A system of golfing aids for a golfer for improving golf shots, the system comprising: an automatic activation switch for automatically activating at least one golfing aid when a golfer prepares to take a shot, and at least one automatically activated golfing aid.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention is directed to providing a system of golfing aids that can be used by a golfer on the golf course to improve his shots.
In the game of golf, when teeing off, one has to keep one's eye on the ball, and one's body rigid swinging the golf club through a large angle. Learning the technique is not easy. Coaching usually takes place in a training field with nets to catch the golf balls, or with some type of simulator. Whereas coaching is necessary or advisable for beginners, coaching facilities do not reflect the conditions on the golf course itself.
A less experienced player might gain from instructions on posture, breathing, and concentration before taking the shot. More experienced golfers, and even serious competition players would gain from a post shot replay and critique, by themselves or others.
The prior art includes a number of developments that partially address these issues. U.S. Pat. No. 5,305,201 to Matthews, titled “Improved system for monitoring play of a golfer”, describes a monitoring system for play of a golfer having a mobile transmitter for transmitting an identification signal, several location receivers placed near each golf hole, and several location transmitters which play a monitoring signal in response to a polling signal system for monitoring the play of a golfer. Specifically, the system includes Location Information Transmitters (LIT) at predetermined locations within a golf course and a Mobile Electronic Transmitter/Receiver (METAR) carried in association with a golfer on a golf cart or golf bag. A METAR periodically transmits a METAR code over a restricted transmission range. In response to the METAR being proximate to a LIT, the LIT receives the METAR code. After receiving the METAR code, the LIT transmits a play monitoring signal including its LIT code and the received METAR code to a Tracking Center located in a clubhouse. Golf course personnel in the clubhouse can monitor a display terminal of the Tracking Center and determine play of golfers, use of golf carts and use of golf holes.
If a golfer causes a slow play condition, the Tracking Center is notified and the golfer is asked to increase the rate of play or leave the golf course. Additionally, in response to the METAR receiving a signal from an LIT associated with a particular hole, the METAR can count down the time allotted to play that hole, and notify the golfer if that time is exceeded.
The above described system is directed to monitoring the throughput of golfers through a golf course by personnel in the golf club house. Since remote visual monitoring is provided and there is communication between club house and golfer, it can presumably be put to a secondary use to provide tips and instruction as well. A drawback of the system is that it uses Location Information Transmitters (LIT) at predetermined locations within the golf course. These make the system golf course specific and do not allow the golfer to obtain instruction or feed back on any golf course, anywhere in the world, or even on an impromptu course, or whilst practicing in the office.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,372,365 to McTeigue et al. titled “Methods and apparatus for sports training” describes a sports training device, especially useful to the golfer, that utilizes pressure sensors placed under the user's feet and between his hands and the golf club. The patent describes a method and apparatus for training a user to move in a desired movement pattern, especially for training a golfer to swing a golf club. One or more sensors are placed adjacent to the user, for example pressure sensors under the user's feet and/or between the user's hands and a golf club. The sensors generate signals corresponding to the user's movement. A comparator and signal generator are used to compare a function of the user signals and a reference value, and to generate training signals which are communicated to the user, e.g. by radio frequency signals received by a headset worn by the user. In this way, the user senses, during the actual movement, training signals which represent a relationship between the actual movement pattern and a desired movement pattern. Preferably, the comparator determines whether a function of the user signals is above or below a preselected and adjustable reference value, and the training signals undergo a distinct change when the function of the user signals crosses the reference value.
The system thus provides feedback to the golfer in real time regarding his swing. However, no permanent record is made for later analysis. Although the movement of the hands and feet is important, the movement of the head has particular importance, and this issue is not addressed.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,609,534 informational/training video system to Gebhardt et al. relates to video based training for e.g. sports or other activity and uses a video recording unit and measuring device at an activity site, such as a golf tee, with tape being cued for recording specific information during user play. In one embodiment, the system includes a video recording assembly and a measuring device located at a user activity site such as a tee box of a golf driving range. A video tape, including activity specific information on a first, pre-recorded portion thereof, is provided to the user for use in the video recording assembly at the user activity site. The video tape is cued for recording user specific information on a second portion of the video tape during a practice session. The sensor determines corresponding parameter information, such as estimated golf ball carry distance, for display on video tape. The video tape and video recording assembly cooperate to provide a mechanism for preventing or discouraging use of unauthorized tapes and to ensure proper usage of the system.
