Two for one: Spring Valley partners have fun on the course

REED CITY — Thursday golf can be a lot of fun.

That’s the case for partners Jim Church and Sid Bryant at Spring Valley Golf Course. Both are from the Evart area. They’ve been Thursday Night Men’s League partners about nine years and are both lifelong residents. Church has played since 1998 and his partner has done it since 1995.

Bryant had lost his partner for health reasons.

“Jim had just started to come into the league and the secretary asked me if I wanted a new partner,” he said. “Then I found out he was from the navy. That really did a number because I’m a marine. From that time on, we’ve had a wonderful relationship. You couldn’t ask for a better friend or partner.”

Church agreed.

As of early July, Bryant had to take a brief break from golf with a sore wrist.

“I’ve been a wounded warrior for a couple of weeks,” he said. “Jim had a sub for me.”

They both play in the Spring Valley Friday couples league. Dorothy is Bryant’s wife and Ruby is Church’s. Their wives also play in the Monday and Wednesday women’s leagues.

Church started playing golf in 1978 when he was 36. Bryant started at age 65 when his wife bought him a lesson.

“When I got done with the lesson, I asked the pro what kind of clubs I should buy,” Bryant said. “He said ‘the cheapest ones you can find, because you can’t hit the ball worth a damm.’ But my short game is fantastic. So I bought cheap clubs and cheap balls.”

Church recently turned 74. Bryant is 82. They said golf helps them stay motivated. Church has had three rounds of golf in Florida with the most recent one being three years ago. He’s seen all three of them go in, and added he’s come close a couple of times to having an ace at Spring Valley.

Bryant’s most memorable round came at Spring Valley when he putted only 10 times during nine holes. His longest putt was a 45-footer.

“I read the greens really well,” he said. “My speed for hitting the ball is very good.”

But his driving hasn’t been a strength.

A highlight for the twosome was shooting 16 under for an 18-hole round.

There’s usually not much of a debate between the two on who’s the better golfer.

“Jim is much better than I am,” Bryant said.

“We have a lot of fun,” Church added. “We really enjoy each other.”

Bryant plays in Arizona during the winters.

“I can play par golf out there because of the ground,” he said.

They both admit that the back nine at Spring Valley can be challenging because of the trees. They’ll keep playing the sport as long as they can.