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Sporting club swing trainer

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Publication number
US20090082122A1
Authority
US
Grant status
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Patent type
Prior art keywords
light
club
golf
ball
detectors
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US11903461
Inventor
Norman D. Kellogg
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OON CHOO WOOI
Original Assignee
OON CHOO WOOI
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B69/00Training appliances or apparatus for special sports
    • A63B69/36Training appliances or apparatus for special sports for golf
    • A63B69/3611Training appliances or apparatus for special sports for golf not used, see A63B69/36 and subgroups
    • A63B69/3614Training appliances or apparatus for special sports for golf not used, see A63B69/36 and subgroups using electro-magnetic, magnetic or ultrasonic radiation emitted, reflected or interrupted by the golf club
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B71/00Games or sports accessories not covered in groups A63B1/00 - A63B69/00
    • A63B71/06Indicating or scoring devices for games or players, or for other sports activities
    • A63B71/0619Displays, user interfaces and indicating devices, specially adapted for sport equipment, e.g. display mounted on treadmills
    • A63B71/0622Visual, audio or audio-visual systems for entertaining, instructing or motivating the user
    • A63B2071/0625Emitting sound, noise or music
    • A63B2071/0627Emitting sound, noise or music when used improperly, e.g. by giving a warning
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2102/00Application of clubs, bats, rackets or the like to the sporting activity ; particular sports involving the use of balls and clubs, bats, rackets, or the like
    • A63B2102/16Table tennis
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2220/00Measuring of physical parameters relating to sporting activity
    • A63B2220/10Positions
    • A63B2220/16Angular positions
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2220/00Measuring of physical parameters relating to sporting activity
    • A63B2220/30Speed
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2220/00Measuring of physical parameters relating to sporting activity
    • A63B2220/80Special sensors, transducers or devices therefor
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2220/00Measuring of physical parameters relating to sporting activity
    • A63B2220/80Special sensors, transducers or devices therefor
    • A63B2220/805Optical or opto-electronic sensors
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B69/00Training appliances or apparatus for special sports
    • A63B69/0015Training appliances or apparatus for special sports for cricket
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B69/00Training appliances or apparatus for special sports
    • A63B69/0024Training appliances or apparatus for special sports for hockey
    • A63B69/0026Training appliances or apparatus for special sports for hockey for ice-hockey
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B69/00Training appliances or apparatus for special sports
    • A63B69/38Training appliances or apparatus for special sports for tennis

Abstract

A swing training apparatus is used with a golf club or other sporting club. The golf club has a light projector that sweeps a moving light beam along a path parallel to the face of the club. A light beam receiver provides two spaced apart linear rows of light detectors which are able to receive the light beam. An electrical circuit includes the detectors, a source of electrical power, a microprocessor, and an audio or visual alert circuit. With the receiver positioned so that the detectors are directed along a desired ball trajectory, the light beam sweeps across the detectors when the golf ball is driven, the information of club head velocity and face misalignment are then able to be calculated and the golfer alerted.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    Not applicable.
  • STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
  • [0002]
    Not applicable.
  • THE NAMES OF THE PARTIES TO A JOINT RESEARCH AGREEMENT
  • [0003]
    Not applicable.
  • INCORPORATION-BY-REFERENCE OF MATERIAL SUBMITTED ON A COMPACT DISC
  • [0004]
    Not applicable.
  • REFERENCE TO A “MICROFICHE APPENDIX”
  • [0005]
    Not applicable.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0006]
    1. Field of the Present Disclosure
  • [0007]
    This disclosure relates generally to sports training equipment and particularly to the training required in sharpening the skills of swinging a club, a bat, a racket and the like. The disclosure relates more particularly to the sport of golf and a device for improving the skills required in swinging a golf club with accurate alignment of the club face.
  • [0008]
    2. Description of Related Art Including Information Disclosed Under 37 CFR 1.97 and 1.98
  • [0009]
    Barnard, U.S. 20050059504, discloses a golf putt measuring device and a method for using the regulator. The golf putt measuring device has a unique configuration that allows the device to measure the speed and power rating of a golf ball that passes in front of the device. The golf putt measuring device uses infrared emitters to emit a pulse that bounces off a golf ball as it passes in front of the emitter and the pulse is received by a detector. A plurality of emitters and detectors are provided to give an accurate power, speed and/or distance reading which is displayed on a screen on the top of the device. A microprocessor controls the emitters and detectors. The microprocessor also collects the data from the detectors and converts the data to a special power rating that is then displayed on the display screen. The golf putt measuring device can be used in several different modes that may be used by an individual.
