Beef’s Golf Club: “We loved the idea of a golf club anyone can join!”

DP World Tour star Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston and comedian John Robins are creating the ultimate golf club – and we’re all invited…

Have you heard the one about the vegan comedian who likes to work with beef?

Thankfully it’s not quite as odd as it sounds. The “broadly vegan” comedian is none other than Bad Golf star and TG columnist John Robins and the beef is, well, Beef. Or, as he’s less commonly known, Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston.

RELATED: From beating Beef to the shanks in a week!

“Why broadly vegan?” Beef enquires. “Because eating f*cking prawns shouldn’t count!” John replies, drawing the DP World Tour winner’s infectious laugh as we chat at North Middlesex Golf Club.

Andrew Beef Johnston and John Robins host Beef's Golf Club.

“Why Beef and John?” is more likely your question, unless you’ve already uncovered their new project. The pair have been working together on Beef’s Golf Club, a new weekly free podcast from the team who created the No.1 hit That Peter Crouch Podcast, which hears them creating the dream golf venue with the help of the club’s members (listeners).

“I’ve always wanted to do a podcast,” says Beef, who has been absent from the DP World Tour since injuring his thumb last November. “But I didn’t want to do one that was about this tournament, that tournament, or everyday stuff. The idea of us creating something that’s inclusive and fun for everyone, I instantly bought into that.”

Each episode is loosely based on a different topic, with another part of the club built and the rules set as well as some very special visitors. Tom Davis, Billy Foster, Tony Finau, and Kunal Nayyar are among those to have popped into the club so far, while Ryder Cup Captain Luke Donald will be among future big names to join the membership.

“I loved the idea of a golf club that anyone can join by listening to the pod or getting involved on social media,” says John, a prolific podcaster and award-winning comedian. “The most important thing is for the people who listen to feel they’re part of a welcoming community. The best thing is when someone says to you, ‘Oh, because I listened to you or watched your videos, I got my clubs out for the first time in 10 years. I shot 40-over but I loved it.”

As official media partners of the new ‘club’, we joined the ‘owners’ at the venue where Beef learned the game, and, watched on as the two laughed and chatted about everything from impact locations and John’s desire for free Pro V1s, to their new shoes and drinking habits. You’d think the pair had been mates forever. In reality, this was their first in-person meeting.

Andrew 'Beef' Johnston and John Robins host Beef's Golf Club.

Despite working together on the new podcast for several weeks, Beef’s move to Portugal with wife Jodie and daughter Harley Noelle in 2020 meant their only get-togethers had come over video calls. “I didn’t even know how tall he was, and I definitely didn’t know he was a lefty,” Beef giggles as he casts his eye over John’s swing in the net.

The fact this is a new relationship makes the natural feel of the first few episodes even more impressive and, with downloads already into the tens of thousands, it’s clear they’re onto something special. But that doesn’t mean it’s all been plain sailing. “His internet… Jesus Christ,” sighs John. “It’s like getting images from a court sketch artist.”

But what made Crowd Network, the team behind this venture, pair the two in the first place?

“It is about balance. It’s about yin and yang and a sharing of expertise… although I think Beef has some more expertise than me,” John smiles. “Just a touch, though.”

Andrew 'Beef' Johnston is a big hit with the fans.

Beef says he’ll be leaning on his new friend to explain the World Handicap System (“I just don’t get it”), while John
will be hoping Beef can help him complete ‘Operation Scratch’ – his attempt to become a scratch golfer in the next five years. On that basis, what’s the first piece of advice the 2016 Spanish Open champion would give to John and the members of his new club?

RELATED: World Handicap System Explained

“(Lower your) Expectation. I’ve seen it a couple of times and I’ve played with people where they’re throwing their clubs on a weekend and I’m like, ‘Hang on a minute, this is your hobby!’ We all want to play amazing golf and hit good shots but it’s that time on the course with friends. It’s a getaway and escapism. Enjoy it.”

Andrew 'Beef' Johnston gives John Robins a lesson.

Beef is a man who knows what it’s like not to enjoy the game. He took a break from golf in 2019 when his meteoric rise to fame, a break-in at his home, and splits from both his coach and a long-term girlfriend finally took their toll. 

