Title:
Golf Swing Training Devices and Methods
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf-swing aid device, system and a method for using the same to assist a golfer in tracking at least one component of a golf-swing is described. The device includes at least one light emitting device, such as a laser, to provide a visual aid to a golfer. In some embodiments of the invention, one of the light emitting devices attaches to a wrist of the golfer. The visual aid emitted by the laser enables the golfer to detect rotation of his hands while performing the golf swing. In other embodiments, light emitting devices are securable to the head or golf cap and the waist section of the golfer enabling the golfer to detect movement during the golf swing. The system may include multiple light emitting devices for providing visual aids to the golfer to assist the golfer in tracking at least one component of his golf swing. A mat is described for use in conjunction with the devices.



Inventors:
Popin, Val (The Villages, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/610896
Publication Date:
06/21/2007
Filing Date:
12/14/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/268
International Classes:
A63B69/36
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LEGESSE, NINI F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Dernier IP Law, LLC (Morristown, NJ, US)
Claims:
1. A golf swing aid device comprising: at least one light emitting device for producing a light beam that provides a visual aid to a golfer to assist the golfer in tracking at least one component of a golf swing; and a securing device for attaching the at least one light emitting device to the golfer or the clothing of the golfer.

2. The golf-swing aid device of claim 1, further comprising a light emitting end adapted to provide a light beam the rotation of which is detectable to provide a visual cue to the golfer.

3. The golf-swing aid device of claim 2, wherein the shape is one of an X, a cross and a crosshair.

4. The golf-swing aid device of claim 1, wherein the light emitting device comprises a pivotable portion adjustable to change a position of the light emitting device.

5. The golf-swing aid device of claim 1, further comprising a housing and at least one light emitting device extending therefrom.

6. The golf-swing aid device of claim 5, wherein the housing is made from a hard material selected from plastic, metal, wood, resin, acrylic, polycarbonate, and polyacrylate.

7. The golf-swing aid device of claim 5, wherein the housing is made from a soft material selected from cloth, an elastic fabric, spandex and neoprene.

8. The golf-swing aid device of claim 1, wherein the securing device is selected from at least one of a strap, a clip, a cuff, a clamp, and a band.

9. A golf-swing aid system comprising: a first light emitting device securable to a midsection of a golfer for producing a light beam to provide a visual aid to the golfer in tracking a golf swing through a swing plane; and a second light emitting device securable to a wrist of the golfer and having a light emitting end adapted to provide a light beam having a shape the rotation of which is detectable, wherein the rotation of the shape provides a visual cue to the golfer.

10. The golf-swing aid system of claim 9, further comprising: a third light emitting device attachable by a third securing mechanism to a head of the golfer for producing a light beam that provides another visual aid to the golfer to assist the golfer in minimizing head movement during the golf swing.

11. The golf-swing aid system of claim 10, wherein at least one of the light emitting devices comprises a housing securable to a point of attachment of the golfer.

12. The golf-swing aid system of claim 10, wherein at least one of the light emitting devices further comprises an adjustable mechanism for adjusting a position of the light emitting devices to aim the light beam produced by the light emitting device.

13. The golf-swing aid system of claim 12, wherein the adjustable mechanism comprises a pivotable portion adjustable to change a position of the light emitting device.

14. The golf-swing aid system of claim 10, at least one of said devices comprising a housing and a light emitting device extending therefrom.

15. The golf-swing aid device of claim 14, wherein the housing is made from a hard material selected from plastic, metal, wood, resin, acrylic, polycarbonate, and polyacrylate.

16. The golf-swing aid system of claim 14, wherein the housing is made from a soft material selected from cloth, an elastic fabric, neoprene and spandex.

17. The system according to claim 9 further comprising a mat including at least one indicia intended to be traced by a beam of at least one of said light emitting devices.

