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February 9, 2024 41 mins

Principal Design Engineer Tony Serrano joins Shane and Marty at a PLD launch party at Putting World during the week of the WM Phoenix Open to talk about his 36-year career at PING, the evolution of the PLD program, and his work with PING pros including Tony Finau and Viktor Hovland.


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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
The guys from Ping.

Speaker 2 (00:01):
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 3 (00:06):
We're gonna be able to tell some fun stories about
what goes on here to help golfers play better golf.

Speaker 4 (00:11):
Welcome back to the Ping proven Grounds Podcast. I'm Shane
Bac and Marty Jertson with me. Marty, we're at Putting World. Yeah,
we're in Scottsdale, which means it's WM Phoenix Open week.

Speaker 3 (00:21):
This week is super fun shame because this place is buzzing.
We're at the tournament today and it's just like.

Speaker 5 (00:28):
A it's it's a who's who.

Speaker 3 (00:29):
Like it's like it's one of those weeks where you
know people are gonna be texting you, calling you, Hey,
I'm at the tournament.

Speaker 1 (00:36):
Can I get tickets?

Speaker 5 (00:37):
Can I come buy the office? Can I get some tickets?

Speaker 2 (00:39):
Any extra tickets floating?

Speaker 4 (00:41):
Before we get to our guest, I wanted to ask
you about your experience playing in the Phoenix Open.

Speaker 3 (00:45):
You've played in one or I played in one in
twenty twenty.

Speaker 2 (00:48):
Okay, can you tell about the experience doing that?

Speaker 5 (00:50):

Speaker 3 (00:52):
It was it was kind of like my life's dream
to play in the Phoenix Open because I grew up
as a standard bearer, so I was eight nine, ten
years old carrying the sign. I grew up in a
small town globe, not too far from where Tony grew up,
and you know, it was such a journey at that time.
It was like four hours to get here, wake up
at four in the morning, standard Bear, and I remember

bringing home, bringing back to school the next day, autographs
Davis loved the third and John Daily and Bobby Clampett
or what have you, and just growing up being a
standard bearer. Then it was like, Okay, I want to
play in this someday, and I never thought I would
be able to. But twenty twenty was a dream because
my kids were there, and I love that my kids

could go in.

Speaker 5 (01:34):
When you play.

Speaker 3 (01:35):
People might not know this, but when you get to sixteen,
you're like, how's my family gonna like get in there
and see me? Well, they take care of your family.
You have ass right, you have a person there that's
like okay, family, boom, We'll get you right into the
front spot. They watch I hit beautiful shots on sixteen.
Go over, say hi to my family that I'll never forget.

Speaker 2 (01:56):
Cheers or boosts. You said, beautiful shots. What was it like?

Speaker 5 (01:58):
I had cheers?

Speaker 3 (01:59):
I hit my both both rounds didn't make the cup,
but in both rounds I hit awesome shots. Kevin Stadler
told me, hey, whatever you do on sixteen to hit
one less club, okay, puffed will be juiced. And he
was absolutely right. It was like, you know, one sixty
to the whole normally be a nine iron pitching wedge
all day.

Speaker 5 (02:19):
Crush it right at the flag. It was cheers. It
was cheers.

Speaker 4 (02:22):
So Marty having a legendary moment. We got a legend
with us today. I want you to introduce him. I
know you know him very very well, and you've worked
closely with him for what I'm hearing is thirty plus
years at ping.

Speaker 3 (02:32):
Yeah, Tony Serrano, who's one of my mentors at Ping,
and I've learned a ton from Tony and it's awesome
to have him on the podcast. He has poured his
in his most recent part of his career at Ping,
has poured his blood, sweat and tears into our Putter family,
which we're going to talk about. But what's fun about
Tony is he's worked with the Solheim family over all

three generations, so that's yeah, yes, exactly going on the
fourth now fourth generation, So Tony, I think I want
to kick that off and ask you what it was like,
because when I started paying, Carson had already passed and
you would personally work with Carson and then his son
John A. And now John K. Now the fourth generation.
So what has that journey been like?

Speaker 6 (03:16):
It's been amazing, And first of all, thank you for
having me. But yeah, when I first started, Carson was
very involved in engineering and everything in the plant, and
just kind of watching him and the things that he
really focused on the details and some of the stuff
that he was showing everybody and teaching everybody from the

engineers all the way down to the people on the
line and.

Speaker 1 (03:40):
Production that.

Speaker 6 (03:43):
The details really matter and that even a person on
the line, if there's something you're not comfortable with, you
can stop it and then just make sure we're doing
the right thing. As always, what's kind of his biggest message,
make sure we're doing the right thing.

Speaker 4 (03:55):
If you don't mind going back, you know, three and
a half decades or so when you started to paying,
were you a golfer, how did you kind of get
involved in this great company and kind of how did
you first start at Ping?

Speaker 2 (04:07):
What was your first gig?

Speaker 1 (04:08):
So I came down on a tour.

Speaker 6 (04:10):
I went to school more than Arizonia University and it
came down on a tour to tour the machine shop. And
at the time, in the late eighties, our machine shop
at Ping was one of the more higher technology machines
and stuff. C and See Carson was very always looking
to how we could get better. So we had some
of the first C and C's in the valley We're

in our shop.

Speaker 1 (04:33):
So we went down as a group to see that.
And while I was down there, I just asked.

Speaker 6 (04:36):
Hey, do you guys do internships? And they were kind
of like, well, what's that? So long storyship? I did
an internship and then where I went into full time.

Speaker 2 (04:48):
Were you a golfer?

Speaker 1 (04:49):
I was not.

Speaker 6 (04:50):
I mean I dabbled a little bit down in our
kind of our hometowns, but not.

Speaker 1 (04:54):
Really not really.

