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Publication numberUS20020128084 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/079,487
Publication dateSep 12, 2002
Filing dateFeb 22, 2002
Priority dateFeb 23, 2001
Publication number079487, 10079487, US 2002/0128084 A1, US 2002/128084 A1, US 20020128084 A1, US 20020128084A1, US 2002128084 A1, US 2002128084A1, US-A1-20020128084, US-A1-2002128084, US2002/0128084A1, US2002/128084A1, US20020128084 A1, US20020128084A1, US2002128084 A1, US2002128084A1
InventorsSang Lee, Chae Chang
Original AssigneeLee Sang Chul, Chang Chae Hoon
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Inclination-adjustable golf training device
US 20020128084 A1
Abstract
Disclosed is an inclination-adjustable golf training device capable of optionally changing the inclination of its platform, on which a player stands to practice his golf swing, in order to simulate the condition of a real golf course, thereby obtaining an enhanced training effect. The golf training device includes an upper plate assembly, to which a ball supply unit and a controller are internally mounted, the upper plate assembly including an upper plate, on which a player stands to practice his golf swing, a lower plate assembly adapted to support the upper plate while being spaced apart from the upper plate, a vertical reciprocating unit mounted on the lower plate assembly while including driving and driven parts operating to adjust the inclination of the upper plate with respect to the lower plate assembly in all radial directions. The vertical reciprocating unit has four operating points for reciprocation arranged on a circle about the center of the upper plate while being uniformly spaced from one another in a circumferential direction, the operating points being arranged in pairs so that the operating points of each operating point pair are opposite to each other while performing vertical movements of the upper plate in opposite directions by the same distance.
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Claims(18)
What is claimed is:
1. An inclination-adjustable golf training device comprising:
ball supply means configured to vertically reciprocate, and provided with a vertically reciprocating tee;
a controller for setting a desired inclination angle, displaying the set inclination angle, and controlling supplying of a ball;
an upper plate assembly, to which the ball supply means and the controller are internally mounted, the upper plate assembly including an upper plate;
a lower plate assembly adapted to support the upper plate of the upper plate assembly while being spaced apart from the upper plate;
vertical reciprocating means mounted on the lower plate assembly while including driving and driven parts operating to adjust the inclination of the upper plate with respect to the lower plate assembly; and
a bellows interposed between the upper and lower plate assemblies to close a space defined between the upper and lower plate assemblies.
2. The inclination-adjustable golf training device according to claim 1, wherein the vertical reciprocating means has four operating points for reciprocation arranged on a circle about the center of the upper plate while being uniformly spaced from one another in a circumferential direction, the operating points being arranged in pairs so that the operating points of each operating point pair are opposite to each other while performing vertical movements of the upper plate in opposite directions by the same distance, respectively, the line extending between the operating points of one operating point pair being orthogonal to the line of the other operating point pair.
3. The inclination-adjustable golf training device according to claim 1, wherein the vertical reciprocating means comprises at least two vertical reciprocating mechanisms each comprising:
a driving shaft having a pair of worms having teeth offset from each other;
a reduction motor coupled to the drive shaft;
a driving reciprocating assembly engaged with one of the worms; and
a driven reciprocating assembly engaged with the other worm, so that the driving and driven reciprocating assemblies being reciprocated in opposite directions, respectively, each of the driving and driven reciprocating assemblies comprising
a gear box, through which the drive shaft extends,
a worm wheel received in the gear box and rotatably fitted at opposite ends thereof in holes formed at upper and lower ends of the gear box by bearings, the worm wheel having a first central nut portion, and a first horizontal gear portion formed around the first central nut portion and engaged with the one worm of the driving shaft, and
a lead screw threadedly coupled with the central nut portion of the worm wheel while extending vertically through the central nut portion, the lead screw being axially coupled at an upper end thereof to a flange mounted to the upper plate assembly by a universal joint.
4. The inclination-adjustable golf training device according to claim 1, wherein the ball supply means comprises:
an internal ball supplier received in the upper plate assembly while being vertically movable; and
an external ball supplier arranged outside the upper plate assembly and adapted to receive a plurality of golf balls.
5. The inclination-adjustable golf training device according to claim 4, wherein the internal ball supplier is received in the upper plate assembly so that an upper surface thereof is flush with an upper surface of the upper plate assembly, and comprises:
an upper frame having an opening and a tee hole;
a ball supply housing installed to be movable along the upper frame so that it is protruded from and retracted into the opening of the upper frame;
a ball holding arm pivotally mounted at one end thereof to the ball supply housing and provided with a pair of ball holding members always urged to be moved away from each other;
a first solenoid adapted to slide the ball holding member toward the ball holding arm, thereby allowing the ball holding members to hold a golf ball therebetween;
a step motor for pivoting the ball holding arm along with the first solenoid between a ball holding position and a ball releasing position;
gears respectively mounted to the step motor and the other end of the ball holding arm, and adapted to transmit a drive force from the step motor to the ball holding arm, the gears being engaged with each other;
a ball introduction chamber defined in the ball supply housing just below the one end of the ball holding arm and at a position corresponding to the one end of the ball holding arm maintained at the ball holding position;
a vertical reciprocating rod mounted at a lower portion of the ball supply housing so that it is vertically movable to be protruded into and retracted from the ball introduction chamber, the vertical moving rod pushing upwardly a ball introduced in the ball introduction chamber in accordance with an upward movement thereof, thereby allowing the ball holding arm to hold the ball;
a second solenoid coupled to the vertical moving rod via a link and adapted to apply a vertical movement force to the vertical moving rod;
a push member adapted to push balls supplied into a ball introduction passage communicating with the ball introduction chamber, thereby supplying the supplied balls, one by one, into the ball introduction chamber; and
a tee provided at a position corresponding to the one end of the ball holding member maintained at the ball releasing position, the tee being vertically moved by a drive force generated from a motor and serving as a seat for receiving a ball released from the ball holding member at the ball releasing position, the tee including a vertical rod member formed with racks, and a flexible tube fitted around an upper portion of the vertical rod member.
6. The inclination-adjustable golf training device according to claim 4, wherein the external ball supplier comprises:
a ball container for receiving a plurality of balls, the ball container having a downwardly inclined ball outlet passage, and a bottom surface downwardly sloped toward the ball outlet passage in order to allow balls received in the ball container to be freely dropped into the ball outlet passage by gravity;
a horizontal rotating bar member arranged at a downstream end of the sloped bottom surface of the ball container and adapted to prevent balls from being jammed on the downstream end of the sloped bottom surface; and
a horizontal ball feeder including a push member horizontally arranged to horizontally feed, one by one, balls from the ball outlet passage to the inner ball supplier, a motor for rotating the push member, and a connecting tube for connecting the ball outlet passage to a ball introduction passage of the inner ball supplier.
7. The inclination-adjustable golf training device according to claim 4, wherein the internal ball supplier comprises:
vertical rack members fixed to opposite lateral ends of the ball supply housing, respectively; and
pinions mounted to opposite portions of a drive shaft included in a motor and engaged with the vertical rack members, respectively,
whereby the vertical rack members are vertically movable in accordance with a rotating operation of the motor, thereby causing the ball supply housing to be vertically moved.
8. The inclination-adjustable golf training device according to claim 4, wherein the internal ball supplier comprises:
an upper frame having an opening and a tee hole;
a ball supply housing installed to be movable along the upper frame so that it is protruded from and retracted into the opening of the upper frame;
a ball holding arm assembly held in the ball supply housing;
a vertical rack centrally fixed to a rear wall of the ball supply housing;
a pinion mounted to a motor fixedly mounted to the upper frame and engaged with the vertical rack;
a hollow guide fixedly mounted to the rear wall of the ball supply housing; and
a guide rod mounted to the upper frame so that it extends through the guide, the guide rod serving to guide a vertical movement of the ball supply housing in cooperation with the hollow guide.
9. The inclination-adjustable golf training device according to claim 1, wherein the vertical reciprocating means comprises at least two vertical reciprocating mechanisms each comprising:
a driving shaft having a pair of worms having teeth offset from each other;
a reduction motor coupled to the drive shaft;
a driving reciprocating assembly engaged with one of the worms; and
a driven reciprocating assembly engaged with the other worm, so that the driving and driven reciprocating assemblies being reciprocated in opposite directions, respectively, each of the driving and driven reciprocating assemblies comprising
a gear box, through which the drive shaft extends,
a worm wheel received in the gear box and rotatably fitted at opposite ends thereof in holes formed at upper and lower ends of the gear box by bearings, the worm wheel having a first central nut portion, and a first horizontal gear portion formed around the first central nut portion and engaged with the one worm of the driving shaft, and
a lead screw threadedly coupled with the central nut portion of the worm wheel while extending vertically through the central nut portion, the lead screw having a vertical guide groove formed at one side thereof;
a guide fixedly mounted to the first gear box so that it is engaged with the vertical guide groove; and
a ball joint adapted to axially couple an upper end of the lead screw to a flange mounted to the upper plate assembly, the ball joint comprising
a ball mounted to the upper end of the lead screw,
a slide member pivotally coupled to the ball, the slide member having a central portion pivotally coupled to the ball, an upper portion extending radially around the central portion, and a hollow lower portion extending downwardly from the central portion,
a retaining member fixedly mounted to the upper plate assembly while surrounding the slide member, the retaining member having an upper portion surrounding the upper portion of the slide member while defining an annular space around the upper portion of the slide member in order to allow the slide member to slide radially, and a lower portion surrounding the lower portion of the slide member, and
a pair of springs arranged between the lower portion of the retaining member and the lower portion of the slide member while opposing each other, the springs serving to urge the slide member to be maintained at a position centered with respect to the retaining member.
