No matter how good you are with your stance, technique, and fitness, you can’t bring your A-game to the fairway if you are not using the best available equipment. In this section, we often discuss some of the renowned manufacturers in the golf industry so that our readers know more about the brands they use or should be using.
Here, we are going to shed some light on the history and work of Ping—one of the top club manufacturers in the US.
Ping: It All Started from a Garage in California
Who would have thought that an engineer from the General Electric would lay a foundation of one of the leading golf club makers in his garage? Well, it happened in 1959 when Karsten Solheim designed the first putter in his backyard while using his engineering experience. The putter was unexpectedly well-made and Solheim was able to balance its weight throughout the head.
The functional soundness of this first-ever putter of Ping was proven after a couple of years when John Barnum won the Cajun Classic Golf Tournament by playing the winning shot with it.
Then Ping Moved from California to Arizona
Solheim shifted to Arizona in 1961 and set up a more detailed garage workshop for making putters there. The success of the first putter A1 encouraged Solheim to continue with making more such club makes. The Cajun Classic victory proved to be a great marketing hook for Ping. Within six years after launching its first club, Ping was catering to many PGA players with its putters. The highlight of this early success was the Golf World Cup of 1965 where Ping clubs were seen on televisions all around the world.
It is important to see this success in the context that Ping was still being operated out of a garage.
Foraying Into Driver and Iron Lines
In the 70s, Ping decided to offer a complete range of golf clubs. The company offered some irons and drivers in its Anser line that had already been launched with putters. These Ping drivers and irons were well-received but couldn’t get even close to the success and popularity of its putters.
Putters Keep Winning
By the 80s, Solheim and his people clearly understood that putters were their signature golf club and they needed to stick to them. Therefore, three different putter models were introduced during the decade, making waves all across the golf world with their precision and quality. In the meanwhile, Ping was also awarded the President’s E Award given to all those entities that make a significant contribution to American exports— Ping was providing their premium-quality putters to golfers all around the world.
The Legacy Lives On
In the 90s, Solheim had earned legendary status in the golfing landscape. Tournaments would be named after him. After making 40 major tournament wins possible with his putters, Solheim gave Ping’s helm to his son by the late 90s.
Solheim passed away soon after but his legacy lived on. Posthumously, he was inducted in the World Golf Hall of Fame. In 2004, Ping Golf made another breakthrough with its Craz-E putter that became all the rage at that time among pro players. As of now, it has registered more than 2,200 tournament wins.
Where are Ping Golf Clubs Made?
So, where are the Ping golf clubs made? Today all their components are made in China. Like many other American manufacturers, Ping also shifted its manufacturing facility to China in the early 2000s for cheap labor and reasonably-priced raw material.
Nevertheless, the original Phoenix facility is still the place where the magic happens. All the putters are assembled and quality assured there and then dispatched to every corner of the world.
Ping is Known for Their Putters & Irons
Putters are undoubtedly the identity of Ping Golf. However, over the course of more than 50 years, it has also designed some of the best drivers and irons. Here, we are going to look at some of the all-time bests offered by Ping from all club categories.
Eye 2 Iron
Eye 2 irons are considered one of the classic golf clubs across all brands. The first Eye 2 was introduced more than two decades ago. It is still being used by some golfers. The features that made this Ping iron stand out among similar club makes were its extraordinary huge face and the expanded groove area. These characteristics enabled golfers to play the mid-range shots on the green with the required power and for better accuracy.
Many other club makers got inspired by this peculiar design and followed the suit in their products. You can see the basic characteristics of Eye 2 irons in Milled Grind Hi-Toe of TaylorMade and Callaway’s PM Grind.
Eye 2 Driver
Eye 2 Driver is one of the most photographed golf clubs in the 80s. It was launched in 1983 and soon become a favorite driver in PGA games. It won’t be wrong to say that this Ping offering has also gained legendary status over time.
How can we complete this list without mentioning Anser Putter—the father of all modern putters? It is one of the most prolific putters in the entire history of Golf. In its over 40 years of lustrous run, it has registered more than 500 major wins in its name. How Anser Putter and that whole product line came into existence is also nothing short of an incredible tale.
Solheim didn’t design this putter with any prior homework while sweating out in the workshop. Anser Putter is the product of a zing of inspiration. The design idea of this putter came so promptly and was so brilliant and overwhelming that Solheim couldn’t wait; he had to sketch it there and then — over the dust jacket of an LP record!
The peculiar name of this putter also involves an interesting anecdote. The name “Anser” was actually meant to be the word “Answer”. But since there was not enough space on the back of the blade, it was shortened to “Anser”. Solheim’s wife suggested the name “Answer” as this club was to be the ‘answer’ to golfers putting needs.
Noteworthy Current Ping Clubs
Ping Golf Clubs are still ruling the fairways through many different models. Let’s have a quick look at a few of their best products.
Our Final Thoughts
Before we wrap up this piece, there is an interesting Ping ritual that we would like to share: each winner putter (PGA-level) from Ping is duplicated and labeled with a gold plaque and kept in a vault in the company’s headquarters. It is indeed a great way to celebrate, remember and get inspired by one’s achievements.