For golfers, many companies are associated with the sport. The PING golf company remains in operation in the United States. For over 50 years, PING has provided golfers with some of the best clubs available. One of its trademarks is the putter, and the PING putter has gone through years of developments and history-making moments. A look back at its history shows how the putter has progressed and changed the game of golf today.
It wasn't until 1959 that the first PING putter was invented. The founder of PING putters, Karsten Solheim, did not use a factory or company to invent his putter, he assembled it in his own garage. His first putter was referred to as the 1-A putter and featured a balanced weight system that is still in use today. Three years later, the PING putter received worldwide exposure when John Barnum used one to win the Cajun Classic golf tournament. In 1966, the Anser putter was released and instantly became a success for the PING company. During that same year, the company moved from the garage to a full factory named the Karsten Manufacturing Corp.
The success of the Anser putter helped put PING on the map and gain even more popularity. PING expands from putters and introduces drivers along with more advanced iron clubs. PING putters become so popular thanks to the pros that all of the winning clubs are duplicated and kept in a vault. Gold plaques help signify the date and tournament win along with the player. The height of the popularity peaked for PING putters in the late 1970s as the putters became the most used in tournaments all over the world and in the PGA.
PING expands its putter line-up, including the popular Anser2 putter. The innovative putter was used by the winning golfer during the 1987 PGA Championship. One year later, Ronald Reagan awarded Solheim with the "E" award for excellence in exportation of PING putters. Eventually, PING putters would be used by all the winning golfers in every major tournament during 1982. Winning PING putters included the Anser2, PAL, PAL2 and the ZING 2.
PING's success continued throughout the 1990s. Along with honorary degrees and tournaments dedicated to Solheim, PING putters were used to win several major events, including five in a row in 1993. During 1999, PING putters officially were used to win over 1,500 golf tournaments and over 45 major tournaments. Solheim's son had taken over the company a few years prior and new insert putters were introduced to the company's growing line.
The 2000s began with the passing of Kirsten Solheim, but the decade celebrated his legacy and the company he built. He was honoured in the World Golf Hall of Fame and his grandson took a large role in the company. The PING Craz-E putter was released in 2004 and has become one of its most successful clubs. This putter helped PING achieve over 2,000 tournament wins.