Speaker 4 (04:55):
And Kit notes, who was here a bit ago. It
was kind of digging into your chip and stuff like that.
Are you a golfer now?

Speaker 5 (05:01):
I am?

Speaker 2 (05:01):
Okay? And how is the golf game?

Speaker 1 (05:03):
It's I wish it was better.

Speaker 6 (05:05):
I'm gonna I kind of hover between eight and nine
but want to be five.

Speaker 1 (05:09):
But well, you know, well, it's it's I love it.

Speaker 2 (05:12):
It's a tough world to live it. I mean you
got a yeah, look around playing a tour events.

Speaker 4 (05:15):
And play a major championships. I feel intimidated showing up
as well. I had to play this guy a match yesterday.

Speaker 1 (05:20):
It was tough.

Speaker 6 (05:21):
Our whole group of engineers from Corey and Marty and
all these guys are so good. So always we always
joke around, Hey, make sure you guys are developing product
for an eight and nine hand, not just a scratch.

Speaker 3 (05:33):
But you put like a tour player tying well, I mean,
come on, he can roll the rock.

Speaker 2 (05:38):
That's where that's where you can make up the shots. Yeah.

Speaker 4 (05:41):
So when you got into into the golf, into ping,
when you got into kind of building golf clubs and
working in that world, where did you start in terms
of what golf clubs you started on and how did
you get into putters.

Speaker 1 (05:51):
So my very first project was the LA bag stands. Okay,
when we did the.

Speaker 6 (05:57):
La bags back when we first started doing La bags
back in the late eighties. So I worked on that
and was work close with Johnny on that. That was
a big project for him, and then I went into.

Speaker 1 (06:09):
Working on the woodwoods. So the first woodward.

Speaker 6 (06:11):
I worked on was the zing woodwoods, and I worked
both with Carson and Johnny on that, and they both
had kind of differing opinions on how we should do it.
But it was a great experience to hear from both
these guys and what and they both aligned on what
was very important, maybe just different ways of doing it.

Speaker 2 (06:30):
Which which did you go with? Do you feel like
the end of today, who won that battle?

Speaker 1 (06:35):
It was actually I have a quick story.

Speaker 2 (06:38):
Yeah, yeah, for sure's it's a podcast.

Speaker 1 (06:40):
We were working on woodwoods at the times.

Speaker 6 (06:43):
We just at the time we had the itu woods
out there and the itues were you looked at the
soaplate they had kind of had a half circle on
a flat and then screw so it was locked in
like a puzzle piece. So Johnny and I were working
on soap plates that did not have that, and we
just added a screw and Carston. John would tell me,
We'll go show my dad, and I'd go show his

dad and his dad would say, quit working on that.

Speaker 1 (07:07):
We're not doing that. I go back to John and
John goes, We're fine, just keep doing it.

Speaker 2 (07:12):
So I mean, how stressed here here?

Speaker 1 (07:13):
You're yeah, I'm like twenty three. I'm like, I don't
know what's going on here.

Speaker 6 (07:19):
So then one day I went to Carston and this
had gone on for a while and Carson didn't say
a word to me, and he says, follow me, and
we walked across the street to uh it's twenty first Avenue,
which is now closed off. It's Carston Way, but at
the time it was a public street, so cars are
going through there.

Speaker 1 (07:37):

Speaker 6 (07:38):
So he walks walks me out into this road and
Carston's you know, he's up there in age still. And
he walks up to the curb of the street and
he just starts swinging this wood as hard as he
could against the curb.

Speaker 1 (07:53):
And I'm like, oh my gosh, what is going on here?

Speaker 6 (07:55):
And he's swinging as hard as he can and finally
the soul plate falls off and it's rolling down the street.

Speaker 1 (08:01):
So I go pick up the soul plate. I come
back to Carson.

Speaker 6 (08:04):
I'm like here, and he goes, let me see that,
and I said okay, and he looks at the soap
plate and he goes this, this is good.

Speaker 1 (08:11):
I go, how's that good? It just flew off, he said.

Speaker 6 (08:15):
The soul plate or the lamban ins from the wood
were stuck on the soap plate so still, so the
glue did not fail, the lambine failed in the wood.

Speaker 1 (08:23):
So he was okay with it. And then from there
on that we were good to go.

Speaker 5 (08:27):
You were smooth.

Speaker 6 (08:29):
But tell I tell some of the younger guys back
in the day, that's how we did destructive testing.

Speaker 1 (08:33):
Carson would go hit it on.

Speaker 6 (08:34):
The streets going by and he's swinging as hard as
he can. I'm like, what's going on here? But that's
kind of how Carson did it. It was kind of down
to just the very basics, right, and and that was
his way. And I think he went over to kind
of show me and show I don't know about John,
but hey, this if they can withstand this, it was

a learning moment for me.

Speaker 1 (09:00):

Speaker 6 (09:00):
He was worried about the POxy not holding you know,
we didn't have the mechanical lock anymore, and that we
showed him that the it did hold up. The wood
failed and we've been doing woodwoods four years and they
never failed, So he was okay with that.

Speaker 3 (09:14):
Yeah, Yeah, I've also heard you worked on the la
you know around the office. We'll take a bag and
throw it yep and go boom and then make sure
it can land and stand and not break.

Speaker 4 (09:25):
So yeah, yeah, that's pretty that party. That's like old
school team. They do it a little different. Now, I
know there's a there's a machine that literally picks the
bags up and sets them down.

Speaker 2 (09:34):
Now, but yeah, the old schools, you hit the club
against the curve of throw the back.

Speaker 5 (09:38):
Yeah, exactly.

Speaker 3 (09:39):
So, Tony, we worked on bags, You worked on wood woods,
and then what was the transition.

Speaker 5 (09:46):
So to next for you?

