US 2159579 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
May 23, 1939. w E w n- 2,159,579
GOLF CLUB OR THE LIKE Filed Aug; '27, 1938 WZZZz'amZ? Wwzne @W Patented May 23, 1939 UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE 6 Claims.
This invention relates --to devices for aiding golfers in improving the effectiveness of their swings or strokes as Well as improving playing form. The present invention affords a device which is capable of being swung like a golf club and which is effective in aiding the average player to increase the distance to which he may hit the ball.
In an effective stroke of a golf club, the accel- 10 eration of the club should be smooth and free from sudden variations in rate which dissipate energy. In an approved stroke,v the hands should -lead the club head at the beginning of the back swing, while upon approaching the top of the -back swing the club head passes the hands and should continue its movement after the hands have stopped moving. On the down-swing the hands must similarly lead the club head, while at the instant of impact the club should have caught up with and be slightly ahead of the hands. In other wor-ds,the stroke should involve smooth deceleration of the club head, particularly at the end of the back swing, as well as smooth acceleration on the down-swing. In this manner-a smooth, continuous swinging movement may be obtained which imparts high velocity to the club at the instant of impact.
The present invention is particularly effective in aiding the player in obtainingsuch a movement of the hands and wrists as results in the smooth acceleration and deceleration of the club head Topermit these desirable results, the device may beprovided with parts that remain relatively fixed when .itis being swung in the approved manner,..but which move. relative to each other when the. device is swung improperly. These parts maybe arranged so that their relat ve movement affords, a prcceptible signal indicating .to the playerancl/ or to :his instructor that the device has not been swung properly.
The principles of the present invention may be employed in anysuitablfirdevice rwhichgis capable of being swung like a lgQlf club and. which'is lefiect vc in si nalin th .u er when th device is not properly swung. Such ,a device .may ordinarily be in the form of a club; such a clubmay havea w gh d tribu on o balance somewhat anp oavh ns' a o as l club. .lni smor spccific an p r ed aspect, t e pres ntinvention pro- 50 vid s as lf c h ts a t ar n d oslgna the user when h d i te f om the nrope strqkfi- 'I-'hus d ce -1Q th seener i ps maybeemploy d in practicing golf swings, while the preferred embodim n f he invention can be e both 55 .for pract ceswin s and for actual p ay, i des rediii A club constructed in accordance with the present invention preferably may comprise a handle portion and a section articulated thereto by a suitable joint which allows the sectionto swing in one general direction relative to the handle .5 but which is provided with stop means to limit such-a relative swinging movement in the opposite direction. When the principles of the invention are employed, for exalmple in a golf club, the shaft of the club may be provided with a shank 1o portion and a handle portion which are normally maintained in alignment but which move out .of alignment when the player accelerates or decelerates the club head too suddenly or tends =to.cause the head -.to move out .of the continuous, 15 smooth sweeping path which it should follow in an approved golf stroke.
For this purpose, I prefer to provide a springloaded pivotal Joint between the shank and handle portions .of the shaft, this joint being prov vided with a stop cooperating with the spring so that the portio sof .the shaft are normally maintained in alignment. In the preferred form of the invention, the stop may be removable from the handle, thus permitting the spring to be substantiall-y relieved of stress so that it may be more readily removed and replaced. Each golf club ordinarily is designed so that its face should meet the-golf ball atapredetermined angle or loft; preferably the joint between the portions of the shaft is arranged so that the axis of the pivot is roughly parallel .to the horizontal component of flight for which the headof the particular club is designed.
In the accompanying drawing:
Fig. l is an elevaticnal view .of a golf club exemplifying the principles of the present invention;
Fig. 2 is an enlarged elevational .detail of the joint provided between portions of the shaft of 40 suc a c Fig. 3 is ,an elevational View taken at right angles to Fig.2; and
Fig. .4 is a section indicated by line .4..4 of'Fig.
l andshowing the relative position of the pivotal axis and the face .of .the golf club.
While the principles of the present invention be employed in any suitable device capable of beingswung likela golf club, .and more particuar y .ii isht d clubs having the genera balance and f eel" of golf clubs, in the preferred embodiment of the invention which is illustrated h e n .Ihav shown t e nve t on as actua ly em ye ins sq icluh. 511 a d v o the type having a wooden head for hitting the ball.
