Now that we are in the grips of recession let me take you back to the boom.

Back in 1992, anticipating a boom in participation, the good old R&A commissioned a report into the demand for golf in the UK. The resulting document stated that Britain needed 700 new golf courses before the end of the century. Naturally many property developers, consultants, golf course architects and designers ears pricked up.

“Instead of building affordable, accessible short courses around large cities for people who hadn’t played golf before, they flooded the market with championship-style layouts created by big-name designers and featuring large clubhouses in remote parts of the country” said Jerry Kilby Director of the UK Golf Course Owners Association.

“The bad decisions made during Britain’s golf boom over the past two decades have had a profound effect on golf’s future” said Andrea Sartoni - KPMG’s Golf Advisory Practice in Europe.

“Go to Germany, Austria and The Netherlands where the lessons of cheap accessible layouts has been learned”

One striking difference is the number of women golfers, who can often make up 35% of membership compared with an average of between 5% and 10% in the UK.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but should the same old men making the same old mistakes still be running the game of golf in the UK?




Sports personality of the year is coming.

List of ten deserving nominees have been released for the general public to cast their votes.

I have always thought the ‘personality’ part to be a misnomer. More about, who’s won the biggest trophy of the year?

This year we have a cyclist, a tennis player, a boxer, two cricketers and two from athletics plus three golfers. A good reflection of which sports we’ve excelled in this year and those unmentioned where we’ve still play like a donkey.

With the London Olympics next year it’s good to see a couple of nominations from the world of athletics.

But with nearly a 1 in 3 chance a golfer should lift the title. There could be nostalgia vote for Darren Clarke after winning The Open. Or a popular vote for young ‘curly mop’ Rory. Still you could always vote for the World No.1 golfer and Mr Personality himself Luke Donald.




Picture shows Monty in jeans giving golf lessons to local Afghan soldiers.

With western troops slowly moving from a combat role to training local Afghan soldiers, who better to send in than Captain Monty?

Just in case they run out of bullets, with Monty’s help they can always spray some Pro V1’s at the Taliban.

Monty has also set-up some target practice, utilising the football pitch at the International Security Assistance Forces HQ. Where hitting the goal posts earn you your stripes.

"These kids, they were born into war and grew up in war and it's been a very difficult," said Monty, adding he hoped that the Afghans might even qualify a golf team for the 2016 Olympics.

There are plenty of bunkers to practice in.




When you next read a review of a golf shirt made by one of the big sports brands; Nike, Adidas, Puma, please put the following disclaimer underneath:

We really didn’t want our consumers to know about all the hazardous chemicals we use in our supply chains, including the banned nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE's), which cause hormonal disruptions. But now that research from Greenpeace has ‘let the cat out the bag’, we have reluctantly agreed to announce a commitment to act together to try and ‘detox’ our hazardous chemical usage by 2020. Obviously we still want our customers to purchase our chemically tainted shirts until that time or when Greenpeace give us a clean bill of health.

Adidas spokeswoman said “We have been clear with Greenpeace from the beginning and have always said we need an industry-wide solution in order to succeed – there can be no winners unless the industry acts together.”

What is alarming to me about this statement from Adidas is that they could not see the benefit of unilateral action for it’s own customer's and textile-worker's safety.

The effects of NPE’s can be seen over the long term; these compounds don’t kill you dead on the spot, they have very subtle, long term effects and they can act in very small concentrations.

NPE’s can disrupt the body’s hormonal system by mimicking the female hormone oestrogen. And high oestrogen levels have been linked to birth defects, learning disabilities even some forms of cancer.

These chemicals are toxic, they aren’t biodegradable and they can cause all sorts of problems.



So here we have a recent picture of a joyous Carlos Tevez playinggolf back home in Argentina when he should be making up with Mancini and his team mates back in sunny Manchester.

But this picture also got me thinking about the strong links between football (soccer) and golf.

You only have to watch ‘Match of the Day’, a BBC programme which screens highlights of weekend matches, hosted by Gary Lineker, Alan Hansen and Lee Dixon (all ex-footballers and all single digit handicap golfers). 

Why do so many footballers play golf?

Is it because they have time on their hands during the week, before and after training? Or is it because they earn so much money and can afford to play at the most exclusive golf & country clubs?

Are there any physical and/or mental similarities between kicking a football and striking a golf ball? I guess balance is integral to playing most sports.

I should declare that I am a Manchester City supporter.



Message to George Osborne (Chancellor of the Exchequer) and Mervin King (Governor of the Bank of England).

In the New Year, instead of pumping an extra 50 billion pounds of Quantitative Easing (QE) into the economy to further help the balance sheets of our banks. Can you please divert this money into UK manufacturing?

The banks have already been bailed out for hundreds of billions. It really is time to re-balance the UK economy.

I’m sick and tired of hearing about credit default swaps and other financial services products. Most of them have either been miss-sold or are nothing short of going into a casino and placing a large bet.

When 30% of your economy is based upon this ‘busted flush’ scenario it’s time to think again.

I can recall when Margaret Thatcher was calling for the closure of uneconomic pits and steel works. I bet she never thought that thirty years later it would all be about bankrupt private banks.

Let’s bring back ‘Made in England.’

Golf Refugees have recently started a research project looking into biodegradable materials for golf balls. Numerous other SME’s (Small Medium Enterprises) are all trying to undertake research into sustainable materials for future products.

There is going to be a revolution, a design and manufacturing revolution,
where future products will have to be designed with a ‘cradle to grave’ philosophy.

Let’s hope George can resist the lure of the banker's den and give a little to UK manufacturing in his autumn statement.




If you are looking to purchase a new golf club, golf ball or golf shirt.

What questions should you be asking?