10. The inclination-adjustable golf training device according to claim 9, wherein the vertical reciprocating means further comprises:
a central shaft extending upwardly from a support plate arranged at a central portion of the lower plate assembly; and
a ball joint adapted to axially couple the central shaft to the center of the upper plate assembly, the ball joint including a ball mounted to an upper end of the central shaft, and a retaining member pivotally coupled with the ball and fixedly mounted to the center of the upper plate assembly,
whereby the slide member of the ball joint included in each of the driving and driven reciprocating assemblies slides from the axis of the lead screw of the associated reciprocating assembly against a spring force of the springs when the associated lead screw moves vertically to adjust an inclination of the upper plate assembly, thereby a mounting point of the lead screw to the upper plate assembly to be maintained on the axis of the lead screw.
11. The inclination-adjustable golf training device according to claim 1, wherein:
the vertical reciprocating means comprises at least two vertical reciprocating mechanisms each comprising a driving reciprocating assembly, and a driven reciprocating assemblies cooperating with the driving reciprocating assembly while facing the driving reciprocating assembly, and a ball joint for centrally connecting the upper and lower plate assemblies;
the driving reciprocating assembly comprises a reduction motor fixedly mounted to a support frame mounted to the lower plate assembly, a drive gear axially coupled to the reduction motor, a reduction gear coaxially coupled to a drive sprocket and engaged with the drive gear, and a first guide sprocket arranged to be flush with the drive sprocket;
the driven reciprocating assembly comprises a driven sprocket and a second guide sprocket axially coupled to the support frame;
each of the vertical reciprocating mechanism further comprises a chain extending via the drive and driven sprockets and the guide sprockets, the chain being fixed to the upper plate assembly at opposite ends thereof, and a screw type tension adjustment knob provided to adjust the position of the support frame, thereby adjusting the tension of the chain;
the ball joint comprises a lower shaft provided with through holes crossing each other, each of the through hole allowing the chain of an associated one of the vertical reciprocating mechanisms to extend therethrough; and
the guide sprockets engaged with the chain of the one vertical reciprocating mechanism is arranged at a level different from that of the guide sprockets engaged with the chain of the other vertical reciprocating mechanism.
12. The inclination-adjustable golf training device according to claim 1, wherein:
the vertical reciprocating means comprises at least two vertical reciprocating mechanisms each comprising a driving reciprocating assembly, and a driven reciprocating assemblies cooperating with the driving reciprocating assembly while facing the driving reciprocating assembly, and a ball joint for centrally connecting the upper and lower plate assemblies, the ball joint serving as a support point for the upper lower plate assembly;
the driving reciprocating assembly comprises a reduction motor fixedly mounted to a first support frame, a drive worm axially coupled to the reduction motor, a first lead screw fixed at an upper end thereof to the upper plate assembly, and a first nut member rotatably mounted between the first support frame and the lower plate assembly and threadedly coupled to the first lead screw in order to vertically move the first lead screw in accordance with rotation thereof, a drive sprocket fixedly fitted around the first nut member, and a first worm wheel fixedly fitted around the first nut member and engaged with the drive worm;
the driven reciprocating assembly comprises a second lead screw fixed at an upper end thereof to the upper plate assembly, the second lead screw having threads offset from threads of the first lead screw, a second nut member rotatably mounted between a second support frame and the lower plate assembly and threadedly coupled to the second lead screw in order to vertically move the lead screw in accordance with its rotation, and a driven sprocket fixedly fitted around the second nut member;
each of the vertical reciprocating mechanisms further comprises an endless chain extending between the drive and driven sprockets; and
the drive and driven sprockets engaged with the chain of an associated one of the vertical reciprocating mechanisms are arranged at a level different from that of the drive and driven sprockets engaged with the chain of the other vertical reciprocating mechanism.
13. The inclination-adjustable golf training device according to claim 1, wherein the vertical reciprocating means comprises:
a vertical bar extending upwardly from a central portion of a base plate included in the lower plate assembly;
a ball joint mounted to an upper end of the vertical bar and adapted to centrally connect the upper and lower plate assemblies in an axial direction;
radially-extending hydraulic cylinders arranged at four points around the ball joint while being uniformly spaced from one another in a circumferential direction, respectively, so that the hydraulic cylinders are arranged in pairs while facing each other in each of the hydraulic cylinder pairs, each of the hydraulic cylinders having a piston rod coupled, at an outer end thereof protruded from one end of the hydraulic cylinder, to a lower surface of the upper plate assembly by a pin while being hingably mounted to the base plate of the lower plate assembly at the other end thereof;
hydraulic pumps each adapted to supply hydraulic pressure to the hydraulic cylinders of an associated one of the hydraulic cylinder pairs; and
solenoid assemblies respectively associated with the hydraulic pumps and adapted to open and close fluid passages each extending between an associated one of the hydraulic pumps and an associated one of the hydraulic cylinder pairs, each of the solenoid assemblies being configured to independently control at least four fluid ports.
14. The inclination-adjustable golf training device according to claim 1, wherein the upper plate assembly is inclined within an angle range of 10 from a horizontal plane.
15. The inclination-adjustable golf training device according to claim 1, wherein the controller comprises:
a control unit comprising a microcomputer for detecting operating states of elements to be controlled, performing a computation based on the detected operation states, and controlling operations of driving elements based on the computed result, and an over-current detector for detecting an over-current state of an electric motor, and stopping the operation of the electric motor when it detects the over-current state, and a plurality of input and output ports;
a key pad including a plurality of keys generating key signals to be inputted to the control unit in order to adjust the inclination of the upper plate assembly or to conduct other manipulations;
a first sensor unit including X and Y-axis movement detectors for detecting moved distances of the upper plate assembly in X and Y-axis directions, respectively, a ball supply position detector having a plurality of sensors to allow balls to be continuously supplied, an arm position detector for detecting protruded and retracted positions of a ball holding arm included in the vertical reciprocating means, a tee level detector for detecting the level of a tee included in the vertical reciprocating means, a tee level limit detector for detecting upper and lower level limits of the tee, and a ball supply housing movement limit detector for detecting protrusion and retraction limits of a ball supply housing included in the vertical reciprocating means;
a second sensor unit including a plurality of limit switches adapted to detect a downward movement of the upper plate assembly exceeding a predetermined lower movement limit at eight radial positions, respectively;
a control motor driving unit for controlling a plurality of control motors under a control of the control unit, the control motor driving unit including a push motor driver for driving a push motor adapted to generate a pushing force for pushing balls discharged from an external ball supplier included in the ball supply means toward an internal ball supplier included in the ball supply means, thereby supplying balls to the internal ball supplier, a vertical reciprocating motor driver for driving a vertical reciprocating motor adapted to vertically move the ball supply housing, a push motor driver for driving a push motor adapted to generate a pushing force for pushing balls supplied to the internal ball supplier toward the ball supply housing, thereby supplying balls to the interior of the ball supply housing, a step motor driver for driving a step motor adapted to pivotally move the ball holding arm, a tee reciprocating motor driver for driving a tee reciprocating motor adapted to vertically move the tee, and a bar member rotating motor driver for driving a bar member rotating motor adapted to rotate a rotating bar member for preventing balls from being jammed within a horizontal ball feeder included in the external ball supplier;
an upper plate assembly reciprocating motor driving unit including X and Y-axis reciprocating motors for vertically reciprocating the upper plate assembly in X and Y-axis directions, and a motor drive for driving the X and Y-axis reciprocating motors;
a solenoid driving unit including a reciprocating rod solenoid driver for driving a solenoid adapted to vertically reciprocate a vertical reciprocating rod serving to upwardly move the ball supplied to the interior of the internal ball supplier up to a ball holding position, and a ball holding arm solenoid driver for driving a solenoid adapted to allow the ball holding arm to hold the ball at the ball holding position;
a display unit having seven segments to display various control states including use time, ball count, and inclination; and
a power supply unit for supplying drive power to all control circuits of the controller and all driving units of the golf training device.
