This should be one of the biggest stories regarding polyester sports apparel.

When the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) tested moisture-wicking, anti-bacterial polyester shirts they found a cocktail of hazardous chemicals.

In order to produce the final combination of colour and print on the shirts, hundreds of chemical compounds are used in the meshing of the fabrics. Some of these may be carcinogenic, impact negatively on the hormonal system, cause allergies or be harmful to the environment.
The risk increases particularly with sports apparel as they are often used in summer, during perspiration inducing sporting activities and come into direct contact with the skin. Sweat and movement friction can facilitate the migration of hazardous substances from the fabric to our skin.

Why are these shirts on the market although they pose risks for human health and the environment?

The EU legislative framework (REACH) is currently not strong enough to effectively protect consumers from hazardous chemicals.

When looking at the effect on human health, it is not only important to check the content of chemicals in a garment but also which percentage of these chemicals can be released under certain conditions, a test which is not required by REACH.

The EU regulatory system currently fails to take into account the chemical cocktail effect to which we are exposed when assessing the safety of chemicals, as it is mainly done based on a single substance approach. The presence of many different harmful substances demonstrates the need for the EU to bring a new approach to policy making which examines combined exposure to chemicals when carrying out risk assessment.

Finally, the EU regulatory system is currently unfit to adequately tackle chemicals which may negatively impact on our hormonal system (endocrine disrupters). Based on the latest scientific findings, it is assumed that some chemicals may already have a negative health impact in very low doses, in particular on the unborn child or babies.

What should I do if I wear these shirts?

As the shirts come in direct contact with the skin, we advise consumers wash the shirts before using them. Moreover, consumers should wear a natural fibre; cotton, underneath the polyester shirts when doing sport as this helps to prevent partially skin reactions due to the chemicals which may react with sweat.

In light of these (BEUC) test results and consumer advice, Golf Refugees contacted the Ladies European Tour to see whether they would issue these findings to their players. Unfortunately the LET ignored it.

Consumers have no idea what’s inside their sports apparel.

You also have to consider leading sportswear brands decide to manufacture polyester sports apparel outside the jurisdiction of current European regulations (REACH), far away in Asian countries that have weaker or no regulations.

Happy New Year.



If you've just bought some brightly coloured sports apparel for Christmas presents; do you know if they contain lead di-acetate and or azo-dyes; direct red 28, direct black 28? These hazardous chemicals have just been listed by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) as toxic to human reproduction and carcinogenic.

Probably a good idea to check with your favourite sportswear brand. Your skin interacts with chemicals contained in sports apparel through sweating. ECHA stated that these hazardous chemicals are of particular concern to women and children. Don’t get fobbed off by brands saying we only use very small amounts of these toxic chemicals. When the European Consumer Organisation tested polyester sports shirts they found 3 times the amount of lead than specified by a leading brand. Why are leading sportswear brands using any amount of damaging human reproductive and carcinogenic chemicals in sports clothing supplied to customers?

Merry Christmas.


Person of the year; Edward Snowden

Brand of the year; Greenpeace

Male golfer of the year; Justin Rose
Female golfer of the year; Charley Hull

Overseas male golfer of the year; Adam Scott
Overseas female golfer of the year; Inbee Park

Biggest moaners of the year (but for a good cause); Golf Refugees

Best golf media moment of the year; Brandel Chamblee v Tiger Woods and his cronies



How about a 3D printed ‘driver’ club head?

The design would be available for free. You only have to use either your own 3D Printer or a 3D Printing bureau to print the metallic components.

Unlike today, where you buy a complete ‘driver’, you would have to assemble all of the parts. How do you feel about this? One advantage could be if any of the parts become damaged it can be easily replaced by printing another.

I envisage a front striking face with all of the curvature / angles; bulge, bounce, loft and a space frame. The space frame could be a single unit, or be a number of components which can be fixed together. My understanding is the rules of golf require club heads to be enclosed; a thin film could be used to cover the space frame. Lightening holes can be used to reduce the overall weight of the metallic space frame.

A component to locate and secure the golf shaft again could be built into the space frame or be a separate component.

Parts of the space frame can be designed to hold additional weights, which can be fixed or slide along.

Securing the front striking face to the space frame is one of the more problematic areas because of the substantial forces, durability and obtaining 0.836 COR for the design. Additional complexity could be included where the front striking face can be made adjustable for various angels by using movable components which fit inside the front of the space frame.

Please give me your thoughts and get in touch if you’d like to help make it happen.



Do you have a 'chip on your shoulder'?





Looking forward to wearing this whilst walking past the gym.



