Am Tour: Spencer makes the most of his retirement


Wayne Spencer tees it up on the 10th hole of Talking Stick North in the opening round of the Golf Channel Am Tour Senior National Championship.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It's safe to say that Wayne Spencer is making the most of his first year of retirement.

Spencer, 66, from Moreno, Calif. is competing in his 48th Golf Channel Am Tour event of the year this week at the Senior National Championship in Scottsdale. Perhaps his motivation might be explained with a famous quote from Shawshank Redemption:

Get busy livin' or get busy dyin.'

"I didn't want to spend my first year of retirement sitting in front of the TV," explained Spencer as to his aggressive 2013-14 golf schedule. He hadn't played much golf at all in the past few years, so he used a full Am Tour slate as a way of immersing himself back into the game, where he plans to spend much of his retirement. A glance at his season results show far more rounds in the 90s earlier in the season than lately, where scores in the high 70s and low 80s are more commonplace.

This week he's competing in the Sr. Hogan flight (handicaps 8-11.9).

Spencer's big year back into the game has been full of highlights, as he covered much of the west coast in search of competition. He won five local events and competed in eight majors, which included two Top-3 finishes. His last event leading up to Nationals, the Southern California Tour Championship at Barona Creek in San Diego, was one of them, where he shot a steady 81-82 over two days.

As for whether he'll keep up the iron man scheduling in 2015: 

"Next year I'll be a little more selective with my tournaments," he said.

There are other players this week with prolific seasons, but they're not all retired. Michael Feeny, from Corona, Calif., competed in 34 events this season.

"This isn't my full-time job," said Feeny, who manages a plastics company. "So I've got to practice a little harder than some of the guys who are retired."

Feeny credits good employees at his company that help him free up the time to compete all over the U.S., including events in Texas and Pinehurst. N.C. His highlights of the year include a 3rd place finish at the Northern California Championship and a 4th place finish at the Western Open, held at 36-hole Grayhawk Golf Club, which makes up two of the four rounds at Nationals this week.

Feeny is no stranger to the four-day Nationals tournament, as this is his 8th appearance. He says there's actually less pressure at nationals because more rounds mean more chance to make up for bad holes, and it's simply just more fun than other events. His previous Nationals finishes have included a little bit of everything.

"I finished 3rd in the Sarazen flight one year," he said (he now competes one flight higher in the Hogan (8-11.9 handicaps). "And I was DQ'd another year..."

Other players competing this week with busy years on the books include Orlando's Michael Brooks, who competed in 41 events. He finds himself T-23 after the first round of the Sr. Jones flight, ten shots off the lead held by Michigan's Greg Harris.