  • [0010]
    Petrov, U.S. 20050153786, discloses an object locating system that detects the presence of an object as it passes through two consecutive planar fields of view. Two pairs of optical sensor arrays with multiple, directed, pixel detectors observe the object from two angles as the object passes through each consecutive field of view. The locations of penetrations of the respective fields of view are calculated by triangulation. Using this data, the known location of the take-off point and/or the delay between penetrations, the trajectory of the object in time and space is calculated. Applications include projecting the range of a driven golf ball, measuring the respective arriving and departing velocities of a hit baseball, and determining the trajectory and origin of an arriving projectile, as in the case of the threat to a military vehicle.
  • [0011]
    Lee, U.S. Pat. No. 7,038,764, discloses an invention that is an apparatus and method for determining the velocity of a projectile. A light curtain unit creates two light curtains and two sensing planes. The projectile causes light from the light curtain to be reflected into the detectors and of the sensing planes. The time for a projectile to pass through one sensing plane to the other is measured and calculated for display by the Display Unit.
  • [0012]
    Fox, U.S. Pat. No. 5,926,780, discloses a system for measuring the initial velocity vector of a ball includes a first light sensing array, a first light source, a second light sensing array, and a second light source. The ball has an initial position. When the ball is struck, at time T1 it casts a first shadow position on first light sensing array, and at time T2 it casts a second shadow position on second light sensing array. A first plane is formed by initial position, first light source, and first shadow position. A second plane is formed by initial position, second light source, and second shadow position. The line of flight of one ball is defined by the intersection of planes. A slant distance D.sub.s is determined, whereby the speed S.sub.b of one ball is defined as S.sub.b=D.sub.s/(T2−T1). The velocity vector is then S.sub.b in the direction of line of flight.
  • [0013]
    White, U.S. Pat. No. 4,477,079, discloses a golf swing training and practice device by which a golfer may ascertain various characteristics, such as club head speed and elapsed swing time, regarding the swing of his golf club. The present training and practice device comprises a portable, battery or AC powered apparatus for accurately measuring, computing, and displaying both the elapsed time to complete the golfer's swing and the speed by which a golfer's club head is moved through a measuring zone. The measuring zone is established by the optical axes of a pair of photo detectors or the like, that are mounted within a detector head. Unlike conventional golf training or practice apparatus, the photo detectors of the present invention are responsive to ambient light. The photo detectors are disposed in parallel alignment with one another, so as to receive respective horizontal and parallel beams of light, whereby to define the measuring zone there between. The present device includes both a digital speed setting by which a golfer may set a target club head speed to achieve and a digital readout display for reporting the actual speed at which the club head is moved through the measuring zone. A pair of achievement lights provides the golfer with a momentary visual indication whether or not his actual club head speed has surpassed his desired or target club head speed. A printer may also be associated with the present device, so as to provide the golfer with a permanent indication of his club head speed and the elapsed time in which to complete his swing.
  • [0014]
    Kellogg, et al., U.S. Pat. No. 6,758,760, discloses an improved club swing training device for assisting persons, such as golfers to improve their golf swing. The training aid includes a power source, a light source such as a laser beam, a light deflector such as a mirror and a motor for rotating the light deflector. The light source, light deflector and motor are affixed to the proximal end of a club shaft. In operation, the light source strikes the light deflector which is rotated by the motor. The light deflector is angled relative to the axis of the light source's emitted beam so that upon the beam striking the light deflector, it is redirected in a second direction so as to form a fan of light as the motor rotates the light deflector. The swing training aid includes a scabbard for affixing the motor, light deflector and light source to the proximal end of a club and for positioning these components so as to position the fan of light so as to assist a person in seeing their club swing.
