▶ Watch Video: College golfer with Down syndrome breaks barriers

Amy Bockerstette has earned her nickname Amazing Amy. She is the first person with Down syndrome to compete in a national collegiate athletic championship. Just by teeing off on Monday, Bockerstette is a winner. 

“I like meeting new friends at the tournaments, I have fun,” she said about why she loves the game. 

“We joke in our family that Amy plays golf in order to meet new friends,” her dad, Joe, said. 

Amy Bockerstette

Handout / Amy Bockerstette family

Bockerstette’s dad is always by her side as her caddie. “I love being with my dad. He’s an amazing guy,” Bockerstette said. “He’s my best father ever.” 

Her dad said it’s also meaningful to him because “some of the most fun moments of my life have been on the golf course with her.” 

One of those moments came in 2019 when she awed pro golfer Gary Woodland, and the world, by making par on the notoriously difficult 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale. The video of the moment went viral and has been viewed more than 51 million times. 

But Bockerstette’s story is more about not setting limits on yourselves than it is about golf. 

“You know, you go through early grieving about what you’ve given up with your child with a disability,” her dad said. “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.”

With what she’s achieved, Bockerstette’s advice for a tough shot can be life advice for all of us. “I got this. Yeah, I got this,” she tells herself. 

Pro golfer Gary Woodland and Amy Bockerstette

Handout / Amy Bockerstette family