18. A golf swing training mat having at least one indicia intended to be traced by a beam of at least one light emitting device secured to a golfer.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/750,909, filed Dec. 16, 2005, the entirety of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to devices and methods for assisting golfers in improving their golf swing and in particular to providing a light emitting device, such as a laser device, mounted to a strategic position on the body or clothing of a golfer to provide visual training cues.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Proper golf swing mechanics are required in order to strike a golf ball solidly so that the golf ball travels in a desired direction. A golf swing includes several components, including but not limited to stance, hand position, backswing, weight shift, swing plane, downswing, follow through, finish and swing tempo. According to some experts the golf swing includes over twenty different aspects, wherein incorrect execution of any one will result in imperfect striking of the ball. Most golf swing aid devices focus on addressing only one aspect of the golf swing, however, to date, none have provided a device capable of addressing most of the major swing flaws. Thus there is a need for a device that assists golfers in correcting major swing flaws.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A golf swing aid device, system and a method for using the same to assist a golfer in tracking a golf-swing is described. A device in accordance with one aspect of the invention includes at least one light emitting device, such as a laser, to provide a visual aid to a golfer. The visual aid assists the golfer in tracking at least one component of his golf swing through a swing plane. Multiple light emitting devices may be used together in a system by the golfer to assist in training the golfer to use proper form while performing the golf swing. In at least one embodiment of the invention, one of the light emitting devices emits a rotatable visual aid such as but not limited to a cross shape. In this embodiment, the light emitting device is secured to the golfer's wrist and the visual aid enables the golfer to detect rotation of his hands while performing the golf swing. In another embodiment, a device in accordance with the present invention is securable to the midsection of a golfer providing a visual aid enabling the golfer to detect incorrect movement of the body with respect to the golf ball. In yet another embodiment, the device is securable to the head area of the golfer and the visual aid enables the golfer to detect head movement or other movement of the body reflected in the movement of the visual aid. A system in accordance with the invention is provided employ any combination of devices to assist a golfer in improving his or her golf swing. The device may be ergonomically shaped to conform to different attachment points of the golfer or her clothing. The device may also be adjustable to control direction of the light beam.

In one embodiment the system includes multiple light emitting devices for providing multiple visual aids to the golfer to assist the golfer in tracking a golf swing. In another embodiment a mat is provided including indicia that are usable in conjunction with devices in accordance with the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For the purposes of illustrating the various aspects of the invention, there are shown in the drawings forms that are presently preferred, it being understood, however, that the invention is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a device in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 1A is a front view of a device in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of a device in accordance with one aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 2A is a front view of a device in accordance with an aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a side view of a golfer employing one or more embodiments of the present invention; and

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of an embodiment in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In the following description for purposes of explanation, specific numbers, materials and configurations are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the invention. It will be apparent, however, to one having ordinary skill in the art that the invention may be practiced without these specific details. In some instances, well-known features may be omitted or simplified so as not to obscure the present invention. Furthermore, reference in the specification to phrases such as “one embodiment” or “an embodiment” means that a particular feature structure or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the invention. The appearances of phrases such as “in one embodiment” in various places in the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment.

Now referring to FIG. 1, in one aspect the present invention includes a light emitting device 2 having a housing 4 and a light emitting end 6 having an aperture 8 capable of producing a light beam 30, and a securing device 12. One example of a suitable light emitting device 2 is a laser pointer commercially available from companies such as ZHUMELL of Proctor, Minn. and APOLLO of Palo Alto, Calif. The housing 4 may be made of hard materials such as plastic, metal, wood, resin, acrylic, polycarbonate and polyacrylate. Light emitting device 2 preferably includes a timer (not shown). Securing device 12 is adapted to secure the light emitting device 2 to the clothing or body of a golfer at a selected position. The securing device 12 may be any suitable securing device such as but not limited to a strap, a clip, a cuff, a clamp, a band such as a VELCRO band, or the like.

Now referring to FIGS. 2 and 2A, in one embodiment the light emitting device 2 comprises a pivoting arm 14 extending therefrom so that the angle of the beam 30 is adjustable and includes a securing device 12. For example, in one embodiment a light emitting device 2 is adapted to be mounted to the mid-section of a golfer, preferably the waist or belt area. In such an embodiment light emitting device 2 may comprise a pivot arm 14 and a securing device 12 whereby the securing device 12 can be secured to a waist band or a belt by tucking behind the belt, or by clipping thereto as will be apparent to the skilled artisan, and the light emitting device 2 and pivot arm 14 extending therefrom is adjustable to aim a beam 30 at a golf ball at address or another desired location. A pivot arm locking knob 18 may be included to maintain the pivot arm 14 at an angle selected by the golfer. In this manner, the light emitting device 2 is fixed so as to track a beam 30 reflecting the golfer's hip rotation and movement to determine whether there is a deviation from the proper swing. The proper swing should trace the beam 30 through the golf ball.

