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November 30, 2023 52 mins

Shane and Marty join PING Historian Rob Griffin in his office, the Archives at PING HQ, a room that houses more than 60 years of PING innovation. They discuss the man that started it all, PING Founder Karsten Solheim, his most iconic designs which revolutionized the way golf equipment was designed and manufactured, and how his philosophies still drive our research and development today.  


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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
The guys from Ping. They've kind of showed me how
much the equipment matters. I just love that I can
hit any shot I kind of want.

Speaker 2 (00:06):
We're gonna be able to tell some fun stories about
what goes on here to help golfers play better golf.

Speaker 1 (00:11):
Welcome back to the Ping Proving Grounds podcast. I'm Shane Bacon.
That is Marty Jertsen, and this is a very very
important thing to tell you off the bat. If you're
listening to the podcast, pause the podcast for a moment
and then open it back up on YouTube, because I
will say, Marty, it's gonna be a visual medium. Today.
Rob Griffin is with us. We are in the archive room. Rob,

this is where I would say the magic happens, but
the magic has been happening for a long time. How
long have you been at Ping and how many golf
clubs do you feel like are in the archive room
right now?

Speaker 3 (00:43):
Well, I've been at Ping since nineteen eighty six. I
did leave for three years, but I came back. And
when I started, I was the company's photographer, so I
shot all kinds of stuff for the company, tour events.
I thought I was going to shoot a lot of
tour events turned out. I was shot more product okay

than anything. But then I left in two thousand and two.
I came back in two thousand and five. My hair
had turned white, so they said I could be the historian.

Speaker 1 (01:15):
That was all it took. On the rest today, Yeah,
it's gotten a little wider. You can do. You can
get the archive room, you can have that. What what
are the club's day back to? I mean you're talking
like I was looking around as before we got going,
and I was picking out clubs I played when I
was a junior golfer. What year are some of these
clubs dating back to?

Speaker 3 (01:31):
Well as far back as maybe late fifty eight, nineteen
fifty nine.

Speaker 1 (01:36):

Speaker 3 (01:37):
And how many there are in here? I don't know.

Speaker 1 (01:39):
Exactly, but you can guess.

Speaker 3 (01:42):
I guess, yeah, there's more than a few thousand, okay.
And we actually have three other rooms over in another building,
and in one of those rooms is full of clubs.

Speaker 1 (01:53):
So there's what year do they push you? Do they
push you to that room like on an office space situation.

Speaker 3 (01:57):
Oh yeah, but that's over there where there's no there's
no heater cooling.

Speaker 1 (02:04):
That's right, Okay, Okay, you don't want to be there
in the summer.

Speaker 3 (02:06):
You don't want to be there in the summer. But
that's where most of the wooden woods are actually, which
is not a good maybe not the best thing, but
that's where most of the wooden woods.

Speaker 2 (02:13):
Are rob I think one thing that US engineers have
heard a lot of stories about through the family, through
John Solheim when we're working on product development, is about
Carston the originator. Give a little insight to the listener
about him, maybe some of the fun pro I mean,
I love looking at some of the from fun prototypes

that he made or welded together, tried, you know, had
his technicians go make real quickly. Give us a little
insight into Carston and what made him tick. Well.

Speaker 3 (02:46):
Carsten's whole thing was he was trying to make the
game of golf easier for the average player. That was
his whole goal in life was to build a golf
club that would make the game easier to play. He
was a great problem solver, always trying to think how
to improve his golf club or design a new putter,

things like that. So you know there's a driver up
here that's the square stainless steel square driver, and you
know he just wanted to see how will that work?
And I know when he was working on that with
Greg Schmidt, one of our engineers, Greg told him, he says, Carson,
that's going to cow bell and sure enough it did.

But Carson said, no, it's okay, let's let's try it anyway,
and they tried it, and sure enough it made a
cow bell sound. It was pretty loud.

Speaker 1 (03:42):
I mean, but I mean you're talking about a square
driver that was built in the nineties, yeah.

Speaker 3 (03:47):
Or probably sometime in the early nineties and.

Speaker 1 (03:49):
The early nineties. So, you know, you think about the
innovation of golf and how we go through these ebbs
and flows with certain designs. I mean, Marty's been, you know,
so influential in that over the last twenty twenty five years.
But some of the things that you have on these ricks,
I mean, you're showing me an upside down putter from
years ago. A lot of the ideas were just simply
will this work or will this name?

Speaker 3 (04:08):
Yeah, let's see what happens. You know, Alan even told
me one time that when Alan had an idea, Carson
would ask him, have you tried doing it? Just backwards
of that, have you tried doing that? One hundred and
eighty degrees just to see what happens.

Speaker 2 (04:22):
Yeah, I think Carston was the originator of what we're
still doing today, which is trying things fail and learn
from your failures, right, And he really started us on
that journey, rob And it is fun to look at
all the well you could call it a failure, but

quote unquote, you know, failures that are learnings that we've
you know, continued to build upon.

Speaker 1 (04:48):

Speaker 3 (04:48):
Oh, absolutely, no, I mean, he he wasn't He wasn't
afraid to fail. He wasn't afraid for something.

Speaker 1 (04:54):
Not to work. How did the process of starting an
archive room begin? Because I can only imagine you had
a lot of these things laying around somewhere and you
might as well display what you're saying, seventy years of
golf clubs in this room, right.

Speaker 3 (05:08):
Well, the way the original idea of this started in
the mid nineties and we had a historian. Her name
was don Wingert, and she had actually been John's assistant
administrative assistant for a while quite a while, and so

she became the first historian and she did a lot
of great work. I fall back on stuff that she's found,
and she kind of did the initial organization of it,
and a lot of the putters that I have are
because she went up to shipping and grabbed a bunch
of putters.

Speaker 1 (05:46):
You know, we need this for the archive, right, like.

