Ping Golf is a company synonymous with innovation and service in the world of golf. Started by Karsten Solheim, he is one of the most famous names in the industry.
Solheim, born in Norway, wasn’t much of a player but excelled at being an engineer. His first putter was revolutionary and gave the company its name. His original putter was known for its “ping” noise when golfers hit the ball.
The putter was different because it had an off center shaft and two weights, one in the heel and one in the toe. With this design, Solheim became a much better putter.
It took a while for people to come around to what was an odd-looking, uniquely weighted putter. Solheim made the putters in his garage and continued his day job as an engineer. But he was already thinking about starting a manufacturing operation.
He borrowed money from the bank and purchased a mill to start producing putters for the masses. And he continued to develop the putter’s design by asking golfers and club pros what they thought of it.
The main feedback he received is if he could get the putter to roll the ball, then he could sell a million. When the new design came out, Solheim sold a lot more than just a million.
The big break came from when a touring pro won the Phoenix Open in 1967 using Solheim’s Anser Putter. In the 1960’s, 7 million golfers took up the game and they all needed clubs. Sales took off.
Karsten Solheim became a wealthy man and began a unique tradition: the Gold Room at Ping. Every Ping pro who won a tournament received a gold-plated club (putters mostly). And then an identical club when into the Gold Room. There are nearly 3,000 of them now.
For Ping, irons were next, also engineered by Solheim. Called the Ping Eye2, these irons were just as different as his putters. The irons were so popular that they dominated the irons market by 30% for much of the 1980’s.
The design made the club more forgiving with perimeter weighting and the superior materials meant strict high quality. This devotion to quality keeps Ping customers happy and coming back for more clubs.
Ping clubs are also fitted to the customer, one at a time, like a made to measure suit. Fittings are conducted in person with highly trained sales professionals. The fitting information comes to the plant where workers in an elaborate assembly system using proprietary software to turn out custom clubs on a tight timeline.
Ping tests clubs and balls and records their paths with radar, an engineering feat the first of its kind in the industry. All of that innovation garners Ping close to 250 to 300 million dollars a year in sales.
Bubba Watson and other Tour professionals, carry Ping clubs in their bag. This says that Ping clubs can be played by some of the best players in the world. You can see what Bubba plays with specifically here.
If you can’t get custom fit in person, you can now do it online. The company created nFlight, an online tool developed by software developers, scientists, and fitting experts. You can use this tool here to select a club that fits your desired ball flight.