Deutsche Bank Ladies Swiss Open 2009

This is big business sponsoring of a major golf event and trying to bring forward sustainable, environmentally friendly policies. The Deutsche Bank Ladies Swiss Open 2009 will be the first carbon neutral golf event. Great news.
Golf Refugees decided to contact them directly to get some insider information. We were naturally curious to see who their commercial partners were for this carbon neutral event. After some nice banter, we started to dig. Hugo Boss will be supplying the clothing, they are a high profile German brand, so no surprises there. However, when we asked whether this clothing was made from organic cotton and / or carbon neutral, the answers became vague and Deutsche Bank became reticent about discussing the event with us.
Let me say, that Golf Refugees fully support this event and praise sponsors who try and incorporate sustainable policies.
Here lies the problem with carbon offsetting. Carbon neutral is a term most often used to describe a state where CO2 emissions have been negated entirely by the purchase of intangible 'carbon offsets'. This represents the 'lowest quality' means of achieving carbon neutral status. The only course of action is to change business-as-usual practices and where possible achieve genuine reductions in carbon emissions through sourcing of local, low carbon products and lower on-site energy consumption.


Go for the Green

'Go for the Green' is the marketing slogan to be used by The Deutsche Bank Ladies Golf Swiss Open in 2009. Why? Well, this event is going to be the first ever carbon neutral Golf Tournament.

Event organisers have calculated the total emissions volume in advance, to put it another way the event's carbon footprint. Gone and purchased an emissions certificate, not sure where you buy those from, to neutralise any emissions. I think they call this carbon offsetting.

The money will be used to install 5,500 biogas plants for private households in India, and to increase the efficiency of a renewable energy plant in Brazil.

I wonder if the women golf pro's will be wearing organic cotton carbon neutral clothing or just the usual big brand golf gear made in polluting factories by under-paid, under-aged textile workers?


Are you ready for eco golf?

These days you can play with golf balls manufactured from recycled materials, use bio degradable tees, wear carbon neutral organic cotton clothing and if you get caught in an acid rain shower, an eco umbrella made from bamboo. But where do you play eco golf?

Many golf courses use gallons of nasty chemicals to create and maintain a lush green, picture postcard look. I'm thinking Augusta, where everything is plucked and trimmed. This Spring, eco warriors can head for Scotland, where Machrihanish Dunes, the first 'real' links course in over a hundred years will open to the public.

There is no artificial drainage, green keepers are are not allowed to use fertiliser, pesticides or any plant growth regulators on the fairways. A flock of Hebridean Black sheep maintain the delicate ecological balance.

I bet Donald can't Trump that.


It's all balls

When you launch a new golf ball, you should submit samples to the governing bodies; USGA & R&A, for them to test whether your golf ball conforms to the latest rules and regulations.
Naturally they do not do this for free, you have to forward a juicy cheque to accompany your samples. Your balls are weighed and measured, plus an initial velocity test is performed for compliance. If successful, your new golf ball can then be included on the list of conforming golf balls. This also allows you to state on your packaging that this golf ball conforms with USGA and R&A rules.
However, there should be an expiry date too. You need to make additional payments every six months or more to the governing bodies to keep your golf ball on the list. A nice little earner for the rule makers to pay for their lunches and new blazers, should they spill gravy down their lapels. Even though your golf ball conforms, without further payments your golf ball is dropped from the list, though your packaging will probably still state conforms to USGA and R&A rules. Does any of this matter? Well, Professional golf tournaments usually insist that players must use golf balls which are on the current list of conforming balls. Strictly speaking these are the only legal golf balls. Though it is up to individual tournaments and golf clubs to decide whether to enforce the list. I suspect that most golfers entering their local club competitions can play with anything.


We're in trouble

We've been contacted by representatives of Peter Alliss, a London based firm called Blackburn Blackburn Sachs Associates, not to use our 'Peter Alliss just choked on his cornflakes' advert again. Apparently, we should of asked for permission to use his name, and they don't feel it is particularly flattering. We tried to explain that we thought of Peter Alliss, because he is the voice of golf in the UK. But, this didn't wash with his suited and booted legal team. Nice to see that these bastions of the gentleman's game still have a sense of humour.