Speaker 3 (05:48):
These white putters over here, which we didn't sell very
we hardly ever sold. I'm almost positive that she went
up to shipping and then we're up there and she says,
I'll take all those stuff like that. She really got
to start, you know, She's the one that got it started.
So much of what I have done since then, I've
fallen back on stuff that she had done.

Speaker 1 (06:11):

Speaker 2 (06:12):
I think one of the one of the things that
a lot of people don't know about is how influential
Louise was in uh the entire company, especially some of
the the the naming of the answer putter. She was
a lab technician for for in the research industry, well dynamics.

Speaker 3 (06:34):
Actually she worked for Convert and she worked in the
wind tunnel and her job title.

Speaker 1 (06:40):
Was computer, just computer computer.

Speaker 3 (06:43):
She was a math whiz, and so her job was
to take the data that these engineers got from the
wind tunnel and to somehow or other condense it into
something they could really use. And that was you know,
that's one of the jobs she had. And then later
on when they were in New York, she actually worked
for a government agency, the Dairy Board or something like that.

And so, you know, she was very smart in terms
of Carston and Louise. I always tell people this that
if Carston had married a different young lady, we probably
wouldn't be here today. She was that important to what
we did. She came to work every day just like

Carston did, and she was more of the personal touch
with the employees and things like that. And yes, she
named some of the putters, including the Answer famously, the
answer putter.

Speaker 1 (07:39):
So is the story on that was it was drop
a letter to make it fit on the putter? Was
that how it went?

Speaker 3 (07:44):
Yeah, so Carston, you know, Carston came home from the
La Open in January of sixty six and Arnold Palmer's
putter was the most popular putter out there at the time,
the eighty eight oh two, and so Carston came home
and he told Louise he needed to find an answer
to Arnie's putter. So within days Carston had a drawing,

he had a sample and it was get He needed
to go to the engraver to have the plates engraved
to put the name on the putter. This started a
few days before he had to go, and he said,
you know, I need a name for my putter. And
she says, why don't you just call it the Answer,
because it's your answer to Ernie's putter. He said, well,
that's no name for a putter, you know. So they

went back and forth.

Speaker 1 (08:34):
One whiffs was considering what that name has done in
the lineage of pain exactly.

Speaker 3 (08:39):
So they went back and forth a couple of days,
and then the morning that he was supposed to go,
he had his appointment to go to the engraver. They
woke up and you know, he said, you know, I
still need a name for this putter. And she said,
I told you call it the Answer. And he goes, well,
that's too long. It won't fit. And she said, we'll
drop the W. It'll sound the same anyway.

Speaker 2 (09:01):
And there you go, and there you have it.

Speaker 1 (09:02):
Yeah, how do you low? So you're talking initially in
terms of archival stuff, it was go grab a club
and let's put this to the side so we don't
forget about this putter or this prototype. I'm assuming that
process is a little bit more computerized if you will
these days, how do you go about making sure every
club from ping is in the room, every new club

gets a spot in your room.

Speaker 3 (09:25):
I placed an order just like a customer. Okay, that's
literally what I do, because I had tried other ways.
People would say, oh, yeah, I can get you that,
I can get you that, and it never it wouldn't
show up half the time. And so we just went
to the idea of just well, place an order just
like a customer.

Speaker 1 (09:42):
And if you need a new driver, do you just
place two? Is that's kind of how it goes. You
just say I actually need two of those drivers for myself.
It's what I'm saying. I just I got to have
just an extra one just in case it doesn't quite work.
It's not how it goes. They keep an eye on that.

Speaker 3 (09:54):
My badge doesn't let me walk out the door.

Speaker 1 (09:57):
Marty. When you look around this room, I mean you
see clubs that you designed. How cool was that to
kind of you know, see your clubs that you started
as you know, mocking on a paper and working on
a computer, to next to the square driver from the
nineties or the white putters that maybe didn't make the team.

Speaker 2 (10:14):
Yeah, it's it's incredible. And one of the funnest projects
I had where you know, coming into the archives and
learning and getting the history was working on the Answer iron.
So we worked on a forged iron that had a
milled cavity in the back, multi material and the original
answer iron we're looking at over here. Rob can kind

of tell the story of a little bit is getting
some forge blanks and then Carston and Allen I think
Alan worked on milling.

Speaker 3 (10:45):
Yeah, Alan did all the milling on the forge. They'd
get the forge blanks for the sixty nine irons, which
was the first model that they did. We got the
heads from golf Craft. Yeah, and golf Craft became titleist,
but they got the heads from golf Craft. They get
him here. Then Alan would mill out the cavities. It

had a dual cavity that one did, and then you know,
to Carston's design and then they would send they had
to send the heads back to golf Craft to be chromed.
Then they'd come back here and they'd weigh out the
heads and so they could put them into sets.

Speaker 2 (11:21):
And that cavity made him more forgiving, giving higher moment
of nursia. That's what I loved about Carson is A
he was not afraid to try some wild ideas and
B he thought from a physics based kind of first
principles approach. Uh, Rob, I want to go back to that,
Louise a little bit working in the wind tunnel, because

fast forward to golf club design. Yes, we I'm looking
at the turbulator design that we developed in a wind tunnel,
right and having that kind of in our company DNA,
Carston and John wanted to test drivers for aerodynamics. They thought,
if we could make it mourerodynamic, golfer could swing it faster.
Tell us the story about developing woodwoods and testing the

driver aerodynamics.

Speaker 3 (12:07):
So, yeah, when Carson first decided he was going to
build his own wooden wood, you're right, he wanted it
to bey aerodynamic, Swing it faster, hit it farther was
his idea, of course, and so he checked into you know,
he had worked on his design, then he checked into
having it tested in a wind tunnel. And there was

two problems. One was it was expensive. The second one
was the deal breaker, and that was it was going
to be several months before they could get him in
line to.

Speaker 2 (12:38):
Have it tested.