  • [0015]
    Lin, U.S. Pat. No. 6,923,728, discloses a golf club face impact alignment device that includes a light emitting unit and a light sensing unit. The light emitting unit includes a first light emitting device, a second light emitting device, a power source and an emitting case. The first and second light emitting devices and the power source are retained in the emitting housing. The light emitting unit is attached to the club face of a golf club. The light sensing unit includes a first sensing unit, a second sensing unit and a base. The first and second sensing units are secured to the base. Each sensing unit preferably includes at least one photocell and a sensing case. The golf club is swung between the first and second sensing units. Light emitting from each end of the light emitting unit must be detected by the first and second light sensing units to activate an indication device.
  • [0016]
    Lin, U.S. Pat. No. 6,458,038, discloses a golf putting indication device that includes a light emitting golf putter, a light sensing unit, and a display unit. The light emitting golf putter includes a light beam which projects from a strike face of the light emitting golf putter. The light sensing unit includes a plurality of photocells. Each photocell is housed in a tubular compartment. The display unit contains a plurality of light emitting devices. The number of light emitting devices corresponds to the number of photocells. Each photocell is electrically connected to a battery and to a single light emitting device. When a photocell is struck with the beam of light, the photocell's respective light emitting device emits light. In use, a golfer practices swinging the light emitting golf putter such that the light beam only enters one of the tubular compartments.
  • [0017]
    Otten, U.S. Pat. No. 6,821,211, discloses a swing analysis system that includes a housing having an upper surface and a ball support mounted to the upper surface. A first array of optical sensors is mounted in the upper surface on a first side of the ball support, and a second array of optical sensors is mounted in the upper surface on a second side of the ball support, opposite the first array of sensors. A third array of optical sensors in mounted in the upper surface, with the sensors positioned around the ball support. A controller is coupled to each sensor of the three arrays of sensors for receiving output signals therefrom. The controller monitors the output signals for change in state events and creates data files containing a sequence of events with associated timestamps. The computer is programmed to use the data files to calculate swing path angle, club head speed, club head angle, club head lateral alignment with respect to the ball support, and club head height of an implement (e.g., a golf club) swung over the housing. The system can also be provided with at least one tower attached to a side of the housing and extending above the upper surface. The tower includes additional sensors that are used by the computer to calculate club head loft angle. The computer can also calculate an effective club head speed from the measured values of club head speed, swing path angle, club head lateral alignment and club head angle.
  • [0018]
    Gautraud, U.S. Pat. No. 3,655,202, discloses a tee trigger for use in computerized golf games. There is provided an overhead light source which generates a line of light crossing a tee area in such a way that a ball hit from a line simulating means will break the line of light and reflect light to an overhead photocell to generate a first signal. A second signaling device is spaced from the projected line of light and provides a second signal when the ball reaches that point and the time between the two signals is indicative of the ball's velocity. Through the use of the line of light, the life of the lie simulating means may be increased inasmuch as the ball need not be placed at but a single point thereon for each shot.
  • [0019]
    Matsumura, U.S. Pat. No. 5,114,150, discloses a golf swing analyzer having two sensors which are adapted to sense the swing of a golf club, wherein analysis is made by detecting crossing points of the output signal waveforms at which the waveforms intersect a reference potential level plus and minus a predetermined value. The golf swing analyzer takes accurate measurement of the speed and/or direction of the swing without being affected by a noise.
  • [0020]
    Harlan, et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,154,427, discloses a repeatable golf swing teaching device that tracks real time movement of a golf club head during a swing using a light gun attached to or inside the club head interacting with light sensors on a base and an upright panels to indicate path of movement. When a desired swing path is achieved the paths may be locked in a computer and the desired swing path thereafter compared with subsequent swings with an alarm activated as a subsequent swing deviates from the desired swing path.
  • [0021]
    Marsh, U.S. Pat. No. 5,257,084, discloses a technique for measuring golf swing tempo or club head speed for a golfer swinging a golf club through a tee area. Two parallel infrared (IR) transmitters transmit respective IR beams along predetermined lines toward the tee area. Respective IR sensors receive respective IR beams reflected from a reflector mounted to the shaft of the golf club, near the club head. Each IR sensors provides a respective output signal indicative of the passage of the golf club through a corresponding IR beam. Predetermined sequences of output signals from the IR sensors are detected and the differences in time between various output signals are measured to provide tempo and club head speed values for display on a LCD screen. The speed values can be compensated values as obtained from look-up tables.
