Everyone looks at the short game as only pitching and chipping around the green and of course sinking those putts. But isn't chipping and pitching made easier and sometimes even eliminated if you are coming in at a comfortable distance of say 100-150 yards?
150 Yards is one of the most common approach shot yardages on par 4’s and can also be an extremely common yardage on many par 3 tee shots. This may be your 6,7, or 8 iron.
Simply put (pun intended) if you aren’t comfortable with a wedge or short iron that travels 100 yards with a nice easy, controlled swing, you are likely not going to lower your scores!
and here is the most over looked aspect of your short game- your ball! You must know what your ball is going to do as I have written before. You cannot significantly improve your short game without knowing what distance your ball will travel, will it stop, spin or release.
Playing all the balls your friends give you on birthdays is great as a cost saving strategy, not as a score reducing strategy. And don't play your rounds with a ball except when going over water you put (did it again) a range ball down to save your good ball.
If you want to be serious, start spending time with your wedge and chosen ball, and get comfortable, so you can enjoy this 2017 season. Play well!