus, setting up a strong pre-set impact position will train the person to optimally impact the golf ball 12 with the club face 18.

[0061] FIG. 11 shows a front elevational view of the person using the alignment device to place the person into a pre-set impact position. As best shown in FIG. 17, the alignment device of the present invention is placed against the leading side of the body 44. The club face 18 of the golf club 10 is placed behind and adjacent the golf ball 12. Preferably, the club face 18 is placed squarely behind and adjacent the golf ball 12 if the golf ball 12 is to travel generally straight when impacted by the club face 18. The hands of the person are allowed to hold the grip 14 in a natural position. This provides for optimal placement of the hands onto the grip 14 of the golf club 10. Accordingly, the person is effectively placed into the pre-set impact position with the correct hand placement in accordance with the present invention.

[0062] Still referring to FIG. 17, once the person is placed into a pre-set impact position, a first axis A-A defined by the shoulder joint 48 and the wrist 50 is aligned with a second axis B-B defined by the shaft 16 of the golf club 10 to generally form a plane 62. Referring now to FIG. 16, a perspective view of the person in a pre-set impact position is shown. This view illustrates the plane 62 that is defined by three points, namely the shoulder joint 48, the wrist 50, and any point on the shaft 16. The person still has one degree of freedom to move within the plane 62 while placed in the pre-set impact position. That is, the person has the ability to set the angle (theta) formed by the intersection of the first axis A-A and the second axis B-B as desired. The angle (theta) that is chosen will vary from person to person, depending on various factors, including the height of the person and personal preference. As can be seen from FIG. 17, if the person sets the angle theta to 180°, the second axis B-B will intersect the shoulder joint 48.

[0063] Referring now to FIG. 18, a back elevational view of a person in pre-set impact position is shown. As best seen in this Figure, the majority of the weight of the person is loaded onto the leading leg 52. Referring now to FIG. 19, a top plan view of a person in a pre-set impact position is shown. As best seen in this Figure, the shoulders of the person are preferably open towards the leading side of the body 44.

[0064] After the person sets himself up into the pre-set impact position in accordance with this invention, the person may optionally relax into an address position as described in detail below, or may launch into the backswing directly from the pre-set impact position.

[0065] FIG. 12A shows one optional address position, where the axis B-B formed by the shaft 16 intersects the center of the body 60. To be able to relax into this address position, the alignment device should comprise a telescoping member and it should be collapsible. Accordingly, the person can use the alignment device to set himself up in the pre-set impact position, collapse the telescoping member, and relax into the address position. While in the address position, the weight of the person is substantially equally distributed between both legs 52, 58. It is to be understood that the hands of the person are not removed from the grip 14 as the person relaxes into the address position. As the person relaxes into the address position, the hands will become cocked (i.e., the wrist 50 will fall substantially on the axis B-B formed by the golf club 10). This cocking of the wrists will ensure that the club shaft 16 will be guided back to the pre-set impact position at the point of impacting the golf ball 12. This is in contrast to the conventional address position shown in FIG. 1, where the wrist 50 does not fall on the axis formed by the shaft of the golf club 10.

[0066] Another way in which the address position shown in FIG. 12A differs from the conventional address position shown in FIG. 1 is that the center of the swing is set up to be the shoulder joint 48. This is in contrast to the conventional address position where the center of the swing is the center of the body 60.

[0067] Yet another way in which the address position shown in FIG. 12A differs from the conventional address position shown in FIG. 1 is that the club face 18 is displaced in relation to the golf ball 12 as the person relaxes into the address position. This displacement is shown generally at 64. This is in contrast to the conventional address position illustrated in FIG. 1, where the club face 18 is typically placed behind and adjacent the golf ball 12.

[0068] FIG. 12B shows a second optional address position where the alignment of the first axis A-A formed by the shoulder joint 48 and the wrist 50 of the leading arm 46 and the second axis B-B formed by the shaft 16 is essentially maintained. While in this address position, the weight is substantially equally distributed between the back leg 58 and the front let 52. One way in which the address position shown in FIG. 12B differs from the conventional address position shown in FIG. 1 is that the club face 18 is displaced in relation to the golf ball 12 as the person relaxes into the address position. This displacement is shown generally at 66. Another way in which the address position shown in FIG. 12B differs from the conventional address position shown in FIG. 1 is that the center of the swing is the shoulder joint 48. This is in contrast to the conventional address position where the center of the swing is the center of the body 60. Accordingly, the person can either launch into the backswing from the pre-set impact position or from one of the two optional address positions described above.

[0069] FIG. 13 shows a person in the middle of the backswing. As the golf club 10 is raised during the backswing, the weight of the person is loaded onto leg 58, with the majority of the weight is loaded onto the back leg 58 at the top of the backswing. After reaching the top of the backswing, the person lowers the golf club down into the downswing.

[0070] FIG. 14 shows a person in an impact position (i.e., the alignment of the shaft 16 with the body of the person at the point when the club face 18 impacts the golf ball 12). In accordance with the present invention, the impact position should be substantially the same as the pre-set impact position shown in FIG. 11. In other words, at the point of impact the first axis A-A formed by the shoulder joint 48 and the wrist 50 aligns with the second axis B-B defined by the shaft 16 of the golf club 10 to generally form the plane shown in FIG. 16. At this impact position, the arms are in a strong position to allow the club face 18 to transfer energy to the golf ball 12.

[0071] FIG. 15 shows a person in the middle of the follow through portion of the swing. If the swing is executed properly, the axis B-B formed by the shaft 16 will intersect the leading side of the body 44 at the point of impacting the golf ball 12. Therefore, the alignment device is designed to be displaceable so that it does not substantially interfere with the execution of the swing. For example, if the device comprises a telescoping member, it will preferably be in the collapsed portion before launching into the backswing so that it does not hit the leading side of the person upon impacting the golf ball 12. Alternatively, if the device comprises a resilient member, it will deform against the leading side of the body 44 as the shaft is pulled along the arc of the swing past the impact position. In both examples, the device does not substantially interfere with the execution of the golf swing.

[0072] As appreciated by FIG. 15, when the device comprises a resilient member and the swing is executed properly, the device will deform against the leading side of the body 44 at the point of impacting the golf ball 12. This provides a cue to the person that there has been proper alignment of axis A-A and axis B-B in plane 62 at the point of impacting the golf ball 12. This cue serves to verify that the swing has been properly executed, and that the optimum impact position was attained.

[0073] It is to be understood that once the person has practiced with the alignment device to learn how to set up the pre-set impact position in accordance with the present invention, the person can set up the pre-set impact position without using the device. Furthermore, the person can execute the swing without use of the device wherein the center of the swing is the center of the shoulder joint 48. Accordingly, once the person becomes proficient at swinging the golf club 10 with the device, the method of the present invention can be emulated without the device.

[0074] For illustrative purposes only, all of the embodiments and Figures in this specification refer to a right-handed person swinging the golf club 10. However, it is to be understood that the alignment device of the present invention is equally applicable to left-handed people.

[0075] While the above description constitutes the preferred embodiments, it will be appreciated that the present invention is susceptible to modification and change without departing from the fair meaning of the proper scope of the accompanying claims.