At The Solheim Cup Gala Dinner on September 21, European Captain Alison Nicholas announced that Louise Solheim had been granted the first honorary membership of the Ladies European Tour.
Louise Solheim and her late husband Karsten founded Karsten Manufacturing Corporation, which makes PING golf equipment. In 1990, the Solheim family developed the concept and became the title sponsor of The Solheim Cup, professional golf’s international matchplay competition for women. The Solheim Cup is Karsten and Louise Solheim’s legacy, and despite his death in February 2000, his memory lives on through his family’s dedication to the event and to women’s golf. Louise has attended all 12 editions of the competition. In addition to The Solheim Cup, Karsten Manufacturing Corporation sponsors The PING Junior Solheim Cup, which was launched in 2002 with the aim of giving participants the best golfing opportunities to further their careers.“During the past 22 years, Louise Solheim has been one of the greatest supporters of women’s professional golf and we would like to recognise her enormous contribution,” said Ladies European Tour executive director Alexandra Armas. “Speaking on behalf of all of the players and staff, we would like to thank Louise for her role in developing the game and for providing such wonderful opportunities for women and girls from across Europe.”In addition to her contribution to golf, Louise Solheim is a generous philanthropist and is a long-time supporter of many organisations including the The Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Washington and the Cronkite School which focuses on professional journalism education on the undergraduate and master’s levels. She considers her family to be her proudest achievement and has three sons, one daughter, 10 grandchildren and 36 great grandchildren. Her son, John A. Solheim, is chairman and CEO of Karsten Manufacturing Corporation/PING.