From founder Karsten Solheim’s garage to the World Golf Hall of Fame.
It all started with a frustrated golfer.
Karsten Solheim might not have invented the putter, but he did modernize it more than 60 years ago. And his influence can still be seen in just about every putter on the market today. While experimenting in his garage in Redwood City, California, his theory of heel-toe balance revolutionized putter design ― leading to the invention of the PING 1A putter.
A young John Solheim with his father, Karsten, outside their home in Redwood City, California.
Dubbed the “musical putter” by Sports Illustrated, the PING 1A’s weighting theories would soon revolutionize golf equipment.
The Redwood City Tribune took early notice of Karsten’s never-before-seen putter design, confirming it was no joke on April 1, 1959.
Personally drawn by Karsten, this ad appeared in the June 1960 issue of Golf Magazine. Note the $17.50 price.
Karsten and Louise proudly display an order for 100 putters in their Redwood City backyard.
The Kushin and Cushin introduced the idea of a “floating face”, which was achieved by cutting a slot in the sole of the putter. Julius Boros used the Cushin to win the 1967 Phoenix Open.
Karsten first sketched the Anser putter design on a 78 rpm record sleeve.
From the record sleeve to a detailed graph-paper drawing, the Anser was officially born on January 13, 1966. Youngest son and teenager John Solheim witnessed the milestone.
The Anser patent was granted on March 21, 1967. Few knew the impact it would have on putter designers in the years to come.
George Archer was the first to win a major championship with a PING putter, claiming the 1969 Masters using an Anser.
Ads packed with technical information were the norm in the early days. This ad was no exception, offering the multiple selling points of the Anser for only $20.
1A: The beginning of better.
Karsten’s 1A was the first to emphasize heel-toe weighting, reducing twisting for unprecedented forgiveness and accuracy. The tuning-fork-like design also made a ‘PING’ sound at impact. “I have a name for my putter,” he exclaimed to his wife, Louise.
Anser sets the standard.
First sketched on a 78 rpm record sleeve in 1966, Karsten refined his perimeter weighting concept and introduced a putter to “answer” competitors’ models. It was distinguished by its offset-hosel design. When the name Answer wouldn’t fit on the putter head, Louise suggested dropping the ‘w’. It was an instant success and remains the winningest and most copied model in golf history.
A tradition of winning.
More than 3,200 winning gold-plated putters are enshrined in the shimmering Gold Putter Vault, the most requested stop by visitors to PING’s headquarters. The tradition awards winning professionals a gold-plated replica of their PING putter used in victory. Two replicas are made; one for the pro and one for the vault. Each is engraved with the player's name and the tournament they won. To date, 58 major titles on the men’s tours alone have been claimed with a PING putter.
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