Should we sponsor a six year old?

I received an e-mail from the father of a promising young golfer looking for sponsorship.

Should Golf Refugees sponsor a future pro golfer, currently playing on the US Kids Tour in Los Angeles? Though only six years old, Kristopher received the 'Player of the year' title for 2009. He likes the urban 'hip hop' feel of our apparel and wishes to play with the original black ball.

Yes, he could be the next Tiger. I can't remember what I was doing aged six, but it definitely didn't involve striving for sporting fame and fortune. More likely to be grabbing a handful of soil and searching for worms. By the time I started to think about a career and girls, young sports stars today are thinking about retiring after ten years of pushing their minds and bodies to the max.

Fortunately in the sport of golf you can still achieve major success with the body of a retired sumo wrestler.


Do you look 'right'?

Brands spend a small fortune on creating an appealing image. But how far do they go in pursuit of perfection? And should we as consumers fall for all this smoke and mirrors?

I have some Abercrombie & Fitch catalogues and they do look good. Page after page of beautiful people, all smiling and looking super trim. Now, I have a bit of a belly and thinning hair, so not the ideal look for A&F. This is probably why at Golf Refugees we advocate a no dress code policy, it's more about attitude rather than looks.

In a recent tribunal, details of A&F's strict enforced dress policy were laid bare for all. From rules governing the length of a women's finger nails, to what colour toe nail polish is acceptable.

Rian Dean who was working at A&F's flagship store in Saville Row, London, was initially given permission to wear a plain white cardigan to cover the join of her prosthetic lower arm. Unfortunately a rule branding manager used the company's 'look policy' to remove her from the shop floor, out of sight of the customers.

Rian hopes that her legal victory for unfair dismissal will make Abercrombe & Fitch realise that beauty lies in diversity rather than perfection.

Personally I doubt they will give it a second thought, as long as us consumers continue to buy into brands marketing masquerade.

Hackers Paradise Apparel Review

Golf Refugees Carbon Neutral Apparel Review

First Impressions:
Once out of the box our initial reaction was that we liked both shirts quite a bit. Their logo is fantastic and the shirts were very soft to the touch. The material on the t-shirt was quite nice. Extremely thin and reminded me of the material used in the high priced printed t-shirts you see in the stores or possibly own. The material of the polo shirt can only be described as “felt like”. It reminded both of us of the pieces of felt we used in crafts as kids.

From the company:
As well as being 100% organic, certified by The Soil Association. All of our new shirts will also be carbon neutral. This means that they’ll only be manufactured using sustainable energy generated purely from wind power. The Carbon Trust calculated that our Men’s size large shirt, cuts CO2 emissions by over 89%.

Thoughts on the T-Shirt:
While this author does not approve of wearing t-shirts on the course, many of our readers play at courses that allow this, so of course we do not have a problem with it. We are also always looking for something to expand our wardrobe off the fairways as well. The Golf Refugees T-Shirt was worn to the range as well as around the course and each time I liked it quite a bit. Extremely soft and thin with a logo on the arm that I really enjoy and most of their shirts have some interesting prints on them.

Thoughts on the Polo Shirt:
As much as we liked the t-shirt, we were eager looking forward to testing out the polo shirt. The polo shirt features the same logo shown above on the sleeve on the front breast of the shirt. It also features the Golf Refugees logo featured in gray on the center of the back. Once suited up in the polo, we headed to the course. We played 3 full rounds in this shirt and really enjoy the look of it. Those that struggle with collars getting folded or becoming “off looking” will be glad to know that this one lasted 4 washes without that happening.

What makes the Golf Refugees Carbon Neutral Organic Cotton shirts so appealing is the process from beginning to end. I am not sure we have seen any other Golf brand go this far. Golf Refugees make sure that it not only meets ethical and environmental guidelines, but endures a manufacturing process which saves fuel, money, and ultimately the planet Earth.
For more information on these shirts or any of the other goods that Golf Refugees carries check out their website;


Chavez takes a swing at golf

He has already railed, to little effect, against the capitalist corruption of the evil oil conglomerates, and the craven international media. Now President Hugo Chavez has turned his attention to a still more infuriating target: golf.
The Venezuelan leader is trying to shut down some of his country's best-known courses. "Let's leave this clear," Chavez said on his live television programme on Sunday. "Golf is a bourgeois sport." Nine courses will have been shut down since the campaign began in 2006.

