The majority of members of the Spruce Mountain golf team are musicians first and golfers second. During Tuesday’s practice at Turner Highlands Golf Course they tuned clubs into instruments during a lul at practice. From left to right in front: Sara Henderson, Madeline Labonte, Drew Delaney. Back left to right, Dylan Gordon, Hannah Coates and Matthew Fenlason. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo














TURNER — Dianne Fenlason can be very persuasive.

Fenlason, who’s a music teacher at Spruce Mountain has been coaching the Phoenix golf team the past six years. This year seven of the eight players on the team come from her music classes or play music on their own.

She’s not afraid to recruit her students.

“I was doing music — I used to play soccer and I was having a tough time because I don’t like running that much,” junior Sara Henderson said. “Mrs. (Fenlason) over here says ‘Well, you should play golf.’ So, I picked it up and I tried it and I loved it.”

Henderson dabbles in everything when it comes to music. She sings, plays guitar, and plays the piano.

For Matthew Fenlason, not only is Dianne his golf coach and his music teacher, but also his mother.

Growing up he played football, but that changed once he got into high school. He always grew up with both golf and music.

“I say golf has it’s frustrating days and it’s beneficial days, music it’s just all the same,” sophomore Matthew Fenlason said. “It’s always consistent, I don’t know if I have a favorite.”

He also plays the guitar, but growing up he tried out all the instruments his mother has.

The others on the team that do both are Madeline Labonte, Drew Delaney. Dylan Gordon, Hannah Coates and Myles Labonte.

There’s a reason why Dianne teaches both. She wants to teach and coach things that the students can take into their lives well after they graduate from Spruce Mountain.

“My two things about music and golf, it’s lifetime,” Dianne said. “I can play with eight-year olds on the golf course and in a band room or whatever and I can eight and eighty-year olds on the golf course. As musicians and as golfers, it’s ageless. You can be excellent at any of these ages. And that’s what I really do promote. You really have to have something you love and have a passion for.”

She said she has had most of these players since they were in the sixth grade.

There are similarities between the two, especially when playing an instrument.

“In music, there’s a lot of fine motor (skills) and it can be here (on the golf course), it’s not necessarily the same,” Dianne said. “But what’s the same is in order to be excellent as a team or in the band, you have to be successful individually first, then you can contribute your skills so that you can move forward with success in the larger group. So those fine motor skills ,if you want to call it that yeah, it’s that independence of playing and performing here on the golf course. It just ties in to being successful in the larger the arena.”

Henderson does see some similarities between the two.

“It really helps you think things through thoroughly and methodically,” Henderson said. “So, when you swing, you think of it as tempo. So, you come back, one-two, three-four sort of thing. In music you play the wrong notes here and there and in golf you have a couple bad swings. It helps you get in the mindset.”

Matthew Fenlason said you must have great touch to make a 6-foot putt or run a fast scale on guitar.

When it comes to which one is more difficult to pick up, Henderson saidthat’s an easy one, golf. The reason why she says golf is more difficult is because of the rules the game entails.

The group is very close to each other because they spend all day with each other.

“We are in classes and we are all friends. W just get along, The camaraderie is just great,” Matthew said. “We are mostly in Rock of Ages which is a class she teaches and a few of us are in a separate band too.”

In class, they play songs from different genres, while outside of class there’s no name to the band. They just play music.

The typical day is wake up, go to school, go to the golf course, practice music and sneak in homework here and there.

For Dianne, she doesn’t see the group get tired of each other.

“I don’t really, I have had these kids at my camp several times over the course of the summer,” Dianne said. “They are friends and when you are friends first, you do activities that you enjoy together, whether it’s music, going bowling, whether it’s going to the movies, they are friends. They all want to see each other succeed.”

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