The 33-year-old drew widespread praise for talking publicly about his mental health struggles and helping others to speak out. John has also talked frankly about his personal struggles on his weekly Radio 5 Live show with fellow comedian Elis James (below) and the pair’s award-winning How Do You Cope podcast sees them discuss mental and physical health challenges with a host of famous names. Now both men want Beef’s Golf Club to become a sanctuary for others who need love and support.

John Robins co-hosts a BBC Radio 5Live show and podcast with fellow comedian Elis James.

“It can happen to anyone at any given time during their life, so if you can help someone, even one person, by being open and honest then I think you’ve done a good job,” Beef says.

“I think the more people who share their story, the less stigma there is about mental health. I know, especially us guys, you keep it boxed in, and stuff has happened to me and I’ve felt embarrassed to talk about it. Why are we embarrassed? Let’s say it how it is and support each other. It should be as simple as that.”

John thinks golf, and the revision of some of its tired rules and regulations have a big role to play in helping people.

“Certain golf clubs are obsessed with manners. Good manners aren’t wearing the right tie, it’s taking your tie off when someone has forgotten theirs,” the 2017 Edinburgh comedy award winner says. “Yes, there are certain rules for safety, but the key rule of golf, I think, is to be polite and inclusive, and that’s also a really good guide for how to talk about mental health and your feelings. Accept what people are saying and listen to them without judgement.

“If our golf club has an awful lot of conversations going on about an awful lot of things then I think that would be fantastic. And golf, for me, is a form of mindfulness. It’s the only part of the day when I’m not worrying or anxious or thinking about other stuff. The last year has been the worst year of my life, but none of that has come into my head on the course.”

Beef's Golf Club is open to everyone.


Beef’s Golf Club: A change of direction

Both men have faced absences from the course in recent months, with John’s Edinburgh Festival run forcing him to put down the clubs, and that thumb injury keeping Beef out of action. While countless specialists have struggled to diagnose the problem, a different approach may have solved the issue and he is now targeting a return to competitive action before the end of the year.

RELATED: We interview ‘Beef’ on a rodeo bull!

“I went to see this old Indian healer guy yesterday,” he chuckles. “He popped my thumb, looked at me and said, ‘You’re fixed’. I won’t get too excited and start playing too much golf but I am optimistic. I’ve thought about the worst situation where, maybe, it never gets fixed. You start thinking about what you’d do. But that’s where that perspective comes in again. It’s just golf. I want to get back because I love it but if I can’t then so be it, I’ll move on to something else.”

Perhaps a job swap with his new co-host and a career making people laugh could beckon.

“No chance. What these guys do, they’re geniuses,” Beef says. “I’m not sure all of them are,” John interjects, laughing. “I’m not sure I am. You’d be great.”

John Robins won the Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2017.

John has fewer reservations about teeing it up in front of tens of thousands at golf’s biggest tournaments. “It would be the greatest honour of my life and I would love absolutely every second of it,” he says. “I would be so nervous but I’d absolutely love it. I mean, I did manage to put my opening tee shot out of bounds at Royal Liverpool and that’s pretty forgiving,” he recalls. “I put a hybrid into the driving range.

“I actually think my dream would be to be a caddie who plays off about 10. Someone who’s in on the action but without as much of the pressure. Once the round’s finished, into the shower, into the bar, lash, lash, lash.”

John Robins creates Bad Golf on YouTube with fellow comedian Alex Horne.

That’s probably a better solution for a man who has gained a loyal following of golf fans through the Bad Golf YouTube channel, in which he and fellow comedian Alex Horne (above) face off in regular matches.

It was an invite from Horne to a European golf trip that helped Robins fall in love with the game in 2016, and he quickly became obsessed. Beef, on the other hand, was introduced to the game as a child by his father, Noel, whose name appears alongside his son’s on the traditional honours boards above us in North Middlesex’s clubhouse.

“We’d go to local pitch and putts, go to fields and just hit balls and then I joined here when I was nine,” he tells us. “We’d get dropped off down here in the morning and just spend all day playing and practising.”

