CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates generally to golf swing instructional device. More particularly, the present invention teaches a self-contained device securable to a conventional club head and which incorporates inertially adjustable parameters, based primarily upon desired club swing speed, in order to instruct correct club face orientation relative to a golf ball to be struck.
DESCRIPTION OF PRIOR ART
The prior art is well documented with examples of golf club swing training devices. The objective in each instance is to attempt to instruct a golfer in the proper technique associated with a golf swing, and in the hope of assisting a user in more completely connecting with a golf ball and driving the ball straighter and for longer distances.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,913,542, issued to Hu et al., discloses a golf club for showing swing condition having a shaft and a connected head with a striking face. Also illustrated is a battery powered and visible illuminant mounted on the head and exposed outside with an upward angles A centrifugal switch is actuated by applying a centrifugal force and is mounted on the club head opposite the striking face for controlling a circuit between the battery and the illuminant. In this fashion, the illuminant will light upon application of a predetermined strength centrifugal force during swinging of the golf club for investigating the body harmony and strength-exerting condition of a golfer.
Other dynamic and velocity related measuring devices referenced include U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2002/0173364, to Boscha, incorporating three force sensors built into a club head, a main electronic unit build into a shaft or grip, and a remotely positioned data acquisition, processing and displaying unit connected with the electronic units within the club via IR or RF transmitters. The information collected from the force sensors is employed to construct a dynamic analysis of swings and hits to correlate the results the results with actual movements of the ball, such being, presented in display, graphical or digital form.
International Publication No. WO 2004/028649 teaches an apparatus for measuring swing velocity of a golf club head, as well as an advertising apparatus for golf training including the same, and which further employs a pair of magnetic sensors at different head and shah locations. These interface with a micro controller and display for calculating and outputting either of a swing velocity and/or flying distance of the golf ball.
A further collection of pseudo club shaped golf swing training devices are illustrated in Wurster. U.S. Pat. No. 6,254,493, McGinty, U.S. Publication No. 2003/0032494 and Daechsel, U.S. Pat. No. 5,161,802. McGinty teaches a plurality of optical sensors adjacent a club face for detecting contact between the face and the golf ball, as well as electronics mounted within the head for processing the signals from the sensor for analyzing at least the location of the contact between the face and ball. The electronics further analyze whether the ball is tending to slice or hook by detecting lateral movement of the ball during contact with the club face
Wurster and Daechsel both teach golf swing practice devices (non functioning golf clubs) each including a weighted head portion attached to an elongated shaft. In the case of Wurster, a first laser module is mounted in the grip end of the shaft and directs a laser beam upwardly from the (rip in coaxial alignment with the central axis of the shaft. A further pair of laser modules are mounted in the head of the training device for directing a pair of spaced parallel laser beams downwardly from the head in diametrically opposed direction from the beam emanating from the grip. The two beams projecting from the head are disposed in a common plane with a downward extension of the central axis of the shaft, such that a line drawn between the points of impact of the beams on the ground visually defines the footprint and thus the angular orientation of an imaginary club face.
Finally, Daechsel teaches another type of golf practice device exhibiting a shortened shaft with unique head weighted to equal the swing of a regular sized club. The head contains a battery for a light, which is centrally mounted with lens and iris to produce a focused, rectangular spot of light, parallel to the shaft center line. A combination level-and-centrifugal switch turns on the light spot when the shaft is level at the start of the down swing, and also as the head travels through the bottom of the swing. The rectangular light beam shows the path of the swing through a target ball, allowing the user to check the accuracy of the swing as well as the squareness of the club head to a target line. The target further comprises a golf ball with electronic receivers on either side in a straight line. The visual light path shows the direction of the swing, and the sound from the electronic receiver indicates to the golfer when a precise swing has been achieved. As repeat accuracy improves with practice, the light beam can be narrowed by adjusting the iris for still greater accuracy.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention teaches a device for a golf club for instructing club face orientation for a selected swing speed and in order to teach club head positioning and control for a selected swing tempo. The body housing has a selected thickness and such that a substantially pointed forward end thereof intersects a midpoint of the club contact face and in a perpendicularly extending direction relative to a coplanar axis extending across the club contact face. As will be described with reference to the several succeeding embodiments, the inertially responsive device is capable of being incorporated into any of a wood/driver, iron or putter variant.
In one variant, an adhesive tacky material applied to an underside surface of the body engages the body to a top surface of the club head. An on-board processor draws power from a portable power supply (e.g. lithium style 3 v battery) and is communicated with an inertially sensitive cam shaped member rotatably mounted within a location of the body.
Based upon a preferred variant of the design, either or both of swing/tempo speed and directional/target adjustment features are built into the body. A first variant incorporates both of these features and first includes a swing speed adjustment knob mounted in exposed fashion relative to an upper surface of the body and in contact with the inertially sensitive element via an adjustment spring. An audio-generating transistor and a plurality of LED elements cooperate can operate in a purely mechanical fashion according to one preferred embodiment or, in a desired variant, are communicable with the processor for instructing a correct planar orientation of a contacting face of the club head relative to the golf ball.
Additional features include a speed sensor contact post secured to an extending end of the adjustable spring, an opposite end of the spring fixedly securing at a forward location of the body and, depending upon forward or rearward adjustment of the post establishing a desired swing speed. An inner two piece frame is mounted within the housing, with first and second pairs of opposing frame ends communicating with opposite sides of a pair of speed sensor alignment studs with outer contact rings. A first and forward-most disposed of the frames is fixedly disposed within the body, the other and rearward disposed frame being linearly displaceable in response to rotation of the weighted and cam-shaped element.
A lithium style battery is mounted within the body, with a plurality of lead wires extending from the battery and connecting to first, second and third LED elements mounted to selected exterior locations of the body. The processor operates to instruct a selected LED element to illuminate, dependent upon at least one of a sensed club speed and an achieved planar orientation of the club face relative to the golf ball.
