The GyroClub was invented June 1997|
Golfing can be a VERY frustrating game! Consistency is obviously critical to getting better scores, but attaining consistency is REALLY difficult! This invention of a gyroscopic golf club can assist in achieving that consistency!
In order for a person to accomplish a "clean" swing, the club head should remain in a single plane during the entire stroke. From the top of the backswing, behind the head, through the accelerating down stroke, through the ball, and continuing up on the follow through, the club head should never leave that desired plane. In addition, the club must not get twisted at any point of that stroke. Also, the body and shoulders must not lean forward, back or to either side during the stroke.
It turns out that there are DOZENS of different muscles that are involved in a golf stroke. Quite a number of lower back muscles put a twist into the torso and then unwind it. Other muscles direct the paths of the shoulders, others yet, the elbows. More yet define the position and motion of the wrists. Then, based on all those operating perfectly, the flexing and recoiling of the hands and wrists must be precisely controlled.
(Can you tell that this is a Physicist describing a golf stroke?!)
If ANY of this multitude of muscles acts even very slightly stronger or weaker than in a previous stroke, the result can be quite different. That means that the golf ball is likely to fly in a different direction with a different velocity, and/or with different spin, so it will likely land in a significantly different place. This is BAD! In the interest in developing consistency, it is most desirable to duplicate the effort as identically as possible, so the ball ends up in the predicted destination.
As long as the player moved the GyroClub in that exact desired plane, the club would behave exactly as previously experienced as a standard golf club. HOWEVER, if the golfer did anything to EITHER cause the GyroClub head path to deviate from that desired planar path OR cause the club head to twist due to the wrists, two very distinctive different noticeable forces would be felt by the player.
This peculiar sensation felt would give guidance/instruction to the golfer to correct the deviation from a proper swing! Gyroscopes main characteristic is that they want to keep the direction of the axis of rotation constant. Since the situation described above is such that that axis is normal to the plane of the swing, the gyroscope (and therefore the club) will tend to keep the GyroClub motion on the desired path.
The sensation is relatively hard to describe, and it changes depending on where in the stroke that the golfer either pulls or pushes the club head out of the desired plane, but the sensation is extremely distinctive! In general, there is the feeling that the clubhead seems to be trying to move outward or inward!
If the golfer instead accidentally twists the wrists during the stroke, the result is very different. It is hard to describe in words!
When I first invented this, I considered two very different applications for it, one being installed in a club that would be used in actual games of golf, and the other as a teaching/training aid. These next paragraphs (from the late 1990s) refer to the actual-game-version. I later concluded that the required gyroscope for that purpose would have to be too large and too heavy and would adversely affect the club and the concentration on the game:
The gyroscope for use in an actual game should probably be
a significantly large and very high speed gyro, in order to
be able to produce the rather large Moments (torques) referred to
here. With a sufficiently strong-acting gyro, it could be very
difficult to cause the GyroClub head to twist
or to move laterally during the stroke. That should virtually
eliminate the chance of shanking, hooking or slicing the ball!|
There's even an additional bonus effect in this! If the stroke were incorrectly aimed, such that the center of the club head does not pass through the center of the ball (laterally), we would say that the "sweet spot" was missed. This would normally cause the impact to cause a torque (twist) in the club head. This normally would cause the ball to be hit in the wrong direction with a LOT of sidespin on it. The gyroscope in the Gyro golf club could virtually eliminate that! Effectively, the size of the "sweet spot" would be greatly increased!
The direction of the force being felt is an indication of what flaw in the swing had just occurred. The intensity of that sensation indicates to the player just how bad the error had been! It is wonderful feedback to the player! Any player can quickly recognize the feeling of a proper swing (which does not have any of these weird effects!) The player also quickly learns how to avoid twisting the wrists during a swing, and or avoiding a weak-wristed stroke (which generally give opposite sensations). The intensity of the sensation would be a guide to just how bad that particular error had been.
The intensity of these effects is dependent on the characteristics of the gyroscope. The size, shape, and rotational speed, all affect how great these sensations are. It is possible to make the Gyro Club incredibly sensitive to variances from a proper stroke. It is also possible to give it very minimal feedback such that beginners might learn basic skills. The player would quickly learn how to avoid the peculiar feeling that results from an incorrect stroke.
Therefore, current thinking is along the lines of a training-only, practice-only application. A "practice" Driver could be made to be used only with dry swings or with whiffle balls. In such case, the gyroscope could even be mounted inside a hollowed out area inside the club head.
(This would be highly undesirable for an actual club, for several reasons. The tremendous G-forces of the impact with the ball would be bad for the tiny bearing of the gyroscope. The presence of the gyroscope instead of the normal materials of the club head would certainly greatly affect the resiliency and "kick" of the head in getting maximum distance.)
In practice only situations, a GyroClub with an over-sized gyroscope would give very distinctive feedback to the player on any flaw in the swing. I would think that even professional players could sometimes benefit from this usage. When their game is going through a lull, usually there is some very subtle flaw that has crept into their swing. Often, even videotape or a coach might not see a really subtle change. But a sensitive practice GyroClub should certainly give indication of the flaw. Within a few practice swings, the feedback presented should allow the player to correct the problem, even if he never even sensed that there had BEEN a problem! Ahhhh! Golf, the way it SHOULD be!
For situations where a practice club is to be used at a driving range, the gyroscope can be mounted, clamped to any club shaft, just below the hand-grip.
In each of these cases, while the gyroscope is spinning, the club has some really weird feels while first preparing for the shot. In first walking to the tee, turning around, and preparing a backswing, the club gives a lot of weird "tugs"! They should be ignored, and are just a result of the desired gyroscopic effect!
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This subject presentation was last updated on - - A US Patent is being pursued on this invention.
If a company is interested in producing either or both versions of my GyroClub golf clubs, I would be very receptive to a joint venture.
C Johnson, Theoretical Physicist, Physics Degree from Univ of Chicago