Multi-material technology combined with the expertise of PING engineering has produced the Rapture Series, the latest advancements in feel, distance, forgiveness, consistency and sound, according to PING Chairman & CEO John Solheim.
The Rapture Series, which begins shipping world-wide in September 2006, includes a driver, fairway woods, hybrids and irons. All clubs in the series feature TFC 909 graphite shafts engineered by PING and a new textured spiral grip.
“Multi-material technology gives our engineers tremendous opportunities to improve all aspects of a golf club,” said Solheim, who introduced the line last week while presiding over the company’s annual product introduction meeting in Phoenix. “Titanium, tungsten, super stainless steel, elastomer and graphite composites all have properties that can make a golf ball fly straighter and go further. The key is to understand what each component can contribute to a product’s performance. Our engineers have combined those materials into a series of products that furthers our reputation as a leader in technology.”
“The addition of the Rapture Series complements our market-leading G5 line,” added Solheim. “The G5 driver, fairway woods and irons were the top selling models for the first six months of the year and the G5 Hybrid has moved up to the top selling model in its category for June and July according to Golf Datatech (UK). We’re hopeful those trends will continue. Golfers expect the best from PING and now we’ve given them another choice with the Rapture.”
Initial Tour response has been very positive. Several players worldwide, including two of the game’s longest drivers – Bubba Watson and Angel Cabrera – have added the Rapture Driver to their arsenals. At The Open Championship at Hoylake, eight drivers were in play. The new driver secured its first win at the Nationwide Tour’s Price Cutter Charity Championship. At the Women’s British Open, 15 Rapture drivers were used.
A team of PING engineers relied on computer optimization models driven by a Cray Supercomputer to analyze the crown to ensure structural integrity and performance. Acoustic engineering was also heavily employed to produce a solid, powerful sound.
“The driver exceeds our performance expectations, but we’re just as excited about the sound,” said John K. Solheim, PING’s vice president of engineering who oversaw development of the Rapture Series. “Our research indicated a general dissatisfaction with the sound of existing composite drivers, so we made it a high priority in our design criteria. Using finite element analysis (FEA), we’ve tuned the club’s frequencies to produce a powerful sound that we believe will turn heads on the tee box.”
PING designs, manufactures and markets a complete line of golf equipment including metal woods, irons, putters and golf bags. The family-owned company was founded in 1959 in the garage of the late Karsten Solheim, a mechanical engineer with an extensive background in the aerospace and computer industries.
His frustration with his putting inspired him to design his own putter, which created a “pinging” sound when striking a golf ball. This sound was the source of the name now synonymous with innovation, quality and service throughout the world of golf. Solheim and his company are credited with numerous innovations that became industry standards, including perimeter weighting, custom fitting and the use of investment casting in the manufacturing of golf clubs.
His insistence on adhering to strict engineering principles and tight manufacturing tolerances raised the level of product performance and quality throughout the golf industry. Solheim is the only person to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame as a golf club manufacturer. Today, the Phoenix-based company is under the direction of Solheim’s youngest son, John A. Solheim. PING game-improvement products can be found in more than 70 countries.