BILOXI, MS (AP) - It was a hot and humid morning on Sunday when the Slavic International teed off for the golf tournament's last day.
The annual three-day event brought over a thousand golfers to the Gulf Coast this year.
"We started in 1972," said Slavonian Lodge President Matthew Dubaz. "It went from 36 players to 1064."
With players teeing off simultaneously at six different locations in South Mississippi over the weekend, the Slavic International draws a very loyal crowd each year.
The invitational's registration fees includes social events during the evenings, which are held at the Beau Rivage Casino and Resort, as well as dinners.
"I've been playing here for about 18 years and I'm enjoying the courses," said golfer Neil Broussard. "We enjoy the food, the entertainment, and the Slavic people. They do a fantastic job with it."
The tournament is hosted by the Slavonian Lodge each year and helps the organization raise scholarship money to pass out to children of its members.
"The golf tournament has become our bread and butter with scholarships for our children, graduating seniors, and also for expenses throughout the year," said Dubaz.
"The youth of our country is the future so anytime you can get a kid to be educated, it helps in the future," added Broussard.
In addition to helping fund education, the golf tournament also promotes economic development along the Gulf Coast.
"The economic impact for the coast is about $2 million while the golfers are here," said Dubaz. "Just imagine how many (credit) cards can be swiped during 18 rounds of golf by a wife, girlfriend, or whatever."
The final championship of the Slavic Invitational was held Sunday afternoon at Fallen Oak Golf Club in Saucier.