US20100255922A1 - Golf putter incorporating swing analysis module - Google Patents

Golf putter incorporating swing analysis module Download PDF

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US20100255922A1
US20100255922A1 US12754032 US75403210A US2010255922A1 US 20100255922 A1 US20100255922 A1 US 20100255922A1 US 12754032 US12754032 US 12754032 US 75403210 A US75403210 A US 75403210A US 2010255922 A1 US2010255922 A1 US 2010255922A1
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portion
main body
face
module
golf putter
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US12754032
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Robert Lueders
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Robert Lueders
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B53/00Golf clubs
    • A63B53/04Heads
    • A63B53/0487Heads for putters
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B60/00Details or accessories of golf clubs, bats, rackets or the like
    • A63B60/46Measurement devices associated with golf clubs, bats, rackets or the like for measuring physical parameters relating to sporting activity, e.g. baseball bats with impact indicators or bracelets for measuring the golf swing
    • 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
    • A63B69/3676Training appliances or apparatus for special sports for golf for putting
    • A63B69/3685Putters or attachments on putters, e.g. for measuring, aligning
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B53/00Golf clubs
    • A63B53/04Heads
    • A63B2053/0416Heads with an impact surface provided by a face insert
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B53/00Golf clubs
    • A63B53/04Heads
    • A63B2053/0433Heads with special sole configurations
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B53/00Golf clubs
    • A63B53/04Heads
    • A63B2053/0441Heads with visual indicators for aligning the golf club
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B53/00Golf clubs
    • A63B53/04Heads
    • A63B2053/0491Heads with added weights, e.g. changeable, replaceable
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
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    • 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
    • A63B2071/063Spoken or verbal instructions
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    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
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    • A63B2071/0658Position or arrangement of display
    • A63B2071/0661Position or arrangement of display arranged on the user
    • A63B2071/0663Position or arrangement of display arranged on the user worn on the wrist, e.g. wrist bands
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
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    • 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
    • A63B2102/32Golf
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    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
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    • A63B2220/16Angular positions
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    • A63B2220/00Measuring of physical parameters relating to sporting activity
    • A63B2220/20Distances or displacements
    • A63B2220/24Angular displacement
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
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    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2220/00Measuring of physical parameters relating to sporting activity
    • A63B2220/40Acceleration
    • 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
    • A63B2220/808Microphones
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B2225/00Other characteristics of sports equipment
    • A63B2225/50Wireless data transmission, e.g. by radio transmitters or telemetry
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B24/00Electric or electronic controls for exercising apparatus of preceding groups; Controlling or monitoring of exercises, sportive games, training or athletic performances
    • A63B24/0021Tracking a path or terminating locations
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B53/00Golf clubs
    • A63B53/02Joint structures between the head and the shaft
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B60/00Details or accessories of golf clubs, bats, rackets or the like
    • A63B60/50Details or accessories of golf clubs, bats, rackets or the like with through-holes
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B60/00Details or accessories of golf clubs, bats, rackets or the like
    • A63B60/54Details or accessories of golf clubs, bats, rackets or the like with means for damping vibrations
    • 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
    • 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
    • A63B71/0669Score-keepers or score display devices
    • 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
    • A63B71/0686Timers, rhythm indicators or pacing apparatus using electric or electronic means

Abstract

An improved golf putter incorporating a weight management system that allows for adjustment of a golf club head weighting by incorporating an adjustable weight system wherein weights may be removed and replaced quickly and easily without requiring a specialized tool is disclosed. Weights received within weight ports formed in the heel and toe portions of the putter are maintained securely affixed within the club head body. While the preferred golf club embodiment disclosed is a putter, the present invention contemplates incorporating any of the features and/or advancements disclosed herein into any golf club. In addition, the present invention further includes novel aspects relating to overall design, including mass distribution and a rearwardly projecting portion having an upwardly sloped sole that prevents the club from snagging the turf. Furthermore a hollowed out area formed within the rearwardly projecting portion is sized and shaped to receive a correspondingly sized and shaped sensing module adapted to measure club head movement and wirelessly transmit data to a remote graphical user interface.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/031,932, filed on Feb. 15, 2008, which claims the benefit of provisional U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 60/901,783, filed on Feb. 15, 2007.
  • STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
  • N/A
  • COPYRIGHT NOTICE
  • A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material that is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or patent disclosure as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent file or records, but otherwise reserves all copyrights rights whatsoever.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present invention relates to the sport of golf, and more particularly to a golf putter having an adjustable weighting system and further adapted for use with a swing analysis system for analyzing the movement of a golf club.
  • 2. Description of Related Art
  • The sport of golf is one of the most popular and fastest growing sports in the world. Unfortunately, for both beginners and veterans of the game, it is one of the most difficult games to master. The key to the success of top golfers is that they have tremendous hand-eye coordination and the innate ability to swing a golf club in a way to maximize the ability to hit the golf ball with both power and accuracy,
  • Since most golfers are not born with such a talent, the only way to improve their swing is to practice individually or with professional help. The majority of players learn the game from a friend and develop their swing by trial and error on the golf course and at the driving range. However, learning the game in this manner can inhibit how good the player's swing can become.