Additional features include a sound-generating transistor component is also mounted in the body and, in concurrent communication with the processor along with the LED) elements, issues a selected audio output to correspond with a selected illuminated LED). Yet additional features include an alignment adjustment dial (this consisting of a cooperating component in a primary dual functioning embodiment and an alternating secondary component) mounted in a forward spaced fashion relative to the speed sensor contact post, the adjustment dial exerting a selected sideways bias to the spring in order to compensate for left and right club face planar offset for a selected swing speed. The alignment adjustment dial further includes a pair of spaced apart posts extending in a direction opposite an exposed and user gripping portion, a selected one of the posts engaging a side location of the spring according to a given setting, and in order thereby to compensate for a user's hook or slice tendencies by pre-stressing or pre-influencing the spring in a given lateral deflecting manner.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Reference will now be made to the attached drawings, when read in combination with the following detailed description, wherein like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views, and in which:
FIG. 1 is an environmental view of the golf club head mounted device according to the present inventions;
FIG. 2 is a partial view of a rotary adjustable and inertially responsive cam portion, associated with the speed adjustment knob, and for establishing a desired target swing speed during inertial swing training to establish a correct club face ball striking orientation;
FIG. 3 is an underside exploded view of the club head attachment device according to a first preferred variant and illustrating additional features including the transistor audio output, inertial/speed adjustment spring, speed alignment contact post, right/left aligner retaining contact rings, inertial cam and first, second and third LED's for instructing such as one of under set club head speed, open/face slice, or over set club head speed associated with a swing;
FIG. 4 is a further underside plan view of the club head attachment device according to a second preferred variant, with cover removed and illustrating the wire contacts extending from the battery to the LED's, as well as a forward disposed alignment adjustment dial for compensating for club face orientation tendencies and in addition to the spring adjusted weighted cam illustrated in first and second adjustment positions;
FIG. 5 is a perspective part-exploded view of the club head mounted device illustrated in FIG. 4;
FIGS. 6A, 6B and 6C are respective perspective, top plan and side plan views of the inertial adjustable cam in the embodiment of FIG. 4;
FIGS. 7A, 7B and 7C are corresponding perspective, top plan and side plan views of the club face alignment adjustment dial associated with the embodiment of FIG. 4;
FIG. 8 is a further variation of the underside exploded view of the variant in FIG. 3 and better illustrating the upper and lower housings, between which is sandwiched the operating components associated with the present device;
FIG. 9 is an exploded view of a further embodiment of the present invention and in which the components of a speed or swing tempo training device are incorporated into a club head attachable body;
FIG. 10 is a semi-assembled and underside exploded view, similar to that shown in FIG. 9, and which illustrates the operating components of the device of FIG. 9 sandwiched between the upper and lower housing;
FIG. 10A is an underside plan view of the attachment device of FIG. 9, with cover removed, and illustrating the cam adjustment and corresponding linear deflecting characteristics of the slaved spring clip portion associated with the assembly;
FIG. 10B is a top plan view of the cover component of the assembly of FIG. 9 and referencing the swing speed adjustability aspects of the design:
FIG. 11 is an exploded view of a further embodiment of the present invention and in which the components of a club face orientation, i.e. directional training, device are incorporated into a club head attachable body;
FIG. 12 is a semi-assembled and underside exploded view, similar to that shown in FIG. 11, and which illustrates the operating components of the device of FIG. 1 sandwiched between the upper and lower housing;
FIG. 12A is an underside plan view of the attachment device of FIG. 11, with cover removed, and illustrating the laterally deflecting characteristic of the elongated spring portion associated with the assembly and for contacting respective right and left side positioned contact closures to thereby close an associated circuit and illuminate a slice or hook misalignment condition;
FIG. 12B is a top plan view of the cover component of the assembly of FIG. 11 and referencing the directional adjustability aspects of the design;
FIG. 13 is a perspective view of a putter head applied version of the inertially responsive swing speed and orientation device according to a further preferred embodiment of the present inventions;
FIG. 14 is a rotated and exploded perspective of the putter mounted device including main body and first and second alignmnent/locating legs;
FIG. 15 is an exploded view of the putter head variant illustrated in FIG. 13;
FIG. 16 illustrates a top view of the putter head mounted device with the case removed and showing the inner working components previously illustrated in 15 in a substantially assembled condition:
FIG. 17 is a cutaway view taken along line 17-17 of FIG. 16 and showing the accuracy contact sphere in the design (non-inertial) position resting upon the conduit;
FIG. 18 repeats the cutaway view of FIG. 17 in which the accuracy contact sphere is inertially shifted to a position in which it is displaced to a side of the conduit, and such as during an inaccurate putting stroke in which incorrect ball contact results in either an illumination or discontinuation of illumination of an accuracy indicator (e.g. LED);
FIG. 19 is a rotated plan view of the putter mounted device, and along a different horizontal plane relative to that shown in FIG. 16, and illustrating the tempo (swing speed) dial in a first (design) notch engagement relative to the tempo conduit clip portion:
FIG. 20 is a succeeding illustration to that shown in FIG. 19 and illustrating the rotation of the tempo dial portion to a further position in which the rectangular clip tempo conduit extends in a direction towards the contact sphere;
FIG. 21 is a further illustration along the cutaway plane of FIG. 19 and showing the accuracy contact sphere, supported upon associated coil/contact spring, laterally shifted out of contact with the accuracy adjustment slide in a design position;
FIG. 22 is a yet further illustration showing the accuracy slide linear adjustability within side disposed mounting slots associated with the base component, forward linear translation of the slide concurrently restricting the lateral (side-to-side) motion of the contact sphere;
FIG. 23 is a perspective illustration of a further putter head applied version of the inertially responsive swing speed and orientation device and exhibiting left and right slide adjustment, tempo slide adjustment, and associated left and right lie indicator and tempo indicator according to a still further preferred embodiment of the present inventions;
FIG. 24 is a further environmental perspective illustrating the swing speed device of FIG. 23 attached to a conventional putter head;
FIG. 25 is a rotated underside perspective of the putter attachable device of FIG. 23;
FIG. 26 is a partially exploded view of the device in FIG. 25 and illustrating the removable nature of the battery cover and portable (e.g. lithium style) battery;
FIG. 27 is a further rear side rotated and partially exploded illustration of the putter attachable device of FIG. 23 and illustrating the engageable and adjustable nature of the left and right adjustable mounting arms;
FIG. 28 is an exploded view of the putter head variant illustrated in FIG. 23;
FIG. 29 is a top plan illustration of the variant of FIG. 23 and showing the left/right lie and tempo slide adjusters in first selected positions;
FIG. 30 is a cutaway view taken along line 30-30 in FIG. 29 and illustrating the configuration of the inner working components, including notably the pendulum spring conductor and associated ball contact, as well as the tempo contact and tempo slide conductor;
FIG. 31 is a further top plan illustration showing the left/right lie and tempo slide adjusters in further reversed positions, relative to that illustrated in FIG. 29;
FIG. 32 is a cutaway view taken along line 32-32 in FIG. 31 and showing the relative displacement of the movable inner working components also illustrated in FIG. 30;
FIG. 33 is a further cutaway view taken along line 33-33 of FIG. 29 and illustrating, from another vantage point, the configuration of the pendulum spring conductor and ball contact, associated with the left and right lie slide adjusters also referenced in FIG. 30; and
FIG. 34 is a cutaway view taken along line 34-34 of FIG. 31 and showing the arrangement of the pendulum spring conductor and ball contact also referenced in FIG. 32.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
Referring to FIG. 1, an environmental view is shown at 10 of an attachment device associated with a club head 2 of a conventional golf club. The present invention discloses a novel and unique device capable of being secured to an existing club head and which utilizes inertial registering technology incorporated into the device for instructing a user as to correct planar orientation of a contacting face of the club relative to a golf ball, for a selected swing speed (tempo). As will also be described, the club device optionally includes a directional adjustment component for assisting in correcting a left/right offset of the club face when striking a ball.
