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United States Patent Application 20170203182
Kind Code A1
Spelman; John R. ;   et al. July 20, 2017

GOLF PUTTER WITH TRAINING DEVICE

Abstract

Disclosed is a golf putter incorporating a training device that is configured to provide an intuitive coaching system to aid a golfer in the development of proper visualization of their putt, and that provides a configuration that ensures that the golfer maintain proper form (including through ensuring proper alignment, proper backswing, and proper topspin application) throughout their practice putting strokes. The golf putter includes a motion sensor that determines and preferably displays to the golfer the speed of their putting stroke and the distance of that stroke through both rearward (backstroke) and forward (throughstroke) movements, and provides a light beam projection device configured to project a tracking pathway onto the ground in front of the putter, indicating the ball path that the putter should strive to putt the ball through with their stroke while insuring proper alignment of the putter face with the intended target line. Such configuration is designed to allow the golfer to develop constant distance feel and putter face alignment during practice sessions and on to the golf course.


Inventors: Spelman; John R.; (Glen Arm, MD) ; Stroosnyder; Peter C.; (Juno Beach, FL)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Spelman; John R.
Stroosnyder; Peter C.

Glen Arm
Juno Beach

MD
FL

US
US
Family ID: 1000001898400
Appl. No.: 15/002241
Filed: January 20, 2016


Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A63B 2208/0204 20130101; A63B 69/3676 20130101
International Class: A63B 69/36 20060101 A63B069/36

Claims



1. A golf putting training system comprising: a putter head, said putter head further comprising: an external face having a top surface and a curved face at a front end of said top surface and extending downward from said top surface; a sensor module removably attached to an interior underside of said external face; a plurality of light projection devices configured to project multiple light beams outward from a front end of said putter head; and a motion sensor configured to measure a speed and distance of at least a portion of a golfer's backstroke when manipulating said putter head through a putting stroke.

2. The golf putting training system of claim 1, said curved face of said external face having a first plurality of openings extending therethrough, wherein said light projection devices are positioned to project said light beams through said openings.

3. The golf putting training system of claim 2, wherein said light projection devices are positioned within channels in said sensor module, wherein said channels are aligned with said openings in said curved face.

4. The golf putting training system of claim 3, wherein said light projection devices are positioned apart from one another a distance sufficient to project said light beams in parallel and at a spacing that is greater than a diameter of a standard golf ball.

5. The golf putting training system of claim 2, further comprising a portable target having a vertical face and a connector configured to removably hold said target at a fixed location on the ground.

6. The golf putting training system of claim 1, wherein said curved face has a radius of curvature of greater than 0.84 inches.

7. The golf putting training system of claim 1, further comprising a vertical wall extending downward from said curved face and positioned rearward of a front-most point of said curved face.

8. The golf putting training system of claim 1, said motion sensor further comprising an ultrasonic motion sensor.

9. The golf putting training system of claim 8, wherein said motion sensor is positioned in said sensor module to project an ultrasonic wave rearward from said sensor module.

10. The golf putting training system of claim 1, said motion sensor further comprising a multi-axis motion sensor.

11. The golf putting training system of claim 1, further comprising a transmitter in data communication with said motion sensor and configured to transmit data representative of at least a speed and stroke distance of a putting stroke of said putter head to an external computing device.

12. The golf putting training system of claim 1, further comprising a handle attached to said top surface of said external face.

13. The golf putting training system of claim 12, said handle further comprising a power device in electrical communication with said light projection devices and said motion sensor.

14. The golf putting training system of claim 13, said handle further comprising a display configured to display data received from said motion sensor.

15. The golf putting training system of claim 1, further comprising an insert matching external dimensions, weight, and balance of said sensor module and excluding said motion sensor and said light projection devices.

16. The golf putting training system of claim 15, wherein said insert is removably attachable to said interior underside of said external face.

17. A golf putter comprising: a putter head, said putter head further comprising: an external face having a top surface and a front face extending downward from said top surface; a sensor module removably attached to an interior underside of said external face; and a motion sensor configured to measure a speed and distance of at least a portion of a golfer's backstroke when manipulating said putter head through a putting stroke; and a handle attached to said top surface of said external face.