  • The player needs a way to analyze his or her swing after the swing has been made.
  • One golf club, however, has been the subject of more innovative efforts than the others, that golf club is the putter. Perhaps one reason why the putter has been the subject of so much innovation efforts is that its use accounts for half of the strokes allotted for a regulation round at par, namely two putts for every hole . . . not to mention the fact that golfer's routinely exceed two putts per hole.
  • A number of advancements in the golf putter art tend to relate to weight distribution and weight adjustability. For example, some golfers prefer a heavy putter, while others prefer a lighter putter. In addition, some golfers desire to adjust the weight of the putter depending on the conditions of the green, such as type of grass, condition of the green, undulation of the green, speed of the green, etc. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,641,487, issued to Hamburger, discloses an adjustably weighted putter wherein the body has a plurality of cavities formed therein for receiving weights to alter the weight characteristic of the club head upon removal of threaded fasteners. U.S. Pat. No. 6,896,625, issued to Grace, discloses a golf putter head incorporating removable weights such that the putter may be adapted between low swing weight, standard swing weight, and high swing weight configurations. Removal and replacement of the weights requires a specialized tool. U.S. Pat. No. 6,348,014, issued to Chiu, discloses a golf putter head and weight adjustable arrangement wherein the putter head body has a plurality of holes for receiving weights fastened by rubber retaining rings.
  • Other advancements in putter design involve advancements directed to improving the feel of the putter. Those attempts are primarily directed to the use of face inserts formed of various metal and non-metal materials. Such attempts, however, primarily focus on altering the materials forming the putter face, i.e. that portion of the putter that contacts the golf ball. While such attempts have proven somewhat successful in improving the feel of the putter, there exists a need for an improved putter design that further improves the feel of the putter by maximizing vibration isolation and the transmission of vibration from impact to the golfer's hands. The disclosures found in the prior art fail to either teach or suggest a golf putter with adjustable weight system wherein the weights may be easily adjusted by removal and replacement of weights in many areas of the putter head as well as within the main body of the putter. Further, the prior art fails to disclose a golf putter that is both suitable for play while being adapted for use with an attachable swing analyzer. Accordingly there exists a need for an improved golf club, particularly a putter, adapted with an improved adjustable weight system and further adapted for optional use of attachable swing analyzer module.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention overcomes the limitations and shortcomings in the art by providing an improved golf putter incorporating a weight management system that allows for comprehensive adjustment of a golf club head weighting by incorporating an adjustable weight system wherein weights may be removed and replaced quickly and easily. Adjustable weight ports are provided in the heel and toe portions of the putter head, and the putter head defines a cavity adapted for receiving either an adjustable weighting module or an electronic swing analysis module. The putter head is designed such that mass has been removed from the lower/sole portion of the putter head to the upper or top portion thereby raising the center of mass, preferably to a point at or above the equator of the golf ball to reduce or eliminate back spin imparted to the golf ball upon contact. The putter head further includes apertures, preferably disposed in connection with the face portion to provide for the transmission of impact sounds to the electronic swing analysis module to monitor on-center and off-center impact. In one or more alternate embodiments, a putter shaft terminates in a hosel that is affixed to the putter head using vibration isolating mounting configuration thereby providing an improved feel. The hosel is preferably shaped as an elongated rectangular cross-section for insertion within a corresponding elongated hosel receiving slot formed in the putter head such that the shaft is automatically installed in aligned relation with the face of the putter. A resilient bushing is disposed in surrounding relation with the hosel and provides a vibration isolating interface between the hosel and the putter head to further dampen the energy transmitted through the bushing. The putter head may be adapted with one or more face inserts to allow for customization. While the preferred golf club embodiment disclosed is a putter, the present invention contemplates incorporating any of the features and/or advancements disclosed herein into any golf club.
  • In addition, the present invention further includes novel aspects relating to overall design, including mass distribution and a rearwardly projecting portion having an upwardly sloped sole that prevents the club from snagging the turf. Furthermore a hollowed out area formed within the rearwardly projecting portion is sized and shaped to receive a correspondingly sized and shaped sensing module adapted to measure club head movement and wirelessly transmit data to a remote graphical user interface.
  • Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved golf swing analysis system.
  • Another object of the present invention is to provide such a system wherein specially designed golf clubs are provided, each having an area adapted for removably receiving a module containing accelerometers and a wireless transmitter.
