Ping Golf Balls
What's with these colored golf balls, and why do some sell for a dollar while similar ones cost hundreds? These half and half colors are Pings, manufactured by Karsten Manufacturing Co. of Phoenix Aizona. Karsten, of course, is most famous for their Ping golf clubs and Anser putters. Karsten entered the golf ball business in 1977 and produced a variety of brands and types for twenty years, until 1997. At that time, Karsten decided to give up their golf ball business and focus their efforts on what they did best - designing and producing innovative golf clubs and putters.
The half and half colored golf balls were not produced for the entire twenty years. The two colored golf balls debuted in the 1980's, when all golf ball producers were taking advantage of the colored golf ball fad. Most major golf ball producers were making yellow and orange golf balls along with the regular white golf balls. Only three companies' brands offered a two colored ball - Ram, Tracer, and Ping. All three sold a golf ball that was half yellow and half orange. Later, Ping was the only company to offer the golf ball in additonal colors.
The original colors
Pictured above is a dozen of the very first two colored golf balls offered by Ping. These were called Ping Punch balls. The empty Ping and Fly Time golf ball sleeves and boxes are also collectible, especially if they are in excellent condition.
New color combinations added
Ping originally introduced the colored balls in dozens and these three combinations were available: yellow/white, orange/white, and orange/yellow. The yellow/orange Ping golf ball is by far the most common color combination. The fact that it is fairly common, of course, makes it worth the least amount of all Ping balls. Later, a fourth color combination was added - dark pink/white, and soon after that , many other color combinations were made available.
Ping sold the balls by the dozen, and also furnished golf pro shops with 72 assorted golf balls in a clear counter display tub. The original storage tub contained one dozen each of the following 6 color combinations: yellow/orange, lavender/white, aqua/white/, yellow/white, orange/white, and dark pink/white. These are the next most common color combos.
Different Types of Ping Balls
Pictured above are the three most common types of Ping golf balls. The first, is called the Eye, because it has the eye on the equator. Normally this ball will have Ping printed on both sides with the ball number below it. The ball will have "Karsten" printed on one side of the equator, and the Ping Eye logo on the other side.
The second picture shows a promotional ball (the other side is orange). Promotional balls were the "freebies" - Ping gave them to golf pros for their junior programs and also used them in their promotional packages. Other golf companies often marked their promotional balls by making the ball a number O. Ping is the only company that used the word "Promotional" instead of using the number O designation.
The third ball is the Ping Eye 2. The ball has Ping Eye 2 printed on each side with the ball number above it. There is normally no printing or logo on the equator (unless requested as a customer special order.) The Eye 2 was the last type of colored Pings to be produced. After that, Karsten produced brands of white golf balls for a while and, later, completely stopped producing golf balls.
Color/white and color/color combinations
Most of the Pings, with the exception of yellow/orange, are white on one side and another color on the other half (color/white). Pings with color on both sides (color/color) are less common, thus, generally more valuable. Color/white balls are generally worth less than color/color, but there are exceptions to that rule due to the scarcity of certain combinations. For instance a black/white Ping often sells for more than a green/yellow Ping.
Color/color values are determined by a combination of attractiveness and rarity. Gold, Silver, Dark Purple, or Black, on one side of the Pings, brings premium prices. Brown is very rare. The balls with one color and a metallic color are the hardest to find and the most expensive to buy. Pings with gold, silver, or other metallic on one side, and another color on the other side often will cost somewhere in the $200 to $1,000+ each range.
Some collectors will also pay a little extra for white or gold letters on the ball, or a little less if the ball has a company logo or imprint on it. Ping balls with a small hole in them were made as keychains. The hole left in the Ping when the keychain is removed does devalue the ball, but not significantly. Condition of the ball is very important to collectors. Of course, all collectors want a mint, unused example. On some of the really rare color combinations, however, some collectors are forced to settle for used or damaged Ping golf balls. Many Ping golf balls that have been rescued from water hazards have bubbling on the clear coat. This cannot be repaired, so Ping balls with bubbled clear coat are worth significantly less. Also, do not mistake a red Ping with water damage for a brown ball. The brown ball is dark like a Hershey Chocolate Bar. On the web site pingballs. com , there is a picture of a brown ball and a black ball, side by side for color comparisons.
Ping specialty golf balls
In addition to two-colored balls, Ping also made solid colored golf balls. The common ones - yellow, orange, and dark pink are fairly easy to acquire. Some colors - green, black, purple and others are hard to find and fairly valuable to collectors. Ping also made a variety of specialty balls - a globe, an eight ball, a Michael Jordan basketball, a baseball, and others. Other companies manufactured these also, so when buying these specialty balls, one must know the difference between Ping's and the other companies' golf balls. Many collectors unknowingly purchase Wilson brand Michael Jordan golf balls thinking they are Pings.
As with most collectibles, the Ping's values is set by a combination of these factors:
While it may be a bit difficult, at first, for a non-collector to determine values, the Ping collecting hobby has many collectors who are eager to help the new collectors. Most will go out of their way to help people with their questions. The fellow collectors, in fact, are one of the biggest positive advantages of being involved in this hobby of collecting Ping golf balls.