Speaker 3 (12:40):
And also if he had to do a redesign is
still going to be longer after that. So Carson was
not the most patient person in the world. So he
decided he had figured out how to do his own
wind tunnel testing. So what he did is he got
ahead and he put a short shaft in it, and
he attached spring gauge to it, kind of like you'd

weigh a fish with only probably a little higher tech
than that, but a spring gauge like a machinist might use.
And he got Alan and they got in the family
car and they went down to Bell Road down here,
which is a few miles north of here, and Allan's
job was to drive the car exactly one hundred miles

an hour. In those days, the only thing out there
was the horse track, So Alan's job was to drive
the car one hundred miles an hour. Carston would hold
the club out the window with the spring gauge and
turn it and watch how the gauge moved, maybe make
some notes, I suppose, and then they come back work

on it a little more, and go back and do
it again. And so that's how he did his wind
tunnel testing. And you know, I asked Allan, they so
They did this in a Citron automobile, which Carston loves
Citron automobiles because they were such high tech cars for
the time, and the one that they used we believe

maybe had a Maserati engine at it. But Allan said,
it's great to get to drive the family car one
hundred miles an hour, except that if he didn't drive
it exactly one hundred miles an hour, Carston wood yell
at it.

Speaker 1 (14:20):
Rob, do you look at Marty and you think he
needs to do more of this when he's kind of
testing out some of his new age stuff. Get behind
the wheel of a car, let's get the get on
a bicycle or a motorcycle and just see how passing
go with the club in hand? Or do you like
the way he goes about his business today?

Speaker 3 (14:34):
As far as I know, he goes he knows what
he's doing perfect.

Speaker 1 (14:36):
As far as I know, Rob, we have so many
unbelievable items. I know you've picked out a few that
you really like. And a reminder to everybody watched this
part of the podcast because it's going to be important,
But do you have any clubs that you can pull
out or any of the ones that you you know
that you've pulled the side that are really notable.

Speaker 3 (14:51):
Yeah, so I thought we'd talk about, you know, since
the answer is the you know, best putter in the
history of golf. And so this is the hand drawing
he did for the answer. Putt it the first drawing.

Speaker 1 (15:06):
This is his drawing.

Speaker 3 (15:07):
This is his drawing. He did this drawing. And when
I first saw the drawing back in the nineties, when
they found it in his desk drawer and they brought
it to me so I could photograph it and make copies.
And when I first saw I thought, that doesn't look
like an answer. It looks like the Ping pal to me.
And then his second drawing he made two days later,

and it's dated and signed.

Speaker 1 (15:33):
YEP, January fourteenth, nineteen sixty six.

Speaker 3 (15:37):
Right, and then witnessed the fifteenth and on this you know,
so now it's starting to look a little different, the
drawing does. And on this drawing it says sample made
the fourteenth, January fourteenth, and so this is the sample

that he made.

Speaker 1 (15:58):
So this is from sixty six, I mean, this is
the January.

Speaker 3 (16:01):
Fourteen, sixty six. So this started out as a Ping
sixty nine putter this head, and it even was drilled
for a shaft already, so he just took one that
was already drilled and then he modified it and braised
or welded this answer style hozzle onto it. So's the

that's the prototype for the answer.

Speaker 1 (16:25):
Is this the most mimicked golf club in the world?
Is that fair to say?

Speaker 3 (16:28):
I think it is?

Speaker 1 (16:29):

Speaker 3 (16:29):
Yeah, I think easily. And unfortunately nowadays a lot of
people don't realize that Carston invented the answer design.

Speaker 1 (16:39):
So we have the podcast that's we're doing this, that's
why we're doing yellow people.

Speaker 3 (16:42):
And so this is like one of the very first
castings of the answer putter, and we know it's one
of the first ones because the hozzle is much thinner
than the answer is. Yeah, you can see that, and
I think when they got their first casting they realize
Carson really that when he put the shaft in and
the ball bearing and he had to drive the ball

bearing and it would bend this.

Speaker 2 (17:07):

Speaker 1 (17:07):
Yeah, So Marty is someone that does this now, you know,
for your life's work, if you will, what is it
like looking at things like this from the sixties, thinking
what it must have been like, you know, for Carston
and any designer out there having to go about their
business and the sixties trying to make golf clubs.

Speaker 2 (17:22):
I think in talking to Rob about the timeline of
when Carston went out and realized there was a problem
to solve looking at his brain, was thinking I could
bring in some physics here to help the everyday golfer,
right right, And how quickly he got that to market
was is absolutely incredible.

Speaker 1 (17:43):
Yeah, if you don't want me asking you, Marty, how
long does it take you to go from idea of
a golf club first look at it, and then it's
to market? I mean, what's the timeline for you nowadays
in twenty twenty three.

Speaker 2 (17:56):
Yeah, I mean a lot longer than Carston got the
answer out into players' hands. I mean a year, a
year and a half, yeah, okay, yeah, somewhere in that timeframe,
you know, for like a big scale project. But the
fact that he could, you know, put so much effort, passion,
and he could make things, get things done, do them
and really bring in these physics principles of putting offset right.

I mean, that was one of the main things he
brought is that you can generate stability by creating a
distance between where the player is going to apply the
force through their hands in the center of gravity of
the club, with the plumber.

Speaker 3 (18:32):
Absolutely offset with such a I mean that's his innovation.

Speaker 1 (18:35):
Yeah right, yeah, Rob, what's the let's call it the
most unique golf club in the archive room. You could
maybe go weirdest, you could go strangest, you could go
most different. Now you didn't show me the upside down putter,
which is my winner already. Okay, Well, because I just
liked the idea of can we make it upside down? Sure?

Speaker 3 (18:58):
This is probably the This is what a lot of
collectors feel as the holy grail of ping collectibles. Okay,
this is the Ping trainer.

Speaker 2 (19:08):
Uh this what's the do you know?

Speaker 1 (19:10):
Do you know roughly a year for this?

