Monitoring Clubfitting Trade Incompetence via Launch Monitor Procedures
On one of the current internet golf forums, a member having the name of wobgan asks an interesting question that is quite relevant for golf these days, about whether launch monitors are good for the game. None of the replies to the inquiry really addressed or even seemed to understand the far more important issue(s) going on with the clubfitting trade in particular these days, so I will discuss just a bit of what the true problem(s) is aimed toward wobgan’s inquiry.
At some point your inquiry might have some relevancy to it, but the commercial clubfitting trade as a whole is still so much in its infancy that it is a very premature question to say the least.
Many of the current clubfitting theories and practices typically applied to golfers and that underlie any use of launch monitors, from golf club balancing protocols, to grip size fitting, to the crucial order in which club specifications are fit, and far more, are universally so bad from the ground up that the situation is both laughable and pathetic.
Horror stories by golfers being fit for clubs continue to consistently and far outnumber highly successful fitting stories, thanks largely to the continued widespread use of numerous faulty clubfitting theories and practices developed and taught in the past. Everybody pretty much acknowledges that finding a capable clubfitter (and/or clubfitting program) is kind of like finding a needle in a haystack. Yet no one within the clubfitting industry can seem to figure out what the root cause of this is, even as these defective clubfitting theories and practices continue to be widely taught and supported.
In plain fact, the competency of the clubfitting trade as a whole has considerably degraded since the advent of launch monitor use. The trade has become little more than a quest to superficially achieve certain ball travel result numbers as spit out by a launch monitor, typically at the perilous expense of a golfer’s best swinging ability. There is essentially zero talent throughout the trade regarding how to fit a golf club to a golfer’s actual swing (which is a totally different and far more critical skill to possess). The clubfitting industry over time has turned itself into a complete joke, and this has weighed and continues to weigh very heavily on virtually all facets of the game of golf.
In light of this, your second scenario (clubfitting outdoors with no launch monitor as opposed to fitting indoors with a launch monitor) might provide a little more hope at this immature stage of the clubfitting trade, but not for the reason(s) you envision. If lucky, you might come across a clubfitter that basically does not use a launch monitor (or at the very least does not use the loony clubfitting procedures commonly associated with launch monitor use), yet has some relevant knowledge that was implemented far more decades ago regarding how to legitimately fit a club to one’s actual swing (even working indoors).
In such a case, and in keeping relatively hollow ball travel results in a proper perspective, there is a pretty good chance that you would at least be provided a golf club(s) to help you swing to your maximum potential. That is an achievement and experience regarding the infrastructure of your swing that even the best launch monitors (in conjunction with the processes typically applied when using them) cannot even come close to achieving under any conditions. And golf ball travel results can be addressed afterwards if desired.
In order to ultimately determine whether something like launch monitors are really good for the game and particularly the clubfitting industry, sound fundamental clubfitting theories and practices need to be firmly in place before fine-tuning devices like launch monitors can be equitably tested as to any worthwhile benefit(s). But as it stands now, the clubfitting trade is utterly devoid of sound clubfitting theories and practices through which to effectively fit golf clubs to the actual swings of golfers (with or without launch monitor usage).
(From a different perspective, however, extensive launch monitor use has been great in that it has been helpful toward bringing more to the forefront how truly bad many of the clubfitting theories and practices are on a foundational level that the clubfitting industry currently implements and has developed to date. Without such advanced technology, it might have been far longer before it was realized how poor the operating structure of the clubfitting trade is deep down and understood why this trade has such a long history of poor performance and reputation).