This system appears to be permanently located at a specific location of the golf course. It cannot be used anywhere. Furthermore, the user has to put his video tape into the system at each location. It only enables post play analysis and doesn't address the issue of improving the game in real time.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,261,102 to Dugan et al. titled “Method and apparatus for teaching proper swing tempo” describes a speed measuring device for measuring the speed of a golf swing. It uses an accelerometer whose output goes through a voltage to frequency converter, amplifier and speaker so that the frequency of note indicates speed of swing. Specifically, a swing tempo training device is provided which may be used to teach proper swing tempo. The disclosed swing tempo training device includes an accelerometer coupled to a voltage-to-frequency converter, and an output means coupled to the voltage-to-frequency converter. The accelerometer measures the real-time acceleration of a swinging object and produces a first voltage signal with a voltage level related to the measured real-time acceleration. The voltage-to-frequency converter then converters the first voltage signal into a second voltage signal with a frequency related to the first voltage level. The output means then outputs the second voltage signal. Preferably, the output means includes a frequency modulator and an FM transmitter.
Dugan's technology gives a real time audible indication of the speed of the golf swing, but does not provide any indication of the accuracy thereof. It does not provide instruction on how to improve the swing.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,786,730 to Bleckley et al. titled “Ergonomic motion and athletic activity monitoring and training system and method” describes a system for teaching and learning a preferred ergonomic motion. The system includes a video camera for capturing successive images of a person executing an ergonomic motion. The system includes a threshold definition system that allows a user to define a spatial region of the video image through which motion should or should not interfere. If the spatial region is interfered, the system actuates an alarm, thereby providing feedback so the user may alter the technique of the next attempted motion. In one preferred embodiment, the system is used in teaching a golfer to execute a preferred golf swing. The golfer adjusts the spatial region to define a space through which neither the golfer's body nor club should pass. If the spatial region is intruded upon, an alarm is actuated. For example, the golfer may define the region such that if the club moves off plane during a swing, a tee removal system causes the ball to disappear. In this manner, the golfer is only able to hit the ball when the club stays on plane. The invention works with reverse logic as well, and may equally be applied to any number of ergonomic activities.
The technology described provides a photographic record for later analysis and an “alarm” indicating when a golf swing was wrong. It does not provide instruction prior to making the swing. The system is not automatically activated and is not easily transported.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,730,047 to Socci et al. titled “Head gear including a data augmentation unit for detecting head motion and providing feedback relating to the head motion” describes a head motion detecting method that involves comparing the detected motion of a helmet with a predetermined value based on which a specified signal is fedback to the user. The invention includes a head gear to be worn when it is desirable to have an indication of the wearer's head motion or position. The head gear may be incorporated into an existing article of head wear. The incorporation may be permanent, or the head gear may be alternatively attached to various articles of head wear. Integral with the head gear are motion and/or position sensing devices to indicate the motion or position of the wearer's head. The data from the sensors may be fed into a digital processor to process the sensed data and derive a signal indicative of the wearer's head motion or position. Some embodiments employ a programmable processor to adapt the head gear to a variety of applications. The signal indicative of head motion or position may be fed into an indicator to provide the wearer with a recognizable feedback signal indicative of head motion or position.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,952,921 to Donnelly titled “Misplaced golf club reminder” describes a system for alerting a golfer when the golfer has moved too far away from his golf club. One or more clubs are provided with transmitters which transmit on a specific frequency and may contain digital encoding. A common receiver is used to detect the signal from one or a plurality of transmitters. When the distance between the transmitter, attached to the golf club, and the receiver, carried with the golfer, is greater than a threshold distance, the receiver provides an alert to the golfer. The present invention can also include an audible or visual signal associated with the club to assist the golfer in locating the club when he returns to retrieve the club.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,753,778 to Kruger et al., titled “Orientation/time sensing alarm device for golf club” describes an orientation/time sensing alarm device which includes an orientation sensor, a time sensor connecting to the orientation sensor, and an alarm connecting to the orientation sensor and the time sensor, forming a circuitry. The time sensor is activated by the orientation sensor when the orientation sensor senses the alarm device is above a predetermined orientational threshold. The alarm is activated when the time sensor senses the duration of activation of the time sensor being above a predetermined timing threshold. Also provided is a self-reminding golf club having an orientation/time sensing alarm device connected to the grip of the golf club for reminding a golfer of a misplaced golf club.
