Title:
GOLF PUTTING TRAINING SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A golf putting training system for a golfer is disclosed generally comprising a linear measurement device that is placed on the ground such that a golf ball is placed at one end and a stopper for engaging a putting head is positioned along the measurement device at a desired distance from the ball. A golfer putts the golf ball, taking a backswing that moves the putter head to the surface of the stopper prior to accelerating towards the ball. The golfer then compares the distance between the end of the measurement device and the stopper to the distance between the end of the measurement device and the final destination of the golf ball. In this way, the golfer can calculate a backswing-to-putt ratio to quickly determine the required backswing distance for any desired putt distance for a given stroke acceleration rate.



Inventors:
Lane, Joseph (Ridgefield, CT, US)
Application Number:
11/972226
Publication Date:
07/16/2009
Filing Date:
01/10/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/212, 473/261
International Classes:
A63B69/36
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LEGESSE, NINI F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ST. ONGE STEWARD JOHNSTON & REENS LLC (STAMFORD, CT, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A golf putting training system for a golfer, comprising the steps of: placing a linear measurement device on the ground; placing a golf ball at an end of the measurement device; positioning on said measurement device a stopper having a stopping surface for engaging a putter head of a putter; examining the measurement device to determine the distance between the end of the device and the stopping surface of the stopper; putting the golf ball to a destination with the putter head using a backswing that moves the putter head to the stopping surface of the stopper; determining the distance from the end of the measurement device to the destination of the golf ball; and determining a backswing-to-putt ratio by comparing the determined distance between the end of the device and the stopping surface of the stopper and the determined distance from the end of the measurement device to the destination of the golf ball.

2. The training system of claim 1, further comprising the step of positioning a guide member adjacent to the linear measurement device such that the guide member extends substantially parallel to the measurement device to guide the motion of the putter head along the measurement device during the putting step.

3. The training system of claim 1, further comprising: repeating the steps of placing a golf ball at one end of the measurement device, putting the golf ball, and determining the distance from the end of the measurement device to the ball destination a plurality of times; wherein the step of determining the backswing-to-putt ratio comprises determining the average distance from the end of the measurement device to the ball destination, and comparing the distance between the end of the device and the stopping surface of the stopper to the average distance from the end of the measurement device to the ball destination.

4. The training system of claim 1, further comprising the steps of: placing the measurement device on the ground of a golf course; repeating the steps of placing a golf ball at one end of the measurement device, positioning the stopper on the measurement device, putting the golf ball, and determining the distance from the end of the measurement device to the ball destination on the golf course; determining a second ratio by comparing the determined distance between the end of the device and the stopping surface of the stopper on the golf course and the determined distance from the end of the measurement device to the destination of the golf ball on the golf course; and comparing the backswing-to-putt ratio with the second ratio to determine a factor by which to adjust the backswing-to-putt ratio to account for golf course conditions.

5. The training system of claim 1, further comprising the step of using a ball liner to mark an alignment line on the golf ball.

6. The training system of claim 5, wherein the step of putting includes striking the golf ball with a face of the putter head, wherein the putter head has an alignment line transverse to the face of the putter head.

7. The training system of claim 6, wherein: the measurement device has an alignment line thereon; the step of placing a golf ball at an end of the measurement device includes aligning the alignment line on the golf ball with the alignment line on the measurement device; and the step of putting includes keeping the alignment line on the putter head aligned with the alignment line on the measurement device.

8. The training system of claim 1, wherein the step of putting includes wearing a wrist retention device to prevent flicking of the wrist.

9. The training system of claim 1, wherein the step of putting includes using an arm separation device to prevent changes in arm position.

10. The training system of claim 1, wherein: the linear measurement device comprises a metallic ruler; and the stopper includes at least one magnet for detachably affixing the stopper to the ruler.

11. A golf putting training system for a golfer, comprising: a measuring strip for measuring distance from a golf ball; a stopper having a stopping surface for obstructing longitudinal motion of a putter head along said strip, said stopper having a connector for detachably affixing said stopper to said strip at a desired distance from the golf ball; a guide member having a guiding surface that extends substantially parallel to said measuring strip when positioned adjacent said strip for guiding longitudinal motion of the putter head along said strip.

12. The system of claim 11, wherein: said strip comprises a metallic ruler; and said connector comprises at least one magnet.

13. The system of claim 11, wherein said strip has a golf ball end having a width, further comprising a visual reference connected to the golf ball end of said strip to help a golfer square the putting head, said visual reference having a width larger than the width of said strip.

