The 7th OGRO Conference and Exhibition took place at the Ramada Hotel, Maidstone on the 18th March. Sponsored by Global Ranges and attended by 200 delegates and exhibitors in the golf world. The highlight of the day was a Lifetime Achievement Award to Peter Alliss presented by OGRO Honorary President John Jacobs OBE.
Colin Jenkins, Chairman of OGRO, introduced the presentation. “It is a pleasure and an honour for The Organisation of Golf Range Owners (OGRO) that Peter Alliss agreed to accept an OGRO Lifetime Achievement Award today. We think it is highly fitting that you receive this award Peter, as you have done so much to promote the game at various levels throughout your career. In particular, you have made golf accessible and fascinating to a vast TV audience, with a wit and personal touch that only a very few gifted commentators seem to possess. You have played the game at the very highest level an accomplishment often overlooked by the public, who are only familiar with you as the ‘Voice of Golf‘. Peter was, in his heyday without question the best golfer in Europe, winning the forerunner of The European Order of Merit, The Vardon Trophy, twice; three PGA Championships; played in eight Ryder Cups and won the Open Championships of Italy, Spain, and Portugal in three consecutive weeks.
“As a past club professional, Peter understands the issues that many of our operators are facing in the industry at present time. As a golf course designer he has been involved with many splendid golf courses and put his abilities into a number of golf projects. He is truly are an exceptional all-rounder, but to have mastered many of these disciplines, not just toyed with them, is really some achievement.
“I remember the TV programmes – BBC’s Pro-Celebrity Golf and Around with Alliss. My father and I enjoyed watching the mix of celebrity golf, humour and golfing observations, set against a backdrop of some of the most beautiful golfing venues in the British Isles. As a golf writer Peter has defined a style of his own, observations and charm mixed with firm opinions – to be so readable, as well as all of his other talents is most impressive.
“Peter and his wife Jackie are tireless fundraisers for charity and have been of great help to OGRO and those involved at the golfing coal-face over the years. He has always helped us promote Learn to Play Golf initiatives
“It is for these reasons that we would be delighted if you would accept this OGRO Lifetime Achievement Award and we hope that you both enjoy the rest of the day.”
OGRO received some a number of tributes from Peter’s friends and golfing colleagues through the years here are just three of them……….
Marshall L Bellow, President – Moor Allerton Golf Club
“Peter Alliss was an outstanding professional golfer who played the game with great style and elegance.
“Nowadays Peter is a wonderful writer/journalist and is very much in demand as a witty after dinner speaker and a raconteur par-excellence. He is often referred to generally as “Mr Golf” but it is especially as a commentator that he is simply without equal, with a reputation and respect which covers the golfing globe. But even more important to me is Peter the person. He has been my close friend since the late 60’s – always generous – amusing – kind and supportive and without doubt the best companion, both during a round of golf or with a glass of fine wine in hand at an excellent place of eating.
“He is a very special person who is my true pal and I am proud and privileged to say so.”
“In the realm of golf, Peter Alliss has had many things – spectacular play, great team spirit, wonderful commentating, and overall a great sense of dignity. He has been my hero for many years, now he is my friend and I deem that a great honour.”
“Peter Alliss, or as my listeners and I know him, the Old Artificer, has been a friend, no, a soul-mate, since he first allowed me to polish his golf shoes on Pro-Celebrity Golf, BBC TV, just after we returned from Gallipoli. There are those who say that he’s lost his marbles, not to mind his touch, but being excessively fond of chickens doesn‘t make you a bad person, and he’s kind to animals, his family and Jackie, who, admittedly has always been too good for him. The Allisses and the Wogans are joined at the hip, we ought to be living together, we‘ve so much in common. Peter and I could be brothers:
A love of good food good cooking good wine and good women of which we both are lucky to have all aplenty. Our view of life is frighteningly similar: “They don‘t know they‘re born” might sum it up.
This man, once Europe’s finest golfer, has long been the world’s best sports commentator. Not just golf, he is the best, the commentator by whom all others are measured, in whatever sport. More importantly, as a father, a husband and a friend, he is one of the best men I have ever – will ever meet.”
Lifetime friends, Roger Mace, John Stirling and finally OGRO President, John Jacobs, all added their own tributes before John Jacobs made the official presentation.
Peter Alliss accepted with typical humour and modesty and regaled the assembled delegates with stories of his early days as a young professional golfer finding his way and reflections on how the game has evolved during his long and varied career.
Further details of the 2009 OGRO Conference and Exhibition and many photographs are on the website; www.ogro.org