Michigan Golfer ON-LINE

From the Editor

John Bebow, who wrote our cover story this month on great bargain golf courses, is a self-professed "golf geek." Webster's Dictionary won't help us here but let's just say anyone who reglarly plays nine holes as a 6 a.m. "dew sweeper" before going into the office, has an understanding "golf widow," and devours everything in print and on-line about the game, defines the term. Surely, golf is a passion to Bebow who otherwise serves as the Managing Editor of M Live, an Internet news provider for Booth Newspapers.

Bebow's fascination with the game started 22 years ago when on his tenth birthday he received a beginner's set of Northwesterns. "My father warned me not to swing the clubs indoors," said Bebow, a resident of Ypsilanti. "But since it was March, I succumbed to the temptation and did it anyway. Within ten minutes I had broken a light fixture," remembers Bebow. "I guess you could say I incurred my first penalty strokes right then and there." But after paying for his youthful indiscretion via deducts from his allowance, Bebow was off and playing in his native Mason. He describes his "charmed childhood" by recalling a typical summer day: "I ride my bike to nearby Mason Hills (as its now called), play 18 holes, eat lunch, go out and play some more golf, ride my bike back home to deliver newspapers, eat dinner, and then back to the golf course to catch a few more holes before sunset." Hey, this reads like "Portrait of a Golf Geek as a Young Man." Later, Bebow would end up as Captain of the 1984 Mason High School (Go Bulldogs!) Golf Team whose 9-7 record was wrought by a "bunch of talented guys with 14-second attention spans."

Bebow's affinity if not necessity for bargain golf courses started in college at Western Michigan University where he majored in English. "Like most college kids, I didn't have any money so I had to search out the best courses for the least money." Bebow discovered Milham Park GC (one of the featured courses in his story) and found it to be a "wonderful, incredible bargain." From then on, he always kept a warm spot in his heart if not his wallet for such good courses at reasonable prices.

When he's not scouting the Michigan golf landscape for "bargains," Bebow oversees a staff of ten people at "M Live" in Ann Arbor. Newspapers have been his indoor passion since his first job as a new reporter at the Traverse City Record-Eagle in 1990. While at the paper, he recalls doing one golf story about then mogul of Grand Traverse Resort, Paul Nine, trying to grasp the game at a golf school at The Bear. "Nine was having his troubles out on the range and I wrote about it in a humorous vein." From Traverse City, Bebow moved on to separate stints as a reporter with the Ann Arbor News and Detroit News. Almost three years ago, he decided to join a vanguard of the Internet and on-line journalism. "Basically, M Live strives to accentuate the newspapers in the Booth chain by adding some of their print content on-line and implementing special on-line tools," said Bebow. For example, Bebow ensures that on-line readers can search his site for not only movie listings across the state but more importantly golf courses. "And yes, I used our search tools to help write my story." Bebow sees the Internet gaining increasing popularity and pace and is happy he's on the cutting edge of the technology. He sees the technology even affording "weekly audio chat rooms" where on-line users will be able to converse with one another. All in all, Bebow says he's "banking his career on the Internet."

And speaking of banking, you can be sure Bebow is still saving some golf dollars. Nowadays, the trunk-and-spam-slamming Bebow submits his scores at Leslie Park (Editor's note: if you see a course with Park in its name, Bebow's car may well be in the parking lot.) in Ann Arbor. He plays to an index of 7.0 and once carded a low round of 69 at the Links of Novi. "It was a rare, rare round where I holed some long putts and everything felt right," said Bebow. And what about that "golf widow?" Well, he affectionately describes his wife Monica as someone who "respects his fanaticism but doesn't share it." Not yet, at least.

In the meantime, Michigan Golfer is lucky to have such a talented writer and overall nice guy as a regular contributor to the magazine. John, we respect your fanaticism and share it!

Terry Moore

P.S. Please find enclosed a check to cover the next light fixture.

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