  • [0022]
    Pao, et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,626,526, discloses a present invention that relates to a golf training device capable of forming a two-dimensional, single planar and total symmetrical optical sensor net for detecting movement of a golf ball. The device comprises a square frame which has a signal producing means holding part on the first horizontal and the first vertical sides of the frame and a signal detecting means holding part on the second horizontal and the second vertical sides of the frame. On the signal producing means holding part, a light signal producing means including a light signal emitting means is installed to generate a two-dimensional, single planar optical path net. A light signal detecting means is spatially arranged in the opposite sides of the frame in accordance with the light emitting means to form a totally symmetrical optical sensor net for detecting the light signals from the light signal producing means. The present invention also includes a golf ball sensor means for detection of the golf ball movement at its initial impact and a data processing and display means which receives and processes output signals from the light signal detecting means for calculating the golf ball's take-off speed, the horizontal and vertical angles, and the trajectory distance. The square frame can be modified to a “U” or “II” shape to eliminate the upper frame of the sensor net and to reduce the dimensions of the training device.
  • [0023]
    King, U.S. Pat. No. 5,634,855, discloses a meter which detects, determines and displays the highest speed obtained in a golf club swing, being coin-operated, highly portable and battery powered. The meter includes a stabilizing base platform supporting a vertical post holding an electronic control box having a LCD, indicator lights and coin receiver. The base sits on a ground surface unattached, and supports a rubber golf tee secured relative to a pair of light sensors and light emitters. The sensors are mounted on the pedestal, and register an interruption in light directed into the sensors from the lights. The lights are mounted on the base and secured in the proper alignment with the sensors so that the entire unit can be easily moved such as for mowing around without misalignment occurring. The light sensors and the lights are on oppositely disposed sides of the tee so that a swinging golf club will interrupt the lights and cause the sensors to signal counters to begin or stop counting. Two sensors are used in spaced relationship to one another, one sensor straight across from each of the two fixed lights. The sensors are contained within collimator tubes which are aimed downward at an angle toward the lower positioned lights, thus assisting in eliminating false readings and the user from having to make electronic adjustments to compensate for ambient light conditions.
  • [0024]
    Pao, U.S. Pat. No. 6,302,802, discloses an optical sensor net system for measuring the relational dynamic information of a spheroidal projectile. A support frame for the system may include light emitters that generate divergent non-parallel rays of light. The non-parallel rays of light emitted may be directed to and received by a plurality of light detectors substantially arranged within a single plane. The intersecting non-parallel rays of light may form an asymmetrical optical sensor net that may also capture both golf ball and golf club information as they pass through. The light detectors that receive the rays of light may be spaced apart at reselected locations and distances less than the diameter of a spheroidal object such as a golf ball. A data processor or computer may be connected to the sensor net to detect relational spatial information for the golf ball and the golf club, and to determine instantaneous dynamic information for either including ball velocity or club speed based at least in part on the locations of the rays of light which are blocked off, and the measured time in which the rays of light emitted to the light detectors are interrupted and monitored by clock instrumentation. The optical sensor net and support frame may be tilted at preselected angles to capture relatively more information for a wide range of golf shots providing enhanced resolution of images depicting the golf ball and/or golf club.
  • [0025]
    Stopperan, et al., U.S. Pat. No. 6,855,921, discloses a portable speed measurement apparatus for determining and displaying speed characteristics of a body passing through a target zone that includes radiant energy beam generation units disposed in a first housing, the emitted beams of radiant energy defining a target zone there between, and radiant energy sensing units disposed in a second housing, the radiant energy sensing units operably generating an output electrical signal upon perception of pre-determined radiant energy characteristics. The first and second housings are configured and are sufficiently portable so that detection and speed measurement of a body moving through the target zone may be accomplished in any desired plane.
  • [0026]
    Thomley, et al, U.S. Pat. No. 6,881,068, discloses techniques for training and correcting a golf swing. A golfer places a ball at a teeing point on a teeing surface which is tiltably adjustable about a horizontal tilt axis. A catch device is aligned with a target direction passing through the teeing point and extending perpendicularly to the tilt axis. The golfer aims along the target direction and executes a golf swing to strike the ball from the teeing point. The actual direction of travel of the struck ball is determined. An azimuth difference is determined between the target direction and the actual direction of travel of the struck ball. The tilt angle of the teeing surface is varied about the tilt axis based upon the azimuth difference between the target direction and the actual direction of travel of the struck ball.
