Remembering Peter Alliss (1931-2020), LLD 2005
In memory of the legendary golf commentator, Peter Alliss (1931-2020), we highlight moments from his life as documented in our photographic collections.
Son of acclaimed British golfer Percy Alliss, Peter grew up observing the world of golf in the 1930s, and so it should be no surprise that he decided to devote his own life to the game.
He played, and won, his first amateur tournament as a boy representing England when they faced Scotland in 1946. He turned professional at the age of 16. Between 1954 and 1969, Peter won twenty-one professional tournaments and was twice winner of the Vardon Trophy. He played in 8 Ryder Cups and was, with Percy, one of only two father and sons to have represented their country at this level.
Our earliest photograph of Peter Alliss was taken by local press photographer George Cowie as he was teeing off at The Open in St Andrews in 1955.
Alliss returned to St Andrews 5 years later in July 1960 to play The Old Course again during the Centenary Open. He is pictured here teeing off at the 10th:
George Cowie accompanied Alliss in 1960 as he walked around the town, capturing some candid and charming moments. He is seen here having a friendly chat with Dave Thomas on North Street, St Andrews:
Here again on North Street he is enjoying meeting youngsters as they are enjoying some ice cream.
Alliss’ care and concern for children was reflected in his charity work. He became involved with a charity started by George Makey MBE to supply motorised wheelchairs to children with mobility limitations. This cause would come to be supported by many prominent members of the golfing community and is well documented by photographer Lawrence Levy, pictured with Peter below.
He is seen here in 1992 with one of the many young recipients of a new wheelchair:
With Peter Alliss’ support the charity would go on to raise over £7,000,000 and donate hundreds of motorised wheelchairs to needy children.
Most renowned in the latter part of his life for his inimitable golf commentary, becoming ‘the voice of golf’, he began his broadcasting career in the 1960s. As a prominent member of the golfing community he was well liked and professionally respected in this new role. He retired from the professional golf circuit in 1969. He became a very successful golf course designer and was twice captain of the PGA.
He is seen here in the commentator’s booth during the 1983 Open at Royal Birkdale:
And thoughtfully watching the action at the 1988 Curtis Cup at Royal St Georges:
Alliss had strong connections to St Andrews, both town and gown, as an honorary member of the St Andrews Preservation Trust and a Patron of both the Byre Theatre and the Bobby Jones Trust. To commemorate The Open returning to St Andrews in 2005, the University of St Andrews conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws upon Peter Alliss, alongside Nick Faldo and Peter Thomson, at a special golf graduation. Recognised not only for his golfing career on the green but also for his contribution to professional associations, television programming and print publications, he was noted and celebrated for his ‘unique and warm style of television commentary’ around the world.
He is seen here, on the right, posing with his fellow graduates outside Lower College Hall in 2005:
Peter Alliss will be fondly remembered and his loss is felt by all in the golfing community.
You can explore other portraits and candid moments with Peter Alliss in the photographic collections held by the University of St Andrews here.