As a senior golfer, if you find that when playing chip shots you hit a mixture of fat shots, where the club strikes the ground before the ball and thin shots, where the club strikes the top of the golf ball and you just don’t know what you are going to get with each shot, then the likely cause is you are using your wrist incorrectly during the shot.
Over use of your wrist during your chipping action produces connection issues between the club head and ball as the lowest point of the club head’s swing arc will be too much to the right of the golf ball as you look to play the shot (for right handed golfers). As you swing the club towards the ball to chip it, if you are using your wrist and making a flicking action with your wrist, the result of this will be that the club head reaches its point before it reaches the ball. If the lowest point is lower than the ground, the club head will hit the ground before the ball. If the lowest point is just above the ground, the club head will then rise on an upward arc towards the ball and strike the top of it. Using your wrist in this way is a product of trying to get the ball up in to the air, rather than making a downward movement with the club head towards the ball and allowing the loft of the club to get the ball into the air.
To prevent this flicking action with your wrist from happening, take up a good address position. The ball should be just left of the centre of your feet, with your feet width just narrower than shoulder width apart. Stand slightly closer to the ball and hold down the handle of the golf club for control. Place slightly more weight on your left side by ensuring that you create a straight line from your left shoulder to your left hand and then down into the club head. This will ensure that your hands are ahead of the club head, or to the left of the club head and to encourage a downward movement in the golf club, this relationship must be maintained. As you swing away from the ball, keep the straight line of your left shoulder, left hand and club head and then as you swing back towards the ball and through the strike, maintain this straight line.
As you swing, work on 'brushing' the grass with the club head, where the ball is and this will ensure that the club head’s lowest point is where the ball is to be struck. If you struggle to maintain the straight line relationship between your left shoulder, left hand and club head then try the following drill. Hold an alignment pole with the handle of your golf club, so that the alignment pole is behind your left arm and an extension of your golf club.
Swing your club back and forth, keeping the pole behind your left arm and in contact with your left ribs/side. You will not be able to make a flicking action whilst holding the pole as your body will prevent the pole from moving, so this will ensure that the straight line from your left shoulder to your left hand and then to the club head is maintained.
Hit some chips whilst actually holding the pole, working on brushing the ground with the club head where the ball is and then once you feel more confident with the movement, remove the pole and make the same action.
This will really improve the connection between the club head and ball whenever you chip and alleviate the problems you were experiencing before.