Former golf professional and European Tour player David Steele, well known in the golfing fraternity along the Costa del Sol and for his family connections in Gibraltar, is holding a unique fundraising event in aid of two Spanish charities: Cancer Research and Centro Contigo in La Linea.
This will be David’s third Golf Marathon challenge, and at the age of 64 he has decided it will be his last!
In 1993, at the age of 38, David raised funds to buy an ambulance for the village of Guadiaro, playing 315 holes over 17 and a half rounds during daylight hours at the San Roque Golf Club.
Ten years later in 2003 at the age of 48, David attempted to break the world record for the most number of holes played in 24 hours using a golf Cart at Dama del Noche in Marbella, raising the extraordinary amount of €100,000 for Cancer research, CIOMA, Assn Espanola Contra El Cancer and CUDECA. The event was covered for television by Sky Sports.
This year the event will take place at the El Higueral 9 hole golf course in Benahavis, on Monday 7th June when David will attempt to play 324 holes of golf over 18 rounds during daylight hours.
Golf is something that is in David’s DNA but surprisingly he didn’t take up the game until he was 13 years old. “My father was a golf professional at Gosforth Park in Newcastle, alongside Dave Thomas who played in the Ryder Cup and nearly won the British Open twice,” David says. “I was named David Thomas Steele after my godfather.”
David’s father was one of the first British professionals to go and teach the game to the Scandinavians, going over to Sweden in 1954 where David was born the year after. “We spent five years in the south at Falsterbo Golf Course and then five years in Stockholm, and my father’s claim to fame is teaching Prince Carl Gustaf to play golf who is now the King of Sweden.”
Returning to Newcastle at the age of 10 years old David indulged his passion for playing football, but to the delight of his father he took up golf three years later. “By the time I was 15 I represented England and went on to play for England as a boy, youth and full International until I turned professional in 1975 and played the European Tour for eight years,” he explains. Eventually coming to La Manga to go to Qualifying School, David ended up losing his playing card and made his way to Marbella where he met Alan James who had a travel company. “I ran golf holiday tours and then when Alan bought El Paraiso Golf Club in 1984 he asked me to become Golf Director.”
1989 was a big year not only because David became the first official foreign distributor in Europe for E-Z-Go Golf Carts, selling the business in 2003, but because he met Gianella Imossi who went on to become his wife. “That’s when I fell in love with Gibraltar,” David states. Friday the 13th is unlucky for some but obviously not for David and Gianella because that was the date on which they met, became engaged and got married. “It was a very lucky date for me,” he smiles.
Their wedding in 1991 caused a bit of a stir when Gianella drove from her home in Irish Town up Main Street to the Cathedral in a golf cart. “After the ceremony we had a police escort to the Caleta Palace for the reception,” David explains. “Gibraltar had never seen a golf cart so there was a huge amount of interest, with crowds gathering outside the Cathedral to look at our unusual mode of transport.”
Fundraising for charities has always been a big part of David’s life and together with Alan James, David started the Jimmy Tarbuck Classic which has now been going for 40 years, raising over 1 million euros in Spain for handicapped children and latterly in Portugal, where the charity event is run by David’s brother, for a children’s hospice in Faro.
‘Steeley’, as he is known to most people including his golfing friends Ian Woosnam (‘Woosy’) and Sandy Lyle (‘Lyley’), is being supported by two Ryder Cup heroes, Manual Pinero from Spain and Eddie Polland from Ireland, who will take part in a Q&A session prior to a dinner and the auction of some amazing prizes at the launch of the Marathon event on Sunday 5th June at the San Roque Club, which is also the venue for a Charity Golf Marathon Tournament followed by cocktails and the presentation of prizes on the 12th June.
David has set a target of €50,000 for this year’s challenge which he hopes to raise via sponsorship, donations, an auction and raffle and a ‘How Many Shots Will I Hit’ competition at €5 a guess. This will be no mean feat for a man who is now older, less fit and a little heavier than when he undertook his previous events. “It would be wonderful if I could raise enough to assist these two worthy charities,” David comments. “No donation is too small.”
For more information and to donate, please go to:
David Steele Charity Golf Marathon Go Fund Me page
or contact David directly at firstname.lastname@example.org