Freshman golfer overcomes adversity to win first tournament

By Jaycob Ammerman |

In the fall of 2007, freshman Flagler College men’s golf player Spencer Schindler’s mother severely injured her leg while working on a fairway mower at a golf course in Savannah, Ga.

The injury forced his mother out of work for 7 months leaving him and his grandfather to take care of her.

“Workers compensation ran out and she had no work. In the spring of 2008, my Grandfather helped find us a home in St. Augustine so that she could find work,” Schindler said.

Schindler knew it was going to be hard for his mother finding work so he took it upon himself to find a job to pay for his expenses.

He found a job at the First Tee of St. Johns County.

The First Tee is a youth program designed to teach the youth life skills and leadership through the game of golf.

This was the “perfect” job for him because he had spent his whole life playing golf.

“I began playing with plastic clubs at the age of 2. My grandpa bought me a set of golf clubs at the age of 8 and my favorite sport became golf,” Schindler said.

Even with a job to help out, the Schindler’s were still struggling financially, and he didn’t have money to put toward golfing.

“My Mom barely made ends meet every month, having to borrow much of my paycheck from the First Tee. It was hard as a teenager to give up money,” Spencer said.

Schindler’s grandfather understood that it would be hard for Spencer to afford playing golf. So he started a golf fund for Spencer where he put $250 a month in to help pay for golf tournaments. The golf fund helped Schindler improve his game to the point that he felt he had a good chance of playing college golf.

On Dec. 26, 2011, he committed to Flagler to play under head coach Santiago Cavanaugh.

“Flagler was the only school to offer me money. I wanted to stay in town to help take care of my mom when she needed help and stay close to my job in case I had time to work some hours,” Schindler said.

Schindler knew that it would be tough for his mother financially because he was going to be playing golf in the fall and he would not be able to work as many hours to help.

He felt some comfort in knowing that his grandfather was providing his mother a home and she would have a place to live.

Then on April 9, 2012, Schindler’s grandfather passed away.

“He was the greatest influence in my golf game. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be playing golf,” he said.

The death was very hard and sudden for the Schindler family.

“His death created a lot of tension in the family, and since he owned my mom’s home, we were either forced to pay a rent or forced to move. My mom could not afford rent, so we lost our home,” he said.

Throughout the summer of 2012, the Schindler’s were forced to sell almost everything that they had to afford a down payment on a new place.

“Through all the pain my mom and I went through in 2012, we still managed to get by. I was still able to make it to college and play golf competitively,” he said.

In September of 2012, Schindler played his first college golf tournament in Anderson, S.C.

He shot impressive rounds of 67 and 68, helping him win the tournament by six strokes.

“After the final round I cried and prayed to my grandfather, telling him thank you,” Schindler said.

This season, he is averaging a score of 72.63.

Photo by Anderson SC Tournament

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