Two players who first made their name on the diamond at Calhoun High are both coming back home to raise money for the program that helped them get their start.
Former Calhoun Yellow Jackets Josh Smoker and Charlie Culberson, who are now both playing in the Majors, will host the inaugural Smoker Culberson Golf Classic on Jan. 7 at Fields Ferry Golf Club to benefit the Calhoun High Baseball Program.
Registration is now open for golfers, corporate partners and volunteers via the tournament website, www.smokerculbersonclassic.com. Individual registration for the tournament is $100 while registering as a foursome is $320.
Culberson is currently playing with the Los Angeles Dodgers and had some big moments this past season as they advanced to the National League Championship Series before falling to the eventual World Series champion Chicago Cubs. Culberson played in 34 games for the Dodgers last season and had 20 total hits, including three doubles, a homer and seven RBIs. He was a part of the 2005 Class AA State Championship team with Calhoun and was drafted 51st overall in the 2007 MLB Draft by the San Francisco Giants before being traded to the Colorado Rockies in 2012 after he made his MLB debut with San Francisco earlier that season.
Culberson said he’s excited about hosting the tournament and being able to put it together to help a program that is close to his heart.
“This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while, and obviously having Josh there with me only makes sense,” said Culberson. “Chip (Henderson) is really close to me. He’s been a really close friend now for a long time, and he does such a good job there for the baseball program at Calhoun. It’s just something little we can do to give back and help out a little to let them know that we’re here and we’re here to help any way we can. Doing a golf tournament, I’m sure not too many people will be upset about going out and playing a round of golf for a day and also benefitting something like Calhoun and the baseball team.”
Smoker was a dominant pitcher during his time as a Yellow Jacket and was also a big piece of the 2005 State Championship team. He was drafted 31st overall in the 2007 MLB Draft by the Washington Nationals. He was signed by the New York Mets prior to the 2015 season and made his MLB Debut this past August. He pitched in 20 games for the Mets down the stretch and had a record of 3-0 with an ERA of 4.70 while striking out 25 batters.
Smoker echoed Culberson’s comments about the excitement to be able to put the tournament together and being a part of helping the Jackets program and bringing old teammates and coaches back together.
“We’re looking forward to doing it, and we’re hoping to have a good turnout,” said Smoker. “Any way we can give back to the community, we’re going to do what we can. We’re really looking forward to it.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone. I’ve kept in contact with Chip throughout the years, and Charlie and myself see each other all the time. But as far as some of the guys we played with coming up through the program that I haven’t seen since high school, it’s going to be great to see them. I’ve already started to reconnect with them and talk to them for the first time in a long time. It’s going to be a good way to bring guys back together, play a little golf and give back to Calhoun. I know I wouldn’t be where I am right now if it wasn’t for Calhoun, and I’m pretty sure Charlie would tell you the same thing. So any way we can give back and try to help the program, that’s the goal of what we’re trying to do while also bringing everyone back together.”
The Golf Classic will also feature a raffle, silent auction, long putt contest and the ability to buy mulligans and play with Smoker and Culberson. There will be a reception following the round for golfers and volunteers.