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Publication numberUS3489416 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 13, 1970
Filing dateJun 19, 1967
Priority dateJun 19, 1967
Publication numberUS 3489416 A, US 3489416A, US-A-3489416, US3489416 A, US3489416A
InventorsMark Joseph A
Original AssigneeMark Joseph A
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Golf swing practice means
US 3489416 A
Abstract  available in
Images(7)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

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Jan. 13, 1970 J. A. M-ARK' 3,489,416

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GOLF SWING PRACTICE MEANS Filed June 19, 1967 '7 Sheets -Sheec '7 By fa5e,a/z ,4 Mark ww/ mw United States Patent 3,489,416 GOLF SWING PRACTICE MEANS Joseph A. Mark, 161 Le Grande Drive, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15221 Filed June 19, 1967, Ser. No. 647,127 Int. Cl. A63b 69/36 US. Cl. 273-191 19 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A golf swing practice device includes track means for guiding the golf club through an inside out or grooved swing. The support on which the track means are mounted is adjustable in inclination to conform the swing planes of the golf swing and to a given length of golf club. The track means includes a first arcuate track member mounted on the support and defining the backswing of the golf club. A second track member is mounted inwardly of the first track member, i.e., between the outer or backswing member and the user. The second or power swing track member is also disposed generally behind the plane of the backswing track member but substantially in a plane which intersects the plane of the backswing along a line extending from the users shoulders to the point of ball impact. Various guiding means can be mounted on the golf club as desired for cooperating with complementary guide means on the track members for guiding the golf club along the track members. Further, various means can be mounted on the golf club or on its guiding means to permit angular displacement of the golf club or of the handle portion thereof relative to the track members as the golf club is moved therealong.

The present invention relates to a golf swing practice means and more particularly to practice devices capable of use either indoors or out of doors. Specifically, my novel practice means aids the user in attaining complete and full control over manipulations of various parts of the body and over the attendant motions of the club particularly during the back and power swings in order to develop a professional, repeatable or grooved swing.

In accepted golf playing theory the club head must follow the accepted and correct path if all of the physical movements of the golfer are performed properly and in the correct sequence throughout the golf swing. Conversely, I have found that by carefully defining the paths or arcs of the golf club head, particularly during the back and power swings, the correct body movements of the golfer and the correct sequence in performing the various elements of a grooved golf swing can be learned much more quickly and accurately by even the most mediocre player.

It has been established that the proper golf swing is identical for all of the clubs (excepting the putter) and only the inclinational angles of the planes of the back and fore swings vary from one club to the other. Thus, the swing planes are least steep when swinging with the driver and most steep when swinging with the No. 9 iron. The swing planes for the remaining clubs vary between these two inclinational limits depending upon the length of the club.

Obviously, too, the aforementioned inclinational limits of the swing planes will also vary according to the heights of individual golfers. Thus, a tall player using a driver will employ more steeply inclined swing planes than a shorter player employing the same club.

Modern golf theory postulates the use of an inside-out golf swing, giving rise to the plural swing planes mentioned above for a given golf swing. Thus, the fore or power swing plane is rotated slightly clockwise relative to the backswing plane, with the referents being a righthanded player looking toward ground level. With the same referents, it has been established that the rotational axis of the fore-swing plane is a line connecting the ball addressed by the player and the left shoulder of the player and lying of course in both the backswing and power swing planes.

The inside-out swing is essential for attainment of maximum distance and accuracy of driver and iron shots. If the swing is not properly grooved in this manner the golfer does not attain a swing of maximum power and moreover evidences a tendency to slice.

It has also been established, for a proper golf swing, that the moment of impact between the club head and the ball in normal lay occurs an instant before the club head reaches the lowest point in the power swing arc. Thus, the club head tends to mash slightly downwardly upon the ball against the divot normally taken in this type of golf swing. On the other hand, impact with a teed ball properly occurs just after the lowermost point of the power swing arc.

Although most of the aforementioned features of a proper, grooved golfswing are well known and are set forth, for example, in Hogan and Wind, Ben Hogans Five Lessons (1957), published by A. S. Barnes & Co., New York city, I have briefly reviewed these essentials here as a proper environmental background for discussion of my novel Golf Swing Practice Means and for differentiating my practice means from previously proposed practice devices.