18. The golf putter of claim 17, further comprising at least one light projection device configured to project a light beam outward from a front end of said putter head.

19. The golf putter of claim 17, wherein at least a portion of said front face of said external face comprises a curved surface extending downward from said top surface.

20. The golf putter of claim 19, wherein said curved surface is positioned to cause said putter head to strike a golf ball positioned on the ground only at a location above a centerline of said golf ball.
Description



BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] Field of the Invention

[0002] This invention relates generally to golf training devices, and more particularly to a golf putter incorporating a put training device configured to provide a golfer with a consistent putting stroke of proper form.

[0003] Background of the Prior Art

[0004] Golf is a sport that has enjoyed popularity and garnered enthusiasts for hundreds of years. Throughout the history of the game, golfers have continuously strived to improve their game. Moreover, a critical part of the game, and a major contributor to a golfer's score in any game, is putting--typically the final strokes the golfer takes to sink their ball into the hole. The development of a consistent putting stroke of proper form is thus essential to the typical golfer's goal of lowering their score.

[0005] Mastering the art of putting, however, requires regular practice. Moreover, practicing a putting stroke that is not of proper form can produce a consistently poor stroke, which is obviously counter to the typical golfer's goals. Thus, it is important that as a golfer is practicing their swing, they are practicing a swing of proper form, and are provided feedback throughout that practice on whether or not they are practicing such proper form.

[0006] More particularly, in order to produce a proper putting stroke, a golfer should follow the basic mechanical tenets of keeping their eyes over the ball, having proper alignment of the putter face to the target (i.e., the hole), applying topspin to the ball to enhance distance control and maintenance of the putting line, and keeping their backstroke in alignment with a center line. Likewise, in order to produce a proper putting stroke, a golfer should also follow the basic subjective tenets of developing a "feel", or instinctive ability, and developing the ability to visualize the proper putting line. Feel for distance is especially important when putting to a "breaking hole." If the putt is too fast, it will not have enough break, and if it is too slow, it will have too much break, often missing the putt as a result. Further, it is important that the golfer have confidence in his line and his ability to read the green, and thus must practice on a variety of holes of varied geometries having various degrees and direction of break to properly develop the "feel" necessary to properly read the greens.

[0007] Moreover, in order to achieve a proper putting stroke, a golfer must practice and use a pendulum-like swing carried out solely through turn of the shoulder, thus creating a straight back-and-forth stroke movement straight through the chosen putting line, generally with the back stroke being equal in speed to the forward stroke (similar to the movement of the pendulum of a clock). Distance then becomes a function of how far the putter is moved rearward in the initial back stroke, as the timing of the stroke is the same regardless of the distance of the stroke. Of course, distance control is an important skill in achieving successful putts, as proper distance control allows the golfer to better gauge the various contours and speed of the green. As noted above, if a putt is hit too fast (i.e., too hard), it will not take the intended "break," and if it is hit too soft (i.e., too slow), it will "break" more than desired.

[0008] Thus, in order for a golfer to improve their putting game, it is important to apply the basic mechanics and to develop a proper "feel" and ability to visualize their putt. The development of these skills requires controlled practice, where that controlled practice exemplifies a putt of proper form.

[0009] While numerous golf aids have been provided in the past, there is continuing need in the art for training devices that can aid a golfer in the development of a proper putting stroke through practice of a putting stroke of proper form, and that provides feedback to the golfer that they are in fact practicing proper form. Such a device should have a visual aid that helps the golfer to develop proper visualization of their putt, and should provide a construction that ensures that the golfer maintain proper form (including initial alignment, maintaining such alignment through the backswing, and applying topspin to the ball) throughout the putting stroke.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] Disclosed is a golf putter incorporating a training device that is configured to provide an intuitive coaching system to aid a golfer in the development of proper visualization of their putt, and that provides a configuration that ensures that the golfer maintain proper form (including through ensuring proper alignment, proper backswing, and proper topspin application) throughout their practice putting strokes. The golf putter includes a motion sensor that determines and displays to the golfer the speed of their putting stroke and the distance of that stroke through both rearward (backstroke) and forward (throughstroke) movements, and a light beam projection device configured to project a tracking pathway onto the ground in front of the putter, indicating the ball path that the putter should strive to putt the ball through with their stroke while insuring proper alignment of the putter face with the intended target line. Such configuration is designed to allow the golfer to develop constant distance feel and putter face alignment during practice sessions and on to the golf course.

