Karsten Solheim was a club fitting pioneer, going back to the late 1960s when he began working with the touring professionals to ensure their Ping irons were properly calibrated to their sizes and swing tendencies. Typically, Solheim had a player hit their favorite clubs, and then went from there to develop sets that matched golfers as well the whole way through.
The club fitting approach at Ping is a bit more extensive and complicated today, but the overall concept remains a corporate imperative. In fact, the company prides itself on the fact that every iron or wood sold by one of its nearly 3,500 Ping-affiliated club professionals is tailored to the buyers through an exacting process that uses a Ping fitting cart to determine proper lie, loft, length and grip.
In addition, golfers may also visit the Ping fitting center at company headquarters in Phoenix. Open Monday through Friday and available on a first-come, first-served basis to golfers who book through clubs or retailers that are Ping accounts, it boasts 25 certified fitters who utilize launch monitors to measure club head and ball speed as well as spin rate and launch angle. Ping also employs proprietary software called nFlight that digests data from the monitors and then produces set recommendations, filling gaps, if need be, with irons or hybrids. It can also analyze club sets players are currently using and compare them to possible alternatives.
Ping does up to 15,000 fittings a year for no charge at headquarters. And they range from a simple putter fitting, which may take 15 or 20 minutes, to one for a full set of metals and irons, which usually runs about an hour and a half. Generally, it takes three-to-five days for a set to be built.
For those who cannot make it to Phoenix, they can also visit a pair of Ping nFlight Fitting Centers, at the Massengale Golf Academy at the Augusta Pines Golf Club outside Houston and also the Alpharetta Athletic Club in Alpharetta, Ga. Those feature the same fitting technology available at Ping headquarters, and a third such center is scheduled to open in Orlando, Fla., later this year. Prices for a fitting at those locales, which are stand-alone facilities that partner with Ping, start at $75.
In addition, Ping has more than a dozen fitting and performance centers at public facilities in the U.S. that use launch monitors, nFlight and all its fitting tools, and has also set up several so-called Performance Studios at private clubs.
Not surprisingly, a company with as much global reach as Ping also has a major fitting presence around the world. In fact, the club maker has more than 500 international accounts employing nFlight technology in conjunction with launch monitors.