Golfer Amy Bockerstette has picked up the nickname Amazing Amy, and it’s not just because of her golf handicap. The 22-year-old young woman has made history by becoming the “first athlete with Down syndrome to play in a national collegiate athletic championship.”
“I like meeting new friends at the tournaments, I have fun,” Amy said when asked why she loves the sport, which can be played by children and the elderly alike.
Her father Joe shared, “We joke in our family that Amy plays golf in order to meet new friends.”
Golf is a fantastic game, and one that can be played by so many people from all different walks of life and physical abilities. It’s one that Amy picked up with her father, who also loves the game and now serves as her caddie. In a little over five years, with the help of a golf instructor, Amy went from not being able to make contact with the ball to competing at the high school level.
As a junior, she made history as the first Arizona student with Down syndrome to compete in a high school playoffs event. When she graduated, Amy again made history by becoming the first person with Down syndrome to receive an athletic scholarship at a community college.
“I just love playing the tournaments, riding on the bus, and meeting new friends,” Amy said. “I love my teammates, they are my best friends.
“Golf is fun. I like putting the best.”
In addition to making history, Amy has also gone viral with her incredible skills and catchphrase, “I got this.”
During the Waste Management Phoenix Open in 2018, Amy was given the opportunity to play the 16th hole with golf pro Gary Woodland and she said, “I got this” before making par on that particular hole. The moment went viral and has been viewed more than 51 million times. In fact, it was the most engaged video ever on the official PGA Tour Facebook page, outperforming videos of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, some of the most popular tour members.
Woodland said of his interaction with Amy: “I’ve had a lot of good memories in my life, but that’s one I’ll never forget. I’ve been blessed to do lot of cool things on the golf course but that is by far the coolest thing I’ve ever experienced. She was phenomenal. And then to step up in front of all the people and the crowd and everything and to hit the shots that she hit and made par, I never rooted so hard for somebody on a golf course and it was an emotional, emotional really cool experience.”
She’s even started a nonprofit called I Got This Foundation, “which provides golfing instruction for people with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities.”
Joe, Amy’s father, shared, “You know, you go through early grieving about what you’ve given up with your child with a disability. What I’ve subsequently learned is, that was pretty silly. The lesson there is you just can’t put limits on people there. It was ridiculous for me to think that Amy couldn’t achieve what she’s achieved.”
“It is an incredible moment to see Amy playing at Nationals,” her mother Jenny said. “It has far exceeded our goals and expectations. We are so proud of what she has accomplished, and we are humbled by what her accomplishments mean to the Down syndrome community.”
No doubt, Amy’s achievements will encourage more people and their families to check out the many, many benefits of golf, a game that is really for everyone.
Photo from David Tucker/News Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC/REUTERS