16. The inclination-adjustable golf training device according to claim 15, wherein each of the ball position detector, the arm position detector, the tee level limit detector, and the ball supply housing movement limit detector comprises a plurality of sensors adapted to detect at least the upper and lower limits.
17. The inclination-adjustable golf training device according to claim 16, wherein each sensor of each detector comprises an encoder adapted to detect a moved length, and an optical switch adapted to a moved position.
18. The inclination-adjustable golf training device according to claim 17, wherein the optical switch is a proximity switch.
Description
    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0002]
    The present invention relates to a golf training device, and more particularly to an inclination-adjustable golf training device capable of optionally changing the inclination of its platform, on which a player stands to practice his golf swing, in order to simulate the conditions of a real golf course, thereby obtaining an enhanced training effect.
  • [0003]
    2. Description of the Related Art
  • [0004]
    Various golf training devices have been proposed to allow persons to practice their golf swing.
  • [0005]
    Golf training devices conventionally used for indoor golf training are mainly classified into a training device mainly used for practicing of golf putting, and a training device mainly used for practicing of golf shots.
  • [0006]
    The present invention is mainly concerned with the latter golf training device used for practicing of golf shots.
  • [0007]
    Hereinafter, “golf training device” represents a device for practicing golf shots. Now, conventional golf training devices will be described.
  • [0008]
    Most conventional golf training devices have a double-plate structure in which upper and lower plates are vertically spaced from each other. The upper plate can be inclined with respect to the lower plate, which is horizontally arranged. The inclination of the upper plate is adjustable using power.
  • [0009]
    However, all known proposals have a drawback in that the structure for transmitting power required to adjust the inclination of the upper plate is very complex and heavy, so that it involves inconvenience in use. Furthermore, the mechanical operation for adjusting the inclination of the upper plate is roughly carried out.
  • [0010]
    In the case of proposals using a vertical reciprocating shaft adapted to define an inclination of the upper plate while adjusting the inclination, the reciprocating shaft is installed in such a fashion that it is spaced apart from the center of the upper plate by a desired distance. Due to such an arrangement, the position at which the reciprocating shaft is fixed is physically shifted when the reciprocating shaft moves vertically. This shift forces the shaft support point to be shifted, thereby causing a torsion of the shaft. As a result, the mechanical operation is roughly carried out.
  • [0011]
    An example of such proposals is disclosed in Korean Patent Laid-open Publication No. 97-25644 entitled “Golf Shot Training Device”.
  • [0012]
    The disclosed golf shot training device has a double-plate structure capable of being not only used for a fairway-simulation device, but also used for a rough or sand trap-simulation device. The upper and lower plates of the double-plate structure are centrally coupled together by means of a universal joint. Hydraulic cylinders are arranged between the upper and lower plates at the four corners of those plates, respectively, to adjust an inclination of the upper plate with respect to the lower plate.
  • [0013]
    In accordance with this configuration, the training device should be coupled to a hydraulic pressure supply device because hydraulic cylinders are used as drive means for adjusting the inclination of the upper plate. For this reason, it is difficult to install the golf shot training device. Furthermore, the maintenance of the golf shot training device is difficult.
  • [0014]
    Meanwhile, a golf training mat configured to adjust the inclination of a foot platform is disclosed in Korean Patent Laid-open Publication No. 96-13407. In this case, an intermediate plate is arranged between upper and lower plates to arrange mechanical jacks in a multi-layered fashion. In accordance with this arrangement, the inclination angles of the upper plate in lateral and longitudinal directions are manually adjusted.
  • [0015]
    Although a servo motor or hydraulic jacks are used to generate drive power, this golf training mat requires a number of hydraulic jacks, and is complex in terms of power equipment. Furthermore, a large amount of power is consumed for adjustment of inclination. Since the golf training mat is also heavy, it has drawbacks in that it is difficult to install and maintain the mat.
  • [0016]
    In the case of a golf training foot platform disclosed in Korean Patent Laid-open Publication No. 97-73641, it is installed on the ground of a golf training field in a partially buried state. This golf training foot platform includes multiple -layers of inclined discs coupled to a central shaft by means of bearings. Each inclined disc is formed with a gear at its outer periphery. A reduction motor is also provided which has a pinion adapted to transmit power to an associated one of the inclined disc. In accordance with this configuration, the inclination of the foot platform is adjusted in accordance with the rotating amount of the multi-layered inclined discs.
  • [0017]
    Another golf training mat is also disclosed in Korean Utility Model Laid-open Publication No. 91-2300. In this golf training mat, a central plate is interposed between upper and lower plates. Large-size semicircular worm wheels are mounted to the upper plate and central plates, respectively. The upper plate is supported by the central plate at two points while facing the central plate. Similarly, the central plate is supported by the lower plate at two points while facing the central plate and crossing the upper plate at a 90 angle. Each worm wheel is engaged with a worm gear mounted to a drive motor.
  • [0018]
    The latter two golf training mats are heavy, so that their installation is difficult. Furthermore, the maintenance of these mats is difficult because the mats are installed in the form of a fixed construction. For this reason, it is very difficult to practically apply the mats.
  • [0019]
    Meanwhile, in all known proposals, a golf ball supply device is separately installed. In other words, the golf ball supply device is installed at one side of a golf training mat in an exposed or protruded state. For this reason, there is a common drawback in that the golf ball supply device may serve as an obstacle when the user practices golf shots. Furthermore, no tee or a tee having a fixed height is provided at the golf ball supply device. For this reason, there are a degradation in training effects and an inconvenience in use. Moreover, it is difficult to precisely adjust the inclination of the mat. Accordingly, it is impossible to simulate diverse conditions of a real golf course.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0020]
    Therefore, the present invention has been made in view of the problems involved with the above mentioned related art.
  • [0021]
    An object of the invention is to provide an inclination-adjustable golf training device wherein vertical reciprocating means, which includes orthogonally-arranged vertical reciprocating assembly pairs each including driving and driven reciprocating assemblies facing each other are installed between upper and lower plates, in order to adjust the inclination of the upper plate, so that it can have a light-weight structure.
  • [0022]
    Another object of the invention is to provide an inclination-adjustable golf training device capable of achieving a precise inclination adjustment using reduction motors.
  • [0023]
    Another object of the invention is to provide an inclination-adjustable golf training mat which includes a golf ball supply unit mounted to an upper plate assembly while being vertically movable to continuously supply golf balls, the golf ball supply device being retracted into an upper plate included in the upper plate assembly during the procedure of making a shot, so that it does not serve as an obstacle when the user practices golf shots.
  • [0024]
    Another object of the invention is to provide an inclination-adjustable golf training mat including a tee having an adjustable vertical protrusion length, thereby allowing the user to practice iron shots and putting as well as tee shots.
  • [0025]
    Another object of the invention is to provide an inclination-adjustable golf training mat including a key pad for an adjustment of inclination and display of an inclined state, thereby allowing a manual control thereof and an automatic control thereof using a microcomputer.
  • [0026]
    In order to accomplish these objects, the present invention provides an inclination-adjustable golf training device comprising: ball supply means configured to vertically reciprocate, and provided with a vertically reciprocating tee; a controller for setting a desired inclination angle, displaying the set inclination angle, and controlling supplying of a ball; an upper plate assembly, to which the ball supply means and the controller are internally mounted, the upper plate assembly including an upper plate; a lower plate assembly adapted to support the upper plate of the upper plate assembly while being spaced apart from the upper plate; vertical reciprocating means mounted on the lower plate assembly while including driving and driven parts operating to adjust the inclination of the upper plate with respect to the lower plate assembly; and a bellows interposed between the upper and lower plate assemblies to close a space defined between the upper and lower plate assemblies.
  • [0027]
    The vertical reciprocating means may have four operating points for reciprocation arranged on a circle about the center of the upper plate while being uniformly spaced from one another in a circumferential direction, the operating points being arranged in pairs so that the operating points of each operating point pair are opposite to each other while performing vertical movements of the upper plate in opposite directions by the same distance, respectively. The line extending between the operating points of one operating point pair is orthogonal to the line of the other operating point pair. The ball supply means is installed to be retractable below the upper plate so that it is protruded above the upper plate when a ball is to be supplied to the tee while being retracted below the upper plate after supplying the ball. The controller includes a plurality of keys installed on the upper plate and adapted to control the inclination of the upper plate while controlling the entire part of the golf training device.