Speaker 3 (19:12):
This would be from like sixty two three. Okay, there's
supposed to be. This one's not quite complete. It doesn't
have there's a wire that comes to a point back here, okay,
and there's two movable weights here. The idea of the
trainer is that where the wire comes to a point,
you put a piece of like felt, and you dip

it in ink, and then on butcher paper you hit
some putts and it draws your stroke. Interesting So when
Carston decided to make his own putter to help his
own putting, he wasn't thinking of making putters for you know,
for sale. He was just wanting to help his own putting.

You know, he didn't take up the game of golf
till he's in his forties. Putting was the hard part
for him, you know, became the heart, you know, decided
that was his weak weak spot. So he took the
putter that he had, which was just a simple blade putter,
and he had he did this wire thing attached to
a wire to it, and on butcher paper, he did

this little experiment. And what he found out was that
no matter how he held the putter, how tightly, or
any configuration of how he held the putter, if he
didn't hit the putt right in the sweet spot of
the putter or the ball right in the sweet part
of the putter, the head twisted an impact. And he

could see that because of the drawing, he could literally
see a little squiggle, okay, And so he decided that's
when he decided that he needed to move the weight
to the heel and toe. Try to get more weight
to the heel and toe. So the first thing you know,
he went to one of his friends at ge and
asked them to make him a blade, you know, a

putterhead blade out of aluminum. And when he got that,
he took it home and somehow or other he milled
out or drilled out areas on the soul, big areas,
and he filled those with lead to get the weight
to the heel and toe and then shafted it up

and sure enough it worked.

Speaker 1 (21:26):
Just a bummer. We don't have like video like we
have video today of this. I mean, what an unbelievable
video this would have been of just like adding the lead.
I just love the creativity of how can we find
a solution to a problem? Right, and I mean just
hearing the stories is basically his life work was finding
solutions into a problem. Exactly.

Speaker 3 (21:44):
So the trainer he came out with in sixty two
so that he could people could see what he had seen,
you know when he did this. And also he called
it the trainer because he suggested that people put the
weight in the center and hit putts, and then after
they do that for a little bit, then move it
to the heel and toe and they'd see how much

better it was.

Speaker 2 (22:07):
Yeah, And so you know.

Speaker 3 (22:11):
I think he was thinking he might could do this
with a putter, but then he turned out, of course
you can't have you couldn't have movable weights. Then yeah,
say so, But it became the trainer. It sold for
twenty two fifty It was in the ads and the
magazines and stuff, and he only made one when somebody
ordered one.

Speaker 2 (22:29):
And so.

Speaker 3 (22:31):
A few years ago once sold at auction for twenty
two thousand, five hundred dollars.

Speaker 2 (22:35):
Wow. Yeah, and it's it.

Speaker 3 (22:38):
Literally, I don't we don't know how many he made.
My guess is it's less than twenty.

Speaker 1 (22:45):
Okay, yeah, so you say, holy grail. It's really the
holy grail. I mean, there's not many of these things.

Speaker 3 (22:50):
Collect for pink collectors. This is one of This is
kind of the holy grail.

Speaker 1 (22:54):

Speaker 2 (22:55):
Carson was such a great storyteller, and he found very
unique ways to show the value of the physics that
he's uh right, he's bringing in.

Speaker 3 (23:05):
Yeah, I'm always yeah, you know, he would show the
one a putter. Uh, he would demonstrate that to people
with two sugar cubes and popsicle sticks.

Speaker 1 (23:14):
Yeah, exactly, A little you do a little more than that, now, Marty,
I think.

Speaker 3 (23:19):
Or or you know the bonamic shaft. Yep, yep, the
ball namic shaft. He would demonstrate to people with a
paper clip. He would take a paper clip and bend
it like the balamic shaft to show him how the
balnamic shaft worked.

Speaker 1 (23:32):
I mean, I mean, Marty, like, we've talked so much
about innovation in terms of what you're doing now, and
I mean, I'm so impressed with kind of the ping's
ability to push the app world forward. I just think
that what you guys have done and what's coming has
been very, very impressive because you're trying to solve a problem. Yeah,
for the golfer at home, the technology is there, but
maybe every golfer doesn't understand this. And it feels like,

I mean, it's followed the footsteps of Carston, you know,
kind of being under the same roof is. Maybe it's
new age, maybe it's computerized me its apps, but at
the end of the day, it's the same thing.

Speaker 2 (24:02):
Absolutely. We us and engineering. We talk about that all
the time, and I think it's shows the importance of
a lot of us that are designers are working on
the product. We play golf, we feel the pain of
the game or just like Carston and we're trying to
come in and solve those you know, it's kind of personal.
We want to if we could solve it for us,
we can solve it for everybody. So we draw a

lot of inspiration from that, and it's it's weaved into
the fabric of the company.

Speaker 3 (24:30):
I mean, John encourages people like Marty and young engineers
to come in here, yeah and look around, just just look,
you know, yeah.

Speaker 1 (24:41):
Ask some full ideas away. What's interesting is you were
showing me before we got going. I mean there's seven
woods and drivers over there that are fifty inches long,
fifty five inches long that are probably thirty years old, right, yeah.

Speaker 3 (24:53):
I mean yeah, so yeah, we have Weggie Winchester's five
foot long driver, but you just win the long drive
content back in the early eighties five foot long.

Speaker 2 (25:02):
Yeah, yeah, real, Yeah, we're still trying to figure out
driver length fitting today. You know what's the sweet spot
of how long should you well that ever goes.

Speaker 1 (25:11):
Ex Stan Marty, we'll ever get to a place where
it's where USGA says it can go longer than what
is it forty five right now? Forty four and a half.

Speaker 2 (25:18):
Yeah, well it's forty six is the condition of competition rule,
but usually that's only in play PGA Tour events and
things of that nature, but still remains at forty eight.
So there are a good number of golfers that do
good with over forty six inch driver because our drivers
are so forgiving from a moment of inertia standpoint, Rob.