[0011] In accordance with certain aspects of an embodiment of the invention, a golf putting training system is provided comprising a putter head having an external face with a top surface and a curved face at a front end of the top surface and extending downward from the top surface, a sensor module removably attached to an interior underside of the external face, a plurality of light projection devices configured to project multiple light beams outward from a front end of the putter head, and a motion sensor configured to measure a speed and distance of at least a portion of a golfer's backstroke when manipulating the putter head through a putting stroke.

[0012] In accordance with further aspects of an embodiment of the invention, a golf putter is provided comprising a putter head having an external face having a top surface and a front face extending downward from the top surface, a sensor module removably attached to an interior underside of the external face, and a motion sensor configured to measure a speed and distance of at least a portion of a golfer's backstroke when manipulating the putter head through a putting stroke; and a handle attached to the top surface of the external face.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] The numerous advantages of the present invention may be better understood by those skilled in the art by reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

[0014] FIG. 1 is perspective view of a golf putter with a training device in accordance with certain aspects of an embodiment of the invention.

[0015] FIG. 2 is a side view of the golf putter of FIG. 1 positioned adjacent a standard golf ball.

[0016] FIG. 3 is a perspective exploded view of the golf putter of FIG. 1.

[0017] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a target for use with the golf putter of FIG. 1.

[0018] FIG. 5 is a side view of a handle portion of the golf putter of FIG. 1.

[0019] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a golf putter with a training device in accordance with further aspects of an embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0020] The following description is of particular embodiments of the invention, set out to enable one to practice various implementations of the invention, and is not intended to limit the invention to the preferred embodiments, but to serve as particular examples thereof. Those skilled in the art should appreciate that they may readily use the conception and specific embodiments disclosed as a basis for modifying or designing other methods and systems for carrying out the same purposes of the present invention. Those skilled in the art should also realize that such equivalent assemblies do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention in its broadest form.

[0021] FIG. 1 provides a perspective view of a golf putter with a training device (shown generally at 10) in accordance with certain aspects of an embodiment of the invention. As shown in FIG. 1, golf putter 10 includes a putter head (shown generally at 100) and a putter shaft (shown generally at 200) attached to the top of putter head 100.

[0022] In a particularly preferred configuration, putter head 100 has a length dimension from its back face to the outermost portion of its curved front face of 3 inches, a width dimension (through the horizontal plane shown in FIG. 1) of 3 inches, and a height dimension of 2 inches. Putter head 100 includes an external face 110 and a removable, internal sensor module 130 that fits within an interior of external face 110.

[0023] External face 110 of putter head 100 includes a horizontal, flat upper face 111, and curved front face 116 that curves downward from upper face 111 to form a semi-circle front face for putter head 100. As shown in FIG. 2, front face 116 of putter head 100 is sized so as to have a radius of curvature that is larger than the radius of a standard golf ball 150 of 0.84 inches. By way of non-limiting example, in the exemplary configuration described above, with a height dimension of 2 inches, front face 116 of putter head 100 is sized with a radius of curvature of 1 inch. With this configuration (and as particularly shown in FIG. 2), the horizontal center line A of putter head 100 sits above the centerline B of a standard golf ball 150. Thus, when golf ball 150 is struck with putter head 100, the putter head 100 strikes the ball in such a manner as to apply spin, and particularly top spin, in the same direction as the putting line. Consistent application of top spin is essential to good distance control, such that this configuration of putter 10 significantly aids the golfer in development of a proper putting stroke.

[0024] With continued reference to FIG. 1, curved front face 116 includes openings 118 extending through the full width of curved front face 116. As described in greater detail below, openings 118 in curved front face 116 align with channels 134 in sensor module 130, which channels 134 hold light beam projection devices 136. The bottom portion of curved front face 116 ends at a vertical wall 117 that, in a particular embodiment of the invention, is positioned past the point at which curved front face 116 becomes horizontal with its exterior parallel to the bottom of putter head 100.

