Slavic Invitational Golf Tournament Kicks Off Thursday

Thursday kicks off the 40th Annual Slavic Invitational Golf Tournament in south Mississippi. The four day event will bring more than 2,000 visitors to the Coast.

The Slavic Invitational is the biggest golf tournament on the Coast and organizers say it’s expected to bring in a whopping $2.5 million in revenue for Biloxi this year. The Slavics tell News 25 it’s not all about the money, but making sure everyone has a good time.

Serena Gilich has been involved in the Slavic Invitational Golf Tournament for as long as she can remember. Gilich says, "My mother was involved, my grandmother was involved before me, and we’ve worked this golf course. We have grand bear, actually the group that I have, we work on grand bear. I work with my cousins, my sister, and that’s how it is, it’s family and friends."

Gilich is just one of the 200 volunteers in the Women’s Auxiliary that devote their time and efforts to making sure the golfers enjoy the weekend. Gilich also says, "It’s what we love. We love the golfers, we love the people, and we have a good time."

Truckloads of homemade food and beverages will be making their way to the six host golf courses on Thursday. According to the directors, this year will be the largest tournament to date. Andrew “Fofo” Gilich, Tournament Director, says, "Bigger and better, this is the largest crowd. We actually have 532 two man teams, so that’s 1,064 if you do the arithmetic."

All those players and their guests need a place to stay while they’re on the Gulf Coast. More than 600 rooms are rented out at the Beau Rivage alone. Andrew says Biloxi can expect a spike in this weekend’s revenues. Andrew also says, "Conservatively, between any of the golf courses and of course the room nights and so forth, about 2.5 million."

With all the preparation and hard work that goes into pulling off the golf tournament, Slavic organizers say it’s all worth it seeing everyone have a tremendous time. Marion “Stag” Pitalo, a longtime Slavic Chief, says, "We have fun, we have fun. That’s the most important thing about this, not work, but fun."

Golfers from around the world will arrive Thursday night for a welcome dinner. The first tee off is Friday morning at 8 a.m.

Categories: Local News, News

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