A major competitor drives innovation
It can easily be said that Marty Jertson ’02 has an affinity for golf.
“My dad got me into it,” Jertson said, having played the sport since he was 7 years old. “Golf was what we would do every weekend.”
When he got to Mines, Jertson played golf all four years, finishing third at the RMAC Championships as a senior. After graduating with his mechanical engineering degree in 2002 and a short stint trying to earn his way on the PGA Tour, he accepted a job at PING Golf, a golf equipment manufacturer. Today, Jertson is the director of product development, designing clubs for the sport he loves.
“I lead the vision of our talented and passionate design group with a 10- or 20-year outlook and work on product design,” Jertson said. “I get to do 3D CAD work, finite element analysis, simulated airflow analysis and try to actionably integrate technologies together into our product designs.”
For the recent PING G Ladies Edition driver, Jertson and his team worked to make the club head light but also forgiving. “We did a big impulse-momentum optimization,” Jertson said. “We optimized the head weight around the distribution of the club head speed that would be used by women.”
Additionally, Jertson had the original idea for and worked on the development of iPING, an app that utilizes the gyroscopes and accelerometers in the iPhone to measure attributes of a putting stroke. “We leveraged the sensors in phones to make an amazing tool,” Jertson said. “I don’t know if we would’ve come to market with this without my experience at Mines.”
Though Jertson spends much of his time designing clubs, he still finds time to compete on the golf course and recently qualified for his third PGA Championship.
“It was fun to be able to get back in there after six years,” Jertson said, acknowledging that he last qualified in 2012 before he became a father and focused on his growing family.
Jertson says his engineering background has helped him stay in the game. “I take a very technical approach to my game plan, my equipment and understanding when temperature and elevation can affect my trajectory and ball flight,” he said. “My engineering background has given me an immense advantage that allows me to play and practice less than my competitors but still allows me to compete against them.”
The motivation to improve the design of each new club is embedded in Jertson’s lifetime appreciation and love for the sport.
“I experience the joys of my work but also pain in any shortcomings,” Jertson said. “Having skin in the game gives me that much more motivation and that much more understanding of the problems we are trying to solve.”