Louise Crozier Solheim, 92, was born in Spokane, Washington. Her mother died just two months after Louise was born. Her father, who was a school teacher, was unable to care for her and sent her to Texas to live with her aunt and uncle until she was 10 years old. She met Karsten at church when she was 17 years old and they married when she turned 18. When Karsten became interested in golf, she was right there by his side even to the point where many times dinner was delayed because Karsten was heat treating putters on her stove. She has been involved in golf for more than half of her life. She steadfastly stood by Karsten as he developed what has become one of the greatest innovations in golf today…the PING putter and the internationally recognized golf club manufacturing corporation.
But, Louise was not just by his side. She was working right there with him. In the beginning she packaged the orders of the putters, kept all the books and worked behind the scenes to make this Cinderella story a reality. She never wanted any recognition for herself, but in her own quiet way gently assisted with the growth of Karsten Manufacturing Corporation or PING as it is more widely known.
From the beginning of the incorporation of KMC in 1967, Louise has served as an officer in the corporation and remains on the Board of Directors. She led by quiet example and was a behind the scenes motivator.
She is credited with naming one of the most famous of all Karsten’s putters, the Anser.
In 1962, to educate herself on the intricacies of exporting products to foreign countries, Louise enrolled in a Seminar on Foreign Trade at Arizona State University. They were getting more and more orders for their putters from customers overseas and Louise needed to know how to process the orders. Being an avid reader and quick learner, Louise prepared the company’s early legal contracts by studying other similar contracts.
Louise even visited golf shops to try to sell Karsten’s putters. She never spent much time in the shop, but usually sold a couple of putters. She always believed they just felt sorry for her, but Karsten was impressed because she sold a putter in 10 minutes when it took him 60 minutes.
Louise served on the Arizona District Export Council for six years from 1978 to 1984 and was the first woman to serve on the council.
Karsten and Louise traveled the U.S. to numerous PGA and LPGA Tour events and around the world to international golf events such as the Ryder Cup and British Open to promote their products. PING has been recognized as one of the top exporters in the nation receiving the E Star Award for Excellence in Exporting in 1988.
In 1992, Louise received an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from Arizona State University. It is one of her prized honors because Louise always wanted to go to college and get her degree. Circumstances curtailed her wish to attend the University of Washington where she enrolled at the age of 17.
A golfer herself, Louise surprised Karsten one summer by taking lessons and learning the game without his knowledge…then offered to play a round of golf with him. She was a little nervous standing on the first tee at the golf course in Flagstaff, but her first drive went straight down the fairway. The surprise on Karsten’s face made the lessons and practice worthwhile. She is a member of the Moon Valley Women’s Golf Association and enjoys playing golf with the ladies. Everyone considers her an excellent putter.
A gracious and always tactful woman, she has dined with numerous dignitaries and elected officials and visited the Oval Office of the White House with the victorious 1994 Solheim Cup Team. She has always been a true ambassador of golf for the state of Arizona.
Louise and Karsten were recipients of the LPGA Tour Commissioner’s Award. This award is presented to a person who has contributed uniquely to the LPGA and its members and who has furthered the cause of women’s golf.
In 2001, Louise was recognized by the Standard Register PING Board of Governors, who voted her the recipient of the Linda Vollstedt Award for Service and Leadership in Women’s Sports.
In 2003 Louise was the recipient of the very rare Distinguished Service Award from the Swedish Golf Federation. It is the highest award within the Federation and has only been presented twice before in the SGF’s 100-year history.
In 2004 at a civic luncheon, the Arizona Board of Regents honored Louise with the Regents Award for Outstanding Service to Higher Education.
She has instilled her graciousness and Christian spirit in all those who are fortunate to know her.
News: Louise Solheim named Honorary Member of the Ladies European Tour