A Family Legacy At The Solheim Cup | LPGA

by Joanne Miller

The Storied Legacy of Louise Solheim: A Trailblazer in the Golf Industry

Behind every successful man is a strong and supportive woman, and Louise Solheim was no exception. While her husband Karsten Solheim gained fame as the founder of the renowned PING golf brand, it was Louise who played an integral role in the company’s success. Not only did she handle the business side of things, but she also made significant contributions to the golfing world as a whole.

Louise’s journey began with a clear focus on family. Despite working at esteemed institutions such as Convair, Lockheed Aircraft (now Lockheed Martin Aerospace), and Cornell University’s College of Engineering, Louise always prioritized her role as a mother to her four children. It was in the 1960s, when Karsten was transferred to Phoenix by General Electric, that Louise’s involvement in the golf industry began.

Karsten’s passion for golf and his desire to create innovative putters led him to start building them in their garage. Recognizing the potential of Karsten’s creations, Louise took charge of the business operations. She even went back to school to expand her knowledge of international taxes, shipping, and supply chains. Louise’s determination and adaptability set the foundation for the Solheim family’s success in the golfing industry.

Louise’s influence extended beyond managing the business. In fact, she played a pivotal role in naming one of Karsten’s most iconic designs, the beryllium copper putter with an offset head and weight distribution in the heel and toe. “Call it the Answer,” Louise confidently suggested to her husband. Despite his initial doubts about the name fitting in the allotted space, Karsten eventually dropped the ‘W’ and embraced the title his wife had given the extraordinary putter.

In 1990, another opportunity for Louise to leave her mark on the golfing world arose. There was a gap in professional women’s golf events, with no equivalent to the Ryder Cup or the Walker Cup. Louise, always supportive of women and their achievements, saw this as an opportunity to create something special. She shared her idea for a biennial women’s professional match-play event between Europe and the United States. Recognizing the potential of her suggestion, the Solheim Cup was born.

The Solheim Cup quickly became a highlight in the golfing calendar, showcasing the finest women professional golfers from Europe and the United States. Louise’s vision and determination paved the way for a prestigious event that continues to inspire generations of women in golf. Through her unwavering support and dedication, Louise ensured that women professionals had a platform to showcase their talent and compete at the highest level.

Louise Solheim’s impact on the golfing world cannot be overstated. Her unwavering support for her husband’s endeavors, as well as her own contributions, were instrumental in the success of PING and the establishment of the Solheim Cup. Louise’s legacy serves as a testament to the immense power of determination, adaptability, and support in overcoming challenges and creating lasting change.

As we celebrate the achievements of the Solheim Cup and the Solheim family, let us also pause to recognize the enduring legacy of Louise Solheim. Her remarkable journey and contributions serve as an inspiration to women, not just in golf but in all industries, to pursue their dreams and make a lasting impact on the world.

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