  • [0027]
    The related art described above discloses a number of golf swing training devices. However, the prior art fails to disclose the instant approach wherein a light beam sweeps across rows of detectors to determine club face misalignment at the moment of impact. The present disclosure distinguishes over the prior art providing heretofore unknown advantages as described in the following summary.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0028]
    This disclosure teaches certain benefits in construction and use which give rise to the objectives described below.
  • [0029]
    A swing training apparatus is used with a golf club or other sporting club. The golf club has a light projector that sweeps a moving light beam along a path parallel to the face of the club. A light beam receiver provides two spaced apart linear rows of light detectors which are able to receive the light beam. An electrical circuit includes the detectors, a source of electrical power, a microprocessor, and an audio or visual alarm circuit. With the receiver positioned so that the detectors are directed along a desired ball trajectory light beam sweeps across the detectors when the golf ball is driven, the information of club head velocity and, or, face misalignment is then able to be calculated.
  • [0030]
    A primary objective inherent in the above described apparatus and method of use is to provide advantages not taught by the prior art.
  • [0031]
    Another objective is to provide audible or visual feedback when a golf club swing does not address a golf ball squarely with respect to a proposed trajectory during a drive.
  • [0032]
    A further objective is to measure the velocity of the golf club at the time the golf ball is driven.
  • [0033]
    A still further objective is to set an allowable misalignment of the club face where a greater misalignment will result in feedback to the golfer.
  • [0034]
    Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following more detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the presently described apparatus and method of its use.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING(S)
  • [0035]
    Illustrated in the accompanying drawing(s) is at least one of the best mode embodiments of the present invention In such drawing(s):
  • [0036]
    FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the presently described apparatus illustrating how it is used in the sport of golf;
  • [0037]
    FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram of the apparatus wherein a few (representing all) of two linear sets of light detectors are in signal communication with a microprocessor; and
  • [0038]
    FIG. 3 is a plan view showing angular relationships thereof.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0039]
    The above described drawing figures illustrate the described apparatus and its method of use in at least one of its preferred, best mode embodiment, which is further defined in detail in the following description. Those having ordinary skill in the art may be able to make alterations and modifications to what is described herein without departing from its spirit and scope. Therefore, it must be understood that what is illustrated is set forth only for the purposes of example and that it should not be taken as a limitation in the scope of the present apparatus and method of use.
  • [0040]
    Described now in detail is a swing training apparatus that may be used with a golf club, a tennis club, a baseball bat or other sporting equipment that is traditionally swung with accuracy for hitting a ball or similar object. Other sports wherein an adapted version of the present apparatus may be used to advantage include ping-pong, hurley, hockey, bad mitten, squash, cricket and so on. The object is to train a sportsmen to more accurately swing a sporting bat or club, etc. In the following, we will describe the present apparatus and its method with respect to the game of golf, however, it would be clear to those of skill how to adapt the principles herein described to alternative games of similar type and therefore we describe the golf application as only one possible example.
  • [0041]
    Therefore, with respect to the game of golf, the present invention employs a golf club 10 which has a grip 12 at a proximal end and a club face 14 at a distal end as is common and well known and as shown in FIG. 1. Mounted adjacent to the grip 12 is a light beam projector 16 enabled and oriented so as to sweep a moving light beam 18 along a path 20 parallel to, or coincident with face 14. Of course, projector 16 may be mounted on club 10 in any location and orientation that will produce the desired result, i.e., where the path 20 represents that of a plane defined by a surface of the club. One example of such a projector 16 is fully described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,758,760 which was issued to the present inventor et al. on Jul. 6, 2004 and which is incorporated herein by reference to teach the details of making and using such a projector 16. In the present example, path 20 represents the plane defined by face 14 in three-space.
  • [0042]
    The present invention includes a light beam receiver 30 which provides two or more spaced apart linear rows of light detectors 32, where these detectors 32 are components of an electrical circuit 40 shown schematically in FIG. 2. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 4, more than two rows of detectors 32 may be employed, but two are a minimum and a sufficient number. It is clear that the precision to which the location of beam 18 may be determined is related to the size of detectors 32, with smaller detectors 32 providing greater granularity. The electrical circuit 40 is preferably energized by an incorporated battery B1.