This initiative from the most vocal self-proclaimed socialist revolutionary in Latin America makes perfect ideological sense. The courses occupy pricey land that could be used for housing. For Mr Chavez, they are as good a symbol as any of the social divisions in Venezuela – manicured fairways and greens used by the affluent few, juxtaposed with the slums and overcrowding that are the lot of the impoverished majority.
"I respect all sports," Chavez insisted on his TV show. But "do you mean to tell me that golf is a people's sport? It is not."
It is the favoured pursuit of those irredeemable champions of the bourgeois elite, the men who have occupied the White House.
Every recent US president has played the game. John F Kennedy is said to have owned the most graceful swing. Bill Clinton loved to give himself mulligans, and now President Obama has kept up the tradition. Mr Chavez's ire for the carts in particular may well be the result of George W Bush's "Golf Cart One''.

President Hugo Chavez is not the first to berate the game of golf.....

"A game in which one endeavours to control a ball with implements ill-adapted for the purpose," Woodrow Wilson said.

Even Winston Churchill, thought golf to be "like chasing a quinine pill around a cow pasture."

But few can rival Robin Williams' contempt: "Golf," he groused, "is a game where white men can dress up as black pimps and get away with it."


Crazy golfer Dom Joly

Dom Joly - Windmill power the next big craze

Tattooed participants look capable of doing you some serious damage with a putter

Dom Joly stands but a short putt from leading Britain to championship status in the world of crazy golf, if only the sport could be properly funded

I'm getting more and more into golf. Not the standard 18-hole, silly clothes, mashie niblick type, no sir, I'm into crazy golf. Sadly, I'm not supposed to call it that over here in Canada as it's deemed politically incorrect.
The crazy lobby came out in force and protested against the use of the term by wandering aimlessly down streets dressed as clowns and Napoleon but then completely forgot what they were protesting about. Despite this, the powers that be decided to change the name and so here it's called "mini-putt" or "fun golf". This seems even weirder to me. Calling it "fun golf" implies real golf is not fun.
This actually could be argued convincingly – especially the way I play the game – but it does seem a little odd to slag off the very game that you owe your existence to. My wife is only 5ft 2in and I could see that she was a little disturbed at the term mini-putt.
Her problem was that people would walk past, see her playing and start shouting "look, look at the little person playing mini-putt... how sweet she is."
I think she might be overreacting but it's not for me to decide. She should consider herself lucky – in the States one of the names for the sport is "midget golf". There actually is a World Minigolf Federation and they like to use the name "minigolf".
They also list yet more names for the sport that include "goofy golf" and "extreme golf". It looks like somebody really needs to grab hold of the reins and come up with a definitive term. If my wife ever sees a "midget golf" course she's going to get very upset indeed. Apparently the sport can be sourced back to St Andrews, where a club was established in 1867 which played on the "Himalayas". This consisted of 18 short putting greens and was actually for women as it was deemed unseemly for women of the time to contort themselves into the violent movements that a proper golf swing requires.
The sport really took off in America in the 1920s when, at one stage there were over 150 rooftop courses in New York alone, although the Wall Street Crash of 1929 put paid to this – presumably because most of the people playing were financiers who should have been at work; their absence led to the crash and so they all jumped off the roof. This is only a theory but it makes sense to me.
Up until the Crash, the courses were simple flat putting greens, but when it re-emerged in the US as a new craze in the late 1930s innovations were included like tunnels, wishing wells and, of course, windmills. I'm not sure why I associate crazy golf with windmills so much – possibly it reminds me of the first time I ever played the game on the coast in Somerset. I made 15 attempts before managing to get my ball past one of the blades of the mill. I can still feel the thrill.
The classic crazy golf site is nearly always by water. I don't know why but it seems to be inextricably linked to summer holidays – you never go skiing and find an indoor crazy golf course. It's always outside in slightly dodgy places like Minehead. You can't help looking at the other tattooed participants and praying that they don't have another can of Diamond White as they look capable of doing you some serious damage with their putter. To my mind the crazier the golf the better – I like courses that use a clown's mouth and blow steam. I want the full bells and whistles and these are increasingly hard to find.
Part of the reason for this might be that crazy golf has a hard time finding funding. Sports England has refused to allow the BMA (British Minigolf Association) to become a member and therefore it receives no public funding. The reason given is that only one variant of each sport can be accepted as a member and, as crazy golf is clearly a derivative of real golf, it's a no. In America it has much more support – there is even a National Miniature Golf Day on the second Saturday of May every year.
I think it's time we reclaimed this sport, gave it some proper funding and tried to take our rightful place as world champions. If the country needs a figurehead, then I'm ready to take up the mantle.