  • [0028]
    The golf training device of the present invention is designed so that the mounting point of the vertical reciprocating means to the upper plate is variable, in order to absorb a physical shift of the mounting point from a vertical axis, on which the mounting point is normally positioned.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0029]
    Other objects and aspects of the invention will become apparent from the following description of embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
  • [0030]
    [0030]FIG. 1 is a perspective view schematically illustrating the conceptual outer construction of an inclination-adjustable golf training device according to the present invention;
  • [0031]
    [0031]FIG. 2 is a plan view illustrating an inclination-adjustable golf training device according to an embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0032]
    [0032]FIG. 3 is a sectional view illustrating the inclination-adjustable golf training device of FIG. 2;
  • [0033]
    [0033]FIG. 4 is a sectional view illustrating the driving part of a vertical reciprocating unit included in the inclination-adjustable golf training device of FIG. 2;
  • [0034]
    [0034]FIG. 5 is a partially-broken plan view illustrating an internal ball supplier according to the present invention;
  • [0035]
    [0035]FIG. 6 is a back-side view illustrating the internal ball supplier;
  • [0036]
    [0036]FIG. 7 is a view illustrating the operation of a ball holding arm included in the internal ball supplier;
  • [0037]
    [0037]FIG. 8 is a view illustrating the operation of the internal ball supplier;
  • [0038]
    [0038]FIG. 9 is a view illustrating a detailed configuration of the internal ball supplier;
  • [0039]
    [0039]FIG. 10 is a sectional view illustrating an external ball supplier according to the present invention;
  • [0040]
    [0040]FIG. 11 is a plan view partially illustrating the external ball supplier;
  • [0041]
    [0041]FIG. 12 is a sectional view illustrating an inclination-adjustable golf training device according to another embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0042]
    [0042]FIG. 13 is a sectional view illustrating the driving part of a vertical reciprocating unit included in the inclination-adjustable golf training device of FIG. 12;
  • [0043]
    [0043]FIG. 14 is a plan view corresponding to FIG. 13
  • [0044]
    [0044]FIGS. 15a and 15 b are sectional and plan views partially illustrating the inclination-adjustable golf training device of FIG. 12, respectively;
  • [0045]
    [0045]FIGS. 16a and 16 b are plan views illustrating the operation of the elements shown in FIG. 15;
  • [0046]
    [0046]FIG. 17 is a sectional view illustrating an inclination-adjustable golf training device according to another embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0047]
    [0047]FIG. 18 is a plan view illustrating the inclination-adjustable golf training device of FIG. 17;
  • [0048]
    [0048]FIGS. 19a to 19 c are views illustrating a detailed configuration of a vertical reciprocating mechanism included in the inclination-adjustable golf training device of FIG. 17, in which FIG. 17a is a plan view showing a driving reciprocating assembly, FIG. 17b is a side view showing the driving reciprocating assembly, and FIG. 17c is a side view showing a driven reciprocating assembly;
  • [0049]
    [0049]FIG. 20 is a view illustrating a ball supply unit according to another embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0050]
    [0050]FIG. 21 is a plan view corresponding to FIG. 20;
  • [0051]
    [0051]FIG. 22 is a partially-broken side view illustrating the ball supply unit coupled to an upper plate;
  • [0052]
    [0052]FIG. 23 is a plan view illustrating an inclination-adjustable golf training device according to another embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0053]
    [0053]FIG. 24 is a side view corresponding to FIG. 23;
  • [0054]
    [0054]FIG. 25 is an enlarged view illustrating the driving part of a vertical reciprocating mechanism included in the inclination-adjustable golf training device of FIG. 24;
  • [0055]
    [0055]FIG. 26 is an enlarged view illustrating the driving part of the vertical reciprocating mechanism of FIG. 24;
  • [0056]
    [0056]FIG. 27 is a plan view illustrating an inclination-adjustable golf training device according to another embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0057]
    [0057]FIG. 28 is a side view corresponding to FIG. 23;
  • [0058]
    [0058]FIG. 29 is a block diagram illustrating a controller according to the present invention; and
  • [0059]
    FIGS. 30 to 34 are flow charts respectively illustrating control operations according to the present invention.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0060]
    Now, the present invention will be described in detail with reference to the annexed drawings.
  • [0061]
    [0061]FIG. 1 is a perspective view schematically illustrating the conceptual outer construction of an inclination-adjustable golf training device according to the present invention.
  • [0062]
    As shown in FIG. 1, the inclination-adjustable golf training device of the present invention includes a ball supplier 40 configured to vertically reciprocate, and provided with a vertically reciprocating tee 450, a controller 60 for setting a desired inclination angle, displaying the set inclination angle, and controlling supplying of a ball, and an upper plate assembly 10, to which the ball supplier 40 and the controller 60 are internally mounted. The inclination-adjustable golf training device also includes a lower plate assembly 20 adapted to support an upper plate included in the upper plate assembly 10 while being spaced apart from the upper plate, a vertical reciprocating unit mounted on the lower plate assembly 20 while including driving and driven parts operating to adjust the inclination of the upper plate, and a bellows 70 interposed between the upper and lower plate assemblies to close the space defined between the upper and lower plate assemblies. The vertical reciprocating unit is denoted by the reference numeral 30 in FIG. 4
  • [0063]
    The vertical reciprocating unit 30, which operates to adjust the inclination of the upper plate, has four operating points for reciprocation arranged on a circle about the center of the upper plate while being uniformly spaced from one another in a circumferential direction. That is, the operating points are arranged in pairs in such a fashion that those of each pair are opposite to each other. The operating points of each operating point pair perform vertical movements of the upper plate in opposite directions by the same distance, respectively. The line extending between the operating points of one operating point pair is orthogonal to the line of the other operating point pair.
  • [0064]
    Thus, the upper plate may be upwardly moved at one operating point of each operating point pair while being downwardly moved at the other operating point of the operating point pair by the same distance. The same movements of the upper plate are carried out at the operating points of the other operating point pair. Accordingly, the upper plate can be inclined from a horizontal plane in all radial directions.
  • [0065]
    FIGS. 2 to 11 illustrate an embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 2 is a plan view illustrating the inclination-adjustable golf training device with its upper plate assembly being omitted.
  • [0066]
    In accordance with the illustrated embodiment, the upper plate assembly 10 includes an upper plate, to which a plurality of radial support bars 12 and an artificial lawn mat are attached. As shown in FIG. 2, the lower plate assembly 20 includes a base plate 21 surrounded by an outer frame 22 and adapted to firmly support the reciprocating unit while having the same size as the upper plate, a plurality of radial support bars 23 adapted to mount the base plate 21 to the outer frame 22, and a support plate 24 arranged at the central portion of the base plate 21 while being vertically spaced apart from the base plate 21.
  • [0067]
    The vertical reciprocating unit 30, which is mounted to the base plate 21, includes a pair of driving reciprocating assemblies 31, and a pair of driven reciprocating assemblies 32 each cooperating with an associated one of the driving reciprocating assemblies 31. Each driving reciprocating assembly 31 includes a gear box 310, and a worm wheel 313 received in the gear box 310 and rotatably fitted at opposite ends thereof in holes formed at upper and lower ends of the gear box 310 by means of bearings 314. The worm wheel 313 has a central nut portion, and a horizontal gear portion formed around the central nut portion. A driving shaft 311 extends through the gear box 310 while having a worm 312 at its portion received in the gear box 310. The worm 312 is engaged with the worm wheel 313. A lead screw 315 is threadedly coupled with the central nut portion of the worm wheel 313 while extending vertically through the central nut portion. The lead screw 315 is axially coupled at the upper end thereof to a flange 317 mounted to the upper plate assembly 10 by means of a universal joint 316.
  • [0068]
    A reduction motor 318 is coupled to one end of the driving shaft 331 in order to rotate the driving shaft 331. Each driven reciprocating assembly 32 is connected to the other end of the driving shaft 311 included in an associated one of the driving reciprocating assemblies 31. The driven reciprocating assembly 32 has the same configuration as the associated driving reciprocating assembly 31, except that there is no reduction motor. In order to operationally connect the driven reciprocating assembly 32 to the driving reciprocating assembly 31, the other end of the driving shaft 311 extends through the gear box 310 of the driven reciprocating assembly 32. Another worm 312 is formed at the portion of the driving shaft 311 received in the gear box 310 of the driven reciprocating assembly 32. The worms 312 formed at respective opposite portions of the driving shaft 311 and engaged with respective worm wheels 313 of the driving and driven reciprocating assemblies 31 and 32 have teeth offset from each other, respectively, in order to allow the worm wheels 313 to rotate in opposite directions, respectively. Of course, the worm wheels 313 have offset teeth, respectively.
  • [0069]
    Where it is desired to adjust the inclination of the upper plate assembly 10 in accordance with operations of the driving and driven reciprocating assemblies 31 and 32, the reduction motor 318 operates to rotate the driving shaft 311 coupled thereto, thereby rotating the worm wheels 313 engaged with respective worms 312 of the driving shaft 311. In accordance with the rotation of the worm wheels 313, the lead screws 315 threadedly coupled to respective central nut portions of the worm wheels 313 move in opposite vertical directions, respectively. Accordingly, the inclination of the upper plate assembly 10 is adjusted.