Now referring to FIG. 3, in accordance with one embodiment, in practice, a waist mounted light emitting device 2B (“B” signifying “belt”) is preferably a laser and is attached for example to a belt 50 of a golfer. The golfer turns on the laser 2B at address and positions the laser to point a beam 30B (“B” signifying “belt beam”) directly over the golf ball prior to the start of the swing. The beam 30B moves back consistent with the back swing of the golfer a short distance and as the turn is made by the golfer, the beam 30B makes a path PB roughly tracking a semicircle as seen in FIG. 4. In the down swing the beam 30B ideally follows the same path PB back to the ball in order for a proper swing to be executed. The beam 30B should take roughly the same path on the forward swing as it did on the backswing. In other words, the beam 30B will track a semicircular or arcuate pattern as shown in FIG. 4, preferably at no time diverting from the path PB. The beam 30B will track a path that is incorrect if the golfer changes a knee or spine angle. It is well known that a majority of golfers, in the downswing, do not maintain a knee or spine angle and therefore, move several inches to a foot or more away from the ball, thus causing a slap or weak shot (to the right for right-handed golfers, to the left for left-handed golfers) because the club head is open (not square). Many golfers will “top” the ball as a result of improper motion and movement away from proper knee or spine angle, which results in a loss of distance and accuracy. It will be apparent to the skilled artisan that the waist-mounted device 2B is intended to detect changing knee and/or spine angle during the swing, or other flaws that cause the golfer to “come off” the ball during the swing. Accordingly, while the discussion of the proper track of the beam 30B refers herein to a semicircle or arc shape, the precise shape of the track may vary among individual golfers.

Employing a laser 2B positioned along the mid-section of the golfer's body, a practice tool is provided in which a golfer can familiarize himself with the moves the body should make during a proper golf swing. The golfer is able to see the beam 30B track the proper swing path PB while the golfer is actually making the swing, training via muscle memory the golfer to become familiar with the proper swing. In another embodiment, using the help of a swing professional a golfer can mark the ground with the proper swing path PB beam 30B should follow. Now referring to FIG. 4, in a preferred embodiment, a practice mat 100 is shown that includes indicia representing path PB and path PW described hereinbelow. Mat 100 may further include indicia 110 for proper foot placement and/or indicia 120 for aligning a beam 2C and beam 30C, described in detail hereinbelow.

Now referring to FIG. 3, a further embodiment comprises a device 2C adapted to be secured via a clip or other suitable attachment device 12 to headgear 60 such as a headband, cap or hat to assist a golfer in maintaining proper head position. In one embodiment, device 2C is secured in a pocket formed in a sleeve (not shown) from which extends the securing device 12. The sleeve may be made from any suitable material such as but not limited to cloth, elastic fabric, neoprene or spandex and may be formed integrally with the headgear 60.

In on embodiment device 2C (“C” signifying “cap”) is adapted to be removably attached to any hat or golf cap 60. As the golfer addresses the ball beam 30C extends from the device 2C to the ground to provide a visual aid to the golfer. A target spot may be placed on the ground, or, in the embodiment employing mat 100, as indicia 120 on mat 100. The location of the spot relative to the golfer will vary depending on variables such as the height of the golfer, the stance and the like. However, based on proper positioning techniques and alignment for golf as are well known in the art, a typical distance is about two feet. As the golfer swings the club, the visual cue spot formed by beam 30C should ideally stay approximately in the beginning location, with the exception that the spot can move slightly, such as approximately one to two inches in any direction, from the original spot. The golfer may minimize head movement by steadying his head to confine the visual aid within the boundaries of the marked area during the golf-swing. This training tool assists golfers in keeping from topping the ball and hitting left or right and prevents golfers from moving their head forward too early in the swing or from lifting their head prior to completing their follow through. Essentially in this embodiment the device 2C is intended to train the golfer to reduce or avoid excessive movement of the head, as well as undesirable movement of the body that is reflected in movement of the spot formed by beam 30C, such as undue bobbing or swaying of the body.