Though relating to golf clubs, the technology described in the above patents serves to prevent golf club being lost and does not relate to correct usage thereof.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,362,060 to Hinson titled “Stance minder for golfers” describes a stance minder for use by golfers to enable golfers to correctly position themselves in relation to a golf ball which enables a golfer to maintain an optimal swing pattern for the golf club. The stance minder includes an elongated slotted base member or line corrector having a pointed end and an elongated longitudinal slot which is positioned on a golf course surface with the pointed end in the direction of a desired target area of the golf ball. Attached to the base member is a perpendicular member forming a position reminder that is oriented perpendicular to the base member and extends laterally therefrom in an adjustable manner due to the provision of a longitudinal slot which intersects with the slot in the base member and a clamp bolt assembly secures the base member and perpendicular member in adjusted positions. Also mounted on the base member is a pair of foot position indicators or correctors each including a concave side and being substantially alike in construction which extend laterally from the base member opposite to the perpendicular member for indicating the correct positioning of the feet of a golfer with the left foot position indicator of a right handed golfer being longitudinally adjustable on the base member by a clamp bolt extending through the slot in the base member with the perpendicular member oriented generally between the foot position indicators. For a right handed golfer, the concave side of the left foot indicator is positioned along and generally conforms to the curvature of the inner side of the golfer's left foot, while the concave side of the right foot indicator is positioned along and generally conforms to the curvature of the outer side of the golfer's right foot.
The device described is not practical for use on the golf course, though could be of value for beginners on the driving range.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,558,266 to McMahon, titled “Golf training glasses” describes golf training glasses for golfers, having a sight guide with upper and lower guide bars that are partially separated to form a shot pathway, and partially converging toward one side of the lens to form a converging shot pathway. The golf training glasses serve to assist a golfer's swing. They include a frame, a pair of lenses associated with the frame and a sight guide associated with each lens. The sight guide includes an upper guide bar and a lower guide bar, wherein the upper and lower guide bars extend from the right side of the lens to the left side of the lens. The upper guide bar is separated at least partially from the lower guide bar to form a shot pathway between the upper and lower guide bars. Moreover, the upper and lower guide bars at least partially converge toward one of the right and left sides of the lens to form a converging shot pathway to focus a shot line of the golfer. Additionally, the sight guide further includes a ball placement locator for positioning of the ball relative to the shot pathway, and foot placement guides to help align a golfer's stance with the ball, the shot pathway and the club path.
This development could be valuable in ensuring correct posture and keeping the eye on the ball. It does not aid post shot analysis or provide audible instruction. The system provides reduced visibility and guide bars at all times, whereas in a typical day of golfing, playing a full 18 hole game, only several dozen shots are taken, typically one every five minutes or so. The golfer would probably wear the spectacles only when actually about to take a swing at the ball, and would have to remember to take out and put on the spectacles. Consequently, the concept has limited practicability.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,103,896 to Lorang titled “Golf grip training apparatus” describes a Golf grip training apparatus that measures the force applied to a club shaft by the two middle fingers of the right hand using a switch arm along the shaft. The golf grip training apparatus gives a signal to the golfer when the grip of his off-target hand interferes with the grip of his target hand in the swing of the club. A force sensitive element is located in the position of at least the middle fingers of the off-target hand. A signal device is controlled by the force sensitive element to emit a signal when the force exerted by the off-target hand exceeds minimal force. The signal advises the golfer that his off-target hand has exerted more than minimal force and thus has interfered with his target hand in the swing of the club. When no signal emits during the swing, the golfer is advised that his off-target hand has not exerted more than minimal force and thus has not interfered with his target hand in the swing of the club.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,861,034 to Lee, titled “Golf-grip training device”, describes a golf-grip training device having a pressure sensitive switch mounted on the underside of the handle with three resilient conducting strips adhesively secured to foam blocks. The golf grip training device is designed to be readily attached and removed from the handle of a golf club. An elongated pressure sensitive switch is mounted on the underside of the handle and is responsive to the grip pressure of the golfer. The switch is formed of three resilient conducting strips adhesively secured to a number of spaced compressible foam blocks forming two sandwich layers. The switch is responsive to two distinct grip pressures. A signalling device containing a battery, a buzzer, and a grip pressure selector switch is mounted on the golf club and electrically connected to the pressures sensitive switch to emit an audible signal when a predetermined grip pressure is exceeded. The grip pressure selector switch can select either of the two grip pressure ranges built into the pressure sensitive switch. These technologies may be useful for novices, but is hardly relevant for use on the golf course.
There is a need for a golfing system that can be used on the golf course to take the place of a coach. The present invention addresses this need.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is an aim of preferred embodiments of the invention to provide golfing aids that can be used on the golf course to improve performance.
It is a further aim of preferred embodiments of the invention that such golfing aids be portable and easily transported by the golfer around the golf course.
It is yet a further aim of preferred embodiments of the invention that once switched on at the beginning of the golfing session, such golfing aids be automatically activated, so that the golfer need not worry about them.
