Ping have just announced something huge (a bit like your dad buying new Sketchers)

For a company that generally makes good equipment, PING does not give a crap about anything or anyone.

PING have just dropped a huge announcement, they are going to buy five Nike club and ball patents. Nike, who recently exited the golf equipment industry, are focusing exclusively on apparel and footwear–an area they continue to dominate. So what the hell is PING–the perennial industry old man–doing buying their patents? Talk about not backing your own research and development.

Tyrrell Hatton is PING’s highest ranked player (16th in the world).

“We see this as an opportunity to add utility patents to our already significant intellectual property portfolio,” “Our team can use these patents, along with our existing intellectual property, to our competitive advantage, accelerating our ability to further technology that ultimately leads to higher performing, score-lowering golf equipment.”

— Ping President John K. Solheim,

A limited-edition version of one of the game’s most iconic putters has been recreated.

Where are PING now? They have a loyal following, a trusted name in the golf world, and an indisputable level of consistency with project releases. PING have been the consistent member of an otherwise ailing fleet of traditional golf brands (R.I.P MacGregor (founded 1829) and Lynx). The new bucks in the pen are smelling blood–TaylorMade are getting more endorser success than anyone, Callaway are being super sexy with Paige Spiranac and the Bryan brothers, and Titleist are immune from everything thanks to their literal and metaphorical ownership of our balls…I know.

An iconic brand, everyone owned a set of PING Eyes.

Now we have PING, the company who doesn’t give a shit about marketing and it’s glorious. Your uncle once gave you a set of indestructible PING Eyes and that was it, the most effective marketing agent was administered directly into your veins. From that point on you knew one thing, PING might not get your saliva going, but it will deliver a quality product, treasured for generations. Sadly this nostalgia can’t go on forever, especially if you consider the aggression of other brands. I would never say that sponsorship is the sole barometer for success, of course, but it can be an indication of vitality.

Official World Golf Rankings: 

1. Dustin Johnson: TaylorMade

2. Rory McIlroy: Nike*, TaylorMade…anyone with dollar

3. Jason Day: TaylorMade

4. Hideki Matsuyama: Srixon

5. Jordan Spieth: Titleist 

6. Henrik Stenson: Callway 

7. Sergio Garcia: TaylorMade

8. Justin Rose: TaylorMade

9. Rickie Fowler: Cobra Puma

10. Adam Scott: Titleist 

11. Justin Thomas: Titleist

12. Alex Noren: Callaway 

13. John Rahm: TaylorMade

14. Paul Casey: Nike

15. Patrick Reed: Callaway

16. Tyrrell Hatton: PING

17. Matt Kuchar: Bridgestone

18. Charl Schwartzel: PXG

19. Brooks Koepka: Nike*

20. Phil Mickelson: Callaway 


Quick props to the guy who played, loves playing, and will always play PING equipment…we know they make good stuff. But isn’t it worrying for their future? They have no marquee players, zero marketing, and now look to a Nike firesale for new patents. Very troubling indeed.

They wouldn’t be the first brand to evaporate, and golf would be worse for losing such an iconic badge. This is just food for thought, but I ran a quick scan on PING and their melanoma looks malignant. It’s true, the owners of PING’s iBlade irons are very happy customers, but they are the exception not the rule when it comes to buying behaviour. Hopefully someone can step in and spot the cancer early, or we can all pretend nothing is wrong and PING will slowly wilt into irrelevance.

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