Las Vegas Sands and First Tee today hosted 60 local students to meet and learn from two-time PGA major winner Collin Morikawa as part of the Sands Cares Youth Empowerment Initiative, a program that brings unique opportunities and uplifting experiences to Long Island youth.
Students ages 7-18 from Hempstead, Uniondale, East Meadow, Garden City and other local communities participated in training sessions with Morikawa and First Tee coaches at Eisenhower Park. The clinic focused on full-swing and short-game skills with students practicing alongside Morikawa and under the supervision of First Tee coaches.
“Golf has so much to offer young athletes, and it was exciting to work with these aspiring young players on their skills today,” Morikawa said. “I’m grateful to Sands for its ongoing commitment to youth sports in the communities where they operate. Great golfers are in the making here on Long Island, and I look forward to playing with them.”
Morikawa began his PGA Tour career by making the cut in 22 consecutive tournaments, second only to Tiger Woods’ 25-cut streak.
Morikawa has five PGA Tour wins, including major championships at the 2020 PGA Championship and the 2021 Open Championship – winning both in his tournament debuts.
Morikawa made news earlier this season with his pledge to donate $1,000 for every birdie he made during three PGA Tour events to support relief efforts for the deadly wildfires in Hawaii.
Later this month, Morikawa will travel to Rome as one of 12 golfers selected to play for Team USA in the Ryder Cup.
“Collin Morikawa is one of pro golf’s most inspirational players and a role model for young people on and off the course,” Robert Goldstein, chairman and CEO of Sands, said. “Bringing him to Long Island to inspire and train local youth golfers is a reflection of our continued commitment to delivering enriching experiences and unique programming that cultivate development and leadership in youth from Nassau County and the entire region.”
Leveraging the power of sports and entertainment as the playing field to connect with youth, the Sands Cares Youth Empowerment Initiative hosts one-of-a-kind events with leaders in those arenas to deliver skills guidance and inspirational talks that inspire youth to believe in their potential, explore new possibilities and take pride in their community.
Partnering with First Tee, which has served the Long Island community for over 20 years, Sands’ goal was to support the nonprofit’s mission is to impact young lives with educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf, with a focus on serving minority and underprivileged youth.
“Today’s event with Collin was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our students who dream of being just like him – on the greens and as a leader,” First Tee executive director Matt Rawitzer said. “Having him practice with these young golfers demonstrates that their dreams can come true and motivates them to work that much harder toward their goals. We are grateful to Sands for facilitating this moment.”
Sands established the Sands Cares Youth Empowerment Initiative as part of its global priority on youth education and mentoring. Creating opportunities for today’s youth builds tomorrow’s leaders and supports the company’s overarching goal of helping sustain thriving communities that are great places to live, work and visit.
Launched earlier this year and specifically created for Long Island, the initiative has hosted a session with soccer stars David Beckham and Carli Lloyd and local soccer clubs, an appearance by former New York Jet D’Brickashaw Ferguson at the annual banquet for Uniondale Knights Youth Football, and a visit by 1969 World Series-winning Miracle Met Art Shamsky with local little leagues and baseball clubs.
Sands is fully committed to Long Island as a future home if it is successful in winning a downstate New York gaming license, with plans to build a world-class destination resort that works hand-in-hand with the community to drive positive impact through Sands Cares.