In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Anser putter, PING today introduced a limited-edition version of the iconic model made from the original moulds, assembled with components made in the U.S.A., and supplied by retailers used in 1966. Each putter’s sole is also hand ground by PING Chairman & CEO John Solheim, just as he did 50 years ago in his family’s garage.
The limited-edition high-tensile manganese bronze putters are available at authorised PING golf shops worldwide. Each putter comes in a commemorative presentation box with a leather putter cover and a certificate of authenticity personally signed by John Solheim. RRP is £850.
“This has been a fun project and to be able to make it entirely in the United States is extra special,” said Solheim. “It brought back a lot of great memories from the days in our garage near Scottsdale. The Anser is the most successful putter design ever and its place in history is unquestioned. Who could have imagined 50 years after its invention it would still be the most dominant design on tour? It seems like golfers of all abilities have used an Anser putter at some point. This limited-edition version is a tribute to that success and a look to the future with some of the technology we’ve added in the form of tungsten in the heel and toe to bring it to modern-day weights.”
The original concept for the Anser putter was sketched on a 78-rpm record sleeve by PING founder Karsten Solheim in early 1966. It was patented the next year. The name was inspired by his desire to find an “answer” to the popular putter at the time. His wife, Louise, suggested he call it “Answer” but Karsten was concerned it was too long to fit on the toe. She told him to leave out the “w” and the rest is history. It went on to become the most successful (and most copied) putter model in golf, with more than 500 tour titles to its credit, including 19 men’s major championships. Its first win came in 1966 at the Florida Citrus Open. The Anser’s first major victory was at the 1969 Masters.
Staying true to the manufacturing process from 1966, the limited-edition model is sand-cast using both of the original tools (one machined by Karsten and one by his son, Allan) at East Bay Brass Foundry, the Richmond, Calif., company that also sand-cast the original Anser. True Temper (Emory, Miss.) supplied the high-step shaft, and Golf Pride (Southern Pines, N.C., now a division of Eaton Corp.) moulded the PING PP58 grip, both of which were designs used in the original model. 3M (St. Paul, Minn.), which supplied the grip tape in 1966, is the manufacturer of the grip tape in the new model.
The limited-edition Anser is finished and assembled at PING’s headquarters in Phoenix. Tungsten heel and toe weights are inserted and precisely milled with other key surfaces in the company’s machine shop. Solheim is hand grinding the sole of every head before they are lightly tumbled and aged prior to assembly.
“Most people don’t realise the amount of hand work that went into the original Anser putters 50 years ago,” added Solheim. “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 mould, 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.”
PING will produce and serialise 1,550 right-handed 50th anniversary Ansers, 775 from each mould. The putters will be distinguished by either a “K” (Karsten’s mold) or “A” (Allan’s mold) in the serial number on the inside of the hosel. Left-handed models are also available.