In January of 1966, Karsten Solheim designed the Anser putter, a model so successful that PING celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016 (see story below). The idea came to him, as inspiration often does, in a flash. He sketched the design on the dust jacket of a 78 rpm record.
The putter’s design was the first of its kind, featuring an offset hosel that provided golfers a clean view of the face. The cavity-back putter also featured a low center of gravity and lines parallel to the face to help golfers in squaring the putter.
Clearly, Karsten had designed a revolutionary putter.
All he needed now was a name. Since it was the answer to a particularly vexing problem – putting -- his wife Louise suggested they name it "Answer." Karsten liked the name, but felt it would be too long to fit on the putter.
With a deadline looming to get the design to the engraver's shop, Louise then said, "Leave out the 'w'." Which is what they did. The Anser went on to become the most successful putter in golf history, with more than 500 Tour wins, including 19 men’s major championships.
With a deadline looming to get the design to the engraver's shop, Louise then said, "Leave out the 'w'." Which is what they did.
Today, the innovations introduced in the Anser putter can be found in just about every putter on the market, making it not only the most popular design, but the most copied. It's no exaggeration to say that Karsten Solheim and his Anser putter changed putting forever.
50th Anniversary Anser
To mark the 50th anniversary of the Anser putter, in 2016 PING introduced a limited-edition version of the iconic model made from the original molds, assembled with components made in the U.S.A., and supplied by the vendors used in 1966. Each putter’s sole was also hand ground by Karsten’s son, PING Chairman & CEO John Solheim, just as he did some 50 years ago in his family’s garage.
“It brought back a lot of great memories from the days in our garage near Scottsdale,” Solheim said. “Most people don’t realise the amount of hand work that went into the original Anser putters. The radiuses on both of the hand-machined tools were finished with a file and sandpaper by Karsten. I built most of the original Ansers in the garage, starting with machining and grinding the raw castings and continuing on through final assembly. My brother Allan machined the second mold, which is slightly different and often referred to as the ‘slope-side’ mold. We wanted to bring that hand-crafted approach back as part of the Anser’s 50-year celebration and its remarkable contribution to golf.”