I thought about this thread again today while playing. On a fairly straightforward, but long par 3 (190, into the wind) I hit a pretty poor, hooked 5 iron into the greenside bunker. The greens were fairly slick, and I had short-sided myself. I hit a really nice bunker shot that rolled to about 10', leaving a putt that was basically straight up the hill. I made the putt and saved par. My conclusion: The long game is more important than the short game.
Wait, what?? Why would I say that??
Because, that was just about the best bunker shot from that position that I think most anybody (obviously not scratch players and pros, but most people) could play (short-sided, green running away) and I still ended up 10' away. Today I made the putt, but what is the typical average on 10' putts for decent putting amateurs? I'm going to guess something like 25% success rate?? That means that from that position, I will likely get down in 3 shots 75% of the time, even with a great bunker shot. OTOH, a poor bunker shot is going to put me 25-30 feet away at worst? I would bet that I three-putt from 30 feet something on the order of 1 in 8 times, maybe?
This means that if I play that scenario 8 times over, if I play it well every time, I'm going to finish in around 22 strokes, and if I play it poorly every time, I 'm going to finish in around 25 strokes.
So I'm thinking to myself, how important can the short game really be if the difference between really good and really bad here is only 3/8 of a stroke? By contrast, the difference between a good shot from the tee and a bad shot from the tee is basically a full shot.
I apologize if I'm speaking gibberish here, the math and logic all makes sense in my head, but I'm not sure if it came out right. (It's late ... time to go to bed anyway) :)