The TL/DR version:
At what point at the bottom of the talent and skill scale is the quality of the club irrelevant to the golfer's ability (assuming a basic level of quality)?
The full version:
I love this game. I've been playing for four months, finally, and I'm taking lessons and have the kind of life where I can either play, get to a driving range, practice putting, practice chipping and pitching, or any combination of these things every day.
As a beginner, I bought a decent set of used clubs, including a driver, wedges, woods, and a putter. All good gear, all felt right in my hands, and all was well.
But as I've gotten more and more into this golf-thing, I've also started reading more about it on the blogs, looking at equipment reviews, trying out gadgets, etc. My clubs are at the very very least perfectly adequate. I actually think they're top notch, but it's a very personal choice once you get past the data.
My skill level is nowhere near squeezing from these clubs their maximum capacity of speed, distance, and accuracy. And that's OK. I'm still learning.
I have a Ping G20 driver. I learned to hit from the tee with that club, and I'm usually more accurate than not, but as I said, I'm working on it. Then I read the review (on this site) of the Cobra Fly Z, and I thought I'd give it a try. I found a used one, bought it, and took it for a spin today. I was less accurate rather than more, but I figured that was just the adjustment period. I'll try again tomorrow.
But maybe the real problem is this: maybe it is irrelevant what brand with what features I use, as I can't take advantage of the nuanced differences between them.
And like most of the golfers I speak with, we fetishize and love our gear, and we seem to always want the next thing that has the potential to make our game better.
But again, I can't blame the tools for my lack of performance. Can I credit them when I get good?