Ping Chairman John Solheim joins parents in Arizona Golf Hall of Fame

John Solheim and Louise Solheim
Courtesy of Ping Golf
John Solheim celebrated his induction into the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame with his mother, Louise Solheim, who was inducted in 2004.
By John Holmes

Series: Golf Buzz

Published: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 | 7:58 p.m.

We're hoping you all are having a great Thanksgiving Week. Someone we know is having a great week is Ping Chairman and CEO John Solheim, who was inducted into the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame on Monday.

Solheim's induction makes the Arizona hall a real family affair. John's father, Ping founder Karsten Solheim, was inducted posthumously in 2000, while his mother, Louise Solheim, who turned 95 in June, was honored in 2004. 

''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,'' he added. ''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.''   

John Solheim was accompanied by his mother at the ceremony, which was held at Gainey Ranch Golf Club in Scottsdale.

He got his start in the family business when he was 13, working alongside his dad on early putter designs in the family garage. He aspired to be an architect, but as the business expanded, he began designing golf clubs and helping Karsten grow the privately held entity into one of the most influential golf companies in the world.    

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''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.''   

From 1961 to 1966, Ping operated out of the family garage north of Phoenix. Since then, the headquarters have been located in North Phoenix, where the company occupies 27 buildings spread over 52 acres. Karsten Manufacturing Corporation and its subsidiaries employ approximately 1,200 people worldwide and conduct business in more than 70 countries.     

Solheim was among four inductees. The others were:

--PGA Professional Shelby Futch, who has owned and operated several golf course properties in the Phoenix area and across the country, as well as a chain of golf retail stores in addition to a successful clubfitting and manufacturing company. While serving as an instructor for the Golf Digest Schools, he founded the world-famous John Jacobs' Golf Schools, and for years has been ranked among golf's top instructors.

--Bill Huffman, a longtime golf writer for The Arizona Republic and then for The East Valley Tribune. Among his other accomplishments, Huffman served as the national president of the Associated Press Sports Editors Association in 1995-96, and was a member of the executive committee of the Golf Writers Association of America from 1996-98.  He is currently the editor-in-chief for the AZ Golf Insider.

--Barbara Simmons, who for many years worked with Arizona courses to incorporate the USGA's Course Rating System after the USGA introduced the Slope rating. She also holds positions on several USGA regional and national committees, and served as president, vice president, treasurer and secretary during a decade on the AWGA Board of Directors.