Title:
Method and device for coordinating golf swing and ball distance
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method for enabling golfers to hit golf balls reliable and selectable distances. Using a golf club handle grip having bands, other markings, tactile indicators, or otherwise, by selectably gripping the golf club at pre-indicated positions and by using the same swing or a set of related swings, the golfer can strike the golf ball in a predictable and reliable fashion in order to propel the golf ball away from the club a reliably predictable distance. Some calibration may be necessary, however by altering the effective length the shaft in a predictable and uniform manner, the golfer can achieve with the handle aid of the present invention a possibly significantly improved golf game and more reliable golf shots with a wedge or otherwise.



Inventors:
Solari, Ray (Playa Del Rey, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/291205
Publication Date:
05/31/2007
Filing Date:
11/30/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/300, 473/409, 473/238
International Classes:
A63B69/36; A63B53/14; A63B57/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LEGESSE, NINI F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ray Solari (El Segundo, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method for reliably striking a golf ball a selected distance, the steps comprising: providing a golf club with a golf club handle, said golf club handle having markings for indicating a distance a struck golf ball is intended to travel; grasping said golf club handle according to one or more of said markings in order to hit the golf ball the intended distance when the golf club swings and strikes a ball; swinging said golf club in an approximately uniform manner regardless of the marking selected; and striking the golf ball; whereby the golf ball may be struck in an attempt to cause it to travel a distance approximately indicated by said selected one of said markings.

2. A method for reliably striking a golf ball a selected distance as set forth in claim 1, further comprising: said golf club handle having markings selected from the group consisting of: explicit distance indications; and general markings that indicate separate marks, said general markings making no indication of a distance or length.

3. A method for reliably striking a golf ball a selected distance as set forth in claim 1, further comprising: grasping said golf club handle according to one of said markings at a location on said golf club handle selected from the group consisting of: at one of said markings; and between two of said markings at a location approximating a distance between two distances indicated by said two markings.

4. A method for reliably striking a golf ball a selected distance as set forth in claim 1, further comprising: grasping said golf club handle such that the heel of the top hand is proximate the selected one of said markings.

5. A method for reliably striking a golf ball a selected distance as set forth in claim 1, further comprising: swinging said golf club in an approximately uniform manner selected from the group consisting of: swinging said golf club from 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock; swinging said golf club evenly on either side of said golf ball strike; and swinging said golf club in a biased manner with consistent emphasis on a first distance said golf club is swung back; and swinging said golf club in a biased manner with consistent emphasis on a first distance said golf club is swung forward; and swinging said golf club through a greater arc for longer distance markings on said golf club handle and through a smaller arc for shorter distance markings on said golf club handle.

6. A method for reliably striking a golf ball a selected distance, the steps comprising: providing a golf club with a golf club handle, said golf club handle having markings for indicating a distance a struck golf ball is intended to travel; said golf club handle having markings selected from the group consisting of: explicit distance indications; and general markings that indicate separate marks, said general markings making no indication of a distance or length; grasping said golf club handle according to one or more of said markings in order to hit the golf ball the intended distance, said grasping said golf club handle being such that the heel of the top hand is proximate the selected one of said markings; grasping said golf club handle according to one of said markings at a location on said golf club handle selected from the group consisting of: at one of said markings; and between two of said markings at a location approximating a distance between two distances indicated by said two markings; swinging said golf club in an approximately uniform manner regardless of the marking selected, said swinging said golf club in an approximately uniform manner selected from the group consisting of: swinging said golf club from 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock; swinging said golf club evenly on either side of said golf ball strike; swinging said golf club in a biased manner with consistent emphasis on a first distance said golf club is swung back; and swinging said golf club in a biased manner with consistent emphasis on a first distance said golf club is swung forward; and striking the golf ball; whereby the golf ball may be struck in an attempt to cause it to travel a distance approximately indicated by said selected one of said markings.

7. A handle made of handle material for a golf club having a shaft, an end, and a head, the handle to assist in the hitting of a golf ball a selectable distance, the handle comprising: a plurality of markings, each marking indicating a point at which the handle may be gripped for hitting the golf ball an intended distance; and a handle extension coupled to said markings, said handle extension extending downwardly along the shaft from said markings towards the head of the golf club, said handle extension providing additional handle material; whereby a golfer may grip the handle according to a marking distal from the end of the golf club and remain gripping handle material instead of the golf club shaft directly.

