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Golfing with Grace
by Kati Graupner
Faith, family, and golfing are fundamental in the life of 17-year-old Amy Anderson, winner of this year’s U.S. Girls’ Junior Golf Championship.
Amy Anderson attributes her success on the golf course to homeschooling, hard work, and divine favor.
Golfing has been a hobby for Amy ever since she was young. Her dad enjoyed golfing, and her family actually lives on a golf course. Amy says, “As long as I can remember, I always had a golf club in my hand, but I didn’t really start [playing golf] personally until I was about eight.”
But living on a golf course has not meant unlimited hours of practice. At Amy’s home in North Dakota, the cooler weather means that she gets less practice time than golfers in California and Florida enjoy.
Nevertheless, Amy worked hard on her golfing in the summer and was doing well on a local and statewide scale. She had an excellent swing coach. Deciding to try her skills on the national scale, she entered the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship both last year and this year. This championship is open to female amateur golfers under the age of 18 and has its male counterpart in the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship. According to the official website of the 2009 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship, 999 girls entered this year’s six-day-long contest. Amy Anderson, one girl out of almost a thousand, took home the prize.
Amy’s family, who play an integral part of her life, went with her to the championship and got to experience her victory with her. “It was great,” Amy says, “There’s nobody else I’d want to share that with.” Her 18-year-old brother, who is also a very good golfer, worked alongside her as her caddie. “He really helped me,” she says, “especially during that week” of the championship.
Both Amy and her brother were homeschooled from kindergarten through 12th grade, and she graduated last school year. She speaks openly about her faith and says that the spiritual aspect of homeschooling was one of the reasons that her parents chose to educate her and her brother at home. Homeschooling was a challenge, especially for her mother during the busy high school years. She encourages other homeschoolers, “I know personally how hard it can be to apply yourself to your studies when life gets crazy . The thing is not to look too far ahead. Stay in the day, and enjoy the little moments.” Amy especially enjoyed moments with her family, and is thankful for the extra time with them that homeschooling gave to her. Homeschooling forged for her the close family who supported her at the golf championship. She recognizes God’s hand in her education and tells other homeschoolers, “Trust God, and He will take you all the way through.”
Amy also gives credit to God for her golfing success. She says, “A big part of it for me was the Lord. I know that he worked in everything, in the good times and the bad.”
Although golfing does have its ups and downs, Amy was diligent, and her efforts were rewarded this summer with a remarkable victory that boosted her confidence. Coming into the championship, she was viewed as the underdog, especially because girls from warmer states had the benefit of longer training seasons. “The Lord can use anybody, and he really showed me that,” Amy says. She shares the key to her victory with other homeschoolers: “The thing is, you have to want it, and you have to work for it. With anything, it takes a lot of work, but don’t let that get in the way, because the Lord will help you—definitely—and if it is His will, He will take you places where you couldn't even imagine.”
Between golf and school, Amy keeps herself busy. She also enjoys playing the violin and piano for church and enjoys reading, especially on theological topics. Her victory at the championship showed Amy that she might be able to make a career out of golfing. This fall, she is beginning undergraduate studies at North Dakota State University, where she is pursuing an accounting degree, playing on the golf team, and trying to take life one tournament at a time. She has already won her first three college events.
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To learn more about golf in a fun, interactive environment, visit the USGA Foundation’s junior golf website.