Kids and volunteers in the Grandfathers for Golf program call themselves the “Steeleheads,” in honor of pro-golfer Brendan Steele. Steele, who is on the board of directors for Grandfathers, grew up in Idyllwild and honed his golfing skills on the same Hemet/San Jacinto courses the kids play on.
In May, 2012, Steele named the Grandfathers program to be the recipient of a $10,000 donation granted by the Valero Energy Foundation. Steele’s first tour victory was at the Valero Texas Open in 2011, and as returning champion he was asked to name the charity of his choice for the cash award.
The name was coined by Grandfathers president Tony Viola when Steele was still on the PGA’s Nationwide Tour, where budding tour players compete for prizes and a chance to move up to the PGA tour. When Steele was scheduled to play in the Nationwide at the Soboba Golf Classic at the Country Club at Soboba Springs in San Jacinto in 2009, Viola had 200 Grandfathers For Golf shirts made to include the “Steeleheads” logo. He passed these out to kids and volunteers participating in the golf clinic held during the tournament. The Steeleheads logo is now on every Grandfathers shirt.
As a kid, Steele and his father, Kent Steele, donated his clubs to the Grandfathers program as he grew out of them.
Viola said that kids and the volunteers who teach eagerly follow Steele’s progress on the Internet and television. They cheer his success. They make use of his trying rounds as examples for the kids. “Kids learn that you have to contain yourself and if you have a bad day, you have to let it go,” he said.