Beef went on to play for the England Boys’ Team alongside Tommy Fleetwood, Eddie Pepperell and Matt Nixon, before turning pro and making his way through the Jamega and EuroPro Tours.

“I got one chance on the Challenge Tour and I finished third,” he recalls. “I never looked back from there. It was that event where I thought about having a career in professional golf.”

Andrew 'Beef' Johnston won the 2016 Spanish Open.

It’s a career that has seen him compete across the globe, break into the world’s top 75, win trophies, contend in Majors and become one of the sport’s best-known faces. A run of poor form, followed by his injury, has seen Beef slip to 449th in the world, but becoming a dad has given him a newfound perspective.

“My daughter doesn’t care if I win or miss the cut,” he smiles. “She just wants to pick up rocks and stones and throw them, or chase a ball.”

WATCH: Can Beef fix John’s game?

But that doesn’t mean he’s lost his hunger, with another crack at the PGA Tour and a place in Luke Donald’s Ryder Cup team among his goals.

RELATED: Luke Donald – From World No.1 to Ryder Cup captain

“If I can get fit, I still believe I can do that, but over the next five years I’d love to make one of the teams. Or
I could change my nationality, as I am a quarter Jamaican, and go and play for the International Team in the Presidents Cup,” he laughs. “I also want to get back out to the States and prove myself because it’s left a niggle (his maiden PGA Tour season in 2017). It drives me mad.”

Beef salutes the crowd at the 2016 Open Championship.

John’s targets aren’t quite as lofty, but he does plan to take full advantage of having a tour pro on speed dial.

“The journey to single figures starts here. I want to be off single figures by the time I’m 45,” the 40-year-old smiles. “And then when LIV Golf call me I’m going to find it hard to turn it down. I’d be looking for medium to small money…”

RELATED: John Robins – “Operation Single Figures is officially GO”

Beef’s Golf Club: Golf’s Gravy Train

It was only going to be so long until someone mentioned the L-word. But what does Beef make of golf’s newest tour and the state of the professional game?

“I’m so bored of it, man. Instead of focusing on the tournament or the players, it all keeps revolving around LIV. I don’t judge any player for going. If that’s what they want to do and they want to better their life in that way and that route, fair enough. I think everyone’s free and welcome to do that.

“In some respects, it’s helped the players out, giving more power back to them and has woken the tours up, kept them on their toes, because they’d become a bit stagnant and, like, ‘No-one’s going to challenge us, we can do what we want to do’.”

Dustin Johnson, playing in the LIV Golf Invitational Jeddah, is the series' first Individual Champion.

But what about the everyday golfer? Does John care where people play and how they’re paid?

“Yeah, to an extent,” he says. “The difficulty golf has is that it trades so much on its traditions, so when people abandon those traditions for money at the drop of a hat, that upsets people. But, and this also applies to other industries, if an awful lot of money is being made from individual talents and that money is not being distributed to those talents as generously as it could be, when someone comes in and evens that out, there’s always going to be temptation.”

RELATED: Everything you need to know about LIV Golf

While Beef has no issue with players joining LIV, he admits he’d struggle if he lost his spot in a DP World Tour tournament to a LIV player.

“You’d be fuming. But that wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened. Before LIV it’s happened. There have been players who have had favours done and it’s kicked someone else out. There are invites. I’ve seen tournament hosts invite players they want, rather than having a field there on merit.”

What the pair would like to see is a DP World and PGA Tour season that runs from January to August, then an IPL-style draft for LIV’s events, which would be played until the end of the year and allow players who’ve had particularly strong years to really benefit as the most valuable signings.

“You could do nuts stuff, too, the sort of stuff you see on YouTube,” John says. “Nearest the pins, longest drives, challenges, matchplay, Stableford. Golf is a bit death by strokeplay.”

Ian Poulter would be John Robins' dream member of Beef's Golf Club.

It’s a topic John could discuss at length with his dream podcast guest. “I sort of model myself mentally on Ian Poulter, (above)” he says. “On the trip I go on every year my record is won 13, tied one, lost one. They do call me ‘The Postman’ and it is actually a better record than Poulter has in the Ryder Cup. When I step on the tee in matchplay and look at my opponent, I think, ‘I’ve already beaten you’. It’s just a matter of how and when, because you will flinch first.”

