Ping Golf founder Karsten Solheim inducted into Sporting Goods Hall of Fame

Solheim helped shape the equipment industry with two ground-breaking club designs.


It could be debated that no one altered the golf equipment landscape more than Ping Golf founder Karsten Solheim. It was Solheim who helped introduce two ground-breaking club designs that shaped the industry.

It started in 1966 with the Anser putter — a heel-toe weighted cavity-back blade featuring an offset hosel that made it easier for golfers to square up the face at impact. It will go down in history as the most copied design in the history of the sport.

The same can be said of the Eye2 iron, a perimeter-weighted creation that allowed Ping to greatly improve overall stability by moving mass to the outer boundary of the head. Look at today’s cavity-back irons and you’ll find something resembling Solheim’s original design.

Solheim, who passed away in 2000, was also ahead of the curve in the club fitting space with the recognizable color-coded chart that simplified the club-buying process for countless golfers.

Karsten Solheim in 1967 with one of the earliest Ansers; a prototype Anser crafted in Karsten’s garage. Ping

To celebrate Solheim’s impact on the golf equipment industry, the National Sporting Goods Association announced Ping’s founder would be inducted into the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame on May 21, 2024, in Phoenix, Arizona.

“We’re very proud Karsten is receiving this honor and I know he would be, as well,” said John A. Solheim, Ping’s executive chairman. “Joining the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame is a testament to the revolutionary products Karsten developed and his role in making the game of golf more enjoyable for all who play it. He’s joining a select group of leaders and innovators who have impacted the entire sports world, which I know would bring a smile to his face and a twinkle in his eye. This honor is a great reminder to the sports industry and golfers around the world of Karsten’s never-ending impact on the game of golf.”

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It seems fitting that Solheim, who was the pathfinder for numerous crucial club designs, will become the first Hall of Fame inductee from a company focused exclusively on golf. (Solheim remains the only golf equipment manufacturer in the World Golf Hall of Fame after he was inducted posthumously in 2001.)

According to a release from the NGSA, the Hall of Fame honors those who’ve made “extraordinary contributions to the growth and progress of the industry.” Solheim joins three other inductees in the 2024 class. They include Hibbert Sports executive Cathy Pryor (the seventh female in the Sports Goods Hall of Fame), Rawlings Baseball chief marketing officer Mike Thompson and Ortholite developer Glenn Barrett.

The NGSA has been honoring pioneers in the sporting goods space since 1955 when the Sporting Goods Hall of Fame was created. To date, 181 men and women have been inducted.

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Jonathan Wall Editor

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and’s Managing Editor for Equipment. Prior to joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour. He can be reached at