Is there a black cloud hanging over your golf apparel when you play golf?

You may think you are wearing the latest hi-tech shirt from the coolest brand, but in reality their marketing isn’t going to tell you; ‘they use the oldest and dirtiest technology’ to manufacture your golf apparel. It’s called ‘coal’. Yes, coal fired power stations.

However there is a silver lining. Golf Refugees apparel is made using renewable wind and solar power.

No black clouds overhead, just the wind and sunshine on your back.



Who should broadcast The Open Championship?

With the BBC being funded via a public license fee for anyone with a telly, the UK government announced that the Beeb’s budget will be cut over the next few years in-line with other public expenditure cuts.
Not a surprise in these ‘times of austerity’ and with a blue coloured government who believe in a small state and private enterprise.

As we can see with other events, the BBC’s ability to compete with commercially funded broadcasters for sporting rights is diminishing. The Open could be next out of the door.

However, as a grumpy old man, I really do miss watching my favourite football team and other major traditional British sporting events such as The Ashes and the Boat race on terrestrial TV. Having to stump up an extra monthly subscription charge for Sky to watch a live event as well as the licence fee to view highlights and repeats really narks me. Hence I refuse.

We have the ‘fit and proper’ requirement for football club owners and media moguls. Unfortunately its implementation has been somewhat diluted to anyone who sucks extra strong mints.

I’m sure our likeable Sports & Media Minister; the right honourable Jeremy Hunt has an opinion on this matter. But he will only divulge his real views in private telephone conversations.

The R&A, that forward looking organisation who still run a private club for golfers with a willy, Strap-ons do not comply to their strict membership rules. Have just announced mobile phones can be used for the first time at this years 21 st century Open.

Something to cheer about after all.



Composition with circles by Bridget Riley

With new technologies allowing 360 degree printing on golf balls.
Could the age of the disappearing plain white golf ball be coming to an end?

Golf Refugees have never understood why ‘white’ is still the prevailing colour of golf balls. Our original black golf ball was partly introduced to open up a debate on the virtues of different colours for golf balls.

Can we now all learn from celebrated 60’s British artist Bridget Riley? Acknowledged for her distinctive, black and white optically vibrant drawings called ‘Opt Art’. Which give the impression of fast spiralling motion as observers move their eyes around the image.

A patterned golf ball will be more visually stimulating in the air, on the ground even amongst fallen Autumn leaves. Perhaps our 'Spiral ball' will begin a new era of the highly visible golf ball.



Do you have a favourite?
From top to bottom;
White golf ball with coloured spirals; black, pink, yellow
Black golf ball with coloured spirals; white, pink, yellow
Pink golf ball with coloured spirals; white, black, yellow
Yellow golf ball with coloured spirals; white, pink, black






Olympic-branded gear – to be worn by British athletes and Games volunteers – is being manufactured for Adidas in sweatshop conditions in
Indonesia, making a mockery of claims by London 2012 organisers that this summer's Games will be the most ethical ever.

While the German company – which unveiled its Stella McCartney-designed kit for British athletes last month – hopes to make £100m from its Olympic lines, the mainly young, female factory employees work up to 65 hours (25 hours more than the standard working week), for desperately low pay. They also endure verbal and physical abuse, they allege, are forced to work overtime, and are punished for not reaching production targets.

None of the nine factories pays its employees a living wage – about 20 per cent higher than the official minimum wage – one of the cornerstones of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) base code, an internationally recognised labour code adopted by the Olympics organising committee, Workers struggle to survive on pay as low as 34p an hour, skipping meals to save money, and sending their children away to be looked after by grandparents.

The Independent was told that four of Adidas's Indonesian suppliers pay less than the minimum wage for the garment industry.

The six Indonesian factories did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson for Stella McCartney declined to comment.

It's no secret why Adidas and other sportswear brands such as Nike and others get most of their products manufactured in developing countries. Wages are cheap and labour law is lax. Over the past decade, such companies – in response to public pressure – have taken steps to monitor their supply chains.
But as The Independent investigation of Adidas's Olympic suppliers demonstrates, it is very difficult to control conditions in locally managed factories.