The invention is particularly advantageous in clubs of this type, although it is also highly useful in irons of the type which are employed for hitting the ball through the green. The same general principles may be employed when either the handle or the head of the club is formed of iron, wood or other suitable material.
The club shown in the accompanying drawing comprises a head I and a shaft designated generally by the numeral 2. In accordance with this invention, the shaft preferably comprises a lower shank portion 3 which is fixed to the head in the conventional or any desired manner, and a handle portion 4 which is normally aligned with the shank portion 3. Between the handle and shank portions of the shaft I prefer to provide a spring-loaded joint, designated generally by the numeral 6. The joint 6 may include a central lug l projecting from the end of one of the shaft sections, as the shank portion 3, and cooperating ears 8 projecting from the end of the other shaft portion. The lug and ears are arranged in interfitting relationship and are connected by a pintle pin extending therethrough and affording a pivotal axis.
A suitable stop preferably is provided on one of the shaft portions to cooperate with an abutment surface or surfaces on the other shaft portion. Thus, for example, I may provide a removable stop element [2 in the form of a screw threaded into an opening in the lug I, and the ears 8 may be provided with depending extensions 8 which provide abutment surfaces normally engaging the screw [2. When these abutment surfaces thus engage the member I12, the
shank and handle portions of the shaft are in alignment. These portions of the shaft are normally held in alignment by resilient means such as a tension spring I extending between pins l6 and I! which project from the shank and handle portions, respectively, of the shaft.
As shown in Figs. 2 and 3, the pin l0 provides a pivotal axis which extends transversely of the shaft when the parts of the latter are in their normal positions. The pin II) also preferably is positioned relative to the face of the head I so that it may roughly parallel the horizontal component of the direction of ball fiight when the club is at the position of impact, and so that it may be substantially perpendicular to the plane of club movement at the top of the back swing. This arrangement assures stiffness of the shaft in the direction of ball fiight at the instant when the ball is being hit. It will furthermore be noted that the joint 6 preferably is arranged so that it can only be broken in one general direction.
The spring [5 preferably is so tensioned. that, when the club is supported by the handle and positioned horizontally, the weight of the head is not effective in moving the shaft portions out of alignment, but so that a small additional weight on the outer end of the club may be effective in causing relative movement of the shaft portions. It is evident, however, that the strength and tension of the spring l5 may be varied as desired to suit individual requirements. The position of the joint 6 may be varied, but I prefer to arrange this joint nearer the handle end of the club than the head thereof. Thus the weight of the head portion and balance of the club are less affected by the joint. For example, as shown, the joint may only be spaced from the upper end of the shaft at a distance which allows the handle to have sufficient length for a satisfactory grip.
When a club of this type is swung in the normal approved manner, the action may be similar to that of a conventional golf club and the parts of the shaft remain fixed relative to each other throughout the stroke. When, however, the user of the club moves his hands improperly in the upper part of the swing, the parts of the shaft move out of alignment and an additional stress is imposed upon the spring l5. Thus, for example, if the club. head is brought to a too sudden stop at the end of the up-stroke, the inertia of the head causes the latter to continue its movement so that the joint v6 is opened slightly. Thereupon the spring I5 is effective in closing the joint and imparts a definite shock to the shaft which is perceptible to the user thereof. Similarly, for example, if the hands are moved improperly at the beginning of the down-stroke, the inertia forces on the club head cause the joint 6 to open and result in a perceptible shock to the handle portion of the club when the joint again closes, thus indicating to the user of the club that he has not swung the same in the proper manner.
When using a device of, the present type, the player is afforded a definite signal each time that he makes an improper stroke; thus there is a strong tendency for the player automatically to correct his faults and increase the eifectiveness of his stroke. Not only may the relative movement of the club parts thus be sensed by the user of the club, but a close observer, such as an instructor, can generally see such a movement of the club parts.
If desired, the relative movement of the parts which takes place due to inertia forces may also cause the operation of some visible or audible signal device. For example, the club may be provided with a resiliently mounted element arranged to afford an audible click or tap if the club is improperly swung. It will also be-understood that various yieldable joint arrangements may be employed rather than a joint of the type disclosed therein. Thus, for example, a portion of the shaft may be flexible and may cooperate with suitable stop means on the handle so that the end of the shaft remote from the handle may swing in one general direction relative to the handle in response to inertia forces and may thereupon be resiliently returned to its normal position.
