PGA News

Peter Alliss Thanksgiving

Many gathered to celebrate the life of Peter Alliss in St Andrews.

Thanksgiving Service for Peter Alliss yields cocktail of emotions

Laughter and tears were plentiful at a Thanksgiving Service to remember and celebrate the life of Peter Alliss on the eve of the Open Championship.
    Alliss, who was one of The PGA’s most distinguished Members and known as the Voice of Golf, was due to end his seven decades of broadcasting once the final putt had been holed in what would be the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews.
The milestone anniversary and its staging at the Home of Golf made it the perfect occasion at which to bow out.
    Fate, however, intervened. Less than three weeks after describing Dustin Johnson win the Masters at Augusta in 2020, Alliss passed away and his retirement plans were foiled.
    Then Covid-19 got in on the act. The 150th Open was put back a year and with it the celebration of Alliss’ life.
    Nevertheless, as was apparent to the 400 guests during the tribute-laden occasion at the University of St Andrew’s Younger Hall, the hiatus had failed to dim the memories of what he had crammed into his 89 years and the myriad of talents he exhibited along the way.
    And just as the 150th anniversary of the oldest and most revered major was an apposite time in which to stage the celebration, likewise the venue.
    It was there, 17 years ago, that Alliss was the proud recipient of an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws.
    “He was also a proud PGA Member,” said Sarah Bennett in her tribute on behalf of the Association.
    Bennett, one of his successors as PGA Captain, also described him as a member of and progenitor of a golfing dynasty.
The son of a golf pro who also captained the PGA and played in the Ryder Cup, Alliss fathered three sons – Gary, Simon and Henry – all of whom boast successful careers in the world of golf.
    Simon, as was evident during the Thanksgiving Service, also appears to have latent talent as a poet.
    His lengthy poem ‘I’m famous you know’, referred to his father’s self-deprecating reaction to being approached for an autograph or engaged in unsolicited conversation by a stranger.
    The personalised car registration PUT 3 in reference to his fallibility with a putter and description of his commentating as ‘waffling a lot’ follow suit.
    In which case, one wonders what he would have made of the tributes paid to him in the Younger Hall by fellow broadcasters Steve Rider, Hazel Irvine, Eddie Butler, Andrew Cotter and Judy Rankin, the DP World Tour’s Guy Kinnings, and Jean Van de Velde, the golfer whose implosion at Carnoustie at the business end of the 1999 Open tested his commentary skills to the full.
    Rider, who spoke without notes for 10 minutes, worked with Alliss for 30 years and recalled: “He told me that what he wanted to do was illuminate the eccentricity and innate silliness of this glorious game of ours.
“He had the imagination and vocabulary of a poet and the timing of a great stand-up comedian.
    “And I cherish the moment when he described one particular player who was fiddly, neurotic and nervous in his pre-shot routine. Peter likened him to a wet Labrador trying to get comfortable in front of a log fire.
    “But it wasn’t all for laughs. He was very concerned about getting the right tone in his commentary for what happened at Carnoustie in 1999.
    “He agonised over that. I was sitting alongside him that day and it was one of the most sympathetic and sensitive commentaries I heard him deliver.”

Rider attributed that to Alliss experiencing a meltdown during the Masters in 1966 and added: “We were working at Augusta in 1986 and walking to Amen Corner. On reaching the 11th hole Peter touched me on the sleeve and said ‘wait, I want to have a moment’.
    “He told the story of how, 20 years earlier playing with Gene Littler, he got on the green in two and then his brain went into a complete fog.
    “The way he told the story was charming but clearly the hurt was there and there was a great deal of humour. He said they put me down for a 10 but it could have been a 15. He added he walked off that 11th green and was never the same player again.
    “I thought the roots of the commentary he delivered at Carnoustie in 1999 stemmed back to his experience on the 11th green at Augusta.”

Kinnings described Alliss as an incomparable broadcaster, the unmistakable Voice of Golf and the soundtrack to the sport.
“He had a wit like no other,” he said. “He was a raconteur with no compare and the finest dinner company imaginable. He was admired and respected throughout the world of golf, for which there are many reasons. In golfing terms there was only one thing – his complete credibility.”

Kinnings revealed Alliss was also a proud father who often called him ‘on the QT’ about Simon who also works for the DP World Tour.
    Rankin endorsed those sentiments and highlighted Alliss’ love for Jackie, his wife. As did Barbara Slater, the head of BBC Sport in presenting her with a replica of the Sports Personality of the Year Award trophy from Team BBC to Team Alliss.
    In addition to the wit, credibility, acute powers of observation and empathy with the players, there was that voice.
“Peter’s voice will never leave my head and I’m very grateful for that,” said Irvine.
    “When you look back on some of the key moments in the history of golf, what Peter said about them is as much a part of our memory as that which we actually saw. Not many broadcasters are as closely woven into the fabric of their sport as was Peter Alliss.”