  • In accordance with these and other objects, which will become apparent hereinafter, the instant invention will now be described with particular reference to the accompanying drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of a golf putter in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a top view thereof;
  • FIG. 3 is a bottom perspective view thereof;
  • FIG. 4 is a side view thereof;
  • FIG. 5 is a rear view thereof;
  • FIG. 6 is a bottom rear perspective view thereof;
  • FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a plug for securing weights to the club head by snap-fit connection;
  • FIGS. 8-10 depict a sensing module in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIGS. 11-13 depict a wrist mounted graphical interface for receiving wireless transmissions from the sensing module;
  • FIG. 14 depicts a side view of a putter head in accordance with an alternate embodiment;
  • FIG. 15 is a top front perspective view thereof;
  • FIG. 16 is a front view thereof;
  • FIG. 17 is a bottom rear perspective view thereof;
  • FIG. 18 is an exploded top front perspective view thereof;
  • FIG. 19 is a partially exploded bottom rear perspective view thereof;
  • FIG. 20 is a front top perspective view of another alternate embodiment golf putter;
  • FIG. 21 is a bottom perspective view thereof;
  • FIG. 22 is a partially exploded view of a further alternate embodiment golf putter; and
  • FIG. 23 is a rear perspective view of an alternate embodiment face insert for enhancing sound transmission for the putter shown in FIGS. 14-19.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • With reference now to the drawings, FIGS. 1-13 depict a preferred embodiment of the present invention, namely, an improved golf putter head, generally referenced as 10, incorporating a weight management system that allows for adjustment of a golf club head weighting by incorporating an adjustable weight system wherein weights may be removed and replaced quickly and easily without requiring a specialized tool. Golf putter head 10 includes a main body forming the face portion 12 including a heel portion 14, a toe portion 16, a top portion 18, a bottom portion or sole 20. As used herein the term “main body” refers to the elongate front/face portion of the putter head encompasses the face potion and projecting heel and toe portions. The golf putter head further includes an integral rear portion 30 that projects rearwardly from the face portion 12.
  • Face portion 12 is preferably a milled planar surface within tight manufacturing tolerance, and may include horizontal grooves in accordance with the Rules of Golf as set forth by the United States Golf Association (USGA). In addition, face 12 may include an insert, such as SANTOPRENE® a material known for use with putters. SANTOPRENE® is a registered trademark of Advanced Elastomer Systems, LP, Akron, Ohio. In accordance with this embodiment, face 12 may include an insert that is flat or ribbed or with an overall convex curvature from top to bottom. In a preferred embodiment, face 12 has a slight loft as is typical with putters.
  • Face portion 12 defines weight-receiving ports in the toe and heel areas, namely a toe weight port 22 and a heel weight port 24. In a preferred embodiment, the toe and heel weight ports are offset to the upper half of the club (e.g. above a horizontal centerline). The positioning of the weight ports on the upper half of the club face allows the user to make weighting adjustments that effectively raise the center of gravity. This design feature is in contrast with conventional putter design norms wherein mass is distributed lower.
  • In addition, a rear club head portion, generally referenced as 30, projects rearwardly from said main body. Rear portion 30 includes a top 32, a sole 34, and defines an opening 36. In addition, a shaft-receiving aperture 19 is formed in a suitable location on top portion 18 for mounting golf putter head 10 to a suitable shaft, or hozzle structure for connection to a shaft.
  • The exact location of shaft-receiving aperture 19 may very to suit a particular golfer, such that the putter may be center shafted, conventionally heel shafted, or in any other suitable shaft configuration. Golf putter head 10 may be fabricated from steel, titanium, or any other suitable material, or combination of materials or alloys. Golf putter 10 may be fabricated by forging or casting process, and may be formed as a single unit or from individual components joined into a unitary club head.
  • As discussed above, a significant aspect of the present invention relates to providing a golf putter adapted with an adjustable weight management system. In a preferred embodiment, weights (not shown) are removably received within weight ports 22 and 24 and are each similarly maintained securely affixed within the club head body by plugs 40, shown in FIG. 7, adapted for snap fit engagement with the club head. As best illustrated in FIG. 7, each plug 40 includes a radially enlarged first end 42 adapted to fit within one of the heel or toe ports 22 and 24 so as to be flush with face 12. Each plug further includes a cylindrical body 44 extending from first end 42 and terminating in a second end 46 having flexibly movable fingers 46 a and 46 b separated by a slot 48 and adapted with a projecting flange 49 defined on finger 46 b. Plugs 40 may be simply removed manually by the user by application of force using only his/her fingers. Thus, unlike other putter weight adjustment systems disclosed in the art, the present invention may be configured so as not to require use of a special tool, such as a wrench, to remove and replace the weights. Plugs of differing weights or materials are provided to allow the user to customize weighting. As noted above, while the preferred golf club embodiment disclosed is a putter, the present invention contemplates incorporating any of the features and/or advancements disclosed herein into any golf club. In addition, the present invention further includes novel aspects relating to overall design of club head 10. More particularly, club head 10 includes a rearwardly projecting portion 30 having a top 32 and an upwardly sloped sole 34 extending from the back of face 12 in a generally arcuate manner for mating with top 32 as best seen in FIGS. 1 and 4. A significant advantage presented by arcuate sole 34 is that it prevents the club from snagging the turf on the back swing, particularly for putts in proximity to the edge of the green where the grass transitions in height (e.g. the collar). This structure further relocates mass from the lower portion between the heel 14 and toe 16 areas to an elevated location thereby raising the center of gravity and moment of inertia. This configuration produces more top spin and has been found to start the ball rolling quicker on the green thereby helping to eliminate bouncing and skidding at the beginning of the roll associated with back spin. The rearwardly extending top portion 32 further provides desirable visual characteristics as the top presents the user with a “T-Square” shaped design to help the golfer properly square the face to the intended target line. The width of top portion 32 is preferably the same width as a golf ball because studies have shown the human brain picks up the outside shape of objects easier. The theory is similar to the 2 & 3 ball putters currently found in the market.