  • [0043]
    In use, receiver 30 is positioned on a ground surface as shown in FIGS. 1 and 4, or it may be elevated above the ground surface to improve detection sensitivity and accuracy, Receiver 30 is in front of the golfer 5 and is oriented so that the rows of detectors 32 are in parallel with a desired golf ball drive trajectory shown by phantom line 7 in FIG. 4.
  • [0044]
    FIG. 4 shows club 10 moving toward golf ball 6 at the instant just before impact. As club 10 is swung through ball 6, beam 18 sweeps across detectors 32 tracing path 20. Phantom line 8 is a perpendicular to trajectory 7 and also therefore to the rows of detectors 32. To direct ball 6 along trajectory 7, the face 14 and path 20 should both be parallel to line 8 at the moment of impact; but as shown in FIG. 4, this may not be the case so that misalignment angle theta (θ) shown in FIG. 4, may exist. As club 10 is swung, beam 18 excites detectors 32 moving from right to left in FIG. 3. At the instant of impact only two of the detectors 32 are excited by beam 18, one detector 32 in each one of the rows of detectors 32. We assume that beam 18 moves between the two rows of detectors 32 much faster than the club 10 moves along the rows of detectors 32 so that we can assume that the two detectors are excited simultaneously for practical purposes. Ball 6 is struck by face 14 driving ball 6 along an actual trajectory 7A, as shown in FIG. 1 in phantom line.
  • [0045]
    When trajectory 7A is not coincident with idealized trajectory 7 misalignment angle theta (θ) exists, as explained. There are, in fact, two issues with respect to the misalignment angle theta (θ). First, at the moment of impact, club face 14, may in fact be moving exactly along a path that is collinear with the idealized trajectory 7, but misalignment of face 14 causes ball 6 to veer from trajectory 7 while in its flight due to ball spin. Second, the club face 14, may not be moving exactly along a path that is collinear with the trajectory 7, and also, the club face 14 may be misaligned as described. In this case, the ball 6 will not start out along trajectory 7 and it also will tend to veer away from its initial course due to ball spin. In some cases these two effects may actually compensate for each other, but in other instances, they may be additive in a negative sense causing greater error of ball placement.
  • [0046]
    As stated, at the moment of impact, two spaced-apart detectors 32 are excited so that the misalignment angle theta (θ) is calculable as shown below. Also, as path 20 of beam 18 sweeps from right to left across receiver 30, all of the detectors 32 are excited in sequence. The velocity “V” of club face 14 is calculable as follows:
  • [0000]

    V=L/(t1−t2)
  • [0047]
    where “t1” and “t2” are the time of excitement of the first and last detectors 32 in the row of detectors 32, which are spaced apart by length “L” as shown in FIG. 2.
  • [0048]
    Preferably, the two linear rows of detectors 32 are of such length “L” and separation “S” as to assure excitation by the light beam 18 at a detector 32 in each of the linear rows at the moment of impact. In FIG. 2, arrow A1 represents an ideal orientation of path 20 when club face 14 is exactly perpendicular with the rows of detectors 32, and, of course, if face 14 is moving along a path that is collinear to trajectory 7, ball 6 will follow trajectory 7 when driven. However, arrows A2 and A3 represent the two possible misalignment angles theta (θ) of club face 14 and their corresponding paths 20. For a given physical layout of the parallel rows of detectors 32, the maximum misalignment of the club face that can be determined by the apparatus is given by:
  • [0000]

    θ(max)=cotan(S/L)
  • [0049]
    FIG. 2 is an electrical schematic diagram of light beam receiver 30 and also shows the linear rows of detectors 32 in their preferred physical arrangement and mutual relationship as mounted on an upwardly facing surface of receiver 30 so that they are in a position for receiving and detecting sweeping beam 18, as shown in FIG. 3. As shown, the circuit 40 includes micro-processor (μP) 42 and a data storage device 39 such as a solid state memory. This enables storing the measured information “V” and “θ.” Clearly, multiple values of this information, for plural golf club swings, may be stored and later retrieved by any well known data transfer method through communications port 44. Preferably circuit 40 provides a tolerance set-point adjustor 35 shown in FIG. 2 and represented in FIG. 3 by an adjustment knob. Adjustor 35 is preferably a simple adjustable voltage output circuit representing misalignment alert threshold θ1, an angle beyond which face misalignment will trigger an alert signal. In this manner, golfer 5 will only be alerted when face misalignment is equal to, or exceeds θ1. With θ1 set using adjustor 35, when θ, measured during each golf club swing, exceeds θ1, as determined by comparator 37, a voltage appears at one input to AND circuit 33 and when microphone 38 provides an enabling voltage through relay R1 to the other input to the AND circuit 33, an output voltage from the AND circuit 33 is produced which drives alerting device 36 thereby providing an audible or visual feedback signal to golfer 5. Preferably, the alerting