If there's a PING in your putt, it's got to be Karsten Manufacturing. The company designs and produces customized PING golf clubs. (The clubs are named for the sound they make when striking the ball.) The company also supplies golf bags, gloves, headwear, and related gear. Karsten provides club-fitting services, systems, and training at golf courses and pro shops across the US, as well as an online fitting program. Professionals from all over the world swing with PING, including Mark Wilson, Maria Hjorth, Sherri Steinhauer, and Angel Cabrera. The company was founded in 1959 after Karsten Solheim designed a revolutionary putter in his garage. His youngest son, John, leads the family-owned firm.
More than half a century since it was established, Karsten Manufacturing continues to innovate golf clubs. In 2009 the company introduced the Karsten series of putters to commemorate its late founder on its 50th anniversary. It also carted out drivers, woods, and hybrids from the Rapture V2 series and irons from the G10 line, all of which featured gold decorations.
PING uses such metals as titanium, tungsten, and steel in its clubs to improve the distance and accuracy of players' drives, and the clubs' grooved faces add backspin to balls. The company's drivers, including its G15 model released in 2010, were among the leaders in the PGA Tour's distance and accuracy stats that year. Also, the G15 was the top-selling driver that spring.
While many manufacturers have outsourced their operations, Karsten still makes most of its clubs in the US. It does outsource some duties, such as golf bag manufacturing, however. The company plans to expand its operations in Japan to better serve its customers in the Asia/Pacific region, where the game of golf has become increasingly popular.
Karsten's signature brand is also used in marketing off the fairway. In late 2010 the company inked a trademark agreement with Apple, allowing the computer maker usage of the PING name. That year Apple upgraded its iTunes application with the PING feature, a social networking tool that enables users to find out information about artists and discover music they might enjoy from friends. – less