  • In addition, mass has been removed from the lower portion of the heel & toe to raise the center of gravity and also the moment of inertia. More particularly, a significant aspect of the present invention includes distributing the mass (e.g. weight) of the club head higher and forward. For example, the sole as seen at the bottom edge of face 12 is convexly shaped. The convex shape functions to move mass upward at the heel and toe thereby raising the center of mass. The removal of material from the heel portion 14 and the toe portion 16 also give the golfer the opportunity to rock the club towards or away from himself without raising the “sweet spot” thus giving the golfer a greater chance of contacting the sweet spot over other putter designs & making it more adaptable to different putting styles. Similarly, the convex sole 34 also functions to displace mass upward. The removal of material also helps prevent the club head from snagging the green surface (very short grass) on the backswing, and also helps to prevent grass (taller rough or first cut) from grabbing the club when on the fringe of the green up against the rough, in both the backswing and the downswing. Avoiding such contact with the grass along the fringe of a green is the reason many golfers attempt to contact the ball with the sole of the wedge in order to prevent the grass from grabbing and twisting the clubface.
  • With weights removed from the heel and toe weight ports 22 and 24 the putter becomes more of a center weighted putter. Additional contemplated embodiments include a center weight system in the very back on the bottom side to enhance the center weighted effect of the putter and to alter the moment of inertia (“MOI”). As should be apparent, however, adding heavier weights to weight ports 22 and 24 causes the putter to becomes more of a heel-toe weighted putter. This makes the putter more adapable to different styles of putting (almost universal), therefore more people can use the benefits of the swing trainer/analyzer and still use this as their prefered putter for actual play.
  • Still another novel aspect of the present invention includes providing a hollowed out area formed within the rearwardly projecting portion is sized and shaped to receive a correspondingly sized and shaped electronic sensing module adapted to measure club head movement and wirelessly transmit data to a remote graphical user interface. FIGS. 8-10 depict a sensing module 50 designed to fit within the hollowed out area 36. FIGS. 11-13 depict a preferred embodiment for a wrist mounted graphical user interface 60 for receiving information from sensing module 50.
  • Sensing module 50 thus also provides an improved low cost golf swing analyzer adapted for measuring club acceleration and swing path and transmitting data to a graphical user interface, such as wrist module 60, using IEEE802.15.4 ISM band wireless transmission. A suitable battery power supply (not shown) provides electrical power for operation. In the preferred embodiment, the putter head is adapted to include a cavity specifically sized and shaped for receiving an accelerometer containing housing securely, yet removably, mounted therein such that the outer dimensions and appearance of the club are not altered. Accordingly, sensing module 50 is preferably adapted with projecting levers 52 that function to engage the club head and secure the sensing module by press fit. The visual characteristics are very important for a golfer, and being able to use the swing analyzer without seeing it is a significant aspect of the present invention. In an alternate embodiment, the accelerometers and wireless transmitters are permanently incorporated into the clubs upon manufacture. By providing such a specially designed set of clubs, the present invention thus provides a swing analysis system that allows the user to obtain swing path and tempo information for each club in the bag.
  • Sensing module 50 includes a housing having outer dimensions corresponding to the cavities formed in the various clubs to allow substantially the entire module to be received within the club head whereby the module is substantially concealed. Concealing the sensing module within the club head eliminates the possibility that the golfer's swing will be affected by changes in the appearance of the club. The housing is adapted for removable replacement, preferably by a snap-fit or press fit connection within the club head cavity as discussed above. Sensing module 50 houses all of the components necessary to analyze the swing including, a battery, processor, accelerometer, gyroscope, radio transceiver, voice recognition, and microphones therein.
  • Sensing module 50 includes at least one 3-axis accelerometer and a gyroscope or electronic compass. An accelerometer is a device that measures its own motion, in contrast to a measuring motion by remote sensing. Providing a 3-axis accelerometer allows movement of the club to be measured in each of the three dimensions, namely X, Y, and Z. When combined with data obtained by the gyroscope, sensing module 50 generates a three dimensional model of club movement in terms of direction, acceleration, and velocity. The sensing module further includes a wireless transmitter for transmitting data obtained from the accelerometer and gyroscope to a processor. In a preferred embodiment, the wireless transmitter transmits data using the IEEE 802.15.4 ISM radio bands. The IEEE 802.15.4 wireless transmission system is significant as it provides a means for transmitting data at low power consumption thereby prolonging battery life, while further providing a transmitter of very low complexity and high reliability. The system is further capable of operating on any of 16 channels in the 2.4. GHz ISM band, 10 channels in the 915 MHz band, and one channel in the 868 MHz band. In addition, the present invention contemplates wireless communication using the 802.15.1 band, commonly identified with BLUETOOTH® technology. BLUETOOTH® is a registered trademark of BlueTooth Sig, Inc. Bellevue, Wash.
