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Last Update: Friday February 23, 2018

Key Idea: Win High Profile Customers - John Solheim, co-founder & chairman, Ping Golf

Owner John Solheim says that famous golfers using a Ping putter on television gave the Ping an advantage because the putter looked so different from all of the others.   More...

Key Question:

A: 

Try to get your product used by people who are respected in your industry.

Karsten Solheim's unwavering belief that a Ping putter could improve anyone's game gave him the confidence to walk up to any pro and offer them his putter.  The pros were willing to try the putters because they had nothing to lose. When they discovered the benefits of Ping, they started using them in situations where they were on television.

If you have ever seen a Ping putter, you know that they look completely different from other golf clubs. As the television cameras came in close on the putters, golfers watching television immediately saw the uniqueness and started asking for the putters.

Questions for this clip: 1 | 2 | 3

Think about it

What can you do to get high visibility customers? what can you do to make your product or service stand out in the crowd so potential customers can distinguish between you and your competition?

Clip from: Ping Golf with John Solheim, Karsten Manufacturing

Made in the USA:  Ping putters. Manufacturing is coming back.

How do I keep quality high? 

Phoenix, Arizona:  Innovators, by their very nature, are constantly going up against existing systems. The establishment. Sometimes their insights do not come by small increments, but by large leaps and then the renegades become outlaws!

If you are a golfer, you know Ping. It ranks at the top with Titleist, Spaulding, Calloway, Taylor-made-Adidas...  Yet , this business is still privately-held; and though the patriarch (and father) has died, his son, John, continues to build on all the lessons he learned as his engineering apprentice when they started this business.

Meet the Solheim family.  Like so many who redefine an entire industry, they were outlawed within it. They broke the rules. They created something totally new. Some people thought they were just crazy, until they began winning within their game. These renegades persevered. They negotiated, and today they are leaders within their industry and on their way to becoming a billion dollar business.

They began in a California garage in 1959. The sound of success here is "Ping"   and today John Solheim continues a tradition for excellence that began with with his father, Karsten.  Together they invented and began manufacturing  the Ping Golf Clubs.

Here you will see how a business constantly strives for a higher perfection.

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Ping Golf of Karsten Manufacturing

John Solheim, Chairman & CEO

2201 West Desert Cove
Phoenix, AZ 85029
6026875000

Visit our web site: http://www.pinggolf.com

Office: 6026875000

Business Classification:
Manufacturing

Year Founded: 1959

Win High Profile Customers - John Solheim, co-founder & chairman, Ping Golf

HATTIE: Everybody tries to figure out what makes an entrepreneur, what makes a great business leader, and frankly, we've seen, over the years, when someone sees a problem that they think they can solve, they start a business. Your father had trouble playing golf the first time he played, and he said, `What's wrong with this equipment? I could make it better.'

JOHN: Right.

HATTIE: Was he always stretching to make it better?

JOHN: Always. Always.

HATTIE: Why couldn't he just use somebody else's putter and be happy with it?

JOHN: Well, because when he missed a putt, when the ball didn't go as straight as it could, he realized from the dynamics of the club. The weights weren't extreme -- if the weights are out there, it won't twist as much. He did some tests, and it twists half of what it did so that means the putt's twice as close as what you would have been. You've got a shorter putt to tap in, or maybe it might catch the edge of the hole.

But, that's one step.

It took him a long time because the public didn't accept his putters, and he had to look at what the public wanted and modify those putters so that they met their acceptance. And it still look a lot of time. But we were fortunate, too, because TV and golf came along at about the time that we were really starting to have some success on tour, and when all of a sudden, people saw people like Nicklaus and Player, Julius Boros and George Archer using these funny-looking putters--because they were different; they showed up on TV different -- people wondered, `What in the world are those?'

And, you know, Karsten also was smart enough to make sure we had our name and address on every putter, too.

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