• Akina is Golfweek’s #1-ranked golfer in 2025 class; Named 2023 USA Today National Boys High School Golfer of the Year
  • Signing Furthers Eastside Golf’s Commitment To Supporting Promising Young Golfers Shaping The Future of the Game

NEW YORK, July 2, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Eastside Golf furthered its commitment to supporting the next generation of athletes today by announcing the signing of superstar young golfer Kihei Akina to its Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) athlete roster. Akina, ranked No. 1 in the 2025 class by Golfweek, now accompanies Temple University freshman Matthew Vital on Eastside Golf’s NIL roster as the apparel brand continues to expand its platform supporting and sponsoring talented young golfers.

“Kihei is not just one of our country’s best young golfers, but also a standout athlete who represents the bright future of our sport both on and off the course. He’s an incredible player from an amazing family with major ambitions who puts in immense effort to be the best version of himself and someone kids look up to. Eastside Golf is honored to have him on our team,” said Earl Cooper, Eastside Golf’s co-founder and CEO.

“I’m proud to welcome Kihei and his family into Eastside Golf where our NIL program will bring him the access, mentorship, opportunities and financial support he deserves as he strives to be the best golfer he can be. Earl and I understand the grueling journey that golf can be for a young athlete, and we are excited to work with Kihei to support him as he continues to excel in the game,” said Olajuwon Ajanaku, Eastside Golf’s co-founder and creative director.

Akina, a native of Kahuku, Hawaii, and rising senior at Lone Peak High School in Highland, U.T., was named the 2023 USA Today National Boys High School Golfer of the Year. He has secured a pair of top-5 finishes in Junior tournaments already this year, including 1st place at the Nike Junior Invitational, and setting the course and tournament record at the Terra Cotta Invitational at Naples Golf Club, shooting a 62. He also advanced to the final qualifying round for the U.S. Open this year after shooting the second-best score (-3) at a local qualifying event. The rising senior has already committed to Brigham Young University.

“As someone who has worn their gear for years, it’s exciting to now represent Eastside Golf on the course, ” said Kihei Akina. “I admire how Eastside Golf is all about bringing the community and culture together as one. Their values and how they want to bring opportunities to those who previously may not have had them closely align with my goals. I want to be a model to younger people and grow the game of golf, and I’m pumped to be able to do so alongside Earl, Olajuwon and their entire team. Plus, their gear is fire, both on and off the course.”

“Eastside Golf shows that you can dress how you feel comfortable and be welcome in the golf world,” said Alan Akina, Kihei’s father. “Earl and Olajuwon are breaking down the barriers that too often exist in the sport. As a dad, that made me feel entirely comfortable with and excited about Kihei partnering with Eastside Golf. We love what they stand for and have a shared vision of how to push the game of golf forward.”

Founded in 2019 by former Morehouse College golf teammates Olajuwon Ajanaku and PGA of America Golf Professional Earl Cooper, Eastside Golf is transforming public perceptions of golf, actively reshaping the cultural dialogue surrounding the game to support more inclusivity and diversity, and creating more authentic opportunities to bring a broader audience into the game to grow the sport for generations to come. Eastside Golf is deeply committed to supporting and spotlighting HBCU golf through events and partnerships and has donated a cumulative $300,000 to support the Morehouse College golf team.

The organization’s apparel has been embraced by golf professionals, former presidents, celebrities, fashion influencers and professional athletes alike, including NBA stars Chris Paul and Jayson Tatum, NFL great Victor Cruz, musician DJ Khaled, and former President Barack Obama. Its success is further underscored by notable relationships with global brands including seven collaborations with Jordan Brand, and strategic partnerships and licensing deals with major entities such as the NBA, MLB, and Mercedes Benz. Eastside Golf was profiled in Hulu’s “Grails: When Sneakers Change the Game,” a six-episode docuseries on how Ajanaku and Cooper are driving social and cultural change in golf.

About Eastside Golf
Eastside Golf is a lifestyle apparel brand rooted in golf that is using fashion to change the perception of the game. The mission of Eastside Golf is to be the lifestyle brand customers deserve — forging new paths and breaking barriers by designing and curating classic lifestyle wear of the highest quality so every customer can authentically express themselves in comfortable luxury. Eastside Golf’s community outreach and golf education aims to connect young professionals and non-golfers with education, resources, and encouragement to love the game. Learn more at www.eastsidegolf.com, and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and X through @EastsideGolf.

Media Contact: Colin Hass-Hill, [email protected]

SOURCE Eastside Golf

Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/eastside-golf-signs-top-junior-golfer-kihei-akina-to-nil-roster-302187596.html
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