[0025] A threaded opening 114 is preferably provided in the top face 111 of external face 110, and is configured to receive a threaded fastener, such as a screw which may enter into sensor module 130. In this configuration, and with reference to FIG. 3, sensor module 130 is removable from external face 110 of putter head 100 so as to allow servicing and replacement of components. Moreover, in this configuration, a separate, non-sensor insert (not shown) may be provided having the same exterior configuration, weight, and balance as sensor module 130, which may be removably positioned on the interior of external face 110 of putter head 100 when the golfer wishes to practice their putting stroke without the aids provided by sensor module 130. Such non-sensor insert will also allow the golfer to use the putter on the golf course (as it removes what would otherwise be an unfair advantage with the visual and sensing aids intact in an actual golf round).

[0026] Shaft 200 is joined to top face 111 of the external face 110 of putter head 100 at joint 112, which in certain embodiments may include a threaded connection, although shaft 200 may likewise be permanently joined to putter head 100.

[0027] With continued reference to FIGS. 1 and 3, sensor module 130 includes a motion sensor 132 positioned in sensor module 130, which motion sensor 132 is configured to detect motion of the user's putter as it travels across the ground. In certain configurations, motion sensor 132 may be positioned within sensor module 130 so that it points rearward from putter head 100 (i.e., pointing in the direction of the putter's intended backswing). In this configuration, motion sensor 132 may comprise an ultrasonic motion sensor (such as a Parallax Ultrasonic Range Finder, which is readily commercially available), which motion sensor 132 is configured to measure both the distance and velocity of the user's backstroke and their follow through stroke by sending to and receiving from the golfer's putter a sound wave at set time intervals. As shown in FIG. 4, a target 300 may be provided, including a vertical target face 302, a horizontal base 304, and a ground pin 306 extending downward from base 304 for removable placement of target 300 on the ground surface. Optionally, horizontal base 304 may have a central hole through which a traditional golf tee may be placed to serve as ground pin 306. The detected distance of the putter head from the target at different times (as detected by motion sensor 132) is preferably used to calculate the length of the golfer's backstroke and the velocity of both the golfer's backstroke and follow through stroke. In other configurations, motion sensor 132 may comprise a standalone motion sensor, such as a multi-axis motion sensor, and more particularly a multi-axis motion sensor incorporating a preferably 3-axis gyroscope, a preferably 3-axis accelerometer, and optionally a preferably 3-axis compass, all preferably in combination with a processor capable of processing the data from such sensing elements to define the overall motion of the sensor, and thus of the sensor module 130 in which it is installed. A suitable and readily commercially available multi-axis motion sensor is the INVENSENSE MPU-9x50 Series nine-axis MEMS motion sensor.

[0028] Optionally, an additional downwardly directed proximity sensor (not shown) may be provided in addition to or integrated with motion sensor 132, which downwardly directed proximity sensor may be used to detect and report height of the putter head 100 above the green.

[0029] Sensor module 130 also includes hollow shafts 134 that extend horizontally inward from the curved front face 135 of sensor module 130. Curved front face 135 of sensor module 130 is provided a contour that closely matches the contour of the interior of curved front 116 of external face 110 of putter head 100, thus fitting closely within the underside of external face 110 when the two components are mated. Each hollow shaft 134 aligns with openings 118 in outer curved face 116 of external face 110 so as to provide a continuous hollow shaft extending from inside of sensor module 130 all of the way through and out of curved face 116 of external face 110 when the two components are joined together.

[0030] A threaded opening 137 extends downward from the top face of sensor module 130, and aligns with opening 114 in the top face 111 of external face 110 to removably receive a threaded connector to hold the sensor module 130 and external face 110 together as a unit.

[0031] Light projection devices 136 are positioned within each hollow shaft 134, and are configured to each project a light beam from the curved front face 116 of external face 110, which beams (as discussed in greater detail below) are used to ensure that the golfer keeps the putter 10 properly aligned with respect to the target throughout their putt. Such light projection devices preferably each comprise a line laser, such as a red or green line laser, configured to project a horizontal line in front of putter 10 and onto a target 300 of similar configuration to that shown in FIG. 4.

