Title:
Impaired grip compensatory golf glove
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An exemplary embodiment providing one or more improvements includes a golf glove with an attached strap which forces the last two fingers of an impaired leading hand against a golf club grip. This provides the golfer with such an impaired hand the ability to control the club in making a conventional golf swing. Embodiments are unobtrusive and quick and easy to use, causing no delay in the play. In addition, embodiments assists a non-impaired golfer in making a proper golf swing by eliminating the distraction of regripping. Embodiments can be used as a training aid in assisting a golfer in developing habits which lead to a proper golf swing. Finally, embodiments assist golfers of any capability in making proper swings under conditions of moist hands due to perspiration or precipitation.



Inventors:
Oakman, Linda (Windsor Mill, MD, US)
Application Number:
12/459284
Publication Date:
02/18/2010
Filing Date:
06/29/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D19/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HADEN, SALLY CLINE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WILLIAM S RAMSEY, ESQ (COLUMBIA, MD, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A golf glove for use by a golfer having at least the 5th finger which is unable to close on a golf club grip comprising: a golf glove having a palm surface and a back surface, and an inelastic flexible strap having a first and a second end, and an upper and a lower surface, the strap fixedly attached at the first end to the back surface of the glove at the lower surface of the strap, the strap extending over the back knuckles of the 4th and 5th fingers and over the palm surface of the glove, the strap having connector means for demountable connection by a connector between the lower surface of the second end and the upper surface of the fixed end, the strap capable of compressing at least the 5th finger against the golf club grip when the first and second end are connected.

2. The golf glove of claim 1 wherein the connector is a hook and loop connector.

3. The golf glove of claim 1 wherein the connector is a snap connector, button connector, hook and eye connector, clamp, latch, bolt and nut, or zipper connector.

4. The golf glove of claim 1 wherein the strap is manufactured of two interacting hook and loop strips.

5. The golf glove of claim 1 wherein the strap is manufactured of plastic material.

6. The golf glove of claim 1 wherein the strap is manufactured of is manufactured of leather, rubber, plastic composition, woven fabric, fiberglass, or composite material.

7. The golf glove of claim 1 wherein tension in the strap is developed by the tendency of the 4th and 5th fingers to move away from the grip.

8. The golf glove of claim 1 wherein the strap is capable of compressing the 4th and 5th fingers against the golf club grip.

9. The golf glove of claim 1 wherein the strap is about 9 inches long and about 1 inch wide.

10. The method of gripping a golf club grip by a golfer having a 5th finger which is unable to close on a golf club grip comprising: a. obtaining a golf glove having a palm surface and a back surface, and an inelastic flexible strap having a first and a second end, and an upper and a lower surface, the strap fixedly attached at the first end to the back surface of the glove at the lower surface of the strap, the strap extending over the back knuckles of the 4th and 5th fingers and over the palm surface of the glove, the strap having connector means for demountable connection by a connector between the lower surface of the second end and the upper surface of the fixed end, the strap capable of compressing the at least the 5th finger against the golf club grip when the first end and second end are connected, b. inserting the golfer's hand into the golf glove, c. gripping the golf club with at least the 1st finger of the golfer's hand against the grip, d. pulling the strap clockwise from the back surface of the glove over the knuckles of the 4th and 5th fingers on the back of the hand and around the 4th finger and 5th finger, e. compressing at least the 5th finger of the golfer's hand against the golf club grip using the strap, and f. connecting the second end of the strap to the first end of the strap.

11. The method of claim 10 wherein in step e. both the 4th and 5th fingers are compressed.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to provisional application No. 61/188,728 filed Aug. 12, 2008.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable.

THE NAMES OF THE PARTIES TO A JOINT RESEARCH AGREEMENT

Not Applicable.

REFERENCE TO A “SEQUENCE LISTING,” A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER PROGRAM LISTING APPENDIX

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND

This disclosure relates to apparel comprising hand coverings for use in playing golf.

DESCRIPTION OF RELATED ART INCLUDING INFORMATION DISCLOSED UNDER 37 CFR 1.97 AND 37 CFR 1.98.

