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Once the legal process was underway to protect my product, I needed to refine the components of the swing aid so it could be tried and tested by golfers and instructors. The foot switch needed to be very low profile, and strong enough to with stand the force and weight of the golfer during the downswing. Nothing was sacred as I scoured the house looking for materials and shapes I could incorporate into the foot switch. I found a Christmas tree ornament and plastic box from an old toy that could be fashioned into components for the control box (the location of buzzer and wires). However, nothing was found that I could utilize to house the spring and electronic contact mechanism. The foot switch needed to be manufactured. I have never hired an engineering company before, so I gathered up my notes of shapes and materials and visited the closest engineering company. I decided on a disc shape about the size of a tea cup saucer. I wanted the foot switch to perform naturally under the golfer’s foot, which meant the foot switch would need to roll with the foot as it naturally does during the weight transfer and follow through. The engineer and I discussed several materials, and we tried a couple of types of plastics, and aluminum before settling on commercial grade PVC. I liked the aluminum best, but would need to reconfigure the electronic connections, so PVC won out. The engineer milled the pieces to the exact specifications I requested, but having the pieces fit and perform as planned was still trial and error.
A week later I returned to pick up the milled pieces. I was truly excited, because now I could build the other components of the prototype and take the practice mat to the local golf instructors I know to get real feed- back on the invention. I drove straight home so I could put the new, milled pieces together. The pieces fit perfectly, but some adjustments needed to be made in order for the electronic connections to function properly. This assessment only took me ten minutes, so I immediately drove back to the engineer to see about the adjustments that need to be made. I left the pieces that needed adjustment and returned home. I called early the next morning to see if I could pick up the tweaked parts, but was told the lathe needed to fix my parts was being used on another project and it would be approximately one week before they could make the necessary adjustments. What a bummer! As I saw it, five minutes on the lathe would have me done and out of the way, now I needed to wait a week. Since I had spent so much time and effort to get to this point, it was difficult to accept a delay in progress because of an outside vendor. Each day dragged on because I was ready to have a working prototype and move my project along. A week later I called to see how the new parts were going and was told another job from one of their major customers needed to be milled, that they would get to my pieces as soon as possible. I could not believe it, just like that I was bumped. Out of frustration I called a couple of other engineering companies but was told they were all busy, would need to see my drawings and the cost looked like it would be significantly higher. I decided to hang in there with the first engineer, but really had no idea when my parts would be finished.
Frustration was an emotion I hadn’t experienced in a while, at least in the work place. As the Chief of Pretrial Services in Federal Court, I had a staff of 20 plus employees who were very efficient and would usually fulfill my request almost instantly. Now that I was retired, the situation was completely different. I was working alone and disappointed that my project was not top priority. I would have to practice deep breathing just to call the engineer to hear those dreaded words: Sorry Carl, it will be a few more days. I couldn’t understand why the engineer wouldn’t complete my parts first, after all wasn’t this the greatest golf swing invention of all times? Of course it is, just ask me!
---Carl Papa is the inventor of Pin High Pro