Speaker 6 (09:47):
Yeah, so I worked on the like I said, the
zing woods, and I went into the ice I woodwoods.
I worked on the Tysi tys I tech rapture rapture be.

Speaker 4 (09:59):
By the way, that's close to my heart because as
the junior golfer, that was when I got into ping.

Speaker 2 (10:04):
Was when the that was the driver that you know
everybody had junior golf. I had two of them.

Speaker 4 (10:11):
Yeah, somebody tried and locally try to change the shaft
out for me and screwed it up, because remember you
had to take it to like a professional. But I
mean that was my first I believe that was really
my first introduction.

Speaker 1 (10:21):
To pay and that was our first titanium woods.

Speaker 5 (10:23):

Speaker 6 (10:24):
So I worked on the fairy woods and Dan Kupka
who was our lead design engineer there and he worked
on the driver stuff, but we did Tye Sithe tys
I Tech and then into the Rapture stuff, and then
I think you came in on some of the Raptor stuff.

Speaker 2 (10:37):
And your post Rapture is that you Marty?

Speaker 5 (10:40):

Speaker 3 (10:40):
Right at the Raptor I Will designed the Raptor hybrid. Well,
I was following Tony's lead on the driver. You know,
we were tying the whole family together, right.

Speaker 4 (10:48):
So so how how how instrumental was he in your career?
You know, like you're coming up and he's obviously established
at this point at ping, Like are you bouncing ideas
off of him?

Speaker 2 (10:57):
Is he kind of your carston on a way?

Speaker 4 (11:00):
Is in in like how you ask questions and go
through those processes.

Speaker 5 (11:03):
Yeah? I would say a little bit of both.

Speaker 3 (11:05):
Like, you know, the Driver we've talked a lot about
and Tony was the lead designer. I mean he's touched
a lot of products that a lot of people have
tyas I Tyasi Tech fairy woulds right titanium with the
with the zirconium soul plate then exactly, So Tony leading
the raptured driver, it was like the driver kind of

sets the tone for the whole frightly. So that's really
where we first started working together. But yeah, Tony's been
a great mentor to me and a lot of our
junior our engineers, coming up on all the nuance like
how do you understand the core principles because he's worked
with Carston and John for so long, how do you
instill all those principles into your day to day decision making?

Speaker 5 (11:49):

Speaker 3 (11:50):
And I think that's what Tony has been great at
with with the rest of the engineering group.

Speaker 4 (11:53):
Loves to teach Tony how is Marty at a young age?
Because you know, like you see these young prodigy golfers
and you go, oh Man Lori Mcrroy, Victor Hovem, like
these guys are great at a young age. How was
Marty as a youngster?

Speaker 6 (12:06):
I remember the day that Marty was hired and we
went out and we talked to him out at Moon
Valley one day, a group of us went out and
talked to and Marty had a crew cut and he
was all business man, and he when he came in,
he was down in manufacturing.

Speaker 1 (12:22):
Yeah, so Marty's been on.

Speaker 6 (12:24):
The floor working on equipment, working with people, learning how
the process works. And then you could just see Marty
kind of grow from there and then take that what
he learned with work with people on the floor, and
then with the manufacturing team, and then taking that and
when he got into design and helping out, it just
kind of flowed together.

Speaker 3 (12:44):
Yeah, And that's what I've loved about Tony's journey is
that he's still today now working on putters, which we'll
get to, is working across the entire spectrum.

Speaker 5 (12:52):
And that's that's what we both love about.

Speaker 3 (12:54):
Paying You get your hands dirty down there in manufacturing,
like like making the action whole product all you know,
then all the way up to designing it and doing
what we're here doing. Everyone enjoying the fruits of our labor.
There is super fun. And even to John Solheim's credit,
right when we were during COVID, when we were all
all of us office workers are down there building product.

Speaker 5 (13:17):
John A.

Speaker 3 (13:17):
Solheim is down there working shifts on Saturday mornings. Everyone's
got their face coverings on during COVID and people didn't
know it was him. Right, He's down there putting his
time in and that is incredible. You you still do
that to this day, which I have a lot of
respect for Tony on.

Speaker 6 (13:36):
And that's and for John john A to do that,
and that's kind of his style, right. He doesn't want
to make a big deal about it. He doesn't want people.
He just wants to if you see him, find but
that's not his purpose to go and say, hey, look
at me, I'm down here. He actually is doing it
just to help the company.

Speaker 4 (13:52):
So let's transition to PLD, you know, because I mean
that goes back to twenty sixteen working with tour players.
How did that kind of idea come about? And how
is that process like to basically come up with this
new line of putters for Ping.

Speaker 6 (14:05):
Yeah, back then Chance Cosby was running our tour department
and then our VP of Engineering and me we went
and talked to Chance or Chance came to us and
basically was saying, hey, we need to up our game
in putters. We need to do more because there's competitors
out there and other people that are doing mild putters
and doing a lot of different stuff. And so Paul Wood,

our VP of engineering, says, Okay, this is this is what.

Speaker 1 (14:31):
You're gonna do.

Speaker 6 (14:32):
You need to go out and start figuring out how
to do this. So twenty sixteen seventeen started going out
on tour and talking with players and trying to just
kind of fill it.

Speaker 1 (14:42):
Out to see what they're looking for, what they need.

Speaker 4 (14:44):
And how you know, how are you starting those conversations
like are you going up to a Bubba Watson and
you're saying, hey, we're thinking about doing this at Ping,
We're going to be doing this at Ping? Or were
you just kind of seeing what their thoughts were on
the actual putter line that existed.

