Those lovely blazer-wearing people at the R&A have announced a virtual Open Championship which is played on a high definition, photo-realistic representation of the Old Course at St Andrews, accurate to within one and a half inches of the real thing. It’s free to enter and will run online in conjunction with the 150th Anniversary Open Championship.

Some of you will know that our golfing hero is Maurice Flitcroft who, despite his lack of natural talent, tried his best to qualify for the Open, posting the highest record score of 49 over par for nine holes, before being escorted off the course and later banned by the compassionate R&A.

So here is an opportunity for Golf Refugees to try and qualify for the Open in honour of Maurice Flitcroft. Sadly, Maurice is no longer with us, but I’m sure he would appreciate this virtual Open experience (especially as he wouldn't need to create another disguise to take part).

Qualifying rounds will take place from 1 June on http://www.opengolf.com/, http://www.wgt.com/ and http://www.espnarcade.com/. The winner will receive an all expenses paid trip for two to St Andrews.

Golf Refugees understand that dress codes are unrestricted, though the R&A would prefer you to wear something more than your birthday suit.



Occasionally Golf Refugees get asked to design products for other fashion brands. 

Here are our grass graphic golf balls for Dockers Khakis, part of Levi’s group. 

They look a bit like brussels sprouts.



No, it’s not The Masters, but the first round of Amatour 2010. The tour kicked off at The Princes Golf Club in Sandwich, Kent. A glorious south coast links course which will be an Open qualifier this summer.

Fortunately for the players and the newly constructed Golf Refugees advertising banner, the heavy rain and strong winds held off.

Defending champion Jason Saunders looked very nervous on the first tee and duly miss-hit his drive which barely made the fairway. I wonder if Tiger will experience a similar feeling at Augusta later today. Remember no heckling or else his beefy security guards will provide you with a ring side seat at your own WWF bout.

Anyway, back to the Princes Challenge and Jason, who after a shaky start settled down to get back to level par by the 13 th. Then a disastrous double bogey 6 at the next hole left him finishing with a 74.

Sam Smith, took the clubhouse lead from Jason with an outstanding run of birdies on the 14th,15th and 16th to get him to 1 over par but a bogey 5 on the tough 18th left him tied with Saunders on 2 over par but holding the lead with a better back 9 score.

An Amatour Rookie eventually stole the show with a phenomenal back nine of 34. Daniel Smythe of Cottesmore Golf Club, looked confident as he stepped onto the first tee and rightly so. Although going out in 39 (+3), Smythe clicked into gear and fired birdies in at the 15th and 16th, and held his nerve to hole a difficult putt on the daunting 18th hole to clinch the title by 1 shot.

Now it’s up sticks to the next round of Amatour 2010 at the Manor House Golf Club near Bath on the 12th April.



Golf Refugees would just like to say sorry.

Sorry to those who still think Bush is a better President than Obama.

Even more sorry to admit that we fancy Sarah Palin, when silent.

Sorry that Starbuck’s shareholders voted against increasing the number of recycled coffee cups instead of annually dumping three million in landfill sites.

Sorry that each piece of chocolate you enjoy has been harvested using child slave labour.

Sorry for initially believing in Tony Blair and New Labour.

Sorry that an Old Etonian with inherited wealth and bank rolled by a Belize billionaire tax exile is favourite to win the UK general election on May 6th.

Sorry for Golf Refugees inadequacies to change a god damn thing.


BILL POWELL, 1916-2010

William James Powell (2nd right) was born 22 November 1916 in Greenville, Alabama, the grandson of slaves. He began caddying at a white-only golf course at the age of nine.

Bill played on courses all over England while serving in the Forces during the Second World War. But returned to Canton, Ohio, in 1946 to find that the nation’s golf courses, like much of America, remained segregated. And that the P.G.A. of America’s bylaws barred nonwhites from membership, a ban that remained in effect until 1961.

But Mr. Powell, then a security guard, was undaunted.

“It’s distasteful when you get turned down,” he told the New York Times in 2009. "You say, the hell with them. I’m not going to beg them. So I said I’ll just build a golf course.”

And so he did.
With financial help from two black physicians and a loan from a brother, Mr. Powell bought 78 acres on a dairy farm in East Canton.

Doing most of the labour by hand, Mr. Powell seeded pastures, tossed aside boulders and pulled up fence posts. In April 1948, what he called “this crazy dream” came true. He opened Clearview Golf Club with an initial nine holes and welcomed players of all races.

There were incidents of vandalism in the course’s early years — flag sticks were removed and ethnic slurs scrawled — but the course flourished, and Mr. Powell expanded it to 18 holes in 1978, having bought a total of 130 acres.

“I did not want other people who wanted to play the game of golf to have to suffer the indignities that I had,” he said.
“Stand firm. Never give up. Never give in. Believe in yourself, even when others don’t.”

He was thrilled when two white women drove from Atlanta just to play his course.

“They shook my hand and thanked me,” he said. “They said I have a piece of history here, and they wanted to be a part of it. Can you imagine?”




No Denim on the golf course. That old chestnut.

But what do they, the middle-aged men in blazers, mean when they say no denim? After all denim is just dyed cotton. Do they mean no one can wear dyed cotton? Or do they really mean no jeans?

To try and shed light on this matter Golf Refugees made themselves some trousers out of denim. We used 10 oz organic denim fabric (dyed indigo cotton) to give our trousers that authentic look.

Off we went playing golf at some of the posh private golf clubs in the shires of middle England.

We even asked some of the local members what they thought of our strides. We received some very complimentary comments. It was only when we told them we were wearing ‘denim’ that the blazers asked us to leave the golf course.

So there you are. You can wear dyed cotton as long as you don’t mention the word denim.

Golf Refugees lovely dyed cotton golf trousers featured in Volvo magazine; jacket by Prada Sport, trousers by Golf Refugees, shoes by Church’s cap by Antoni and Alison for Kangol.