I have discovered that by proper control of the various arcuate paths of a golf club head throughout the insideout golf swing that (l) the proper physical movements of the user of my device follow more or less naturally and (2) a repeatable or grooved swing can be developed. Owing to the perfection and repeatability in the grooved swing which can be developed with my invention, my practice means is useful not only to beginners but also to high and low handicapped players and even to professionals, particularly during off season periods.

By properly guiding the club head during the back and fore swings the user of my practice means is reminded to follow the accepted and essential sequence of physical movements. Thus, during the backswing the shoulders turn the hips to the right (for a right-handed player) and at the beginning of the power swing the hips snap to the left to multiply the swinging force which is conducted through the upper part of the body and shoulders to the arms. The proper movement of the arms including the wrist-break again multiply the swing force so that the ball is struck with tremendous impact (see pp. 8896 of Hogan and Wind, supra).

Previously proposed practice devices are incapable of guiding the club head through the aforedescribed insideout swing involving different but intersecting planes for the back swing and the fore or power swing respectively. As a result previously proposed devices are not capable of directing and guiding the proper sequence of the users physical movements. Moreover, previous devices are not capable of suitable adjustment to differences in height and in other physical characteristics of individual users. In so far as is known, none of the previously proposed practice devices is suitable for indoor usage.

As an example, Hansen 1,634,102 discloses a mechanical golf instructor and exerciser using different arcuate paths for the back and fore swings. However, the planes of the respective paths are substantially parallel so that no inside-out swing is possible when using the Hansen device.

A single arcuate path is employed in the practice devices of Hansen 1,633,527, Plunket et a1. 2,520,287 and 1,960,787. Here again, no inside-out swing is possible.

3 The practice device disclosed by McDonald 1,944,942 suffers from the same disadvantage in that his dual guide tracks merely provide a second support for the club shank in a single plane golf swing.

Similar defects are evident in other prior practice devices of which I am aware.

I overcome these difficulties of the prior art by providing golf practice means in which first arcuate path means are provided for the club head during the backswing thereof and second arcuate path means are provided for the club head in its fore swing. The fore path means are disposed generally inside of the back swing path means, i.e., between the back swing path means and the user. In addition, the major proportion of the fore swing path means is disposed somewhat behind the backswing means but in a plane which intersects that of the backswing path means along a line extending from the ball addressed by the user to a point on the users left shoulder for a right-handed player. For left-handed players, the components of my novel practice means can be disposed in analogous mirror image relation to those components as illustrated in the drawings.

In addition, my novel practice means includes novel' adjustment means for adjusting the inclinations of the back and fore swing planes to the length of club and to the height of the user. Novel means are also provided by my invention for lengthening or shortening the upper portions of the back and fore swing path means to adapt the practice means to the physical suppleness of indivdual users. I also provide a practice club, which in modifications thereof, is adjustable in length to individual arm lengths. The latter mentioned adjustment means need not be extensive, for I have found that in a group of individuals of considerably variable height that the ground to knuckle distances (with the individuals standing with arms straight down at their sides and with their lists clenched) between such individuals vary but slightly.

I also provide a novel practice club having means associated with the handle or shank for permitting turning of the handle (through about 90 at least) during the back and fore swings. In one form of such means I provide a practice club with an automatically telescoping shank to provide such turning and also to permit automatic extension of the practice club to accommodate physical differences between individual users.

I accomplish these desirable results by providing a golf swing practice device comprising an inclined support conforming generally to the plane of the golf swing, track means for guiding a golf club through at least the backswing and foreswing portions of a golf swing, and means for mounting relative to the user of said device said backswing track means generally outwardly of said foreswing track means and for mounting said foreswing track means substantially behind the plane of said backswing track means but generally in a plane intersecting with said backswing track means plane to guide said golf club throughout an inside-out golf swing.

I also desirably provide a practice device wherein said track means are a pair of arcuate track members joined adjacent their ends respectively, and said track members each have interconnected club guiding means formed therein for guiding engagement with and retention of said golf club.

I also desirably provide a practice device wherein said support includes an inclined platform hingedly joined to a base member, and means are provided for adjusting the inclination of said platform relative to said base member.

I also desirably provide a practice device wherein the lower most portion of said track means are spaced above the lower edge of said platform and the upper end of said track means is correspondingly lowered, and said track guide means are engageable with the head of the foreshortened practice club to permit use of said device within a low ceiling room; or wherein the lowermost point of said track means is juxtaposed to the lower edge of said platform and the upper end of said track means is correspondingly raised, a full length practice club is provided for use with said device, said track means being engageable with the head of said club so that a golf ball can be struck when using said practice device.

In the foregoing paragraphs various objects, features and advantages of the invention have been set forth. These and other objects, features and advantages of the invention will be elaborated upon in the forthcoming detailed description of presently preferred embodiments of the invention and of certain presently preferred methods of practicing the same.

In the accompanying drawings I have illustrated certain presently preferred embodiments of the invention and certain presently preferred methods of practicing the same wherein:

FIGURE 1 is a composite isometric view of one form of my novel practice device arranged for indoor use and illustrating means for adjusting the inclination of the device for differing sizes of clubs.

FIGURE 2 is a composite isometric view of the practice device shown in FIGURE 1 and illustrating various stages of the backswing and foreswing;

FIGURE 3 is a left side perspective view of the apparatus shown in FIGURES 1 or 2;

FIGURE 4 is an enlarged partial right side perspective view of one form of novel practice club head of my invention illustrated in association with my practice device;

FIGURE 5 is a partial cross-sectional view of the practice means shown in the preceding figures and illustrating an alternative connecting link between my novel practice club and the practice device;

FIGURE 6 is a partial isometric view similar to the upper portion of FIGURES l and 2 and illustrating novel means for adjusting the length of the back and foreswing path means of my device to accommodate individual users of differing degrees of physical suppleness;

FIGURE 7 is a side elevational view of another form of my novel practice club having means forming part thereof for permitting rotative movement of the club handle and users hands as the club head is moved along the path means of my practice device;

FIGURE 8 is a similar view of another form of my novel practice club, having means for automatically extending the shank thereof and for permitting turning of the club handle relative to the club head for purposes mentioned previously;

FIGURE 9 is a perspective view similar to FIGURES 1 and 2 but illustrating a form of my novel practice means having modified path means for the practice club head;

FIGURE 10 is an enlarged partial, cross-sectional view of the apparatus as shown in FIGURE 9 and taken along reference line XX thereof;

FIGURE 10A is a similar view showing the golf club with modified track engaging means;

FIGURE 11 is an isometric view of still another form of my novel practice device arranged for usage out of doors;

FIGURE 12 is an enlarged partial isometric view of another form of my novel practice meansillustrating a modified track arrangement;

FIGURE 13 is a cross-sectional view taken along reference line XIIIXIII of FIGURE 12 and showing in addition my novel practice club used therewith; and

FIGURE 14 is a top plan view of the practice club shown in FIGURE 13.

Referring now more particularly to FIGURES 1-3 of the drawings a golf swing practice device 10 shown therein comprises a base 12 on which user 14 stands. A support or inclined platform 16 for back and fore swing track members 18 and 20 respectively is hingedly or otherwise pivotally connected to the platform 12. The

inclined platform 16 can be supported in a plurality of inclinations by upright braces 22 connectable at their lower ends to a pair of adjustment brackets secured to platform 12 one of which is denoted by reference character 24. Brackets 24 include a plurality of adjustment apertures 26 by which the lower ends of braces 22 are adjustably positioned along the side edges of platform 12. These adjustment means are employed in cooperation with primary adjustment apertures (FIGURE 3) spaced along the side of the platform 16.

As better shown in FIGURE 3, backswing track 18 is mounted in raised relation relative to the track platform 16 by a number of columnar supporting members 27 which are of substantially equal length. On the other hand the inner or power swing track 20 is joined at its upper end -to the upper end of the backswing track as denoted by reference character 28. Adjacent the lower ends of the tracks 18, 20, they merge in a Y connection denoted by reference character 30. Such connection permits access to backswing track 18 and egress from fore swing track 20 at common track end 32, as described below in greater detail with reference to FIGURE 4.

A comparison between FIGURES 1 or 2 and 3 show that the foreswing track 20 not only is mounted between the outer or backswing track 18 and user 14 but also is depressed rearwardly thereof, i.e., closer to the platform 16 throughout most of its length. Otherwise, fore swing track 20 is similarly mounted on a plurality of columnar supports 34, as better shown in FIGURE 3. Moreover the foreswing track 20 is mounted substantially behind the plane of the backswing track (FIG- URE 3) but generally in a plane which intersects the plane of the backswing track 18 along a line of intersection extending from the users left shoulder to the ball location 52, i.e., along String 56 used to determine the proper elevation of platform 16 (FIGURE 1 or 1A). Thus the club is guided into a perfect inside-out or grooved swing regardless of the inclination of the platform 16.

It will be understood, of course, that the spatial relationships of the foreswing track 20 and the backswing track 18 can be varied to conform to differing playing styles. For example, looking at FIGURE 3, the separation between the tracks 18, 20 can be made larger or smaller. Moreover, the location of the maximum separation, denoted by double headed arrow 21, can be moved upwardly or downwardly. Similarly, as viewed in FIGURE 2 for example, one or both of the swing tracks 18, 20 can be disposed closer to or farther from the user of the device.

It is also evident that, while the foreswing and backswing are denoted as lying in particular intersecting planes these swings may not at all times conform precisely to a particular plane. For example at beginning of the backswing most authorities stipulate a club head travel of about 12 inches in the direction of ball trajectory and more or less parallel to the ground. At the end of this distance the club head in a proper swing breaks slightly to the rear of this line when the players hips commence to turn.

Platform 16 is provided with a relatively large opening 36 to accommodate user 14 without interference with his physical movements. The opening 36 is defined by a pair of upright braces 38 and 40, with the brace 40 also affording intermediate support to the inner or fore swing track 20. A similar, parallel brace 42 affords similar support to the outer or backswing track 18.

Each of the tracks 18 or 20 is provided with club guiding means, which desirably but not necessarily also releasably attaches the club to the tracks. One form of such guiding means includes grooves 44 and 46, which are formed respectively in tracks 18 and 20 and in this example are of generally inverted T-shaped cross section as better shown in FIGURE 4. At the upper junction 28 of the tracks 18 and 20 grooves 44, 46 are merged by a smoothly re-entrant curve 48. Near the lower end 32 the grooves merge at the previously mentioned Y intersection 30.

The proper inclination of the inclined platform 16 is established by user 14 when properly gripping a standard golf club, for example driver 50. A block of wood 52 or other suitable material is glued or otherwise secured to the floor of the indoor space in which the practice device 10 is used. Block 52 thus represents the location of the ball addressed by user 14. Base 12 of practice device 10 is suitably positioned relative to the ball locating block 52. When the ball is properly addressed the shank of club 50 engages track end 32 as shown in the solid outlines of FIGURE 1. The elevation relative to inclined platform 16 of the track end 32, and hence of the outer or backswing track 18, is adjusted by spacer 54 for this purpose. When the practice device 10, club 50, and player 14 are properly aligned with ball locater 52 a string 56 stretched between locater 52 and projection 58 on upper track end 28 lightly engages the left shoulder of user 14.

A similar relationship is shown in chain outline in FIGURE 1 wherein the practice device 10 is aligned with its platform 16 in a steeper inclination to accommodate user 14 and the shortest standard club, or number nine iron 60'.

With the location and inclination of the practice device 10 and the stance of player 14 thus determined, user 14 then, for indoor use, employs my novel practice club 60 also shown in chain outline in FIGURE 1 and in detail in FIGURE 4. Desirably practice club 60 is foreshortened in length to about two feet so as not to interfere with the ceiling of the indoor practice space. As better shown in FIGURE 4 club head 64 is provided with connective stud 66 threaded into the heel of the club head 64. The outer end of stud 66 terminates in ball 68 fitted in socket 70 therefor. A discoidal slot guide 72 is linked through its connecting stud 74 to the ball socket 70. The length of connecting stud 74 is such that the slot guide 72 can be inserted to ride freely within the slots 44 Or 46 of the practice device 10.

As the practice club 60 and slot guide 72 are moved upwardly by the player along the backswing track 18 (chain outline portions of FIGURE 1) the slot guide is guided into the left hand branch of Y intersection 30 (FIGURE 4) and thence into the slot 44 of backswing track 18.