“I can feel the aura and I’m terrified,” Beef smiles, before questioning whether he should withdraw from a planned match with John after our interview (head across to Bad Golf’s YouTube channel to find out how it went and, trust us, you don’t want to miss it!)

“Those lessons you were giving me earlier, they were the final piece of the puzzle. You’ve built the machine that will destroy you,” John laughs.

Beef’s Golf Club: Making the dream a reality?

Speaking of building, could there be a day when Beef’s Golf Club goes from podcast vision to a bricks-and-mortar reality for all of the members to enjoy?

“I’d love to own a golf club. My head’s always full of ideas,” Beef says, admitting a thriving junior section would be one of his priorities.

“It’s so important to get kids involved and let them play. When I was playing, it was sometimes hard being included as they didn’t want juniors in some tournaments, so at Beef’s Golf Club as many juniors as possible can come and play all the tournaments and we’ll make it as welcoming as possible.”

Beef has always made time for juniors.

Aside from finding the next Beef, the tour star’s biggest challenge would be keeping John’s mind on the task in hand. “I often think, when I’m at the range at my club, that I’d just love to work there or be a greenkeeper. I just want to be there, hitting golf balls as much as I can,” he says dreamily. “And then I speak to my pro, Duncan, and say, ‘You must love it!” And he’s like, ‘What do you think I actually do? I haven’t played golf for eight months!’.”

So, if it’s a no to being the club’s pro, and Beef is taking responsibility for the day-to-day running of the club, presumably we can expect to see John providing the evening entertainment with a set in the bar once the sun has set on his hopes of hitting more balls. “F*cking no chance,” he splutters. “There is no price (to do a comedy set at a golf club). No. No. No.”

Handicap secretary it is, then…

RELATED: How John Robins and Alex Horne are making ‘bad’ golf hilarious

John Robins and Andrew 'Beef' Johnston, co-hosts of the Beef's Golf Club podcast, at North Middlesex Golf Club.

Building Beef’s Golf Club

Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston and John Robins reveal the key ‘musts’ for their dream venue.

The Course

John “It needs to be just as enjoyable and just as playable regardless of your handicap. There’s nothing worse than feeling a course is beyond you. You want everyone to walk away saying, ‘I loved that course’.”

Beef “But it also needs to be a course that makes you a better player. A good teeing system allows you all to play
at a level, but you also want to help people improve, especially around the greens.”

RELATED: Best Golf Courses in the World

A golf ball in a fairway divot!

The Rules

John “There should be higher punishments for people who don’t play provisional balls. And I’d like to see spotters on every golf course! We had one at our club champs on a hole where, normally, two out of four players lose their ball, but on that day nobody lost a ball.”

Beef “Not getting relief from a fairway divot (above). It’s just a weird one. You don’t deserve to get a shit lie when you’ve hit a good tee shot.”

Beef's Golf Club's dress code will be pretty relaxed.

The Dress Code

John “Have a little look in the mirror, mate – that’s the rule at Beef’s Golf club. What more do you need? Common sense should dictate stuff. Good manners mean you wouldn’t wear muddy shoes anywhere, not just a golf club.”

Beef “I still have friends who’ve been told off for ankle socks or playing in trainers. That won’t happen at our golf club. It scares people off. Someone came out and shouted because he teed off from in front of the markers. That’s just insane. It’s all about making it inclusive.”

The Century Bar at Gleneagles.

The Clubhouse

Beef “I like quite traditional with good pints and a good bar. Whether it’s brand-spanking new and modern or it’s old or a Portakabin, it’s the atmosphere in places that’s the most important thing.”

John “Gleneagles (above) is an astonishing place. Loch Lomond is out of this world.”

Robert Rock would be the head pro at Beef's Golf Club.

The Head Pro

John “I have to go off people I’ve met, so I’d have to go for Duncan Purcell, Wycombe Heights Golf Centre. He sorted out my slice and hits the ball 350 yards – guy’s a genius. And he doesn’t take any shit!” 

