PING is one of the great pillars of golf manufacturing. Its putters, which are instantly recognizable by the ‘ping’ sound they make, have been a dominant force in golf for almost half a century. Its irons, drivers, and golf bags have also garnered universal praise. As a brand, PING is synonymous with clean, no-nonsense quality. American quality.
But since so many American companies have shifted their manufacturing overseas, you might be wondering, where are Ping golf clubs made? In this article, we’re going to explore the history of Ping, and we’ll determine the extent to which it has clung to its all-American roots.
What is PING?
The company was founded in 1959 by Karsten Solheim. Working as an engineer at the General Electric company and playing golf in his spare time, Solheim was dissatisfied with the putting equipment of the era, and figured that he could do better. Thus, in his garage in Redwood, California, he set about creating his own putter.
Applying scientific principles to golf club design, Solheim experimentally attached the shaft at the center of the blade, rather than the heel. He also transferred the majority of the weight of the club head to the perimeter. The result was a putter that was balanced far better than anything that had come before.
When striking the ball with his new putter, Solheim heard an unmistakable ‘ping’. In honor of this satisfying sound, he called the putter the PING 1A.
By the end of 1960, Solheim had six designs and had made over 2000 putters, each ringing with the game-changing sound of PING.
In 1961, Solheim moved his base of operation from Redwood, California to Phoenix, Arizona. The company now had its permanent home, and word of Solheim’s putters was spreading, with sales increasing at a steady rate.
PING secured its first PGA victory in 1962, in the hands of John Barnum. In 1965, the Golf World Cup in Japan televised many of the world’s best players using Ping clubs, and sales of Solheim’s putters flourished. He was still making them out of his garage.
In 1967, having recently released the widely successful Anser putter, Solheim finally resigned from General Electric, and moved production out of his garage to a factory, establishing the Karsten Manufacturing company. Two years later, PING secured its first major championship in the hands of George Archer at the 1969 Masters.
By this point, PING’s legacy was all but secured. Solheim would continue to develop market-leading putters – and eventually irons and woods – which would win tournament after tournament after tournament.
Solheim handed the reins of his company to his son in 1995. He died in 2000, aged 88, and was posthumously inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2001. Having innovated on various aspects of club design, Solheim’s putters have racked up well over 2000 tournament wins.
Where Are PING Golf Clubs Made?
The Karsten Manufacturing factory in Phoenix, Arizona, remains the main base of operations for PING. Despite increasingly tight and expensive EPA regulations, PING has managed to keep a good chunk of its manufacturing in the US.
PING’s milled putters, such as the Nome, Anser, and Sydney, are built from scratch in the US. The G10, G15, G20, and G25 iron sets are also all-American. In fact, all of PING’s steel shafts and pure golf grips are made in the USA.
Of course, many of PING’s materials are made in China – the titanium heads of woods, for instance. But once the individual components arrive in Arizona, it’s not just a matter of gluing the pieces together and boxing them up. The assembly process is elegant, thorough, and intricate. Each cub, with its unique specifications, is tracked via computer and is scrutinized for loft, lie, length, swing-weight, and so on, by a collection of experts. You can read more about PING’s diligent assembly process here.
Which Professionals Play With PING Golf Clubs?
As you’d expect, a good number of pros have taken the smart decision to play with PING. Here are just a few of the players who play exclusively with PING clubs.
- Lee Westwood, former World no. 1, with 44 professional wins across four decades, including 2 PGA Tour wins and 25 European Tour wins. Currently plays with the G425 LST Driver, i210 Irons, and the Sigma 2 Putter.
- Bubba Watson, former World no. 2, two-times Masters champion, with 12 PGA Tour victories. Currently plays with the G425 LST Driver, S55 Irons, and the Prototype Anser D Putter.
- Louis Oosthuizen, former world no. 4, 2010 Open Championship winner, with the distinction of finishing runner-up in all four major championships. Currently plays with the G400 Driver, Blueprint Irons, and Vault 2.0 Putter.
Other PING professionals include Scott Harrington, Tony Finau, Rob Oppenheim, Tyrrell Hatton, and many more.
The PING Gold Putter Vault
It would be remiss to talk about the legend of Karsten Solheim without mentioning the Gold Putter Vault.
Back in the 1970s, Solheim was looking for a way to commemorate and thank the pros who had achieved victory with a PING putter. Thus, for each winning putter, he would create two gold-plated replicas engraved with the professional’s name and the name of the tournament he or she won. One was given to the champion, and the other was kept at the company’s headquarters in Phoenix.
The collection grew quite substantially, requiring bigger and bigger rooms. It is now referred to as a vault and contains nearly 3000 putters.
The Gold Putter Vault is a true testament to the brilliance of PING putters and is the perfect shrine to the ever-unfolding legend of Solheim himself.
Who could have guessed that, from the humble confines of a 1950s Californian garage, came a simple yet brilliant piece of engineering that would prove to be one of the most significant golfing developments in history? Solheim cultivated an all-American brand of unmatched quality, and it’s nice to know that PING has, for the most part, managed to keep its manufacturing in the US.
It will be exciting to see what PING does in the future. Chances are, they’re going to need a bigger Vault.
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Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.