Tuesday, May 12, 2009
This was not our typical historical tour but after 50 years being in business, the Ping Golf factory fits the reguirements. Twelve League members enjoyed the guided tour April 16 and learned a lot about manufacturing. Ping is trying to have all the products made entirely in the USA and they are close to doing that. The exception is one driver going to China for titanium coating but most of the machinery from Mexico is now here in Phoenix.
Joan Galloway and Delores Tomasek stand by Ping color chart.
Karsten Solheim was an engineer and, admittedly, a terrible golfer. After a disastrous round of golf on a company picnic, he experimented with a popsicle stick and a sugar cube deciding he could create a better putter...and he did. Any pro golfer who wins a major tournament with a Ping putter now is awarded one in solid gold. Ping also keeps one in gold plate. They have so many putters now in the vault, they are expanding the room. Linda Fritsch, Pat Faur and Sharron McKinney take their seats at the presentation.
Ping must treat their employees well because so many of them have worked there for 15-20-25-30 or more years. That type of retention speaks volumes for a company with almost 1,000 employees.
Gail Lucky and Ruth Ann Hogan adjust their ear phones and glasses prior to the tour.
I was surprised to find many small buildings grouped together at their factory, not a huge modern plant. Karsten slowly acquired land and existing buildings as his company grew, including an old bank on the property.
A driving range is available to try out new clubs and it is now surrounded by tall, green mesh fences. Apparently pro golfer Bubba Watsen hit a drive 362 yards past the range and into the city of Phoenix bus depot. oops.
Lunch was enjoyed at the Art Institute of Phoenix culinary school. Pam Ryan inquires about the menu with her young waiter.
Congratulations to a long time League supporter Gerry Murphy for his award. There is a write up about this in frontdoors.biz page 17 along with a great picture of Peggy and Gerry. He deserves the recognition after so many years of dedication to the arts.