How about these?

What materials are used to make the product?

Where are the materials sourced from?
Where is the product made?
Do the brand's manufacturing facilities meet environmental standards of the brand's native country?
Do they pay a living wage and allow union representation for the people who make their products?
What happens to the product at the end of its life cycle? Are the materials recycled to make other products? Are they biodegradable?

The above assumes you can see the price tag and appreciate that professional golfers are paid to endorse particular brands.

Feel free to copy and paste these questions and send them to your favourite golf brand(s).




All brands, big and small, have to ask themselves how their products are made, what materials they use and what happens at the end of their product's life?

It is no longer good enough to ignore these questions, leaving a pollution legacy for others to bury in landfill sites, whether they are in your own backyard or in many cases transported to someone else's back yard.

Future products designed without such consideration are just rubbish and offer us no future.

For us golfers, golf balls need to be biodegradable. It is not sustainable to leave 350 million golf balls a year in the USA alone, to rot over a period between 100–1,000 years.

Golf apparel needs to made from materials which are recycled and or compostable.

All golf courses need to have compost toilets and minimal water, pesticide and fertiliser usage. Personally I cannot understand any refurbishment or new golf course development which does not embrace these practical measures.

Praise should not be heaped upon new courses which offer no sustainable solutions. No matter which ex-professional golfer or billionaire businessman is behind them. They are just a pollution eyesore.

Governing bodies need to show some backbone and insist upon sustainable measures for future golf equipment and natural golf courses.

Why did the R&A set up a separate, poorly funded body called the Golf Environment Organisation? To keep green issues at arms length? They should be fully integrated into the R&A’s mentality.

I am confident that some brands already believe, and will deliver by producing their future products with a ‘cradle to cradle’ design philosophy.



The golf swing is often described as a double pendulum.

Artists So Kanno and Takahiro Yamaguchi have created a ‘senseless drawing’ graffiti machine with a pendulum arm and spray cans.

I think I can see John Daly's swing.




How many of you ride your BMX bike to the golf course instead of firing up the beamer?
Well to encourage a few more, Golf Refugees are offering a 50% discount on their BMX graphic organic carbon neutral t-shirts to any golfer who sends us a picture of their golf cycling endeavours.

Just e-mail us your photo with ‘RIDEBMXGOLF’ to;


Here’s the small print in normal font size.

Offer is subject to your tee shirt size being in stock.
Open until 31:12:11



The LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) do NOT have a dress code other than no jeans.

Sounds suspiciously like a dress code to me.

How did jeans get such a bad reputation for golf?

It appears ok for lady tour golfers to wear denim shorts, denim skirts and denim dresses as long as the denim doesn’t stretch to their ankles.

Picture shows Miss Erin Cummins (Miss USA) playing golf at Gleneagles wearing denim jeans.

She looks so bad.




Scrumptious Japanese ace golfer Momoko Ueda pictured here practising her swing with a tennis racket.

I wonder if Rory lets Wozniacki practise her tennis stroke with his golf clubs?



Tiger has a black bottom according to his ex caddy Steve Williams.

Tiger left it to his manager Mark Steinberg to respond, ‘If anyone would like to sponsor Tiger’s buttocks please give me a call.'

Golf Magazine selects male golfer Rory McIlroy as its 2011 Player of the year.

Over-looking female golfer Yani Tseng. Who would probably need to win all four golf majors, the Olympics and ‘move like Jagger’ to stand any chance.

PGA Tour to crack down on people using ‘social media’ at The Presidents Cup.

Why don’t golf fans get it? Just pay your money and keep quiet.

Order of importance;
Golf Professionals
Golf fans



How do you get to play Gleneagles golf course in tight jeans and boots?

Easy, just enter Miss World.

From left to right; Miss Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, France, Scotland, England, N. Ireland and Miss USA.



You are what you eat and you are what you wear. So why are you wearing sports apparel made from polyethylene terephthalate(PET)?

Here is a brief history of PET:

It's the material commonly known as polyester and is derived from petroleum. Polyester was developed in 1941 by British chemist John Whinfield and James Dickson while employed by the Calico Printer’s Association of Manchester, England.

Due to petroleum, the source of polyester, being so widely available and inexpensive during the 1950’s, use of the fabric gained popularity.

However polyester is largely regarded as a cheap fabric, uncomfortable for sensitive human skin to wear and for retaining heat. Eventually the proliferation of inexpensive suits and shirts with massive lapels started to hurt the image of the fabric for garment use.

Today with the emergence of polyester microfibers and various polyester blends the industry has experienced a resurgence.

The Tennessee Eastman Company and the Man-Made Fiber Producers Association’s (MMFPA) also played a significant role in the revival of polyester. The Tennessee Eastman Company started a YES marketing campaign for ‘polYESter’ and popularised it via radio and television commercials.

The idea was to focus on the wash-and-go properties of polyester rather than sell it as a cheap fabric.

Hoechst Fibers Industries also played a role. They conducted market research from 1981 to 1983 and found that 89% of people were more interested in the appearance of the apparel rather than what the fabric was made of.

To summarise, sports apparel brands like using polyester as it is a cheap durable fabric.

It’s also about as ‘green’ as going for a swim in an oil slick.



Some people say ‘the best things in life are free’.

They may have a point.

I have always considered the British Isles to be a green and pleasant land.

Turns out those even-more-broke-than-we-are Europeans have got one over on us again with average tree coverage of 44% compared to a sparse 12% in the UK.

Golf Refugees would like to encourage individual members to plant a tree on their local golf course. Who is going to pay? I hear at least one person shout.

Well it seems the Woodland Trust have 1.6 million trees to give away.

What could be better than a beautiful tree for free? Happy planting.