  • Data transmitted by the wireless transmission system is received by a graphical user interface 60. In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the graphical user interface is comprises a wrist mounted electronic device that receives and processes the data to provide virtually instantaneous feedback. The feedback may result in the generation of graphical output on a display, or may result in the generation of audible output. In an alternate embodiment, the graphical user interface may be adapted to be worn on the body of user by a clip, belt, holster, or any other suitable means of attachment. The graphical user interface may be provided in various levels of integration. For example, a base unit may be provided with a black and white display, while more advanced units may be provided with a color display. Even more advanced units may be adapted with GPS, course layout, score card, the Rules of Golf, tips, and competitive and betting game management features. In addition, the graphical user interface may include a touch screen and be adapted to communicate in a wireless environment to enable communication between the user and the golf course management system to allow the user to order food and beverages, obtain weather warnings, post scores in real time for tournament and handicap purposes.
  • In accordance with another embodiment, the graphical user interface may be adapted to allow for the transfer of information to a personal digital assistant (“PDA”), laptop computer, tablet, or any other suitable electronic device. This embodiment achieves a number of enhanced uses for the data. For example, transferring the data to a computer allows for the data to be analyzed, manipulated, displayed, and shared. The data may also be electronically transmitted over the Internet to a third party for analysis. In addition, a golf instructor will be able to receive data for a number of students simultaneously.
  • ALTERNATE EMBODIMENT
  • FIGS. 14-19 depict an alternate embodiment golf putter head, generally referenced as 100, incorporating a removable module weight management and swing analysis system. Golf putter head100 includes a main body, generally referenced as 101 and a rearwardly projecting or rear portion, generally referenced as 120. Main body 101 includes a forward face portion 102 that includes a heel portion 104, a toe portion 106, a top portion 108, a bottom portion or sole 110. Face portion 102 may define a recess for receiving an insert 103, as illustrated in FIG. 18. Removable weights 112 are received within weight-receiving ports in the toe and heel portions 104 and 106 as best illustrated in FIG. 15. In a preferred embodiment, the toe and heel weight ports are offset to the upper half of the club (e.g. above a horizontal centerline). The positioning of the weight ports on the upper half of the club face allows the user to make weighting adjustments that effectively raise the center of gravity. This design feature is in contrast with conventional putter design norms wherein mass is distributed lower. A shaft-receiving aperture 109 is formed in a suitable location on top portion 108 for mounting golf putter head 100 to a suitable shaft or hosel 107 which in turn may be connected to a shaft. The exact location of shaft-receiving aperture 109 may vary to suit a particular golfer, such that the putter may be center shafted, conventionally heel shafted, or in any other suitable shaft configuration. Shaft receiving aperture 109 is preferably elongate, and is illustrated as an elongate rectangle with rounded ends. A significant aspect of elongate shaft aperture 109 is that is results in automatic alignment of the neck 107A of hosel 107 for mounting to a hosel with the club face upon insertion of the neck 107A into aperture 109. The present invention further contemplates providing a bushing (not shown) in surrounding relation with the shaft portion that is inserted within aperture 109 to provide vibration dampening.
  • Rear club head portion, generally referenced as 120, projects rearwardly from main body 101. Rear portion 120 includes a top 122 that projects rearwardly from the main body 101 and terminates in a generally J-shaped rear end 124. A module 130 is removably received within the otherwise open area defined rearward of main body 101 and below top 122 of rear portion 120. Module 130 includes an upwardly swept or tapered bottom surface 131. As best illustrated in FIG. 18, module 130 may be adapted with an insert 132 for securing a weight 134. Weight 134 is representative of any number of weights having different masses such that the user is able to customize the weight of the putter head. Module 130 includes a front side having a projecting key structure 136 for mating with a recess 115 defined on the rear area of main body 101 as best seen in FIG. 14, and a rear side similarly structured for mating engagement with end 124 of rear club portion 120. As should be apparent, any suitable mating structure is considered within the scope of the present invention.