mrbojumbles review

Mrbojumbles has crossed paths with some chaps who have a lot in common. Everybody… introducing Golf refugees the “Square peg in a round hole”.
Golf refugees are the one-stop-shop for exercising your golfing wild side. You will be the envy of your four-ball striding the fairways (or pavements) in style sporting your sharp new threads and accessories. The pioneers of the original black golf ball that got the golfing world in a spin, the radical must have check-me-out golf ball first featured on the UK’s Channel 4’s Big Breakfast and then in numerous style/fashion/golf magazines as the phenomenon snowballed. Golf refugee’s had officially cracked the creme brulee and their crusade to conquer the (golfing) world had begun.
One of the first of a new breed of indie golf brands along with Subpar from California, Golf refugees arrival coincided with the publishing of two alternative golf magazines; Schwing in the US and Putt in the UK, leading GQ USA to described it as “the irreverent brainchild of some wise-assed Gen-MTV British lads who are subverting golf’s stuffy country-club image”.

“Golf Refugees developed Thermal Distance Technology (TDT) to produce the ultimate long-distance golf ball. The Golf Refugees original black ball has a revolutionary heat-absorbing ultra-thin black cover which increases the temperature of the core materials when played in hot, sunny conditions. As a result, the Golf Refugees black ball transfers energy more efficiently than traditional white balls, to give you greater distance on your golf shots. And thanks to the abrasion-resistant soft cover, it achieves ultimate distance with the added benefit of soft feel.”

F**k Nike! The real story of the original black golf ball
As a new brand, Golf Refugees initially had some media exposure through an appearance on Channel 4’s early morning ‘Big Breakfast’ TV show, interviewed by loud mouth Johnny Vaughan and the tasty Denise Van Outen. Next, we filmed three of our skateboarding friends trying to play golf through the hazardous streets of London, filmed by us and MTV, for broadcast on their sports show called ‘Balls’ hosted by rapper Coolio.
At this stage, there was only a painted black ball to show the audience, but the response was so positive, we had to try and make the idea a reality. After talking to a golf ball engineer at Titleist, who helped us to understand the technical aspects of golf ball design, we set off with some cash to find a manufacturing partner. Wishing to find a local, a visit to Penfold in Birmingham, UK was arranged. Unfortunately, they refused to make a black golf ball. Ironically, Birmingham is known as part of the ‘black country’. Realising that most other UK based manufacturers had closed down and their moulds shipped out to the Far East, it became clear we had to look overseas.
After six months, we eventually found someone willing to work with us and developed a black golf ball to our specifications. The main technical objective was to try and increase the temperature of the core, as Titleist had told us that if you can achieve this a performance advantage can be gained. From this conversation Golf Refugees developed Thermal Distance Technology (TDT) to produce the ultimate long distance ball. The warmer a golf ball gets, the more efficiently it can transfer energy for entra distance. Our two-piece ball has an ultra-thin heat-absorbing black cover with a high conducting metal-mix core.
Samples were sent out to numerous style, fashion and golf magazines. It became apparent that the style magazines loved the concept of a black ball, whilst the golf industry mags were dubious, Golf World calling it ‘bonkers’. Golf Refugees were open to the fact that our black ball is designed to perform in hot sunny conditions, it is more visible in the air but less visible on the ground than a traditional white golf ball. None the less, we were confident we had created an iconic golf ball.
Through a contact in California, who worked for Reebok, our black balls were featured in GQ USA, and played with in pro-am events by Alice Cooper and NFL football stars filmed by ESPN. It won the longest drive competition at the MGM media golf challenge day. The response was fantastic and we started negotiations with Modern Amusements about including our black ball & clothing range in selected stores across the USA. Mean while back in the UK, Selfridges & Dockers had agreed to stock our original black golf ball.
We were flying high, until news from one of our USA customers e-mailed us of the imminent arrival of a Nike black golf ball. Reports ranged from it just being a PR stunt to help launch their new white golf ball called Nike One Black, because of its black graphics. However, it soon became a reality that Nike had manufactured a black ball, given it to some of their golf professionals and started a media campaign. What had taken us nearly two years was all undone in a matter of days. The Nike black ball was splattered across all forms of media, we’d been buggered by the mighty swoosh.
Nike perhaps did something that Golf Refugees couldn’t have done. They made the idea of a black golf ball legitimate with the golfing media. The golf magazines who thought our original black ball was bonkers, we’re all soon lovin the Nike black ball. The same magazines were not too keen to mention, let alone test and compare our original black ball to Nike’s. Understandable, considering the amount of money Nike spend on advertising, editors had to protect their revenue streams, still it was a bitter blow to us. One glimpse of light was freelance golf journalist, Tom Cox, who agreed to play with both black balls, albeit on a cold and damp February day and write an article for The Times newspapers, where a Nike executive is quoted as saying ‘never heard of Refugee Golf black ball’
How the hell can I get my hands on these bad boys?
The original black golf ball Thermal Distance Technology Advanced 2-piece construction Abrasion-resistant soft cover Icosahedral dimple pattern Enhanced aerial visibility and R&A and USGA compliant.
£14.99 / 18 euros / Box of 12 or £3.99 / 5 euros / Sleeve of 3
Also from Golf refugees… the Graffiti golf ball.
Advanced 3-piece construction Titanium double core for extra feel & distance. Abrasion-resistant soft cover. Circle numbers 1, 11 or 111 or add your own graffiti to mark your ball. R&A and USGA compliant.
By far, the best value three piece golf ball, you can buy
£3.49 / 4 euros / Box of 12 or £0.99 / 1 euro / Sleeve of 3
Don’t hesitate to visit Golf refugees at http://www.golf-refugees.com/ to spoil your golfing mad unkle or just splash out on yourself. Take it on a recommendation from us…
You won’t be disappointed – MBJ