[0032] Light projection devices 136 are preferably positioned within sensor module 130 such that the light beams that they project are spaced apart a distance that is greater than the width of a standard golf ball (i.e., greater than 1.68''), and that is more preferably at least 1.735''. If such light projections are situated in sensor module 130 with a slightly downward angle, they may likewise provide a visual "track" indicating the intended ball path that a ball should travel when struck using training putter 10.

[0033] In use, the user may place the target 300 on the golf green at a point approximately one foot beyond the desired distance along the user's targeted line, thus allowing for any perceived "break" in the green. Light projection device 136 will show on the vertical face 302 of target 300 (which may optionally comprise a metallic reflective surface to enhance visibility of the laser, regardless of lighting conditions, thus allowing the use of the training putter 10 in bright sunlight or any other lighting condition). Moreover, when configured using a removable tee as the ground pin 306, such ground pin 306 may be removed so as to allow the use of the training putter 10 and target 300 in the home or any other interior space, including on carpeted surfaces. The vertical face 302 of target 300 is at least slightly wider than the horizontal distance between the two light projection devices 134 and the light beams they project, such that during use, the user may place the target a distance away from the putting position and observe the target as they practice their putting stroke. If while practicing the putting stroke, the light beams leave the vertical face 302 of target 300, then the golfer knows that they have not executed a straight back and straight through stroke. The further the target is placed from the putting position, the more accurate the measurement becomes. If the left light beam leaves the vertical surface 302 of target 300 during the putting stroke, the golfer knows that the stroke was "out side in," and if the right light beam leaves the vertical surface 302 of target 300 during the putting stroke, the golfer knows that the stroke was "inside out."

[0034] FIG. 5 provides a side view of handle 200. Handle 200 includes shaft 202 that extends downward and attaches to putter head 100, and a putter grip 202 positioned at the top end of shaft 202. Putter grip 202 may have a removable end cap 203 that may be removed to allow access to the interior of shaft 202, which in turn may receive one or more power devices 206, such as a battery, to supply power through lines 208 to sensor module 130, and more particularly to motion sensor 132 and light projection devices 136. Optionally, putter grip 202 may also incorporate a power switch to turn sensor module 130 on and off, and a display to allow data regarding the golfer's putt to be displayed to the golfer. Alternatively, putter grip 202 (or alternatively sensor module 130) may incorporate a transmitter that transmits data from sensor module 130, such as via BLUETOOTH or such other wireless communication protocol as may be available, to a remote device. The data that is so displayed or transmitted preferably includes the speed and stroke distance of the golfer's putting stroke, measuring both forward and back strokes, and thus displaying such data to the user while providing a visual indication of alignment of the putter head 100 with the intended target line via light projection devices 136. A computer software application may be provided and configured to receive and display data from sensor module 130, which software application may be an executable file on a portable computing device, such as a tablet, smartphone, or similarly configured device, thus providing instant feedback to the user of the parameters of his or her golf swing. Similarly, an application for golf professionals (e.g., trainers) may also be provided so as to enable such professional to monitor the golfer's progress and assist the golfer in his or her development of a proper pendulum-type putt.

[0035] Those skilled in the art will recognize that a transmitter and/or other communications electronics configured for communicating with such software applications could alternatively be provided in sensor module 130, including by integrating such transmitter or other communications electronics with motion sensor 132, without departing from the invention.

[0036] FIG. 6 provides a perspective view of putter head 100 in another configuration, in which the bottom portion of the front face of external face 110 is a flat, vertical face, while only the upper portion of the front face forms curved face 116. In this configuration, both the vertical face and the curved face have a height approximately equal to the radius of a standard golf ball, which configuration will further help to ensure that the golfer applies top spin with each putting stroke, and will likewise allow the golfer to position the ball directly under their eyes instead of forward in the stance.

[0037] Having now fully set forth the preferred embodiments and certain modifications of the concept underlying the present invention, various other embodiments as well as certain variations and modifications of the embodiments herein shown and described will obviously occur to those skilled in the art upon becoming familiar with said underlying concept. It should be understood, therefore, that the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically set forth herein.

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