PGA pros deliver thousands of free lessons at The 150th Open Championship

While the world’s best players battled it out for the Claret Jug on the famous Old Course at St. Andrews, a team of 26 dedicated PGA Members again provided free golf lessons throughout the week at The R&A SwingZone.
    The team included three debutants:  Callum Beveridge, Thomas Devine and Barney Wytchard as well as a few familiar faces, including PGA Captain Sarah Bennett. A total of 2,908 people of all ages, ability and gender, took advantage of a free 15-minute lesson.
    Allan Martin, PGA Coach Education Manager – Scotland and organiser of the PGA coaching at The R&A Swingzone, commented: “Once again The R&A SwingZone proved to be a much-loved part of The Open experience and our wonderful team of PGA coaches delivered hundreds of high-quality coaching sessions at the Home of Golf.
    “The combined coaching expertise of The R&A Swingzone team cements The PGA’s place at the heart of golf.”

The full complement of PGA pros at St. Andrews: Jak Hamblett, David Bartlett, Alistair Welsher, Peter Ball, Stuart Fisher, Alan Bradshaw, Alex Mollin, Martin Goldie, John Mulgrew, Sarah Attwood, Zoe North, Alison Perkins, Denise Hastings, David Playdon, Ian Bailey, Matt Stables, Paul Warner, Fame Tate, Sarah Bennett, Kevin Caplehorn, Jamie Cundy, Barney Wytchard, Callum Beveridge, David Gleeson, Thomas Devine, John Murray, Matt Tucknott, Joanne Taylor, Tom Gibbs and Geraint Dixon.

The PGA is looking to find next generation of golf pros

The PGA aims to find and inspire the next generation of PGA Professionals as part of its revitalised recruitment campaign.
    #PGADraft2022 draws on the stories and experiences of current PGA Members to help showcase the many career opportunities available with a PGA qualification.
    The campaign also speaks to a wide variety of current students about the benefits of the course and the opportunities that await PGA Professionals, who fulfil more than 70 job roles in over 80 countries around the world.
    From coaching and administration to retail and management, a PGA qualification is a passport into the golf industry.
    PGA Captain Sarah Bennett is among those PGA Members backing #PGADraft2022. Bennett, who is the head professional at Three Rivers Golf and Country Club, Essex, commented: “The training programme is the best in the golf industry and the world.
    “As soon as you receive that letter through the post to confirm you’ve graduated, it’s bit of a cliché but the world is your oyster. You can go in so many different directions. The number of opportunities open to PGA Members in the golf industry is incredible.”

As well as an updated PGA Draft website which includes case studies and information about the courses, The PGA has created a free brochure which outlines everything potential students and their parents need to know about the three routes into PGA Membership.
    In addition, a number of promotional videos have been made for the new-look website and The PGA’s social media channels, which provide a visual insight into the course.
    As part of the 2022 campaign, The PGA also gets the perspective of current students into how the courses are helping them to fulfil their personal ambitions in golf.
    Melissa Wood is a first-year student on the Foundation Degree in Golf Studies and wants to pursue a career in golf as a county/national coach. Melissa said: “I have loved every aspect of my first year, learning about club fitting, coaching and retail. My fellow students have become friends and we have learned from each other.
    “The PGA qualification is a stamp of approval. It gives you access to the whole golf industry.”

Tim Hodson is a third-year student on the course and has aspirations to pursue a career oversea in Asia or North America. He said: “The coaching modules have been really helpful in terms of bettering myself as a coach. The course content is incredibly applicable to day-to-day.
    “The PGA training programme is internationally recognised and really well respected so moving abroad and getting a job is going to be easier for me with the qualification behind me.”

Dr Paul Wiseman, PGA Executive Director – Education, said: “This programme is completely unique; there is no other programme around like this that demands so many different skills and knowledge.
     “It is a sophisticated education programme which is delivered in partnership with two leading universities (The University of Birmingham and The University of the Highlands and Islands) and PGA tutors and coaches who are experts in their field.
     “Having worked in education for more than 30 years, I can vouch for the quality and uniqueness of the training programme. We have got the best education programme not just in golf globally, but in sport globally. There’s nothing else like this.”
The PGA offers three routes into Membership: a Foundation Degree in Golf Studies, a Diploma in Higher Education Golf Studies, and a BSc in Applied Golf Management Studies (AGMS).
     The Foundation degree is a collaborative degree with the University of Birmingham and is a core element of the PGA Training Programme. With a strong focus on golf coaching and sports science, additional modules include key industry skills, junior development, equipment technology and custom fitting, principles of business and business finance.
     The PGA offers three routes into Membership: a Foundation Degree in Golf Studies, a Diploma in Higher Education Golf Studies, and a BSc in Applied Golf Management Studies (AGMS).
     The Foundation degree is a collaborative degree with the University of Birmingham and is a core element of the PGA Training Programme. With a strong focus on golf coaching and sports science, additional modules include key industry skills, junior development, equipment technology and custom fitting, principles of business and business finance.
    The three-year part-time diploma is in partnership with the University of the Highlands and Islands. It covers modules relevant to the varied demands of the golf industry and includes individual and group coaching, equipment technology, sports science, retail and business elements.
     The world-leading AGMS degree is also taught in partnership with the University of Birmingham. It covers modules in applied sports science, equipment technology, coaching theory and business management. The programme allows students to combine a high-level applied theoretical degree with membership of The PGA.