Speaker 6 (14:57):
I would say a lot of the First of all,
I was very so it's tough for me to go
It's like Lee Westwood and Louis and Bubba and these
guys and and just start kicking this on this conversation up.
But our tour reps, Christian Pagne at the time and
Ko were very helpful with that. Right they brought they
brought it in. They kind of tee it up for
me to go in and have these conversations. But our

players are so good and they're very receptive to this,
and it takes the time going out there as much
as you can.

Speaker 1 (15:28):
And getting their trust.

Speaker 6 (15:30):
Yeah, is the first thing that you can actually deliver something.
Because that was what I when I was going out
is our tour guys. Tour rep said, the one thing
you cannot do is say hey, I'm gonna get you
something and then not get it to them in a
time of manner.

Speaker 1 (15:43):
So make sure like children, you.

Speaker 4 (15:45):
Got to don't tell your child you's going to Disney
World and then bail on that trip.

Speaker 1 (15:48):
So you have to commit.

Speaker 6 (15:49):
And it's just a little bit of a process of
I think gaining their trust a little bit, but also
producing a good product for them that helps them actually
go and win tournaments.

Speaker 3 (15:58):
I think early on there, Tony, I remember you you
brought some samples of putters that are even our own
staff hadn't seen before from us, right, I.

Speaker 4 (16:06):
Mean, are these like are these like PLD adjacent ideas
like mill look.

Speaker 5 (16:12):
So this Shane, that's a great question.

Speaker 3 (16:14):
I mean, even if you take a classic answer design
and Tony, I want to go into this some of
the nuanced details that you do. You go back to
your machine shop where it all started. What are some
of those nuanced things is some of the one of
the first samples we brought out there, Shane, which is
an answer, but it just you set it down, you're like,
wait a minute, this looks different. So there's a lot

you can do in the machining process, the speeds, feeds,
the cutters. Tony talk about some of those all those
little nuanced details in there on those early on samples
that's now in our in our PLD family.

Speaker 6 (16:48):
I think that was the one thing that's really important
to me is we have a really good machine shop
and I really wanted to take advantage of them and
really focus on the machining of the putters and just
the all details. And it's not just an answer putter
like Myrier's talking about. It's not it's every surface is
important on that. It's the top rail, it's the balance,

it's a hozzle, and how those should look when you
set down that putter is how are the shadows, how
are the different milding lines. This is more a little
bit more aggressive. This is not as aggressive, so you
can highlight certain parts of the clutter. But it was
when we start first started going out and talking to
these players, it was the top rail thickness or how

it broke off with the toe and the shadowing and
the tangents of the curves and stuff that they are
square and every line, every milliing line, every surface was
either parallel or perpendicular to the ball or to the face,
but still keeping that classic answered look right.

Speaker 1 (17:48):
So a guy Bubba Watson puts it down.

Speaker 6 (17:50):
I was just like, Okay, I'm used to seeing I've
won two masters with a mask with an answer putter.
This looks good to me, or this is what I
want to do, and then just going through plus and
say okay, hey.

Speaker 1 (18:01):
Next time I see you, I'll have that for you.
And then just it.

Speaker 6 (18:03):
Could be one iteration, it could take six iterations before
we get there. But once we get there, the guys
has that trust now and seeing we're making progress and
what he likes to see and how's it feels and sounds.

Speaker 4 (18:14):
So do you do you remember a certain moment where
you were going through that process with a player and
you finally gave him a model and they were like,
oh my goodness, this is it. You have a moment
like that.

Speaker 6 (18:24):
There's a there's a couple one with shamous power. Yeah,
this is an interesting thing. Because we started talking about
putters and kind of what he wanted to see what
he liked. So I went back to work and I
I think I made six different screenshots of things he
had said, and then I would send it to him
and I'd say, what do you like a B, C

or D? And he said, I like B, but can
you give me a little bit of C. So then
I would do the cad work and it's in and
again he goes, okay, I like that.

Speaker 1 (18:53):
So then this is kind.

Speaker 6 (18:54):
Of how the process kind of developed out there for
me was Okay, now you've given me pretty good direction
what you like. Then I go print out a three
D printed party and take it out on tour and
then have the guys actually set it down on the green.
I painted up black but white lines and have them
set down the green behind the ball and say, okay,
is this what you really want? And sometimes it is,

sometimes it's another iteration. But my goal was, Hey, I'm
not gonna start cutting apart until you see something you're
like that looks great, and let's go. And then it's
then we start making parts and go from there.

Speaker 3 (19:25):
And seamush Tony we know from his ipaying data because
We studied that a lot your your signature of your stroke.

Speaker 5 (19:33):
His tempo ratio is always really on the slow side.

Speaker 3 (19:36):
Correct, So how did that weave into you know, you're
dialing in making sure Shamus, how's what he wants in
the setup position, how it looks, what about the how
does his stroke type inform the design in the hozzle?

Speaker 6 (19:50):
And the one thing I think with putters is it's
a player's got to set it down and look at
it and say that looks really good to me. That
gives me confidence I know I can. But then the
hood is okay, well, how do we get the weighting right?
How do we get our MOI right? How do we
get our CG in the right position? And with Shamus,
it actually ended up we ended up trying different materials
on the soul plate to get the weight tool where

it matched his temple better. So we had stained the
still we had I think we ended up doing a
carbon or a copper soul plate on him because they
needed a heavier head without changing too much about it.
So yeah, so getting the right weight to match along
with the look that looks good to him is those
things have to work together so that he can put

that in Marty.

Speaker 2 (20:35):
It's it's so interesting.

Speaker 4 (20:36):
You know, golf is so much about problem solving, you know,
like we talk about it in terms of strategy when
you're playing golf. Right, it's okay, this T shop might
might not fit my onye maybe had three wood, or
you know, I can kind of get aggressive here. That's
really this whole place into it. It's so interesting when
you develop a new product, it's also about, you know,
kind of coming up with a with a problem to solve, right,
It's how can we make this better? PLD was a

was a problem solver in a way. It was introducing
this amazing line of putters, but it's also just going
through You're talking to the best players in the world
about these certain things, and you're taking their feedback back
home to create you know, new concepts and new ideas,
new designs.

