If you have been religiously following the world of golf, Peter Alliss would be a familiar household name. This famous Englishmen does not only have a successful professional golfer in his belt, he has also earned a title of television commentator and presenter, author and even ventured into the world of golf course designing. Because of his charisma and unique style of banter and commentary, Peter Alliss has been dubbed as the “voice of British golf”.
Let’s take a look at the eventful life of this successful golf player and how he managed to stick with golf after retiring as a professional player.
Who Is Peter Alliss?
Peter was born in Berlin in 1931 with a golfer’s genes running in his blood. Peter was already a record-setter when he was born; having a weight of 14 lb. 11 oz. (6.7 kg) at birth which was already a European record at that time.
His father, Percy Alliss, worked as a club professional and became one of Britain’s professional leading players between 1920 and 1939.
Their family returned to England when he was one year old and quit school to work as an unpaid assistant for his father at Ferndown at the age of 14. At 16, he became a professional golf player. He started playing tournaments on the British PGA circuit and eventually played in other parts of the world too.
He was married twice, with the first marriage to Joan McGuinness in 1953 where they had two children, Gary (born 1954) and Carol (born 1960). His second marriage is with Jackie since 1969 and they have 2 daughters, Sara and Victoria and 2 sons, Simon and Henry. Victoria was born severely disabled and passed away at the age of 9. He has now 4 grandchildren Esme, Samuel, Teddy and Myla and great grandchildren James and Emily.
With his father amongst the finest golfers of his generation, it was perhaps certain that Peter would follow his father’s path and make a name for himself in the field of golf.
Having ample experience and practice as an unpaid assistant at Ferndown Golf Club, Peter has quickly gained the reputation of being the top young players of the time.
He won 21 professional tournaments between 1954 and 1969, won twice the Vardon Trophy and three British PGA championships. He played in other parts of the world too, grabbing national championships of Spain, Italy and Portugal in three consecutive weeks in September 1958.
1953 was a good year for him, finishing third in the Irish Open and tied for 9th spot in the Open Championship. In August of the same year, he was the second youngest player to be included in the Ryder Cup team at the age of 22.
He finished 8th place in the 1954 Open Championship. In early 1955, Peter played a number of events in the United States. When he returned to England, he unfortunately did not make it to the Spalding Tournament however he managed to win the 5-round Dunlop Tournament at Wentworth.
After winning the Dunlop Tournament, Peter had a quiet disappointing season and was not chosen to be a part of the Ryder Cup team though he finished tied for 5th in the Dunlop Masters. Though 1956 was not a good year for Peter, he managed to end the year on a high note with a winning in the Spanish Open.
1957 was a better year for Peter, having been appointed as a full professional at Ferndown. He won the PGA Close Championship in early April of the same year with an impressive 3 strokes. He finished second in the Spalding Tournament late of April and was tied second in the Swallow-Penfold Tournament in May. His June of 1957 marked a third in the Yorkshire Evening News Tournament and tied for 12th in the 1957 Open Championship.
Because of his good performance, Peter’s 18th place in the Ryder Cup has been lifted to 5th which earned his place back in the team. Though the Ryder Cup ended victorious, Peter was the only English player who lost his singles.
He retired from being a full-time professional golf player at the age of 38 and made his final appearance at the European Tour in 1974.
What’s Life for Peter after his Golf Career?
Peter managed to stay in the limelight after his golf career.
Though he closed his door as a professional golf player at a relatively early age of 38, he opened a new full time career “on the other side of the ropes”.
His broadcasting debut was being a part of the BBC team that was covering the Open Championship in 1961. He earned the title of being the chief commentator in 1978 after the demise of his great friend and co-host Henry Longhurst.
Peter did not only succeed as a commentator, he also managed to become a part of TV history as a successful TV host. He hosted 7 series of “Around with Alliss” between 1979 and 1986. He also worked for ABC Sports and ESPN from 1975 through 2010 and appeared as guest analyst on ESPN’s coverage of the Open Championship since from 2011–2015.
Peter has been regarded as the best known golf broadcaster in Britain, with a total of 140 Pro Celebrity Golf TV programs in his hosting belt. He also worked full time for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Peter is also successful in golf course architecture, with over 50 courses creation including The Belfry which is the home of the Professional Golfers Association and staged the Ryder Cup a few times.
Because of his uncanny wit and sometimes inappropriate comment, Peter has been a subject of viewer’s criticism who got enraged of his sexist comments.
Despite the recent controversy of the now 86 year old Peter, there is no doubt that his contributions to the world of golf is impeccable – whether as a professional golf player or a golf commentator who was dubbed as the greatest golf commentator ever.