Now referring to FIG. 3, in another embodiment a golf training device 2W (“W” signifies “wrist”) is depicted adapted to be securable to the wrist of a golfer. Suitable attachment devices 12 include but are not limited to a band of cloth preferably an elastic fabric material, such as, but not limited to neoprene, spandex, or other suitable material. The attachment device 12 may be adapted to further comprise a pocket or other opening or receptacle for securably retaining a laser device 2W. Now referring to FIG. 1A, device 2W preferably comprises a light emitting end 6 having an aperture or other means adapted to project a shaped beam 30W such as a beam 30W having cross-shaped appearance. Such a shaped beam 30W can be provided by providing a stencil or cut-out 9 over the light emitting end of the device 2W. Device 2W may include a housing 4 that includes at least one flat or other shaped outer surface so that it will lay flat against the wrist of the user (whereas a tubular device might tend to roll).

Now referring to FIG. 3, in one embodiment, the device 2W includes an attachment device 12 including a wrist band. Device 2W is placed on the wrist of the top hand of the golfer at address, that is, for a right-handed golfer the apparatus is placed on the left wrist so that the beam 30W is projected over the top of the left hand (and for left-handed golfers, the opposite is true, i.e., the top hand is the right hand). As the golf club is held with both hands at address, a shaped laser beam 30W having an X or cross-shaped cross-section for example is directed to the ground, forming a shaped spot, the rotation of which is detectable to a golfer. As the club is moved back through the back swing the shape formed by the beam 30W moves along the ground (or mat 100 in a preferred embodiment). If the shape rotates or turns, it is an indication that the golfer is “fanning” the club which means opening or closing the club. This is a very clear indication of a hand movement that is improper in golf and the user is immediately visually notified of the improper move. The user is then able to practice the golf swing that keeps the shape formed by the beam 30W from rotating. In other words, the shape of the spot on the ground at address is intended not to rotate as the club is moved back and forth through the swing. Pronation and supination (turning over) of the wrists during the golf swing causes “fanning” of the club as discussed above. Pronation is an inward rotation of the hands towards the golfer's centerline when standing in a palms-facing-forward position. Supination is an outward rotation of the hands (thumbs turning out) away from the golfer's centerline when standing in a palms-facing-the-body position. The golfer can maintain proper wrist form by focusing on the visual aid produced by the laser 2W.

In another embodiment the device 2W is securable to a golf club.

Other shapes are contemplated for the spot formed by beam 30W and may be adapted by individual golfers to suit their personal preferences or provide indications that are more visually agreeable to the particular golfer.

As shown in FIG. 3, in a preferred embodiment, a system in accordance with the present invention employs multiple laser devices 2B, 2C and/or 2W. The system provides a golfer with a complete golf-swing training system that facilitates proper head placement, stance and/or wrist movement throughout the golf-swing. The golfer centers a laser device 2B attached to his midsection (waist area) on the golf ball at address. Another laser device 2W is attached to a wrist of the golfer. Yet another laser device 2C is attached to a golf cap or head of the golfer. The golfer is able to utilize any combination of some or all of the three devices 2B, 2C and/or 2W in concert to track his golf swing through the swing plane. The proper swing path(s) may be marked on the ground by the golfer or a golf professional. The system may further comprise mat 100 as described herein.

Now referring to FIG. 4, in an embodiment, a golf swing aid comprising a mat 100 comprises indicia PW, PB, 110 and 120 as described hereinabove, allowing a golfer using mat 100 in conjunction with at least one of devices 2B, 2C and/or 2W to practice and develop a repeatable proper golf swing.

While the preferred embodiments have been described and illustrated it will be understood that changes in details and obvious undisclosed variations might be made without departing from the spirit and principle of the invention and therefore the scope of the invention is not to be construed as limited to the preferred embodiment.