Ping Golf Advice, News, History and Buyers Guide
Ping it all started out as one man’s hobby in1959. Today, the company is regarded as one of the most highly respected & one of the most well-known names in the golf equipment industry. It has product lines that include golf clothing, clubs, bags, and gloves. Its innovations of lie and loft color coding, clubheads that are heat-treated, and weight perimeters are now labeled as the class standards and are being made use of by many different golf equipment manufacturers. Below is more information on the History of Ping Clubs.
Where it All Began
- In 1959, Karsten Solheim, an engineer from General Electric, was not contented with the current range of putters being sold at the time. In his garage, he designed his very own putter, nicknaming it the “Ping 1A” inspired from the sound created whenever the ball comes into contact with the metal blade during a swing. Its head has a weighted toe and heel and this created a larger sweet spot at the clubface’s center.
The Company Gets Founded
- During the early 1960s, Solheim’s design created a large and increasing demand, partly driven by John Barnum’s victory during the 1962 Cajun Classic using a Ping putter, followed by a “Sports Illustrated” editorial. Solheim was able to create the Anser putter in 1966, and this model has been used in victories for over 500 PGA Tours. In 1967, Solheim quit being an engineer for General Electric so that he could create the Karsten Manufacturing Corporation located in Phoenix, Arizona. Thus began the History of Ping Clubs.
The Irons of Ping
- In 1969, Solheim started adding sets of irons when he expanded his product line. These irons made use of the Ping-exclusive patented heel-toe weighting. The irons were also customized for each golfer, which was an unusual feature during that time. In the heat-treating process, both the clubhead’s position and the loft can be modified according to the specifications provided by the golfer. Once the proper fitting is made, the club is color-coded for easier replacement requests.
The 1980s: Trouble
- Throughout the 1980s, Karsten Manufacturing was pulled into legal battles with the PGA Tour and the U.S. Golf Association. In 1984, the USGA had a change of rules and started allowing irons bearing U-shaped grooves. Ping clubs had the edges of the U-shaped grooves rounded to prevent the golf ball from acquiring any damage, and the USGA believes this is a violation of its new rule. Solheim disagreed and it led him to sue both the USGA and the PGA Tour. The USGA lawsuit was settled in 1990; the PSG Tour lawsuit in 1993. The courts were finally able to decide that the older irons of Ping were acceptable provided that if new designs are to be made, it should adhere with the USGA’s requirements.
- Continuing the History of Ping Clubs, Karten’s son John took over the company as its president in the year 1995 and was able to reorganize the company’s marketing plans and deals on player sponsorship. The company, instead of offering Ping equipment as bonuses to professional players who won games, offered several players contracts wherein they get paid full salaries regardless of their performance. Print ads were updated to appeal to the younger market, and commercials for television started airing. Product line expansion happened with a new set of oversize metal woods which recreational golfers loved at once.
- PING announced it has signed Stan Utley, a renowned short-game instructor and author, has contracted with PING to represent the club maker in various capacities. “We’ve known Stan since his college days at the University of Missouri,” said John A. Solheim, PING Chairman & CEO. “He played and won with PING equipment on tour and we’ve since watched him evolve into one of the most trusted short-game instructors in golf. We’re excited to have Stan back as part of the PING family as we share the same goals. We both want to help golfers play better and enjoy the game more. He’ll be a great asset to PING in a number of ways.”