8. A handle made of handle material for a golf club having a shaft, an end, and a head, the handle to assist in the hitting of a golf ball a selectable distance as set forth in claim 7, further comprising: said markings being generally uniformly spaced; and said markings selected from the group consisting of: markings including indicia indicating explicit distance indications; and general markings that indicate separate marks, said general markings making no explicit indication of a distance or length.

9. A golf club including the handle of claim 8.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to golf clubs and golf swing methods and more particularly to a golf club handling method therefor that enables a golfer to gauge the distance he will strike the ball by the grip he applies to the club.

2. Description of the Related Art

Golf is a well known game in which clubs are used to strike a small ball into a distant hole. In a competition, the best golfer is considered to be the one who has the lowest score with respect to the shared number of holes.

The golfers are allowed a number of golf clubs including drivers, wedges/chippers/irons, and putters. One difference between the different clubs is the angle at which the club face lifts the ball from the ground when the ball is struck. Generally, irons have the largest loft, putters the least, and drivers between putters and irons.

Irons, also known as wedges, may have lofts (the club face angle) from approximately 46 degrees to 64 degrees. For those wedges which are used most, common lofts are generally in the angular range of 54 degrees to 58 degrees.

Generally, a professional golfer, or pro, might carry three different loft wedges in his bag to be used for different distances and to achieve different golf ball arcs as well as establishing swing and ball control. However, not all golfers are professional golfers, and the majority golfers are those who have high handicaps or are just average golfers. These golfers need additional help and support in order to provide more control over the golf ball and the use of the club which consequently controls the golf shot.

Many golfers have a tendency to mis-hit the ball as they do not have a consistent way in which to address the ball. They may use the wrong club, may grip the club improperly for the shot, and otherwise may experience doubt and confusion as to what approach should be taken in driving a ball with a wedge a certain distance.

Those individuals with natural ability may be able to compensate for the challenges presented to them with difficult and/or ordinary wedge shots. However, for the amateur, inexperienced, or otherwise-challenged golfer, the wedge shot may be one that is difficult and may require additional aid as with the help of a golf shot system.

The prior art has generally left this without great development and the art would benefit from devices and methods that allow average players or players with a playing ability less than a professional player with the ability to reliably hit a golf ball a variety of distances with the same wedge.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In view of the foregoing disadvantages inherent in the known types of wedges now present in the prior art, the present invention provides a new wedge, or iron, wherein the same can be advantageously used in accordance with the present method in order to achieve reliable golf shots of consistent distance.

The general purpose of the present invention, which will be described subsequently in greater detail, is to provide a method and apparatus for enabling the average golfer to consistently hit a golf ball a certain distance in order to improve his or her game, such method and device not being anticipated, rendered obvious, suggested, taught, or even implied by any of the prior art wedges, either alone or in any combination thereof.

The method of the present invention includes the providing of a handle having marks, indicia, or the like to provide a visual, and possibly tactile, guide for the golfer so that he or she may grip the golf club handle and execute a swing, which may be standardized or uniform in order to hit the ball a predictable, expected, and/or selectable distance. In providing the present method, the steps set forth herein enable the golfer to better strike the ball in order to achieve specific distances in a reliable manner.

The golf club handle has bands, markings, or other indicators (generally either visual and/or tactile) that enable the golfer to select which distance he or she has selected to hit the golf ball. Some calibration may be necessary, but after such calibration has occurred, the golfer is better able to achieve the selected and/or chosen distances.

The handle may have a handle extension that allows the golfer to grip the handle further down the shaft and closer to the golf club head. The further down the golfer grips the handle, the shorter the distance the ball will travel after being struck. Generally the bands or markings are approximately 1-1¼ inches long and travel down the length of the handle from its end in a generally circular manner.

