Good morning from beautiful Myrtle Beach South Carolina, here’s another Classic Swing Golf School blog from Dan DeFreest.
The name “Ping” is synonymous with golf, so I got to wondering just how the name and the clubs got started. Was Ping just a gimmick that caught on or an innovation that changed the game? Let’s see.
A GE engineer named Karsten Solheim was a weekend golfer who, back in 1959, was unhappy with his putting but couldn’t find a putter that he was comfortable with. The old saying goes “Necessity is the mother of invention”; Solheim set out to build a putter that met his expectations. He set up shop in his garage, and named the first club he made the “Ping 1A” after the sound it made when it came into contact with the ball.
Solheim began marketing his new clubs and after they began showing up in the winner’s circle at tournaments, Sports Illustrated did an article about them in 1966. The following year Solheim quit his jobs to devote all of his time to the golf club business.
Ping putters were weighted in the heal and toe with a hollow sweet-spot in the middle that created the sound as well as better feel for the golfer. In 1969, Karsten Manufacturing began to expand their innovations to irons.
Over the years, Ping irons became one of the most popular brands of irons with amateur and professional golfers alike and today notable pros like Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan and Lee Westwood are on staff with Ping.
So, although the ping sound may have seemed like a gimmick, the clubs perimeter weighting system, sweet spot, and forgiving design are all innovations that all club manufacturers incorporate in their designs today.
You don’t have to start a golf club company to get comfortable with your swing, just come see the folks at Classic Swing Golf School.