Recollections gather in his mind and a smile, more often than not, spreads across his face as he thinks about the friend who once shared such experiences with him.
It is little less than a year since Adam Hunter succumbed to his two-year fight against leukaemia and, even now, McAllister finds it hard to believe that his fellow Scottish professional golfer is no longer here. "It hit me hard," he says, quietly. "I actually get this feeling that Adam is still around because guys I'm playing with will ask about him not knowing that he has passed away. That's because he was a special person, as well as a terrific golfer."
Indeed, it is in part the esteem in which he was held among the golf community that moved McAllister and another former tour colleague Alan Tait to celebrate their friend's life with an annual pro-am. Many of the great and good of Scottish golf will gather at Gleneagles on October 5 for the first staging of the event, which will comprise 18 holes on the Queen's Course, a dinner and auction with the intention of raising funds for the Friends of the Beatson charity. Already 23 of the 25 team places have been sold, each generating £2200, with the expectation that the final two will soon be filled by those eager to share in what McAllister concedes will be a difficult day.
"It is going to be tough in some ways and emotional, too, but Adam would have wanted it to be a happy event because that's the kind of guy he was," he says. "I could tell some great tales, most of which couldn't be printed, but he was good fun to be around and quite inspirational in many ways, so he's a great loss not only to his family but also Scottish golf because his commitment rubbed off on the people he worked with."
Given that the two spent much of the late 80s and early 90s travelling Europe together, McAllister benefited as much as anyone from that ferocious work ethic. Having turned professional after winning the Lytham Trophy in 1983, the Paisley player earned his European Tour card in 1987 and won both the Atlantic and Dutch Opens in 1990 on the way to a 19th-place finish on the Order of Merit, although he struggled to recapture such form before his retirement in 2000.
The last decade has been spent running corporate golf days and helping Hunter launch Mearns Castle Golf Academy but, having turned 50 earlier this year, McAllister decided that the time was right to make a competitive comeback on the Seniors Tour. "I know it was something Adam was keen on and I do find myself wondering sometimes whether we would be playing tournaments together again, so it's been tough adjusting to that because there has been a bit of an emptiness there," he explains.
Having secured an exemption as a past tournament winner, McAllister had always intended to return to the grind of practising and playing and worked with a fitness coach to ensure he could cope with the physical challenge. The mental demands, however, have proved more difficult to adapt to. His competitive instincts having been blunted by years of inactivity but, when every missed putt or pushed iron shot is actually affecting your earnings, the focus soon returns.
"When you are playing casual golf, things don't bother you so much but last week in the Senior Open I'd been playing well but a couple of bad holes on each round –two triple bogeys – made all the difference," he says of his failure to make the cut at Turnberry. "That was a bit of an eye-opener about the level I need to be at but it's really a matter of getting the golfing brain switched on again and enjoying the experience. It wasn't always like that and I think I appreciate it more because I am older. Take Adam, he is no longer here and things like that make you realise that it's a nice way of life and you should appreciate it because there are a hell of a lot worse things you could be doing."
McAllister admits he lost his hunger a little towards the end of his playing days as fortune continued to conspire against him – "I kept hitting the crossbar" – and considered himself to have unfinished business as a player. Now better placed to deal with the slings and arrows, he intends to make the most of his second chance. "I felt I still had a bit to offer but just couldn't come up with the golf to back that up," he admits. "It's a confidence thing as much as anything else because you're trying to learn again how to get the ball round in a low score, make a few cuts and earn a few pounds."