In one embodiment of the present invention, a method for reliably striking a golf ball a selected distance includes several steps, including the step of providing a golf club with a golf club handle with markings for indicating a distance a struck golf ball is intended to travel. Additional steps include grasping the golf club handle according to one or more of the markings in order to hit the golf ball the intended distance when the golf club swings and strikes a ball and swinging the golf club in an approximately uniform manner regardless of the marking selected. A further step includes striking the golf ball such that the golf ball may be struck in an attempt to cause it to travel a distance approximately indicated by the selected one of the markings.

In another embodiment of the present invention, a method is provided for reliably striking a golf ball a selected distance, with the steps including providing a golf club with a golf club handle having markings for indicating a distance a struck golf ball is intended to travel. The golf club handle has markings selected from the group consisting of: explicit distance indications; and general markings that indicate separate marks, the general markings making no indication of a distance or length. Another step in the method includes grasping the golf club handle according to one or more of the markings in order to hit the golf ball the intended distance, the grasping of the golf club handle being such that the heel of the top hand is proximate the selected one of the markings, the grasping the golf club handle according to one of the markings at a location on the golf club handle selected from the group consisting of: at one of the markings; and between two of the markings at a location approximating a distance between two distances indicated by the two markings. Also included in the method is the step of swinging the golf club in an approximately uniform manner regardless of the marking selected, the swinging the golf club in an approximately uniform manner selected from the group consisting of: swinging the golf club from 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock; swinging the golf club evenly on either side of the golf ball strike; swinging the golf club in a biased manner with consistent emphasis on a first distance the golf club is swung back; swinging the golf club in a biased manner with consistent emphasis on a first distance the golf club is swung forward; and swinging the golf club through a greater arc for longer distance markings on the golf club handle and through a smaller arc for shorter distance markings on the golf club handle. Another step includes striking the golf ball. In this way, the golf ball may be struck in an attempt to cause it to travel a distance approximately indicated by the selected one of the markings.

In another embodiment of the present invention, a handle made of handle material for a golf club having a shaft, an end, and a head, with the handle adapted to assist in the hitting of a golf ball a selectable distance, the handle including a plurality of markings, each marking indicating a point at which the handle may be gripped for hitting the golf ball an intended distance. A handle extension may be coupled to the handle and to the markings, the handle extension extending downwardly along the shaft from the markings towards the head of the golf club, the handle extension providing additional handle material such that a golfer may grip the handle according to a marking distal from the end of the golf club and remain gripping handle material instead of the golf club shaft directly.

Additionally, in another embodiment of the present invention, a golf club handle may be constructed as indicated above with the additional features that the markings are generally uniformly spaced and the markings selected from the group consisting of: markings including indicia indicating explicit distance indications; and general markings that indicate separate marks, the general markings making no explicit indication of a distance or length.

Furthermore, in another embodiment of the present invention, a golf club may be provided that includes the handle of one or more of the embodiments as set forth above.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front and generally perspective view of the golf club handle of the present invention with the golfer, club shaft, and club head all shown in phantom.

FIG. 2 is a front view of the golf club handle of the present invention showing better the individual band markings, distance indicia, and the handle extension with the shaft shown in phantom.

FIG. 3 generally shows the golf club handle of FIG. 2 as grasped by the golfer. As indicated, the golfer's hands are positioned for a short shot while the golfer's hands shown in phantom are positioned for a longer shot. The shaft is shown in phantom.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT(S)

The detailed description set forth below in connection with the appended drawings is intended as a description of presently-preferred embodiments of the invention and is not intended to represent the only forms in which the present invention may be constructed and/or utilized. The description sets forth the functions and the sequence of steps for constructing and operating the invention in connection with the illustrated embodiments. However, it is to be understood that the same or equivalent functions and sequences may be accomplished by different embodiments that are also intended to be encompassed within the spirit and scope of the invention.

The present invention resides in a method and apparatus for providing the golfer means by which a golf shot of a particular distance, generally selectable in nature by the golfer, may be achieved. A key to this method in coordinating golf swing and the resulting ball distance is the use of a visually-indicating handle that generally indicates the distances to be achieved when the golf club is gripped at the indicated point. By then executing a generally uniform swing for each of the golf club handle positions, a generally reliable golf club shot distance can be achieved by the golfer.

