Relatable lessons in finance


Aaron Lansberry, England Golf Coach of the Year 2019, explains how a trusted expert, smart goal setting and regularly reviewing performance can give confidence to golfers and investors

Girl having golf lesson

Anyone who has swung either a pitching wedge or a putter will appreciate golf is impossible to master without expert help – and the same can be said about investing. A trusted coach who can help establish a holistic plan, understand how to set a goal and achieve it, and have the required patience, are crucial for those serious about beating a par score. Indeed, there are plenty of parallels between performing well on the course and being smart about investing time into the game, according to Aaron Lansberry, England Golf Coach of the Year 2019.

The junior golf specialist, attached to Stonebridge Golf Club near Coventry, points out that to be a decent golfer, you need to have a workable, personalised strategy, play the long game, be receptive to expert advice and make use of a vast support network. When you have a proactive and knowledgeable partner with whom you can collaborate, the likelihood of victory rises significantly.

How do you achieve your goals?

Aaron, a full-time coach since 2011, stresses the value of a long-term relationship to build confidence and achieve goals. “We take boys and girls who are four or five and have never played golf before and offer a complete pathway up to 18, or elite standard,” he says. 

“For example, I’ve been working with a 15-year-old for 11 years, and it’s been an amazing experience to watch him grow from a tiny kid who couldn’t hit the ball into an under-16s county player. It’s been great to be part of that journey and we’ve become good friends. The biggest advantage of working with this lad for so long is that I know his game inside out. I know where his issues are and what course of action to take.”

However, while Aaron can make minor tweaks to improve the performances of his young clients, it is – much like investing – having long-term goals that drives progress and leads to the greatest rewards. “Often, the players respond better to short-term goals because they’re much closer in the future,” he continues. “But deep down, I’m focusing on their long-term goals, which are, ultimately, an accumulation of lots of short-term ones.”

Where can expert help be found?

Those who use trusted experts for golf or investing can benefit from accessing a broader network of advisers. “There are many different aspects to golf, and I don’t hold all the answers,” says Aaron. “I consult with the other professionals at the club – we have a fitness guy and a putting coach, for instance – and that means more information is being given to the player to improve their performance.”

Another key similarity between successful golf and investing is having the confidence to trust the plan. Regular reviews are vital to instilling a positive mindset. “If a player has had a good or bad round, it’s essential to talk about it,” Aaron says. “What went well? What went not so well, and why? You can only focus on what you can control. We coach our players to have a solid attitude, which means never giving up, and to stick with the process because we know it will work eventually.”

Beware financial bunkers

Considering the apparent similarities between golf and investing – not least that an expert is crucial to improve performance and build confidence – it was fitting that St. James’s Place was selected as a Principal Partner in the Professional Golfers Association’s partnership programme in June 2021. At the time, David Adams, Head of Commercial Partnerships at the PGA, commented that SJP is “a perfect commercial partner” with aligned values of “integrity, honesty and quality”.

Tony Clark, Senior Propositions Manager at SJP, continues the golfing analogy. “If you’re trying to manage your financial planning on your own, there’s a good chance you’ll miss something – perhaps concerning tax allowance or reliefs – and hit the equivalent of a bunker,” he says. “But like a good caddie, a trusted adviser knows where the obstacles are, can help you cut through and show you what’s essential, so you make expert decisions. With tax and golf, you should think about the next three or more moves. You need your eye on the current shot but can’t lose sight of where you’re heading and the end goal.”

In late July 2022, Aaron reached one of his own short-term goals: winning the regional final of the St. James’s Place National Pro-Am tournament in Sherwood Forest. He and his golf partner, Garry Monger, hit a combined score of -8 to win by two shots. The triumph qualified the pair for the grand final at the prestigious PGA National Turkey Antalya Golf Club. In November, the 12 regional winners will compete over 36 holes, with pride and prizes at stake in Europe’s largest Pro-Am event. If he puts into practice all the things he teaches his young players, he could experience Turkish delight.

We can help you devise a plan to achieve your financial aims and review it with you regularly to ensure you’re on track.

The value of an investment with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds selected and may fall as well as rise. You may get back less than the amount invested.

The levels and bases of taxation, and reliefs from taxation, can change at any time. The value of any tax relief depends on individual circumstances.

SJP Approved: 03/10/2022


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