PHOENIX, Az. – This is difficult to verify, but Marty Jertson may have a unique distinction as the only person to tee it up in a PGA Tour event, using a product he played a major role in designing, at least for one of the major manufacturers.
At the age of 30, Jertson is an accomplished guy. He started as an intern at PING seven years ago and has since earned the title of senior design engineer.
He’s also a member of the PGA of America and his zone had a spot available in the Justin Timberlake event played in Las Vegas last fall. After shooting a 65 in a one-round qualifier, that one spot went to Jertson, who had also planned to play in the Monday qualifier.
Armed with the Ping Anser irons that he played a big role in designing, Jertson shot 74-75 and missed the cut, more the result of some bad swings, he admits.
“I felt good out there. I was nervous, but in a good way,” he said. “Unfortunately, I had a couple of bad swings that cost me early, a couple of double bogeys, and got a little behind the eight ball,” he said.
“I kind of clawed my way back in it, around even par, and then in the second round, made a few more costly errors,” added Jertson, who said the Ansers performed well for him.
“I think it gives the product some validation. My stats were very good for greens in regulation. I just made some bad swings,” he said, adding the Ansers will be in his bag again if he goes down that road.
“It was a fun week. It kind of gives me the itch to try to get back out there to do it again,” said Jertson.
The thrill of competition was one positive that came out of the experience. The other was the perspective he gained from playing in a tour event that might benefit him going forward in his full-time job. It never hurts to get out and see what’s happening in golf outside of the office.
“We’re not just in our cubicle all day. We’re in touch with the marketplace and what the needs are. I think that helps with our products at the end of the day,” said Jertson.
“Playing in a tour event was a good experience for me. I had a different perspective. I’ve been to tour events working. I’ve been to the Phoenix Open every year as a spectator, but playing, I had a different perspective out there in terms of seeing how the other guys hit it,” he said.
“There I am on the range hitting my driver and I’m able to see (Chris) DiMarco behind me and Davis Love on the other side of me. What is there trajectory like? That was a real eye-opener for me. There’s a wide range of trajectories, even on the PGA Tour,” added Jertson.
Trajectory and loft are words that come up quite often in a discussion about the future of club design. The combination of product and fitting can work in tandem to put a golfer into the right equipment, according to Jerstson.
“If loft is your friend, not only can you get more distance if the head spins the right amount, but the more loft you have, the straighter you’re going to hit it, so as a designer, if I can make the head produce the right amount of spin and to square up the correct amount, then loft is your friend,” he said.
“We’re working on researching every aspect of the club design from the grip all the way through the shaft, all the way into different head physical mass properties to try to achieve the optimal trajectory,” said Jertson, who offered some interesting observations that we’ll get into in the next Hutch’s Blog.