I am new to the sport also and am still learning the casts. For all its subtlety the Single Spey is my favorite cast, when I can get it to work. It shoots the most line (of the casts I know) it barely kisses the water if done right and just feels good. I would much rather use this cast than a snap T, if I can. Since I don't golf, I would liken it more to free throws - it's got a proportionate power quotient as well as timing that must be mastered. Sometimes I get in a zone and all my casts sail out there, sometimes I'm batting only .500. Kinda like a jump shot or free throws. (Even NBA players can't hit 100%).
One thing it doesn't have is tearing line off the water...its more of a lift, splash, shoot. and yes if done right it should feel effortless.
Another thing to think about if you're just learning...Have you cast many rods or experimented with many lines? The reason why I ask, is I changed lines on my rod, an 8/9. I changed to a WC 7/8/9 from an 8/9/10. The result was amazing, much better casts and much better percentages when it comes to suceesful delivery. ...now If I can just learn to do it left handed...
I also test cast a guy's rod I met on the river and I couldn't make his rig work for me. It was a much slower rod, but I have a feeling his line was mismatched as well..
Another thing to think about is there is more than one way to do this cast. I learned a version from Simon Gawseworth's book Spey Casting: he calls it the 'Alpine Spey'. It is a down and dirty quick way to learn. The other way is a much flatter, more powerful version that requires better timing and a carefully calculated initial lift, but it goes out farther and requires less effort if done right. When the flatter version is not clicking for me I find that I can always revert to the Simon's Alpine Spey and keep fishing. A few succesful Alpine Speys, and I'm ready to try the advanced version again.
Anyway keep working at it and if its not clicking, think about changing something in you rig...you could be fighting something you don't need to fight..