Charles Schwab Challenge

Colonial Country Club

The Loop

Ping club designer can hit the clubs pretty well, too

June 26, 2012

SEASIDE, Calif. -- Marty Jertson is not in sales for Ping Golf, but he's a salesman, nonetheless, one who not only designs clubs for the company, but then demonstrates how well they work.

Jertson, 31, is a senior design engineer at Ping, who is threatening to qualify for the PGA Championship for a second consecutive year. In the third round of the PGA Professional National Championship here, Jertson shot an even-par 72 on Tuesday on a breezy, difficult day on the Bayonet Course here and is tied for 21st with one round to play. The top 20 will receive invitations to play in the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, S.C., in August.

Last year, Jertson tied for fifth in this tournament, which begs the question: How does he find time to hone his game to a degree that allows him to compete at this level while working a full-time job?

"I player test at work. That's the biggest thing," he said. "At least you get to hit balls. We have full-time player testing, so I'm able to hit the range three or four times a week for half hour or so."

He also has post-work access to the range at Ping facilities in Phoenix and recently installed an artificial-turf putting and chipping green at his home. As for actual golf, "weekends only," he said. "In the summer, when I have my tournaments, I try to get out once or twice a week."

As for the clubs he uses, he opts for Ping G20 irons and i20 woods and hybrids. If it seems surprising that a player of his caliber uses wide-soled game-improvement irons, there's a specific reason that has nothing to do with his having designed them.

"I've generally been a low-ball hitter and kind of steep," he said. "The wide sole in that G20 style helps get the ball in the air easier. I have made some swing changes to hit the ball higher, but the G20s still work for me because I can flight the ball lower. I want to use what's best for me. That's why I play big irons."

-- John Strege