SARATOGA SPRINGS – In an age of brevity with text messages and tweets, a retired Hall of Fame golfer who lives in town published an audiobook with a frame of long letters to and from her mentor herself.
Dottie Pepper paid homage to her first golf instructor in her new book “Letters to a Future Champion: My Time with Mr. Powder”.
Pepper’s mentor, George Pulver Sr., died in 1986 at the age of 87 when Pepper was a junior in college.
Pepper, who has won two LPGA Major Championships and 17 Tour Events, is the lead walking reporter for the CBS Network for its coverage of the PGA Tour, Masters and PGA Championship.
A book signing is scheduled for Saturday 11am at the Ballston Spa Public Library.
Powder was influential in the Saratoga Springs Gulf Region and was a founding member of the Northeastern New York PGA and a founding member of the Northeastern Golf Superintendents Association in 1927.
Pulver, who also designed the first nine holes of the Saratoga Spa State Park golf course, is a very good golfer himself but never enjoyed talking about it, Pepper said in a telephone interview.
“He and his wife Martha were essentially golf kings, certainly in New York State, and I was fortunate enough to work with him when I was 14 and 15,” says Pepper, describing their old-fashioned relationship as not just student-teacher, but “mentor and Sponge”.
The two were productive pen pals.
“We typed letters back and forth, and it wasn’t just about lessons he’d given me on a driving range or feedback from tournament games,” she said.
“It was really great lessons about education and courage and the ability to explore every moment and the lifelong opportunity that golf and most sports can offer when properly managed.”
Pepper said she had nearly 100 letters from Powder, and after Powder died he left her a file of all the letters she had written to him.
The compilation, along with articles, helped shape the 208-page book.
“It was quite an intense amount of information, and it was quite an ordeal and concept to design something around them – because it’s so different from what we have today, ”said Pepper. “It’s not a digital file. It is not a text. It’s not a tweet. It’s real stuff that you put your hands on. “
Most letters are on typewriter paper and have been a bit “delicate” after more than 40 years, says Pepper, who still writes letters and thank you letters. She finds it “remarkable” that she still receives letters from Powder’s adult children.
Work behind the book began during the state of emergency of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, and the piece is expected to bring “something positive” out of it, Pepper said.
“I was told about 10 years ago that the contents of my own three-ring binder (with letters from powder) were definitely bookable and enough for a book – maybe a notebook that sums up what those letters were in,” she said.
The pandemic gave her enough time to write an entire book.
“Even when we went back to work at CBS in June 2020, we weren’t allowed to leave our rooms at night,” said Pepper. “So I wrote and set myself deadlines to get this out of the market.”
Proceeds from the book will go to the Saratoga Warhorse Foundation, as Powder was a World War I veteran. He was injured in combat but recovered and became a professional golf player.
The Saratoga Warhorse helps veterans with post-traumatic stress improve their physical, mental and emotional health with healing horse-assisted experiences with off-the-track thoroughbreds.
Pepper said she was excited to help the organization as, like many charities, it suffered from fewer donations during the pandemic.
Most of the book project was done with local help, with the exception of hiring a Pittsburgh voice actor for Powder’s voice in the audiobook, Pepper said.
Mike Lenz, the former mayor of Saratoga Springs, oversaw the audio book.
The technical engineer was Jeff Monty of Carr-Hughes Production, a video production company run by a former Pepper classmate.
“Now that we have supply chain problems and things are no longer reliable, it’s obviously a lot easier to get things done locally,” she said.
Pepper has previously written three children’s books. But she said they were light and not as labor intensive as the 10 months she spent on her latest work, which she doesn’t think is just for golf enthusiasts.
Youth sports are a big part of its message, with cautionary stories about burnout and not specialized as early as that.
“For your mental health, if you have the feeling that this is no longer fun, take a break and then get back on board when your heart is tugging at you,” says Pepper, who also enjoyed skiing, cycling and cycling as a teenager had swum. and intramural basketball at Furman University, where she was a three-time NCAA All-American women’s golf course, graduating in 1987.
“I think there is a huge history of mentoring here that can also be used in a company’s lasagna stories and mentoring programs,” she said. “And it can be an example that this mentorship doesn’t just have to be passed on from generation to generation. He was 81 and I was 14 when we started working together. “
Pepper left Saratoga Springs for about 20 years to practice her craft on the LPGA tour. She retired in 2004. Then she went to television and moved back to Saratoga Springs in 2009.
She is a big proponent of her hometown.
“From the arts to athletics to great restaurants, the small business mindset to the big corporations that surround us and a good high school, everything is fine here,” she said. “There are the farmers’ markets. It really is the city in the country where everything can be found here. “
Contact the reporter Brian Lee at [email protected] or 518-419-9766.
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