  • [0070]
    Although the driving and driven reciprocating assemblies 31 and 32 have the same operating principle, they are coupled to the common driving shaft 311 such that they are moved in opposite vertical directions. Thus, the driving and driven reciprocating assemblies 31 and 32 serve as a pair of reciprocating assemblies moving in opposite vertical directions, respectively. That is, the reciprocating unit has two reciprocating assembly pairs in the illustrated embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0071]
    When the upper plate of the upper plate assembly 10 is inclined from a horizontal plane in accordance with vertical movements of the lead screws 315, the mounting point of each lead screw 315 to the upper plate tends to be laterally shifted from the axis of the lead screw 315. This physical lateral shift of the mounting point of the lead screw 315 results from the tendency of the upper plate to pivot about the center thereof. In accordance with the illustrated embodiment of the present invention, The physical lateral shift of the mounting point is absorbed by the universal joint 316. Accordingly, it is possible to prevent the mounting point of each lead screw 315 from being laterally shifted, thereby achieving smooth mechanical operation of the reciprocating unit and upper plate assembly 10.
  • [0072]
    As mentioned above, each lead screw 315 is mounted to the associated flange 317 mounted to the upper plate assembly 10 by means of the associated universal joint 316, so that it is mounted to the upper plate assembly 10, respectively. The lead screw 315 is vertically moved in accordance with rotation of the associated worm wheel 313 without any rotation thereof.
  • [0073]
    The driving shaft 311 of one reciprocating assembly pair is arranged to cross the driving shaft 311 of the other reciprocating assembly pair. In order to prevent these driving shafts 311 from interfering with each other, the driving shafts 311 are arranged at different levels, respectively. Taking into consideration the levels of the driving shafts 311, the horizontal gear portion levels of the worm wheels 313 in the reciprocating assembly pairs are designed to be different from each other.
  • [0074]
    Thus, the upper plate assembly 10 is vertically moved in a combined fashion at eight different points, that is, two points of a longitudinal direction, two points of a lateral direction, and four points of two diagonal directions, so that it can be inclined from a horizontal plane in all radial directions.
  • [0075]
    Ball supply means according to the illustrated embodiment of the present invention will now be described.
  • [0076]
    The ball supply means includes an internal ball supplier 40 received in the upper plate assembly 10 while being vertically movable, and an external ball supplier 50 arranged outside the upper plate assembly 10 and adapted to receive a plurality of golf balls.
  • [0077]
    The internal ball supplier 40 is received in the upper plate assembly 10 in such a fashion that its upper surface is flush with the upper surface of the upper plate assembly 10. The internal ball supplier 40 is configured so that it can be vertically protruded from and retracted into the upper plate assembly 10. The detailed configuration of the internal ball supplier 40 is shown in FIGS. 5 to 9.
  • [0078]
    As shown in FIGS. 5 to 9, the ball supplier 40 includes an upper frame 400 having an opening and a tee hole, a ball supply housing 410 installed to be movable along the upper frame 400 in such a fashion that it is protruded from and retracted into the opening of the upper frame 400, a ball holding arm pivotally mounted at one end thereof to the ball supply housing 141 and provided with a pair of ball holding members 411 and 412, and a solenoid 413 adapted to slide the ball holding member 412 toward the ball holding arm 411, thereby allowing the ball holding members 411 and 412 to hold a golf ball therebetween. The ball holding member 412 is always urged to be moved away from the ball holding member 411 by a compression coil spring. The internal ball supplier 40 also includes a step motor 414 for pivoting the ball holding arm along with the solenoid 413. A gear 414 a is mounted to a shaft provided at the step motor 414. A gear 414 b, which is fixedly mounted to the other end of the ball holding arm, is engaged with the gear 414 a. In accordance with this construction, the ball holding arm is pivotable between a ball holding position and a ball releasing position in accordance with opposite rotations of the step motor 414 transmitted thereto via the gears 414 a and 414 b. A ball introduction chamber is defined in the ball supply housing 410 just below the one end of the ball holding arm and at a position corresponding to the one end of the ball holding arm maintained at the ball holding position. The internal ball supplier 40 also includes a vertical reciprocating rod 415 mounted at the lower portion of the ball supply housing 410 in such a fashion that it is vertically movable to be protruded into and retracted from the ball introduction chamber. The vertical moving rod 415 pushes upwardly a ball introduced in the ball introduction chamber in accordance with an upward movement thereof, thereby allowing the ball holding arm to hold the ball. The internal ball supplier 40 further includes a solenoid 417 coupled to the vertical moving rod 415 via a link 416 and adapted to apply a vertical movement force to the vertical moving rod 415. Vertical rack members 418 are fixed to opposite lateral ends of the ball supply housing 410, respectively. The vertical rack members 418 are engaged with pinions 420 mounted to opposite portions of a driving shaft 421 included in a motor 419 fixedly mounted to the upper frame 400 so that they are vertically movable in accordance with the rotating operation of the motor 419, thereby causing the ball supply housing 410 to be vertically moved. The internal ball supplier 40 also includes a push member 423 adapted to push balls supplied into a ball introduction passage 422 communicating with the ball introduction chamber, thereby supplying the supplied balls, one by one, into the ball introduction chamber. A tee 450 is provided at a position corresponding to the one end of the ball holding member maintained at the ball releasing position. The tee 450 is configured to be vertically moved by a drive force generated from a motor 451. The tee 450 serves as a seat for receiving a ball released from the ball holding member at the ball releasing position.
  • [0079]
    The tee 450 includes a vertical rod member formed with racks, and a flexible tube 452 fitted around an upper portion of the vertical rod member.
  • [0080]
    Now, the external ball supplier 50, which serves to supply balls into the internal ball supplier 40, will be described.
  • [0081]
    As shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, the external ball supplier 50 includes a ball container 510 for receiving a plurality of balls, and a horizontal ball feeder 520. The ball container 510 has a downwardly inclined ball outlet passage 511. The bottom surface of the ball container 510 is downwardly sloped toward the ball outlet passage 511 in order to allow balls received in the ball container 510 to be freely dropped into the ball outlet passage 511 by gravity. A horizontal rotating bar member 512 is arranged at the downstream end of the sloped bottom surface of the ball container 510 in order to prevent balls from being jammed on the downstream end of the sloped bottom surface. The horizontal ball feeder 520 includes a push member 521 horizontally arranged to horizontally feed, one by one, balls from the ball outlet passage 511 to the inner ball supplier 40, and a motor 522 for rotating the push member 521. The push member 521 is provided with arms passing sequentially through the ball outlet passage 511 in a direction orthogonal to the ball outlet passage 511 during the rotation of the push member 521. The horizontal ball feeder 520 also includes a connecting tube 523 for connecting the ball outlet passage 511 to the ball introduction passage 422 of the inner ball supplier 40.
  • [0082]
    FIGS. 12 to 16 illustrate another embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 12 is a sectional view illustrating the inclination-adjustable golf training device according to the illustrated embodiment of the present invention. In FIGS. 12 to 16, elements respectively corresponding to those in FIGS. 2 to 11 are denoted by the same reference numerals.
  • [0083]
    In accordance with this embodiment, the vertical reciprocating unit, which is mounted to the base plate 21 and denoted by the reference numeral 30 a in FIG. 13, includes a pair of driving reciprocating assemblies 33, and a pair of driven reciprocating assemblies 34 each cooperating with an associated one of the driving reciprocating assemblies 33. Each driving reciprocating assembly 33 includes a gear box 330, and a worm wheel 333 received in the gear box 330 and rotatably fitted at opposite ends thereof in holes formed at upper and lower ends of the gear box 330 by means of bearings 334. The worm wheel 333 has a central nut portion, and a horizontal gear portion formed around the central nut portion. A driving shaft 331 extends through the gear box 330 while having a worm 332 at its portion received in the gear box 330. The worm 332 is engaged with the worm wheel 333. A lead screw 335 is threadedly coupled with the central nut portion of the worm wheel 333 while extending vertically through the central nut portion. The lead screw 335 also has a vertical guide groove 335 a formed at one side of the lead screw 335. A guide 337 is fixedly mounted to the gear box 330 so that it is engaged with the vertical guide groove 335 a. The lead screw 335 is axially coupled at the upper end thereof to the upper plate assembly 10 by means of a ball joint. As shown in FIGS. 15a and 15 b, the ball joint includes a ball 336 mounted to the upper end of the lead screw 335, and a slide member 339 a pivotally coupled to the ball 336. The slide member 339 a has a central portion pivotally coupled to the ball 336, an upper portion extending radially around the central portion, and a hollow lower portion extending downwardly from the central portion. The ball joint also includes a retaining member 339 fixedly mounted to the upper plate assembly 10 while surrounding the slide member 339 a. The retaining member 339 has an upper portion surrounding the upper portion of the slide member 339 a, and a lower portion surrounding the lower portion of the slide member 339 a. The upper portion of the retaining member 339 receives the upper portion of the slide member 339 a while defining an annular space 339 d around the upper portion of the slide member 339 in order to allow the slide member 339 a to slide radially. A pair of springs 339 b are arranged between the lower portion of the retaining member 339 and the lower portion of the slide member 339 a while opposing each other. The springs 339 b serve to urge the slide member 339 a to be maintained at a position centered with respect to the retaining member 339.