The European Chemicals Agency has this week published an updated list to identify new substances of very high concern, those which may have serious effects on human health and the environment.

Four of the new chemicals included are used in the textile industry;

Dihexyl phthalate - used to create plastisol prints for shirts.

Lead di (acetate) - used as a fixative for some textile dyeing, both were added after being identified as toxic for reproduction.

Direct Red 28 and Direct Black 38, used to dye synthetic; polyester, nylon textiles, were identified as carcinogenic These two chemicals are part of the azo-dye chemical group

If textile brands are prepared to use hazardous substances then they should be prepared (required) to inform their customers. Do you agree?


Now that some experts have described anti-bacterial chemicals in consumer products as a public health threat. How about some transparency from leading textile brands who treat polyester with anti-bacterial chemicals? Polyester is a durable fabric making it suitable for sports wear. However polyester also retains body odour when used, even after washing, which necessitates treatment with anti-bacterial chemicals to reduce the smell. Consumers need to be informed of the chemicals used in sports apparel, especially polyester apparel marketed towards women and children.

If concerned, just ask your sports apparel brand.


When you think about consumer products which are potentially detrimental to health, anti-bacterial hand wash probably wouldn't be high on your list. You’d think washing your hands and body with anti-bacterial soaps is a good way to protect you and your family from germs. This just goes to show how important it is for consumers to become more aware and ask more questions of their favourite brands to disclose information on the chemicals they use in consumer products.

The anti-bacterial chemicals used in products have come under fire as they may be aiding the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and disrupting hormone levels, particularly in women and children said the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Some experts have called anti-bacterial chemicals a public health threat.

The FDA are asking anti-bacterial hand and body wash brands to prove their products work better than soap and water and pose fewer health risks – that is not an easy task. If the companies can’t provide adequate proof, they’re going to have to reformulate the products, change information on packaging or stop making them altogether

There are many other consumer products which contain ant-bacterial, hormone disruptive chemicals including textiles. Any products which are used on a regular basis and have a greater interaction with your body containing these hazardous chemicals pose a potential long term health risk. Playing sports is regarded as being healthy for you and your family. But how about playing sport wearing sports apparel containing anti-bacterial, hormone disruptive chemicals? Polyester is widely used as the fabric by leading sportswear brands, a good choice because of its durability and being inexpensive to manufacture. However, polyester has a major disadvantage for sports apparel, it retains body odour, even after washing. Hence polyester sports apparel is treated with anti-bacterial chemicals. Sports apparel interacts with your body via your largest organ; your skin, through sweating.

Consumer need to start asking questions of their favourite brands to disclose information on the hazardous chemicals used in their products. For example there is a complete lack of consumer information in regard to hazardous chemicals used in polyester moisture-wicking, anti-bacterial sports apparel.



The London 2012 Olympics was a great success. The British team were clad in Adidas, which is a shame as they are a German brand. However Adidas did ask our Stella (Beatles daughter) to design the kit. Unfortunately the sports apparel was made from chemicals and manufactured in Asian sweatshops.

Here at Golf Refugees UK we thought we’d have a bash and design our own post Olympic shirt. Stella McCartney’s design is sophisticated and contemporary, we've opted for a simple take on the union jack. The inner edges of the graphic are deliberately blurred. Only the official sponsor can use protected words such as ‘Olympics’, so 
 devised our own mark ‘LDN12’. Stella is regarded as one of the most talented fashion designers in the world, so we’ll understand if you prefer hers.



We need a new default position for consumer products. Those consumer products that don't meet environmental standards on air/water pollution, no matter where they are manufactured, need to be labelled to advise consumers and those products that meet the required standards require no labels.

This new labelling could take the form of a simple graphic; such as a red dot, to warn consumers that particular products do not meet the required environmental standards.






A few days ago, prior to Q-School, someone; a well respected highly experienced golf industry specialist, who now works for one of those golf networks, uttered that Cheyenne Woods could be the saviour of the LPGA and the golf industry is eagerly awaiting her arrival. Now I usually take this sort of stuff with a pinch of salt, as the golf networks rely heavily on advertising revenue from leading sports brands and so they dutifully say lots of nice things about them and their athletes. But after a little consideration, it’s a reasonable viewpoint, seeing how Tiger dominates all media in the PGA. Now Cheyenne has the right name and sponsor, it’s just that in comparison she’s already too old and not good enough. If only somebody else was called Miss Woods.

