*UPDATED AUGUST 2019*
Robert Duck, who has worked with the two greatest collegiate golfers in school history, and who has helped both the Seminoles’ men’s and women’s golf teams reach the nation’s No. 1 ranking, is in his ninth season as an assistant coach with both programs at Florida State University. His ability to teach the game of golf to the nation’s top golfers has helped elevate Florida State’s programs to rank among the nation’s best in both sports.
Duck capped a special 2018-19 season by coaching women’s golf phenom Frida Kinhult in the Arnold Palmer Cup. Duck and Kinhult helped the International Team to a 32.5-26.5 win over the United States. The win was a microcosm of the type of year Duck had coaching Kinhult, who vaulted to the top of the female WAGR rankings, was named the WGCA National Freshman of the Year, earned All-America first team honors and held the nation’s lowest stroke average at 70.66. Duck also helped men’s golf’s John Pak to an extraordinary year where he won an ACC title and set the program record for lowest stroke average at 69.56.
Duck was one of six finalists for the Jan Strickland Award presented by TaylorMade and the Golf Coaches Association of America in 2018. The award is presented to the nation’s most outstanding assistant coach in collegiate golf. The Strickland Award is presented to the NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA or NJCAA assistant coach who has excelled in working with their student-athletes both on the course and in the classroom.
Under Ducks’ tutelage, both Seminole teams have become perennial leaders in the national rankings and course statistics as well as in the production of All-Americans and All-ACC performers. He has helped raise the profiles of both programs to the levels necessary to compete as top collegiate programs on an annual basis.
Duck worked closely with Brooks Koepka – two-time U.S. Open Champion, two-time PGA Champion, 2018 PGA Player of the Year and 2012 ACC Player of the Year – and Matilda Castren – the all-time career stroke leader for the Florida State women (72.52) – as he has helped develop the top golfers in program history. Duck has worked with eight of the top 10 scoring men and eight of the top 10 scoring women in school history. Koepka, who won the 2017 and 2018 U.S. Open titles, and who finished his Seminole career with a 71.84 stroke average, and Harry Ellis, the 2017 Amateur Champion, are among the players he has worked with during his Florida State career. Ellis completed his career at Florida State as a two-time All-ACC selection after playing as a member of the Great Britain and Ireland team in the 2017 Walker Cup.
Duck plays an integral role in the successes of both programs, including the men’s national ranking of No. 1 in 2016 and the women’s national ranking of No. 1 during the 2017 season. He has helped coach both programs into the NCAA Tournament in each of his first eight years while working with All-Americans and All-ACC honorees on both teams.
In his first eight seasons at Florida State, the men have produced 10 All-Americans, 17 All-ACC selections, two ACC Golfers of the Year (Koepka in 2012 and Hank Lebioda in 2016) and three ACC Freshmen of the Year, while the women have produced seven All-Americans and 15 All-ACC performers. Duck worked with a school-record four Seminole women who earned All-ACC honors in 2017.
During each of his eight seasons, the Seminole men and the Seminole women have appeared in the NCAA Tournament eight times each with the men finishing ninth in the team standings in the 2012 NCAA Championship finals and 11th in the 2015 NCAA Championship finals, and the women finishing in tied for 12th in 2018 and 15th at the 2016 NCAA Championship Finals. The men have finished in second twice and third once while the women have finished second once, third once and have earned two fourth place finishes in their respective ACC Championships.
Duck’s work with Florida State’s players has led to incredible individual success in his first eight seasons in Tallahassee. His teaching abilities and coaching philosophies have helped accelerate the careers of two of the top men’s players in school history – Koepka and Daniel Berger – as well as six of the top performers in school history on the women’s side – Matilda Castren, Lydia Gumm, Morgane Metraux, Kim Metraux, Maria Salinas and Jessica Negron. Koepka was named the ACC Golfer of the Year in 2012 and was a three-time All-ACC selection, while Berger, who has won twice on the PGA Tour, earned All-ACC honors and played for the United States’ Palmer Cup team in 2013. Duck also worked with Seminole All-American and PGA Tour player Hank Lebioda – who earned All-America honors in 2015 and 2016, was the 2013 ACC Freshman of the Year, a four-time All-ACC selection and was a member of the 2014 United States Palmer Cup Team. Castren earned All-American honors in 2014 and 2017, is a three-time All-ACC honoree and holds the record for lowest stroke average in school history. Morgane Metraux earned All-American and All-ACC honors in both 2017 and 2018 and finished in a school-best fifth place in the individual standings at the 2018 NCAA Championship Finals. Kim Metraux earned All-ACC honors in both 2017 and 2018. Gumm was an All-ACC selection in 2015 and 2017, Salinas finished in a tie for first in the NCAA Central Regional and earned All-America honors in 2012 and Negron earned All-ACC honors in 2013.