  • As discussed above, module 130 may be configured with electronic components to function as a swing sensing module with the features disclosed with sensing module 50 herein above. The housing is adapted for removable replacement, preferably by a snap-fit or press fit connection within the club head cavity as discussed above. A significant aspect of the present alternate embodiment includes adapting the putter with a sensing module capable of detecting on-center contact (i.e. on the center of the face, when measured from heel 104 to toe 106) versus off-center contact, as well as on-center contact (i.e. on the center of the face, when measured from top to bottom/sole). To accomplish this function, this embodiment relies on adapting swing analysis module 130 with at least one pair of microphones, namely a first microphone mounted toward the heel portion and a second microphone mounted toward the toe portion. In an alternate embodiment, the present invention may be adapted with additional microphones, mounted both toward the top and toward the bottom further enhance impact detection. The microphones are mounted with sensing module 130, preferably on the front end thereof above projecting key structure 136. In addition, putter head 100 is adapted with sound transmitting through bores or holes, referenced as 126, formed along axes that are generally perpendicular to face 102 of putter head 100 and spaced on either side of the heel/toe centerline or center of the putter face 102 and/or insert 103. Additional sound transmitting through bores or holes 127 may also be formed in face 102 and disposed below holes 126. The combination of sound transmitting holes 126 and/or 127 with microphones mounted within module 130 functions to allow the system to identify whether contact with a golf ball was on-center, or off-center toward the toe, or off-center toward the heel by analyzing the relative sound transmitted from the face through holes 126 (and/or 127) as detected by microphones in module 130. In addition, the combination of sound transmitting holes 126 and/or 127 with microphones mounted within module 130 functions to allow the system to identify whether contact with a golf ball was on-center, or off-center toward top of the face, or off-center toward the bottom of the face by analyzing the relative sound transmitted from the face through holes 126 (and/or 127) as detected by microphones in module 130.
  • A sound barrier insert 128 is preferably inserted between apertures 126 and 127 to provide two distinct sound chambers separated by sound barrier 128. Providing two distinct sound chambers enhances sensitivity of the generated impact. FIG. 23 depicts an alternate face insert, referenced as 103A, having recessed areas, including a pair of inboard recessed areas 103B and a pair of outboard recessed areas 103C. Recessed areas 103B and 103C function as sound transmission chambers to more effectively transmit sound through sound transmitting holes 126 and 127. By providing a face insert 103A having areas of reduced thickness that, when installed, are generally aligned with sound transmitting holes 126 and 127, the present invention is capable of determining the general location of off-center hits by analyzing the sound created upon impact of face insert 103A and the golf ball. Once the location is determined the swing analysis module will then generate feedback, such as audio feedback that informs the golfer/user of the off-center impact thereby allowing the golfer to adjust his/her swing to achieve on center impact. The audio feedback may be generated at the module via a speaker, or may be wirelessly transmitted to a remote system, such as the wrist mounted user interface 60 disclosed herein above.
  • As should be apparent, the heel side forms a first or left channel and the toe side forms a second or right channel. Main body 101 and insert 103 and/or 103A forms two sound chambers immediately behind the striking surface (created by the indentations on the back side of the face insert 103A). Each chamber (103B and 103C) is sized differently (e.g. one larger than the other) to create a different frequency of sound. Also the through bore sound ports (126 and 127) are offset from the center of the respective chambers on purpose, for time & amplitude measurement. They are also different diameters to allow different frequencies to pass through them to the analyzing unit. In a preferred embodiment, through bores 126 have a larger diameter than through bores 127. As a result, the left channel functions when the ball is struck on the heel end, or left of center, to analyze the sound that comes from each chamber on the left or heel side. The outermost chamber from the center line of the face, namely the chamber in communication with through bores 126, forms a larger chamber and sound port to create a lower frequency transmission that is allowed to pass back to the microphone vs. the innermost chamber which will perform the same function at a slightly higher frequency. There is also a greater distance for the sound to travel from the outermost chamber (corresponding to through bores 126 and recessed portions 103C) vs. the innermost chamber (corresponding to through bores 127 and recessed portions 10313). The frequency and amplitude of the sound generated by each chamber and the time it takes the sound to travel will be used to triangulate where the ball hit.
  • For example if the ball impacts hits over the outer chamber, corresponding to through bores 125 and near the top part of the face, i.e. furthest from the club face center line, which is over the sound port of that chamber, that sound will be louder and get to the microphone faster than if it hit anywhere else over that chamber i.e. like in the lower, closer to the center of the clubface, part of the same chamber. The frequency will be the same but the time and amplitude will be different. If the ball hits hits over the lower part of the closest chamber, corresponding to through bores 127, in relation to the center line of the club face, that higher frequency will be louder and faster to the microphone versus hitting it in any other area over that chamber. It is expected that the closer the ball strikes to the wall separating the two chambers will result in feedback from both chambers. While feedback from all 4 chambers may be transmitted to both microphones, the present invention is capable of discriminating and determining the stronger feedback from the chamber that's closest to the strike area, and the least from the furthest.
  • Furthermore, the accelerometer allow the system to identify when the ball was struck for determining the time of the sound travel. So measuring time, frequency and amplitude by each microphone, then processing that information with an algorithm in the processor software will determine and tell you where the ball contacted the face i.e. heel/toe, high/low etc. High vs. low is also an important measurement since most of the mass is above the equator, and more momentum and roll will be created on balls struck above the putter equator.
