Look what I started! Very cool thread, I think, and I thank you all for contributing.
Anyway, I want to stress this: I'm honestly trying to forget about theory in my own swing. I'm happy to discuss it with others in this forum because it's fun and interesting to me. But the real ephiphany I've had over the past six months - and this is entirely due to you, CQ, so I'm in your debt - has been to just find a swing (not perfect, not the most aesthetic but just a fairly repeatable one) and stick with it.
My tinkering is very, very minor compared to what it was - ie, the reality of "passive" arms as discussed here. This has been somewhat confusing to me in the past because I felt I may have been doing something "wrong" and I was intrigued by Jim Hardy's description of the swing as one in which the arms swing around a rotating body. This, actually, is more what I feel and, more importantly, it gets me through the shot much cleaner. But I wondered whether it was "right". (I'm still working on purging myself of the notion of there being one secret, magical way to swing a club!)
Of course, if you feel it and the shot's good, then it is right!
It's been a really rewarding journey. I've resisted all temptation to revert to my former self - the guy lost in the search for the perfect swing - and concentrated on hitting the ball somewhere out on the fairway and somewhere on the green and take it from there. I know I have a good swing. If it's somewhat off, I just try to exaggerate somewhat the fundamentals. ie, I'll turn my shoulders a little steeper or really concentrate on staying centred (my two tendencies).
The real change, though, has been my improved consistency. The back-to-back 70-86 rounds are long gone. My scores float around the low to mid 70s and some days I shoot better but - and here's the real epiphany - when I do, I don't feel like I'm hitting it that much better.
The other day I hit a shot into a green with a pw and thought it was very average and yet it was 12 feet away. Nothing wrong with that. I honestly used to think if it wasn't inside 6 feet with a wedge, it was a bad shot. Of course, I wouldn't ever make the putt because I was still badgering myself about what went wrong with the iron shot! Or, put another way, when I'd hit it tight with a great shot and miss the putt, I wasn't that upset because it was a great shot and I basked in that. Now, I try to put a 3 on the card. A monumental change in outlook.
Even though I rarely practice at all, my short game has improved a ton since I've stopped obsessing about the perfect swing. Putting, as always, comes and goes. But I've come to a peace with this, too: I can hit a good putt but it won't go in and I can mis-read/mis-hit a putt and it does go in. I am determined, however, to make myself a better putter, I just don't get too down on myself when I miss.
Anyway, I suppose the irony in all of this is that I'm a better golfer without being a better golfer, if you get what I mean.
Fairways and Greens,