Playing a running chip effectively, all stems from having a great address position to begin with.
When you are playing a running chip shot, select a club with less loft than your wedge. Wedges are designed to get the ball up into the air and tend to be the first club that amateur golfers choose when chipping. However, because wedges get the ball into the air, when the ball lands it will not roll very much. To play a running shot, you need a club that allows you to play a lower trajectory so that when the ball lands, it rolls, or runs, towards the hole. Select a 7 iron to play this shot with and when you are playing the shot well, you should notice that the ball is in the air for approximately a quarter of the overall shot distance but is running for three quarters of the shot distance, due to the club’s loft.
Set up should see you aiming the club face at your target. Hold down the handle of the club as this will give you more control over the club head as you play the shot. Play the shot from a centred ball position to encourage a slightly downward strike with the club head towards the ball to ensure you get a crisp connection and good trajectory. Now create a straight line from your left shoulder down your left arm to your left hand and then extend this on down the shaft of the club to the club head (for right handed golfers). When you play a running chip shot, your wrists are very passive so creating this straight line, and maintaining it throughout the shot, will ensure your wrists remain quiet during the swing. This straight line position will also set your hands ahead of the club head (or to the left of the club head for right handed golfers) and you should notice you have slightly more weight on your left side because your centre of gravity has shifted slightly left of centre, which is correct.
To play the shot, swing the straight line of your left arm and the club away from the ball, ensuring you maintain a stable weight position on your left side and that your head position remains static. How far you swing back will depend on how far the shot needs to travel. Longer shots will require a longer backswing and shorter shots a shorter backswing.
Once you have completed your backswing, swing the straight line back towards and through the ball. Ensure that the lowest point for the club head is where the ball is – a good tip here is to hear a 'brushing' noise through the grass as you play the shot. Keep the straight line moving through the ball slightly faster than you moved the club back at and swing into a finish position that mirrors to the left of the ball the length of your backswing to the right of the ball. This will ensure that you accelerate through the shot and experience a crisp solid connection. Hold your follow through and check you are still in the straight line position from your left shoulder, down your left arm to your left hand and then down the club shaft to the club head.
If you are struggling to maintain this straight line, hold an alignment pole behind your left arm, as an extension of the club. The pole should rest on your left ribs and help you to create the straight line discussed previously. Practice swinging the club whilst holding the pole against your left ribs and you have to maintain the straight line. Now play some shots whilst holding the pole and then once you have the feeling of how to move correctly, remove the pole and play the shot with the same feeling.
This will get you playing really effective chip and run shots and with a little bit of work on your distance control, you will be hitting the ball much closer to the hole and will lower your scores.