The attachment device 10 exhibits any suitable size or dimension rendering it amenable for being mounted atop a golf club head and, in one non-limiting variant, may include a set of dimensions of 2½″ overall length, ¼′″ thickness and 1⅞″ maximum width, and which is suitable for mounting to such as an upper surface of any suitable club (including both drivers and irons) and in proximity to a front club face 4, and such that a substantially forward-most portion 12 of the device 10 overlays a substantially midpoint centerline (see at 8 in FIG. 1) of the club head 2 during a forward stroke of the club. A tacky/adhesive substrate material, e.g. at 1 in FIG. 1 or as is generally referenced by flat, rectangular portion 13 in FIGS. 3, 5 and 8, can be applied to an underside of the unit 10 and in order to secure the same to the top surface of the club head in secure fashion. As is also referenced in each of the exploded views of FIGS. 3 and 8, the device 10 exhibits a substantially arrowhead shape with a selected thickness and further such that the intersecting midpoint center line 8 extends in a substantially perpendicular direction relative to a coplanar axis, see at 9, associated with the club ball striking face 4.
As best shown in each of the underside exploded perspectives of FIGS. 3 and 8, the body includes typically a durable plastic, aluminum or other durable material construction with a base 14 and an engageable top 16, between which is defined the overall shape illustrated in FIG. 1. As is further best shown in FIG. 8, the interior opposing faces associated with the base 14 and top 16 are configured with numerous pockets, channels and enclosures to thereby define between an interior housing architecture, as will be described, for seating the various components associated with the present device and generally referenced at 18. Upon installing the sub-assembly defining the interior components, the base 14 and top 16 are sonic welded or otherwise secured together according to a manner known in the relevant technical art.
Referring again back to FIG. 1, the device includes a first, rearwardly-most positioned and adjustable dial 20 for establishing a target swing speed. A second forwardly-most positioned dial 22 cooperatively operates with the speed adjustment dial 20 for establishing an alignment adjustment compensation factor for left and right club face planar offsets associated with a selected swing speed.
Referencing again to the component architecture 18 in FIG. 8, a battery 24 is mounted to a forward-end location thereof beneath a connected speaker transistor output 26. A microprocessor is employed in certain variants of the present design and, while not individually identified, can be installed (such as shown at 27 in FIG. 8) at a selected location of the component sub-assembly, so as to be in operative and powered communication with the battery 24. The microprocessor can also be built into the transistor output 26 or installed elsewhere, within the scope of the invention. The battery 24 (such as a 3 V lithium style battery) and associated processor/transistor output 26 is illustrated as being seated within a forward most architectural defined cavity 28 in the base component 14 (again FIG. 3), it being understood that the battery us capable of being reconfigured or relocated within the component subassembly 18.
The swing speed adjustment dial 20 rotatably engages a weighted and inertially sensitive cam shaped component, see at 28, (see also FIG. 5) this in turn being seated in biasing contact with a displaceable, substantially “U” shaped speed alignment contact 30. The arcuate profile of the cam shaped component 28 biases along a selected extending end wall 32 or 34, and which is in turn spring biased (see at 36) to a fixed end location 38 of an elongate extending and inner frame component 40 associated with the component subassembly 18 (see as best shown in the exploded view of FIG. 5) and including a battery contact end 41 (see FIG. 5).
A speed sensor alignment contact/post 42 is secured to an extending end 44 of an adjustable coil spring 46, an opposite end 48 of the spring fixedly securing at a forward end location of the device. An inner two piece frame 50 and 52 mounts within the base 14 of the body (see again FIGS. 3 and 8), with first and second pairs of opposing frame ends, 54 & 56 and 58 & 60, communicating with opposite sides of a pair of speed sensor alignment studs 62 and 64 with outer contacts 66 and 68, respectively. In one non-limiting application, the forward-most disposed 52 of the frames is fixedly disposed within the base 14, whereas the other and rearward disposed frame 50 is linearly displaceable in response to rotation of the weighted and cam-shaped element 28.
