To make the production of ‘plastic’ polyester fabric commercially viable a catalyst is required to speed up the chemical reaction.

The substance of choice is called ‘Antimony’, which is a sliver, grey metal.

Antimony is a toxic chemical element and has been classified as a carcinogen in the state of California and the European Union since 1990.

Antimony is just not a nice thing to be wearing. It possibly won’t hurt you, as during the production process of polyester it becomes chemically bonded to the fabric, however the residue sludge produced during manufacture when incinerated creates fly ash which contains antimony.

You won’t find any of this information on the labels of your Nike, Adidas or Puma polyester polo shirts.

But at least you now know that you are playing golf in the sunshine with antimony chemically bonded to your polyester shirt next to your skin.



Merry Christmas from Golf Refugees.



John Daly; two decades on the PGA Tour, 2 major wins and $1 million dollars in fines. Not a bad record.



You would think with England having the World’s number 1 & 2 golfers; Luke Donald and Lee Westwood, coupled with the considerable resources of the R&A, that golf would be doing pretty well.

Unfortunately you would be mistaken.

Below are the official figures from Sport England through their Active People Survey (APS).

I appreciate that at the moment there is an economic recession, hence I have taken the figures over a longer four year period; October 2007 – October 2011.

Under the category of playing golf once a week; participation levels have fallen by 115,100

Under the category playing golf once a month; participation figures have fallen by 146,900

With these disappointing results, perhaps the R&A need to pull their long socks up.




Golf Refugees have calculated that your average polyester polo shirt, favoured by leading sportswear brands; Nike, Adidas and Puma, takes 66 ml of distilled crude oil to produce.

Now we are not mathematicians. Our calculations were based upon direct annual polyester fibre production of 35 million tons using 73 million barrels of crude oil.

You then need to add lots of other toxic chemicals to make your polyester shirt feel softer, more flexible and less flammable.

It’s a crude process.




Around 40 million tons of polyester is produced worldwide per annum.

Polyester isn’t unique to sportswear apparel, it is also used in furniture, shower curtains and for stuffing pillows.

The health and environmental hazards that petrochemicals pose are well documented.

The base chemicals that make up polyester are created during the process of refining oil, the main one being paraxylene.

You also need to be concerned about phthalates, which are used to make your polyester apparel more flexible and feel softer.

Readily absorbed by the skin, phthalates are known to disrupt the development and functioning of reproductive organs. Resulting in low sperm counts and early breast development.

So why are you wearing ‘oil slick’ polo shirts? Are you a shareholder in BP, Shell or Exxon mobil?

There is hope though, of sorts.

A Japanese company; Toray Industries, have created samples of what they claim to be the world’s first bio-based polyester fiber. Instead of refining crude oil they have obtained paraxylene from refining biofuel; derived from plants.



This year's Ladies European Tour reaches its exciting conclusion at the weekend, with many of the world’s leading female golfers - including Michelle Wie, Lexi Thompson and Melissa Reid - competing in the Omega Dubai Masters.

For next season, Golf Refugees will be offering tour players the opportunity to wear our unique, ethically-made organic polo shirts.

All you need to do is contact Golf Refugees and we'll help you to select the correct size of shirt and send you a palette of 16 colours to choose from. Your shirts can be plain or incorporate a pattern, such as stripes. We will custom design your organic polo shirts with you. The shirts will be hand-dyed in the UK.

What’s the catch?

You have to be playing on a recognised tour and order a minimum of four ethically-made organic polo shirts per colour. Sizes of the shirts can vary along with your chosen patterns. Cost per four organic polo shirts: £50 or 60 euros excluding delivery.

Why we are doing this?

Golf Refugees are not making any profit with our ‘Girls on Tour’ project. We just want to see more tour players wearing ethically-made golf apparel.

You may be aware of recent Greenpeace reports stating that leading sportswear brands refuse to pay a living wage to their young female textile workers. And that their factories, usually based in Asia, pollute local rivers and still use banned chemicals including nonylphenal ethoxylates (NPE’s) which can cause hormonal disruptions in workers and wearers of the garments by mimicking the female hormone oestrogen.

Golf Refugees organic, carbon neutral golf shirts are certified by The Soil Association and audited by The Carbon Trust.





Help grow the game of golf by retiring the R&A.




Best male US Tour golfer: Luke Donald (ENG)
Best male European Tour golfer: Luke Donald (ENG)
Best female US Tour golfer: Yani Tseng (TWN)
Best female European Tour golfer: Caroline Hedwall (SWE)
Best golf team: European Solheim Cup Team, GB&I Walker Cup Team (Take your pick)
Most improved golfer: Tiger Woods
Most polluting Sportswear Brand: Nike (USA), Adidas (GER) (Take your pick)
Organisation which held back the development of golf: R&A



It’s tough to make a living from playing golf on tour.

Many of us get carried away by hearing just about the wealth of the very top players.

This made me wonder should male golfers consider stripping down to their underpants in order to gain more fans, more publicity and hopefully more sponsors?

Should they take a leaf from female golfers and show more male skin in photo shoots?




Hand dyed burlesque red women’s organic polo shirt with ink jet printed badge.



Do professional golfers keep their 'true colour' under wraps?

We can all see them swinging in the latest collections from their apparel sponsors.
But I doubt whether these contracts stipulate any restrictions in the underwear department.

New research suggests that men in particular buy more colourful, fun and whimsical underwear compared with their outer garments. With cartoon characters being a particular favourite.

Can you imagine Rory or Tiger ripping up the golf course in Scooby-Doo and Shaggy underpants?

Then there’s always Betty Boop and one of my favourites Penelope Pitstop from the Whacky Races.