device 36 is either a sound maker such as a buzzer, chime, etc; or it is a signal lamp which may be caused to turn on with either a steady or blinking illumination. A microphone 38 is used to pickup the sound of the club face 14 as it contacts golf ball 6. The microphone voltage drives an audio trigger circuit such as the circuit shown in The Encyclopedia of Electronic Circuits, Vol. I on page 608 entitled “audio operated relay,” which circuit is hereby incorporated into this disclosure by reference. The adjustment misalignment set point is necessary since there is at least a small misalignment in almost all golf club swings and golfer 5 does not wish to be alerted during every swing which would defeat the purpose of the present invention. The sound based trigger is necessary since the golfer 5 is only interested in the misalignment at the instant of contact with the golf ball 6 and not otherwise. It has been shown that club face misalignment is represented by arrow A2 in FIG. 2 prior to contact with the golf ball 6, and by arrow A3 after contact with ball 6. Therefore, it is only at the instant of contact between club face 14 and ball 6 that we expect misalignment to be at a minimum, and, of course, wish to know its value, or at least wish to be alerted when its value exceeds θ. Of course, we cannot be sure that the ball 6 is actually struck when θ is a minimum and therefore we require the audible or visual sensory confirmation. Expressing mathematically, the relationship that triggers an alert response, where the variables are the absolute values of voltages:
  • [0000]

    |θ>|θ1|
  • [0050]
    The enablements described in detail above are considered novel over the prior art of record and are considered critical to the operation of at least one aspect of the apparatus and its method of use and to the achievement of the above described objectives. The words used in this specification to describe the instant embodiments are to be understood not only in the sense of their commonly defined meanings, but to include by special definition in this specification: structure, material or acts beyond the scope of the commonly defined meanings. Thus if an element can be understood in the context of this specification as including more than one meaning, then its use must be understood as being generic to all possible meanings supported by the specification and by the word or words describing the element.
  • [0051]
    The definitions of the words or drawing elements described herein are meant to include not only the combination of elements which are literally set forth, but all equivalent structure, material or acts for performing substantially the same function in substantially the same way to obtain substantially the same result. In this sense it is therefore contemplated that an equivalent substitution of two or more elements may be made for any one of the elements described and its various embodiments or that a single element may be substituted for two or more elements in a claim.
  • [0052]
    Changes from the claimed subject matter as viewed by a person with ordinary skill in the art, now known or later devised, are expressly contemplated as being equivalents within the scope intended and its various embodiments. Therefore, obvious substitutions now or later known to one with ordinary skill in the art are defined to be within the scope of the defined elements. This disclosure is thus meant to be understood to include what is specifically illustrated and described above, what is conceptually equivalent, what can be obviously substituted, and also what incorporates the essential ideas.
  • [0053]
    The scope of this description is to be interpreted only in conjunction with the appended claims and it is made clear, here, that each named inventor believes that the claimed subject matter is what is intended to be patented.

Claims (17)

1. A golf club swing training apparatus for use with a golf club, the golf club having a grip on a proximal end thereof and a club face on a distal end thereof, the apparatus comprising in combination:
a) mounted adjacent to the grip, a projector enabled and oriented so as to sweep a moving light beam along a path parallel to the face; and
b) a light beam receiver providing two spaced apart linear rows of light detectors in an electrical circuit, the electrical circuit additionally providing a source of electrical power, a microprocessor, and an alerting device;
wherein, with the receiver positioned so as to place the detectors in parallel with a desired trajectory of a golf ball, and with the light beam swept across the detectors when the golf ball is driven by the golf club, the information of at least one of face velocity across the detectors and face misalignment with respect to a perpendicular to the desired trajectory is calculated.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the linear rows of light detectors are of such length and separation, and the light beam moves with such velocity as to assure simultaneous sensing of the light beam by a light detector in each of the linear rows during a golf club swing.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the electrical circuit further comprises a data storage device; the circuit enabled for storing calculations in the data storage device.
4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the electrical circuit further comprises a tolerance set-point adjustor providing manual means for establishing a misalignment alert threshold.
5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein the alerting device is enabled when the misalignment alert threshold is exceeded.
6. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein the alerting device is at least one of a sound maker and a signal lamp.
7. A golf club swing training apparatus for use with a golf club, the golf club having a club face, and a projector enabled and oriented so as to sweep a moving light beam along a path parallel to the club face, the apparatus comprising: a light beam receiver providing two spaced apart and parallel linear rows of light detectors in an electrical circuit, the circuit additionally providing a source of electrical power, a microprocessor, a misalignment alert threshold adjustor, an audio trigger, and an alerting device; the circuit enabled for feeding signals to the microprocessor when the detectors are stimulated by the light beam during a golf club swing; the microprocessor enabled for calculating at least one of club face velocity and misalignment.
8. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein the linear rows of light detectors are of such length and separation as to assure simultaneous sensing of the light beam by a detector in each of the linear rows during a golf club swing.
9. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein the electrical circuit further comprises a data storage device; the circuit enabled for storing calculated values of face velocity and face misalignment in the data storage device.
10. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein the misalignment alert threshold adjustor provides a manual means for adjustment.
11. The apparatus of claim 10 wherein the circuit enables the alerting device when the misalignment alert threshold is exceeded and a selected sound is detected through an audio pickup circuit including a microphone.
12. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein the alerting device is at least one of a sound maker and a signal lamp.
13. A method of golf club swing training comprising the steps of:
a) mounting a light projector onto a golf club so as to sweep a moving light beam along a path parallel to the face of the golf club;
c) aligning, with respect to a desired golf ball drive trajectory, two parallel and spaced apart linear rows of light detectors;
d) swinging the golf club at a golf ball;
e) receiving the light beam on the light detectors during the golf club swing;
f) receiving a sound of contact between the golf club and the golf ball during the golf club swing; and
g) calculating a misalignment of a face of the golf club with respect to the desired golf ball drive trajectory at the instant of contact between club and ball.
14. The method of claim 13 further comprising the step of positioning the linear rows of light detectors as to length and separation, to assure simultaneous sensing of the light beam by a light detector in each of the linear rows during the golf club swing.
15. The method of claim 13 further comprising the step of storing calculations in a data storage device.
16. The method of claim 13 further comprising the step of setting a misalignment alert threshold, comparing calculated misalignment with the alert threshold and producing an audible alert when the misalignment exceeds the threshold.
17. The method of claim 13 further comprising the step of setting a misalignment alert threshold, comparing calculated misalignment with the alert threshold and producing a visual alert when the misalignment exceeds the threshold.
US11903461 2007-09-21 2007-09-21 Sporting club swing trainer Abandoned US20090082122A1 (en)

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US20110243377A1 (en) * 2010-03-31 2011-10-06 Disney Enterprises, Inc., A Delaware Corporation System and method for predicting object location
US20140162803A1 (en) * 2012-12-06 2014-06-12 John Michael Carney Training device for ball striking activities
US20140206468A1 (en) * 2013-01-23 2014-07-24 Norman Douglas Bittner Robotic putting system
US9011279B2 (en) 2012-02-21 2015-04-21 Lanny L. Johnson Throwing dart
US9067116B1 (en) * 2013-02-07 2015-06-30 Charles E. Heikenen Golf swing training device and method
US20170128986A1 (en) * 2015-11-06 2017-05-11 Glenn STERKEL Apparatus and method for sorting objects by rebound behavior
US9707465B2 (en) 2013-01-23 2017-07-18 Norman Douglas Bittner Robotic putting system

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US20140206468A1 (en) * 2013-01-23 2014-07-24 Norman Douglas Bittner Robotic putting system
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