Speaker 5 (21:10):
Yeah, definitely, And I think it's just that marriage.

Speaker 3 (21:12):
What Tony's done a great job of is strutting out
like our PLD.

Speaker 5 (21:17):
So many of golfers out there just love the look
of it. I can't tell you how many.

Speaker 3 (21:23):
Folks I run across and they are like, man, your
guys putters are awesome now because they have that Look,
you can take the same geometry, change the the the
tool path with the cutter just ever so slightly in
this thing will have a totally different look. Yeah, you know,
but it's mere going back to to Seamus, is that

marriage of Matt, then you still got to fit it
to their stroke type for them to put their best, right.

Speaker 4 (21:49):
Bubba, didn't Bubba have like a weird paint or something
on his PLD.

Speaker 2 (21:54):
Didn't he have like was it it was? Was it
like what it would change color?

Speaker 5 (21:58):

Speaker 4 (21:58):
It was a rainbow that was a rainbow po So
I mean, was that a request from him or was
that you guys presenting them with something.

Speaker 6 (22:04):
Different, Not that that was before that pre PLD pre PLD. Yeah,
but he was another guy that going on early into it.
I remember, I think it was twenty eighteen Genesis and
we've gone through this whole.

Speaker 1 (22:17):
Process that I just talked about.

Speaker 6 (22:18):
And I brought a potter out for him and he
was coming down ten the par the short par four
at the Riviera, and so I met him on that
green and he's putting with it. He's potting with it,
and all the tour guys are out there. Everyone's like,
there's no chance, there's no chance. He was saying it's
too fast off the off the face, but then he
took it with him and played a practice round, actually

put it in the bag that week.

Speaker 1 (22:41):
In one and went on to win three times with it.

Speaker 6 (22:43):
So you just never know his best friend night if
the guy, if it goes back to if he sets
it down and it fits him, the weight's right, the
lofts right, the ball's coming off the way he wants
it to roll, the sound.

Speaker 1 (22:56):
The feel.

Speaker 6 (22:57):
These guys are gonna if they're making pots, man, they're gonna,
especially him for sure. If he can roll the ball,
he's he's gonna win.

Speaker 5 (23:03):

Speaker 3 (23:03):
I want to dive into two more players you work
with the time. One is Tony Final yep, Like, let's
let's talk about the answer. Two D how that came
to be and how long you were working with Tony
and then what happened with his uh with his record
after he switched yep.

Speaker 6 (23:17):
So when female first signed with us, he was in
a different putter and it was really hard to kind
of get him to make.

Speaker 1 (23:25):
A change or talk about different stuff.

Speaker 6 (23:27):
And I used to tell myself, is like his commitment
to that putter and his dedication to that is. My
goal is man, if I can get him into ping,
I hope he does that for us too. I respect
what you're doing. We have to earn that from him.
We have to show him that we've got to make it.
We have to right back to you.

Speaker 1 (23:45):
Gotta with that trust that we can do stuff.

Speaker 6 (23:47):
So we went into a lab, spent a lot of
time in the lab, and we basically it came down
to like, he's like, I cannot play a blade. It's
way too small, way too thin, and I don't want
to play a mallet. So we just started talking about
he liked the look of an answer to but just
was too small and too light. And then just kind
of led to, hey, we stretched that out a little bit,

give you a little bit more weight, a little bit
more with to it that it would it still have
a really nice look to an answer too, but the
weight of a mid mallet or mallet and a little
bit more forgiveness and.

Speaker 1 (24:20):
Just a little bit bigger.

Speaker 6 (24:21):
And then also we worked on the height of the
hastle to match his stroke tech for what we saw
in the lab. So once we got him in there,
we started seeing numbers that that were connecting with him
and what he was seeing and feeling. Then from there
on we we we started rolling and then he went
out and won three times.

Speaker 1 (24:39):
With that, so right after that, right, but it was
it was a process, all right.

Speaker 6 (24:44):
And I respect Tony one hundred percent because I feel
like I have a really good relationship where he's pretty
honest with me, Like he feels like he can reach
out if he hadn't wants to try something, so that
that's that's really nice, especially from a player like that.
He's such a great guy anyways, but man, he works
hard on his putting and he's very serious about it.

Speaker 5 (25:04):
They do work hard.

Speaker 3 (25:05):
We talked to Boyd about this too and Tony. You know,
in the lab we were with Jeff Thomas and developed
this feature pretty much exclusively for Tony and Boyd, which
is our live loft and lie and ipiss so you
can turn this thing on. Because he has such long arms,
his hands, you know, it doesn't look it doesn't look
like conventional a lot of times the toe set up
a little toe kind of sits up. His hands look

a little low. His forums aren't aligned with the shaft.
Things of this nature. But we built this feature for
Live Loft and lie. So him and Boyd could plug
in their setup position for a lie and shaftleing and
they could get live bio feedback. And that's right there
in our ipin, you know, because it kind of the
marriage of fitting and teaching is so important from a

putter standpoint.

Speaker 1 (25:47):

Speaker 6 (25:49):
So another quick story with Tony is there was a
couple of years ago where I think we've all sadden.
He would take his putter and turn it sideways and
hit the toe right, make them in tournaments. You would
see it all the time, and he I remember, I'd
come home from golf and he'd send me a message saying, Hey,
how do I get this feel of this? How do
I get a putter like this? So we started working

on something to get to get a putter that is
kind of down the lines of what the feel and
some of the attributes. He liked about doing that, and
so we came up with some prototypes and we've worked
on him. Actually, Tony Feena I was part of the
patent because some.