14. The system of claim 13, wherein said guide member has a bottom surface, said bottom surface having a recess for receiving part of the visual reference.

15. The system of claim 11, further comprising a putter.

16. The system of claim 15, wherein said putter includes a putter head having a face for striking the golf ball and an alignment line that extends transverse to the face of said putter head.

17. The system of claim 16, further comprising a golf ball liner for marking at least one alignment line on the golf ball.

18. The system of claim 17, wherein said measuring strip includes an alignment line extending along the length of said strip for visually connecting the alignment line on said putter head with an alignment line on the golf ball.

19. The system of claim 11, further comprising a training accessory comprising at least one of a golf ball liner, a wrist retention device, an arm separation device, a balance board, a putting rope, and a practice hole disc.

20. The system of claim 19, further comprising a putter.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a system for training a golfer to putt. More specifically, the invention relates to an apparatus and method for training a golfer to more accurately gauge the backswing required to achieve a particular putt distance.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A primary object of the game of golf is to minimize the amount of strokes it takes in order to put the golf ball in a number of holes around a golf course. One of the most frustrating aspects of golf can be putting, where the golfer is generally within thirty feet of the hole and uses a particular type of club, known as a putter, to try to knock the ball in. Often, this particular portion of the game can significantly add to the total number of strokes for a given hole.

It has been reported by many golf experts that a golfer will typically use his putter more than any other club in his golf bag when playing a round of golf. Many skilled golfers report that they may employ their putter for anywhere between thirty and forty percent of their golf strokes in any given game. Most golfers have long recognized that to improve their overall game, a focused concentration on their putting skills is very important. For example, one of the common mistakes typically committed by many golfers is a failure to keep the face of the putter perpendicular to the line of travel of the putter throughout the entire stroke.

Accordingly, in order to reduce the number of strokes needed when putting, various training techniques have been employed. These training systems can be used alone, for self improvement, or with the assistance of a professional golf instructor. In particular, a major problem encountered in perfecting the game of golf is the development of consistency in a golfer's putting stroke. Since putting can be practiced on a smaller area than is required for practicing other golf shots, numerous practice devices have been developed so that the golfer can repetitively practice putting in order to improve the consistency of his stroke.

Such practice units come in various forms. One general type of system that has been proposed are devices that are intended to replicate a limited region of the putting area, which typically include side boundaries and targets or simulated holes. One version of such a system is disclosed, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 6,939,238 to Brayton. However, one significant problem associated with these types of devices is that the lengths of the putts that can be practiced on them remain substantially constant. Of course, during the game of golf, putts of various lengths are routinely required, and thus, practicing one's putting stroke for only a specific distance or limited range of distances is of little value to a golfer. Additionally, such systems tend to be somewhat cumbersome and not all that portable.

Another general type of system that has been proposed are devices that are designed to be placed on a practice surface and include some sort of structure for positioning and/or guiding the putter. One version of such a system is described, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 6,921,341 to Port et al. However, these systems, too, are typically rather large and cumbersome, take time to assemble, and/or cannot be conveniently stored when not in use.

The need for such complex training devices can be avoided by establishing a fairly regular rate of swing acceleration, which can be practiced and learned without the use of any training devices, and then employing a system that trains a golfer to estimate distances. The main difficulty that casual golfers encounter is that they are unable to remember how hard to hit the ball. Unless a person is putting every day, the vast array of putting distances, as well as environmental factors, such as green speeds, make it difficult to estimate how hard the ball must be hit for a given putt.

Accordingly, as mentioned above, one can first establish a fairly regular rate of acceleration without the assistance of training aids. For example, one can repeatedly place a golf ball between the tips of one's finger and take practice swings, releasing and watching the ball with each such swing, in order to establish a regular and consistent pattern. Once the golfer has established a standard rate of acceleration, all that remains—presuming the other aspects of form, such as arm and wrist position, remain constant—is how much backswing to take. Therefore, by enabling a golfer to quickly adjudge the amount of backswing necessary for each putt, he or she is much better able to gauge how “hard” to hit the golf ball.

What is desired, therefore, is a golf putting training system that will allow a golfer to improve the accuracy of his or her putting stroke. What is further desired is a golf putting training system that will allow a golfer to easily determine how to adjust his or her putting stroke for any required putting distance. What is also desired is a golf putting training system that is not cumbersome or difficult to assemble or transport.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a golf putting training system that involves a few, small parts.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a golf putting training system that can be easily moved from one location to another.

It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a golf putting training system that enables a golfer to determine the amount of backswing required for different desired distances.

