When choosing our golf apparel, we often think about style, fit and performance. These factors, of course, are tied to the fabric and technology woven into the garment’s DNA. But they should also, as these designers seek to encourage customers to stay top of mind, include sustainability. And by sustainability, in this article, we mean the environmental footprint of a garment: a holistic measure of the impact, negative or positive, of a garment on the people and resources that contributed to its creation, as well as its effect on the world and the wearer throughout its life cycle.
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Most golf apparel over 95% is made from materials derived from virgin plastic. Think: polyester, nylon and spandex. These fabrics have become so popular over the years, in part because of their durability. But that also means they’re not biodegradable, which means they’ll take ages to break down. Polyester, for example, is made from petroleum (yes, that petroleum), a non-renewable resource that is harmful to the environment throughout its life cycle as it releases toxic chemicals and microfibers as that he wears out. into your body, your skin, roughly absorbs 30 percent what it comes into contact with. And once thrown away, the fabric refuses to break down. These plastics are trapped in landfills and oceans, harming people, animals, plants and landscapes. In golf, a nature-based sport, knowing where your clothes come from and how they affect the course, the plants, animals and waterways that make it up and the player, is an important consideration too often overlooked. . These designers see durability as a key factor when it comes to performance and style. Because if a garment releases microfibers that harm the greens and the health of the carriers, it is not conducive to the longevity of the sport.
The following brands do more than aim to deny their impact when it comes to golf apparel. These brands seek to be guardians of a healthier game, which means they seek to use their platform to educate gamers. Many of these brands create clothing from renewable and recycled materials (think old windshields, bamboo, plastic bottles and coffee grounds), invest in innovative factories and manufacturers who strive to pay and treat their workers fairly while reducing water and energy. consumption and compensate the environment for their production in one way or another, whether by planting 10 trees for each purchase or by donating a portion of the profits to environmental non-profit organizations.
In a holistic and mental sport like golf, these brands believe that buying thoughtfully and caring about the environmental impact of our clothing actions can only improve players’ lives and therefore their games.
Ever since I can remember, I have been fascinated by the ocean, said Edward Sandison, the founder of Ocean Tee Golf. Although he wasn’t raised on a coast per se, he grew up in the heart of England, practically right in the middle. Yet, he joked, living in a small island country, you’re never really far from water.
Sandison runs his brands using his twin identities as a lifelong sportsman (avid athlete, he started playing golf in his twenties) and marine biologist. For the brand’s first product he decided he wanted to work with bamboo, a bamboo tee seemed like a good choice. Surprisingly, the hardest part wasn’t turning the highly renewable plant into a sturdy tee that, if left on the course, will biodegrade and leave wildlife unscathed. (Unlike other durable tees, it is not varnished or coated, so it will break down and not pollute the greens). The hardest part, he said, was finding a sustainable way to package the product. Fortunately, Sandison came up with an ingenious solution: a box of matches. Reusable and recyclable.
For the world of golf, Sandison said, the possibility of having a huge environmental impact is enormous. Sandison uses his platform to educate others (at tournaments, he runs educational programs to educate players and fans about climate change, and even produces a newsletter emphasizing those goals). The garments are sewn from recycled plastic, often removed from the oceans, and 1% of all profits are donated to protecting our planet’s waters. In a new line of caps, QR codes are sewn into the sides, so you can scan your hat with your phone and track its life cycle, from blank plastic water bottle to fabric to garment.
I’m generally a pretty positive person, I try to be optimistic,” Sandison said. But maintaining hope that small changes can have a big impact on managing a better world takes some resilience; when we spoke in July, Sandison cited the war in Ukraine, the difficulties that are still emerging globally from Covid and the growing mistrust of science as some heavy issues that capture the state of our world today. Sustainable living, as Sandison and others see it, touches on all of these issues.
The brand’s ethos has always been about positivity, Sandison said. Were not going to be the brand that uses negative images. We like to use our products to celebrate [positive change]. In golf you can see a lot of things changing. One of our mottos is that small changes can make a big difference.
There is this incredible opportunity to welcome and usher in change, said Scott Morrison, co-founder of Radmors. It’s so big, so much bigger than me.
Morrison has always loved golf and clothing. He played golf in college, where he met his friend and co-founder, Rob Conrad (Radmor is a stylish amalgamation of the pairs’ surnames) and made a name for himself as a denim designer. Eventually, like much of the fashion industry (not fast), he became disenchanted with the constant shuffling of product and the dizzying feat of creating for ever-changing fashion seasons. So he quit and left New York for the Northwest, where he and Conrad teamed up to create Radmor, a sustainable golf apparel brand that takes its time introducing conscious consumers to the highest tech in golf. of ecological design.
Coming from the fashion industry, Morrison is a wealth of production knowledge and the pros and cons of different fabrics, and Radmors’ selective, high-quality products reflect this (our conversation covered topics such as why egyptian cotton has become a misnomer , in today’s fashion economy, did you know that the average american buys 80 pounds worth of clothing a year, or 14 million tons, 85% of which ends up at the dump ?). No detail has been taken for granted: for example, the clothing tags are made of card stock and can be deconstructed and used as both a practice cup and a ball marker.
Particularly exciting is the brand’s new recycling program that helps consumers recycle their apparel, a particularly daunting task in the world of golf apparel, which is often constructed with a variety of zippers and zippers, metal and plastic. plastic, which must be broken down. and recycled separately. Covers made of different materials must be unhooked and removed, to be handled separately. Their RAD-Cycling option does all the work for customers.
For Morrison, being the headliner of an enduring brand isn’t about perfection and if someone tells you it is, they’ve probably got plenty of it. Sustainability is a dedicated commitment to improvement and innovation, to constantly thinking and asking, how can it be better?
As Morrison said, focusing on getting better takes you down a pretty interesting path.
The name says it all: with every piece of sports equipment purchased, this conscious brand plants 10 trees in its place. Yes, you read that right. As of this writing, they have planted 86,419,476 trees so far.
Like many brands on this list, Tentree relies on responsibly sourced fabrics from manufacturing partners such as Tencel and Repreve. Their collection of apparel geared towards the modern-day adventurer ranges from leggings and sports bras, perfect for sweating it out on the course, to sweaters and pants for practice or post-tour shots. They are also a Certified B mark (meaning a third party has assessed their practices to ensure the highest standards of social and environmental impact), in addition to being certified climate neutral. Its additional steps like these that testify to the transparency of brands; the management team is very open about the competitive (and often fake-laden) space of sustainable sportswear and the difficulties of, for example, ensuring that these trees are actually planted. As you navigate the Tentrees website, at the bottom of each page is an acknowledgment of the indigenous peoples whose lands they inhabit, another reminder of the magnitude and crucial necessity of the issue of sustainable living: we recognize that our business is based on traditional and age-old traditions. and the unceded territories of the Coast Salish nations.
Tomas Nilsson founded Galvin Green, the brand known for its wide range of multi-layered golf pieces, in the 1990s in a Swedish town called Växjöfitting, as the scenic location was actually rated the greenest town in Europe. not so long ago. So producing clothes with the least possible impact, as Tom Romano, GG’s General Manager for North America, has said, has been embedded in the DNA of the designs, and has been since its inception. He describes the line between sustainability and creating usable garments as a balance between maximizing performance but neutralizing the carbon footprint you produce.
As the brand grows, especially in America and outside of Europe, it is looking to become carbon neutral soon. Currently, approximately 80% of the GG line is 100% sustainable, according to Romanos estimates. The recycled jackets below have been made from leftover materials, so the collections are constantly changing and are limited in quantities, an example of how innovative production techniques can lead to exciting new products.
Founders Brooklynn Gould-Bradbury and Allison Wood both played volleyball in college, so they know what to look for when it comes to performance apparel. The longtime friends launched their brand, Five12 Apparel (named after a highway off Tacoma, Washington, where the brand began) in 2016. They specialize in technical fabrics constructed from post-consumer recycled materials. consumption such as wrecked fishing nets, used coffee grounds, recycled windshields and plastic bottles. Their athletic range includes everything from t-shirts to windbreakers to protective bags and comes in biodegradable packaging. All of their garments are hydrophobic, quick-drying, UV-blocking, four-way stretch, and (thanks to that coffee grounds) odor-controlled.
I want the future of fashion to become more and more sustainable, said Gould-Bradbury. We discover a lot of materials that can be recycled, but there is so much more untapped.
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