It is a further aim of preferred embodiments of the invention that such golfing aids be discrete, and do not broadcast their presence to other golfers.
It is a further aim of preferred embodiments of the invention that use can be made of the golfing aids in a training area, including any enclosed space where a golf club can be swung without doing damage.
In a first aspect, the present invention is directed to providing a system of golfing aids to a golfer for improving golf shots, the system including:
- An automatic activation switch for automatically activating the golfing aids when a golfer prepares to take a shot, and one or more automatically activated golfing aids.
In one embodiment, the automatic activation switch is an RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) tag.
In a second embodiment, the automatic activation switch is a mercury switch.
Preferably, the automatic activation switch is located in a handle of a golf club, perhaps inserted between the end of the hand grip binding and the shaft.
Preferably, the automatically activated golfing aids include one or more of the following:
- (i) a photographic system for recording stance of the golfer;
- (ii) an audio module for providing instructions to the golfer, and
- (iii) a visual system for aiding the golfer to keep focused on the ball during a shot.
Preferably the system includes two aids from the list.
Most preferably the system includes three aids from the list.
The photographic system includes a remotely activated switch, a camera, a recording medium, and a power supply.
Preferably, the camera is a video camera.
Preferably the system includes an automatic focusing means.
Preferably the system includes a homing means for orienting the camera onto the golfer and a signal emitter for engaging the homing means.
Preferably the system clips onto either a golf bag or a golf cart.
The audio module for providing instructions to the golfer includes an activation switch, a power supply, a memory for storing instructions, and a transducer for converting stored instructions into an audible signal.
Preferably, the audio module further includes a microphone for allowing recording of instructions into the memory.
Preferably, the audio module further includes a sensor for sensing a type of club to be used, and a controller for effecting playback of an audio message from the memory, associated with the type of club.
The memory means is selected from the list of optical memories and magnetic memories.
Preferably, the memory means is a flash memory chip.
Preferably, the transducer is selected from the list of ear pieces and speakers.
The visual system for aiding the golfer to keep focused on the ball during a shot includes an LED (Light Emitting Diode) that is attachable to a peak of a golf cap, a power supply, and an activation switch, such that activation of the LED causes it to illuminate.
Preferably, activation of the LED causes it to flash.
Most preferably, the LED is activated by a movement sensor indicating that the head of the golfer is steady for a given period and is deactivated by the movement sensor indicating that the head of the golfer is no longer steady.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
For a better understanding of the invention and to show how it may be carried into effect, reference will now be made, purely by way of example, to the accompanying drawings.
With specific reference now to the drawings in detail, it is stressed that the particulars shown are by way of example and for purposes of illustrative discussion of the preferred embodiments of the present invention only, and are presented in the cause of providing what is believed to be the most useful and readily understood description of the principles and conceptual aspects of the invention. In this regard, no attempt is made to show structural details of the invention in more detail than is necessary for a fundamental understanding of the invention; the description taken with the drawings making apparent to those skilled in the art how the several forms of the invention may be embodied in practice. In the accompanying drawings:
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
The present invention relates to golfing aids for use by a golfer. It may be used both on the golf course and on the driving range, and assists the golfer to improve his game. It may be used in preparation for a game, and in real time on the course. It may also provide information for analysis after the game.
With reference to
With reference to
In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, operation of the camera 23 is triggered by removing a golf club 14 from the bag 28. Where an RFID tag is provided, an RF sensor associated with the camera 23 senses the proximity of the tag as it is brought into proximity with the sensor, so as to activate the camera 23. In the case in which a mercury switch is employed as the triggering device, inverting of the golf club 14 causes transmission of a signal from a miniature transmitter connected thereto to a suitable receiver associated with the camera 23. In either case, recording may start instantly, or after a predetermined time delay, such as 30 seconds, for example.
After activation, the homing means 27 searches for a ‘beacon’ such as the infra red (IR) emitter 26 and engages it. Preferably, the camera 23 homes in on the beacon and takes a series of stills or a short video recording thereby providing a visual record which shows the golfer during preparation and performance of the stroke. The recording medium 24 which may be any portable electronic memory device, can be removed at the end of the golf session, for subsequent review and analysis of the record thereon afterwards by the golfer and/or instructor.
With reference to
The different types of golf clubs, i.e. woods, irons, putters, and wedges are associated with different parts of the game and are required in different situations, and require different skills. Often, during preparation for a round of golf, the golfer makes mental notes of points which will help him to improve his game when using the different types of clubs. Due to the distractions on the golf course however, the golfer may forget some or all of these mental notes made in preparation for the game.
