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Inside PING's Gold Putter Vault


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#1 Geo

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 05:57 AM

One of the staples of a visit to PING's headquarters is a trip to their Gold Putter Vault.  It is well known that PING backs up every victory with gold, in the form of a gold plated putter to commemorate a win using one of their putters, made to the exact specifications as the winning putter--that's everything: length, lie, grip style and size, sound slot or tungsten inserts--absolutely everything.  PING presents one to the player and adds a second to what has to be the coolest putter collection in the world!  For those who win one of the four Major victories on the PGA or LPGA, the players are presented with a solid gold replica of their putter.  For Angel Cabrera's 2007 U.S. Open win, PING also presented his wife with miniature gold pendant version of the Redwood Anser he used at Oakmont.

This tradition was started by Karsten Solheim before they were paying players to game their putters as a way to thank them for their support and give them something that they could look at to help them remember that win.  I'm sure other companies have their ways of celebrating victories with their players, but nothing that's as classy, let alone steeped in tradition as this.

Here's a couple videos PING has up on youtube.  The first is one that most people have seen, with various pros talking about what it means to them to have a putter in the Vault.  The second is the first of a series of three by PING entitled "From Within The Gold Putter Vault."  Extremely worth the watch!





Now, I don't think this is part of the regular tour, as a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure it's reserved for select groups.  Circumstances arose so that we almost didn't get to see it ourselves.  As we were well into our second day, I was resigned to the probability of not getting in.  I was okay with that; we've all seen pictures and videos posted in the past and had seen just about everything else PING had to offer.  However, seeing it in person is something else.  You walk in and there's silence.  You just absorb it.  Then you start looking around.  Then you see different pieces that start to jog your memory.  And then you're off, searching around, rattling through your mind trying to remember which Sundays had which players playing which putters for which victories.  Fortunately, our hosts were there ready to answer our questions and point us in the right direction.

The Gold Vault is now organized by player's name so it's easier to see collections by winner (did seve really win THAT many times!!!), but it did make it difficult to find PING's 1988 Grand Slam Collection (let's see...curtis strange and...seve was in there, right?!).  The Gold Vault saw its early life as Karsten Solheim's office closet, but quickly needed to be relocated to where it is now.  Now it's almost bursting at the seams, and about to be moved to a new location with more square footage.

Now if I were to be granted one golf wish, it would be to have my own gold with one memorialized in PING's Vault so that future visitors might accidentally grab my putter as they look for more significant ones.  Unfortunately, as far as I know, there's only one loophole to getting into the gold vault without a win--and that would be to be a PING staffer and accumulate $10,000,000 in winnings.  So it looks like I'll either need to lobby for another loophole or...well, that's about it for me.

Anyway--here's the pictures of the Vault, followed by some of the putters.  Where I remember, I'll add some details as to why each is significant.

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This putter is the only non-retail, prototype putter that has a win behind it.  We have pictures of the non-gold version we'll show later.
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The putter(s) that everybody wants to see!
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Angel Cabrera's Master's putter: the belly putter that wasn't.
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One of MANY!
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Obligatory lefty.
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Lee Westwood's "loophole" putter.  Just incredible!
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This gold putter is the only junior club in the vault, and was used by an adult!
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This Doc15 was used by Suzann Pettersen to win the LPGA Championship.  That's a Major.  That means solid gold--making it the most expensive putter PING has made to date.  However, here's a little known fact: the major victories in the vault are plated--only the winners get the solid gold version.
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Lorena Ochoa: one of my favorite players.  The LPGA desperately needs her back.  Just a cool ambassador to the game.
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:hi:

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#2 Geo

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 06:01 AM

And here are the second two of three parts of PING's "From Within The Gold Putter Vault" series where John Solheim speaks to the history of some of these putters as well as PING.  It's a great watch.  I'm a little surprised to see how underutilized these videos are.  Only about 600 views as of last night!  lol--I'm sure that'll change.



:hi:

#3 huskyhacker

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 06:35 AM

really really really cool.

those putters are absolutely beautiful !

thanks for the pics

#4 HipCheck

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 07:02 AM

Spectacular on all accounts. Great write up Beruo.

#5 pga43

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 07:13 AM

You forgot to mention about putting on the cotton gloves in order to handle the putters (at least I had to when I was at Ping for a visit).  I would guess they still require people to use the gloves when touching the putters?


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#6 zeeeeta

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 07:18 AM

Epic

#7 mozgolf

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 07:34 AM

Thanks for a great post, cheers

#8 siam_golfer

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 07:40 AM

Great job!  A+

#9 MoaningM

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 08:01 AM

Great write up George, fantastic pics, interesting seeing Seve's putter, he would have used either a Scottsdale Anser or Karsten Co, yet they have the 85068 version in gold there! i'd still swap if for my Anser all the same!

#10 Asleep

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 08:05 AM

Posted Image

Easyyy holding Tiger Woods' 1994 US Amateur putter -- note the white glove


What may not come through in the pictures is how bright it is in the vault with all of that gold,

As to value ... ? If you win a major championship, you get a solid gold putter.

So a 350 gram putter at this morning's gold futures price is worth $18,852.00.* (Adding density variance moves that closer to $50k.)

Suzann Pettersen's Doc15 putter -- 4 up from the bottom -- is worth a house. :lol:


*making some simplistic assumptions

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#11 WVP

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 08:17 AM

Very classy. Must have been amazing to be in there, so much history.

Wonder if the price of gold has their accountants sweating a bit?


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#12 The GreekGrind

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 08:22 AM

One of the first things I think of when I think of PING is their gold putters.  Very cool to see so many pictures.  Thanks and well done!

#13 ND Fan

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 08:22 AM

My sister has a putter in that vault...  Planters Pat Bradley 1989,    Anser 3 I believe.