DUCK AND TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIPS
Duck has helped the Seminoles women to nine team championships and the men to 18 – a total of 27 in his eight seasons at Florida State. The women won a school-record six tournament championships in 2018 – one more than the school record of five during the Seminoles’ national championship season in 1981. He has also helped the women earn school-record second place finishes at the 2017 NCAA Shoal Creek and 2018 NCAA Tallahassee Regional Championships. The Seminoles won four consecutive tournaments, earned six overall team championships and were the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Golf championships in 2015. The Seminoles – both the men and the women – have been ranked among the nation’s top 30 teams throughout his first eight seasons at Florida State. The men were ranked No. 1 in 2015 while the women were ranked No. 1 in 2017.
Duck is one of the stars in collegiate coaching. He was the acting head coach at Augusta State in 2002, served the Jaguars as a volunteer assistant coach during the 2001-02 season and was an assistant coach for the program during the 2002-03 season. During his tenure as the acting coach at Augusta State, the Jaguars were ranked as high as No. 9 nationally.
COLLEGIATE PLAYING EXPERIENCE
Duck enjoyed a standout career at Augusta State (1998-01) where he earned All-America honors as a sophomore (1999) and led the Jaguars to three NCAA Championship appearances (1998, 1999, 2001). He is one of the top golfers in the storied history of the Augusta State program and remains listed prominently in the record book 15 years after his playing career ended. Duck is ranked second in school history for lowest stroke average by a freshman (73.22), which stood as the school record for nearly 15 years. It is an average that still ranks in the top-15 in school history. His career stroke average of 73.86 is ranked 14th in school history. During his career, he earned 12 top-10 and 28 top-20 individual finishes.
COLLEGIATE COACHING EXPERIENCE
Duck’s ability to communicate with the players he coaches is illustrated by the success those players have earned on the golf course. In his first eight seasons at Florida State, he has worked with 17 All-Americans, 30 All-ACC honorees, three ACC Golfers of the Year and four ACC Freshmen of the Year. Each of the 16 teams (eight men’s and eight women’s) he has helped coach at Florida State has played in the NCAA Tournament and both teams have been ranked in the nation’s top-20 during the first eight years of his tenure in Tallahassee.
AS A CADDY FOR MORGANE METRAUX AT THE 2017 U.S. WOMEN’S OPEN
Duck enjoyed the honor of caddying for Florida State All-American Morgane Metraux at the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open at the Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, N.J. The incredibly special invitation came from Metraux shortly after she qualified for the event. “I was very excited to have been asked by one of our players to caddie for her in the U.S. Open. To have the opportunity to watch Morgane progress to this level and play against the best in the world is a proud moment and one that I will always remember.”
2017 WAS A HISTORICAL SEASON FOR THE FLORIDA STATE WOMEN
2017 was an incredibly special season for the Florida State women. The Seminoles were ranked No. 1 in the nation, won six tournament championships, had four players named to the All-ACC team, led the nation in scoring average vs. par, led the nation in par 5 scoring and Head Coach Amy Bond was named the ACC Coach of the Year. Florida State won its first tournament of the season and went on to win an unprecedented six tournaments to tie for the national lead. Never before had any team in Florida State history won more than five events in a single season — not even the Seminoles’ 1981 A.I.A.W. National Championship team. The Seminoles earned the highest NCAA regional seed in school history (No. 2), and finished in third place in the NCAA Columbus Regional Championship before earning their second consecutive top-20 finish at the NCAA National Championship Finals. A record number of Seminoles (four) earned All-ACC honors while two were celebrated with All-American honors.
