2:47 | Transcript
“I got this” — a phrase many of us have used at some point in our lives. Maybe you’ve said it before taking on a new responsibility at work, or before a big life transition, like moving to a new city. It’s that internal mantra that reminds you that you’re capable.
These are also the exact words that became a viral sensation — and then a movement — thanks to Amy Bockerstette. It was the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open’s Dream Day, and Bockerstette, a golfer with Down syndrome, was playing with PGA Tour players Gary Woodland and Matt Kuchar. During a practice round at TPC Scottsdale, Bockerstette was on the infamous 16th hole. As was her custom, before hitting her shot, she said “I got this” — and then proceeded to make par. The crowd went wild.
While the crowd reacted because Bockerstette had defied their expectations of what people with intellectual disabilities are capable of, her family didn’t blink an eye. They knew exactly what she could achieve. Having trained in golf from a young age, she was the first person with Down syndrome to receive a college athletic scholarship and would eventually go on to compete in a national collegiate championship.
To inspire young golfers and educate the public on what’s possible for people with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities — both in golf and beyond the game — Bockerstette’s family founded the I GOT THIS Foundation.
“That day, Amy demonstrated what a determined athlete with self-confidence and a positive attitude can achieve,” shared Joe Bockerstette, Amy’s dad. “The I GOT THIS Foundation is on a mission to promote golf instruction and playing opportunities for people with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities. With the right training and experiences, we help them find the focus and confidence they need achieve their own ‘I got this’ moments — on the golf course and in life.”
The I GOT THIS Foundation believes golf is a sport where everyone plays the same game on the same field and that people with intellectual disabilities should be included in those games. In its work to diversify the game of golf, the organization strives for its athletes to be able to play with their peers, join their high school teams and even obtain college athletic scholarships. More than that, the hope is that participants can enjoy the benefits of golf that are found outside of the game itself — and have a community where they’re treated like everyone else.
“We know barriers are part of the golf course, but they shouldn’t be part of the game,” said Seth Siegel, CEO of Grant Thornton. “Supporting the I GOT THIS Foundation is an important part of our firm’s ongoing efforts to diversify the game of golf ― one that mirrors the diversity-oriented approach we’re bringing to the accounting and consulting industry. It’s all about building strong and multidimensional communities through inclusion.”
The foundation’s flagship program, the I GOT THIS Golf Academy, provides a five-week introduction to golf, led by professional instructors, for athletes with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities aged 13 and older. The curriculum serves to build confidence and a love for the game, while creating healthy experiences and building memories between athletes and their family and friends who participate as Playing Partners. The I GOT THIS Instructor Academy trains instructors across the country on methods of teaching golf to individuals with intellectual disabilities, with the aim of empowering them in the sport and as individuals.
The foundation also holds golf invitationals where Academy participants get a real tournament experience — the first of which was held in February 2023. Additionally, the organization’s grant program supports other organizations that deliver golf training to individuals with intellectual disabilities.
“Through our programs, we watch athletes become better golfers, as well as more confident and independent individuals,” said Tracy Hupko, executive director of the I GOT THIS Foundation. “We provide not only the training that all golfers need, but experiences everyone deserves — the ability to travel, meet new people, make memories and gain skills to thrive on and off the course.”
Currently, the I GOT THIS Foundation provides golf instruction and tournaments in Arizona, serving more than 200 athletes and Playing Partners. In 2023, that number is expected to grow to nearly 300 individuals across Arizona, California, Texas, Colorado, Louisiana and more — but they want to bring golf to even more aspiring athletes. And you can help.
Your support can help the I GOT THIS Foundation expand opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities to show up on the golf course — and in life — and say, “I got this.”