Golf gloves are commonly used by golfers to improve the grip of the leading hand on a golf club and to protect the leading hand from irritation from repeated golf swings. The leading hand for a right handed golfer is the left hand. The leading hand for a left handed golfer is the right hand. Golf gloves are used for the left hand only for a right-handed user. Modified golf gloves are permitted by the USGA Rules of Golf at 14-3, Exceptions, for use in competitions when the modifications are designed to compensate for physical deficiencies in the user.

In the present application embodiments are disclosed which are improved golf gloves for use by golfers with a physically impaired lead hand. Such embodiments enable golfers with an impaired lead hand to play golf with an effective swing. Embodiments also are unobtrusive, inexpensive, and easy to manufacture and use.

In this disclosure the following terminology is used: the thumb is termed 1st finger; the index finger is termed 2nd finger, the middle finger is termed 3rd finger, the ring finger is termed 4th finger, and the little finger is termed 5th finger. The descriptive material in this disclosure is for embodiment gloves which fit the lead hand, that is, the left hand for right handed golfers. It is specifically contemplated that embodiments which are a mirror-image of those disclosed will describe embodiments which fit the right hand, as would be used by left handed golfers.

U.S. Pat. No. 2,083,604 discloses a golf glove in which a strap extends from the 4th and 5th fingers together and is attached to a buckle at the base of the 1st finger.

U.S. Pat. No. 2,852,779 discloses a golf glove with an elastic band which is attached to the back of the 1st finger area and is extended about the 4th and 5th fingers after the club is gripped and the elastic band is then removable attached to the back of the glove.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,100,302 discloses a golf glove designed to maintain the proper club grip which includes a band which surrounds the base of 3rd, 4th, and 5th fingers into which the club grip is placed.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,217,332 discloses a sportsman's accessory for bowlers and golfers which comprises a flat body members which extends from the back of the user's hand to midway on the forearm.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,348,238 discloses golf glove with a strap attached to the palm at the base of the 1st finger and which extends to and is attached to the back of 3rd, 4th and 5th fingers or to the back of the glove by hook and loop fasteners after the club is gripped.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,520,539 discloses a golf glove which comprises a band covering the palm extending between the 1st and 2nd fingers, with a section extending from the bottom of the band which is rolled about the club grip.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,559,212 discloses a golf glove with a detachable flap which is attached to the palm of the glove and to 3rd, 4th, and 5th fingers by hook and loop fasteners.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,918,097 discloses a sport glove with a strap attached to the 5th finger which extends around the palm and attaches to the back of the glove, as well as to the back of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th fingers after the club is gripped.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,057,255 discloses a golf swing aid which involves a wrist strap and a flexible tie which helps the golfer unflex his wrists in addressing the ball.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,643,428 discloses a club gripping aid which includes a glove with an attached training strap which holds the golfer's right 1st finger during the golf swing.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,730,354 discloses a glove with strap attached to the palm which encircles the 1st finger and is reattached to a buckle at the palm.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,004,231 discloses a exercise glove with a strap extending from the 5th finger region of the palm to the base of the 1st finger and encloses a club grip.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,033,120 discloses a golf glove with a flap which attaches to the back of the 4th and 5th fingers and attaches at the other end to the palm.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,414,868 discloses a golf glove with straps attached to the back of the glove at the base of the 1st and 2nd fingers. The straps extend around the gripped club and are attached at the other ends to the back of the 1st to 3rd fingers or at the base of the 4th finger.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,423,089 discloses a golf club with enhanced anti-twist resistance when fully wet.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,435,013 discloses a glove with extensions on the backs of 1st to 5th which are enclosed by a strap after the club is gripped.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,459,883 discloses a hand covering and grip enhancer which may be used to enhance the grip on a golf club.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,517,649 discloses a weightlifting glove which includes a partially elastic band which encircles the palm.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,553,324 discloses a glove-like gripping aid with an elastic wrist band attached to an elastic hand strip which enhances the grip when extended over the fingers and reattached to the wrist band.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,557,805 discloses a glove-like gripping aid with an elastic wrist band attached to an elastic hand strip which enhances the grip when extended over the fingers and reattached to the wrist band and has in addition a D ring which assists in the attachment.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,669,073 discloses a golf glove in which the backs of the 3rd to 5th fingers are attached to the palm of the glove after the club is gripped.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,685,787 discloses a golf swing training method which involves a strap extending from the 1st finger to the wrist.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,742,941 discloses a golf glove with a strap which extends from the back of the glove to the palm and is attached to the backs of the 4th and 5th fingers after the club is gripped.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,742,942 discloses a golf glove with a strap which is attached to the glove and to which are attached the back 4th and 5th fingers of the glove after the club is gripped.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,845,374 discloses a golf glove with an attached strap which engulfs the 4th and 5th fingers after the club is gripped.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,898,944 discloses an athletic glove with a protrusion strap which engulfs the 3rd and 4th fingers and includes a rod which is pressed against the club grip.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,035,442 discloses a sports glove for arthritis which has thick padding to increase the relative diameter of the club and a strap which encloses the 2nd to 5th fingers after the club is gripped.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,073,269 discloses a golf glove with an elastic strap which is attached to the back of the glove above the palm and at the base of the 1st finger. The elastic strap covers the 3rd to 5th fingers after the club is gripped.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,223,354 discloses a golf glove with elastic club gripping strap which covers the 3rd to 5th fingers after the club is gripped.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,912,731 discloses a non-slip glove with emery cloth on both the inside and outside of the fingers.

