Peter Alliss: Reflections On A Life Well Lived — Review

In Reflections On A Life Well Lived, Peter Alliss has one last look back at his life and the golfing world in his own inimitable way

 Reflections On A Life Well Lived? Peter Alliss chatting away at home
Peter Alliss chatting away at home
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Peter Alliss: Reflections On A Life Well Lived — Review

Peter Alliss’ Reflections On A Life Well Lived reads as if the reader is eavesdropping on a chat between two friends reminiscing, with one of them doing most of the talking. But then, this is almost exactly what it is.

Peter Alliss wanted his friend of 40 years standing Bill Elliott, he of this parish, involved in what he thought would be his last book. It was indeed to be his last, as Alliss died during the making of it, leaving Elliott and Alliss’ widow, Jackie, to complete the work in revamped form.

Peter Alliss had requested Bill Elliott’s voice in the book, so Bill often contributes introductions and closing words to the eleven chapters. He also provides a prologue, and Jackie Alliss has written an epilogue. She writes: “When Peter talked of writing the ultimate book, he said he wanted to do it with Bill. My abiding memory is of the two of them giggling away in Peter’s study as they reminisced.”

cover of Peter Alliss’ Reflections On A Life Well Lived

(Image credit: Lennard Publishing)

Peter Alliss’ trademark style, whimsical, digressive, avuncular but occasionally sharp, is on display here. A PG Wodehouse quote: “That was Florence all over. Even when she patted you on the head she did it with her knuckles,” comes to mind when reading Alliss’ praise of Gary Player:

“I’ve never felt Gary Player received the accolades he deserved. Perhaps it’s because he was always so busy telling us how many miles he had travelled, how many tournaments he’d played in and won, how he wanted to be known as the finest player the world had ever seen and so on that others felt they did not need to add to the Player promotion party.”

A fine golfer, Peter Alliss proved to be a natural commentator, and became far better known for his second career than for his first. This BBC work had also come by way of eavesdropping on his reminisces. Alliss quotes the letter he received from Ray Lakeland, producer of the BBC Open Championship coverage:

‘I was sitting behind you on a plane returning from some tournament or other. You were with Peter Thomson, Bernard Hunt, David Thomas, Dai Rees and Ken Bousfield. You were regaling them with stories of your four days’ play. It was bright, cheerful and amusing, and I was wondering if you would care to join the TV team for the Open Championship?”

Jackie and Peter Alliss

Jackie and Peter Alliss

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The book contains tributes from fellow commentators. Hazel Irvine writes of Alliss as “a clever, funny and technically superb broadcaster. Often opinionated, he was always true to himself. And when we 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.”


The publishers are happy to offer reader’s of Golf Monthly a special price of £20 post free (normal RRP £25). This offer is limited to the first 500 orders received before 31st December 2022. Just clink on this link for the Golf Monthly readers offer for Peter Alliss’ Reflections On A Life Well Lived and the book will be sent to you within 10 days. Any queries please contact the publisher at The book is also available from Amazon and most major bookshops.

Roderick Easdale

Contributing Writer Golf courses and travel are Roderick’s particular interests and he was contributing editor for the first few years of the Golf Monthly Travel Supplement. He writes travel articles and general features for the magazine, travel supplement and website. He also compiles the magazine's crossword. He is a member of Trevose Golf & Country Club and has played golf in around two dozen countries. Cricket is his other main sporting love. He is the author of five books, four of which are still in print: The Novel Life of PG Wodehouse; The Don: Beyond Boundaries; Wally Hammond: Gentleman & Player and England’s Greatest Post-War All Rounder.