  • [0084]
    A reduction motor 338 is coupled to one end of the driving shaft 331 in order to rotate the driving shaft 331. Each driven reciprocating assembly 34 is connected to the other end of the driving shaft 331 included in an associated one of the driving reciprocating assemblies 33. The driven reciprocating assembly 34 has the same configuration as the associated driving reciprocating assembly 33, except that there is no reduction motor. In order to operationally connect the driven reciprocating assembly 34 to the driving reciprocating assembly 33, the other end of the driving shaft 331 extends through the gear box 330 of the driven reciprocating assembly 34. Another worm 332 is formed at the portion of the driving shaft 331 received in the gear box 330 of the driven reciprocating assembly 34. The worms 332 formed at respective opposite portions of the driving shaft 331 and engaged with respective worm wheels 333 of the driving and driven reciprocating assemblies 33 and 34 have teeth offset from each other, respectively, in order to allow the worm wheels 333 to rotate in opposite directions, respectively. Of course, the worm wheels 333 have offset teeth, respectively.
  • [0085]
    As shown in FIG. 12, a central shaft 340 extends upwardly from the support plate 24 arranged at the central portion of the base plate 21 included in the lower plate assembly 20. The central shaft 340 is axially coupled to the center of the upper plate assembly 10 by means of a ball joint. This ball joint includes a ball 342 mounted to the upper end of the central shaft 340, and a retaining member 344 pivotally coupled with the ball 342 and fixedly mounted to the center of the upper plate assembly 10.
  • [0086]
    Where it is desired to adjust the inclination of the upper plate assembly 10 in accordance with operations of the driving and driven reciprocating assemblies 33 and 34, the reduction motor 338 operates to rotate the driving shaft 331 coupled thereto, thereby rotating the worm wheels 333 engaged with respective worms 332 of the driving shaft 331. In accordance with the rotation of the worm wheels 333, the lead screws 335 threadedly coupled to respective central nut portions of the worm wheels 333 move in opposite vertical directions, respectively. Accordingly, the inclination of the upper plate assembly 10 is adjusted.
  • [0087]
    Although the driving and driven reciprocating assemblies 33 and 34 have the same operating principle, as in the embodiment of FIGS. 2 to 11, they are coupled to the common driving shaft 331 such that they are moved in opposite vertical directions. Thus, the driving and driven reciprocating assemblies 33 and 34 serve as a pair of reciprocating assemblies moving in opposite vertical directions, respectively. That is, the reciprocating unit has two reciprocating assembly pairs in the illustrated embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0088]
    Meanwhile, each lead screw 335 is vertically moved while being prevented from rotating by the guide 337 engaged in the vertical guide groove 335 a. The reason why the lead screw 335 should be prevented from rotating is that the ball joint mounted to the lead screw 335 is rotatable.
  • [0089]
    When the upper plate of the upper plate assembly 10 is inclined from a horizontal plane in accordance with vertical movements of the lead screws 335, the mounting point of each lead screw 335 to the upper plate tends to be laterally shifted from the axis of the lead screw 335. This physical lateral shift of the mounting point of the lead screw 335 results from the tendency of the upper plate to pivot about the center thereof. In accordance with the illustrated embodiment of the present invention, The physical lateral shift of the mounting point is absorbed by the ball joint.
  • [0090]
    That is, the ball 336 mounted to the upper end of the lead screw 335 is pivotally coupled to the slide member 339 a elastically coupled to the retaining member 339 via the springs 339d while being slidable along the retaining member 339. When the lead screw 335 moves vertically to adjust the inclination of the upper plate assembly 10, the slide member 339 a slides by virtue of such a configuration of the ball joint, thereby causing the mounting point of the lead screw 335 to be maintained without being laterally shifted. The return of the slide member 339 a to its original position is achieved by the resilience of the springs 339 d. The springs 339 d serve to absorb torsion possibly applied to the lead screw 335 while applying elasticity to the lead screw 335.
  • [0091]
    The driving shaft 331 of one reciprocating assembly pair is arranged to cross the driving shaft 331 of the other reciprocating assembly pair. In order to prevent these driving shafts 331 from interfering with each other, the driving shafts 331 are arranged at different levels, respectively.
  • [0092]
    FIGS. 17 to 19 illustrate another embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 17 is a sectional view illustrating the inclination-adjustable golf training device according to the illustrated embodiment of the present invention. In FIGS. 17 to 19, elements respectively corresponding to those in FIGS. 2 to 11 are denoted by the same reference numerals.
  • [0093]
    As shown in FIGS. 17 to 19, the inclination-adjustable golf training device of this embodiment includes an upper plate assembly 10, a lower plate assembly 20, and a vertical reciprocating unit 30 b mounted on the lower plate assembly 20 and connected to the upper plate assembly 10. The vertical reciprocating unit 30 b includes a pair of vertical reciprocating mechanisms arranged to cross each other. Each vertical reciprocating mechanism includes a driving reciprocating assembly 35, and a driven reciprocating assembly 36 cooperating with the driving reciprocating assembly 35 while facing the driving reciprocating assembly 35. The vertical reciprocating unit 30 b also includes a ball joint 361 for centrally connecting the upper and lower plate assemblies 10 and 20.
  • [0094]
    In each vertical reciprocating mechanism of the vertical reciprocating unit 30 b, the driving reciprocating assembly 35 includes a reduction motor 230 fixedly mounted to a support frame 350, a drive gear 351 axially coupled to the reduction motor 352, and a reduction gear 354 coaxially coupled to a drive sprocket 353 and engaged with the drive gear 351. A guide sprocket 355 is arranged to be flush with the drive sprocket 353. As shown in FIG. 19c, the driven reciprocating assembly 36 includes a driven sprocket 353 a and a guide sprocket 355 a which are axially coupled to a support frame 350 a mounted to the lower plate assembly 20. A chain 357 extends via the drive and driven sprockets 353 and 353 a and the guide sprockets 355 and 355 a while being engaged with those sprockets. Opposite ends of the chain 357 are fixed to respective support bars 12 included in the lower surface of the upper plate assembly 10. A screw type tension adjustment knob 356 is also provided to adjust the position of the frame 350 a, thereby adjusting the tension of the chain 357. The ball joint 361 has a lower shaft provided with through holes crossing each other. The chain 357 of each vertical reciprocating mechanism extends through an associated one of the through holes.
  • [0095]
    In order to prevent respective chains 357 of the vertical reciprocating mechanisms from interfering with each other, the guide sprockets engaged with one chain 357 are arranged at a level different from that of the guide sprockets engaged with the other chain 357.
  • [0096]
    As shown in FIGS. 20 to 22, the internal ball supplier may have a modified configuration. In this case, the internal ball supplier, which is denoted by the reference numeral 40 a, includes a ball holding arm assembly held in the ball supply housing 410, and a vertical rack 430 centrally fixed to the outer surface of a rear wall of the ball supply housing 410. The vertical rack 430 is engaged with a pinion 432 mounted to a motor 431 fixedly mounted to the upper frame 400 so that it is vertically movable in accordance with the rotating operation of the motor 431. In accordance with the vertical movement of the vertical rack 430, the ball supply housing 410 is vertically moved. A hollow guide 434 is fixedly mounted to the outer surface of the rear wall of the ball supply housing 410. A guide rod 433 is also mounted to the lower surface of the upper frame 400 so that it extends through the guide 434. Accordingly, the guide rod 433 and guide 434 guide the vertical movement of the ball supply housing 410.
  • [0097]
    This internal ball supplier 40 a has the same function as the above described internal ball supplier 40. Accordingly, detailed operations of the internal ball supplier 40 will be omitted. The internal ball supplier 40 a is different from the internal ball supplier 40 in that the drive force of the motor 431 is transmitted to the rack gear 430 centrally mounted to the ball supply housing 410 to vertically move the ball supply housing 410, and that the vertical movement of the ball supply housing 410 is guided by the cooperation of the guide rod 433 and guide 434 arranged opposite to the rack gear 430.
  • [0098]
    A vertical reciprocating unit according to another embodiment of the present invention modified from the embodiment of FIGS. 17 to 19 will be described with reference to FIGS. 23 to 26.
  • [0099]
    As shown in FIGS. 23 to 26, this vertical reciprocating unit, which is denoted by the reference numeral 30 c, includes a pair of vertical reciprocating mechanisms each including a driving reciprocating assembly 37, and a driven reciprocating assembly 38 cooperating with the driving reciprocating assembly 37 while facing the driving reciprocating assembly 37.
