The King and the kid: Junior golfer cherishes letter from Arnold Palmer

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Team New Hampshire's Jack Pepin cherishes one of the last letters from Arnold Palmer. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Team New Hampshire's Jack Pepin cherishes one of the last letters from Arnold Palmer. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Jack leads Team New Hampshire at the PGA Jr. League Championship at Grayhawk. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Jack leads Team New Hampshire at the PGA Jr. League Championship at Grayhawk. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Jack Pepin has a dream. The ninth-grader was recently in Scottsdale, competing in the PGA Jr. League Championship. He hopes to return one day, playing on the PGA Tour.

"I'd like to be a golfer at the highest level," says Jack, one of the top players on Team New Hampshire.

Jack recently made the varsity at his school as a freshman and is traveling the country to play in big-time tournaments.

"He is so driven to be just a great golfer. He wants it so bad and you can see it," said Vanessa Pepin, Jack's mother. "I think sometimes golf can be mentally challenging. You kinda need to get out of your head."

In the summer of 2016, Vanessa wanted to give Jack and his team a boost. She wrote a letter to golf legend Arnold Palmer to ask for advice. 

"It was like shot in the dark. I remember reading online that people had written to him and he'd written back," said Vanessa. "So, I sent the letter."  

Palmer died on Sept. 25, 2016, at the age of 87. Vanessa hadn't told anyone in her family that she had written the letter. Five days after Palmer's death, the Pepin family returned home from vacation and started sifting through the mail.

"You've got all the junk mail and bills," said Vanessa. "And it's a small yellow envelope, I thought, 'No way, there's no way he wrote back.' He wrote the letter five days before he passed, which is pretty amazing when you hear that he was sick. He took the time to write back to a 13-year-old boy."

The letter is on Arnold Palmer's personal letterhead.  It's two paragraphs, simple advice and inspiration:

Dear Jack:

I am told that you’re a pretty good golfer and are a member of the 
All Star Team for your local Jr. PGA League.  I also heard that your 
team has qualified for the Northeast Regional Championships and 
you will be traveling to Cape Cod to compete this month.  
Congratulations!  I wish you and your team the very best of luck.

As your thoughts turn to high school and making the golf team 
next year the only advice I can give you is to work hard and 
practice as much as you can but, most importantly, study hard
 in school.  A good education is key to future success.

I wish you the very best in school and with your golf.

Sincerely,


Arnold Palmer


Jack will carry the late Palmer's words with him the rest of his life. Palmer continues to live on, with the letter serving as another example of his legacy.  

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