Speaker 1 (26:28):
Of the ideas and some of the work that we.

Speaker 2 (26:30):
Did it was his ideas.

Speaker 6 (26:32):
Yeah, He's part of the It's me John A and
Tony and I think it's really important because that's how
we learned, that's how we get better to how players,
and we all are players. We will do the same,
but that is we we want your input. We want
to hear from you so that we can make a
good product for you, but not only you, but for everybody,

to make really good putters.

Speaker 4 (26:53):
Can we talk about the Easter egg on the putter covers?
How did that start? Marty showed me this day.

Speaker 1 (26:57):
I didn't.

Speaker 2 (26:58):
I didn't never understood that this was a thing.

Speaker 3 (27:00):
Tour Tour PLDs. Tony Serrano, they got the Serrano pepper?

Speaker 2 (27:05):
When did that start?

Speaker 6 (27:06):
So it goes back to you, bet Corey Bacon, Right, Yeah,
Corey's like you should put a Serrano pepper on this
stuff and market that was years ago and then.

Speaker 2 (27:16):
Like a kind of a joke, right, I mean, just
put it on there for fun.

Speaker 1 (27:19):
It was kind of yeah, of fun.

Speaker 6 (27:21):
And then over the last few years are id guys
that do some of our head covers have added it
into the into the designs of it.

Speaker 1 (27:31):
But you kind of got to look for It's.

Speaker 6 (27:32):
Kind of hidden in there, but it's in there, so
it's kind of just kind of taken off, not taking out,
but it's kind of developed.

Speaker 1 (27:39):
Its own thing.

Speaker 6 (27:40):
And so now we put a chili pepper on our
prototypes going on tour, and that only tour players have
those putters with that, and then once we get into commercialization,
you wouldn't see it on there butt.

Speaker 5 (27:51):
So they had to personally touch your hands. Basically the.

Speaker 2 (27:55):
Serrano putter for sure.

Speaker 5 (27:57):
Tony, what about uh, what about Victor Hoblin?

Speaker 3 (28:00):
I mean they's been in that sev two obviously having
a lot of success with us.

Speaker 5 (28:05):
Tell us about your work with Victor?

Speaker 1 (28:06):
Victor is.

Speaker 6 (28:10):
He's he's different than most guys. And I say that
with all due respect. It was probably two years ago
at congree. I went up to Victor and I said, hey,
what are your thoughts on working on a new revision
of that he had sent me too, which he's playing
and he's won with all these years. And he's like, well,
what are you thinking? I go, I don't know. Maybe

we should start a revision, is it? And I basically said,
is there anything when you look down this putter that
you're like, man, if I could change that, if I
could change this, the littlest thing is a radius anything?
And he looked at me and he said I wouldn't
change a thing. He turned around and walked off, and
I said, hey, Victor, he's turn oud look back, and
I go, I agree, it's the hard but he he's
the one guy. He doesn't really tinker a lot with

his putter. He one times told me, which I think
essentially goes, the putter.

Speaker 1 (28:56):
Hasn't changed overnight.

Speaker 6 (28:57):
There's something that's in my stroke that I need to
prove on to get back to where I was. He goes,
that hasn't changed. Something here has changed. So I think
that's kind of his philosophy with putting. We've tried a
few different things, but he always ends up back where
and we all know he's he grinds like.

Speaker 5 (29:15):
He he works so hard to figure it out.

Speaker 1 (29:18):
So he's good like that.

Speaker 3 (29:21):
To tie it back to waste management week, I played
with Victor. He actually played with him when you played
in the Phoenix.

Speaker 5 (29:26):
Oh he got a sponsor exemption on the section.

Speaker 2 (29:29):
Yeah, I mean he turns pro in nineteen, so yeah,
that career.

Speaker 3 (29:32):
I'm like, I'm paired with Victor Hoblin. I was unbelievable.
But he was using the same DS seventy two back
then that he is now. And when we had him
on the pod, he talked about that. He said, Hey,
I'm not into the guys switching have a bad putting
round switching putters.

Speaker 4 (29:46):
He's like, but I mean there's really two avenues, especially
for pro golfers. It's like you switch a lot or
you never switch. And I mean you see the guys
out on tour that have used this. I mean you
think famously Tiger. I mean, Tiger used the same player
for how many years? Right, I mean that's the thing
that you see on one side. And then you'll also
see guys like I think Lee West would be the
West tinker, Like he would change putters all the time, right, yeap.

Speaker 5 (30:07):
All the time.

Speaker 3 (30:08):
We went into We've had him in the vault and
got all the putters out that he's won with, and
they're like, didn't you.

Speaker 2 (30:14):
Tell me that he was messing around with one one.
He's like, I need to go back to this, and
I like, yeah.

Speaker 1 (30:18):
We're in the lab.

Speaker 3 (30:19):
He's like, oh, I'm trying to change my setup to
back like I did in nineteen ninety eight when I
was putting like this, And we went and grabbed the
putter because we the putters in the lab, we matched
the specs exactly, so it's the same length lying goal
loft and so we got it out and used as
a model.

Speaker 2 (30:36):
He's like, Okay, I'm not gonna use a gold one
on tour.

Speaker 4 (30:39):
Tony just dive a little bit into the importance of
getting fit for putters, because I feel like this is
still that world wedges and putters still feel like the
world that maybe people still are interested in maybe going
to buying something off the rack.

Speaker 2 (30:50):
How important is it to go get fit.

Speaker 6 (30:51):
So I was listening to you guys' podcast with I
think it was Corey, Yeah, and you guys were talking about, well,
the driver's are most important club in your bag, and
I'm like, I don't think it is. It's but that's
the one, in my opinion, the one club in your
bag that is your scoring club, right that you can

make up strokes with you hit it on everyhole.

