Losing Your Fears

By: Billy Bondaruk

Have you ever experienced a significant change in how you perceive a situation? One where you totally accept what will happen without having to control it? This is a bit like waking up. Everyone has this newfound wakefulness, yet it often goes ignored because we're so into controlling the situations at hand.

This is more of what I consider "letting go" because, quite simply, I have to be beaten into that state before I relinquish the wheel. But I'm learning to wake up quicker. The condition reminds me of a circus performer spinning plates on spindles; the music gets faster as he runs back and forth trying to keep the plates from falling off. You can see fear on his face, a facial gesture that no doubt darkens the faces of golfers when a good round starts to go bad. I know this fear of failure, and it's not fun.

The solution lies in letting go and not caring whether the plates hit the floor. It's much better to let a greater power handle the vagaries of luck so you can golf with the true intention of why you came to the course in the first place. That is to rip the ball around and have fun, regardless of the result.

If the ball goes into the trees or if it lands in a bunker, so be it. Don't let this misfortune steal your joy. The sun is still going to come up no matter how hard you want to change the adverse situations coming your way. Give in to the bad breaks and enjoy the good ones when they show up.

Once you've finally awakened from this sleep-like state of control you'll realize who's really doing the driving anyway. It's not you.

You'll have a wonderful experience if you just get out of the way. You'll be like the circus performer who looks up and sees his plates spinning without any help.

Bill Bondaruk is a PGA Class A member and the director of instruction at Catta Verdera Country Club in Lincoln, Calif. He was named the 2006 Northern California Teacher of the Year. Billy learned the principals of golf by such legendary luminaries as Eddie Merrins, Jerry Barber, Paul Runyan, Mike Austin, Ben Doyle, Mac O'Grady, Jim McLean, Mike Labauve, Scott Sackett and his father.

Bondaruk started playing golf and caddying at age 7 at Franklin Park Golf Course in Boston. He played for the University of Massachusetts golf team while pursuing studies in Biomechanics. He took his game to the upper levels at age 24. He's played in over 100 tournaments on various mini tours, including the Hogan Tour in 1990. He was a Benson & Hedges Tour member in Mexico 1992-93, and was a second stage qualifier for the PGA Tour in 1995.

His playing highlights: two-time winner on the NGA Tour, 1985 Arizona; two-time winner on the Sun Belt Tour 1989, Phoenix; winner of the North Atlantic Tour 1991, Massachusetts; winner of the Northern California Section Apprentice Championship 1995; runner-up in the Western States Apprentice Championship 1993, Palm Desert Calif., and Mass State Open in 1996.

After traveling on the mini tours, Bill began teaching at a few world-renowned golf schools such as John Jacobs, Jim McLean, and Scott Sackett's Resort Golf.

He came to Catta Verdera by way of Tucson, where he was the Director of Instruction at Arizona National, Canoa Hills, San Ignacio Golf Club and worked as an instructor for the University of Arizona men's and women's golf teams. Among the Tour pros, sports celebrities and collegiate stars he's worked with are Glen Day, Lorena Ochoa, Natalie Gulbis, Ricky Barnes and Scott McCarran.

Billy's book, "The 7 Myths of Golf," is a video-enhanced web-based learning system, complete with e-lesson capability. The "The 7 Myths of Golf" (visit http://www.7mythsofgolf.com) has grown in popularity as it features videos of Tour pros. He is currently a feature writer for PGA.com's "Improve your Game" section and writes for the Press Tribune of Lincoln, Roseville and Grant Bay.

With his background in Biomechanics, Bill is leading the way on how best to teach and learn golf. Above all, he promises to bring joy and enthusiasm to your game.

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