Marty Jertson is a PGA Professional who also happens to be a senior design engineer at Ping.
Not only did he help design great clubs like the Ping G30 driver – he put them to good use as a player making it into the PGA Professional National Championship on five striaight occasions.
He also to qualified for the PGA Championship in 2011 and 2012.
NCG chatted to him on the Ping stand at the 2017 PGA Show…
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a rural mining town in Arizona, a couple of hours east of Phoenix.
I took up golf as a kid because there wasn’t much else to do in my hometown.
I always knew about Ping, and the golfers that played the clubs. We mined copper in my town and there was copper in the old Ping i2s, so that was a bit of a fun connection between my hometown and Ping.
When did you get into golf and why?
My dad grew up in LA and caddied at Riviera.
He had a lot of West Coast connections to the game – he watched Jack Nicklaus win the US Amateur at Pebble Beach for example.
He was a left-handed golfer, which was rare for someone of his age, so I grew up mirroring his swing. From the age of about seven, my parents would drop my brother and I off at the golf course – a little 9-hole course, nothing fancy – at 7am and then pick us up on the way home at around 6pm.
What was your first job in golf?
I played on the golf team at college, where I studied engineering, and that was when I got a bit better.
I decided to turn pro right after I graduated, which was a risky decision. I played professionally for about a year and a half, then when that started to fizzle out I met someone in the engineering department at Ping.
I got an interview with John Solheim, the grandson of Karsten. He invited me to work part-time at Ping, helping out with some of the design on the G2 driver. Then when I decided to stop playing I joined them full-time.
What’s the best decision you’ve ever made?
The best decision I ever made was to go through the PGA programme, to become a Class A member. That was a big springboard for me professionally, but also on the playing side it allowed me to qualify for a few PGA Championships.
— Marty Jertson (@jertybird) September 29, 2016
And the worst decision you’ve ever made?
I would say trying to grow up too fast. I always tried to graduate in a short period of time and become a grown up too quickly.
Now, at this stage of my life, I’m trying to become a kid again. I would have liked to have stayed a kid for longer.
If you could give one piece of advice what would it be?
Breathe and relax. In today’s world, where everything moves so fast and we have an information overload, I think you need to minimise the inputs, take tech vacations, and create at least a chunk of your day where you can cultivate some silence for creativity.
If you didn’t work in golf, what would you be doing?
Something entrepreneurial. The excitement and happiness for me in life comes from creating things, and having a purpose.
My job allows me to do that, always working on the next thing, always creating the next thing. I would probably start my own business to solve a unique problem – or even create a unique product.
I don’t have a drive for fame, despite having played in some big tournaments and been around some big names. It’s fun, but I don’t envy the constant attention that would come with that.
I just love what I’m doing. We have an amazing product portfolio in our line. Our mission at Ping that we’ve been doing for 50-plus years now is to continue to try and solve problems for the golfer and stick to our core principles.
I’ve never been more excited about what’s on the horizon, with some of the new materials and manufacturing things and my job is to innovate them and make them real and bring them to the marketplace.
Some quick-fire questions: Have you ever had a hole-in-one?
Tiger or Jack?
What can’t Marty Jertson live without?
And finally, what’s the best equipment innovation in your lifetime?
The sort of answer only a club engineer could give…
For more information visit the Ping website.
Follow Marty Jertson on Twitter: @Jertybird