From the foregoing it will be evident that a characteristic feature of the invention consists in that the club has a part which is normally movable relatively to the handle, together with means against which said part may impinge to limit the movement of the part and/or to give a signal when the club is swung improperly, said part being mounted to move by its own inertia, in response to excessive acceleration (either positive or negative) of the club at the end of the back swing. When said part comprises the lower or head end of a club the movement of the part must be upwardly out of its normal position of alignment with the handle when the club is held grounded in normal stance; and, in the case of a club having the usual elongate face, the movement is in a plane which contains the axis of the handle and which extends approximately lengthwise of the face of the club or at least the movement approximates the direction of this plane close enough to produce the movement of the part by its own-inertia when the club, although otherwise swung properly is accelerated too rapidly at the end of the back swing. In the preferred embodiment the aforesaid part comprises the head and, shaft of the club, the shaft flexing easily in the aforesaid planebut being relatively rigid in the plane which also contains said axis and which is perpendicular to said plane (the plane of the paper in Fig. 1). Since the wrists roll clockwise on the back swing, so that the toe of the club points downwardly at the end of the back swing, the force which checks the back swing and starts the club on the down swing tends to flex the shaft in the aforesaid plane in which it is easily flexible. Thus if the back swing be decelerated too quickly or the early portion of the down swing be accelerated too quickly the shaft flexes thereby warning the player of the fault. On the down swing the wrists roll back in a counterclockwise direction and as the club head approaches the ball the force applied to the handle tends to flex the shaft in the second aforesaid plane in which the shaft is relatively rigid. Thus at the proper time, but not before, the player may rapidly accelerate the club head, by what is commonly called wrist snap, without excessively flexing the shaft.
It should be understood that the present disclosure is for the purpose of illustration only and that this invention includes all modifications and equivalents which fall within the scope of the appended claims.
l. A club of the class described having a shaft which is jointed near the lower end of the handle to permit the lower end of the shaft to swing upwardly approximately in a plane which contains the axis of the handle and which extends approximately lengthwise of the face of the club, a stop to prevent the lower end of the shaft from swinging downwardly substantially beyond normal position while permitting said upward swinging, and means for yieldingly holding the lower end of the shaft against said stop.
2. A club of the class described having a shaft which is jointed near the lower end of the handle to permit the lower end of the shaft to swing upwardly approximately in a plane which contains the axis of the handle and which extends approximately lengthwise of the face of the club, a stop to prevent the lower end of the shaft from swinging downwardly substantially beyond normal position while permitting said upward swinging, studs projecting downwardly from the shaft on opposite sides of said joint, respectively,
and a tension spring interconnecting said studs yieldingly to hold the lower end of the shaft against said stop.
3. A club of the class described comprising handle and head sections interconnected by a hinge which permits the head section to swing upwardly approximately in the vertical plane containing the axis of the club out of its normal position of alignment with the handle section when the club is held grounded in normal stance, and means for preventing the-head section from swinging downwardly substantially beyond said position of alignment, whereby when the club is swung improperly the head section may swing relatively to the handle section, due to inertia forces resulting from the improper swing, to serve as a signal.
4. A golf club having a handle section and a head section mounted to swing upwardly approximately in the vertical plane containing the axis of the club out of alignment with the handle section when the club is held grounded in normal stance, and means against which said head section may impinge to give a signal when the club is swung improperly, said head section 1 being mounted to move, by its own inertia, in response to excessive acceleration of the club at the end of the back swing.
5. A golf club having handle and head sections interconnected by a hinge which permits the head section to swing upwardly approximately in the vertical plane containing the axis of the club out of its position of alignment with the handle section when the club is held grounded in normal stance, and means for preventing the head section from swinging downwardly relatively to the handle section, said means including a stop fixedly associated with the handle.
6. A golf club having a handle and head immovable relatively to each other lengthwise of the club, characterized by a part normally movable transversely of the axis of the handle approximately in a plane which contains said axis and which extends approximately lengthwise of the face of the club, and means against which said part may impinge to give a signal when the club is swung improperly, said part being mounted for movement, by its own inertia, in response to excessive acceleration of the club at the end of the back swing.
WILLIAM E. WHITNEY.