Pepper is currently in the midst of a nationwide book tour, hosting signings across the country and making her way back here to Impressions of Saratoga located on Broadway, May 19 from 5-8 p.m.
"Bogey Tees Off, A Lesson About Being Truthful Vol. 1," is the premier book in a series of 18 and the first collaborative project for co-authors Scott Fuller and Dottie Pepper. One of the most important "Bogeyisms," or core values the book promotes, is truthfulness. This comes into play, if you will, on your scorecard and in life. Lessons learned in golf parallel lessons learned in life. Hard work, patience and practice should precede the game, win or lose. Bogey the ball, the story's protagonist, bears a red stripe making him different from the other balls, something kids may identify with. Bogey has to be truthful about who he is, be himself, and remember where he comes from in order to make it onto the PGA tour.
The hardcover edition of the book is set for its debut release at the Men's U.S. Open of golf in San Francisco early this June. Events are also scheduled at the Women's U.S. Open of golf.
The response to Bogey from kids is already strong. Over 600 children attended The First Tee of Hampton Roads Bogey launch. The First Tee of Hampton Roads is a premier youth development organization in Virginia Beach.
The concept for Bogey originated when Fuller wrote the story as a screenplay for an animated feature film and shelved it. He took it out years later to read to his son and became interested in the project again, giving it new life by turning each scene of the script into a children's book.
But Fuller needed someone who knew golf, and Pepper was looking for a new way to give back. After a schoolmate pulled her into the business side of the idea, the LLC, Scooter Pines, was formed along with illustrator Kenneth Templeton and their business partner, Robert Levin.
"I like to write, have always loved to read, and I wanted to get juniors more involved in the game. I have a platform for what is good in golf, and then I found this," Pepper said.
Fuller's ideas were in line with these concepts.
"Golf should be fun. I love how Bogey represents us all. Through Bogey and his adventures, I am hoping to inspire generations to aim high in life, take a big swing, and follow through to make your dreams come true," Fuller said.
The book includes blank autograph pages for young readers to fill with signatures of golfers as well as scorecards to incorporate the application of math skills into the Bogey experience.
"We wanted to make the story an interactive experience for children, something they could make their own," said Pepper.
The idea to include a glossary of index terms was Pepper's input, along with the "Tee Box," which are discussion topics for parents and instructors. Pepper believes in learning golf the right way, without drudgery, and wanted Bogey to become the fun face of golf. Beginning with the game's fundamentals and core elements first gives kids something to build on, which according to Pepper is essential to mastering the essence of golf.
"I'm trying to get kids more interested in golf for life and also to get them reading more. The idea is to start them talking about golf now. I want to let the sport have a cool face that is not intimidating to kids and carry the message: aim high, but you don't have to change yourself," Pepper said.
Bogey's message is reaching children across the country. Golf doesn't presently have a mascot for children to recognize and identify with so a major league type mascot of Bogey is being built by the Maydwell Company to be present at live events, meet-and greets, pediatric wards, and clinics for the sport.
In addition to making the sport of golf more appealing to children, Pepper and Fuller are working to make it more accessible. Funds have been increasingly cut for athletic programs and they are doing their part to stem that effect.
"Because we have self published, we can afford to take 20 percent off the top of each book sale, along with the sales of accessories including T-shirts and golf covers, and donate it to charity," Pepper explained.
Proceeds collected will benefit First Tee at Hampton Yards and the New York State Golf Association. The First Tee in Virginia, internationally part of The First Tee founded not only by the PGA of America, but also the PGA Tour, the LPGA and a program of the YMCA there. The program introduces youngsters to the game of golf while teaching them character values, healthy habits and life skills. The NYSGA promotes conserving the traditions of golf through awarding scholarships, and bestowing training and education through programs like Kids on Course. Through this program, affordable access to golf has been created for youth while promoting the rules of golf, etiquette and life skills. Junior golfers, ages 10-17, complete an NYSGA administered online certification and earn a membership card for participating golf courses.
To make Bogey's message even more accessible to children, an e-book version will soon be available for purchase through amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and ScooterPines.com.