Kingston’s Noah Steele has his sights set firmly on a goal of one day making it to the PGA Tour, one of the biggest and most lucrative sports leagues in North America. So far, the 25-year-old alumnus of Holy Cross Catholic High School is doing everything he can to get to the upper echelon of the golfing world.
According to Steele, he first fell in love with golf as a kid while attending a local sports summer camp in Kingston. “I was at an all-sports camp around the age of six, and golf was part of that. I told my mom that I really wanted to play golf, and so she got to work on getting me into the golf-only [camp], but I was a bit too young at the time,” he said. Despite being under the golf camp’s desired age, Steele’s mother was able to convince organizers to let her son join the program, after seeing how much he enjoyed the golf activities the previous summer.
Eventually, Steele joined Kingston’s Landings Golf Course and Teaching Centre as a junior member, and his budding career began to take off. “As I went a couple of summers in, I started to play in local junior events like the K-Rock Junior Tour around Kingston; that’s how my tournament golfing experience began,” he said. Throughout his time as a junior golfer, Steele put together strong finishes in events such as the Kingston Junior Championship and the AJGA FORE Performance Junior Championship, placing in the top 10 in both tournaments in 2015.
Following his graduation from Holy Cross in 2016, Steele was ranked the number-one golfer in his graduating class in Canada, as the athlete headed south to Sam Houston University to compete in the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA). During his time on the Bearkats golf team, Steele experienced a number of personal successes, which included an individual Southland Conference championship in 2019. The Kingstonian was also named to the conference’s airst all-star team in 2018 and 2019.
After turning pro in 2021, Steele joined the PGA Tour Canada in 2022; a development league which, along with the PGA Tour Latinoamerica, could eventually lead to a spot in the full-fledged PGA Tour. “PGA Tour Canada and PGA Tour Latinoamerica are seen as the preparatory and development tours of the Korn Ferry Tour, which is the line between where I’m at right now and the PGA Tour… So, it’s kind of the beginning of the pipeline to the PGA Tour.”
To date, Steele has competed in 15 events on the Canadian tour; he recently earned the first top-five finish of his career with a fifth-place result at the ATB Classic in Alberta at the start of July. So far this season, Steele has three top-10 finishes to his name and has won $23, 320 in prize money.
As for how his second year on the PGA Tour Canada has gone, Steele said he has been able to improve the upper level of his game. “The weeks that I’ve played ball, I’ve finished really high, which is a little different [compared to] last year, when I was very consistent, but I had a lot of middle to lower pack finishes. I’m doing a better job of just putting myself in a position to be the next to win, which is of course why everybody’s playing,” he remarked.
Steele added, “The highlights really have been the three top-10s that I’ve had, and really having legitimate chances to win each of those efforts. PGA Tour Canada has been my main focus this year… It’s a good year to have a good year in Canada, so I’ve done a good job so far of making the most of it.”
As for what the future holds, Steele said he hopes the next step in his journey is a spot on the Korn Ferry Tour, which could come as early as this fall, as the member of Cataraqui Golf and Country Club gets set to compete in a series of competitions known as Q-School, which determines the field for next year’s Tour. “I truly want to move to the next level, which is, for the most part, usually through Q-School in the fall, [and] there’s various stages to that. I’m trying to get into a position where I can start as far into the stages as possible so that I have fewer to play in to grab a Korn Ferry Card.”
With Steele looking to advance to the next rung of the professional golfing ladder, the Kingstonian hopes to one day earn a membership card on the PGA Tour, which would qualify him for some of the biggest golfing tournaments in the world, allowing him to earn prize money he can only dream of right now. As for what it will take to get his game to that level, for Steele, it’s all about getting more competitive experience. “The biggest thing that has helped grow my game has been experience and just being in different situations to test myself, and then going back and working on the things that maybe didn’t work or continuing to refine the things that are working… Just continuing to challenge myself in pursuing that next level is kind of what’s necessary.”
Given the significant successes some Canadian golfers have had on the PGA Tour in recent years, including Nick Taylor’s remarkable victory at the 2023 RBC Canadian Open, Steele reflected on the inspiration he has been able to draw from some of his fellow countrymen. “Corey Conners and I have the same coach, and I just kind of look up to him and the way that he goes about things and takes care of his business of the course… I certainly look up to a number of the Canadians on the PGA tour but I would say that Corey is probably the one I pay the most attention to,” he said.
While life as an up-and-coming golfer may seem glamorous to some, with most of Steele’s days spent on some of the country’s most beautiful golf courses, the athlete said there’s a lot more to the sport than the average recreational golfer realizes. “A lot of people think my work is like a hobby… but, I think it’s far more demanding physically and mentally. Pretty much every decision I make or the way that I go about things day to day, in a roundabout way, is to better me as a golfer.”
Despite misconceptions from some, Steele has been able to rely on consistent support from friends and family, as well as members of Kingston’s golfing community, throughout most of his career. “I’ve been very fortunate, there’s been some amazing local support here in Kingston, [including] people I’ve met as a member of the Cataraqui Golf and Country Club. And then, for about a year now, I’ve been with my agent Jeff Dykeman, and he’s brought forward a lot of amazing support and partnerships. For the past four years, I’ve been part of the national program for Golf Canada, and that was a huge financial turning point for me and my family,” he said.
Steele added that he hopes to eventually be able to give back to the community that has supported him on his journey. “It’s a goal of mine to have a chance to give back consistently, especially in the junior development realm to provide opportunities for others. In addition to being on the road, I never really play at home in Kingston… So, it’s nice to have that at the back of your mind while you’re away, that connection, which is quite nice.”
With three events remaining on the schedule, Steele is currently ranked 18th in the PGA Tour Canada’s race for the Fortinet Cup Championship. The Kingstonian is 818 points behind championship leader Davis Lamb.