Chalk Mountain's Rudy Duran hosting international junior golfers

Posted at 9:56 PM, Jul 14, 2023

Over the past week, 12 junior golfers from China immersed themselves in the golf scene here on the Central Coast practicing and playing at Chalk Mountain in Atascadero. Part of the experience is getting taught by longtime golf teaching professional, Rudy Duran.

Duran’s most notable claim to fame was when he became 4-year-old Tiger Woods' first golf coach in 1980 at Heartwell Golf Course in Long Beach, California. Now, almost five decades in teaching junior golfers, he’s still doing for others what he did for Tiger, letting them have fun while also improving their game.

“We just have a really good fun factor with still respecting golf and etiquette but still having fun," Duran explained of this year's crop of juniors. "There's been a good mix of kids come here, but they still have good etiquette, they're having fun, but they're still following the rules.”

This week’s junior golfers aren’t the first international group that Duran has been fortunate enough to teach making trips throughout Asia over the past several years. The main difference between how golf is taught abroad compared to here is the access to different facilities with golfers in Asia learning the game from indoor facilities rather than actual golf courses.

“I've seen that in Korea and Japan and China and here in the United States, we have very few of those. Mostly it's on the golf course.”

As far as the overall landscape for junior golf, it’s evolved over the years.

“Lots of kids go to golf courses now and go because early on, when I was a junior, there was some junior programs going on, but it was very difficult to find something.”

Now with teaching access at Chalk Mountain and Morro Bay Golf course, Duran has also seen the growth and success of junior golf in San Luis Obispo County.

“A lot of college scholarships and some really good players came out of Atascadero High School, Paso Robles High School.”

With the young talent that continues to dominate the world of golf, Duran’s experience in teaching, playing and overseeing the increased popularity in the game, his philosophy remains making sure golf stays fun.