  • [0100]
    Each driving reciprocating assembly 37 includes a reduction motor 372 fixedly mounted to a support frame 370 mounted to the lower plate assembly 20, a drive worm 371 axially coupled to the reduction motor 372, a lead screw 375 fixed at an upper end thereof to an associated one of the support bars 12 of the upper plate assembly 10, and a nut member 374 a rotatably mounted between the support frame 370 and the lower plate assembly 20 and threadedly coupled to the lead screw 375 in order to vertically move the lead screw 375 in accordance with its rotation. A drive sprocket 373 and a worm wheel 374 are fixedly fitted around the nut member 374 a. The worm wheel 374 is engaged with the drive worm 371. As shown in FIG. 26, the driven reciprocating assembly 38 includes a lead screw 375 a fixed at an upper end thereof to an associated one of the support bars 12 of the upper plate assembly 10, and a nut member 374 b rotatably mounted between the support frame 370 and the lower plate assembly 20 and threadedly coupled to the lead screw 375 a in order to vertically move the lead screw 375 a in accordance with its rotation. A driven sprocket 373 a are fixedly fitted around the nut member 374 b. An endless chain, which is denoted by the reference numeral 377, extends between the drive and driven sprockets 373 and 373 a.
  • [0101]
    The lead screws 375 and 375 a of the drive and driven reciprocating assemblies 37 and 38 have threads offset from each other, respectively.
  • [0102]
    In order to prevent respective chains 377 of the vertical reciprocating mechanisms from interfering with each other, the sprockets engaged with one chain 377 are arranged at a level different from that of the sprockets engaged with the other chain 377. The vertical reciprocating unit 30 c also includes a ball joint 381 for centrally connecting the upper and lower plate assemblies 10 and 20.
  • [0103]
    When the drive worm 371 and worm wheel 374 are rotated by a drive force from the motor 372 of the driving reciprocating assembly 37, the nut member 374 a integral with the worm wheel 374 is rotated, thereby causing the lead screw 375 threadedly coupled to the nut member 374 a to be upwardly or downwardly moved. Since the lead screw 375 a of the driven reciprocating assembly 38 connected to the driving reciprocating assembly 37 has threads opposite to those of the lead screw 375, it is vertically moved in a direction opposite to that of the lead screw 375 by the drive force transmitted thereto via the chain 377 and sprocket 373 a. That is, when one of the associated driving and driven reciprocating assemblies 37 and 38 moves upwardly, the other reciprocating assembly moves downwardly. Thus, the inclination of the upper plate assembly 10 about the ball joint 381 is adjusted.
  • [0104]
    [0104]FIG. 27 illustrates another embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, the adjustment of inclination conducted at four operating points is implemented using hydraulic cylinders, different from the above mentioned embodiments using electric motors.
  • [0105]
    In accordance with this embodiment, the upper plate assembly 10 includes an upper plate, to which a plurality of radial support bars 12 and an artificial lawn mat are attached. The lower plate assembly 20 includes a base plate 21 surrounded by an outer frame 22 and adapted to firmly support the reciprocating unit while having the same size as the upper plate, a plurality of radial support bars 23 adapted to mount the base plate 21 to the outer frame 22. A ball joint 361 is mounted to the upper end of a vertical bar extending upwardly from the central portion of the base plate 21 in order to centrally connect the upper and lower plate assemblies 10 and 20. The vertical reciprocating unit, which is denoted by the reference numeral 30 d, includes radially-extending hydraulic cylinders 390 arranged at four points around the ball joint 361 while being uniformly spaced from one another in a circumferential direction, respectively. That is, the vertical reciprocating unit 30 d includes two pairs of facing hydraulic cylinders 390. Each cylinder 390 has a piston rod 391 coupled, at an outer end thereof protruded from one end of the cylinder 390, to the lower surface of the upper plate included in the upper plate assembly 10 by means of a pin. The other end of each cylinder 390 is hingably mounted to the base plate 21 of the lower plate assembly 20. The hydraulic cylinder pairs are operated independently of each other. The vertical reciprocating unit 30 d also includes two hydraulic pumps 392 each adapted to supply hydraulic pressure to the hydraulic cylinders 390 of an associated one of the hydraulic cylinder pairs, and a pair of solenoid assemblies 393 respectively associated with the hydraulic pumps 392 and adapted to open and close fluid passages each extending between an associated one of the hydraulic pumps 392 and an associated one of the hydraulic cylinder pairs.
  • [0106]
    Each solenoid assembly 393 is configured to independently control fluid inlet and outlet ports of the associated hydraulic cylinder pair. Although each solenoid assembly 393 is hydraulically connected to each cylinder of the associated hydraulic cylinder pair via a hydraulic line, the illustration of such a hydraulic line is omitted from FIG. 27.
  • [0107]
    In accordance with this embodiment, the inclination of the upper plate assembly 10 is adjusted in all radial directions by the radially-arranged hydraulic cylinders, in which the protruded lengths of their piston rods are adjusted by hydraulic pressure.
  • [0108]
    The control for the operations of all elements in each of the above described embodiments of the present invention is achieved using a microcomputer. Accordingly, the controller, which will be described hereinafter, can be applied in common to at least the embodiments using electric motors. Of courser, the controller can also easily applied to the embodiment, in which its vertical reciprocating assembly includes hydraulic cylinders, by modifying the controller to control the operation of each solenoid assembly in place of the operation of each electric motor.
  • [0109]
    [0109]FIG. 29 is a block diagram illustrating the controller applied to the present invention.
  • [0110]
    As shown in FIG. 29, the controller, which is denoted by the reference numeral 60, includes a control unit 610. The control unit 610 includes a microcomputer for detecting operating states of elements to be controlled, performing a computation based on the detected operation states, and controlling operations of driving elements based on the computed result, an over-current detector 611 for detecting an over-current state of each electric motor, and stopping the operation of the electric motor when it detects the over-current state, and a plurality of input and output ports. The controller 60 also includes a key pad 620 having a plurality of keys generating key signals to be inputted to the control unit 610 in order to adjust the inclination of the upper plate assembly or to conduct other manipulations. In FIG. 29, the keys are assigned with numbers 1 to 12, respectively. The controller 60 further includes a first sensor unit 630, and a second sensor unit 640. The first sensor unit 630 includes X and Y-axis movement detectors 631 and 632 for detecting the moved distances of the upper plate assembly in X and Y-axis directions, respectively, a ball supply position detector 633 including a plurality of sensors to allow balls to be continuously supplied, an arm position detector 634 for detecting protruded and retracted positions of the ball holding arm, a tee level detector 635 for detecting the level of the tee, a tee level limit detector 636 for detecting upper and lower level limits of the tee, and a ball supply housing movement limit detector 637 for detecting the protrusion and retraction limits of the ball supply housing. The second sensor unit 640 includes a plurality of limit switches adapted to detect the downward movement of the upper plate assembly exceeding a predetermined lower movement limit at eight radial positions, respectively. In the illustrated case, the second sensor unit 640 includes eight limit switches L1 to L8.
  • [0111]
    Each of the limit switches L1 to L8 included in the second sensor unit 640 is adapted to detect an inclination of the upper plate assembly exceeding an angle range of 10 from a horizontal plane. When one of the limit switches L1 to L8 detects such an excessive inclination, it is activated to stop all driving elements.
  • [0112]
    The controller 60 further includes a control motor driving unit 650 for controlling a plurality of control motors under the control of the control unit 610. The control motor driving unit 650 includes a push motor driver 651 for driving the push motor adapted to generate a pushing force for pushing balls discharged from the external ball supplier toward the internal ball supplier, thereby supplying balls to the internal ball supplier, a vertical reciprocating motor driver 652 for driving the vertical reciprocating motor adapted to vertically move the ball supply housing, a push motor driver 653 for driving the push motor adapted to generate a pushing force for pushing balls supplied to the internal ball supplier toward the ball supply housing, thereby supplying balls to the interior of the ball supply housing, a step motor driver 654 for driving the step motor adapted to pivotally move the ball holding arm, a tee reciprocating motor driver 655 for driving the tee reciprocating motor adapted to vertically move the tee, and a bar member rotating motor driver 656 for driving the bar member rotating motor adapted to rotate the rotating bar member for preventing balls from being jammed within the horizontal ball feeder of the external ball supplier. The controller 60 also includes an upper plate assembly reciprocating motor driving unit 680, which includes X and Y-axis reciprocating motors 681 and 682 for vertically reciprocating the upper plate assembly in X and Y-axis directions, and a motor drive 683 for driving the X and Y-axis reciprocating motors 681 and 682. The controller 60 further includes a solenoid driving unit 660 including a reciprocating rod solenoid driver 661 for driving the solenoid adapted to vertically reciprocate the vertical reciprocating rod in order to upwardly move the ball, supplied to the interior of the internal ball supplier, up to the ball holding position, and a ball holding arm solenoid driver 662 for driving the solenoid adapted to allow the ball holding arm to hold the ball at the ball holding position. The controller 60 also includes a display unit 670 having seven segments to display various control states including use time, ball count, and inclination, and a power supply unit 690 for supplying drive power to all control circuits and driving units.
