Inner and Outer Circle for Optimal Ball Striking

Krista Dunton, PGA
Director of Instruction – Berkeley Hall

One of the most important things we can do as a coach and instructor is to help our students understand why they hit the ball well and what they are doing when they are not hitting it well. I always feel that their poor shots are given the teacher and student the greatest opportunity to learn. Often times it’s the student’s concept that is off.

This is a great visual that I use to help the student understand both path and face. It’s the Inner and Outer Circle drill.

There are two semi circles that we are dealing with in the golf swing, the inner that the hands are on and the outer that the club is on.

In the backswing the hands stay on the inner circle and the club head stays on the outer. Often players faults are caused from this relationship getting off right, right from the start.

The key move is on the downswing, the hands need to come back down and inward and get on the inner circle while the club head needs to come out slightly and get on the outer circle.

Where instruction tends to stop is at impact. The forward part of the swing and arc is not explained enough to the students. They need to understand that the hands and club don’t break away towards the target, the stay on those circles. The hands move inward towards the front hip/heel and the club head moves quickly left of the target line. Maintaining this relationship, the club face stays square to the path which minimizes excessive opening and closing. This also creates a much lower rate of closer resulting in straighter shots and less need to time up the face.

Players can hit half shots with these circles on the ground as well.

Faults and Fixes with the Inner and Outer Circle
In the downswing if a player has both the hands and the club on the inner circle their impact will tend to be shallow and path to the right resulting in hooks, pushes, fats and thins.

A player whose hands and club both go out on the outer circle in the downswing will be too much above the plane resulting in pulls, slices, chunks, tops.

This concept will give your student a clear understanding on how to correctly deliver the club to the ball. Plus explaining to them why they are not hitting it well is one of the many keys to great instruction and learning for the student.