  • A significant aspect of the present invention involves providing a swing sending and analysis module capable of providing audible feedback to the user. Accordingly, the present invention is adapted to provide feedback for all of the swing analysis functions as well as system operation. More particularly the combination of accelerometers, gyroscope, microphones, processor, etc. function to allow the system to sense and determine the motion of the club head. Accordingly, the swing analysis module is capable of detecting and determining various stroke parameters, including club head acceleration and speed, whether the face is open, square, or closed in relation to the target line at impact, indicating stoke path in relation to the target line (i.e. on-line, outside-to-inside, or inside-to-outside, or arc-shaped), the effective loft of the club face at impact,
  • A further significant aspect of the present invention involves providing audible feedback of the swing motion as sensed by the swing sensing and analysis module. Such feedback may comprise a synthesized or pre-recorded voice indicating any of the detected and determined swing characteristics capable of being sensed and/or determined by the swing sensing and analysis module. Accordingly, the feedback may comprise an electronically generated voice stating “face open” to indicate that the face was open at impact, or “outside-in” to indicate that the swing path traveled across the target line from the outside to the inside. In the alternative, the audible feedback may comprise a series of beeps. For example, the system may be configured to provide feedback regarding acceleration or deceleration at time of impact by generating consecutive beeps that get louder or faster as the head increases speed, while getting quieter or slower for decreasing speed during the whole stroke. In addition, the system may be configured to provide a series of timed beeps, similar to the sounds generated by a metronome, to assist the golfer in developing timing and rhythm.
  • SECOND ALTERNATE EMBODIMENT
  • FIGS. 20 and 21 depict another alternate embodiment golf putter head, generally referenced as 200. Golf putter head 200 includes a main body, generally referenced as 201 and a rearwardly projecting or rear portion, generally referenced as 220. Main body 201 includes a forward face portion 202 that includes a heel portion 204, a toe portion 206, a top portion 208, a bottom portion or sole 210. The bottom surface 210 of main body 201 preferably sweeps upward as the surface extends from front to rear to prevent the putter from snagging on the turf. Face portion 202 may define a recess for receiving an insert 203, as illustrated in FIG. 21. Removable weights 212 are received within weight-receiving ports in the toe and heel portions 204 and 206. In a preferred embodiment, the toe and heel weight ports are offset to the upper half of the club (e.g. above a horizontal centerline). The positioning of the weight ports on the upper half of the club face allows the user to make weighting adjustments that effectively raise the center of gravity thereby providing the putter head with a high moment of inertia. This design feature is in contrast with conventional putter design norms wherein mass is distributed lower. A shaft neck or shaft 209 projects upward from a suitable location on top portion 208 for mounting golf putter head 200. The exact location of shaft 209 may vary to suit a particular golfer, such that the putter may be center shafted, heel shafted, or shafted in any other suitable shaft configuration.
  • Rear club head portion, generally referenced as 220, projects rearwardly from main body 201. Rear portion 220 includes a top 222 that projects horizontally rearwardly from the main body 201 and terminates at a rear end 224. Rear portion 220 includes a bottom or sole 226 that projects rearwardly from the sole 210 of main body 201 and curves upward to join rear end 224 of top 222. A replaceable weight 230 is remvovably affixed to the sole 226 of rear portion 220 preferably generally adjacent to rear end 224 so as to provide an adjustable weight element positioned relatively high on the putter thereby further enhancing the high moment of intertia.
  • THIRD ALTERNATE EMBODIMENT
  • FIG. 22 depicts a third alternate embodiment golf putter, generally referenced as 300, adapted to maximize feel by minimizing impact vibration transmission. Golf putter 300 includes a main body, generally referenced as 301 and a rearwardly projecting or rear portion, generally referenced as 320. Main body 301 includes a forward face portion 302 that includes a heel portion 304, a toe portion 306, a top portion 308, a bottom portion or sole 310. The bottom surface 310 of main body 301 preferably sweeps upward as the surface extends from front to rear to prevent the putter from snagging on the turf. Face portion 302 defines a recess for receiving a vibration dampening insert 303, which in turn receives a face insert 305, as illustrated in FIG. 22. By isolating face insert 305 from the remaining portions of the putter using a vibration isolation insert 303, the feel of the putter is improved.
  • Removable weights 312 are received within weight-receiving ports in the toe and heel portions 304 and 306. In a preferred embodiment, the toe and heel weight ports are offset to the upper half of the club (e.g. above a horizontal centerline). The positioning of the weight ports on the upper half of the club face allows the user to make weighting adjustments that effectively raise the center of gravity thereby providing the putter head with a high moment of inertia. This design feature is in contrast with conventional putter design norms wherein mass is distributed lower. A shaft 309 is connected to face insert 305 and isolated from the remainder of the putter body 301 and 320 via a resilient band 313. Shaft 309 may be connected to golf putter 300 at any suitable location. Additional inserts 315 are provided for removable insertion into a cavity formed in the rear portion 320 of putter head 300. By using a variety of optional inserts 315 of varying mass, the weight of the putter head may be adjusted.