Review by Buy-tees.net

Never have so many balls been lost by so few. I’ll be straight with you here, I know nothing of golf, I’m not really a fan of sport in general, but golf has to be there up with cricket, darts and snooker in the boredom stakes. Although in the case of golf it might just be down to the fact that most of us wouldn’t have a hope in hell playing against anyone even mildly professional - I’ve tried a little crazy golf in my time and even then I sucked. Still there are rogues amongst the vast swathe of checked trousered faded celebrities in the game, the most (in)famous of all being UK golf hacker Maurice Flitcroft. He has the dubious accolade of being the worst player ever at the Open Championship. Maurice passed away in 2007 however his legend lives on, and the British Golf Museum at St. Andrews have even considered including his exploits in their hall of fame. Maurice has also been celebrated by the golf hacking t-shirt brand Golf Refugees, in fact they feature a whole world golf hackers and their awkward position in the sport. Even if you’re in my camp and haven’t the slightest about the game, you should find their tees worth a laugh or two.
Golf Refugees keep busy in a wide range of subversive methods, they’ve filmed a vid with MTV, taking three skateboarders and encouraging them to play golf through the hazardous streets of London. One of their tees called Crest, ‘ Refugees Street Golf - Hit And Run’, celebrates the event. Then there are their Black Balls which via Thermal Distance Technology are supposed to improve your game, they are the originators, everyone else including brands like Nike ripped them off btw. What’s more they write their own blog, again with a subversive slant, including encouraging their readers to daub graffiti over their own balls, golf balls that is. They even sell a line of graffiti balls, a random 3 of which have been painted by UK graffiti artist Rough who they reckon might be the next Banksy, hmm… I thought this guy was the next Banksy - hah.
From what I can tell Golf Refugees aren’t welcome in the golfing mainstream establishment, and to celebrate their dubious status within the sport’s fraternity they like to shout about it loudly and proudly through their range of funny carbon neutral 100% organic cotton tees. Take a look and see what I mean…
Maurice Tee by Golf Refugees

As mentioned earlier, Maurice Flitcroft is the nearest to a legend golf hackers have, he wasn’t very good, in fact he was the worst, but his standards were attainable for the man on the street (make that course) and so it’s understandable that GR would pay tribute to the guy, especially as he passed away in 2007. I’d like some closure on the British Golf Museum, I can’t seem to find any other mention other than they’ll consider including Flitcroft memorabilia, including 15 years of irate correspondence pleading for the organisers to allow him to play in the Open again. Sadly it never happened. The year Flitcroft played, the 1976 Open, it was also the debut season for a 19 year old Severiano Ballesteros who’s career would take a very different turn. Read the full story and see GF’s video here. Pay tribute to Maurice Flitcroft and all golf refugees with this stylish Maurice tee priced at £19 / €22 Warm grey print on brown, dark grey, moss green or red Embroidery on sleeve carbon-neutral organic cotton Sizes: S M L XL.
Trolley Tee

