Around the world with Karan Arjun

by Kenneth Birkland 0

At age 17, Karan Arjun travelled across the world to follow his dreams of playing college golf….so how did he end up at COC?


Arjun grew up in Bangalore, India, where he first discovered his love for golf.


Even though Arjun learned to play golf in India and grew to love the sport there, he discovered that golf as a whole is a different culture in the U.S.


“Golf is completely different here in the U.S.” said Arjun. “In Bangalore, there’s only about two main golf courses, and here in the U.S. golf courses are everywhere and PGA tour is a big deal.”


Arjun is right about the PGA tour. The top golfer in PGA tour currently, Jason Day, has earned $5 million this season. Even the 100th ranked golfer this season, Chez Reavie, has earned $902,000.


Arjun hopes to make it to the PGA tour one day.


“I hope to be where Tiger Woods used to be,” said Arjun


Arjun certainly has his goals set high as some consider Tiger Woods the greatest golfer of all time.


Golfing runs in Arjun’s blood. He was destined to play.


“My grandfather taught me how to play golf, my sister plays golf. Pretty much my whole family plays golf,” said Arjun.


Arjun’s sister, Nikita, came to the U.S. with him and she attended a golf college in Georgia, while he went to South Carolina.


Arjun was a senior in  high school when he decided to make the ultimate sacrifice to achieve his dream: He moved to America, away from his family, by himself to a nationally known golf academy in South Carolina.


It was there where he finished high school and became accustomed to American culture.


“Even though I moved directly to America, the move wasn’t so sudden because I was in an environment where I felt comfortable,” said Arjun.


After his time was done in South Carolina, Arjun moved to California and joined the COC golf program in 2015.


“I actually spoke to Gary (the golf coach) because I didn’t get into a four year university after my senior year in high school,” said Arjun. “I did not know about the success of COC, I just picked it because it was in Los Angeles, and then I found out it was number 1.”


Although golfing consumes most of his life, Arjun still enjoys the hobbies of many average college students. In his free time, Arjun can be found binge-watching Netflix and listening to music. His two latest series he’s finished are Prison Break and Friends.


COC’s golf program has been nothing short of spectacular since Peterson took over 30 years ago.


Since Peterson took over, COC has accumulated 19 Western State Championships, two Southern California Community College Championships, and six California Community College State Championships.


The golf program has had special players come through the program over the years. The player who achieved the most collegiately was Alex Kumojin. He  attended USC after COC and was all-pac 10 at USC for two years and competed on some minor tours. Brian Vranish was a golfer who played only about 60% of the tournaments while he was on the team at COC, and did not transfer to a 4 year university. However, after much dedication to his craft, 3 years ago Vranish earned his PGA tour card and played on the tour for two years.


“The goal is always to win a state championship, nothing short of that,” said Peterson.


With the bar being set so high and Arjun being a freshman he has yet to compete in any majors.


“I hope my time comes this year, but I will be ready whenever that time comes,” said Arjun


When Arjun came to COC he went from a big fish in a little pond to a little fish in a big pond and there was some adjustments that needed to be made.


“Karan’s problem was that he saw from an early point in the season that the team was extremely talented and that he needed to do more work,” said Peterson. “He was not as prepared to play at this level as he might thought he was going to be.”


Even though Arjun has yet to compete, Peterson is very confident in his abilities


“What we decided to was basically red shirt him (Arjun) have him work on his game and be prepared to play next spring,” said Peterson. “I remember talking to Karan in my office and saying ‘I want you to come back’ because I think he has potential. He’s just a real solid level-headed kid and he just knows what it takes, he’s gonna work hard this summer and I think he’ll come back better prepared.”


Peterson has very high praise for Arjun’s work ethic.


“Number 1 Karan is one of the most pleasant people I’ve ever worked with as a golf coach and as a teacher,” said Peterson. “Works very hard, always came to practice, always put in 110%.”


A move across the country would be hard on anyone; however, Arjun’s teammates were there for him.


“The team really helped me with the process of moving to California. There’s 20 players and 20 friends on the team,” said Arjun.


COC is by no means Arjun’s final goal when it comes to golf.


“I plan to transfer to a four-year university after my time here at COC is up,” said Arjun.


Arjun has stated that his hopes to transfer to either Arizona State or Long Beach State; however, the top schools for Division I golf currently are: Stanford University, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt University, UC Berkeley, University of Georgia, Oklahoma State University, University of Alabama, University of Illinois, University of Washington and University of Texas at Austin.


Arjun will have a big decision should he get into some of those school. He could stay in California where he has been enjoying the weather and culture, move to Georgia to join his sister, or he could move to a completely different state for a completely different experience.   


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