One thing I wanted to ask you about was the
how the ballnamic shaft. Maybe we could take a look
at the balnamic shaft there and then also how the
concept of the pistol grip came to be.

Speaker 3 (25:51):
Right, that's that's that's a good question. We'll talk about
the shaft first, the ballnamic shaft. So the balnamic shaft
is actually have a con It has a compound bend
and it's right here. It's kind of under the grip.
It bends towards the player and away from the target,

and so it's actually easier to see looking from the
other end, so you can see how it bends. And
just like you were talking about offset, yeah, Carstan's idea
was this aligned the player's hands with the ball, not
the face of the club. It also helps minimize the
tow down effect when you swing the club. And the

other thing it does is that it actually stabilizes the
club at impact. So I can demonstrate that if hold
that and let me show you how this works. So
if I hold the club, you know, lightly between my
thumb and finger and I you know, kind of if
I hit it in the sweet spot, you know, it's

pretty stable. If I start to get out here or
to hear, it's not as stable. See if I can
hang on to it better, there we go. You can
see it twist. Now if I hold this above the
bend and now I hit it on the sweet spots, great,
and I hit it out here, it's way more stable.

Speaker 2 (27:22):

Speaker 3 (27:24):
And you can actually if you do this yourself, you
can feel you can feel that in your fingers. You
can actually feel the vibration, the vibration change. So that's
the balnamic shaft. And so one of the first people
to play this club with the balnamic shaft was Joel Goldstrand,
and he told a story about you know, he got

his set of clubs with the shaft balnamic shaft, and
he went took his seven iron. He went out to
the schoolyard school's out of session and he had a
shag bag, and he said, he started hitting seven irons
and he's out there all by himself, and he said
he hit balls for about fifteen minutes or so, and
he actually picked the club up and looked at it
and he said out loud, this has got to be

illegal because he hit the ball so straight. Well, unfortunately,
the balnamic shaft did become non conforming. In sixty seven,
the USGA changed the rule on shafts bins so that
you couldn't have a bind more than five inches from
the ground, and so almost all of Carston's clubs had

a bind either here or they had a bind down
lower like the putters. All had a bind down lower,
kind of a double bind that he did and stuff,
and a lot of those were more than five inches.
And so when the rule changed, when the rule went
into infect Carston didn't have. The only club he had
that was conforming was the Answer putter, so he had

to he wanted to make things right for people, so
he straightened a lot of shafts and did a lot
of things to make it right for people. And so
it really literally almost put them out of business. But
fortunately the Answer was such a hot cellar right away
that the answer kind of saved the business. I suppose

you could.

Speaker 1 (29:14):
Say, yeah, kind of an answer in more than one way, right, yeah, exactly, Rob.
Do you have a favorite club in here, like you
personally have one? Maybe it's just maybe it's a different
looking club. Maybe it's one that not many people know
much about. Is there one here that kind of stands
out to you?

Speaker 2 (29:27):

Speaker 3 (29:30):
I don't know if I have a favorite club. I
know the most favorite club that people like to like
to see when they come in. WHOA is a croquet putter?

Speaker 1 (29:42):
You know what? I'm not an engineer that hasn't been
in the shaft. Yes, it does almost positive.

Speaker 3 (29:47):
So Carston did this bend himself with heat. He had
to use heat to get it to bend like this,
and see if I can get it to Well's stand
up on the right, stand up by itself.

Speaker 2 (29:56):

Speaker 3 (29:58):
So yeah, so this was you know, croquet putting was
pretty popular there for a while, and one of the
reasons the USGA changed the bend and chef rule was
croquet putting.

Speaker 2 (30:09):
That was part of it.

Speaker 3 (30:11):
And they also put in the rule that you couldn't
straddle the line. Yes, yeah, but yeah, so this is
I don't know if it's my favorite, but it's when
people come in and I show them things.

Speaker 2 (30:20):
This is a big hit. One thing to notice on
this is the.

Speaker 1 (30:25):
The pistol grip.

Speaker 2 (30:26):
Pistol grip yep. So give us a little insight into
how that came to be. See that, Shane, I see
this bad boy.

Speaker 1 (30:35):
It's heavy too.

Speaker 3 (30:36):
Yeah, it is heavy. So Carston's first putter's uh, the
Redwood City putters made in Redwood City. They had a
leather grip, a leather wrap grip, and they did that.
The way they made that grip was they actually had
a kind of heavy paper, like Kraft paper kind of stuff.

And with that paper and white glue, they built up
an underlisting and so you had to put put a
layer on and have to dry overnight, and they put
another layer, have to dry and so it took three
or four days to do a shaft to do a grip,
I mean, and and so on. Once they had the

underlisting and it was dried up, you know, dried, then
they would make a couple of cuts on the table
saw shape it a little bit. And then Alan is
the one that normally would wrap the leather around the grip. Well,
Alan joined the Marine Reserves and he had to go
to boot camp. So he he did as many grips

as he could before he left. So then when they left,
when they ran out of grips, leather grips, they went
to this golf pride and former grip and so John says, yeah,
our production time came way down when they went to
the rubber grip. And so this is the grip that

they used on a lot of the putters, a lot
of the Scottsdale putters. So then Carston, because of the
balnamic shaft being you know, ruled non conforming, Carston designed
his own grip what we call the PP fifty eight.

Now in those days we just called it the ping
grip way back when it first designed. With that design
of that grip, it's not bored through the center's it's
bored off center. And that grip simulates some of the
bend the balnamic bind and it you know, the USGA

did outlaw pistol grips they got, so this grip became
non conforming and that's when Carston would started design his grip.
And so that grip the thing we did with the shaft,
you know what I did with the bonamic shaft. You
can do the same thing with one of our putters

on a pin grip. The effect is not quite as much,
but you can you can still feel it in your hands.

Speaker 2 (33:18):

Speaker 3 (33:19):
So that that grip, that PP fifty eight grip, and
I think you can tell me because I don't know
for sure, but most of all of our putter grips are
now designed kind of that way.

Speaker 2 (33:29):
Right, Yeah, so we we that was Carson's ingenious way,
you know, when they changed the rule on the bend
in the shaft to get that physics effect right, And
now we've done a lot of research, which turns out
a lot of the research we do to today, Shane
just proves what Carson Carson. So now we use that

as a fitting variable that if we need to change
how the putter rotates and match it perfectly to someone's stroke,
we can put them in a grip that as like
our PP. Fifty eight that has more pistol to it,
that points their hand more towards the center of the
center of the club. Yeah, which is really fun.

Speaker 1 (34:10):
Really, Yeah, Rob, you talk about ordering clubs these days
for the archive room, what do you do about clubs
that didn't make it in here in the sixties and seventies,
but you want to acquire them, you want to add
it to the archive room, but maybe you don't have
one here. How do you go about finding those golf
clubs and acquiring them?

Speaker 3 (34:26):
Well, generally we will try if people come to us,
don't I try not to go out looking too much,
but people will come to us with something, okay.

Speaker 1 (34:37):
And I mean, do you still get surprised, Like, do
you still have people that say, I've got this club
that you don't have in the room?

Speaker 2 (34:43):
I do.

Speaker 3 (34:45):
I occasionally do. And it's usually a variation of something
because early on Carston did what a customer wanted.

Speaker 2 (34:52):
Carston would do that for people sometimes.

Speaker 3 (34:56):
And so occasionally you do get surprised, Like there's a
putter right here that I don't think Murdy's ever seen.
So this is a one a putter, but a fella
asked to have one heavier, and so Carston actually, uh
raised another piece of bronze. Oh, made it deeper and

heavier and it has a little flange.

Speaker 2 (35:21):
I have not seen that, right, And.

Speaker 3 (35:23):
So yeah, so there's this this came a guy you know,
called me up and said he had this putter and
so what we like, what we'd like to do is trade,
you know, trade new equipment. We don't want to purchase
outright if we can help it, but sometimes we do.
And uh, you know another putter that came to us

was George Answers, George Archer's answer putter that we believe
is the one he used to win the Masters. That's
that's for that's up for debate, but we believe it
is the one that he used to win the Masters.
And so you know, that's one that we we did buy.

Speaker 1 (36:05):
Can I ask about the golf ball? Sure, because nowadays
there's a lot of variations of golf balls that are
different colors and they have different patterns on them. I mean,
this was the og This was the original golf ball
that had different variations of colorways and all that. What
was the reasoning for the ping golf ball?

Speaker 3 (36:25):
Well, Carston, when he decided he wanted to build his
own golf ball, he actually bought a company Truce Fear,
I think that's the name of it. He bought them
and moved all their equipment and actually their head engineer
designer came and came to work for Carston. I don't

know exactly how he came to the idea of the
two color ball, but he called it stroboscopic because he
liked the idea. You could see it spin and this
is the orange and yellow combination. It was his favorite,
and we called it the Ping punch, or he called
it the Pink punch.

Speaker 2 (37:07):
You know.

Speaker 3 (37:07):
As we went on, you know, we had yellow and
white and pink and white, and red and white and
different standard colors. With our customization process that Ping has
had for a long time, we started doing custom colors
for people. We would try to match a color to
somebody's logo and we also could pad print logos on.

Speaker 1 (37:30):
God okay, I I mean again like in twenty twenty three,
this is what you're seeing, what you're talking and we're
doing this back in the in the eighties, right.

Speaker 3 (37:40):
But anyway, so the two color balls are very collectible,
some of them, and depending on the color and stuff,
people get all carried away about it. The ball collectors
are different than the club collectors.

Speaker 1 (37:53):
Got to deal with both parties.

Speaker 3 (37:54):
Yeah, sometimes the ball collectors have kind of I understand,
and there they want to know how many colors we made,
and we don't know because we were custom mixing colors.
To match logos, right stuff and so but yeah, so
the two color ball was and it's a great putting
aid is you guys probably know, And.

Speaker 1 (38:14):
I will, I will draw mine. So I will get
the tool and draw half a golf ball with the sharpie.
I mean, you know they sell golf balls now that
you can do that with. But yea, yeah, I mean
I will, I will do that. I'll also make my
four year old do it too. And it's not a
straight a little here.

Speaker 3 (38:27):
Before there, before anybody else was doing the two color
ball like they are now. When Lee Westwood came here
for a visit one time, uh been, I don't know,
maybe ten years.

Speaker 2 (38:38):
Ago, yeah yeah.

Speaker 3 (38:39):
And one of the things when he was here he
asked for he asked for a two color.

Speaker 2 (38:43):
Ball for practice. Yeah yeah yeah.

Speaker 3 (38:46):
So yeah, so we found him one.

Speaker 2 (38:49):
R Rob Fast forward to today. Uh well, Carson was
kind of famous. He has a video where he's famous
for saying that, you know, the golf ball is like
the tuning fork for us. It tells us what to
do on the clubs. And so fast forward to today,
we made a golf ball fitting wrapp software solution, you know,

inspired by the name Baldnamic. I know that, you know,
just golf ball's flight Carston Aerodynamics. Let's bring it all
in and so that that's how we kind of have
that name for our Baldnamic fitting software. But he knew
the importance of marrying ball and club together, right.

Speaker 3 (39:28):
And it's funny you say that because just the other
day John said something to me where he said, well,
you know, the golf ball is what you know because
I asked him about the golf ball. I asked him
how what he felt about, like the golf ball being
cut you know, the USGA wanted to cut back on
flight or the distance and all that sort of stuff,

and he said, well, the ball is our tuning fork.

Speaker 2 (39:51):
They used the same.

Speaker 3 (39:52):
Phrase, Carson, And so that's it's really interesting and your
ball app is is pretty cool. When James Lee fit
me over there. For clubs, we went through.

Speaker 1 (40:04):
The Marty will run you through it. We've talked about
acquiring clubs and finding golf clubs. Are there clubs that
are missing? Do you have any? Do you have any
clubs that you could I mean, this is a PSA.
It's a podcast for goodness sakes, So let the people
know what we need what we need.

Speaker 3 (40:18):
Well, yeah, we're missing. We have some holes. We have
a few holes one of them, and most of the
older stuff I have, although I'll say any I will
say any older club, Redwood City address club or Scott
Stale address club. I'm always interested in seeing pictures because
Carston did do variations just like I showed you, So

I'm always interested in those. As far as one that's
missing from our collection, I don't have a ping sixty
nine W putter with a Scott Stale address. Okay, I've
got them with Phoenix address. I don't have one with
a Scott Stie address. But the putters I'm actually missing
is because like I mentioned Don Wingert, and she was

here and then she wasn't here, and then I didn't
start doing this into two thousand and five. In that
period of time, new putters that came out, we didn't.

Speaker 2 (41:11):
Get them all.

Speaker 1 (41:12):
So so some mod you're saying, some more modern.

Speaker 3 (41:14):
More modern, so G two putters, G two, I, G
five I putters, all of the I have some of those,
but not all of them. And there was a number
of those.

Speaker 2 (41:23):
Models, Yeah, there were, Yeah, we had a lot of
models that right.

Speaker 3 (41:25):
Oh yeah, that's something that works.

Speaker 1 (41:27):
So so, I mean, I know I'm joking about a
p s A. But if somebody had a club and
they were interested in showing it to you, how do
they get ahold of you?

Speaker 3 (41:34):
Oh? They can just they can just call the main number.

Speaker 2 (41:37):
Main ping customer service.

Speaker 3 (41:39):
Customer service number. They can ask to speak to me.

Speaker 2 (41:41):

Speaker 1 (41:42):
Can I call and just ask to speak to you
every now and again just to chatter? Okay, just making
sure that's good. I was gonna say we could actually
maybe get the direct line after the pod. What is
your role with the Ping Putter vault, because I can
only imagine that you're somehow involved in the gold Putter
Vault that considering you're the archive guy, you probably have
some involvement over there as well.

Speaker 2 (42:02):

Speaker 3 (42:03):
When we were working on the book, you know, our
ping book, the History.

Speaker 1 (42:07):
Of and you picked that thing up with one arm.

Speaker 3 (42:10):
Yeah, yeah, seven pounds, so the putter went ping. When
we were working on this book, Jeff Ellis that wrote
the book, he actually discovered a number of wins that
we had missed and so.

Speaker 2 (42:24):
We weren't in the vault.

Speaker 3 (42:25):
We won in the vault, and we had we the
player didn't have a putter either, we just that, you know,
and so we we went back and tried to pick
those up, and we we picked up a good number
of them, but we haven't actually some of them we
have been able to pick up. So my involvement, my
involvement over there is pretty minimal. Sometimes if we need

a gold putter, what's happened in the last few years,
and sometimes we needed we need putter heads to make
gold putters with. And if a player wins with a
putter that is maybe four or five years old, we
may not have a head. And so I've had to
go on eBay and buy some putters for the gold
putter end up in the gold butter ball.

Speaker 1 (43:12):
It's true technology, Chase, right, We're talking about full circle
technology here, right.

Speaker 3 (43:17):
Because nowadays when we do putters, don't we don't have
the molds and we can't make another one ten years later.
We used to be able to. So it's become a
little bit of a problem. We need to get those
the players to always use them.

Speaker 1 (43:31):
We're current model. There you go, it's the PSA for them. Rob.
When you sit in your office and you sit in
here and you're here every single day looking around, what
does it say about your experience with ping. What has
that been like throughout your life.

Speaker 3 (43:45):
Well, I always tell people when they call me and
they are asking a lot of questions, and they'll say, boy,
I really am sorry to bother you. So no, no,
you're no bother at all, because I learned. I learned
as much from them as they learn from me.

Speaker 2 (43:57):
I really do.

Speaker 3 (44:00):
So I really enjoy talking to people when they when
even emailing. Although I'm a terrible type, but I enjoy
talking to people about the equipment, and you know, just
talking about what we're talking about today, what Carston did
and didn't do. And I'm constantly learning things about Carston

I didn't know, or about Carston or Louise I didn't know.
So it's, uh, it is just a constant learning thing
for me, and I enjoy it a lot. Otherwise I
probably would have retired a long time ago. Maybe, but
well probably not. I couldn't afford it, you know. So yeah,
that's that's you know. And and sometimes you know, once

in a while, Tony You'll come to Tony Serrano will
come over and want to look at a at a
putter because they're talking about making a PLD putter like
it or something like that, And I really do enjoy
when people like Marty and Tony and young guys come
in and I can show them this stuff and talk
to him about it.

Speaker 2 (45:00):
One of my favorite putter projects I worked on coming
in here, Rob was working on the Dale Answer. So
when we remade the Dale Answer, and maybe you could
tell the story of the difference between the answer and
the Dale was I think in you know, the collectors
called the Dale Head otherwise known as the Dale Answer.
Where the name Dale come from? What was that little well,

the issue on the putter.

Speaker 1 (45:24):
Yeah, so.

Speaker 3 (45:27):
The Scottsdale answer the putters the answer putters made with
the Scottsdale address. There were two masters for that. Those
are sand cast putters, and there were two masters. Carston
made the first master, and he asked Allan to make
the second master. When Alan was making the second master,
cutting on the toe ballast, YEP, the back of the

putter cutting on the toe ballast, the mill slipped a
little bit. Well, he didn't want to start over, so
he decided what he would do on the other side.
He made it look like the mistake and kind of
evened it out, and he said that, you know, he
figured when he got done, Carston would make him start
over it.

Speaker 1 (46:09):
I might as well lean into the mistake.

Speaker 3 (46:11):
And so when he showed it to Carston, Carston said, no,
that's okay. So there's two masters, and so any any putter,
any any answer putter with a Phoenix address that's made
from one of those masters. Because when they first moved
to from where they were doing Scott Steale address putters,

which actually wasn't in scott Steele, but I was in
the county and the Scott Steal was the closest peel,
the closest closest mailbox. But anyway, they moved here to
the first building on our campus here, they just changed
the address plate to Carston Coe Carston Company or and

then a little later Carson Manufacturing Corporation, and they still
were using the Scott Still Master, but with a different address.
So those putters collectors refer to started referring to those
as dale Heads, Scottsdale dale Heads. Okay, Well, when we
were working on the book and the story that I
just told you about Alan talking about how he made

the second master, John didn't know this. John, I remember
so well because I asked the question, why are the
two masters? And Alan said, oh, I know that, and
John said you do. And Alan tells the story about
what happened, you know where he made a little mistake. Well,

John said, oh, your middle name's Dale. That's where the
Dalehead comes from. Yes, And I was like, now we
have a second reason.

Speaker 2 (47:46):
It's a Dalehead, Alan Dale Solheiman Dale. So when I
was working on the dale Head in the Answer or
a Vault two point zero, we relaunched the dale Head
but milled. We came in here, got a dale Head
Answer three D, scanned it, brought it into our CAD software,

and I matched up every little nuance of the mistake
on both sides, and a bunch of the nuance there.

Speaker 1 (48:13):
So cool. I mean, I love I love the marriage
of you know, the Vintage Club with the New Age
Club is so cool and I feel like I feel
like you guys have done that for a long time.
It's like marrying that.

Speaker 2 (48:23):
Yeah. Yeah. So.

Speaker 3 (48:24):
One of the one of the things Alan's really proud
of too about his you know, putters made from his master,
is that he saw Seve someplace one time and Sebe
was talking to him about the Answer and told Alan
he'd like to get a dale Head with with that

what what they then called flat Soul, which was the
master from Alan's Allen's Master. Sevie would like to get
a master to get a answer like that. Yeah, so, uh,
Alan knew that Lee McCormick, one of our sales reps,
had one, and he called Lee, and Lee gave the

putter to Seve. Literally gave the putter to Seve, you know,
sent it to Seve, and then Seve uh sent Lee
a really nice letter thanking him. So Lee, Lee's got
that letter really, you know, framed and everything. But Alan
is very proud that Sevee wanted that answer from that master.

Speaker 2 (49:28):
Sevy's got a few putters in the in the ball,
in the ball, I've seen him.

Speaker 1 (49:32):
Rob, We've talked about ping collectors. So I got to
ask you this as we kind of wind down, what
do we talking in terms of most expensive club in
this room?

Speaker 3 (49:42):
Well, we don't like to get into value. You know,
as a ping employee. Ping employees actually are not allowed
to appraise or value on vintage ping equipment. Now, we
have some things in here that are priceless, okay, and
so the original these two original drawings, they're priceless, right, Yeah,

the the prototype for the answer, that's a priceless item.
You're not going to replace that for any amount of money.
And then not in here, but in John's closet he
has the first one A which is welded up from
stainless steel. You know. Again, those are priceless items. Like

you know, I mentioned before, the highest priced thing I
know that sold, you know, at auction was probably this
trainer that sold for you know, about twenty two to five.
So it's you know, it's.

Speaker 1 (50:39):
So the answer is priceless. I feel like, yeah, priceless.
And there's multiple items in that in that regard.

Speaker 3 (50:44):
And all that we have all these hand drawings by Carson,
many more than this. Yeah, you know those those sorts
of things are Yeah, they're just priceless.

Speaker 1 (50:52):
And that's so cool, Marty. You have anything else? We're
up who you're.

Speaker 2 (50:56):
Rooting for this yere Sons or Pelicans? Pelicans of course.

Speaker 3 (51:00):
And why well, my son is the vice president of
basketball operations for the New Orleans Pelicans.

Speaker 1 (51:07):
When he goes to another team, what do you do
with the old team stuff? Is it like you donated
so it stay? You keep it?

Speaker 2 (51:14):

Speaker 3 (51:15):
Because he was he was GM of the Cleveland Cavalist
right when they won the championship.

Speaker 1 (51:20):
So you can't get rid of that. Are you talking
about priceless? There you go, that's priceless stuff in your
version of this room. I caddied years ago. It's St. Andrew's.
I caddied there after college when I got out of school,
and I had a lady show up one day and
we're on the first team, and she was wearing this
shirt and I had all these course logos on, you know,
brand logos on the shirt, and I was like, that's
kind of interesting. She was a pretty good player, hit

down the middle of the fairway, you know, two twenty
or something, and we went up there about three holes.
Then I go, hey, listen, what's the deal with the shirt?
And she was like, well, Anica Sorenstein's my neighbor. The
time she gets a new brand or she gets a
new sponsor, she just brings all the old shirts over
to me. So that's kind of paying it for it,
if you will. Well, Rob, this has been really really interesting.
I mean, this room is unbelievable. I've never been in

here before. I mean, this is my first visit here.
I mean, I will be coming back. I was taking
pictures of some of the lefty irons over there to
some of my dad, because I mean, I know he
had a set of those. What are the brilliant ones?
What was that the Yeah, I mean he had a
set of those. When I first started playing golf. I
remember he had a set of those irons in his back.
So I have to send him a picture. But we
appreciate the time and the insight because it has been

very very cool.

Speaker 3 (52:24):
Lots of fun.

Speaker 2 (52:25):
Yeah, thanks Frev. Always fun.

Speaker 1 (52:26):
Yeah. This is the Ping Proving Grounds podcast.
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