At, the upper limit of the backswing, as better shown by the solid outlines of FIGURE 2, practice club 60 and slot guide 72 are guided smoothly from the slot 44 of outer track 18 into the upper end of slot 46 of the inner or backswing track 20 by the aforementioned reentrant curve portion 48 of the slot. At the commencement of the power or fore swing (FIGURE 2) user 14 must begin to turn his hips in accordance with accepted golf swing practice and then his shoulders in order to conform his physical movements to the path of the practice club 60 as it moves downwardly along the inner track 20. This is demonstrated by the uppermost chain outline position of practice club 60 in FIGURE 2.

The user continues to turn his hips and shoulders until the wrist-break position of the practice club 60 as denoted by chain outline 74 of FIGURE 2 is reached. Thence, the users arm and wrist movements follow the practice club 60 as the latter passes through intersection 30 to the ball impacting position of FIGURE 2, as denoted by chain outline 76. From position 76, practice club 60 and the users attendant physical movements proceed along the follow-through portion (not shown) of the golf swing. If desired, a follow-through track portion can be provided for the practice club 60 as denoted by chain outline78 in FIGURE 2. If desired, the follow-through track 78 can be extended beyond that shown in FIGURE 2 on a suitable support (not shown) secured to the platform 16.

A suitable mass of foam rubber 82 or other force absorbing material desirably is secured to the ceiling to prematurely terminate the users follow-through swing and to prevent damage to the ceiling.

For example, force-absorbing material or deceleration means 82 can include an outer softer layer 84 and an inner less resilient layer 86 to flatten the wave fronts of the deceleration forces when the club head 64 strikes the deceleration means 82.

In order to permit turning of the practice club 60 through a greater angle as the club head 64 is moved along the tracks 18, 20 the discoidal slot guide of FIGURE 4 can be replaced with ball guide 88 of FIG- URE and the T-shaped slots of FIGURES 1-4 replaced with suitably rounded slots such as the slot 90 of FIG- URE 5. The ball guide 88 provides in effect a second ball joint in series with the ball joint 68-70 described heretofore. Thus, club head 64' of club 60' is aiforded a greater freedom of movement particularly about its long axis. Moreover, ball guide 88 is less likely to hang up within the rounded slots.

In FIGURE 6 of the drawings, the use of alternative re-entrant track end means provide adjustment in the length of tracks 18 and in the upper areas thereof to accommodate ditfering lengths of backswing and correspondingly different degrees of physical suppleness in individual users. Thus, a short backswing is provided by upper re-entrant member 92, the ends of which are joined respectively to the ends of tracks 18', 20' at junctions 94 and 96 where the ends are secured to columnar supports 98 and 100 respectively.

On the other hand, an alternative medium backswing is afforded by chain outline position 102 of the reentrant member 92 joined to outer connecting track section 104 and inner connecting track section 106 at junctions 108 and 110 respectively on supports 112 and 114 respectively. The track sections 104, 106 in turn are joined at the aforementioned junctions 94 and 96 respectively to the terminal ends of tracks 18, 20.

For the maximum or full backswing, re-entrant member 92 or 102 is replaced by a correspondingly longer re-entrant member 116 which is similarly joined to track sections 104, 106. It will be understood, of course, that track sections 104, 106 can be made integrally with intermediate re-entrant member 102 and also with the full backswing member 116 and the junctions 108, 110 and supports 112, 114 eliminated.

With reference now to FIGURE 7 of the drawings, means are provided for eliminating one or both of the ball joints described in connection with FIGURES 4 and 5 of the drawing. In FIGURE 7 practice club 60 includes handle portion 118 threadedly joined to shank portion 120 which is in turn joined to head 64' and its discoidal link member 122. When handle 118 is threadedly engaged to shank 120 the handle is backed off a half or full turn from a tightened position to leave gap 124. Then the handle 118 is free to rotate through the required angular displacement to shank 120 and club head 64 or the club head 64' and connector 122 are prevented from such angular displacement by engagement of connecting link 122 in tracks 44 or 46 of the preceding figures.

In FIGURE 8 of the drawings practice club 60' is alternatively provided with telescoping section 126 in shank portion 120' to permit turning of the handle portion 118' relative to club head 64'. Telescoping section 126 also affords an automatic club length adjustment for differences in reach of individual users.