U.S. Pat. No. 7,051,377 discloses a glove with a pliable member extending on the palm side from the wrist to the fingers and which is used to enclose the club before the member is attached to the palm side of the fingers.

U.S. Pat. No. 7,211,004 discloses a glove and system which includes a strap which wraps about the hand and covers the 4th and 5th fingers after the club is gripped.

U.S. Pat. No. D460,585 discloses the ornamental design of a golf glove and a hook-and-loop attachment strap.

U.S. Pat. No. D561,946 discloses the ornamental design of a golf training glove.

U.S. Pat. Applic. Pub. No. 2006/0015983 discloses a golf glove with a strap attached to the back of the glove which loops about the club grip.

U.S. Pat. Applic. Pub. No. 2007/0184911 discloses golf glove which is removable attached to the club grip.

U.S. Pat. Applic. Pub. No. 2007/0287550 discloses a golf glove and system which includes a strap which wraps about the hand and covers the 4th and 5th fingers after the club is gripped.

The foregoing examples of the related art and limitations related therewith are intended to be illustrative and not exclusive. Other limitations of the related art will become apparent to those of skill in the art upon a reading of the specification and a study of the drawings. None of the disclosed prior art provide the advantages of the present disclosure, that of providing a golf glove which effectively assists the play of golfers with impaired hands, is unobtrusive and virtually invisible in use, and is constructed inexpensively of materials without adverse effect on the environment.

BRIEF SUMMARY

The following embodiments and aspects thereof are described and illustrated in conjunction with systems, tool and methods which are meant to be exemplary and illustrative, not limiting in scope. In various embodiments, one or more of the above-described problems have been reduced or eliminated, while other embodiments are directed to other improvements.

Embodiments include a golf glove for use by a golfer having at least the 5th finger which is unable to close on a golf club grip comprising a golf glove having a palm surface and a back surface, and an inelastic flexible strap. The strap having a first and a second end, and an upper and a lower surface, the strap fixedly attached at the first end to the back surface of the glove at the lower surface of the strap, and the strap extending over the back knuckles of the 4th and 5th fingers and over the palm surface of the glove. The strap having connector means for demountable connection by a connector between the lower surface of the second end and the upper surface of the fixed end, and the strap capable of compressing at least the 5th finger against the golf club grip when the first and second end are connected.