  • The adjustable weighting aspects disclosed herein provide a number of advantages. First, providing removable and replaceable weights allows the user to change the total overall weight of the head. Second, adjustable weighting as disclosed herein allows the user to change the mass properties of the weight above the equator of the ball so as to affect the rate of topspin generated when contacting the ball. Top spin is desirable as it tends to keep the ball rolling on the intended line. In contrast, back spin causes the ball to skip and skid thereby causing the ball to deviate from the intended line. Third, since the heel weight could differ from the toe weight in terms of weight (they don't have to be the same) this will affect the feel and performance of how the putter head moves during the swing, helping to correct the users tendencies to either have the face open or closed at impact during the swing. Finally the more weight that is distributed to the extremities the higher the MOI (more resistance to twisting if the ball if contacted off center).
  • The instant invention has been shown and described herein in what is considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiment. It is recognized, however, that departures may be made therefrom within the scope of the invention and that obvious modifications will occur to a person skilled in the art.

Claims (13)

  1. 1. A golf putter comprising:
    a head including a main body and a rearwardly projecting portion integrally formed with and extending from said main body;
    said main body including a face, a heel portion, a toe portion, a top portion, and a sole;
    said main body top portion defining an elongate aperture having a length and a width, said length exceeding said width, said length aligned parallel with said face;
    a hosel having an end portion sized for insertion within said elongate aperture;
    removable weights received within weight-receiving ports defined in the upper half of said heel portion and said toe portion;
    said rearwardly projecting portion including a top that projects rearwardly from said main body face portion and terminates in a rear end;
    first and second modules sized and shaped for alternate removable insertion behind said main body face portion and below said the top of said rearwardly projecting portion, each of said modules defining a bottom surface that sweeps upward from the front portion thereof to the back portion thereof;
    said first module adapted for removably receiving a weight selected from one of a group of weights of differing mass;
    said second module comprising a swing analysis module and housing at least one 3-axis accelerometer, a gyroscope to detect movement of said head in each of the three dimensions, a battery power source, a processor, and wireless transmitter for transmitting data obtained by said module.
  2. 2. A golf putter according to claim 1, wherein said second module further includes means for wireless transmission of data relating to club movement to a remote user interface.
  3. 3. A golf putter according to claim 1, wherein said main body face portion includes at least two sound transmitting holes formed along axes that are generally perpendicular to said face and spaced on either side of a centerline separating said heel portion from said toe portion.
  4. 4. A golf putter according to claim 3, wherein said second module includes a pair of microphones including a first microphone mounted toward a toe end of said module and a second microphone mounted toward a heel end of said module.
  5. 5. A golf putter according to claim 4, wherein the combination of said sound transmitting holes and said pair of microphones allow the system to identify whether contact with a golf ball was on-center, or off-center toward the toe, or off-center toward the heel, by analyzing the relative sound transmitted through said holes as detected by said microphones.
  6. 6. A golf putter according to claim 5, further including a sound barrier inserted between said two sound transmitting holes to form two distinct sound chambers separated by said sound barrier.
  7. 7. A golf putter according to claim 1, where said face portion defines a recessed area, and receives a face insert within said recessed area, said head formed of a first material, said insert formed of a second material, said first material being different than said second material.
  8. 8. A golf putter according to claim 7, wherein said insert includes a rear portion defining a plurality of recessed areas.
  9. 9. A golf putter according to claim 1, wherein said swing analysis module generates audible feedback indicating whether impact was on-center or off-center.
  10. 10. A golf putter according to claim 9, wherein said audible feedback further indicates whether off-center impact was toward said heel portion or toward said toe portion.
  11. 11. A golf putter comprising:
    a head including a main body and a rearwardly projecting portion integrally formed with and extending from said main body;
    said main body including a face, a heel portion, a toe portion, a top portion, and a sole;
    said face including a recessed area including a recessed generally planar surface defining at least two through bores, each through bore aligned generally perpendicular to said recessed generally planar surface and extending completely through said main body, said at least two through bores including at least one through bore disposed toward the toe portion relative, and at least one through bore disposed toward the heel portion;
    said main body top portion defining an elongate aperture having a length and a width, said length exceeding said width, said length aligned parallel with said face;
    a hosel having an end portion sized for insertion within said elongate aperture;
    removable weights received within weight-receiving ports defined in the upper half of said heel portion and said toe portion;
    said rearwardly projecting portion including a top that projects rearwardly from said main body face portion and terminates in a rear end;
    first and second modules sized and shaped for alternate removable insertion behind said main body face portion and below said the top of said rearwardly projecting portion, each of said modules defining a bottom surface that sweeps upward from the front portion thereof to the back portion thereof;
    said first module adapted for removably receiving a weight selected from one of a group of weights of differing mass;
    said second module comprising a swing analysis module and housing at least one 3-axis accelerometer, a gyroscope to detect movement of said head in each of the three dimensions, a battery power source, a processor, and wireless transmitter for transmitting data obtained by said module.
  12. 12. A golf putter according to claim 11, wherein said swing analysis module further includes a first microphone located toward the toe portion of said main body and second microphone located toward the heel portion of same main body.
  13. 13. A golf putter according to claim 11, wherein said swing analysis module generates a signal corresponding to audible feedback indicating whether impact was on-center or off-center.
US12754032 2007-02-15 2010-04-05 Golf putter incorporating swing analysis module Abandoned US20100255922A1 (en)

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