Adidas says it is committed to "ensuring fair labour practices, fair wages and safe working conditions throughout our global supply chain". It conducts hundreds of factory audits annually in 69 countries where it does business. However, workers in its Indonesian factories told The Independent that the audits are farcical.

Ratna, a worker at one of Adidas contracted factories, said: "They (the management) get people to hide in bathrooms, so there are fewer people on the production line and it looks more efficient. If Adidas wants to ask questions, the workers are prepared beforehand with questions and answers. “We have to tell them we're paid the minimum wage, and we mustn't tell them we work overtime at weekends." We can never tell the truth, otherwise we might lose our jobs."

Anna McMullen, a spokeswoman for the Playfair 2012 campaign, said yesterday: "Adidas's own safeguards have failed, as this is an industry which defaults to the lowest standards in order to make the most profit. Unless proactive intervention is taken to deliver living wages and rights, workplaces like these will continue to be the norm.”



What is carbon neutral apparel?

The carbon footprint of a product is the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases; methane, nitrous oxide, emitted due to manufacture and distribution.
Greenhouse gases are so-called because they trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere and keep the planet warm.

A good example is the new lingerie factory in
Sri Lanka, who make carbon neutral bras for British retailer Marks & Spencer.
The factory has many energy-saving features including evaporative cooling, carefully designed windows to provide enough natural light for stitching and turf roofs. Electricity is supplied from renewable sources; hydro power plant and on-site solar panels.

Golf Refugees hand-dyed in
Britain polo shirts are carbon neutral.

I can’t think of a single golf tournament or golf professional who uses carbon neutral apparel.

If say a golf tournament supplied their officials and volunteers with carbon neutral polo shirts they could save 1.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide based upon 200 polo shirts.

It just takes a different mindset from the governing bodies of golf and tournament organizers to realize there are carbon neutral products out there.



Inspired by the 1968 film Barbarella staring Jane Fonda and graphic designer Ruben Cordoba Schwaneberg.




After his fantastic win at the Masters using a pink driver, Bubba Watson to launch his own range of golf clothing.



As the Masters tees off the gap between the driving distances of professional golfers and amateurs continues to increase.
With a genuine fear of even bigger and stronger athletes entering the game and pushing professional golfers driving distances towards 400 yards. Rendering most golf courses nothing more than a drive and a chip.

The cheapest solution would be to limit the golf ball for professional players. 
However there is a solution for all golfers and a green one to boot.

Make the next generation of golf balls from biodegradable elastic proteins; elastins, resilins and abductions. Ditch the synthetic polymer rubber and look to a more sustainable future for golf with insect biology balls. The stuff that makes jumping fleas jump and frog-hoppers hop.



Did you know that golf is the fastest growing sport in India?
Currently there is only one public golf course and eighteen professional golfers from a population of over one billion people.

With golf’s inclusion at the 2016 Olympics the Indian government will invest to build new facilities and encourage participation.
Let’s hope they learn from the mistakes made by the R&A in the UK who concentrated on building too many eighteen hole championship quality golf courses in rural areas.
It would be great to see a mixture of six and nine hole courses constructed near urban areas. Could swing analysis software and simulators play a huge part in coaching a new generation of golfers?

The local Indian population seem only to recognise cricket stars but this could all change over the next few years.



Tiger wins again at the Arnold Palmer Invitation. But is this Tiger’s first tour victory? I mean the ‘real Tiger’.

All of those other wins were done under the imagery concocted by his management team; IMG and advertising agencies.
Fair play to them, they do know an awful lot about marketing and how to maximise sales of razors and 'plastic' shirts.
A wholesome-family-orientated hero is far more digestible at the breakfast table for consumers from Baltimore to Beijing.

Were we all so 

I for one are glad we can now follow the ‘real Tiger’ at the Masters this week.