Shropshire Star

The Meat Man is hungry for a career on the bag

He has played a part in building one of Oswestry's most successful businesses over the last 15 years.


Now Tom Brown has his eyes on new goals elsewhere, in professional golf.

The businessman formed The Meat Man in Oswestry back in 2009 alongside his father Phil, and has grown the company into one of the UK's largest online fresh meat companies.

But now, alongside juggling his business interests, Brown is following another dream as he cuts his teeth as a caddy on golf's professional tours.

The Meat Man has had a 30 year plus love affair with golf and plays at out of Llanymynech and Aberdovey Golf Clubs off a handicap off just one.

Then, two years ago, his dream of becoming involved in the game became more of a reality.

Brown, who had caddied on and off for friends in tournaments took the opportunity to caddy at the JCB Golf & Country Club, an exclusive club reserved for celebrities and executives.

From there, his caddying career started taking off, and before long he was on the bag for professional golfers across the game's tours.

Brown explains: "I had done a bit of it before and did a two day course at JCB and I was one of the stand out ones.

"I've played for 30 years and play to a good standard so I think I maybe had a bit more of an understanding.

"Funnily enough the Legends Tour went to the JCB that year, which attracts the likes of Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, John Daly and Darren Clarke.

"An Italian was coming over, Emanuele Canonica, and he needed a caddy so they got in touch with me and asked whether I fancied it.

"I did and we kept in touch and he asked me to go on the bag again and I did, and it was great.

"I did the British Senior Open at Royal Porthcawl for him and we ended up finishing tied for 25th place.

"We were third in the third round and there was a great moment where he holed out for an albatross two on a par five from 237 yards.

"From there I've done the bag for a lot of others, and it has been great."

After dipping his toe into the caddying world, Brown has been on the bag for the likes of Ana Dawson and Christina Kim.

He has also caddying for Telford's Will Enefer, Shropshire's Ashley Chesters and youngster Frank Kennedy, who has been tipped for big things in the game.

But life on the bag hasn't come without it's struggles.

"I was in France with Ashley Chesters and we picked up a car and we were driving to an event and it just stopped, it was free wheeling in the road," explained Brown.

"It was about 7am and all of a sudden Matt Fitzpatrick's brother Alex, and his Mum and Dad were driving by, and then ended up getting out and giving us a push!"

So when he isn't at his business in Oswestry dealing with orders from across the UK, Brown can now be found trotting around the globe, trying to help professional golfers pick up memorable wins on tour.

It isn't all glitz and glamour though, as Brown explains, but life on the bag does come with its perks.

He said: "You go on a Monday, spend the first few days mapping the course, finding where to avoid, where is best to hit off the tee, and things like that.

"It isn't just carrying the bag, there is a lot of other stuff, then you have the practice rounds and then into the main event.

"I've trained in Aimpoint now as well to read greens which has been really helpful, and it is just great to go inside the ropes of the sport.

"If you can't make it as professional being involved this way is the next best thing.

"And there has been some surreal moments. Jose Maria Olazabal was one of my idols growing up and we did a practice round with him. And one day I was in the gym with Miguel Angel Jimenez which was another surreal experience, rubbing shoulder with past major winners."

For now, Brown's season is over with the tours coming to a close but his journey as a caddy has really only just begun.

He plans to caddy as often as possible next season while jugging his business commitments - but he hopes to rise up the ranks and turn his position full time in the years to come.

"That's it for the season, which is good because it is peak season with the business, but I can do a lot of the business stuff remotely and on the road," explained Brown, who also used to play football in Shropshire for Morda United and Ellesmere Rangers.

"There is pressure on the events too, because you do get a fee paid but the better you and the player do, the more money you win.

"I'm moving into the next part of my life now, and I'd love to be able to go and do this full time in the future, it really is a dream come true."