Bogey Ballton is at it again.
The lovable range ball with a heart of gold is back starring in a third installment of the popular children’s book series created and written by former LPGA Tour star Dottie Pepper and Scott Fuller. Pepper has been at the Wegmans LPGA Championship at Monroe Golf Club this week to promote the release of the newest book, titled “Bogey Tees Off Vol. 2: A Lesson About Bullying.”
Ballton is a golf ball with big dreams, hoping to make it to the LPGA Tour one day, but he runs into a number of challenges at the hands of bullies. With the help of his new friend, Daisy, Ballton is able to rise above the bullying and persevere.
The book is designed to teach children about the effects of bullying, how to deal with being bullied and how to help make sure others are not bullied as well. It’s a noble and profound lesson Pepper can identify with, having been bullied as a child.
“Scott went through (a bullying experience) last year with his son, and I’ve had my experiences,” she said. “It’s something that’s driven a lot of bad headlines over the last few years. It was really our chance to make an impact, and I think it was something that was necessary and is something that will help a lot of people.”
Pepper and Fuller met at a First Tee outing at Virginia Beach, Va., three years ago and came up with the idea for the first Bogey Ballton book, “Bogey Tees Off: A Lesson About Being Truthful,” which was published in May 2012. Fuller had created the Bogey character while working in the film industry on the West coast, and he and Pepper ran with the concept.
It was immensely popular in the golf industry and laid the foundation for the series to continue.
In fall of that year, Pepper and Fuller published “Bogey Ballton’s Night Before Christmas,” and the two have been working hard to promote the books ever since. In addition to her television work for ESPN and serving on the PGA of America Board of Directors, Pepper spends a great deal of time on the book project.
“We’re in the third year of this project,” said Pepper, a 17-time LPGA champion. “It’s been three years of challenges, but there’s also been great strides made, too. It’s been a great way to change directions and change gears.”
Pepper said Scooter Pines Holdings, the book’s publisher, has printed 5,000 copies of each book, and sales have been strong. Fans can go to BogeyTeesOff.com to purchase the books, as well as Bogey Ballton head covers and other merchandise.
The process of writing and getting a book printed has been quite the learning experience for Pepper.
“From a business standpoint, it’s been fascinating,” she said. “I’ve had to learn about trademarking, copywriting, ISBN numbers and coordinating shipping overseas when you have a head cover that’s in production.”
Known as one of the most fiery and intense competitors the LPGA has seen in generations, it may seem surprising that Pepper is now writing children’s books. Her gravitation to the endeavor has been a surprise for her as well.
“Probably not,” Pepper said with a laugh when asked if she ever thought she’d one day be writing children’s books. “This book was a much easier experience than the first, because we’ve learned so much. We were able to take a footprint from the first and use it for this third book.”
The ability to give back to the game and to help children learn valuable life lessons is a special treat for Pepper, who cherishes the chance to reach out to others. Portions of the new book’s sales benefit The LPGA Foundation, which is dedicated to promoting golf and bringing young players to the game.
“The first book was good, and I think this one is great,” she said of Vol. 2. “I think we can do some good for the Foundation and do a lot of good for the subject matter. There’s plenty of life lessons that golf crosses paths with, and if you can get kids reading as well, you’re really doing something positive.”
The books have been extremely well-received by parents and children alike.
“One of the PGA Board members read (the new book) to his son, and he cried because they were picking on Bogey,” Pepper said. “He decided he didn’t want to hang with the bullies, and that’s what we’re looking for. I’ve had kids send me book reports and all sorts of things, and that makes me feel like we’ve done the right thing.”
Pepper said golf pros have been able to use the books as part of their instruction at golf camps for kids.
“Now they have something they can use during bad storms and rainy days,” Pepper said. “They get kids talking between themselves because of the discussion points in the back of the book, and they start to learn, little by little, the rules of golf in a fun way and how to talk about golf in a fun way. That’s been the thing I think parents have liked most.”
The future looks bright for Bogey Ballton and the book series, and Pepper is optimistic about what may come next.
“We hope we have to do a reprint,” she said.