The PING Custom Fitting Journey
Hugely popular with golfers looking for the precise tools that will help them to shoot lower scores on the course, PING’s custom-fitting process has long been regarded for its quality and accuracy. Delivering a personal experience – either through a Level 1 or the more comprehensive Level 2 fitting – club specifications will be matched to the unique identity of your golf swing.
Thousands of club fitters worldwide have created this rich legacy of experience and knowledge, adding to the foundational principles laid down by pioneering founder Karsten Solheim. This thorough fitting process determines the key numbers throughout your entire bag; from the loft of your driver, the lie angle for a set and length of putter. Bringing this together, PING has the technical makeup to create the set of clubs tailored for the specifics of an individual golfer.
The Fitting Process
It’s a journey, and those first steps involve an interview with the fitter, who asks for information regarding your ball-flight tendencies, equipment specifications, and a critique of your current set of clubs. Dialogue is a vital aspect of the whole process, something that remains a constant throughout.
The fitter will then identify club specs based on your preferences, needs and ability. Overviewing different models, loft and shafts with the golfer, iron fittings involve your height and wrist-to-floor measurement being taken to calculate the lie angle and shaft length. Hand dimensions are recorded to select the grip size, while the golfer will also hit balls from an impact board with a tape on the sole of the club. The marks left on this tape help the fitter to understand your clubhead position at impact, and the relationship that setup, posture and swing affects it.
We explored the full process by inviting Golfshake Member Shaun Morgan to experience a Custom Fitting Session with PING Golf's Mike Lea. Discovering what is involved, the technology and what can be gained from being fitted, it was an insightful look at this key stage of the journey.
The Next Stage
However, once a golfer has been fitted, what happens next? We recently met with Neil Clark, Operations & Engineering Manager at PING Europe, to follow the next step and the remarkably quick turnaround that is offered.
“The PGA professional alongside the customer would place an order directly with one of our customer service team, confirming all the specs with the pro to ensure that what we’re putting through is accurate to what they fit to. That creates into our system production tickets,” Neil explained.
“These comes off in order of priority. Literally, first-come, first-served principle. The team will pick up that ticket up and identify what heads are required, what shafts are required etc, and there’s a couple of different processes that happen in kitting.”
The Manufacturing Process
Each piece of equipment is built to order at one of PING’s facilities. Whether it be one club or a full set, they are assembled and calibrated by hand, with the ultimate objective being that each golfer who comes through PING will have begun their journey at the custom-fitting stage.
“When it comes to irons, the first step would be shafting. The process might differ between certain product lines, but typically speaking we’re using epoxy to fix the head to the shaft, there may be tip-weights and centring caps that are placed within that. What they’re looking to do at that point is create a strong connection between the shaft and head. They will also align the shaft to ensure that the graphics will be in the right orientation. They wipe off the excess of epoxy and place it into a heating carousel, where that accelerates the curing process of the epoxy, and allows us to get to work faster than if you were to leave to leave the epoxy to cure overnight, for example.”
This accelerated period in the carousel is a mere 15 minutes, when in the past it would be an overnight process, dramatically speeding things up.
“The next step is the loft and lie It’s one of the key custom-fit aspects for the business, as PING was one of the first companies to offer that customisation determined by the customer’s height and stature. The process involved using a hammer to adjust the lie, the angle that the clubhead makes with the shaft up to the player’s grip. And loft, which is the angle that the clubhead impacts the ball.”
Generally expected to build the clubs within two days, quality control is nonetheless integral for PING, who have adopted a range of inspections throughout the entirety of production.
“With all products, we check the parts that have come in from our suppliers,” Neil added. “We have processes checking the products as they go around the cell. From there, we also have a finished good inspection, which is constantly inspecting products as the come off the production line for all aspects of the build to make sure that we’re producing clubs as accurately as we can.”
Being a firm with an engineering background at its genesis, all of the equipment at PING, both in terms of production and quality inspection, has been bespoke manufactured by the company itself, which is constantly seeking to enhance each aspect of the operation.
“When it comes to quality, we are looking for continuous improvement. Going back to when Karsten built the first product, it’s been a constant evolution of trying to improve the golf club and its quality. Now we’re using more equipment to aid our inspections.”
This has created an identity of consistency and excellence that golfers expect when they purchase equipment from PING or undergo the custom fitting process.
“We have built a reputation for ourselves that has to be continually met, and that’s a good thing,” Neil continued. “It’s a discipline for us. We’re trying to raise that bar. With a custom-fit product, the customer expects accuracy. They expect the product for the specified for loft, lie, swing-weights, shaft alignment etc.”
“I think it’s a cultural thing, there is very much a team atmosphere here. The people across the board, whether you’re in the factory, maintenance or sales, we want all of our employees to know about the products, a and we have training when for new releases, so they understand the engineering advancements, fitting options. It is important that everyone knows what we’re trying to deliver to the customer.”
PING’s stature has been well earned and more golfers are tapping into that when it comes to custom-fitting and using clubs that have been engineered for them. It’s a journey that is worth taking.
For more information check out PING fit features: www.golfshake.com/news/gear/2018/pingfit/