Speaker 5 (31:14):

Speaker 6 (31:15):
People don't get fit for that, and it's just it's
something that will Marty and his team and me, and
we're working really hard on trying to get more people
to get fit for putters because it's so important. You know,
between if you're putting with a face bounce putter, but
you should be in a strong arcuse that's night and day,
and if we can help get you into a part
of that matches your stroke, we don't. We're not really

in the lab or working with players on especially me.
I'm not out there to give you a putting lesson.
We're here to get a putter in your hand that
looks good and that matches your stroke, right, So we
always tell guys that I'm not here to we want
to just do your thing and let us get a
putter in your hands that help your score.

Speaker 4 (31:56):
And it's a confidence thing, at least for me personally, Marty.
I don't know if you feel the same way, but
like getting fit for a putter, knowing that the putter
you're using is the right thing for you, it boosts
the confidence on the greens because you can't question that club, right.
I mean, that's you can't question something that has been
measured and seen in terms of data to make sure
it's perfect for what you're doing on the greens.

Speaker 2 (32:16):
I mean, I think that's important.

Speaker 3 (32:17):
What I love that what we've done with PLD has
brought the process that Tony has taken and our reps
have taken with our tour players to the people because
now you can get fit for We fit everyone with
iping same tool we use as the tour players. Uh,
and you can customize sightlines you use, align the ball
or not. Like all we've talked to all these players

over the last year, shame, and they're all so different
in what they do with their putting. We can embrace
that in the PLD process, Tony. Part of the PLD
process is fitting for the sound and feel. So tell
us about our different milling patterns that you've you've developed,
and again this is all born from working with like
Bubba was probably the first one where we really dialed

it in and it's we used.

Speaker 6 (33:01):
To Bubby used to be very specific about the million
on his face and we've always called.

Speaker 1 (33:05):
It Bubba groove. That's just what we do.

Speaker 2 (33:07):
Is that deeper or is that deeper shallow shallow?

Speaker 6 (33:10):
Yeah, But even a step further back is we use
in the lab we use different materials. We use a
carbon still and the stainless still because in doing some
of this stuff early on, we found that some players
could tell the difference between a carbon steel and a
stainless still, the carbon being just slightly softer and maybe
not as loud and some guys like that and some

guys like a little bit more feedback, a little bit
more sound. So along with that, then we go into
we do three different group patterns on the face. One
is smooth and one is our shallow, one is our deep,
and all of them have a little bit different ball speed,
and all of them have a little bit different sound
and a little.

Speaker 1 (33:47):
Bit different feel.

Speaker 6 (33:48):
The deeper the groove or the pattern is on your face,
the softer it is, and it takes a little bit
off of the sound.

Speaker 4 (33:55):
Also, what's your favorite club you've ever designed? If you
have one that comes to mind of any club, any club,
any club you've designed you put your hands on.

Speaker 3 (34:04):
Let me throw this out there to because we didn't
get it with the intro. But Tony also is the
chief designer of the Rapture Driver, right yep.

Speaker 4 (34:12):
So I assume that's high on the list, very high
in the rap number one two right.

Speaker 1 (34:17):
Rapture and Rapture V two.

Speaker 6 (34:18):
I did design both of those, but yeah, those are
very high and even back to some of the early
stuff when we first went into Titanium and the Tye side,
Tysi Tech. But it's they're all good man. I just
love this is this is really cool working with these
players and working on product for Ping, But yeah, Rapture

would probably be pretty high up there.

Speaker 4 (34:40):
What does it feel for you personally when you know
how many hours you put in with somebody like Victor
or somebody like Tony and you're watching on Sunday and
you see him make a big twelve foot or on
the sixteenth green, Like, what does that do for you personally?

Speaker 2 (34:53):
In this journey you've been on with Ping, pull.

Speaker 1 (34:56):
The hamstring jumping, kidding.

Speaker 2 (35:00):
Warm up about six weeks with injury.

Speaker 6 (35:04):
I just it feels great, right, like you've helped this guy.
I mean, he's doing the work, he's he's doing all
this stuff out there.

Speaker 1 (35:12):
But to know that you've contributed, our team has contributed.

Speaker 6 (35:16):
And this is all good for Ping in that we
have a product, a player out there that's winning. It
looks good for us. It looks good for all of
us and our team because all of us work really
hard on this PUDIC and to see a win, it's
just it's just really good feeling for.

Speaker 1 (35:30):
All of us.

Speaker 3 (35:30):
Tony talk talk a little bit about our machine shop
and our machinists, Like what is what is a day
in the life of one of our machinists at Ping,
you know, and what are the quality you talked about
Carson giving everybody, Hey, you can stop the line right,
and that's still in our culture today. Talk talk about
a day in the life of one of our machinists

at Ping was working on our PLDs.

Speaker 6 (35:54):
So one of the things when we first started working
in the shop is a little bit of a culture
change where a machine when they're down there, they're trying
to get stuff out quick and fast, and you know,
try and get stuff to market as quick as you cancel.
It took a little while to get guys to say, hey,
slow down. What's really important here is that we get
the best looking putters, the best milk putters in golf.

And a lot of the guys are down there aren't golfers,
So you have to kind of just kind of set
up the expectation of what's going out there, what people
are looking at, why this is so important, and to
get those guys to really focus on the different details,
like you said, the speed, the step over on the
different cuts, the different surfaces where everything kind of lines up.

And we've even taken the guys, hey, let's go outside.
I want to show you why it's important when the
sun hits this, this is what a player's see. This
is what's important. And they're just like, well, I'm not
a golfer, but right now I get it. So it's
we have a few guys down there right now that
that's we joke at work. They put their pod hat

when they come into work every day and that's all
they and they take a lot of parde in that.
Now when we get a win on a Sunday or
something like, I'll get a text.

