Beacon House prepares for Celebrity Golf Classic

Retired NFL linebacker Chase Blackburn chats with event host Steve Mariucci before starting off on the Greywalls Course Thursday morning June 23, 2016 during the Beacon House U.P. Celebrity Golf Classic held at the Marquette Golf Club. (Photo courtesy Shannon Stieg)

MARQUETTE — The Beacon House of Marquette is set for their seventh annual U.P. Celebrity Golf Classic next week at Greywalls and the Heritage Course at the Marquette Country Club.

The event will begin Wednesday at 10 a.m. with the Jay Feely Clinic where the celebrities will be introduced and PGA instructors will hold a lesson clinic.

The golf tournament will tee off at 9 a.m. on Thursday, with other festivities surrounding the day with the famous names and local participants.

Beacon House CEO Mary Tavernini-Dowling said the event is aligned for another successful stint.

“I’m always amazed how much bigger it gets each year,” Tavernini-Dowling said. “This has become a giant talking point with celebrities, and it’s certainly one of the funnest times of the year for the community.”

The event initially raised $50,000 in their first year, and last year reached $150,000 with hopes of reaching our surpassing last year’s gain.

The proceeds make up roughly a third of the Beacon House’s yearly operating budget, helping support one of the Upper Peninsula’s leading hospice homes to the Marquette community.

A long list of celebrities is slated to participate in the event, starting with Northern Michigan University alum and former NFL head coach Steve Mariucci, who annually attends.

Mariucci starts each year with greeting the celebrities at the Beacon House and tells his personal story of when he and his family stayed there when his mother suffered cancer.

“It’s important to have (Mariucci) both at the Beacon House and at the festivities throughout the week,” Tavernini-Dowling said. “His story and passion reinvigorates to keep doing this every year and keeping going on at the hospitality house.”

Mariucci will be joined by annual attendee Feely, a former longtime kicker in the NFL, as well as Detroit Red Wings analyst Mickey Redmond.

Other stars who will participate in the golf tournament include five more former NFL players, including two-time Super Bowl champion Chase Blackburn from the New York Giants, former Miami Dolphin pro bowler Ronnie Brown, former New Orleans Saints and Baltimore Colts running back Howard Stevens and former pro bowler Leon Washington from the New York Jets.

Tavernini-Dowling said she’s been in continuous contact with other celebrities who have not yet confirmed their attendance for the event, but still could by Wednesday.

Other events will be set up around the site, including two $1 million hole in one challenges at Greywalls and the Heritage course.

There will also be a hole in one challenge for a Cadillac Escalade, a $10,000 putting contest and a field goal kicking contest put on by Jay Feely, with the uprights made of Birch tree.

A limited number of spots remain to participate in the golf tournament, and purchases can be made at http://www.upbeaconhouse.org.

Tavernini-Dowling said the event goes farther than gathering celebrities to the Marquette area.

“It’s huge for our operating dollars, but it’s very important because it’s a way to get together with the people who help make us happen,” Tavernini-Dowling said. “From our great staff to our donors, it’s a community with hundreds of helpers who help get honored. It’s a great time to bring people from within and outside of the community to celebrate the Beacon House.”

Ray Bressette can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is rbressette@miningjournal.net.