In order to overcome the deficiencies of the prior art and to achieve at least some of the objects and advantages listed, the invention comprises a golf putting training system for a golfer, including placing a linear measurement device on the ground, placing a golf ball at an end of the measurement device, positioning on said measurement device a stopper having a stopping surface for engaging a putter head of a putter, examining the measurement device to determine the distance between the end of the device and the stopping surface of the stopper, putting the golf ball to a destination with the putter head using a backswing that moves the putter head to the stopping surface of the stopper, determining the distance from the end of the measurement device to the destination of the golf ball, and determining a backswing-to-putt ratio by comparing the determined distance between the end of the device and the stopping surface of the stopper and the determined distance from the end of the measurement device to the destination of the golf ball.

In some of these embodiments, the invention further includes positioning a guide member adjacent to the linear measurement device such that the guide member extends substantially parallel to the measurement device to guide the motion of the putter head along the measurement device during the putting step.

In certain of these embodiments, the invention also includes repeating the steps of placing a golf ball at one end of the measurement device, putting the golf ball, and determining the distance from the end of the measurement device to the ball destination a plurality of times, wherein the step of determining the backswing-to-putt ratio comprises determining the average distance from the end of the measurement device to the ball destination, and comparing the distance between the end of the device and the stopping surface of the stopper to the average distance from the end of the measurement device to the ball destination.

In some of these embodiments, the invention further includes placing the measurement device on the ground of a golf course, repeating the steps of placing a golf ball at one end of the measurement device, positioning the stopper on the measurement device, putting the golf ball, and determining the distance from the end of the measurement device to the ball destination on the golf course, determining a second ratio by comparing the determined distance between the end of the device and the stopping surface of the stopper on the golf course and the determined distance from the end of the measurement device to the destination of the golf ball on the golf course, and comparing the backswing-to-putt ratio with the second ratio to determine a factor by which to adjust the backswing-to-putt ratio to account for golf course conditions.

In certain embodiments, the invention also includes using a ball liner to mark an alignment line on the golf ball, the step of putting includes striking the golf ball with a face of the putter head, wherein the putter head has an alignment line transverse to the face of the putter head, the measurement device has an alignment line thereon, the step of placing a golf ball at an end of the measurement device includes aligning the alignment line on the golf ball with the alignment line on the measurement device, and the step of putting includes keeping the alignment line on the putter head aligned with the alignment line on the measurement device.

In some of these embodiments, the step of putting includes wearing a wrist retention device to prevent flicking of the wrist, while in some embodiments, the step of putting includes using an arm separation device to prevent changes in arm position.

In another embodiment, the invention comprises a golf putting training system for a golfer, including a measuring strip for measuring distance from a golf ball, a stopper having a stopping surface for obstructing longitudinal motion of a putter head along the strip, the stopper having a connector for detachably affixing the stopper to the strip at a desired distance from the golf ball, a guide member having a guiding surface that extends substantially parallel to the measuring strip when positioned adjacent the strip for guiding longitudinal motion of the putter head along the strip.

In some of these embodiments, the strip comprises a metallic ruler, and the connector comprises at least one magnet. In certain embodiments, the strip has a golf ball end having a width, further comprising a visual reference connected to the golf ball end of the strip to help a golfer square the putting head, the visual reference having a width larger than the width of the strip, and the guide member has a bottom surface, the bottom surface having a recess for receiving part of the visual reference.

In certain of these embodiments, the invention further includes a putter. In some of these embodiments, the putter includes a putter head having a face for striking the golf ball and an alignment line that extends transverse to the face of the putter head, and in some cases, the invention also includes a golf ball liner for marking at least one alignment line on the golf ball. Additionally, in some embodiments, the measuring strip includes an alignment line extending along the length of the strip for visually connecting the alignment line on the putter head with an alignment line on the golf ball.

In some embodiments, the invention further includes a training accessory comprising at least one of a golf ball liner, a wrist retention device, an arm separation device, a balance board, a putting rope, and a practice hole disc.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a golf putting training system in accordance with the invention.

FIG. 2 is isometric view showing additional detail of the golf putting training system of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a rear view of a golfer using the golf putting training system of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a side view of the golfer of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the golf putting training system of FIG. 1.

FIG. 6A is a top plan view of the stopper of the golf putting training system of FIG. 1.

FIG. 6B is a side view of the stopper of FIG. 5A.

