Stuart Ashwood was a member of the men's golf team at Belmont from 2007-2010. During his three years as a Bruin, the Northampton, England native played in 92 career rounds and posted 11 top-20 finishes. In addition, he finished among the top-three on the team in scoring every year he competed and was a two-time Atlantic Sun All-Academic selection.
Stuart recently spoke to BelmontBruins.com about his career at Belmont both on and off the course and his present life as a husband and co-owner of an investment firm in New York City.
Why did you choose Belmont?
I grew up in England and always wanted to move to the US to attend college. Moving here is much different in practice than theory. Leaving home and moving 4000 miles as an 18 year old can be intimidating, overwhelming and make you question both your skills as a golfer and choices to leave your home country. All those concerns where laid to rest when I met the folks at Belmont. I knew this would be a place I could grow both academically and athletically unlike any other campus in the country.
What is your fondest athletic memory at Belmont?
I have a lot. When I think about my athletic career at Belmont the immediate memory is travelling to events with the team and coaches. The long bus rides. You really get to know people well when you spend 10 hours in a bus together. I was lucky to spend that time with a fantastic group of people. I am sure all athletes at Belmont feel the same as I do. Playing Division 1 sports and competing at such a high level is fantastic, it is what we all came to do, but travelling and practicing with everyone is what makes the entire college sports experience better than anything I thought it would be.
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Belmont and how?
My coaches, without a doubt. Our first was Coach Brian Costello. I met him through a friend in the UK and he brought me into the team. Coach Costello was very welcoming and ensured I had a great experience at Belmont. I had transferred from another University and was anxious to make sure my transition between schools went as well as possible. Coach Costello made sure I was in contact with everyone I needed be, from US Visa experts at Belmont to professors in my major. He also tried his best to make my putting stroke a little more consistent, that's the only area he didn't fully succeed (I need more help on that front now than ever!).
Coach Flynn was also incredible, it is no surprise at all that the team has had such success during his tenure. Coach Flynn took over the program after Coach Costello and made the absolute most out of a transition period for our team. Coach showed me what I would need to do if I wanted to succeed playing professionally. He made sure we were all together and working for each other, that we could practice and play as a team and made us all much better golfers. Coach Flynn also brought on Coach Henry and he was a fantastic person to spend time with. Coach Henry taught us how to really be a consummate student athlete and I loved getting to know him and hearing his stories, although getting beaten by him at cards did get old after a while…
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Belmont?
This is a common answer, but very true. The relationships you make during your time at Belmont are not only special, they last long after graduation. I am still in touch with my teammates, we talk a lot.
You also learn all about time management as a student athlete. Learning how to prioritize and chase multiple goals at the same time (academic and athletic) lay the foundation for a successful career post-graduation. I definitely had a steep learning curve in my time management and have used those skills in my career.
What advice would you give to current members of the golf team?
Trust Coach Flynn on his barbecue recommendations, and just hit it where he tells you to.
Joking aside. Enjoy every qualifier, practice session and tournament. Collegiate golf can be stressful but you will look back on your time at Belmont as some of the best in your golfing life, I certainly do. That downhill left to right 6 footer you missed doesn't matter as much as you think it does. It might take you 10 years to fully get over though.
Who was your favorite professor and why?
Dr. John Gonas - I will never forget Dr. Gonas' finance classes during the 07-09 financial crisis. The world of finance was still very new to me, but Dr. Gonas made those unprecedented times engaging, fun and highly valuable. Now we are going through the Coronavirus crash all those lessons have come full circle. I am now implementing everything I learned from Dr. Gonas in my own career, not just hypothetically in his classroom.
Dr. .Jeff Cornwall – I loved entrepreneurship classes and the mindset entrepreneurs all share. Dr. Cornwall not only encouraged you to think outside of the box but to pursue your ideas to their fullest extent. Dr. Cornwall was very influential in my choice to open my own firm and his attitude to business is very infectious. He truly believes that every Belmont student can succeed at an extraordinary level.
Where do you live now?
I live in Manhattan....New York City.
What is your occupation and what does your position entail?
I founded an Investment Advisory Firm with two partners. I am the portfolio manager for the team and our clients. We manage money for range of folks, including people who want some general investing advice around their first brokerage account, retirement accounts, 401k rollovers and how to get your financial life as organized as possible. I love what I do and seeing the impact good financial advice can have on people's wellbeing and their future is very rewarding.
Through my time at Belmont I learned a lot of the technical analysis around portfolio management and I love being able to put that into real situations and help people feel secure. With the coronavirus outbreak this is now more important than ever.
Tell us about your family.
I met my now wife, Daphnie, in Central Park on a training run for a half marathon back in 2011. We have been together ever since. We got married in Napa, CA in October 2016 with lots of friends and family present, including a lot of my Belmont family. We also got a French Bulldog pup, Rolo, in July of last year.