I believe I had a club fitting experience that I suspect was not typical, so I wanted to share and then follow up with a question. I don't have a true handicap, but just to put my play in some kind of perspective. I generally shoot in the 80s on fairly easy municipal courses. I'll throw in an occasional high 70s and I can creep up into the high 80s quite easily if I'm a little off or unlucky. That's just to give a sense of where I am in the journey.
I arrived for my fitting very excited. I was looking to purchase a new driver. My clubs (including my driver) are about 5-7 years old, so I figured why not buy myself a new toy and take advantage of the technology of this game. There was certainly nothing wrong with my current driver, however.
Upon seeing the clubs I brought, John (the fitter) commented about how my clubs were a little bit older and he excitedly went into how new clubs across the board would be a boon for me. I dreaded hearing this as I thought I might receive some pressure to drop 1500 dollars when 400-500 was going to be enough to come up with. Still, I was excited thinking that tech advancement in the last few years might just take my game up a tiny amount.
I started to take some shots and after several I mentioned that I was pleased because, while the shots didn't appear to stellar on the big screen, my swing still felt pretty normal and I thought the contact felt about average for me so that whatever read he got for the various metrics was probably pretty indicative of my general swing. After that, I started to hit drivers. I don't exactly crush the ball off the tee and my shots were of the typical unspectacular variety, but again were pretty normal. At this point, John gave me several different drivers to try, and though they often felt pretty good, the results didn't seem to improve much.
Personally, I don't really trust the big screen entirely on distance and roll out, so I was still willing to buy. I wasn't expecting miracles, I understand that the swing dictates the results, but I still figured that a driver that is several generations newer was still bound to offer a slight bump in distance and would perhaps be a bit more forgiving. However, John, to his credit, told me that my swing was simply too erratic and that I would not be able to glean the benefit of a newer club until I fixed the issues I have with: grip, posture, setup, and overall swing.
Just to add a bit of context here, most of my numbers were OK, but my spin rate was much too high and none of the clubs he tried could lower the spin rate enough to be worth the money. This is my guess as to what he saw as he never really got into specifics beyond letting me know that what I needed was lessons, but he did at least go into the numbers in a cursory fashion at one point. As I say, I actually appreciate the fact that he didn't feel like he could put together a club that would bring about the kind of change that would be worth the investment and thus refused to lure me into what he no doubt considered a waste of money. It was impressive that he showed that type of integrity.
So, beyond wondering if anyone here has had a fitter refuse to steer them toward a club or type of club to look for, my question is this: He said himself, that the newer clubs could offer a bit more distance when you hit them right and I have to believe that clubs are always improving in terms of being a little more forgiving on errant shots. This was all I was expecting, wouldn't a new club still have some value? It would seem that if you needed a certain level of swing to glean any benefit from newer clubs, than why would anyone other than the top 5-10 percent of players ever buy a new club? It seemed odd to me, I just have to believe that a better club will still give at least a modicum of improvement regardless of skill level, but what do you think?
As a post script, I headed to the range to work on drills and tips that my lower my spin rate using my old driver. But, I still can't help but think that the newer technology will bring a little benefit, even to a mid handicap type player.