Around with Alliss

Do you recall the UK TV show from the 80's called 'Around with Alliss'?
Where a celebrity plays a few holes and a cosy chat with ex Ryder Cup
and BBC golf commentator Peter Alliss. When asked recently about bringing
back the show, Alliss replied he didn't believe there were big enough stars now.
One of his previous guests was little Ronnie Corbet, but he probably means something else.
So how about, Simon Cowell, err maybe not, trousers too high for regulation golf.
Paris Hilton, fairways would need to be sprayed pink. How about pop star Pink, she's just started playing? Alliss may have a point.
What about a slight change of format? Around with Malice. Where a celeb who has just lost out on shed loads of money from losing a hair /make-up /soft drinks contract. Vents his or her anger, weilding a club at the unfairness of it all.


Winter golf fans

Black ball heaven

Even though the golf courses are closed. There are still plenty of snow-ways to practise on.


Disposable golf bag 'Bin Bag'

A rare sight, Golf Refugees disposable golf bag 'Bin Bag' at the exclusive Wentworth Golf Club in Surrey, UK.


I nearly worked for Titleist

Whilst at art college studying design at Coventy University, UK, I did a placement at a Formula One racing car team called Arrows. Their technical director, who also had a background in product design, used to design kitchens. Sadly, Arrows no longer exist, and they have the record of being the most unsuccessful team in the history of Formula One.

I soon realised it was unlikely that I would find my vocation designing racing cars, however, spending time in a wind-tunnel, watching talented engineers design and test aerodynamic components led me to think about a 'sports' related project for my final year at college.

My initial thoughts of golf clubs, in particular drivers, were of a brick attached to the end of a stick. Surely, I could design something that looked as if it moved through the air. With the knowledge that golfers swing their drivers at speeds of over 100 mph, I set about designing a low drag, ultra-aerodynamic driver. A prototype of my final design was built at Arrows, using off-cuts of their expensive high strength, low weight carbon fibre material.

That summer, The Open Championship was being held at St. Andrews, Scotland. With my prototype in hand, I walked around the tented village to see what other manufactures had to offer. A guy with an American accent stopped to ask me what I was carrying. He, introduced himself as Scotty Cameron, and invited me to meet his boss. I can recall sitting in a motorhome, with Scotty and Wally. Wally turned out to be Mr Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet. He asked me, 'What do you want'? I just hadn't thought about what I wanted to do. And simply replied, 'I don't know'. Wally passed me his business card and asked me to let him know. The next day, I knocked on the door of his motorhome, to be informed that he had already left for USA.

John Daly won The Open that year.


More BMX less BMW

We'd like to see more BMX's and less BMW's in golf club car parks.


Denim in Golf

That old chestnut. What is denim? It's just cotton. Our 'Club Champ' pic above, is wearin a pair of Golf Refugees reversed indigo denim 'cheat' pants. They are cut and have pocket details as you would find on trousers rather than jeans. Our cheat pants contain a hidden pocket, which allow you to drop a golf ball down the inside of the leg. Unless you have thighs like Fatima Whitbread, the golf ball should slip down nice'n easy. But they are made from denim, and most golf clubs forbid denim on the course. However, such restricted dress code rules have never dissuaded Golf Refugees. We've worn our denim cheat pants at some of the most prestigious golf courses in the UK. The eagle eyed rule enforcers seem more concerned about our black golf balls.

We've never understood dress code rules. You can buy a smart pair of jeans and be turned away. But wear an inexpensive pair of trousers, pulled up high, Simon Cowell style, leaving you a little short in the leg department and the fashion police wave you through.

However, it appears that you can wear denim at private golf clubs, as long as it doesn't look like jeans. During 2009, Golf Refugees are hoping to bring a little more denim into golf wear.