In operation, linear adjustment and successive displacement of the speed alignment contact 30, resulting from the rotary inertial effect of the cam element 28 during the swing stroke, results in contact with the speed sensor alignment contact 42. The swing speed dial 20 can be set to a target swing speed, such as within a range of settings ranging from 70-130 mph. In FIG. 2, a partial view is shown of a rotary adjustable and inertially responsive cam portion (corresponding generally to the cam portion is will be further described with the alternate variant of FIG. 4, associated with the speed adjustment knob, and for establishing a desired target swing speed during inertial swing training to establish a correct club face ball striking orientation. The speed settings referenced in FIG. 2 may also include such as for 80 MPH (at 70), 90 MPH (at 72), 100 MPH (at 74), 110 MPH (at 76), 120 MPH (at 78) and 130 MPH (at 80). The settings 70-80 are also identically referenced by circular seating embossments located in an underside exploded fashion in the lid portion 16 of FIG. 5 and which receive an underside projecting recess, see at 71 in FIGS. 6A-6C, for selectively adjusting the weighted cam profile 28 in rotatable fashion relative to the device body.
As will also be described in reference to the alternate variant of FIG. 4, a plurality of lead wires (not shown in FIGS. 3 and 8) extend from the battery 24 and connect to first 82, second 84 and third 86 LED elements mounted to selected exterior locations of the base 14 of the housing body. The processor instructs a selected LED element to illuminate, dependent upon at least one of a sensed club speed and an achieved planar orientation of the club face relative to the golf ball.
As previously discussed, the sound-generating transistor component 26 is likewise mounted in said body and, in concurrent communication with said processor along with the LED elements 82, 84 and 86, issues a selected audio output to correspond with a selected illuminated LED. The selected LED instructs one of a “closed face/hook pull” (such as corresponding to a first colored, by example blue LED 82), an “open face/push slice” (second colored, by example yellow LED 84) and an “over set club head speed” (third colored, by example red LED 86). indication. Concurrently, the sound-generating transistor can cooperate with the selected LED to issue one of a “hook”, “nice shot” and “slice, fast swing” audio indication.
The alignment adjustment dial (see as again shown at 22 in FIG. 1) is mounted in a forward spaced fashion relative to said speed sensor alignment/contact post 42. The underside surface of the alignment adjustment dial 22 includes a pair of spaced apart and posts 88 and 90 extending from a mid-section disc portion 91, and in a direction opposite an exposed and user gripping portion 92 (see also FIGS. 7A-7C). A selected one of the posts 88 or 90 engages a side location of the extending coil spring 46, according to a given rotary setting, such that the adjustment dial exerts a selected sideways bias to the spring in order to compensate for left and right club face planar offset for a selected swing speed.
An underside embossment 94 formed in the disc portion 91 of the alignment adjustment dial 22 is selectively seated within a given one of a plurality of radially offset engagement recesses (see at 96 in FIG. 5) associated with a forward extending end of the lid component 16, and to thereby permit the dial 22 to be repositioned in the manner referenced by the plurality of settings, collectively shown at 98 in both FIGS. 1 and 5 and corresponding to a centerline setting, first and second left offset settings, as well as first and second right offset settings. This is concurrent with the readjustment aspects provided by the speed adjustment dial, as previously described and which also includes hash marks or settings in FIGS. 1 and 5, and which correspond with the speed settings protocol described in FIG. 2 for settings 70-80.
As also referenced in the underside exploded view of FIG. 5, an on/off switch 100 can be provided upon the top 16 and which can include wires (not shown) extending to the battery and processor components. Referencing again the exploded view of FIG. 5, a contact element 102 is shown, and which can operate to electrically communicate the audio transducer 26 to the associated microprocessor and remaining circuitry. Additional contacts 104 and 106 are referenced in FIG. 5 for electrically communicating the alignment/contact post 42 with the contact studs 62 and 64.
Referring to FIG. 4, and underside plan view is shown at 108 of a club head attachment device according to a second preferred variant, this further with cover removed and illustrating wire contacts 110, 112 and 114 (this extending via a speed sensor connector as will be described) extending from the battery 24 and connecting to the LED's, 84, 86, and 88, respectively. Additional wires 116 and 118 extend from LED's 84 and 88, respectively, to alignment studs 120 and 122 (corresponding to those shown at 62 and 64 in the embodiment of FIG. 3).
Speed adjustment spring 124 extends from a contact post 126 communicating with the battery 24 at a forward end, as well as to a speed sensor contact post 128 at an opposite and intermediate defined end within the unit housing. Additional features shown in FIG. 4 also include the forward disposed alignment adjustment dial, at 130, operating substantially as previously described by element 22 in FIGS. 7A-7C and including such as underside projecting posts for compensating for club face orientation tendencies during the swing stroke. Also shown are adjustment positions 132 and 134 associated with the dial 130 and for repositioning a selected post (not shown) relative to a side biasing location of the contact spring 124.
A spring adjusted and weighted cam is also shown in both first and second positions 136 and 136′. The cam 136 operates in cooperation with the speed alignment contact 138 to achieve a selected inertial force deflection of the contact 138 (such as in a direction toward the contact post 128). The invention operates on the principle of either adjusting the length and tensioning of the spring 124, or of the biasing deflecting force of the alignment contact 138 (via the cam 136) and in order to achieve sufficient deflection and electrical communication of the contact 138 with the post 128.
For purposes of this variant, a speed alignment contact 142 can be mounted to a rear end location of the body, and in operative communication between the speed sensor connector 140 and the LED wire contact 114. Although not shown in FIG. 4, a swing speed adjustment dial can also be incorporated in overlaying fashion above the cam element and in order reposition it as shown at 136 and 136′.
The above description addresses a golf club attachable device incorporating the combined features of swing speed and directional control. Additional variants of the present invention further contemplate providing the swing tempo and direction features in alternating and individualized fashion, and which is the subject of the variants respectively disclosed in FIGS. 9-10B and 11-12B.
Referring first to FIG. 9, an exploded view is shown at 144 of a further embodiment of the present invention and in which the components of a speed or swing tempo training device are incorporated into a club head attachable body. The exploded view is similar to that illustrated in FIG. 5 in reference to the primary disclosed embodiment and again includes a housing with a base 146 and top 148. A battery 150 is operably connected with a transistor speaker output 152, according to the manner previously described.
Additional features include an elongated extending and inner frame component 154 (similar to that shown at 40 in the embodiment of FIG. 5), including a contact end 156 communicating with the battery 150. When installed in the housing, the battery and communicating components will illuminate a single (red) rear positioned LED 157, this being indicative of an excessive swing/tempo speed being sensed by the unit.
