Last December, a young woman reached out to me for help with her taxes – her name, Amanda Doherty. I was on vacation in Hawaii at the time, but I do check emails, and we juggled available times back and forth across the thousands of miles and six time zones.
Well, we did finally talk, and I learned of her remarkable story. It’s inspirational.
Amanda knew by the time she was 13 that, of the many sports she’d enjoyed – tennis, basketball, softball included – it was golf which had her heart.
That’s a tender age, but many girls by that time are playing at the national level, and so in high school Amanda, late to the game, had fewer results to her record, and received little notice from potential college coaches.
Taking matters into her own hands, this high-school student had the courage to reach out to coaches cold. One of these was Coach Amy Bond of Florida State University at Tallahassee; she suggested Amanda look her up, should she find herself “passing through Tallahassee.” Since Amanda was well aware that no-one ever simply “passes through Tallahassee,” she thought she’d been given the brush-off.
But, though Amanda hadn’t as many results as a lot of her fellow-players, she had talent and commitment, and qualified for the U.S. Girl’s Junior Championships, making the cut. Happily, she did well, and the next week she called Coach Bond a second time. The coach asked “When are you coming to visit?”
Obviously, that wasn’t a brush-off, and Amanda signed with FSU Tallahassee. Having that school, and Coach Bond, trusting in her gave her increased confidence in her own potential.
Her last collegiate event, at storied Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, was not an auspicious finale to her university career. She finished second-to-last. And in a location she loves, having vacationed there regularly as a child, with her parents and aunt and uncle among the spectators.
Amanda had vowed, going into the last day of the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate, to remember that one bad showing was not a big deal in the scheme of things, and not to let any result get the better of her – or of her emotions.
Nor did she, though Amanda had a misgiving or two when Coach Amy Bond approached her afterward. Should she be having such a good time, after finishing so poorly, Amanda wondered.
But the coach praised her attitude, and told Amanda she was proud of her for it.
The next step for Amanda was a single year on the Symetra/Epson Tour, where she won Rookie of the Year honors for the tour year ending 2021.
And now, she has qualified for the LPGA tour, where she is, once again, a rookie. Amanda shot an amazing 68 on the first day of her LPGA professional career.
We’ve picked out some highlights (and some lowlights), but Amanda feels that her journey has been made up of many tiny steps, decisions right and wrong, those who’ve loved and supported her, rather than cardinal triumphs and tragedies. I find that inspiring, as well – all too often, we recall the highs and the lows, without taking into account all the tiny in-between life-moments which, in the end, are such a source of strength and hope, if we choose to tap into them.
RFG wishes Amanda a stellar rookie LPGA year – and we’re proud to say that her hats and visors will feature our brand. Look for her on ESPN at The Chevron Championship March 31 – April 3, 2022 in Rancho Mirage California.
We invite everyone to celebrate Amanda Doherty’s achievement – and those of all the athletes who inspire us. See Amanda’s Instagram @amandadgolf.
Please click here to email me directly – I’d love to hear who inspires you, and how and why.
Until next time,