Referring now to FIGURES 9 and 10 of the drawings, a modified form of my practice means 10' is shown therein. Practice means 10 is constructed in a manner generally similar to that described in the preceding figures, but is provided with modified backswing track 128 and a modified foreswing track 130, neither of which are provided with the track grooves described in the preceding figures. Instead, track members 128 and 130 are fiat arcuate strips of suitably rigid material such as Formica or other plastic, or aluminum, steel or other structural metal and are mounted on platform 16' by supporting studs 132 and 134 respectively. Track members 128, 130 are otherwise positioned with relation to inclined platform 16' in the manner shown in FIGURE 3 with reference to slotted tracks 18, 20. However, Y intersection 30 and upper end return means 28, 48 of FIGURES 1-3 are omitted. Instead, ends of outer or backswing track 128 are tapered at 136 and 138 respectively and are spaced from the adjacent edges of inner or foreswing track 130 to provide gaps 140 and 142 therebetween.

Practice club 60' as better shown in FIGURE 10 is provided with connective link 144 terminating in U- shaped track guide 146. Bight 148 of track guide 146 is sized so as to pass through spaces 140, 142 when the track guide 146 is engaged only with the inner or fore swing track 130 as better shown in FIGURE 10. On the other hand, legs 150 of track guide 146 are of suflicient length to overlie both the tapered end portion 136 or 138 of track 128 and the adjacent portion of track 130 when passing from the outer track 128 to the inner track 130 at the upper gap 140 or when passing from inner track 130 to outer track 128 at the lower gap 142.

If desired, ball joint 152 can be mounted in link 144 to permit angular displacement of practice club 60 relative to track guide 146. On the other hand, ball joint 152 can be omitted and the handle turning means of FIG- URES 7 and 8 can be provided in the club 60 of FIG- URES 9 and 10.

It is contemplated by my invention that the U-shaped club guide 146 can be replaced by a straight guide pin 149 or the like as shown in FIGURE 10A. The thickness of pin 149 is such as to permit pin 149 to pass freely through gaps 140, 142 of the track means of FIGURE 9'. In use the club 60' is held by the user so that the club pin 149 is urged lightly against outer arcuate edges 151, 153 of tracks 128, 130.

It is also contemplated that the club 60' can be provided without any added guide means whatsoever. In the last example, the club is held by the user such that the club head or adjacent shank portion is urged lightly against the front or fiat surfaces of the tracks 18, 20 of FIGURES 1-3 or of the tracks 128, 130 of FIGURE 9. The slots of tracks 18, 20 can then be omitted. In the latter example, each of the tracks can be grooved or channeled (not shown) with a cross-sectional configuration complementary to part or all of the club head profile.

In FIGURE 11 of the drawings another modification 10" of my golf practice device is illustrated. Device 10" is provided with track means 154 and 156 which in this example are similar to tracks 18 and 20 of FIGURES l-3, although the alternative constructions of track means described in connection with FIGURES 9 and 10 can be employed. In my novel practice device 10 the arcuate paths of tracks 154, 156 are correspondingly enlarged so that user 14' can use a full length club 158 for practice purposes, for example where the practice device 10" is mounted out of doors or in a high ceiling room such as a gymnasium.

In this example, club 158 is provided with a suitable slot guide such as one of the slot guides shown in FIG- URES 4, 5, 7 and 8. Tracks 154 and 156 are provided with slots 160 and 162 respectively in the manner described in connection with FIGURES 1-3 or FIGURE 5. The inside-out relationship, described above in connection with FIGURES 1 3, of foreswing track 156 is preserved with relation to backswing track 154.

In the practice device 10" lower end 164 of the track means 154, 156 is mounted near the lower edge of the inclined platform 16 such that club head 166 passes within about one inch of the floor or ground at the lowermost point in the foreswing. Accordingly the practice device can be employed for driving a ball mounted on a tee or other suitable support if desired.

The full club length practice device 10" can be made in a variety of ways for use either with the shortest club or No. 9 iron for all practice purposes, or the track means 154, 156 can be suitably modified to provide a plurality of practice devices for separate club groupings. For example, tracks 154, 156 can define respectively larger arcuate paths for a club grouping of the longer clubs such as the driver and Nos. 2-4 woods; with intermediate arcuate lengths for the clubs of intermediate lengths i.e., Nos. 2-5 irons; and smaller arcuate paths for Nos. 6-9 irons. The aforementioned track lengths are not separately illustrated since only minor changes are involved which are readily determined from the average club length in each of the aforementioned three groups of clubs.