Beef “Robert Rock (above). One hundred percent. We know he’s a fantastic player and coach and we could have a little section for a barbers as well. And you wouldn’t need anyone to come in for promotional stuff as you could just get him to put on all the clothes and do all the photos.”

The Dream Member

Beef “Tiger. I want Tiger Woods! He can come on the putting episode.”

John “That would have to be Ian Poulter, talking about mentality, course management and attitude.”

Guinness will be the alcohol of choice at Beef's Golf Club.

The Beer

Beef “I always remember the Guinness at Druids Glen was superb, so we’ll have that.”

John “The Warwickshire had a really nice local pale ale that was very well kept. So yeah, one of those, poured from a sparkler.”

RELATED: Read all of John Robins’ Today’s Golfer columns

The Soft Drink

Beef “A really good coffee.” 

John “Gunner (a non-alcoholic cocktail made of ginger beer, ginger ale, a dash of Angostura Bitters and a measure of lime or lemon juice), which I was only introduced to recently. Really nice!”

The Food

John “I’ll have a vegan burger with skinny fries with jalapenos and cheese on top.”

Beef “You can’t do me on this one. Club sandwich.”

Join Beef’s Golf Club by listening to episodes every Tuesday or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. Join the Facebook group to chat with fellow members and follow Beef’s Golf Club on Twitter and Instagram.

Six more of our favourite golf podcasts

If you can’t be playing, watching, or reading about golf, you need to be listening to these people talk about it… once you’ve listened to Beef’s Golf Club, of course.

The Me and My Golf Podcast.

Me and My Golf

YouTube sensations and TG regulars Andy Proudman and Piers Ward bring their coaching expertise to the audio world. As well as improving your games, the English pair have welcomed some of the world’s best players, including Collin Morikawa, and some of the biggest coaches, such as Pete Cowen, across more than 120 episodes.

The Rick Shiels Golf Show Podcast.

The Rick Shiels Golf Show

Golf’s No.1 YouTube star has transferred his talents to the world of podcasts alongside co-host Guy Charnock, with the pair discussing the happenings in the professional game, issues impacting amateurs, and welcoming a host of big names, from Adam Scott and Bryson DeChambeau, to David Canon and Robbie Williams across more than 150 episodes to date.

The Chasing Scratch Podcast.

Chasing Scratch

“Two guys. One goal. Zero chance.” That’s the sell as American friends Mike and Eli as the two 40-somethings go on a hilarious and informative journey attempting anything and everything to get down from their 11 handicaps to scratch. The fact there are five series and more than 100 episodes may well tell you how it’s going!

The Sky Sports Golf Podcast.

Sky Sports Golf

Every week host Josh Antmann is joined by well-known names from the golfing world to look back on the weekend’s happenings, discuss the big stories from the game and look ahead to the forthcoming tournaments across all of the big tours. Expect appearances from Sky’s vast pool of commentators and analysts.

The No Laying Up Podcast.

No Laying Up

With more than 600 episodes you’ll do well to catch up, but the NLU pod is absolute gold with hosts Chris Solomon, Neil Schuster, Big Randy and Tron Carter never shying away from a topic. The brand started out as a blog almost a decade ago but rapidly blew up with the guys now accessing all of the big names and big events in golf and bringing a fresh and funny approach.

The Fire Pit Podcast.

The Fire Pit Podcast

The Fire Pit Podcast is part of the Firepit Collective, a golf media company set up by some of the biggest names in golf media. The podcast is hosted by renowned journalists, including Matt Ginella, Michael Bamberger and Alan Shipnuck, and, using their knowledge and contacts they deconstruct everything that happens in the world of golf. Always a riveting listen.

The Get A Grip Podcast with Shane Bacon podcast.

Get a Grip with Shane Bacon

Originally launched by broadcaster Bacon and PGA Tour star Max Homa, Bacon now goes it alone with the Presidents Cup star occasionally guesting. There are more than 90 episodes for you to catch up on, all offering light-hearted but superb insight into the happenings on the PGA Tour and beyond.

RELATED: Best Golf Podcasts

READ NEXT: Building the perfect golf club

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