Karsten Solheim started Ping from his garage in 1959. The name derived from the sound the golf ball made off the putter face at impact. The former General Electric engineer was fed up with how difficult it was putting with putters in that era and came up with Ping.
Sales increased through the years when the Solheim family moved to Phoenix, Arizona and at this point he still hand crafted each and every one of his putters.
Ping manufactured its first set of irons in 1966 and was the first manufacturer to offer a cast iron option, which dramatically saved on cost and provided better quality control.
PING Brand Profile
- Founded: 1959
- Founders: Karsten Solheim
- Headquarters: Phoenix, Arizona
- Estimated Revenue: $300 million
- Major Professional Endorsements: Tony Finau, Hunter Mahan, Louis Oosthuizen, Bubba Watson, Lee Westwood
- Website: www.ping.com
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PING - Brief History
Ping, as every golfer will agree, is known best for their putters and although they have manufactured some fantastic clubs, putters is where they make their mark.
In 1966 Solheim sketched his original design of the Anser on the dust cover of an old record. He struggled to come up with a name and his wife suggested the name “Answer” because it was designed as the answer to rectifying putting problems, but the name was too long to fit onto the putter.
So the shortened ‘Anser’ became one of the most iconic putters of all time. The design featured an offset hosel that gave golfers a clean view of the putter face. The cavity-back putter also featured a low centre of gravity and the lines at the centre and rear of the putter were parallel to the face to help golfers square up the putter at address.
The Anser putter was patented in 1967.
At the end of 1966, Ping faced a major issue being that the USGA banned all Ping putters from handicap and tournament play apart from the Anser. The reason being that there was a slight bend in the shaft just under the grip that was thought to give players an advantage.
Ping was also the first company to offer factory fitting by taking into account the player’s height, hand to floor measurement and club distances.
Nowadays each set of Ping irons will have a different colour dot which determines how upright or flat the lie angles are. Gold is the flattest lie angle at 4 degrees flat and maroon is the most upright at 5 degrees upright. There are a total of 10 colour options and players will be matched perfectly to their setup.
The Ping Eye irons were introduced in 1979 and the ‘eye’ in the rear of the clubhead aided feel and aesthetic improvement. In the 1980’s the Ping Eye 2’s were launched with a number of improvements and these went on to be one of the best-selling iron sets in that era.
The ISI irons were released in the 1990’s and included nickel in the makeup which allowed for a softer feel at impact with more durability. Later in the early 2000’s Ping designed the ‘I’ iron and driver models targeted at the better player and the ‘G’ models were for game improvement and mid handicappers.
To this day, Ping have supported professional golf for a number of years and the players who are endorsed by the company seem to have a longer ‘shelf life’ than other brands. The endorsed players stick by Ping and have been using their product since they turned professional.
One example is Lee Westwood who has been with Ping for over 20 years. If that doesn’t tell you something then we’d be surprised. Ping fills the role as one of the main manufacturer players in the industry and will be for a number of years to come.