“… I leave this stage tonight even more optimistic about this country than I was when we started… This generation coming up – unselfish, altruistic, creative, patriotic – I’ve seen you in every corner of the country… You’ll soon outnumber any of us, and I believe as a result that the future is in good hands.” – President Barack Obama in his farewell speech on Jan. 10, 2017
In this new regular feature, we highlight the accomplishments of our own young people, the kids who grew up in these mountains. We’re reconnecting to hear about the incredible things they’re doing locally and out in the world.
And we kick this feature off with arguably one of our most talked-about natives, Mr. Brendan Steele …
Brendan Steele, 34, was born and raised in Idyllwild to Kent and Jana Steele, many miles from any golf course. Yet, he is a professional golfer on the PGA tour since 2010. And he’s hot on the PGA tour, with two wins under his belt already and nine professional wins overall.
Brendan excelled in many sports growing up. His parents always sensed that he would become a professional athlete, but they didn’t know which sport he’d choose.
Brendan graduated from Hemet High School in 2001 and went on to UC Riverside, where he played golf and graduated in 2005.
He and his wife Anastasia live in Irvine and are expecting their first child (a girl) this fall.
How did you get into your current field? Please describe the work you do.
I played golf in high school and college. When I graduated from UC Riverside I turned professional, traveling around North America trying to learn what it takes to be a pro. After a number of years of progressing and learning, I made it to the PGA tour in 2010 and have played there ever since.
What was special for you about growing up in Idyllwild?
Idyllwild was special to me because it gave me the opportunity to be active and play all types of sports. I loved the lifestyle and small-town feel. I think it made me the person I am today.
Who were your Idyllwild mentors (teachers, coaches, friends’ parents, etc.)?
My parents were always the most supportive people in my life. They went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure that I had every opportunity to pursue my interests.
Do you have any advice for the younger generation of Idyllwilders?
Embrace the outdoors and all the great activities it can provide. Compared to the big city, I know that it can be a quiet place but it can provide unique experiences. Embrace and enjoy it.
Do you know an Idyllwild kid with an interesting story? Please email your suggestions to Halie: firstname.lastname@example.org or PM us on Facebook.