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Key Idea: Provide a Breakthrough Service

A Billion Dollar Idea Becomes Reality - Ping was the first golf club manufacturer to build clubs to fit an individual's body and skill. Also it etches a serial number on every club and holds onto the customer's purchasing history.

Key Question:


Provide a breakthrough service.

Q: What are the ups and downs of being innovative?

Ping was the first golf club manufacturer to build clubs to fit an individual's body and skill. Also it etches a serial number on every club and holds onto the customer's purchasing history. Therefore, if and when a club is lost or damaged, Ping can replace it quickly.

A: Providing a custom product for customers makes it difficult for competitors to copy, and it also forms a strong bond between you and your customer. At the same time, a new product or service usually doesn't sell itself. A new product needs to be sold by educating the prospects, so inventors must be teachers. Ping decided early on to sell through golf pros who run golf shops at courses. These pros then become the teachers who inform the customers about new products and how to use them.

Think about it

What can you do to distinguish yourself from the 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

Visit our web site:

Office: 6026875000

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1959

Provide a Breakthrough Service

HATTIE: (Voiceover) A key strategy in making customers happy is making sure their clubs fit.

JOHN: We realized that we were out of touch with our customers. So we started thinking, `How can we get in touch with them?' And what we started doing is bringing our customers into our plant and giving them training, both on learning what we were about and club fitting.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Jay Richie teaches the golf pros how to fit Ping clubs. So how is that you do this fitting because this is part of the secret of why people love your product, right?

JAY RICHIE: Right. It's extremely important for anybody, whether you're a high handicap golfer or a professional, to make sure you get componentry that actually fits your game.

HATTIE: So what measurements do you need? I'm not telling you my weight

JAY: Weight's the first thing we ask. It's very basic.

HATTIE: Come here, come here, come here.

JAY: OK. First of all, we just want to know--it's a basic chart here--if you're left-handed or right-handed.

HATTIE: Right-handed.

JAY: So I'm going to come over here and I'm going to measure your wrist to floor. Our next step is exactly this--the dynamic portion, where I actually have to watch you swing...and see where you're marking on this tape. And I want you to hit down on that board.

HATTIE: Do I not need to be back further?

JAY: Bend your knees a little bit. You get wherever you feel comfortable. Remember, you're the beginner golfer.

HATTIE: And I'm going to know...

JAY: This is all going to come--yeah. And just hit down on that board.

HATTIE: How far back should I go?

JAY: As far as you feel comfortable. There you go.

HATTIE: I want to go--I'm afraid. I don't want to hit it. But you want me to hit it.

JAY: I want you to hit it. It won't hurt the board. There you go. Excellent. And all I'm trying to have you do is make a mark. You actually did a pretty good mark. We're going to talk a little bit more and make sure that you feel comfortable with all the componentry that we've actually recommended for you, the right shaft, the right loft, the right lie. And then we're going to do in the pro shop. We're going to call the customer service department at Ping and they're going to actually place the order on the computer and then the production department is actually going to make your set specifically for you with all the componentry that we've just fit you for. It's going to take two days to make. We're going to ship them to you and you'll be playing with those golf clubs within a week.

LARRY MAJOR: And what we do is take the accounts, we bring them into Phoenix...

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Larry Major runs the Ping education program.

LARRY: And we try to educate them in our philosophies, our designs and basically club fittings. (Voiceover) Because the more they're educated, the better off they can communicate and the chances of sales obviously are much better when we do that.

Unidentified Man #2: Ping has gone to the point of training us to be expert club fitters, so we can get our customers or our guests in a golf club that's suited for them so that they can play the game and enjoy it more.

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