Even sports legends have to start somewhere. Dottie Pepper, who won a pair of LPGA major championships in 1992 and 1999, and a staggering 17 total tour events, has penned a new book, Letters to a Future Champion: My Time with Mr. Pulver, about her mentor, the late George Pulver, Sr.
As a teenager growing up in Saratoga, Pepper claimed both the New York State Women’s Amateur (1981) and New York State Girls’ Junior Amateur (1981, 1983) championships under Pulver’s tutelage. Pulver, a Saratoga golf legend in his own right, served as the head golf pro at both McGregor Links Country Club (1924-62) and Saratoga Golf & Polo Club (1933-72), and designed the first nine holes at the Saratoga Spa State Park’s course, as well as Brookhaven Golf Course.
In her book, Pepper traces Pulver’s influence on her skills and character, on the practice range and in the letters the two exchanged later in life. Pulver would send Pepper typewritten critiques of her play, pointers on her technique and provide her advice about life in general. She kept all of them in a binder. “Filled with years of his mostly typewritten letters, it was my reference book for all things golf,” writes Pepper of the binder’s contents. “But as time has gone on, I’ve come to realize the binder is much more. It is a blueprint for honoring the history and traditions of the game of golf; it also is about mentorship, fundamental beliefs, curiosity, grit, grace, dreams, disappointment, success and the value of education.”
Since her retirement in 2004, Pepper’s worked as a golf analyst for NBC, the Golf Channel, ESPN and now CBS, where she is the lead walking reporter for the sports channel’s coverage of the PGA Tour, Masters and PGA Championship.
Saratoga’s Northshire Bookstore will be hosting a special virtual discussion with Pepper about her book on May 26. You can register for it here.