An inertially sensitive cam shaped component 158 (see also at 28 in FIG. 5 and in FIGS. 6A-6C) is supported upon a multiple speed setting component, see as generally shown at 160 defined in the housing base 146 and which generally corresponds to the description associated with FIGS. 2 and 5, whereby multiple settings 70-80 function to selectively adjust the weighted cam profile 158 in rotatable fashion relative to the device body. Additional contact elements referenced in FIG. 9 include those shown at 162 and 164 and which are electrically communicated to the battery 150. A coil spring 166 connects to and extends from the front end located contact elements 162 and 164 (via first contact end 170) and terminates at a rear end by engaging (via second contact end 172) about a fixed contact post 168 mounted in the housing.
A generally four-sided and interiorly hollow clip portion 174 is provided and includes a pair of rear located biasing contacts 176 and 178, such that the clip portion 174 is supported and located by a pair of posts 180 and 182 extending from the base 146. As best shown from the semi-assembled and top plan view of FIG. 10A, the clip portion contact 176 electrically communicates with the LED 157 with the elongated inner frame component 154 and such that, upon the rotating adjustment of the cam portion 158 (see arrow 184) a remaining linear travel (see arrow 186 also in FIG. 10A) distance is adjusted relative to the contact post 168.
In this fashion, the “rectangular sided” clip portion 174 is caused to “flex” in a linear direction upon being swung, with a selected velocity, and about the anchored biasing contact locations 176 and 178. The illuminating of the LED 157 results from the clip portion 174 closing the circuit with the fixed contact post 168, this in turn resulting from the a greater than desired swing speed resulting in the forward widthwise extending wall of the clip portion 174 being biasingly deflected (again along directional arrow 186) into engagement with the post 168.
FIG. 10 is a semi-assembled and underside exploded view, similar to that shown in FIG. 9, and which illustrates the operating components of the device of FIG. 9 sandwiched between the upper and lower housing. Of particular value, FIG. 10 illustrates an inside view of the housing top 148, and by which the integrally formed architecture includes channeling walls and support surfaces, as shown, for seating the cam 158, surrounding clip portion 174, contact post 168, coil spring 166 and forward contact/closure portions 162 and 164. FIG. 10B again illustrates a top plan view of the cover component 148 of the assembly also shown in FIG. 9, and referencing the swing speed adjustability aspects of the design by virtue of the adjustment knob surface associated with the cam component 158, see at 188, as well as provision of an on/off switch 190.
Referring to FIG. 11, an exploded view is shown at 190 of a further alternate embodiment of the present invention and in which the components of a club face orientation, i.e. directional training, device are incorporated into a club head attachable body, in contrast to the item 144 of FIG. 9, whereby only swing speed/tempo is being measured. While identical features also shown in FIG. 9 are repetitively enumerated in the embodiment of FIG. 11, additional and unique features include reconfigured housing base 192 and top 194 components, as well as a alignmnent adjustment compensation dial 195 (see as previously described at 22 in reference to FIGS. 5 and 7A-7C).
Other features unique to the target training device of FIG. 11 include an elongated spring portion 196, fixedly secured at a forward end 198 to a forward end location of the elongated inner Frame component 154 and, at its opposite and intermediate interior housing end, weighted (see insert 200) in lateral deflection permitting manner. A pair of side secured and angled contact clips, see at 202 and 204, are mounted to locations of the housing base 194 (see post supports 203 and 205 in FIG. 12), and which communicate respectively with a pair of opposite side mounted LED elements, 206 and 208.
As best illustrated in the underside plan view of FIG. 12A, with cover removed, the laterally deflecting characteristic of the free end-weighted (200) and elongated spring portion 196 (see arrows 210 and 212), result from a desired rotary pre-adjustment of the directional influencing dial 195 (with its associated posts straddling the central extending, portion of the spring 196 as shown, this in turn influencing the lateral deflection of the spring 196 to contact respective left (202) or right (204) side positioned contact closures to thereby close an associated circuit and illuminate a hook (LED 206) or slice (LED 208) misalignment condition. FIG. 12B is a top plan view of the cover 194 component of the assembly of FIG. 11 and referencing the directional adjustability aspects, see again dial 195, for compensating, a user's hook or slice tendency and in order to train the user to properly orient a golf club striking face (see again FIG. 1).
Referring now to FIGS. 13-22, a series of perspective, exploded and cutaway views are shown of a further variant of the golf club head mounted device 210 employed upon a putter head 212, with connecting shalt 213, and exhibiting a forward directed face 214 (FIG. 13 only). As previously described, particularly configured variants may be suitably applied to any of a driver, iron or putter.
Referencing the environmental view of FIG. 13, in cooperation with the rotated and partially exploded view of FIG. 14 and the fully exploded view of FIG. 15, a more detailed description of the components associated with the putter head applied version of the inertially responsive swing speed and orientation device, again at 210, includes a three dimensional shaped main body 216, as well as first 218 and second 220 alignment/locating legs. The main body 216 exhibits an outer case constructed of a base 222 and mating cover 224 (see in particular FIG. 15). The legs 218 and 220 are each substantially “L” shaped in configuration and further include angled terminating locations, see further at 226 and 228, respectively, which seat within corner defined locations (further at 230 and 232 in FIGS. 13 and 15) associated with a forward facing location of the body 216. The body 216 is secured upon the upper contoured surface of the putter head 212 (such as again with the assistance of adhesives or the like and as shown in FIG. 13), whereas the “L” angled legs 218 and 220 overlap the forward ball striking face 214 of the putter in spaced apart fashion in order to define a desired ball contact region.
As in previous embodiments, the base 222 includes architecture locations for supporting a plurality of interior components in precisely located and desirously inter-operating fashion in order provide the desired tempo (accuracy) and accuracy functions. Specifically, an inner frame component (or conduit) 234 is provided and seats within perimeter defining locations associated with the base 222. A first end 236 of the inner frame component 234 is located in a likewise first end location of the base 222 and contacts a tempo/speed indicating LED 238 (see also cutaway plan view illustration of FIG. 16).