Embodiments include the method of gripping a golf club grip by a golfer having a 5th finger which is unable to close on a golf club grip comprising the steps, obtaining a golf glove having a palm surface and a back surface, and an inelastic flexible strap having a first and a second end, and an upper and a lower surface, the strap fixedly attached at the first end to the back surface of the glove at the lower surface of the strap, the strap extending over the back knuckles of the 4th and 5th fingers and over the palm surface of the glove, the strap having connector means for demountable connection by a connector between the lower surface of the second end and the upper surface of the fixed end, the strap capable of compressing the at least the 5th finger against the golf club grip when the first end and second end are connected. The second step involves inserting the golfer's hand into the golf glove, followed by gripping the golf club with at least the 1st finger of the golfer's hand against the grip, pulling the strap clockwise from the back surface of the glove over the knuckles of the 4th and 5th fingers on the back of the hand, around the 4th finger and 5th finger, thereby compressing the 4th and 5th fingers against the grip, and connecting the second end of the strap to the first end of the strap.

In addition to the exemplary aspects and embodiments described above, further aspects and embodiments will become apparent by reference to the drawings and by study of the following descriptions.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows the palm side of an embodiment golf glove.

FIG. 2 shows the back side of an embodiment golf glove.

FIG. 3 shows the use of an embodiment golf glove by a user with impaired gripping ability.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Many golfers find their game impaired by a great variety of degenerative conditions which restrict the movement of the fingers. In particular, the ability of the 1st and 4th and 5th fingers of the lead or left hand to grip the club is important to making a proper golf swing. The ability of the 1st and 5th fingers to grip the club is essential to obtaining proper control of a golf club swing.

Perhaps the most common cause of restriction of movement of the 4th and 5th fingers is arthritis. This condition may cause decreased range of motion in the fingers. An estimated 21 million people have osteoarthritis in the U.S., and about 1.3 million persons have rheumatoid arthritis.

Other hand aliments which affect golfers include contractures which restrict movement of the fingers. These occur when normally elastic connective tissues are replaced by inelastic tissue, making it hard to stretch the area and preventing normal movement. Contractures can occur in skin, underlying tissues, muscle, tendons and joints. They may be inherited, result from nerve damage or reduced use of the joint, or injury, such as burns.

Dupuytren's disease is a condition in which the connective tissue under the skin thickens and shortens, causing the gradual contraction of the 4th and 5th fingers. This is a relatively common genetic disease in men which generally begins at age 50 or 60.

Volkmann's contracture is a condition of the hand, fingers, and wrist which is caused by injury to the forearm muscles. Such muscles pull the fingers and result in a condition where some or all of the fingers are in a contracted or extended position.

The effects of any condition which results in impaired gripping ability of the 4th and 5th fingers of the left hand can be ameliorated by use of embodiment golf gloves.

FIG. 1 shows the palm side of an embodiment golf glove 10. Visible in FIG. 1 is the palm surface 16 of the glove 10, 1st finger 11, 2nd finger 12, 3rd finger 13, 4th finger 14 and 5th finger 15 of the glove. Also visible is the inelastic strap 20 showing the lower surface 24 of the strap, and the second end 22 of the strap, and the hook portion 25 of the hook and loop connector on the lower surface 24 at the second end 22 of the strap.

FIG. 2 shows the back side of an embodiment golf glove 10. Visible in FIG. 2 is the back surface 17 of the glove 10, 1st finger 11, 2nd finger 12, 3rd finger 13, 4th finger 14 and 5th finger 15 of the glove. Also visible is the inelastic strap 20 showing the upper surface 23 of the strap, the fixed connection 27 between the back surface 17 of the glove and the first end 21 of the strap 20, and the loop portion 26 of the hook and loop connector on the upper surface 23 at the first end 21 of the strap.

FIG. 3 shows the use of an embodiment golf glove 10 by a user having a left hand 32 with impaired gripping ability. Visible in FIG. 3 is the user's hand 32 wearing an embodiment golf glove 10 and gripping a golf club grip 30. The club shaft 35 is shown, with a break 33 indicating the extended shaft leading to the club head. Also visible is the palm side 16 of the golf glove, the 1st finger 11, 2nd finger 12, 3rd finger 13, 4th finger 14 and 5th finger 15 of the glove. Also visible is the upper surface 23 of the strap 20 which partially covers the 4th finger 14 and 5th finger 15. The covered portions of the fingers is indicated by dashed lines.

