Meet the Team
“I was a farmer until the early-1990s, when I recognised the potential of the Oake Manor land to be a golf course. I invited five architects who specialise in designing golf clubs to quote, chose the best, and the rest is history. In partnership with the superb staff team, we have produced a great golf club. My right-hand woman is Louise Woodmason.”
“Having studied business and finance at University, I worked as an accounts manager for 6 years before joining Oake Manor in 2000. I am responsible for all the company’s administration, PA to Michael King, secretary for Senior Managers, membership secretary and a wedding co-ordinator. I really enjoy the variety of the different roles and am happy to help wherever needed.”
Having been in the army for eight years, James studied for a diploma in golf green keeping, subsequently working on golf courses in Wiltshire and Devon, as well as Vienna, before coming to Oake Manor around ten years ago. James loves working outside, preparing to a high standard the greens of what he says with passion is the best golf course in the South West.
My background is a PGA Golf Professional and I turned professional at just 16 years old and trained as a PGA Member. I worked at Goodwood Golf Club and several exclusive golf clubs in Surrey and Worcestershire, was Captain of Surrey PGA, and a South Region PGA Committee member; was a PGA National coach (15 years) and Staff Tutor for the University of Birmingham/PGA National Training Academy specializing in Business Management.
My claim to fame was beating Bernhard Langer in a tournament in the 1980’s; I played my best 67 and he played his worst golf for a 69! I also represented the European Tour in the Belgian Championships in 1988 – no one else wanted to play!
I was part of the original Oake Manor golf club set up team back in 1993 and helped set up the golf operation, ethos and systems that we still have today. As we grew and developed I became Golf Manager. I now spend most of my working day office bound, involved with the business side of golf, however I play when I can which I enjoy immensely. I enjoy road cycling which keeps me fit, and enter the odd fun or sportive event. Working at Oake Manor is a privilege and very enjoyable, the team I work with keep me young and on my toes! Every day is different and challenging here!
James has been a professional since 1994 when he started his career here at Oake Manor Golf Club. Since qualifying as a PGA Member James chose to stay with us, working hard to forward Oake Manor and his own career. With an extensive knowledge of the game, he has taken on a more senior role on the business side of the operation, as well as the running of the professionals’ shop.
James is also an accomplished teacher; his simple, uncomplicated approach to teaching makes him successful with beginners, intermediate and advanced players. Using the latest digital C SWING technology, he is also able to provide an excellent custom fitting service for all members and guests, assuring the correct clubs are found to suit the needs of each individual.
Lewis qualified in 2003 and has held a variety of positions throughout his career. He has PGA Advanced Professional status as well as new Level 3 in Golf Coaching qualification which will enable him to work for the PGA as a swing tutor and mentor. He is highly qualified in using a Trackman 4, the number 1 launch monitor on tour and is a certified Level 2 coach. He offers golf coaching to all ages and abilities as well as custom fitting to the highest standard using his Trackman 4.
This winter will see him embark on learning the ins and outs of how to help golfers with their playing psychology hoping to become a fully qualified Golf Psychologist. This is one of many career development courses Lewis has completed in order to offer the most comprehensive golf coaching experience. Lewis is also the Lead Somerset Futures and Development Squad Coach which he enjoys immensely.
Tim’s straightforward approach is based on the philosophy of simplifying the fundamentals of the golf swing and its construction, clearly focussing on key areas of the game. From experience at all levels he recognises that players need consistency, and this is best achieved by simplifying all aspects of a game that can often become over complicated. Tim also believes strongly in the importance of the short game, understanding how modern technology has changed the way in which we can produce more consistency in the short game.
Having travelled the world as a marine engineer with Shell Oil tankers, I joined Berni Inns as a manager (in London), going on to manage two large free houses and night clubs before I found an exciting opportunity with the fledgling Oake Manor Golf Club.
I have now worked at Oake Manor for around 18 years, and have seen the business grow into what it is today. Every day is different, and it’s the variety of what we do that I like. The challenge is to try and keep the business we have as well as to think of other ways to grow it. That means keeping happy all those hungry and thirsty golfers, the loyal Sunday Carvery crowd and weekday lunchers, those who choose to celebrate a special event with us, and more recently all of those who look to Oake Manor for their weekend entertainment.
Ginny has worked at Oake Manor since 2011, starting out as an Apprentice Catering Manager. Since Ginny’s apprenticeship she has gone on to become a Duty Manager and Wedding Coordinator and now Deputy Catering Manager.
In 2014 Ginny won the Somerset Business Awards, Young Business Employee of The Year. Oake Manor is very proud of this achievement and feels that Ginny thoroughly deserved it.
Mark Sumner worked his way over 18 months from pot-boy to Bar Manager of all five bars at Dellers Wharf, where he stayed for eight years – then he came to Oake Manor and again climbed the ladder to his current position. Mark is passionate to deliver good customer service in a friendly environment for people to return to time and time again. He also likes the variety of his job, and new challenges. Not surprisingly, he enjoys sport; as a 12 year old he appeared on TV with Sir Bobby Charlton at a soccer school, and has played golf with former world darts champ Bob Anderson.
The Oake Manor kitchen team is excellent; eight highly qualified chefs, ably led by Executive Chef Jason Ashdown. Jason, Head Chef Andrew Betambo and Senior Sous Chef Gavin White have over 30 years’ experience at Oake Manor between them. Constantly finding new and delicious ways to improve the menu, they have recently introduced a range of four Oake Manor Proper Pies.
Jason came to Oake Manor as Head Chef 18 years ago. He has overall control of the kitchen and deals with suppliers, ensuring that he gets the best possible produce. But with a degree in advanced patisserie, Jason’s great love are the desserts, all of which he creates and makes himself. Currently, Jason is studying sugarcraft so that he can decorate the wedding cakes he enjoys making, and as a contrast enjoys hiking over Dartmoor and charity walks.
Andrew began his career aged 15 in a pub kitchen, and then studied at S.C.A.T, in his second year being selected as runner-up chef of the year. Starting at Oake Manor more than 11 years ago, he has worked his way up to Head Chef, his passion for cooking, willingness to study and leadership qualities fitting him for the role.