This Ping 4A putter was made by Karsten with his son John often by his side in their family garage near Scottsdael Arizona. At the time Karsten still had his day job as an engineer with General Electric and John was going to high school. They worked in this garage evenings and weekends to make their PING putters. It was a particularly tough go in the hot Arizona summers given that the only air conditioning in their garage was provided by an open door.... Still, they worked hard, made what many believed were the best putters money could by, and roughly 20 years later were the number one clubmaker in the world. And Ping has never looked back.
Here we have one of the putters made by John and his father in their garage before they set up shop in Phoenix. This would have been made in the early 1960s. This Ping Model 4A is marked with the Scottsdale address on the bottom of the head.
The "gooseneck" bend in the shaft was likely formed by Karsten himself, especially given that this club has an original Golf Pride Informer grip. Karsten used Informer grips in Redwood City but only briefly after he and the family moved to Arizona. This club even has the green grip collar at the base of the grip exactly like was installed on all green informer grips used on Karsten's Redwood City putters.
Everything on this club is original. The face might have been ligtly cleaned at one point in its history, but that is okay on this club. The original grinding marks—lines that run straight across the face—are now visible. When the manganese bronze heads came from the foundry to Karsten, they were rough castings and needed to have all the excess metal ground away and the heads smoothed up to remove any unevenness in the face. It is not an easy job and Karsten and John did it by hand. Grinding a head takes time, skill and needs to be done precisely right. They certainly did a good job with this classic putter!
This putter is in the top row middle of the accompanying