A poster, as a member of the repeatedly embarrassing Worrisome Reasonless Xenogolf online golf forum and with the member name of juststeve, recently made an inquiry on the forum with a distinct accentuating regarding how RELIABLE golf club fitting is for golfers. He acknowledged that he has heard stories about how clubfitters and clubfitting results can be so inconsistent for poor golfers, but that his information has been based on a small sample. So he was asking for the experiences or opinions of others. Out of the more than sixty replies he received at the time that this particular entry was displayed, I would characterize most in this instance not as being absurd (which is commonly the case on the noted and other similar forums), but more along the lines of being feeble, pitiable excuses for what is right in front of the noses of everyone yet continues to be vehemently denied by what amounts to a shamefully proud trade (and game) overall. But that is hardly the case here, so I can freely respond to the inquiry of juststeve with some actual correct information as follows.
Let us get right to the truth of the matter. Putting aside subjective and/or artistic aspects of clubfitting and addressing just aspects that can reduced to scientific elements, the clubfitting trade as a whole is about as incompetent as it can possibly get. This is not an opinion but a cold hard fact. (No one can deny that artistic elements are present within clubfitting, but their importance is lessened as the scientific elements are more capably addressed and vise versa).
There are people who have posted 20,000 times or more on the noted website forum that remain absolutely clueless regarding multiple, even extremely foundational clubfitting subjects. The terribly flawed clubfitting theories and practices from top to bottom that the industry continues to implement are almost single-handedly destroying the entire game of golf to an extent that it might never fully recover at this point.
To state one of uncounted examples, you could spend 1,000 hours on a launch monitor. But if your grip size for any given club is simply chosen based upon the 5-minute mail-order-type measurement of the static physical size of your hands (by far the most common method still used for one of the most critical club specifications there is) rather than your actual swing mechanics, then that 5 minutes basically completely invalidates and destroys your other 1,000 hours of work. The best launch monitor on the planet cannot help correct an inept clubfitting trade (though its glitziness commonly helps to cover up the ineptness) that does not even understand and know how to competently apply even the most elementary clubfitting concepts.
Then there is the absolute lunacy of fitting golf club length to a golfer first (the most commonly taught and implemented first clubfitting step today) before addressing far more critical club specifications that can affect the entire essential quality of a swing from start to finish (duh). And the extremely immature and amateurish clubfitting trade still cannot comprehend the difference between actual swing performance and ball travel results (two entirely different aspects that fundamentally need to be fit independently). This barely scratches the surface of how truly bad this industry currently is from top to bottom.
Make no mistake. Next to learning how to swing decently, clubfitting is the next most important aspect toward being able to play the game the best one can, particularly on a consistent basis. And the game of golf as a whole desperately needs this critical trade to operate expertly and consistently if the game is ever going to recover and grow into the future. Yet anyone who spends one cent going to a commercial clubfitting entity given the overall state of the industry today is a complete fool and basically just asking to leave the process swinging and playing worse and with diminished confidence than before going in.
The thread containing the responses to the above inquiry and other similar threads are loaded with invalid excuses from both inexperienced golfers and terribly poorly trained clubfitters (and so-called clubfitting educators) regarding why the industry is consistently incapable of skillfully fitting golf clubs to golfers. These excuses include but are hardly limited to swing inconsistencies among golfers (it is the clubfitting that is inherently bad and not the swings of the golfers), an aspect of clubfitting that can be considered artistic in nature that is responsible for such inconsistent results that golfers get from clubfittings (oftentimes for the very same golfer), and the ever-present element of golfer “feel” and the incredible way the clubfitting industry in particular regularly abuses this term when it cannot explain various items logically. In the end, this should not be sugar coated and it should be called exactly what it is. The clubfitting trade as a whole is currently a pathetic mess and an embarrassing joke in the eyes of anyone that comprehends clubfitting well.
One old saying in golf that resurfaces from time to time is that golfers as a whole are not really athletes and would commonly never even be let on the field in other games, for in golf as long as you can pay you can play (with many of these people eventually becoming clubfitters). Nowhere is there more credible support for such a statement than within the clubfitting industry and the way the trade functions with the many incompetent theories and practices it has developed over the history of the game to this point. Both golfers largely indirectly, who are innocently about the most gullible bunch by far compared with participants in most other activities, and those directly involved with the clubfitting trade, are cumulatively responsible for the laughingstock known as the clubfitting trade. This is due to heredity-type beliefs regarding golf swing and/or clubfitting theories, practices, and performance that have in essence been passed down for countless generations.