Industry Insider: PING Gold Putter Vault Tour
13 Feb 2019
by Pete Wlodkowski of AmateurGolf.com
see also: Equipment Reviews
"Not everyone gets to come in here."
Simply breathtaking: the PING Gold Putter Vault
Those were the words of Master Clubfitter James Lee, as he activated the lock and spun open the big gold wheel on the black door of the PING Putter Vault. It reminded me of something from "Ocean's 11" but we were being given unfettered access with just two rules - use a white glove when handling the putters, and don't remove anything from the vault.
So much for the Facebook user who commented on our post "You should have brought a bigger bag."
The vault houses replicas of every PING putter to record a win on the worldwide Tours, and even at major amateur events like the US Amateur, with two of Tiger Woods' victories commemorated with gold plated putters. The putters are stamped with the tournament name and date, and of course the winner's name. And they are simply gorgeous.
They are all housed in black velvet lined racks, with museum quality lighting making them shine, well, like only gold can.
Each putter is one of only two made by the nearly 60-year-old company. One goes to the winner, the other stays in the vault. It's a tradition started by PING founder Karsten Solheim in the 1970s. The industry pioneer who built the first PING putter in his Redwood City, California garage wanted to come up with something more memorable than a small cash award for a Tour win, as was traditional in the business at the time.
There are putters from players you've heard of (Fred Couples, Severiano Ballesteros, Karrie Webb, Lee Westwood all having multiples) and many you haven't. And there is a story behind every one.
In recent years, a few twists have been added - for example now when player wins a major the putter given to them is solid gold, not just gold plated. And there is some flexibility in what club is turned to gold. In Bubba Watson's case, he decided on the 52 degree PING wedge he used to hook his ball 40 yards through the trees on No. 10 at Augusta National to win the 2012 Masters.
"We gave him the choice of a putter or that wedge," said PING Communications and Marketing Manager Pete Samuels.
Watson recreates that shot on command at outings and PING appearances, such as at the PGA Merchandise Show in Florida. And I'm guessing that there will be some more left handed gold putters in the vault soon.