As is known, a golfer will achieve lesser angular momentum of the golf club head when the golfer grips further down the golf club shaft. This generally shortens the effective shaft length and correspondingly reduces the angular momentum generated when the golf club is swung. Likewise, when the golfer grips towards the end of the club, the effective the shaft length is longer and for the same angular velocity, the linear velocity of the golf club head is increased.

Referring to the drawings, where like numerals of reference designate like elements throughout, it will be noted the golf club handle 100 is one that generally conforms with standard practice and equipment. The golf club handle as disclosed herein generally has an indicating banded portion 102 and a handle extension portion 104. As shown in FIG. 1, the golfer G grips a handle 100 with generally the heel of the uppermost hand (which for a right-handled golfer is the left hand) generally resting near, proximate, or adjacent a band designated for the distance the golfer would like the strike the golf ball (not shown). The handle 100 is connected to a shaft S which in turn is connected to the head H. The golf club head H provides the actual striking of the golf ball.

The handle 100 is shown in more detail in FIG. 2 with the different bands 110 having different and visually distinctive appearances so that the golfer G can readily tell which band for which his hand is positioned. Color may be used to visually distinguish the bands 110 and/or tactile indicators such as ridges, bumps, roughness of surface, or the like. The end of the club 112 serves to limit the rearward extent to which the golfer's hand may travel. FIG. 2 shows distance indicia 114 present in association with each of the bands 110 which in turn may be separated by small margins 116. The length of the bands 110 along the handle are generally on the order of 1-1¼ inches. Depending upon the golf club, the distance indicia 114 may be as shown in FIG. 2 or otherwise for other distances. Generally each of the bands corresponds to a unit distance with each band providing that unit distance difference either more or less from the adjacent bands above and below that specific band.

FIG. 3 shows exemplary grasping of the handle 100 by the golfer G. As shown in FIG. 3, when the golfer's hands grasp the banded portion 102 closer to the shaft S, the handle extension 104 serves to provide grip material by which the golfer's lower hand may still remain grasping suitable handle material instead of the bare material of the shaft. FIG. 3 also shows in phantom the golfer grasping the banded portion 102 near its top 112 and although the handle extension portion 104 is not needed when such a grip is made near the top of the club, as the present invention allows significant variability in the reliable golf shot making achieved, the handle extension portion 104 is included to provide greater comfort and a more secure grip for the golfer.

The handle 100 may be made of a variety of materials now known in the art or later developed. Particularly, the banded portion 102 may implement a variety of materials to manifest the different appearances to be enjoyed between the individual bands 110. Generally, such visually distinctive material would preferably be incorporated into the handle material, however other means by which such visual distinction may be made are within the contemplation of the present invention.

Alternatively, and has indicated above, tactile indicators could also be used in conjunction with the bands 110.

In using the golf club handle 100, a golfer generally estimates the distance of the shot to be made. Upon making such estimation (which may be aided by a variety of tools and may provide even more accuracy for gauging the distance), the golfer selects the distance indicated or otherwise to the golfer by the handle 100 or otherwise known the golfer due to the banded and visually-indicating appearance of the golf club handle 100. The golfer places his hands on the handle according to the estimated distance. In a preferred embodiment, the back (or heel) of the top hand is used to guide the golfer to the band of most relevant distance. However, other portions of the hand or other means might be used so long as a reliable indication of the distances delivered to the golfer achieved by the golf club handle. The golfer G may use the bands 110 as an estimating device and consequently move his hands down the shaft for a slightly shorter distance or up the shaft for a slightly longer distance according to the golfer's preferences. Particularly, and referring to FIG. 2, if a shot is approximately 45 yards away, the golfer G might place his hands so that the relevant portion of the golfer's hands adjust themselves to be in between the forty and fifty yard distance indicia markers 114.