Alignment locations 240 and 242 associated with the architecture defining base 222 retain the component 234 in position, such that a second (forward facing) location 244 is selectively biasingly communicated with an accuracy indicating spring conduit 246. Inter-disposed in electrically communicating fashion between the inner frame component location 244 and accuracy spring conduit 246 is an accuracy indicating LED element 248 (this further indicating from an upper face of the cover 224, and as opposed to the tempo indicating LED 238 which extends in a direction towards a rear of the putter head 212. A second end 250 of the inner frame component 234 is arranged in biasing contact with a like end portion associated with the accuracy indicating spring conduit 246, in seating fashion within the base 222 and such that an on/off switch 252 is mounted to a side location in biasing contact with the location 250 of the frame component 234. As best shown in FIG. 16, a protruding location 254 defined in the component location 250 engages an opposing and inwardly facing ridge 256 associated with the on/off switch 252, and so that the switch must be biasingly displaced between first and second (on/off) locations along the component end 250.
A substantially rectangular shaped clip 258 (also termed tempo conduit) includes anchored biasing contact locations 260 and 262. A protrusion or ridge 264 is located in an intermediate location of the clip 258 (the purpose for which will be subsequently described), the clip 258 seating in a general base component 222 location, at 266, in FIG. 15, such that it surrounds an annular support location 268 associated with a rotatably mounted tempo/speed dial 270. As will be described in subsequent detail, the outer cam-shaped circumferential configuration of the dial 270 exhibits a plurality of contact locations for selectively biasing to varying degrees an interior facing location of the mounted tempo clip 258, and in particular the ridge location 264, with the rotational setting of the dial 270 affecting the biasing characteristics of the clip 258. As further best shown in FIG. 15, an aperture 272 defined in the cover 224 provides for seating of the exposed upper gripping portion of the cam-shaped tempo dial 270, with a plurality of rotational setting portions further referenced by angularly offset markings 272, 274, 276, 278, 280, and 282 defined on the surface of the cover 224.
A spherical shaped accuracy contact 284 is seated upon an associated (coil) spring 286, in turn engageably supported upon an inwardly configured end portion 288 associated with the accuracy indicating spring conduit 246 (see again FIG. 15). A contact conduit 290 is supported at an identified location 292 (again FIG. 15) defined in the base component 222 and over which the spherical shaped contact 284 and associated spring 286 are disposed.
An accuracy adjustment slide 296 seats within associated defined slots or channels, see at 296 and 298 in FIGS. 15 and 19, such that forward linear translation of side disposed portions 300 and 302 (FIG. 15) of the slide 296, within the channels 296 and 298, concurrently restricts the lateral (side-to-side) motion of the contact sphere 284, as will be further described in reference to FIG. 22. Additional features include battery cover 304 and associated contict 306, these communicating power from such as a lithium style battery 308 arranged at a compartment location 310 associated with the base 222 and, in cooperation with the inner perimeter defining element 234 and accuracy conduit 246, selectively provides power in certain contact configurations with the tempo LED 238 and the accuracy LED 248.
Finally, an accuracy dial is identified at 312, with a corresponding gripping portion projecting upwardly through another cover defined seating recess, at 314, about which are defined additional hash mark settings 316, 318, 320, 322 and 324. A downward projecting portion 313 of the accuracy dial 312 (see again FIG. 15), seats within an upper defined pocket 315 within the adjustment slide 294 (as only shown in FIG. 15) in order that the rotational setting of the adjustment dial 312 in turn determines the linear translation of the slide 294 in a manner to be subsequently described. A cover defined and rectangular shaped aperture 326 (again FIG. 15) provides for seating and projection therethrough of the accuracy LED element 248.
Referencing now FIG. 16, a top view of the putter head mounted device is shown with the case cover removed, thereby showing the inner working components previously illustrated in 15 in a substantially assembled condition. For purposes of ease of illustration, not all illustrated components previously identified in FIG. 15 are called out by reference number in each of FIGS. 16-22, significance rather being placed with particular operating components which the individual figures are intending to highlight.
As further shown in the corresponding FIG. 17 cutaway view, taken along line 17-17 of FIG. 16, the accuracy contact sphere is illustrated again in the design (non-inertial) position resting upon the contact conduit 290 (the associated coil spring 286 being hidden from view. FIG. 18 repeats the cutaway view of FIG. 17, and in which the accuracy contact sphere is inertially shifted to a position, see at 284′, in which it is displaced off to a side of the conduit 290, and such as during an inaccurate putting stroke in which incorrect hall contact; this resulting further in either an illumination or discontinuation of illumination of the accuracy indicator (e.g. LED) at 248.
Proceeding on to FIG. 19, a rotated plan view of the putter mounted device (i.e. the illustration of FIG. 16 rotated in likewise cutaway fashion) is shown, and along a different horizontal plane relative to that shown in FIG. 16. FIG. 19 illustrates the tempo (swing speed) dial, referencing the outer cam-like protrusions and not showing the upper dial setting portion, in a first (design) notch engagement relative to the rectangular shaped clip 258 associated with the tempo conduit, and in particular the notch/ridged location 264.
FIG. 20 is a succeeding illustration to that shovel in FIG. 19 and illustrates the rotation of the tempo dial to a further rotatable position 270′, in which the clip 258 extends in a direction towards the contact sphere 284. As is disclosed, the swing speed/tempo dial can be rotatably adjusted to any of preset positions 272-282, and in order to achieve a desired pre-stressed position of the associated clip 258, this in turn selectively activating (or deactivating) the tempo LED component 238 upon a user exceeding the desired speed setting.
Referring now to FIG. 21, a further illustration is provided along the cutaway plane of FIG. 19 and showing with additional clarity the accuracy contact sphere supported upon associated coil/contact 286. At this location, the tempo dial is shown at a further rotated position 270″ and the accuracy contact sphere is deflected laterally (see also arrow 328) to a position 284′, out of contact with the adjustment slide 294 and associated contact conduit 290.