As someone who doesn't receive any direct or indirect funding from Nike, this is my humble opinion. Cheyenne is obviously a talented golfer and would whip my butt on any golf course, but that doesn't make her a potential saviour of the LPGA. The LPGA require lots of new young talent and that’s exactly what they are getting. You only have to look at the recently concluded LPGA Q-School to see how 19 year old American Jaye Marie Green broke the 90-hole event record posting the lowest ever qualifying score of 29 under par and with countrymen Amy Anderson coming an excellent fourth. Then you have Lyndia Ko, who as a teenage amateur has already won a couple of LPGA events and now a third as a professional. A truly remarkable achievement. On this side of the pond we have the teenage sensation Charley Hull, recently crowned LET rookie of the year. She’s the one who mashed Paula Creamer 5 and 4 in the Solhein Cup singles and afterwards asked for her autograph ‘for a friend’. Only a ventriloquists dummy would champion Cheyenne over Hull & Ko.

Perhaps one day soon they too will become Nike sponsored athletes. I for one hope not. I hope one of them or another will value their own name and morals above Nike’s. Yes the money can be all consuming as G Mac remarked when Rory sold his soul. By simply asking; who could turn down that sort of money? Well instead of spending lots of money on lawyers to get you out of previous commitments, bringing undo pressure on yourself, being clothed by someone else and having to say exaggerated claims about every piece of equipment you use. Why not just play, have fun and only except deals which truly represent you and your own values. Perhaps these teenage golf stars really can show us how it should be done. To be brave enough and wise enough to shun the biggest pot of tainted money and play for a better future.



Should authorities suspend HSBC from sponsoring sporting events?

You may ask why say the PGA Tour should bite the hand that feeds it. Well, if you are a tour player and become involved with drugs you can be suspended for violating the PGA Tour drugs policy. But what happens if you are a tournament sponsor? 

HSBC have been found guilty of laundering money for drug cartels. You could have the situation where prize money and appearance money are being funded from the proceeds of laundering drug money. It seems the PGA Tour will turn a blind eye to these activities for a sponsor but not a player.

"In an age of international terrorism, drug violence in our streets and on our borders, and organized crime, stopping illicit money flows that support those atrocities is a national security imperative”
Senator Carl Levin

HSBC report findings;

high-profile clients involved in drug trafficking
millions of dollars of suspicious bulk travellers cheques
a resistance to closing accounts linked to suspicious activity
HSBC US (HBUS) classed Mexico as a low-risk country and as a result, failed to properly monitor its transfers and other dealings with it.

US laws prevent banks doing business with what it regards as the most dangerous individuals and countries.

HSBC frequently circumvented the rules designed to prevent dealings with Iran, Burma, North Korea and Iran.

Actions taken to get around these safeguards in the system "may have facilitated transactions on half of terrorists, drug traffickers or other wrongdoers.

For example, HBUS carried out 28,000 undisclosed sensitive transactions between 2001 and 2007. The vast majority of those transactions - worth $19.7bn - involved Iran.

Two affiliates, HSBC Europe and HSBC Middle East repeatedly altered transaction information to take out any reference to Iran.

HSBC did business with Saudi Arabia's biggest financial institution, Al Rajhi Bank.

The report claims that after the terrorist attacks in the US on 11 September 2001, evidence emerged that Al Rajhi and some of its owners had links to financial organisations associated with terrorism.

HSBC cleared large amounts of travellers' checks over a number of years, without proper anti-money laundering controls, despite evidence of suspicious activity.

It would seem the US PGA Tour regard the above activities as acceptable behaviour for a tournament sponsor. After all the money has to come from somewhere.



Available now from all good supermarkets.


It seems the rule makers in golf conjure up more regulations year on year, this time with the help of top professionals to reduce interference from the gadget loving public, which results in more complexity and slower play.

With golfers projecting a more athletic appearance coupled with increased distances from ball and club technology, you’d think golf would be speeding up a little. Unfortunately it’s at a snails pace and getting slower. To combat longer shots courses are being extended and the encyclopedia rules of golf now require a blazer glad army to decode it Mark Twain once remarked 'golf is a good walk spoiled', so why not ditch the rambling and hop on yer bike? Let’s get rid of the parking spaces for BMW’s and replace them with cycle racks for BMX’s. Golf is full of unnecessary equipment, riding your BMX between shots to complete a round in less than 4 hours would herald significant progress.


Creating memorable copy and images to communicate your preferred product message is a challenge

However, should consumers ignore the advertised rhetoric and concentrate instead on information they cannot see? If a brand fails to mention what their product is made from or how it is made, should consumers default position be, unless told otherwise; ‘it’s full of nasty chemicals and made in a morally bankrupt way’.



In a world full of plastic who doesn't love fried eggs.

Just in case you’re interested the shirts are made from 100% organic cotton and the eggs are free range.