When preparing for a game, the golfer uses selector switch 37 for selecting a desired club type in association with which he wishes to record a message, and for the specific club type, the golfer records an appropriate message or tip, for subsequent play back during the game, when using that type of club. As many messages as desired may be recorded by audio module 30, in relation to the use of any or all of the clubs.
On the course, as soon as the golfer removes a golf club 14 from golf bag 28, proximity of the club 14, as well as its identity, will be identified by audio module 30, which then automatically plays back the tips or messages that the golfer recorded before the game, thereby assisting the golfer in implementing those mental notes that hitherto, might have been forgotten or not recalled on the spur of the moment.
A preferred stance for correctly striking a golf ball is one in which the eyes are focused on the ball, and the upper torso only moves as the golf club is swung. The head should remain totally still and does not participate in the swing. It has been found that one way to ensure that the head does not move is for the golfer to keep the edge of the peak of his golf cap in peripheral view, while keeping his eye on the ball.
As shown in
The LED 42 or other visual device has a sensor 43 attached thereto, operative to activate the LED 42 in response to sensing a signal emitted by the automatic triggering device (TD) 10 located in hand grip 12 of golf club 14 (
The system is capable of some variation, and not all golfing aids described are included in all embodiments. Furthermore, other golfing aids that are triggered by the golf club switch may be included. Thus, the scope of the present invention is defined by the appended claims and includes both combinations and sub combinations of the various features described hereinabove as well as variations and modifications thereof, which would occur to persons skilled in the art upon reading the foregoing description.
Although the golfer is sometimes referred to in the masculine, the system is equally applicable for use by female golfers.
In the claims, the word “comprise”, and variations thereof such as “comprises”, “comprising” and the like indicate that the components listed are included, but not generally to the exclusion of other components.
1. A system of golfing aids to a golfer for improving golf shots, said system comprising: an automatic activation switch for automatically activating at least one golfing aid when a golfer prepares to take a shot, and at least one automatically activated golfing aid.
2. The system of claim 1, wherein said automatic activation switch is an RFID tag.
3. The system of claim 1, wherein said automatic activation switch is a mercury switch.
4. The system of claim 1, wherein said automatic activation switch is located in a handle of a golf club.
5. The system of claim 4, wherein the golf club comprises a handle, a shaft, a head, and a hand grip binding, and said automatic activation switch is inserted between the end of the hand grip binding and the shaft.
6. The system of claim 1, wherein said at least one automatically activated golfing aid consists of at least one of the group which comprises:
- (i) a photographic system for recording stance of the golfer;
- (ii) an audio module for providing instructions to the golfer, and
- (iii) a visual system for aiding the golfer to keep focused on the ball during a shot.
7. The system of claim 6, wherein said system comprises two aids from the list.
8. The system of claim 6, wherein said system comprises three aids from the list.
9. The system of claim 1, wherein said at least one automatically activated golfing aid is a photographic system comprising a remotely activated switch, a camera, a recording medium, and a power supply.
10. The system of claim 9, wherein said camera is a video camera.
11. The system of claim 9, further comprising an automatic focusing means.
12. The system of claim 9, further comprising a homing means for orienting said camera onto the golfer and a signal emitter for engaging said homing means.
13. The system of claim 9, further comprising a clip for clipping onto a golf bag or a golf cart.
14. The system of claim 1, wherein the at least one automatically activated golfing aid is an audio module for providing instructions to the golfer comprising an activation switch, a power supply, a memory for storing instructions, and a transducer for converting stored instructions into an audible signal.
15. The system of claim 14, wherein said audio module further comprises a microphone for allowing recording of instructions into said memory.
16. The system of claim 14, wherein said audio module further comprises a sensor for sensing a type of club to be used, and a controller for effecting playback of an audio message from said memory, associated with the type of club.
17. The system of claim 14, wherein said memory is selected from the list of optical memories and magnetic memories.
18. The system of claim 14, wherein said memory is a flash memory chip.
19. The system of claim 14, wherein said transducer is selected from the list of ear pieces and speakers.
20. The system of claim 1, wherein said at least one automatically activated golfing aid is a visual system for aiding the golfer to keep focused on the ball during a shot comprising an LED that is attachable to a peak of a golf cap, a power supply and an activation switch, such that activation of the LED causes it to illuminate.
21. The system of claim 20, wherein activation of said LED causes it to flash.
22. The system of claim 20, wherein said LED is activated by a movement sensor indicating that the head of the golfer is steady for a given period and is deactivated by said movement sensor indicating that the head of the golfer is no longer steady.
International Classification: A63B 69/36 (20060101);