The actual differences in club length in each of the aforesaid club groupings is only 1 /2 inches so that adjustments can be made within each group of clubs by changes in hand grip. With the latter arrangement a separate practice device such as the device 10" can be built for each of the aforementioned club groupings, for example where such practice devices are provided at golf courses, driving ranges, golfing associations, or the like.

Referring now to FIGURES 12-14 of the drawings another form of my novel practice means having a modified track arrangement 168 is illustrated. As better shown in FIGURES 12 and 13 each of the track means 170, 172, which define the backswing and foreswing respectively are formed from a pair of parallel spaced members 174, 176 or 178, 180 respectively. The outer track member 180 of track means 172 is joined at its lower end, as denoted by reference character 182, to the lower end of the inward track member 174 of the backswing track means 170 to form the Y intersection 30". As better shown in FIGURE 13 each pair of track members 174, 176 or 178, 180 are uniformly spaced throughout their length to form an open-sided guide slot or gap 184 or 186 therebetween. The track means 172, 170 are otherwise mounted in spaced relation to the platform 16' in a spatial organization similar to that shown in FIGURE 3 of the drawings.

My novel practice club 188 employed with the practice means of FIGURES 12 and 13 need not be provided with a ball and socket joint or equivalent universal joint to permit turning of the club head relative to the track means 170, 172 as the club head is moved through the back and fore swings. Instead, the club 188 is provided with a relatively rigid pin 190 which as better shown in FIGURE 14 is secured to the heel of the club 188 at an angle to the long axis of club head 192. On the other hand, the pin 190 desirably is disposed substantially at right angles to the practice club shank 194 (FIGURE 13). With this arrangement the pin 190 leads the club head 192 (for a right-handed player) during the lower portions of the back and foreswings (FIGURE 14), but lags the club head 192 in the upper portions thereof.

As better shown in FIGURE 13 the track members 174, 176 and 178, 180' are supported on notched columnar supports 196 and 198. The notched supports 196, 198 thus provide clearances for ball 200 or other retaining member secured to the outer end of pin 190. The supports 196 for the outward or back swing track means 170 (including track members 176, 174) are of uniform heights similar in height to the supports 27 shown in FIGURE 3, while the supports 198 for the inward or foreswin track 172 are of varying heights, similar in height respectively to supports 34 of FIGURE 3. At the lower end of the track arrangement 168, the pin 190 of the club 188 can be inserted into the gap or slot between the lower end portion 202 of the inner member 178 of the foreswing track 172 and the lower end portion 204 of the outer member 176 of the back swing track 170.

Desirably, the track members 174, 176 or 178, 180 are are spaced as shown in FIGURE 13 to provide ample clearances for the passage of the pin 190. This permits relatively minor adjustments in the fore and back swings to adapt to minor individual differences in users of my golf practice means. The ball member 200 is suitably shaped to prevent its removal through slots or gaps 184, 186. On the other hand the aforementioned clearances prevent binding of the pin and ball member 200 against the inward surfaces of the track members 174, 176 and 178, 180. Similarly, notches 206 and 208 of supports 196, 198 are sized to permit passage of the ball member 200 freely without engagement with the supports 196, 198. Although the ball member 200 is illustrated as an oblate spheroid, other suitable configurations obviously can be employed. It will also be apparent that the length of the pin 190 is suflicient as to permit the aforementioned angular displacement of the practice club 188 about its shank 194 without binding of the track members 174, 176 or 178, 180 between the heel of the club head 192 and the retaining member 200 of the pin 190.

From the foregoing it will be apparent that novel and eflicient forms of golf swing practice means have been described herein.

While I have shown and described certain presently preferred embodiments of the invention and have illustrated presently preferred methods of practicing the same, it is to be distinctly understood that the invention is not limited thereto but may be' otherwise variously embodied and practiced within the scope of the following claims.

