In a unique switch from the normal practice of honouring individuals for their outstanding contributions to golf, The PGAs of Europe has awarded the prestigious Christer Lindberg Bowl to ‘The Solheim Family’ for their achievements in nurturing PING to its 50th anniversary of innovation and growth.
Ian Randell, chief executive of The PGAs of Europe made the award to the company’s chairman and chief executive, John Solheim, who travelled from Phoenix to the association’s Annual Gala Dinner and Prize Presentation in Murcia, Spain, to accept it on behalf of his family.
The Lindberg Bowl is awarded each year as a lasting tribute to Christer Lindberg, The PGAs of Europe’s first President and Chairman and in permanent recognition of truly outstanding contributions to golf over a lengthy period of time.
The unique story began in the family garage in 1959 in Phoenix Arizona with one man, the company founder, working on the design of a putter but The Lindberg citation acknowledged the contribution of each family member over the half-century of Ping progress including the late Karsten’s son John himself and his own son, John K while emphasising their right to be placed on the award’s roll of honour that includes such names as Sir Michael Bonallack, Ken Schofield, Jaime Ortiz Patino and Peter Alliss.
“Like his father, who sadly passed away in 2000, John shares a passion and understanding of engineering that sets the tone for the company’s insistence on improving a product’s performance through innovation and quality,” it read. “To legions of golfers of all ages, both genders and every ability range around the globe no playing equipment is better known than theirs.
“Yet, over and above all of this business expertise and well-deserved reputation for launching ground breaking products, from the iconic Anser putter to similar high degrees of excellence in more recent playing equipment innovations, here is a company in which, perhaps uniquely, family values are just as much a part of its ethos as the profit motive.
“Today, the primary task of leading product development is John’s oldest son, JOHN K. who trailed his grandfather around the plant during summer breaks from high school. Through the genius of his grandfather he gained appreciation and expertise that no textbook could ever provide.
“And to add to all of this the family in 1990 showed their commitment to giving back to the game and established the biggest event in women’s professional golf…………the SOLHEIM CUP, a competition in which last year’s Lindberg Bowl winner, Annika Sorenstam, has played such a leading part for Europe in the matches against the USA.”
“On behalf of my mother Louise, myself and the entire Solheim family, I would like to thank the PGAs of Europe,” said John Solheim in a message of appreciation. “We are extremely proud to accept the Christer Lindberg Bowl. It means a great deal to the Solheim family to be honored for our contributions to the game of golf.
“It was a real joy for me to attend the PGAs of Europe Conference in Murcia. I was both excited and encouraged to see the high level of participation, especially from the Eastern European countries. Our family and the entire PING team are very appreciative of all the support given to PING the European PGAs.”
Few families, worldwide, in the history of golf have inscribed their name, and their company’s name, more indelibly on the sport than the Solheims of Ping.
The PGAs of Europe www.pgae.com