Many people talk about “growing the game of golf.” John Solheim, as Chairman & CEO of PING, has done it.
During my 16 years working in junior golf, I witnessed Solheim’s dedication to the junior, amateur and women’s game – three segments that draw much less attention in the golf industry than the male pros. But John Solheim ensured that PING always supported golf at all its levels.
PING’s creation of the Solheim Cup, and subsequently the PING Junior Solheim Cup, was admirable, providing women and juniors a world-class Ryder Cup styled event. The PING Invitational at Karsten Creek has become one of the AJGA’s most prestigious events. And PING is a longtime supporter of the college game in many ways, sponsoring the PING Preview and the American College Golf Guide, among many things.
So, it comes as no surprise to learn that John Solheim will be inducted into the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame on November 25th for his business leadership and his contributions to golf.
And now, a few notes and quotes from the press release announcing this news: His parents, PING founder Karsten Solheim and his wife, Louise, preceded him into the Hall. Karsten was inducted posthumously in 2000; Louise, who turned 95 in June, was honored in 2004. Ceremonies will be held at Gainey Ranch Golf Club in Scottsdale.
“I am delighted to join my parents in the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame,” said Solheim, 67. “In more than a half-century of doing business here, we’re proud of the role we’ve played in helping contribute to the growth of Phoenix and communities around the state. As a family-owned business, we get our greatest satisfaction from creating jobs for the more than 800 employees who make us the success we are today. And because golf is so important to Arizona’s vitality, PING will always play a key role in sponsoring efforts to promote the game and grow participation at every level.”
Solheim got his start in the business when he was 13, working alongside his dad on early putter designs in the family’s garage. He aspired to be an architect, but as PING’s business expanded, he turned his passion to designing golf clubs and helping Karsten grow the privately-held entity into one of the most influential golf companies in the world. As chairman and CEO, he leads the company’s strategic direction and oversees the design and development of PING® products.
“Thinking back to my years working with Karsten, we still run the business with a hands-on approach,” Solheim said. “Even though we’ve grown beyond what Karsten and I could have imagined, we’ve always focused on the same principles — performance, innovation, and custom fitting — as the foundations for engineering products that make the game easier for golfers of all abilities.”