If limb-only swinging is not applied and if one’s golf swing develops or changes around the use of a real, poorly fitted golf club(s), then bad swing habits can develop. Still, this may not be as disadvantageous as it seems toward developing one’s overall golfing talent. (Terms like clubless [or ghost] grip/swing can be used to specifically represent limb-only gripping and swinging and may be part of the Waggle Weight Wisdom™ Glossary when created, while the term base grip/swing can more broadly represent clubbed or clubless as desired). Actually, “bad” swing habits is an extremely poor choice of a term on my part, as even I continue to be occasionally influenced by things I have heard and read so many times in the past. The term “different” swing habits is much more appropriate. There has never been a golfer that has never played with ill-fitting clubs at some point, and every golfer alive is still playing with ill-fitting clubs to some degree. Every golf swing on tour arguably has ingrained characteristics remaining within it that likely developed from the use of ill-fitting golf clubs at some point.
But such unintended circumstances (I have had uncounted experiences where I firmly believed I fit myself properly for a golf club[s] only to figure out how wrong I was later) are the very building blocks of learning. Without them one would never acquire certain knowledge(s) about one’s golf swing and equipment that is essential toward achieving consistent success and sufficient confidence in these aspects of golfing. What you can learn about your golf swing and/or equipment as a result of using ill-fitting clubs may be far more valuable than any bad (oops, different) physical habits gotten into through the usage of that ill-fitting equipment. And when the element of clubfitting is learned well and then applied well, there is no golf swing characteristic that a golf club cannot be fit to such that the best possible performance can be obtained from that swing characteristic.
Clubfitting will neither instantaneously improve nor make your base golf swing worse. Stated differently, clubfitting cannot turn an undeveloped swing into a developed swing. Certain club specifications may temporarily affect your base swing performance, but the base swing will return upon removing or adjusting the club specification(s). If you swing across the target line with one golf club and down the target line with another club soon afterward, then the golf swing you came in with was already capable of swinging down the target line. Your base swing is not magically made better by the particular golf club parameters used when you are more easily able to swing down the target line. Thinking your base swing can be instantaneously made better through clubfitting is both incorrect and foolish. The purpose of golf club fitting is not to improve your golf swing, but rather to get the most out of the swing you have developed at the point of being fit for a club(s). If you insist on forming and analyzing your base swing while always using a real club(s), then any given golf club(s) can indeed change your base golf swing, but it routinely takes substantially more club use and time than a mere clubfitting session to firmly alter one’s base golf swing.
And an element referred to a couple of times already, the amount of confidence you have in your swing is critical regarding whether it is time to bring clubfitting into the equation. The more confident you are in your golf swing, the deeper you will usually get into the details of clubfitting and the more successful you can potentially be at it. After being fit for a club, when you make a poor swing with it and if sufficient confidence in your swing is absent, then there is a good chance you will cease investigating further into potential clubfitting issues and start doubting your swing (and this is really the way it should be). Little or no progress at improving either element of your game will usually be the result. And if doubt exists about your swing, then no real confidence can exist as to whether the club was fit well to you either. This is also as it should be, and you could find yourself stuck in the middle of a vicious, never-ending circle if trying to implement golf club fitting when perhaps it is not quite time for you to get into that yet.
All told, custom golf club fitting can consume considerable time and effort to do well, but it is well worth it (and required) if one wants to obtain the best performance from one’s golf swing/game on a consistent basis. For players whose swings are developed to the point of not changing much anymore, the fit of their clubs can last indefinitely (although there is always new club technology coming out that can be tried and switched to if one desires, which essentially amounts to perpetual golf club fitting [though not necessarily for every club specification]). But for players whose swings are still developing, a fitted club that influences your base swing to travel down the target line today might influence your base swing to travel across the target line a few months from today, so you may have to go through the entire clubfitting process again often if you do not want to develop any bad (oops, different) swing habits. As such, the requirements of efficient clubfitting relative to the period of time the fitting might be well-suited to your swing may or may not be worth it to you. Am I trying to dissuade you from getting your clubs custom fit if you are a lesser-skilled golfer? Not specifically. It should not do any irreversible harm even if you are fit poorly, you may play better at least for a little while if fit well, and you might gain some valuable knowledge you may be able to put to better use later on.
Having said that, however, getting into clubfitting is a very natural progression of an overall learning of the game after one develops an effective golf swing and sufficient confidence in that swing. Plus better players are usually more in need of and can take better advantage of custom fit golf clubs than higher handicappers can. Relationships among these statements help to reveal a fundamental sequence of learning the game that should not be ignored. Thus, I encourage you to not feel influenced and/or pressured into implementing custom clubfitting for yourself if you do not really feel you are ready for it. The experience can turn out very badly under such conditions. When you are ready for this step, it will generally become pretty obvious to you.
There can be other aspects to also consider when making a decision to go ahead with custom clubfitting, and I will address them as appropriate as Waggle Weight Wisdom™ continues. So if you are thinking that golf club fitting is right for you now or may be in the future based on the material covered to this point and you would like to learn more about how to implement it correctly, then please do come back for the next free posting. (Implementing certain aspects of the material is not currently legally permissible without first obtaining a license. Fee-free licenses may be granted under certain circumstances).