#14 Asleep

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 08:34 AM

View PostND Fan, on 06 July 2011 - 08:22 AM, said:

My sister has a putter in that vault...  Planters Pat Bradley 1989,    Anser 3 I believe.
Aww, wish we would have known ... would've snapped a pic of it for you.
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#15 hvilletn

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 08:41 AM

Cool pics.  Thanks.


#16 shinysticks77

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 08:44 AM

Very cool, thanks for sharing!

#17 ND Fan

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 08:44 AM

I was allowed in and held it.   every player has one exact copy to keep as well, complete with engraving and the gold plate.  Karsten engineering and manufacturing is an amazing place.  Most people don't know they have an aerospace machine shop on the same property, two separate businesses. I know you probably do.  I haven't been there in 16 years, I assume they still have it.

#18 RealTK

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 11:30 AM

That is absolutely crazy...great pic with Easyy holding the TW putter..

#19 Wdwfreak

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 12:44 PM

What is the exact model of TW amateur putters? is it just the classic stainless steel anser 2? great pics, truly awesome

#20 BarneyRubble

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 01:40 PM

Could someone explain Lee Westwood's "loophole" putter? I don't understand the meaning of "loophole".

Thanks

BR


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#21 cmusic

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 01:48 PM

View PostBarneyRubble, on 06 July 2011 - 01:40 PM, said:

Could someone explain Lee Westwood's "loophole" putter? I don't understand the meaning of "loophole".

Thanks

BR

He earned a gold putter by reaching a "money won" goal in his career using Ping clubs.   In this case it was Lee's passing $30 million dollars in earned winnings.
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#22 bigmoneyp

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 03:34 PM

I never knew about this.  Really cool!
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#23 TRoc9892

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 04:17 PM

Already bookmarked this thread. Always wanted to know more about the vault! :smilie_ping:

Edited by TRoc9892, 06 July 2011 - 04:18 PM.

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#24 Geo

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 07:41 PM

Thanks all.  The credit goes to easyyy for the pictures--he was busy getting work done while I was buzzing around to and fro, grabbing different ones to have him take pictures of.  As iconic as this vault has become, I'm really excited to see what the future holds and what the next version will look like.

View Postpga43, on 06 July 2011 - 07:13 AM, said:

You forgot to mention about putting on the cotton gloves in order to handle the putters (at least I had to when I was at Ping for a visit).  I would guess they still require people to use the gloves when touching the putters?


Greg
Good call--they absolutely require folks to wear gloves for the handling of these putters--extremely soft ones too.  I'm almost surprised they didn't have white cotton bibs as well; I couldn't have been the first person drooling over these putters. ;)

View PostMoaningM, on 06 July 2011 - 08:01 AM, said:

Great write up George, fantastic pics, interesting seeing Seve's putter, he would have used either a Scottsdale Anser or Karsten Co, yet they have the 85068 version in gold there! i'd still swap if for my Anser all the same!
Thank you, Dave--again, credit for the pics goes to easyyy and his super camera.  As for Seve's putter, I'm sure he used those putters at different times, but the gold putters are the exact same as the ones used in those tournament victories--both in specs, and model, down to the smallest detail.  They seem to be sticklers for detail!

View PostND Fan, on 06 July 2011 - 08:22 AM, said:

My sister has a putter in that vault...  Planters Pat Bradley 1989,    Anser 3 I believe.
Well, a belated congratulations to her--that is awesome.  Out of curiosity, what did she do with hers?  Shadow box?  Trophy room?  Closet?  Just a neat piece of history.  Thanks for sharing!
:hi:

#25 Geo

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 07:44 PM

View Postcmusic, on 06 July 2011 - 01:48 PM, said:

View PostBarneyRubble, on 06 July 2011 - 01:40 PM, said:

Could someone explain Lee Westwood's "loophole" putter? I don't understand the meaning of "loophole".

Thanks

BR

He earned a gold putter by reaching a "money won" goal in his career using Ping clubs.   In this case it was Lee's passing $30 million dollars in earned winnings.

Exactly--I mentioned this in the first post as well.  Kind of a tongue-in-cheek joke as earning 10 million dollars would be nigh impossible without a victory.  Ten, let alone thirty million dollars is quite an accomplishment.  Though with the current exchange rate, Lee Westwood is taking the easy route by playing in Europe. :lol:

:hi:

#26 oilcan_007

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 07:52 PM

don't forget about Karrie Webb's victory in a major with the UG-LE. That has to be a nice chunk of gold as well

#27 ND Fan

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 08:04 PM

Quote

Well, a belated congratulations to her--that is awesome.  Out of  curiosity, what did she do with hers?  Shadow box?  Trophy room?   Closet?  Just a neat piece of history.  Thanks for sharing!   


I am pretty sure she still has it on a shelf at home.  She manages a vet clinic in the Dallas Ft Worth area now.

Not something she would sell...

#28 Justin_Ellis

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 11:01 PM

Quote

major championship[/url], you get a solid gold putter.

So a 350 gram putter at this morning's gold futures price is worth $18,852.00.* (Adding density variance moves that closer to $50k.)

Suzann Pettersen's Doc15 putter -- 4 up from the bottom -- is worth a house. :lol:


*making some simplistic assumptions
First thing I was wondering was the value of Suzann's putter. I would love to know. Fascinating stuff, I bet the putter was worth as much as she won for the event!;)
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#29 wvularc11

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 09:04 AM

Just shows how popular the anser style head is and that it is a proven winner...a few other models sprinkled in there but the anser heads dominate...awesome!!!

#30 Gooth

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Posted 07 July 2011 - 11:51 AM

Very cool. I wouldn't mind having a vault like that in my house!


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