2015 WAS ONE OF THE BEST IN THE HISTORY OF THE MEN’S PROGRAM
Duck helped the Seminole men’s golf team to the best season in program history in 2015. The Seminoles finished 11th in the final standings at the NCAA Men’s Golf Championships, finished in second place in the ACC Championships, earned a program-best national ranking of No. 1 during the season, were the No. 1 seed in the NCAA men’s Golf Championship tournament, had three players earn All-American honors (third time in school history three players earned All-American honors in the same season) and set a single-season school record with six tournament wins.
2014 WAS A BANNER YEAR
Duck’s coaching efforts in 2014 helped the Seminole men to a second place finish in the ACC championship, a fifth place finish in the NCAA Raleigh Regional and an appearance in the NCAA Championship Finals for the third consecutive year. He helped coach one All-American, the ACC Freshman of the Year and All-ACC selections Jack Maguire and Hank Lebioda. The Seminole men won the USF Invitational as they posted the best single round team and tournament score in team history in winning the championship. Duck helped coach freshman Matilda Castren, who earned All-American Second Team and All-ACC Honors and who was the runner-up for ACC Player and Rookie of the Year honors, as well as All-ACC selection Alex Milan.
SUCCESS OF BROOKS KOEPKA
Duck worked with All-American Brooks Koepka, the 2017 and 2018 U.S. Open and 2018 and 2019 PGA Championship winner, during his final season as a Seminole (2011-12). Koepka was named the ACC Player of the Year and led the Seminoles to a ninth place finish at the NCAA Championship finals in 2012. Koepka earned his PGA Tour card for the 2014-15 season as he finished in a tie for fourth place at the 2014 U.S. Open – a finish which also earned him an invitation to play in the 2015 Masters Championship. In 2017, Koepka had the lowest aggregate score in the four major tournaments on the PGA Tour. Koepka won the championship of the 2015 Phoenix Open for his first PGA Tour victory. In winning the and 2017 and 2018 U.S. Open championships, Koepka became one of only seven golfers in the 118-year history of the event to win consecutive titles, and his 2019 PGA Championship win allowed him to hold the title of defending champion at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship at the same time. Koepka was also named the 2018 PGA Tour Player of the Year.
SUCCESS OF DANIEL BERGER
Duck coached Daniel Berger, the 2016 and 2017 FedEx St. Jude tournament champion on the PGA Tour, during his stellar two-year career as a Seminole. Berger won two individual titles (the spring 2013 Gator Invitational and the spring 2013 Seminole Invitational), was a two-time First-Team All-American, was named to the All-Nicklaus Team, the All-ACC Team and the Ping All Region team as a sophomore at Florida State. He led the ACC in stroke average and carded his collegiate career low score of 65 during the spring of his sophomore season. Berger was named the 2015 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.
ON COURSE COACHING
Because he has played and coached at such high levels, Duck is known as a players’ coach. His ability to help each student-athlete create long-term training schedules and encourage them to work towards those goals on a daily basis has helped create a teaching environment that has fostered the recent successes of both the Seminoles’ men’s and women’s programs.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY AS A PLAYER
Duck led Augusta State (now Georgia Regents University) to three NCAA Championship tournament appearances and helped the Jaguars to a seventh place finish as a senior, the best finish in program history at the time. With the foundation put in place by Duck and his teammates, the Jaguars won the NCAA Titles in 2010 and 2011.
SUCCESS IN PROFESSIONAL WORLD
Duck enjoyed a successful career as a manager of professional golfers for the Hambric Sports Group (2003-2012) before accepting his current assistant coaching position at Florida State. Based in London, Duck was the supervisor of the European Division of Hambric Stellar Golf. He was a player manager who oversaw public relations and marketing for seven clients including 1988 Masters champion Sandy Lyle, 2005 European Tour Rookie of the Year Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, former Augusta State All-American Oliver Wilson and Francesco Molinari.
Duck is married to the former Michelle Digsby. The couple has two daughters, Annabel (12) and Hannah (nine). He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Augusta State in 2001. A native of Northampton, England, he represented Great Britain-Ireland as a member of the 1998 Palmer Cup team. Duck played in the 1997 European Amateur Championship and finished tied as the runner-up with Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald.