Dottie Pepper headling golf weekend in Chattanooga

Dottie Pepper headling golf weekend in Chattanooga

September 2nd, 2013 by David Uchiyama in Sportlocal

United States assistant captain Dottie Pepper watches team members as they practice for the Solheim Cup golf tournament in Parker, Colo., in this Aug. 15, 2013, file photo.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Dottie Pepper has never seen the Scenic City.

But the winner of 17 LPGA Tour events including two majors will be in town for a dinner one night and a free clinic the next morning.

Pepper will be the guest speaker for an inaugural First Tee of Chattanooga fund-raising dinner celebrating Chattanooga PGA professionals on Oct., 18 at the Chattanooga Golf and Country Club.

Bruce Etter, head golf professional at CGCC, will be the inaugural winner of the Nine Core Values award.

"I've heard of national and regional awards, but nothing like this to honor local pros," Pepper said. "I hope it's fantastic, and I think it's something that catches on.

"After all, none of us in golf would be where we are without the help of our local professionals."

Pepper will help conduct a free kids clinic at the First Tee of Chattanooga Facility for children 4 and older. Her special guest will be Bogey Ballton who is the main character of her children's books, "Bogey Tees Off," and "Bogey Ballton's Night Before Christmas."

Pepper said she expects more than 200 children to participate on the morning of Oct. 19, not including the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga golfers who will be working different stations of the clinic.

"I want these kids with clubs in their hands laughing and having fun," Pepper said. "We're going to have tennis balls flying all over the range."

Pepper will have a different audience at the dinner which has been organized by FTC board of directors president Mike Jenkins.

"We'd like to make this an annual event," Jenkins said. "But if we're going to do this every year, who is going to follow her?"

Pepper has not visited Chattanooga. But she has a small connection noticed by FTC executive director Kathleen McCarthy. She noticed Pepper interviewing former FTC representative Katie Tucker during the Fist Tee WalMart Open a few years ago at Pebble Beach.

"We've had Notah Begay help with a clinic, but Dottie did so much as a player and later to promote the game," said McCarthy, who has sign-ups available at the FTC website. "It should be a fantastic dinner and a great clinic."

Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP