Posted June 8, 2023 in Products and Brands by Trevor Cigich
When it comes to putters, PING technology is arguably unavoidable. The founder of what eventually became PING, Karsten Solheim, is one of the most coveted names in golf history. The brand he created carried some of the most influential putters and putter technology in all of golf.
To tell the story of how PING changed the way putters are designed many times over, we have to cover the following:
So let’s dive into what started it all: Karsten Solheim’s first putter!
When Solheim first started golfing, he noticed how the putters in his day would twist significantly on contact, as they had an uneven weight distribution throughout the head. As an inexperienced golfer and a talented engineer, he decided to work on putting off the course. He started by drilling elongated holes at either end of the solid putter head, and filling them with lead, shifting the weight distribution toward the edges and away from the point of contact.
This led to promising results, as Solheim immediately noticed less twisting on contact, which gave him far more control over the path of the ball whether or not he struck it directly at the center of the face.
While using the putter at Palo Alto Municipal Golf Course, the head professional complemented Karsten’s putting game. When Solheim mentioned his improvements to the putter, the head pro said that if he could make a putter like his that would encourage the ball to roll instead of skidding, “he could sell a million of them.”
So, in 1958, Karsten immediately got to work on the first PING prototype: the 1A. He included the same edge weight bias and designed a “torsion bar.” This innovation was a heavy, rounded bar at the bottom of the club head that lowered the center of gravity. This shift caused the angle of the momentum at the point of contact to lift the back of the golf ball a touch, which got it to roll sooner after contact.
Just like that, Karsten had changed how putters were made forever, but this was only the first time he would do this.
Through the 1960s, Solheim would run the PING company with his family and offer various iterations of his putter. He made other clubs, but it was his putter that he was known for when he would set up his booth at tour events. That is, until 1966 when he found that his market had shrunk significantly at the Los Angeles Open due to Arnold Palmer’s success with the Wilson 8802. This new putter had become the belle of the ball, and the PING was old news.
Luckily for the golf world, Solheim immediately got to work on the most famous putter he would ever make, the PING Anser. It was named based on the fact that it was PING’s answer to the 8802, but spelled without the “W” because there simply wasn’t room to engrave the whole word.
As is clear by looking at the Anser, it included many of the design features that dictated how blade-style putters would look up to today. With a thin face outlined by dense weights on either end and a strip of thick metal along the bottom to lower the center of gravity even more effectively than Solheim’s original “torsion bar.” The Anser is commonly considered the most copied putter design of all time.
This putter would allow Solheim to quit his job, buy some land, and create Karsten Manufacturing and PING. It launched sales from $50,000 a year to more than $800,000 within two years.
The impact of Solheim’s ingenuity, and the brand he developed with it, is immeasurable to the game of golf. As countless brands made their own iterations of the Anser design, it became near impossible to purchase a putter that was not heavily inspired in some way by PING.
PING continues to innovate and create industry-leading putters that tour pros use to win championships. They even have the PING putter vault filled with gold-plated replicas of his over 3,000 championship-winning putters.
We took a look inside it ourselves:
No matter what putter you buy, though, odds are, it carries signature design elements popularized by Karsten Solheim and his beloved brand, PING.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced golfer, a PING Putter can help you improve your game on the greens. And if you’re looking for expert guidance on finding the perfect putter, Worldwide Golf Shops has you covered. Our knowledgeable staff can help you find the right equipment to suit your needs and take your putting to the next level. Check out our online store to see our industry-standard variety of all of the following:
At Worldwide Golf Shops, we take pride in offering brands that we guarantee will provide the highest level of value to our diverse range of golfers. Our knowledgeable staff is ready to assist you in finding the perfect golf gear. Find a store near you today!
Trevor Cigich | Director of Retail Marketing | Worldwide Golf Shops
I’ve been at Worldwide Golf Shops for 6 years, and I’ve been playing golf for 23 years. I have played a few mini tour events but now compete occasionally at the amateur level– currently a +2.1 handicap. I am a bit of a tinkerer when it comes to golf and golf clubs. I enjoy testing all aspects of different products, utilizing various fitting systems and learning about all the different club shafts, club lengths, golf balls, and putter styles. Not just for my game, but to help customers of all calibers.
For more content from me and our team, as well as our vast online store, go to www.worldwidegolfshops.com.