Speaker 1 (37:05):
Was that our guy? It's our guy, And they're just like, yeah,
love it.

Speaker 5 (37:07):
I love it.

Speaker 1 (37:08):
So they they are all in and they and.

Speaker 6 (37:11):
I do my best to keep them motivated and know
that we are making the best putters in golf. We
are making the best milk putters in golf. And it's
because of you. It's because the time you guys put in,
the work, you put in the saturdays we come in. Yeah,
it's all that and it and everybody's all in it
for the same reason to get the best putters out

there and hopefully get some wins and.

Speaker 1 (37:34):
Go from there.

Speaker 5 (37:35):
Tony, you bring up a good point.

Speaker 3 (37:36):
I think the classic machine is training by default is
how do you optimize for speed, costs, productivity through.

Speaker 2 (37:43):
Put and you have to kind of slow them down.

Speaker 5 (37:45):
You're like, hey, we can we.

Speaker 3 (37:47):
Can choose the tool path that's going to take twenty
minutes longer for this for the top of this putter,
we can use a more expensive cutter, right, you.

Speaker 6 (37:55):
Can use you could change the cutter out every putter
if you have to. Yeah, and it's hard to get
that culture like, but that cutter's still good.

Speaker 5 (38:04):
No, it's not.

Speaker 1 (38:04):
Look it's starting to you know, that surface isn't what
it should be.

Speaker 4 (38:08):
I mean that's I mean in in today's age, that's
not the philosophy of a lot of companies. I mean
a lot of companies is like, let's turn out as
much as we can, as fast as we can, as
cheap as we can, and to be a place where
you're comfortable saying take a little bit longer. Let's change
this out at my cost a little bit more of
that's okay. I mean that's got to make you feel
great greats as well.

Speaker 6 (38:28):
And I think that's our culture at Ping as we've
been taught and brought up there, is hey, make the
best product. We'll figure this stuff out. Let's just make
sure we got a really good product and get it
out and then we'll figure out the rest.

Speaker 2 (38:38):
I got it. I got when PLD came out, I
got an answer. I loved it.

Speaker 4 (38:43):
It was it was smooth faced, I got grooves put
on on the back end. Jeff did that for me
and it was patina. And it's just been down the
line and uh, they're just great. I mean, the putters
are beautiful, and I'm with you. I think they're the
best in golf. So you and your team are doing
a great job.

Speaker 1 (38:57):
So I appreciate that.

Speaker 5 (38:59):

Speaker 3 (38:59):
Talk a little bit about our different finishes that we offer, yes,
and what do they do to the look.

Speaker 5 (39:04):
Of the putter?

Speaker 3 (39:04):
You know?

Speaker 5 (39:05):
So we do.

Speaker 6 (39:06):
We offer five different finishes right now. We do the
stainless steel, we offer a satin finish, and then we
the carbon still. We do a patina, we do at black,
we do an oyster, and we do a glazed donut.
So those are five different.

Speaker 5 (39:23):
You got to come see.

Speaker 2 (39:24):
I see it is this new know about it.

Speaker 1 (39:27):
It's fairly new, and I would I would mention back
to going.

Speaker 2 (39:31):
To a donut, but is it it's more of a
golden in It's mysterious.

Speaker 5 (39:37):
I'm into it.

Speaker 1 (39:38):
It's no what a donut.

Speaker 2 (39:41):
Chili pepper and a donut after this podcast?

Speaker 6 (39:43):
But see, and part of that goes back to working
with guys in our shop. Is the patina was our
guys in our shop, just trying different stuff.

Speaker 1 (39:51):
To come up with a new Is it like mixing?

Speaker 5 (39:54):
What is it like?

Speaker 4 (39:54):
I mean this is from an idiot's perspective, like mixing paint,
Like what are you doing to come up with that?

Speaker 6 (39:58):
It's it's quite a long prot but basically you heat
it up with a torch, okay, and you're putting a
chemical on it, and then.

Speaker 2 (40:05):
You see and how it dries.

Speaker 6 (40:06):
Basically see how it dries, and then you some still
wool and a lot of times you got to redo it.

Speaker 5 (40:10):
But but there's a lot of process control, a lot
it's a lot of handwork, a.

Speaker 6 (40:14):
Lot of handwork, and we continue to try and be
more efficient at that and make it a faster process.
But that finish it is what it is because it
takes the time, the handwork and steal wool and working
every surface to get.

Speaker 1 (40:29):
It to look just right.

Speaker 6 (40:30):
And a lot of times you'll get downe with a putter,
and there's just some part of the putter didn't quite
get hot enough, so it doesn't match the rest of it.
So you go back and you blast it and you
start over to you get it right. That's where our
guys I think it's just like they're they're so smart
and they have so many good ideas, and then just
working with them and listening to.

Speaker 4 (40:48):
Them that we can come up with stuff thirty six
years yes, paying just and you're gonna keep rocking and rolling.

Speaker 1 (40:53):

Speaker 4 (40:54):
Well, we appreciate everything you do. We appreciate you taking
some time to chat with us. I appreciate you have
the PLD line and Marty talking about about it yesterday.
I mean it is it's a game changer. I mean
not just for putters, but for ping in general. I
mean having this line and being able to look down
at something that you're that competent.

Speaker 3 (41:09):
Yeah, I mean it's ping is that we've always been
there on the principles, but you know now it's also you.
You look down to your putter and you could you
fall in love with it because all these nuanced details
and and everything that Tony's put into it.

Speaker 5 (41:22):
See, it's been great having you.

Speaker 1 (41:23):
On thank you, appreciate Tony the rock Star.

Speaker 2 (41:25):
This is the Ping Proving Rouse Podcast.
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