Referring to FIG. 22 a yet further illustration is provided showing the accuracy slide linear adjustability, to position 294′, within the side disposed mounting slots 296 and 298 associated with the base component 222. The forward linear translation of the slide 294 (see arrow 330) concurrently restricts the lateral (side-to-side) motion of the contact sphere 284 and based upon the accuracy dial 312 setting (316-324), which cooperatively linearly resets the slide position 294 due again to the underside extending post 313 associated with the dial 312 which seats within the slide 294 defined pocket 315. The tempo dial is further shown at rotational setting 270′ (see also FIG. 20) in FIG. 22.
Referring now to each of FIGS. 23-27, a series of varied perspective illustrations are shown at 332 of a further putter head applied version (see again as attached to putter head 212, with connecting shaft 213 and exhibiting a forward directed face 214, as shown in FIG. 24. Also shown are the rotated underside perspective (FIG. 25), the partially exploded view of the device in FIG. 26 illustrating the removable nature of the battery cover and portable (e.g. lithium style) battery, and the rear side rotated and partially exploded illustration (FIG. 27) and illustrating the engageable and adjustable nature of the left and right adjustable mounting arms.
FIG. 28 is an exploded view of the putter head variant illustrated in FIGS. 23-27 and, viewing the several views collectively, includes a three dimensional configured upper body shell 334 which is assembleable with a lower and substantially planar shaped base 336 such that, and upon assembly, a three dimensional and component supporting interior is defined. The upper body 334 includes an uppermost projecting superstructure 338, into a forward angled face is defined a pair to elongate extending slots 340 and 342, a forward most and horizontal extending location of the upper body 334 further including a further slot 344.
A pair of left 346 and right 348 lie slide adjustment knobs are affixed in translating fashion through the slots 340 and 342, whereas a forward installed tempo slide 350 is likewise secured to the forward position slot 344. As will be further described, the left 346 and right 348 slide adjustment knobs or controls operate to adjust a given bias or compensation associated with a pendulum contact as it deflects in either of first and second side directed fashions and during the inertial producing putting stroke.
As best shown in FIG. 24, a lie axis 349 is defined through the front putting face of the putter 212, with bi-directional rotation of the club head about rotational directional arrow 351 representing a natural lie offset associated with each golfer. Adjustment of the left and right lie control slides 346 and 348, as will be subsequently described with reference to additional structural elements of the present design, operate to compensate for a golfers natural offset of the club head relative to the lie axis (see as represented by angle θ which defines the angular offset between coplanar lie 353 and offset lie 353′ of the club head 212).
Additional underside configurations, see at 352, 354 and 356, in the perimeter extending skirt of the upper body shell are defined at respective left side, front and right side locations of the article and at which are seated respective LED components, these including a left lie indicator 358, a tempo indicator 360 and a right lie indicator 362.
As best again shown in FIG. 28, the exposed interior of the base 336 includes architecturally configured locations, see for example at inner location 364 and outer perimeter locations at 366 and 368, for securing the positive to negative conductor contacts associated with the design. Although not shown, it is understood that additional and cooperating interior architectural locating structure can be associated with the open underside of the upper housing 334 (not shown), and in order to locate the lie and tempo adjustment structures described herein.
An additional seating location is defined at 370 and provides for housing a circular (such as a lithium style) battery 372 in an underside mounting fashion within the base 336. A bottom facing battery cover 374 and inner battery contact 376, in combination with several upper body tab engagement portions 378 (see also corresponding engagement slot 979 in the upper housing 334) and additional and mating LED locations 380, 382 and 384, provide a fairly detailed description of the upper and lower body components
A pair of left 386 and right 388 adjustable legs are illustrated, these each exhibiting three interconnected and perpendicularly inter-extending legs, along a three dimensional plane, and being secured to rear locations 390 and 392 (see both as shown in FIG. 24 and further as best shown in the rear exploded view of FIG. 27) of the upper body shell 334. Of note, engagement locations 391 and 393 associated with inner extending portions of the adjustable legs, these seating within the inserting locations 3190 and 392 defined in the back surface of the upper body housing 334.
As also best shown in FIG. 27, the interior of the inserting locations 390 and 392 includes serrated locations, these operating in combination with leg engagement locations 391 and 393 in to establish selective and repositioned adjustment of the securing legs 386 and 388. The unit 332 is configured to be secured to the top of the putter head 212, with the angled legs 386 and 388 extending in overlaying fashion relative to the front ball striking surface 214, this in cooperation with the application of any suitable type of mechanical or adhesive for securing the underside of the base 336 to the top surface of the putter head, serves to secure the device 332 to the putter. Also not shown in the exploded view of FIG. 28 but illustrated in the rear rotated perspective view of FIG. 24 is a seating location, see at 394, for securing an on/off switch 396.
Referencing again FIG. 28, a pair of positive conductors are shown at 398 and 400, the conductor 400 seating in cooperation with the architectural mounting location 364 in the base 336, and with the conductor 398 providing a left side pendulum contact location (as will be further described), and operative with a further perimeter (see again at 366) mounted negative conductor 402 in order to selectively communicate power from the battery 372. An inner and forward-most positioned tempo contact 404 and tempo slide conductor 406 seat at underside locations of the upper body 304, in proximity to the forward defined slot 344, and such that an insertion portion, see at 408, of the tempo slide 350 is in electrical contact therewith.
As will be further described, the curled inner edge 405 (see FIG. 28) of the linearly adjustable contact 404 is positioned at a given spaced location relative to the pendulum contact, and in order to establish a tempo exceeding parameter upon contact. A further right side conductor 410 is provided in opposing fashion to the right side conductor 398, and for notifying of contact by the pendulum conductor (see as described below at 422 and 424).
A pair of left and right lie slide guides are shown at 412 and 414, respectively, these engaging associated underside projecting portions 416 and 418 of the interconnecting left and right lie slides 346 and 348 (see again FIG. 28). As previously described, it is the relative positioning of the underside projecting portions 412 and 414, against side locations of the pendulum spring supported contact portion 422 and which bias the pendulum ball contact 424 in compensating fashion relative to a golfer's predisposed lie orientation (see again at 349 and 351 in FIG. 24).
