Amy Bockerstette is a collegiate golfer and disabilities advocate with Down syndrome. She is the first person with Down syndrome to receive an athletic scholarship to attend college.
On May 20, 2021, Amy made history by becoming the first person with Down syndrome to compete in a national collegiate championship.
"I GOT THIS!"
Amy Bockerstette was born on October 15, 1998, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. From the beginning, her parents were strong believers in inclusive education. She attended Three Rivers Montessori School from the age of 5 until 12 years old, where she was included with typical peers in general education classrooms. She moved to Phoenix, Arizona, in August 2010 and attended Stetson Hills Elementary School from 5th through 8th grade, also primarily in general education classes.
Amy’s first experience with organized golf came in the Spring of her eighth-grade year. She participated on a school club golf team, where she impressed her grade school coach such that he recommended to her parents that she join the girl’s golf team in high school.
Amy attended Sandra Day O’Connor High School in Phoenix, Arizona, where she graduated with a full diploma in May 2018. She played on the high school girls golf team for 4 years and earned her varsity letter for golf in her sophomore, junior and senior seasons. She was named to the All-Region team and awarded Most Inspirational as a Junior.
While attending O'Connor, Amy became the first person with Down syndrome to play in the Arizona High School Girls Golf Division I State Championship, where she competed as both a Junior and Senior. In 2017, she was honored at the AZCentral.com Sports Awards with the Best Moment of the Year Award for Arizona High School Sports. Amy was later named by AZCentral.com as one of the “Ten Most Intriguing High School Athletes of 2017.”
In May 2018, Amy signed a letter of intent to play golf at Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix, Arizona. For 4 years, she studied dance at PVCC and played on a full golf scholarship, completing her college career in May 2022. She was afforded 2 one-year golf scholarship extensions due to Covid-19. She is a Special Olympics athlete in golf, swimming, and volleyball and plays soccer and Challenger baseball as well. She also plays piano.
As a representative of Special Olympics Arizona, Amy was invited by the PGA TOUR to play the par 3 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale with PGA TOUR player Gary Woodland and playing partner Matt Kuchar during a Tuesday practice round at the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open. After hitting her tee shot into a greenside bunker, she parred the hole with a 10-foot putt. The PGA TOUR’s video capturing the moment has since gone viral, receiving 55 million views across various social media platforms.
On June 16, 2019, Gary Woodland won the US Open at Pebble Beach and credited Amy and her iconic “I GOT THIS!” as inspiration for his victory. At the post-win press conference, Woodland FaceTimed Amy live, telling her, “I used your positive energy.”
The PGA TOUR video of the exchange also went viral. Two days later, he joined Amy with a surprise appearance on the Today Show where, pointing to the US Open Trophy in her hands, he said to her, “We won that together.”
Later that month, Amy was the keynote speaker for the National Down Syndrome Congress Annual Convention, where more than 2000 attendees gave her a standing ovation for her speech, “What’s Your Superpower?”
On December 28, 2019, Amy served as one of five Grand Marshals for the 2019 Desert Financial Fiesta Bowl Parade, alongside USWMT soccer players Julie Ertz and Jessica McDonald, US para triathlete Allysa Seely and WNBA basketball player Diana Taurasi.
On December 17, 2020, Amy was appointed for a two-year term to the President's Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition.
On May 5, 2021, PVCC awarded Amy the Golden Puma Distinguished Leadership Award, which is the highest award bestowed upon PVCC students annually and recognizes model students who have integrated academic excellence with achievement in areas such as leadership, athletics, community service, fine and performing arts, entrepreneurship and career achievement.
In Spring 2021, the PVCC Women’s Golf Team (Coach Matt Keel, Captain Paige Dormal, Sara Kearns, Jinkyung Kim, Amber Daczka, Amy Bockerstette, and Emily Ingles) competed at the 2021 NJCAA Women’s Golf Championship held at Plantation Bay Golf and Country Club in Ormond Beach, Florida. On May 20, 2021, Amy made history by becoming the first person with Down syndrome to compete in a national collegiate championship.
The following week, May 17-20, 2021, Amy finished second in the Women’s Division at the United States Disabled Open Golf Championship hosted by Longbow Golf Course in Mesa, Arizona.
On June 24, 2021, Amy was named one of two inaugural recipients of the Champion Award by the NJCAA Foundation. The Champion Award was established to honor a member or former member of the NJCAA community who exemplifies resilience, excellence, and passion.
On April 29, 2022, Amy was named one the of 48 Most Intriguing Women of Arizona by 48 Arizona Women and the Arizona Historical Society. She is featured in a coffee table book titled: Arizona’s 48 Most Intriguing Women—A New Decade, telling each woman’s story in words and photos.
Amy continues to represent the I Got This Foundation, as a speaker and by attending various charity golf tournaments and fundraising events, where she advocates for inclusion and for people with disabilities.