FIG. 6C is a bottom view of the stopper of FIG. 5A.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a training kit with the golf training system of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The basic components of one embodiment of a golf putting training system in accordance with the invention are illustrated in FIG. 1. As used in the description, the terms “top,” “bottom,” “above,” “below,” “over,” “under,” “above,” “beneath,” “on top,” “underneath,” “up,” “down,” “upper,” “lower,” “front,” “rear,” “back,” “forward” and “backward” refer to the objects referenced when in the orientation illustrated in the drawings, which orientation is not necessary for achieving the objects of the invention.

A training system 10 includes a linear measurement device 20, which may be a strip with indicia indicative of length, such as a ruler, and a stopper 22 positionable along the measurement strip 20. The stopper 22 has a stopping surface 24 for engaging the face of a putter head, and the stopper 22 is positionable anywhere along the strip 20 to establish particular desired backswing distances. When using the system 10, a golf ball 30 is placed at a golf ball end 32 of the strip 20, and a user can easily determine the distance between the ball 30 and the surface 24 of the stopper 22 by simply examining the measurement strip 20.

In certain advantageous embodiments, a visual reference 34 is connected to the golf ball end 32 of the measuring strip 20. The visual reference 34 has a width greater than the width of the strip 20, which helps a golfer square the putting head of a putter (shown more clearly in FIG. 5). A guide member 40 is positioned adjacent the measuring strip 20 and runs substantially parallel thereto, thereby serving as a guide for the putter head as it is moved along the strip 20, as is further explained below. In some embodiments, the guide member 40 has a recess 42, which permits the member 40 to firmly stand on its bottom edge and also accommodate part of the visual reference 34.

As shown more clearly in FIG. 2, the stopper 22 includes a connector 26 for detachably affixing the stopper 22 to the strip 20. In certain advantageous embodiments, the strip is a metallic ruler 20, and the connector is at least one magnet, such as, for example, a series of embedded magnets 26 or, as another example, a magnetic strip 28 adhered to the bottom of the stopper 22, as is shown in FIG. 6C.

As shown in FIGS. 3-5, a golfer 46 places the strip 20 on the ground, which may be any location where it is convenient for the golfer to practice his or her putting technique, such as, for example, one's backyard or the floor of one's bedroom. Accordingly, it should be noted the term “ground” as used herein refers to any such ground or floor surface, and does not necessarily imply that such surface is located outdoors. The guide member 40 is placed on the ground adjacent the strip 20. If the strip 20 includes a visual reference 34, the edge of the reference 34 is positioned within the recess 42 of the guide member 40.

The golfer 46 places a golf ball at the end of the strip 20, and positions the stopper 22 on the strip 20 at a desired distance from the golf ball, which can be determined simply by examining the indicia representative of length on the surface of the measuring strip 20. The stopper 22 is positioned on the strip 20 such that it abuts the guide member 40, and is secured to the strip 20.

The golfer 46 then stands adjacent the measuring strip 20, and holds a putter 62 such that the putter head 64 is adjacent or abutting the golf ball. The golfer 46 then putts the golf ball, taking a backswing that brings the putter head 64 into light contact with the stopping surface 24 of the stopper 22, which is held in place by the magnets 26, before accelerating forward to strike the golf ball. The golfer 46 then determines the distance from the end of the measuring strip 20 to the final destination of the golf ball. This may be done by using a measuring device, such as a tape measure, or by simply eyeballing the distance. Alternatively, a practice hole disc 60 (shown in FIG. 7) may be placed at a certain desired distance from the measuring strip 20 prior to taking practice strokes.

The golfer 46 then determines a backswing-to-putt ratio by comparing the distance between the golf ball end 32 and the stopping surface 24 and the distance from the golf ball end 32 to the final destination of the golf ball. In this way, the golfer is easily able to tell the approximate backswing required to travel any desired distance using his or her standard rate of accelerating the putter 62. In some cases, the golfer 46 repeats this process a number of times and determines an average distance between the end of the strip 20 and the golf ball's final destination, and then uses this average to calculate the backswing-to-putt ratio. Similarly, the stopper 22 can be positioned at different distances along the strip 20 in order to determine an average ratio using these different distances.

If the golfer would like to further refine the backswing-to-putt ratio to account for particular golf course conditions, the golfer can transport the above described system to a golf course, and can then repeat the above process to calculate a second ratio. By assessing the difference between the first backswing-to-putt ratio and this second ratio, the golfer can determine a factor by which to adjust the required backswing distances necessary to achieve desired putt distances.

