Oak Royal’s new pro is just tee-rific

Jeff Mathews and Caroline Downes
Jeff Mathews and Caroline Downes

OAK Royal Golf and Country Club has appointed Jeff Mathews as its first full-time professional.

The 50-year-old former captain of the PGA North Region comes with an impressive record as player and coach, winning more than 100 events since joining the paid ranks as an assistant at his native North East club Wallsend.

He moved to the Blackburn area more than 20 years ago, almost single-handedly building his own driving range and par-three course near Samlesbury Hall, which he later sold.

Mathews admitted he could not afford to turn down the opportunity at Oak Royal, a testing nine-hole course at Withnell.

“It’s an ambitious club, which has made tremendous strides since it opened less than five years ago,” he said. “The facilities are always being upgraded and the spacious clubhouse, which includes a pro shop, will soon have a hotel attached to it.

Mathews, who is also Lancashire PGA secretary, is a former winner of the county matchplay championship and Order of Merit.