T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.
PGA Professional develops key new feature to PING Moonlite bag
As you’ve probably heard if you’re visiting this site, PGA Professionals wear a number of different hats.
The common misconception is that they’re always playing golf. That couldn’t be further from the truth in most cases. That’s because, in most cases, your PGA Professional is the man or woman who gives lessons, manages a pro shop, coordinates tournaments, helps with rules situations and so much more.
And, if you’re PGA Professional Marty Jertson, your duties involve wearing a very unique hat.
Jertson works for PING Golf. His official title is, “Senior Design Engineer II.”
So what does that mean?
“I’m practically a club designer,” said Jertson, who is also an accomplished player having teed it up in the last two PGA Championships by virtue of top-20 finishes in the 2011 and 2012 PGA Professional National Championships. “Most of my time is spent doing the detailed design work, including all of the 3-dimensional Computer-Aided Design (CAD) for various products that we launch, and doing the research and analysis that powers the designs.
“We are unique at PING in that we do a lot of our own shaft and grip designs too, and I’ve been very involved in that over the last eight years. Most recently, I’ve worked on the G25 irons, Anser driver and Anser irons, and i20 driver and fairway woods. I’ve also assisted in some of our soft goods product development, and was influential in the development of iPING -- which is an App that we developed to measure various attributes of your putting stroke and bring the quality of a high-end custom putter fitting directly to your iPhone.”
Jertson’s latest idea that’s come to fruition for PING Golf is a new feature to the company’s popular Moonlite bag (think, ultra lightweight, Sunday bag). This particular feature is a game changer for this type of bag. It’s also an idea that Jertson admits he’s surprised no one had thought of before.
This is how PING describes the bag:
Sleek and ultra light with Enhanced Ergonomics for added comfort and convenience, the Moonlite can tote your entire set of clubs and stow your belongings in three pockets to make your round of golf an easy walk. The adjustable standing strap ensures the Moonlite is easy to lift without bending down, and it features a new water-resistant belly.
Ah… that “new water-resistant belly” -- that was Jertson’s idea. Since the bag has no stand to keep the weight at a minimum for those who prefer to carry their bags, the water-resistant belly was truly the only thing missing from the Moonlite until now.
“Being from Arizona, one thing we don’t get a lot of is moisture and dewy mornings,” Jertson said. “When I first turned professional out of college, I had a handful of good friends that would go Monday qualify for Web.com Tour events and travel with their staff bag (for if they got in) and a Moon bag for the Monday qualifier. The Moon bag, by the way, was named after the Moonwalk golf course – a par-3 course at nearby Moon Valley Country Club near PING headquarters – for which the bag was first devised. “
At those qualifiers, Jertson’s friends noticed an issue with the Moon bag.
“The problem with the Moon bag was that their grips would get wet on the dewy mornings,” he said. “So, to fix this, they would wrap plastic grocery bags around the bottom of the bag and duct tape them in place. Well, when we went to design the new Moonlite, I knew we had to solve this problem for golfers out there, and we needed to broaden our scope from just designing for Arizona. The material that we ended up using for the bottom of the bag is fantastic – and you can use this bag on wet days, and any geographic conditions."
So there you have it, a seemingly elementary fix to make a great bag virtually perfect.
“Some of the best ideas out there are the ones that you end up saying, ‘Boy, why didn’t I think of that?’ This feature probably falls in that category,” Jertson said. “The bag itself has a lot of other great features in addition to the new bottom. It also has a dual strap, which can be removed to make a single strap for the traditionalists out there.”
With so many golf companies out there these days, it isn’t easy coming up with unique ideas and products. It’s a challenge to say the least, but one that Jertson and his team at PING are always up for.
“What we do in product development at PING, whether it’s for clubs or soft goods, is to focus on solving true problems that our customers face,” he said. “We see this as a never ending challenge. In clubs, we focus on longer and straighter, with good sound and feel. In soft goods, we are really making a push for improving the ergonomics of our products. You’ll notice an ‘E2’ on all of our bags now, which stands for ‘Enhanced Ergonomics.’ If we can keep improving ergonomics and focusing on true customer needs, as engineers, we will naturally create unique ideas and features that are innovative, while being functional.”
Somehow, Jertson is finding a way to juggle his duties at PING while also maintaining a game that most of us could only dream of possessing.
“It’s getting harder and harder to keep my golf game is good shape, but I’m truly fortunate to have great equipment combined with great club fitting,” he said. “It really helps. I play our biggest, most forgiving model of irons, because I know I’m not going to flush every single shot. Additionally, I have a very supportive wife. I try to practice as smart as possible, and stay focused on fundamentals. I do most of my putting practice indoors at home, at night. And, I get to hit balls 3-4 times a week at work for testing, which helps. Golf is a tough sport, so you have to seize the opportunities when they are there.”
To learn more about the new Moonlite bag by PING, click here.
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.