Only one man teed it up at the 93rd USPGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club in Georgia with golf clubs that he designed himself.
Club professional Marty Jertson from Pinnacle Peak golf course in Phoenix, Arizona qualified for his first Major by finishing tied fifth at the PGA Professional National Championship in June. But his other job is senior designer at the Ping clubmaking factory in Scottsdale.
The Ping G20 irons in his bag were once just a design idea in his head and a doodle in a notepad. “They worked good,” Jertson said after a five-over-par round of 75. “It was the driver that let me down. And I didn’t design that,” he said laughing.
Jertson’s score beat Tiger Woods by two shots as he played alongside Richard Green (78) and Hiroyuki Fujita (73). He said he designed the clubs to give confidence to all abilities. “I used to play a smaller blade but the G20 irons are bigger,” he said. “There is less anxiety now when I look down at them. We made them to go far and high but still be able to control your distance and the grooves are effective out of the rough, too.”
Jertson dropped six shots in the first four holes but bounced back with three birdies in a row from the 5th. “For the first four holes I was nervous and had a few hiccups,” he said. “But I settled down and rattled off three really nice birdies.
Jertson’s heroes are Tom Watson and Greg Norman “who was Tiger before there was Tiger”. He said he felt he belonged out there “in the big time” with the world’s greatest golfers. “Ernie Els came up on the tee at the 15th and I was tied with him at that point so that was a great feeling.”