I claim:

1. A golf swing practice device comprising an inclined support conforming generally to the plane of the golf swing, backswing track means, and foreswing track means for guiding a golf club through at least the backswing and foreswing portions respectively of a golf swing, means for mounting on said support relative to the user of said device said backswing track means substantially in a plane disposed generally forwardly of said foreswing track means and for mounting said foreswing track means substantially behind the plane of said backswing track means but generally in a plane intersecting with said backswing track means plane, and upper and lower portions of said backswing and said foreswing track means communicating adjacent the intersections of said backswing and toreswing track means to guide said golf club throughout an inside-out golf swing.

2. The combination according to claim 1 wherein said backswing and said foreswing means each have interconnected club guiding means formed therein for guiding engagement with the retention of a golf club.

3. The combination according to claim 2 including a golf club, a guide of discoidal configuration provided on said club, and said club guiding means include a slot in each of said track means and of generally inverted T-shaped configuration to accommodate said guide.

4. The combination according to claim 3 wherein said guide is joined to said golf club through a universal joint to permit angular displacement of said club about its longitudinal axis as said club is moved along said track means.

5. The combination according to claim 2 including a golf club, said club guiding means having a slot on each of said track means and being of generally circular crosssectional configuration with a constricted longitudinal opening, and said golf club having a guide including a ball guide member closely fitted within said slot for club guiding movement therealong.

6. The combination according to claim 5 wherein said ball guide member is connected to said club through a universal joint.

7. The combination according to claim 2 wherein said club guiding means include a slot on each of said track II]I6%I1S for engagement with a guide member on a golf c u 8. The combination according to claim 7 including a golf club having a guide member located on the head portion of said club.

9. The combination according to claim 2 including a golf club, rotation permitting means coupled between a handle portion and a shank portion of said club to permit turning of said handle portion and the hands of a user as the remainder of said club is guided along said track members by said club guiding means.

10. The combination according to claim 1 including a golf club, each of said track being means a flat, arcuate track member and said golf club having a track guide member shaped for engaging the arcuate edges of said track members.

11. The combination according to claim 10 wherein one of said track members is provided with tapered end portions closely spaced from the end portions respectively of the other of said track members and said track guide member is of U-shaped construction capable of engaging the arcuate edges of said track members and having a bight portion shaped for passage through the spaces between said track member ends.

12. The combination according to claim 1 wherein said backswing track means and said foreswing track means are terminated before the end of the backswing and the beginning of the foreswing respectively, and a number of re-entrant track members of differing sizes are provided for alternative connection of each of their ends to the terminal ends respectively of said backswing track means and said foreswing track means to adjust the length of said backswing track means and the corresponding length of said foreswing track means.

13. The combination according to claim 1 wherein said support includes an inclined platform hingedly joined to a base member, and means are provided for adjusting the inclination of said platform relative to said base member.

14. The combination according to claim 13 wherein the lowermost portions of said track means are spaced above the lower edge of said platform and the upper ends of said track means are correspondingly lowered, and said track means are engageable with the head of a foreshortened practice club to permit use of said device within a low ceiling room.

15. The combination according to claim 13 wherein the lower intersection of said track means is juxtaposed to the lower edge of said platform and the upper intersection of said track means is correspondingly raised, a full length practice club is provided for use with said device, said track means being engageable with the head of said club so that a golf ball can be struck when using said practice device.

16. The combination according to claim 1 wherein said backswing track means and said foreswing track means each include a pair of laterally spaced track members, each pair of said track members being uniformly spaced one from the other to form a club guiding slot or gap therebetween.

17. The combination according to claim 16 wherein a practice club is provided, said club including a heel portion having a guiding pin rigidly joined thereto, said pin terminating in a retaining member shaped to prevent removal thereof through said slot or gap, said pin being of sufficient length to space said retaining member from said club heel to prevent binding of said track members between said retaining member and said club heel when said club is rotated during said backswing and foreswing.

18. The combination according to claim 16 wherein a practice club is provided, said club having a guiding member secured thereto and engageable in each of said slots or gaps.

19. The combination according to claim 1 wherein said foreswing track means additionally are positioned to be disposed generally between said user and said backswing track means.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,634,102 6/1927 Hansen 273191 2,737,432 3/1956 Jenks. 3,341,208 9/1967 Marcella 273191 GEORGE I. MARLO, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 27381.2, 193

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Classifications
U.S. Classification473/229, 473/258
International ClassificationA63B69/36
Cooperative ClassificationA63B69/3641
European ClassificationA63B69/36D4