More Than an Athlete: Valencia’s Brett Currado

Valencia golfer Brett Currado at The Player's Club Valencia on Tuesday, June 13, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

When Brett Currado sinks a putt, the whole course knows it.

“BOO-YAHHH,” Currado, the recent Valencia golf grad would shout.

“You can hear Brett throughout the course yelling at the ball to sit or go,” said Valencia golf coach Rob Waters. “He was an absolute joy to coach for the last four years. He’s come so far.”

When Currado, who was diagnosed with high-functioning autism with Asperger’s at the age of 5, began golfing for Valencia his freshman year, he was shy and nervous.

Glenn Teagle, a former teammate, recalls the team being shy and nervous as well when they first met Currado.

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“We had the first couple meetings, and I remember hearing something about him having some sort of anger management issues,” Teagle said. “Something vague like that, and I just thought, that’s kind of weird because golf’s a game where you don’t want to get angry.”

The team quickly learned that wasn’t the case, and embraced him immediately. They also learned that Currado was a talented golfer.

“Meeting him, he was very respectful but you could tell he was nervous,” Waters said. “When kids tryout, when they’re nervous, you know they’re not going to have a good tryout.

“Not Brett. He got up and striked it … First tee, most kids are real nervous, he gets up and does his thing and smacks it down the middle.”

Valencia golfer Brett Currado began his sport at three years old. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Currado began golfing at age 3, first learning from his great grandfather.

Currado’s father, Johnny, recognized his passion for the sport even earlier than that. He remembers a time when Currado was sitting in his high chair, watching Tiger Woods play on television. When his wife attempted to change the channel, Currado began crying and grasping at the television set.

“We had a golf course across the street from us and there were times where he’d be sitting there with his Titleist hat, his golf shoes, his clubs,” Johnny said. “He was 4 or 5 at the time. He’d be screaming to go play again. He’d be in the backyard chipping balls all day.”

Golf became an outlet. Driving balls relieved stress, putting taught patience. Spare time was dedicated to the course, where Currado never had a difficult time finding a playing partner. He even got a job working at TPC Valencia.

“Just mostly trying to focus on a shot of what to do,” said Currado of his thoughts on the course. “Like, just zone out, just don’t worry about any other distractions outside of here.”

The sport was where his friends were, too.

“I’d always want to sit next to Brett on the van rides because he was the most entertaining,” Teagle said. “I thought after Brett (graduated and) left that golf team, it wouldn’t be as fun. Brett always has so much enthusiasm.”

Valencia golfer Brett Currado was this year’s recipient of the team’s “Viking Award”. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Currado’s hard work and attitude paid off when the second Foothill League match of the year came. Currado, who normally competed with the JV team, earned a spot on varsity.

Similar to when he first began Valencia golf, he was nervous. But he ended up shooting his best tournament score of the season at the Sand Canyon Country Club event.

“I was nervous at first because it was my first-ever varsity league tournament so I had jitters on the putting green so I wanted just to get out,” Currado said.

On top of a fantastic varsity performance, Currado’s senior year was capped by the “Viking Award,” an honor given to the player who works hard and always puts the team first.

Currado is the first-ever recipient of the Viking Award.

“(Golf is) a very individual game,” Waters said. “You’re not relying on someone else to help you make a putt or hit a shot. It is kind of a rare thing to find a guy who’s such a team player and he truly was.”

Currado will study at College of the Canyons in the upcoming school year. He’ll start with general education, but wants to eventually major in business and golf management.

“When he was diagnosed at 5, for (his mother) Dina and I, it was the unknown,” said Johnny. “To watch him grow and accomplish and see where he is now just blows us away.”

A boo-yah moment, without a doubt.

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