Thanks to all the TST members that submitted these questions and thanks to Marty for the great answers. Marty Jertson is a senior design engineer for PING Golf. Jertson is also a PGA professional and has qualified for the 2011 and 2012 PGA Championships. Jertson went undefeated, 4-0 at the 25th PGA Cup in 2011, as the U.S. team defeated Great Britain & Ireland, 17½-8½.
Mike McLoughlin's Archive
As many golfers know, Mizuno Golf is best know for designing some of the best forged irons in the world. First building their reputation by manufacturing muscle back blades, Mizuno grew to expand their line into forged cavity backs and forged game improvement clubs. The new JPX line is geared for the average player, the player that needs more help with forgiveness and getting the ball in the air. The JPX 825 Pro is the best of both words, combining Mizuno's pure forged sound with updated forgiveness. Let's take a closer look.
When TaylorMade first announced that the name for their newest line replacing the Burner series was going to be RocketBallz, the social media universe exploded. There were snickers, jokes, humorous pictures posted, threats to TaylorMade to never buy another club again and predictions that this signaled the end of this dominant golf company that we know TaylorMade to be. All this gossiping really did was give TaylorMade a lot of free advertising and created an enormous buzz around the product. Yes the name may have sounded goofy at first but TaylorMade knows what they're doing. TaylorMade made more money last year than every other golf equipment company in the world combined. To date, TaylorMade's market share in metal woods is 50% and their fairway woods make up 75%. The RocketBallz fairway wood is one of the most successful launches in golf history and yes there is also a driver and hybrid that is part of the line.
As many golfers know, Mizuno Golf is best know for designing some of the best forged irons in the world. First building their reputation by manufacturing muscle back blades, Mizuno grew to expand their line into forged cavity backs and forged game improvement clubs. All the while leading in quality, feel and sound. Some golfers fear the idea of playing a forged iron, thinking that it is only be for low single digit handicappers or tour level players. Mizuno Golf is looking to take some of the fear out of forged with their new MP-59 irons. The MP-59 is Mizuno's latest multi material forged cavity back. The MP-59 integrates a classic look with updated technology for a wider range of golfers.
Even Charles Howell III who grew up playing PING irons, and has always used a somewhat larger club head compared to most pros has made the switch to the MP-59 irons. Last year Howell used a moderate sized club with less offset from Mizuno's JPX series, the JPX-800 Pro. After testing the new MP-59 irons he quickly put them in the bag based on the initial results. On the other side of the iron spectrum, former muscle back blade users Luke Donald and Jonathan Byrd have also switched to the MP-59's for a little added forgiveness without sacrificing the club's esthetics. One great iron for all players? Let's take a closer look.
The 112th U.S. Open returns to The Olympic Club in San Francisco this week. The Olympic Club is America's oldest athletic and social club, established in 1860. With 5,000 active members competing in 19 sports, it is the home of many national and international champions.
Small, undulating greens, tight fairways, fairways that slope opposite of the hole's dogleg direction, severe elevation, and lengthened holes make The Olympic Club's Lake Course a brutal test for the golfers. Add deep rough, wind and possible fog and the players will be challenged from all sides.
Many golfers might be surprised to know that, in terms of dollar market share, Bridgestone Golf has grown to become the number two golf ball in the industry. Bridgestone Golf began manufacturing its first golf balls on U.S. soil in 1990 under the Precept brand, and while it's only been seven years since the Bridgestone Golf U.S. brand was launched, the company has been producing golf balls since 1935 and they are the number one golf ball producer in Japan.
Bridgestone's goal is to design a golf ball for every level of player. This is not an easy task since there are so many variations of golf swings. Getting fit for the right ball is just as important as finding the right shaft, lie angle, or grip size. Bridgestone is not only innovating golf ball technology but how golfers get fit for their ball. One thing is for certain, they aren't afraid to compare their results against their numerous competitors.
For the past couple years, Bridgestone has had teams of ball fitting specialists provide free fitting sessions for golfers around the country. During these sessions, golfers see how the ball they currently play stacks up against a Bridgestone ball. I'm sure their competitors have taken notice. It also doesn't hurt to have some notable staff players, Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker, and Fred Couples, playing well and getting a lot of TV time.
The 2012 RocketBallz fairway wood line has received a majority of the buzz from the new products that have been released this year. TaylorMade has been advertising that the RocketBallz 3-wood is 17 yards longer than your current 3 wood. 17 yards longer? For a fairway wood? Really? When I attended a TaylorMade media day late last year I had heard the rumors of the line that would be replacing the popular Burner clubs. I thought the name "RocketBallz" was some insider joke and the actual name would be revealed during the presentation.
As we know that was not the case. RocketBallz was the name of the new line and the TaylorMade executives were proud of their new baby. They even took us outside and rolled out a carpet that was 17 yards long. The script on the carpet read, "This is how long you're going to hit you new fairway wood". They reported that 17 yards is what their lawyers told them they could legally claim. They hinted at players seeing gains of 20 yards and more. It was a big claim and truthfully I thought they had no chance of living up to it. In golf, a five yard gain is huge and I thought we had reached the limits to what we could do for making a club "hotter."
But I may have been wrong, and TaylorMade claims to have re-engineered the fairway wood from the ground up to produce the hottest club in golf.
PING's successful line of G-series irons has focused on maximum forgiveness for all players, but it's i-series has been geared specifically to players who are looking for a middle ground between the G-series and the blade-like S-series. The i20 irons attempts to satisfy that audience by utilizing a series of designs that make the long irons forgiving and high-launching while blending in more-penetrating mid and short irons offering control for precise shot making. PGA Tour player Mark Wilson won the 2012 Bob Hope Humana Classic the first week he had the new PING i20 irons in the bag. Not a bad introduction for PING's latest i-series offering. The i20 is for players as good as Mark Wilson all the way to your average mid-handicapper. Following in the tradition of previous models the i20 is a cast golf club with a progressive set design that delivers for a lot of forgiveness with a ton of playability.
It was great for The Sand Trap to meet up with PING Senior Design Engineer Marty Jertson to learn more about these irons at the PGA Show in Orlando this year. Marty not only knows how to design great performing clubs but he can also play himself, qualifying for the Justin Timberlake PGA Tour event twice and qualifying for last year's PGA Championship. The Sand Trap was able to get some of the finer technology details from that most golfers don't know about.
PING's 2009 i15 driver was aimed at players ranging from low single digit handicaps to players at the tour level and ran into some design issues. The CoG (center of gravity) was fade biased, and the bulge was too pronounced making it too hard to control even for most tour players. There was a small following of players that loved it because it was lower spinning and since the CoG was closer to the face, the ball came off hot. PING learned from this endeavor when engineering the new PING i20 driver. PING has also been able to broaden the handicap range for the i20 making the i20 a forgiving "players" driver. The newest i-series driver is still targeting players looking for a lower launching, lower spinning driver but with the needed forgiveness that the i15 was lacking.