The notion of sustainability should resonate with any conscientious golfer. If you have raked a bunker, replaced a divot or fixed a pitch mark that your own ball did not create, you have, in at least a small way, bred sustainability of a sort into the game. Entitled takers aside, most golfers feel an obligation to leave the course in better repair than they found it.
So it is with an increasing number of companies and planet Earth. While it is true that the social and cultural cachet of the concept of sustainability has given rise to some token gestures in that direction by some corporations, many other companies are embodying it more fully. One person or brand's sustainability efforts may make only the tiniest differences, but when more individuals and the companies they support get involved, the chance of leaving the planet in better repair than we found it increases.
From well-known giants to lesser-known startups, here are eight golf brands that take sustainability seriously and put out quality products with that in mind.
Founded by two friends and former University of Washington golfers, Radmor's commitment to sustainability is part of this startup brand's very DNA. The vast majority of their garments are made using high-quality organic cotton. When they do use polyester or nylon for certain garments, the polyester is from recycled ocean plastic and the nylon comes from recycled fishing nets. Their quality and commitment to making sure golf does its part in the greater sustainability effort is admirable and may inspire you to spend a little more on their offerings than you normally might.
This upscale brand's headquarters are located in the "Greenest City in Europe," Växjö, Sweden. Galvin Green's rain gear is among the best money can buy, and the brand continues to get golfers into their polos and pullovers, too. More than 80% of Galvin Green's products are sustainable, using Bluesign-approved materials that use minimal water and electricity or potentially harmful chemicals in their fabrication. This extends to the GORE-TEX waterproof membranes that appear in their category-leading rain gear. In a world where the the planned obsolescence of disposable and cheap fast-fashion apparel puts pressure on landfills, Galvin Green wants golfers to wear their clothing for a long time.
(Note: Both Radmor and Galvin Green also recently appeared in our piece on stylish upscale golf apparel companies.)
Recycled and upcycled materials are becoming more mainstream in apparel, and Linksoul has several eco-friendly products, mostly composed of organic cotton and polyester made from recycled plastics.
Last fall, the Callaway-owned apparel brand that outfits Jon Rahm and several other PGA Tour players debuted what it is calling the Eco Collection, which uses 98% organic cotton and at least 62% polyester made from recycled plastic bottles. Over a three-month period in late 2021, TravisMathew gave proceeds from this collection to the Surfrider Foundation, a grassroots organization that seeks to protect the world's oceans and beaches.
The polyester in the iconic athletic brand's Victory polos is made with 100% recycled plastic. This evolution is part of Nike's Move to Zero, a pledge to limit the apparel giant's carbon footprint and waste.
PUMA's new Conservation Collection, rolled out the week of the 2022 Waste Management Phoenix Open, includes a polo and four different hats, all made from recycled materials, with prints that invoke the Arizona desert.
Most golf shoes come in a variety of colors, and the more athletic models available tend to be flashier than the more traditional-looking leather ones. That means they use various dyes, which require water-intensive pre-treatment processes in order to retain their looks. No dye means less water and less waste, so adidas rolled out three no-dye shoes last August. The ZX PRIMEBLUE, ZG21 Motion and ZG21 Motion BOA all feature muted, cream textiles with soles that have a hint of baby-blue hue to them. They make a sustainability statement by not making much of a visual one. In adidas' other golf apparel, both the PRIMEBLUE and PRIMEGREEN fabrics use recycled plastic as the basis for their polyesters. Their goal is to use nothing but recycled polyester by 2024.
Ocean Tee Golf
Founded by a marine biologist, this brand aims to be on the cutting edge of sustainable fabrics that work well for golfers. In addition to making clothing, they also plan educational events that seek to help the golf community learn more about sustainable practices. Even their caps are made from recycled ocean plastics.
Your recent articles on unwarranted tree removal, on autism, and, in this piece, on sustainability are not merely stimulating reads but also an important part of golf journalism.
Thank you for bringing your perceptions and intelligent commentary to often-overlooked issues that matter in the golfing world--and far beyond it.