As previously noted, the ability to accurately determine the required backswing for a particular distance once a regular rate of acceleration is established is best effected when other factors related to form are maintained constant. Accordingly, various additional training devices may be employed in conjunction with above the described system in order to further improve style and consistency.

For example, one such device that may be employed in order to facilitate the golfer's ability to keep the putter head straight during the stroke is a ball marking device 70, sometimes referred to as a “spot liner.” An example of such a device is described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,004,223 to Newcomb, the specification of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference. By using this type of device, alignment lines 72 may be placed on the golf ball to serve as a visual aid for the golfer. Similarly, a corresponding alignment line 74 may be employed on the putter head 64, such that the golfer 46 can align the putter head with the golf ball during the putting stroke. A corresponding alignment line 76 may also be employed on the strip 20 to further assist in this continuous alignment. This alignment line may, for example, comprise a 4 mm thick red stripe in order to enable easy alignment. Additionally, the guide member 40, which runs substantially parallel to the strip 20, further serves to help keep the putter head 64 square throughout the stroke.

Additionally, position and form are very important in golf for achieving an accurate stroke. When swinging a golf club, particularly during putting and chipping, the desired position is one in which the arms form an approximate triangular formation with respect to the golf club. Such a position enables the larger muscles of the upper arm, back and shoulders, not the muscles of the wrist and forearm, to be used throughout a putting stroke. Unfortunately, what commonly happens is that a golfer uses the smaller muscles of the wrist and forearm when putting, which produces bad results caused by the forward wrist breaking down in the putt.

Therefore, various devices for facilitating proper form may be beneficially employed with the above described device. For example, it is important for there to be a constant angle of the golfer's rear arm in relation to the putter in order to develop consistency. The ability to keep a constant angle of the arm to the putter during each putt is difficult when there is no guide to determine differences in the angle. Therefore, it is often advantageous to use a wrist retention device 80, such as the J-hook member described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,944,516 to Bickler, the specification of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference. Such a device, which is illustrated in FIG. 7, will typically have one portion 82 that engages the putter handle and/or hook into the top of the putter and another portion 84 that engages the wrist in order to limit a certain angling of the wrist with respect to the putter handle. This type of training device forces the user to employ execution of proper technique by requiring that the golfer maintain a consistent arm-to-putter angle, thereby reinforcing a “muscle memory” that will continue to maintain the proper angle even when the device is not being used. Similarly, devices that engage both wrists of the golfer, such as that disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,248,146 to Viets, may also be used.

Similarly, various devices may be employed with the above described device in order to help the golfer maintain the generally triangular form. A number of arm separation devices exist to help ensure that the arms stay straight and a certain distance from one another throughout the swing, such as, for example, the devices described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,358,146 to Moran and U.S. Pat. No. 5,902,189 to Schultz. Generally, such devices utilize a mechanism for engaging both arms of the golfer and thereby define and maintain the triangle between the shoulders, arms and putter grip. An example of such a device 86 is also illustrated in FIG. 7, which includes two U-shaped members 88 for engaging the arms and a ratchet mechanism 90 for establishing the particular distance between the arms of a particular golfer. This will force the golfer to maintain the position of his or her arms during the stroke, shown in FIG. 4.

Additionally, a balancing device may be employed, such as the device 92 shown in FIG. 7, often referred to as a balance board. This device consists of a wide board on which the golfer stands, with a thin beam 94 on the bottom thereof. When the golfer stands on the board 92, as shown in FIGS. 3-4, the board 92 forces the golfer 46 to maintain a proper equilibrium, preventing the golfer from leaning too far forward or backward during the golf stroke.

In some cases, it is advantageous for the golfer to use a rope 96, shown in FIG. 7, to create a “one putt zone”. The rope 96, which is generally about six feet long, has a first looped end for slipping over a flag pole, and a second looped end for creating a carpenter's chalk line, sweeping out a six foot radius around the hole. The golfer can then practice a variety of putts, both with and without the measurement device 20, inside the one putt zone created in this fashion.

Because all of these devices can prove useful in helping a golfer improve his or her putting game, the training system may include any of various assortments of these accessories. For instance, a basic kit may include, for example, the measuring strip 20, stopper 22, and guide member 40, as well as a ball marker 70 and practice hole discs 60, while an advanced kit may, for example, further include a wrist retention device 80, an arm separation device 86, a balance board 92, a putting rope 96, and a putter 62.

It should be understood that the foregoing is illustrative and not limiting, and that obvious modifications may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the invention. Accordingly, reference should be made primarily to the accompanying claims, rather than the foregoing specification, to determine the scope of the invention.





 
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