The Cut : The Cut - Winter 2016
62 THE CUT P utters are very collectable, and most of us have more than one tucked away in the garage. But no one has a collection quite like Ping. It’s so big it is housed in its own vault. It contains a replica of every Ping putter used to win a tour event since the company was founded in 1959. And each one is coated in gold. Ping founder Karsten Solheim hit upon the idea in the 1960s, when he wanted to recognise a tour player’s achievement in winning an event using one of his flatsticks. He felt just a cheque wasn’t personal enough and didn’t mean anything once it had been banked. So he decided that when one of his players won, he’d make two exact copies of the winning putter. He engraved both with the player’s name, the event and year and had them gold plated. He gave one to the player and kept the other for himself. Now, 57 years on, his collection runs to some 2,830 clubs that all have their own stories to tell. “It’s one of the coolest things in professional sports,” says six-time PGA Tour winner Hunter Mahan. “After a win, you’re usually thinking about getting to go to the Masters and everything that usually comes with a victory. But then you realise you get a gold putter as well. Usually they give it to you some time after the win, so when you get it, it brings back good memories from the week. Getting to see your name and tournament win engraved on the face gives it a personal touch that I really like. It’s just so unique.” When players started winning majors using Ping putters Karsten thought it needed something extra-special to mark the occasion. So he started to make a solid-gold version of those putters. Today, 61 majors down and at a cost of $20,000- $30,000 each, it’s fair to say Ping believes in rewarding those pros who choose to play its equipment. Bubba Watson received a solid-gold Ping Anser 1 Milled for winning the 2014 Masters. It had a head weight of 24.7 ounces LEFT: Tiger holes the winning putt at the US Amateur Championship in 1995. BELOW: Suzann Pettersen celebrates winning the 2007 LPGA Championship.
The Cut - Spring 2016