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Lifebird Grill cooks up 6,300 hot dogs during WM Phoenix Open tournament week, donates proceeds to charity

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — If there’s one thing Martin Calfee knows, it’s how to run a successful business at the WM Phoenix Open.

Calfee, a lifetime member of the Thunderbirds, the organization that runs the golf tournament, is the driving force behind the Lifebird Grill, a hot dog and beer tent that donates its profits to charity.

Now in his 26th year overseeing the operation, the 86-year-old has turned the charity initiative into a staple at the Open.

“The same people come back here and a lot of them are people who can’t wait to get back here,” Calfee said. “They love the hot dogs and they love coming here.”

His attention to details is poured into the estimated 6,300 hot dogs made yearly at the Open near the 10th green.

Calfee is particular about his process for making the right hot dogs. Working as an assistant in his first year overseeing the tent, the hot dogs were all frozen and weren’t up to his standards. Since then, he’s taken the frozen hot dogs and boiled them down in beer and grilled them over the fire.

While he’s proud of how his work has turned out, he’s even more grateful for how his craft has helped others. Each year, the stand makes about $30,000 for charity.

“I’ve been very fortunate in my life,” Calfee said. “I got a great wife and five great daughters. I got to give a little back and that’s what I consider doing.”

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