The day after the Astros’ 2013 season ended, several members of the organization hit the course.
It was the team’s Annual Golf Classic hosted by the Astros Foundation at the exclusive Shadow Hawk Golf Club in Richmond with proceeds benefitting the Astros Urban Youth Academy. The sold-out event raised over $250,000 to help fund UYA for at-risk youth in low-income neighborhoods in the Houston community. It was chaired by Astros' owner Jim Crane and partners Steve Gibson and Shawn Taylor, who was raised in the projects on the south side of Chicago and said it's his passion to help inner-city kids.
“Our foundation is focusing on three things: youth baseball, cancer and the military,” Astros President of Business Operations Reid Ryan said. “It’s been spearheaded by Jim [Crane] and his ownership group. Part of the goal of the Astros is not only to win championships, but we want to make a difference in the Houston community for a long time.”
“That’s the main reason why we’re out here,” Astros legend Craig Biggio said. “Jim’s done a great job and golf tournaments are an easy way to make a lot of money, and to have it here at Shadow Hawk – it’s one of the nicest courses in the city of Houston, and it’s all for a good cause.”
“There’s such great support out here from the community and the Astros, and these types of events are really what’s necessary to generate the funds to help the kids the way we want to do it,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said.
“The Astros Foundation is important to a lot of people,” Astros/baseball legend Roger Clemens said. “It’s Monday and it’s a golf outing, so you can’t beat that – anything for a foundation. You guys know about my foundation, so we love it.”
Astros players Jarred Cosart, Matt Dominguez and Lucas Harrell are a few of the only golfers on the team, and they were excited about participating.
“It’s a treat just to get an opportunity,” Harrell said. “For them to even ask me is a real honor to come out here and raise money. My dad is a diabetic and so charity stuff is real close to me. Helping other people out is a huge thing and plus getting to do it in Houston in the community where I work.”
Regarding the actual competition on the course, Clemens and Crane are skilled golfers. In fact, Crane is a scratch golfer who famously hosted a vacationing President Barack Obama for a round of golf at his Floridian National Golf Club in Palm City, Fla., during spring training back in March. But here is what the others had to say about their skills:
Luhnow: “I play occasionally. I like to play. I played since I was a kid but I don’t play enough to really compete at a high level. (You’re not going to be taking Jim’s money?) No, I’ll carry Jim’s bag for him.”
Harrell: “I’m not so good. I think I’m good but I’m not as good as I think I am. At least I’m honest.”
Cosart: “I’m alright. I like to tell everybody that I’m bad, but I’m OK.”
Biggio:” I take my golf game real seriously. That’s why I play about once every six months.”
Other former players who also participated include Alan Ashby, Terry Puhl, Craig Reynolds and John Hudek as well as Andre Ware, who won the 1989 Heisman Trophy as a Houston Cougar.