Karsten began producing PING 3A putters by June 10, 1959. PING still has a letter of that date that requests a 3A. Company records also show that the 3A was not popular at all when it was introduced. The remaining records from 1959 shows Karsten received orders for only three 3A's as opposed to 427 orders for the 1A (And the Putter Went Ping p 47-49). These numbers are best viewed as approximations. PING today does not know if there were any other orders that year. It is not known how many Redwood City 1A and 3A putters were made in 1960, before Karsten left for Arizona, but production of both grew. The 3A putter, however, never approached the sales of the 1A and today is far more rare than a Redwood City 1A.
This example has its original shaft and white Golf Pride "Informer" grip. There are also two tiny alignment lines cut in the top of the head. John Solheim, Karsten's son who helped Karsten make these putters, has acknowledged that Karsten would cut in sight lines for golfers who requested such, but there is no way to know if Karsten cut these lines. Whoever did them, they are clean and well executed.
The shaft has a double bend near the head. This is a very meaning full element of this club. According to John Solheim, only Karsten crafted the shaft bend on every single Redwood City putter that has one. That was a job that not only had to be done with great skill, so the club would set up to the ball exactly as Karsten specified, but also required quite a balancing act of heating the shaft enough to bend it but no too much to scar or ruin it. Of course Karsten worked on the vast majority of the PING redwood city putters, as the only clubmaking help Karsten had was his son John, who was in 8th and 9th grade when in Redwood city, and his son Allan, who helped primarily by making and installing the leather wrapped grips and only did so until he graduated from high school in 1959, when he left for Marine Reserve boot camp.
So, while Karsten did work on the vast majority of the Redwood city putters that remain, collectors now know that the shaft bend was hand-crafted by the greatest clubmaking genius the game has ever seen. It was Karsten whose rise in the second half of the 20th century reinvented the wheel for all other clubmakers.
For more see And The Putter Went Ping chapter 2.