In embodiments the reversible connection between the first end 21 of the strap 20 (in FIG. 2) and the second end 22 of the strap 20 (in FIG. 1) is a hook and loop connector. A suitable hook and loop connector is a VELCRO hook and loop strap. VELCRO is a trademark for all-purpose straps made of synthetic fibers and used separately and/or with a plastic or metal ring for binding purposes owned by Velcro Industries BV., Curacao, Netherland Antilles.

In embodiments other reversible connectors may be used to connect the first and second ends of the strap. Other suitable connectors include a snap connector, button connector, hook and eye connector, clamp, latch, bolt and nut, or zipper connector.

In embodiments, the length of the strap is about 12 inches and the width of the strap is about 1 inch. In embodiments the length of the strap is from about 9 to about 15 inches and the width of the strap is from about ¾ to about 1½ inches.

Any suitable inelastic, flexible material may be used for the strap. In embodiments, the strap is manufactured of plastic material. In other embodiments the strap is manufactured of leather, rubber, plastic composition, woven fabric, fiberglass, or composite materials.

The use of an embodiment glove is shown in FIG. 3. In use, the golfer with an impaired left hand 32 places an embodiment golf glove 10 on his or her left hand. The golf club grip 30 is grasped by the user's left hand 32 with the 1st finger 11 pointed in the direction 33 of the club head, and the, 2nd finger 12, and 3rd finger 13 (enclosed in the golf glove) are wrapped about the golf club grip 30 to the best of the user's ability. Since the user has impaired 4th and 5th fingers which are unable to grasp the grip, the strap 20 is pulled clockwise from the back surface of the glove over the knuckles of the 4th and 5th fingers on the back of the hand, around the 4th finger 14 and 5th finger 15 thereby pressing the 4th and 5th fingers against the grip. The user uses his or her right hand to pull the strap from the back side of the glove over the 4th and 5th fingers and past the base of the 1st finger to the back side of the glove, where the bottom surface of the second end of the strap is attached to the top surface of the first end of the strap on the back surface of the glove. The tendency of the 4th and 5th fingers to assume a position intermediate between fully extended and fully against a user's palm creates a tension in the strap which enhances firmness of the user's grip on the club grip.

Some golfers with an impaired lead hand are able to achieve a suitable grip and swing while covering only the 5th finger.

The result of using embodiment golf gloves is to enable the user to play golf with the same skill at that of an unimpaired user. In particular, embodiments enable to golfer to retain the club during the swing, and to eliminate rotation of the club during the swing, thereby eliminating or reducing the resulting hook or slice.

Embodiments of the present disclosure have the advantage of simplicity and unobtrusiveness. They are simple and easy to manufacture, inexpensive, without adverse environmental effects, and easily donned by the golfer. They do not mark the user as handicapped or in need of special concessions.

An unexpected benefit is in the discovery that embodiments are effective in preventing regripping in golfers with unimpaired hands. Regripping is the habit of some golfers to release the 4th and 5th fingers of the left hand or just the 5th finger, and regrip the club just at the top of the backswing, just before the forward or down swing. Regripping causes loss of orientation or rotation of the club head, leading directly to a hook or slice. Embodiments prevent regripping.

A related benefit is in the use of embodiments by beginning golfers. The golf swing is unnatural to many players, and requires the beginner to concentrate on many different details. Use of embodiment gloves has the unexpected beneficial effect of allowing the beginner to forget about proper placement of the fingers of his or her left hand during a swing, freeing the neophyte to concentrate on other elements of the swing.

An unexpected benefit of embodiment gloves is in the improvement in swings when the golfer has damp hands. Damp hands stem from perspiration or from rain or drizzle, and often result in hooks or slices from improper orientation of the club head due to rotation of the club in the golfer's hands. Use of embodiment gloves prevents such rotation, with improvement of strokes in golfers with unimpaired or impaired hands.

While a number of exemplary aspects and embodiments have been discussed above, those of skill in the art will recognize certain modifications, permutations, additions and sub combinations thereof. It is therefore intended that the following appended claims and claims hereafter introduced are interpreted to include all such modifications, permutations, additions and sub-combinations as are within their true spirit and scope. The applicant or applicants have attempted to disclose all the embodiments of the invention that could be reasonably foreseen. There may be unforeseeable insubstantial modifications that remain as equivalents.