  • [0113]
    The ball supply position detector 633 may be provided in multiple in accordance with at least the structure of the ball feeding path. In this case, the ball supply position detectors may be freely designed by defining the ball feeding path using a curved connecting tube. Each of the arm position detector 634, tee level limit detector 636, and ball supply housing movement limit detector 637 includes a plurality of sensors adapted to detect at least the upper and lower limits.
  • [0114]
    Each sensor of each detector may comprise an encoder in the case in which it is adapted to detect a moved length. Where it is desired to detect a moved position, the sensor may comprise an optical switch such as a photo transistor or a proximity switch.
  • [0115]
    The operations and functions of the present invention can be clearly understood by referring to the following detailed description given in conjunction with the control operation of the controller having the above mentioned configuration.
  • [0116]
    The control operation of the controller will be described with reference to FIGS. 30 to 34.
  • [0117]
    When power is supplied to the controller, the tee is moved to its lower position, based on the result of detection made by the tee level limit detector 636, and stopped at the lower position. In order to subsequently supply a ball to the ball holding arm, the ball holding arm is moved to the ball holding position within the ball supply housing, based on the result of detection made by the arm position detector 634. At this time, the ball supply housing is also moved to its lower position.
  • [0118]
    Meanwhile, the push motor is driven until the connecting tube is filled with balls supplied from the external ball supplier, so as to sufficiently supply balls to the ball introduction passage of the internal ball supplier connected to the connecting tube.
  • [0119]
    Thereafter, the X-axis reciprocating motor is driven to rotate in a clockwise direction until the X-axis is horizontally maintained, whereas the Y-axis reciprocating motor is driven to rotate in a counter-clockwise direction until the Y-axis is horizontally maintained. Thus, the initialization of the inclination-adjustable golf training device is completed.
  • [0120]
    Following the initialization procedure, sub-routines, that is, control procedures for a key input process and a ball supply process, are executed. When a trouble occurs during the execution of each sub-routine, all drive motors are stopped, based on detection of this trouble.
  • [0121]
    In the key input process, as shown in FIG. 31, motors are controlled, based on direction key inputs from keys respectively assigned with key numbers 1 to 8 corresponding to eight different radial directions of the inclination of upper plate assembly, in order to operate normally or reversely, thereby adjusting the inclination of the upper plate assembly in a desired radial direction, that is, an X or Y-axis direction. When a key input from the ninth key is detected, the upper plate assembly is controlled to be horizontally maintained.
  • [0122]
    When key inputs from the eleventh and twelfth keys are detected, the tee reciprocating motor is driven to move in upward and downward directions, respectively.
  • [0123]
    When a key input from the tenth key is detected, a tenth key process illustrated in FIG. 32 is executed. That is, control operation is performed to position a ball from the internal ball supplier on the tee. In this tenth key process, control operations are executed to upwardly move the ball supply housing in a state in which the supplied ball is laid on the vertical reciprocating rod, and to reversely drive the housing motor when over-current supplied to the housing motor is detected, thereby downwardly moving the ball supply housing to its initial position. The over-current is caused by a continued operation of the housing motor in a state in which the ball supply housing has reached its upper limit, or other erroneous upward movement operations.
  • [0124]
    When a detect signal from the sensor adapted to detect the ball supply housing reaching its upper limit is sensed, the reciprocating rod solenoid internally installed in the ball supply housing is activated to upwardly move the ball to the ball holding arm. Thereafter, the ball holding arm solenoid is activated to allow the ball holding arm to hold the ball.
  • [0125]
    Once the ball holding arm holds the ball, it is pivotally moved to the ball releasing position where the ball is vertically aligned with the tee. In this state, control operations are executed to deactivate the ball holding arm solenoid, thereby laying the ball on the tee, to return the ball holding arm to its original position, and to retract the protruded ball supply housing into the upper plate assembly.
  • [0126]
    The sequential supply of balls into the ball supply housing is controlled in accordance with the ball supply process illustrated in FIG. 33.
  • [0127]
    When the ball detecting sensor adapted to sense balls supplied from the external ball supplier senses balls, the push motor of the external ball supplier is driven for a desired time to rotate in a counter-clockwise direction, in order to push the balls toward the inner ball supplier, thereby supplying those balls to the inner ball supplier. In this state, the ball push motor of the inner ball supplier is driven to rotate one revolution, in order to feed the supplied balls, one by one, to a position arranged over the vertical reciprocating rod. When over-current is detected during the operation of the ball push motor, a control operation is executed to reversely rotate the ball push motor to its initial position. After the ball push motor is positioned at its initial position, the supply of balls is carried out again.
  • [0128]
    Where no ball is detected by the ball detecting sensor, the push motor of the external ball supplier is driven to rotate in a clockwise direction, in order to supply balls. When balls are too densely filled in the ball supply passage without being properly aligned, thereby preventing the push motor from rotating, over-current is generated. When such over-current is detected, a control operation is executed to temporarily operate the push motor in a reverse direction.
  • [0129]
    Thus, balls can be continuously supplied while being in close contact with one another in an aligned state.
  • [0130]
    [0130]FIG. 34 illustrates an error checking process executed by the controller according to the present invention.
  • [0131]
    In this error checking process, the lower movement limit of the upper plate assembly is regulated, in order to protect the entire element of the inclination-adjustable golf training device by stopping the drive motors when the upper plate assembly is downwardly moved beyond the lower movement limit. The limit switches of the second sensor unit 640 provided to achieve this control are installed at the outer frame of the lower plate assembly. The limit switches serve to detect the downward movement of the upper plate assembly exceeding the lower movement limit at eight radial positions, respectively. Each of the limit switches is adapted to detect an inclination of the upper plate assembly exceeding an angle range of 10 from a horizontal plane. When any one of the limit switches detects such an excessive inclination, it is activated to stop the X and Y-axis drive motors for the upper plate assembly after briefly driving those drive motors in a reverse direction. At this time, the ball holding arm motor, tee reciprocating motor, and push motors are controlled to be stopped.
  • [0132]
    As apparent from the above description, the present invention provides an inclination-adjustable golf training device wherein vertical reciprocating means, which includes orthogonally-arranged vertical reciprocating assembly pairs each including driving and driven reciprocating assemblies facing each other are installed between upper and lower plates, in order to adjust the inclination of the upper plate. By virtue of such a configuration, the inclination-adjustable golf training device can have a light-weight structure.
  • [0133]
    In accordance with the present invention, it is possible to accurately adjust the inclination of the upper plate within an angle range of 10 by driving reduction motors. The upper plate can be inclined at eight different points, that is, two points of a longitudinal direction, two points of a lateral direction, and four points of two diagonal directions, so that it can be inclined from a horizontal plane in all radial directions. Accordingly, it is possible to easily simulate the conditions of a real golf course, thereby obtaining an enhanced training effect.
  • [0134]
    Continuous supply of balls is possible by virtue of the provision of a golf ball supply unit. Since the ball supply unit is configured to be retracted into the upper plate during the procedure of making a shot, it does not serve as an obstacle when the user practices golf shots. The inclination-adjustable golf training device of the present invention uses a tee configured to have an adjustable vertical protrusion height, thereby allowing the user to practice iron shots and putting as well as tee shots. The golf training device also includes a key pad adapted to be manipulated for an adjustment of inclination and to display the inclined state of the upper plate. Accordingly, it is possible not only to manually control the golf training device, but also to automatically control the golf training device using a microcomputer.
  • [0135]
    Although the preferred embodiments of the invention have been disclosed for illustrative purposes, those skilled in the art will appreciate that various modifications, additions and substitutions are possible, without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention as disclosed in the accompanying claims.
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US6913541 *Mar 29, 2002Jul 5, 2005David ChenGolf putting training apparatus
US7131911 *Feb 27, 2004Nov 7, 2006Golfzon Co. LtdSlope controllable foot plate for golf swing practice apparatus
US8187122Sep 30, 2010May 29, 2012Sri Sports LimitedClub fitting system
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Classifications
U.S. Classification473/132, 473/136, 473/134, 473/279, 473/278
International ClassificationA63B69/36
Cooperative ClassificationA63B69/3652, A63B57/0006
European ClassificationA63B57/00A, A63B69/36D6
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 22, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: AMUSE WORLD CO., LTD., KOREA, REPUBLIC OF
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:LEE, SANG CHUL;CHANG, CHAE HOON;REEL/FRAME:012634/0474;SIGNING DATES FROM 20011221 TO 20011222