Adapt or die, that’s the law of the jungle, and obviously the same applies in many circles of life, including golf hacking. If you’re a refugee you won’t need to splurge your hard earned on expensive gear, for the paltry price of a £1 coin there are many local establishments with many specialist trolleys in stock. Also available at your nearest riverbank, canal or rubbish tip. The fact is there’s rather a lot of inverse snobbery at most golf clubs, normally, looking at what golfers wear, you’d be laughed out of most swanky restaurants, N. London dinner parties, the theatre, charity functions that involve royalty on any level (however obscure) and just about anywhere you can find the hoi polloi dressed up to the nines. Checked trousers, dodgy hats, those weird shoes, those gaudy colours, the naff jumpers, it’s all so tacky. Yet the moment you turn up without a caddy and nothing but a shopping trolley to carry your hand-me-down clubs and watch those sneers of disapproval, it’s enough to knock the pompom off your tartan cap. Trolley - a very funny tee available in black with embroidery on sleeve in carbon-neutral organic cotton. Sizes: S M L XL £19.99 / €22.
Trophy Tee

It’s not in the winning, it’s in the taking part, OK that maybe B.S but still it’s nice to think there are still people out there in it for the thrill of the game. I am sure I can count Golf Refugees amongst that number, which is handy as I very much doubt they will be stacking up the trophy cabinet in the foreseeable future. The trophy cabinet of course being an old refrigerator they found on a dump and have set in pride of place behind the shed. Britain has a strong tradition of losing, if anything winning too much is probably bad for our nation’s character, you’ll still hear footie bores harping on about ‘66. Get over it, we suck, so let’s just have some fun out there. No matter what sport you fail at this would be the perfect tee! Get Trophy in a Blue(ish) grey print on moss green, dark red, yellow or brown with embroidery on sleeve carbon-neutral organic cotton. Sizes: S M L XL £19.99 / €22.
Custom Car Tee

Last but not least (in no uncertain terms) is GR’s Custom Car tee, hilarious. Probably one of the few times I ever showed interest in golf is when a local recreation park was unfairly sold off by the council to a private golf club, I was a kid at the time and very confused by the proceedings. At first I thought it was some kind of adventure playground, there were sandpits to play in, plenty of grass to run around on, and if you had the change the best electric gokarts I’d ever witnessed. Unfortunately my brain took a while to adapt, I was shattered when I realised the only people who were allowed to play there were old men who insisted on driving them at stupefyingly slow speeds, after which they proceeded to knock small balls into small holes with sticks. So the game of golf was introduced to me for the very first and very last time. I’d have gladly traded in my bike and Action Man, my Buckaroo set and Space Hopper for one of these beauties. This could be the beginning of a whole new era for golf, extreme golf? Get this hilarious tee in white on navy blue with embroidery on sleeve carbon-neutral organic cotton. Sizes: S M L XL £19.99 / €22.
It’s a golf t-shirt brand, but not as we know it, boldly going where they are not invited, join in the fun and cause a stir at http://www.golf-refugees.com/.


Cortney Reno

Top US golfer Cortney Reno practising in the San Diego sunshine for a return to the Pro Tour in 2010. After watching the women's British Open, I can't think of a better pairing than Cortney and Christina Kim. Both naturally talented with their own style and effervescent personalities. Sport needs characters and these two will light-up your TV screens. Here at Golf Refugees we'll be screaming and shouting for Cortney throughout next year. Pictured here whacking the original heat absorbing black ball and wearin a carbon neutral Bandit polo shirt.



Who, where and how?

With modern day sports apparel and casual clothing being made from synthetic fibres there is an ever growing cocktail of chemicals being used during the manufacturing processes.

Who makes our clothing? The brand name is only a small part of the equation. Where are the textile factories located? Usually in far away places we've never heard of. But usually where you can find an inexpensive labour force and relaxed environmental polices. How are these toxic chemicals disposed off? Unregulated open landfill sites.

Do we as consumers need to ask more questions? Do brands need to offer more information on their labelling?

All fashion brands will quote that their textile factories are required to sign-up to a 'comprehensive and strict standard' of operation. How are these standards checked? When the real pressure on the management of the textile factories are to compete orders on time and to a minimum cost.

Just last weekend an investigative journalist from The Times newspaper uncovered the alarming pollution by a textile factory located in the tiny nation of Lesotho, Africa. Who were found to be discarding hazardous toxins and left over fabric into a nearby unguarded landfill site. This factory supplied two of the biggest clothing brands; GAP & Levi Strauss.