FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – After hitting a bad shot, golfers often give their clubs funny looks or slam a club back into the bag. Last week, Matt Every hurled a wedge in frustration after playing a bunker shot at the AT&T Byron Nelson. If Marty Jertson feels that his gear is not helping him enough this week as he plays Bethpage Black, he’s got no one to blame but himself.
Jerston, 38, from Phoenix, Ariz., shot a final-round 69 at the PGA Professional Championship to finish T-8 and earn a spot in this year’s PGA Championship. When he is not playing or spending time with his family, Jertson works for Ping and has held job titles like director of product development and senior design engineer.
In those roles, he led teams that created numerous woods and irons, including the G410 driver that is in his bag and is also being used this week by Bubba Watson.
“I put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into that driver,” he said. “I was the lead designer on that, so I did all the 3D design work, all the short-term research and development, made all the improvements to the turbulators (an aerodynamic-enhancing feature on the crown) and our center of gravity-shifting weight.”
Over the past year, Jertson’s job at Ping has changed and he is now the vice president of fitting and performance, which means he is in charge of how Ping optimizes golfers and the mechanisms the company uses to get players properly fit.
What hasn’t changed is his ability to balance his golf-industry job and his playing career. Jertson, who played golf at the Colorado School of Mines, admits to playing a lot of golf in spurts, but he has set aside space in his garage for a hitting net and some weights.
He competes in several regional tournaments every year and is two-time Southwest Section PGA Player of the Year award winner. He also played in the 2011, 2012 and 2018 PGA Championships.
“I feel a little more excited about it this time, a little less a nervous and anxious about it,” said Jerston. “But obviously, playing Bethpage and being in New York is a whole next level.”
Jertson had never played Bethpage before this week, but he knew that he needed more distance if he wanted to keep up with other club pros and elite players who are in this week’s field.
“After every PGA Championship that I’ve played, I’ve become more and more focused on the importance of driving the ball,” he said. “Driving the ball far and relatively straight. So I’ve been doing a lot of things with my technique and training and working out just to hit it a little bit farther.”
It’s paying off. Jertson said he is about 15 yards longer off the tee now than he was last year when he played last year’s PGA Championship at Bellerive.
So while a win this week from Watson, Louis Oosthuizen, Tony Finau or Cameron Champ might be great for Ping’s business, folks in the engineering and fitting departments are going to be cheering for their boss too.