In operation, and during the inertial putting stroke, the left 346 and right 348 slides are preadjusted to compensate for the golfer's natural lie offset (e.g. again the offset angle θ of the club head 212 about axis 349 as shown in FIG. 24) and again by which the associated guide contact portions (412 and 414) are adjusted to bias the pendulum spring 422 in a given left or right direction. During the normal putting stroke, the suspended ball contact 424 is subject to being influenced in a direction towards either the left 398 or right 410 side positioned contacts. In the event that the user exerts too excessive an inertial putting motion, the ball contact 424 will contact either of the conductors 398 or 410, resulting in the associated misalignment LED 358 or 362 being illuminated.
Concurrently, the slidable tempo contact 404 (with inner curled contact edge 405) is adjusted inwardly or outwardly relative to the pendulum spring 422 and associated ball contact 424 (see in particular FIGS. 30 and 32). Upon locating a contact edge 405 closer to the pendulum ball contact 424 (FIG. 30), a slower putting stroke is contemplated, such that an increase in inertial motion beyond that desired causes the ball contact 424 to travel forwardly and strike the curled contact edge 405, thereby illuminating the tempo LED indicator 360 and notifying of an excessive/outside parameter tempo condition being achieved. Movement of the contact edge 405 of the tempo contact 404 further forwards (FIG. 32) and away from the pendulum spring 422 and ball contact 424, increases the amount of forward inertial force which can be applied to the putter head 212 and without signaling an outside of parameter tempo condition (e.g. again resulting from the ball 424 contacting the edge 405 of the translatable tempo contact 404).
Finishing off the interior architecture is an on/off switch contact 420, to which is secured a top end of the pendulum spring conductor 422, in the embodiment illustrated being a coil spring element secured to an inner top location of the upper body housing 338 and from which the electrically communicating and lower-most disposed and extending (and inertially sensitive) ball contact 424 is suspended within the open interior cavity of the housing (see as best shown in FIGS. 30 and 32).
Although not clearly identified, it is understood that a variant of the invention can incorporate a suitable microprocessor control can be incorporated into such as the inner defined location 370 of the base component 336. Such a microprocessor can incorporate any suitable sensor technology (such as which may be inertially responsive) and which is capable of being operable either with or in substitution of a standard pendulum spring contact for interpreting a selective swing (lie) or tempo associated with a putter swing and, responsive thereto, for indicating whether a club face orientation (or left/right lie) or tempo (swing speed) needs to be readjusted and in order to optimize the performance characteristics of a given golfer. Also not further identified is the provision of an optional audio output means (this operating in cooperation with the visual LED components shown), it being understood that the features illustrated throughout the several views are capable of being interchangeably incorporated into each of the described embodiments.
Referring now to FIG. 29, a top plan illustration of the variant of FIG. 23 shows the left/right lie 346 and 348 and tempo slide 350 adjusters in first selected positions. FIG. 30 further illustrates a cutaway view taken along line 30-30 in FIG. 29, and illustrating the configuration of the inner working components in the shown position, these including notably the pendulum spring conductor 422 and interconnected and downwardly extending ball contact 424, both referenced previously and in fairly close proximity to a most rearwardly displaced tempo contact 404 with curled engagement edge 405.
Addressing further FIG. 31, a top plan illustration shows the left/right lie 346/348 and tempo slide 350 adjusters in further reversed positions (this reversing the side disposed lie to the pendulum contact), relative to that illustrated in FIG. 29.
FIG. 32 is a cutaway view, taken along line 32-32 in FIG. 31, and showing the relative displacement of the movable inner working components also illustrated in FIG. 30. In particular, forward repositioning of the tempo slide 350 results in the corresponding forward translation of the tempo contact 404 (with edge 405). Accordingly, a distance (see bi-directional arrow 426 in FIG. 32) represents the linear travel which the pendulum ball contact 424 must travel in order to contact the edge 405 of the tempo contact 404, and thereby illuminate the tempo LED 360 to notify of the pre-set parameter being exceeded. Concurrently, repositioning of the lie adjustment slides 346/348 again influences the sideways bias of the pendulum spring) conductor 422.
Also shown in each of FIGS. 30 and 32 are a collection of interior wires and contact points, these not clearly described in the preceding views (particularly the exploded perspective of FIG. 28) however which are understood to provide communication between the tempo and slide portions and associated contacts with the battery power (via the associated battery contacts and conductors), the on/off switch 396 and associated contact 420 likewise energizing the battery 372 to power the microprocessor and, in turn, both the tempo and slide adjustment mechanisms.
Referring further to FIG. 33, a further cutaway view taken along line 33-33 of FIG. 29 illustrates, from another vantage point, the configuration of the pendulum spring conductor 422 and ball contact 424, associated with the left and right lie slide adjusters, also referenced in FIG. 30. As particularly shown by arrows 428 and 430, the direction of side travel associated with the pendulum hall contact 424 is shown and which, in cooperation with the pre-induced right or left bias to the pendulum spring 422 (again via contact of the slide guides 412 and 414 with the opposite sides of the pendulum spring 422) compensates for the offset of the golfers lie (see again FIG. 24 explanation).
Finally, and referring to FIG. 34, a cutaway view taken along line 34-34 of FIG. 31 shows the arrangement of the pendulum spring conductor 422 and bail contact 424, also referenced in FIG. 32, and resulting from the repositioning of the slide contacts in the manner previously described (e.g. again as shown in FIG. 31).
In this fashion, the putter mounted tempo/directional variant of the putter operates in a substantially similar fashion as described previously in regards to the driver and iron variants. Otherwise, the putter variant may also employ any combination of processor, as well as audio output capability, such as described in reference to the competing embodiments and in order to augment the visual (LED) indicators referenced herein.
Having described my invention, other and additional preferred embodiments will become apparent to those skilled in the art to which it pertains and without deviating from the scope of the appended claims. In particular, and while the preferred embodiments primarily disclose both speed (tempo) and directional (target) training devices secured to a driver (wood) or iron club, it is also envisioned that additional variants can be employed in a golf putter. Given the dynamics of a putter stroke, such an alternate variant could employ a linearly displaceable and spring biased contact portion of some construction, and which could achieve the desired results of enabling a user to more carefully regulate a swinging speed of the putter, as well as to provide for directional control in a manner consistent with that previously described.