John Solheim - Trusting in the Lord at Ping Golf Clubs (Video)

Video / Produced by partner of TOW

John Solheim, tells how his life verse, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight..." (Proverbs 3:5-6) guides him as Chairman and CEO of PING. PING is an American brand of premium golf equipment with more than 800 employees based in Phoenix, Arizona. (Click here to explore what this verse says about work.) As one of the largest American manufacturers of golf clubs PING is committed to helping golfers play better and enjoy the game more through improved product performance. Known for innovation and quality since its founding in 1959, today PING produces thousands of golf clubs per day--all of them custom built to precise specifications to ensure the highest level of performance. PING has become a global brand while staying a privately-held, family-owned business. Solheim says the family "runs the business to glorify the Lord."

This video was made possible by the Center for Faith & Work at LeTourneau University and produced by Small Business School. Used by permission.

Transcript of the video

Chairman and CEO of PING, John Solheim for the Theology of Work Project and the Center for Faith & Work at LeTourneau University, April 22 2013

I’m excited to be into golf. God’s amazing in what he does for you. I’m John Solheim. I’m chairman and CEO of Karsten and Ping Golf Clubs.

Right now we’re sitting at our factory headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. Here in Phoenix we have about 800 employees working for PING. It’s a vast complex with 50 some acres. There’s a test facility out back where you can hit drives. We have a fence we had to put it on because of Bubba Watson and in the future we’ll have a longer range that will handle Bubba no sweat.

My life’s been interesting. I had a wonderful father. A very demanding father.

My Dad and I live off of one verse and that’s Proverbs 3:5-6. It’s trusting in the Lord that he’s going to guide your decisions. He guides your way.

Things have changed for me because for a long time I thought I was just an in between. Between my dad and the third generation. I had a kidney transplant something like eight years ago and I knew I would need one sometime for twenty three years. Because of that I always felt I was an in between. The transplant, all of a sudden, it worked. It’s phenomenal. But it also changed my perspective--I got new time.

When the day starts for me I’m thankful to the Lord. I talk to the Lord a lot. I talk to him, it doesn’t matter when. If I’m thinking about something I’m asking for his guidance. In the morning I’m thinking what a glorious thing it is that the Lord has put me in this spot.

Sometimes at two or three in the morning my mind is supposed to be asleep but it is spinning so I’ll put a note together to the team. I send them emails because I know if I text them it will likely wake them up and I’m not trying to wake them up. If I want to wake them up I’ll send them a text.

I’ve got a lot of employees with an awful lot of smarts. It’s a great group of young people but there’s a few of up older guys around to keep them online.

Being a person of faith and having a family that also is of faith it’s amazing the way the family trusts the Lord in what’s going on. It allows us to do things absolutely different in an industry. Being private not having to publish everything is huge. We’re an unknown to our competition because they don’t know how we’re going to move or how we’re going to react. We want to beat them with product and we do that. And it frustrates them to all get out.

The Solheim Cup is a wonderful thing. It gives us a very close tie to the LPGA. It also does some neat things like when the US team wins you get to go visit the president with the team and that’s kind of fun. Well, on one of these trips to see President Bush, the LPGA said told us they were going to go see some of the wounded warriors at the hospital and they let us know what was going on and then they asked for some clubs and OK we’ll do this. Then we heard well, we can do more, so we did more. It was a quiet thing. We just did it because it was right and to honor God.

But all of a sudden somebody puts out an email that says he had played golf with one of these wounded warriors who got one of the sets and all of a sudden this thing goes viral and the world knows about what we’re doing. They realize what type of company we are. It’s the type of advertising you can’t believe. It’s not something we were looking for. We just did it and kept it quiet and it went off on it’s own.

God’s amazing in what he does for you. My people said, “Why in the world are you hanging on to Bubba Watson?” Then I said, just give him time. It takes golfers time.

All of a sudden he makes it on the tour and he wins a tournament. OK, now they understand. Then he wins the masters. He’s one of the biggest phenoms out there.

And, wow. The Lord’s leading him and helping us with it. We don’t have the money to do that--that’s God’s plan.

How fortunate I am that the Lord blessed me and put me where I am because it is something that I can glorify him in and I love what I do.

The business--I run it to glorify the Lord. It’s that simple.

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