Astro's legend Larry Dierker playing golf

For years, former Astros player, manager and broadcaster Larry Dierker has lent not only his name, but his deeds, too, for Literacy Advance of Houston, an organization dedicated to help adults attain functional literacy. Dierker has been a celebrity spokesman for the nonprofit organization, but is also a passionate volunteer, spending a couple of times a week or more tutoring adults who need help learning how to read.

He’s also been a big part of a charity golf tournament conducted over the years to raise money for the cause, but this year, Dierker and the organization are trying something different. If successful, which Dierker fully expects will be, you might see other groups go this route as well.

The 2014 Reader Cup, scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 20 from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., will be at TopGolf Houston, a giant three-tiered sports complex that’s part high-tech driving range and part sports bar, located off Interstate 10 West at 1030 Memorial Brook Blvd. (By the way, a second TopGolf facility is currently being constructed in Spring and scheduled to open sometime in the spring.)

There will be six-person teams, but instead of playing 18 holes of golf, they be in the covered comfort of heated bays, hitting specially encoded golf balls to electronic targets. Similar to bowling, scores are tabulated by frame, and the higher the score, the better.

Dierker said holding the event at TopGolf allows nongolfers to get involved, it isn’t weather dependent, and the atmosphere lends itself to more socializing than a charity golf tournament.

“They wanted to do something that was more like a party than a golf event,” Dierker said, noting the Literacy Advance will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year. “And they wanted to do something that wouldn’t take a whole day from somebody’s work schedule… It’s really fun. I’ve been there a couple of times. I’m really looking forward to it.”

By Mike Bailey – Houston Chronicle

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