Of course, the golfer G could take a very large swing with his hands far down the handle 100 or take a very shallow swing with his hands towards the end of the handle 100. In some circumstances, the same distances may be achieved by the golfer. However, the invention set forth herein is best contemplated being the most advantageously implemented when a uniform or calibrated swing is used. The calibrated swing can take several forms and may be evenly balanced on either side of the golf ball strike or biased on one side or another. For example, the calibrated swing may take the form of one that extends from approximately 9 o'clock (facing the golfer) to 3 o'clock such that the golf swing is a half circle and the golf ball strike is in the middle thereof. Such balancing of the swing before and after the golf ball strike can range along the entirety available degree of motion available to the golfer. Alternatively, the golfer may swing from 9 o'clock to 12 o'clock such that there is a quarter circle of swing prior to the golf club strike and a half circle afterwards. A variety of combinations available to the golfer due to the golfer's swing are all contemplated within the scope of the present invention. Of significant note is the fact that by calibrating the swing in advance, as on a driving range or otherwise, the golfer can “tune” his swing to the club. As a result, the golfer will known approximately how far he or she will hit the ball when his hands are placed on a certain position on the club.

Consequently, the golfer may want to calibrate a number of different swings. A fall swing, a half swing, a foreshortened swing with an inhibited swing after the golf ball has been struck, a foreshortened back swing, or any combination of these. As a result, it is possible to have a number of individual indicia 114 at each mark level, or band 110, of the golf club handle 100 to accommodate indication(s) for different swings at the same band. In this way, for a variety of calibrated swings, a golfer can achieve a variety of reasonably expected distances from the resulting golf ball strike.

Generally, the distance controlling wedge grip and the method(s) set forth herein will work with any wedge and while the touring or other golf pros might carry three different loft wedges in their bag, weaker or less able golfers may be able to achieve better results in the form of a pro by implementing the methods set forth herein with the golf club handle 100 also herein disclosed. A high handicap or average golfer may automatically be able to achieve much more distance in ball control by placing a golf club handle 100 such as that set forth herein on their own wedge, calibrating their swing and distance in order to achieve more distance reliability and more control over their golf shots.

As an example, a weaker golf might be able to only hit his wedge shots with the swing from 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock resulting in the distance of fifty yards on a flat surface. This might be that golfer's maximum easy chip swing. By using the same relative stroke and by placing his grip down to the fifty yard marker 114, the same chip shot might go a lesser distance, for example forty yards. By calibrating the grip 100 with either pre-calibration or post-calibration markers, the golfer is able to establish a quick feedback mechanism by which he or she can know what is reasonably expected from the grip position with the calibrated golf swing, or one of the calibrated golf swings.

In general, the average golfer, or even ones with higher handicaps, does not know or cannot control his golf swing on a consistent basis and so cannot reliably strike the golf ball a consistent distance. By using the golf club handle 100 of the present invention, this difficult challenge is one that the weaker golfer can address and overcome. Basically, each golfer finds out what his “take away” degree is to hit the maximum distance of, for the example shown in FIG. 2, sixty yards. This also can be used for maximum distance and by otherwise using the golf club by gripping the golf club at the other marked distances or by grasping it at its lowest most end and then approximating distances for the other bands, the golfer will have an indication where he or she should grip the club in order to shoot the golf ball for the selected distance.

Alternatively, the individual markings or indicia for distance 114 can be used in conjunction with diminished swings as the golfer grips down further the golf club handle 100 towards the shaft S. For example, the player may grip the top of the handle 100 and takes a take away swing from 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock for sixty yards and correspondingly takes swings of 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock, 8 o'clock to 4 o'clock, 7 o'clock to 5 o'clock, and 6½ o'clock to 5½ o'clock for respective distances of fifty yards, forty yards, thirty yards, and twenty yards. Both these alternative methods (the first being linear and the second being co-linear) are well within the contemplation of the present invention.

Note should be taken that the grip 100 is increased in length to approximately from 15½ to 16 inches.

With the method described herein and the accompanying golf club handle, golfers may achieve better golf shots and better golf games and enjoy the game more, and seek to improve their game in general with the use of the handle 100. Furthermore, the handle may be easy to manufacture and enable the application of the handle to a variety of golf clubs. Alternative embodiments of the handle 100 may be achieved such that a golfer may improve his or her game with relatively little cost, effort, and frustration by implementing the present invention in the form of a golf club handle, calibrating it (or having one that is pre-calibrated), and then exercising either uniform swings or uniformly-related swings in order to achieve reliable distances for the golf club shot.

While the present invention has been described with regards to particular embodiments, it is recognized that additional variations of the present invention may be devised without departing from the inventive concept.