Well here is my input. I have been playing since 1992, I have always been a low 100's player, I once broke 100 for a 95 and could never repeat it. In the last 4 years I took a break from the game to tend to my business and just started playing about a little over a month ago. my first round 140, hard course, but horrible score none the less. I took some lessons and quickly improved back to my old low 100's score. Well where am I going with this, I quickly improved drastically with my short game, I have 1 to 2 putt average, no more. My short game inside the 150 is on the money, this is what keeps me in the low 100's. Recently I changed my 15 year old driver to a newer one, went to the range for a couple of days to adjust to it, first day out with my new driver, 90, second day out 92. I am now getting in the GIR where I never was able to do before.
I am sorry, but the long game is so as important as your short game that both sides have valid arguments, if you have a bad long game you will never get near the scratch players, if you have a bad short game, well the out come is close to being the same. I can only get better with improving my accuracy now, I finally found my long game with nice straight and long tee shots with a descent fairway shot. Once I am inside the 150, its over for whom ever is with me!
Actually they don't.
You said you were a low 100's player. Then you took time off. Then you took lessons and improved your short game and was still a low 100's player.
So were did the short game help you?
But, now you got a new driver. You probably gained distance and accuracy on your mishits. Allowing you be in position to hit more greens, and you dropped 8 strokes.
So, your short game saved you ZERO strokes. Just adding a bit of forgiveness to the driver, improved your game by 8 strokes.