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CRE's Golf Pros

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It's no secret that deals are closed on the green nearly as often as at a conference table. (Or at least that's what you tell your boss when you want to duck out of the office at 1:30.) Here are some commercial real estate golf pros and enthusiasts you need to know.

Jameson Commercial senior associate Justin Collins (left, with cousin Ryan Tollefson at Seven Canyons in Sedona in March) got into golf when he was 13, thanks to his dad, uncle, and late grandfather, and showed serious talent quickly. (Think state tournaments in high school and college golf at Miami of Ohio and University of Akron.) He loved having his dad caddy for him at the Illinois Open a few years back, a great bonding experience despite the 104-degree heat. And he’ll never forget missing a five-foot putt on the 18th hole for birdie to shoot 66 at ThunderHawk Golf Club in Beach Park. The kicker: He would have tied the course record of English pro golfer Luke Donald. (Next time, Justin.) At the office, he just closed the $3.4M sale of 2130-2140 W Fulton (seller is Property Adventures, buyer is Rubicon).

Essex Realty Group director Jordan Gottlieb (snapped with his dad in Florida) started golfing at 10 with his dad. They began at Peter Jans Golf Course in Evanston and worked their way up to more difficult courses. He got competitive in high school and thinks he peaked sophomore year of college with a +1 handicap. Golf was always something fun to do with his father, and he made great friends on the team in high school, he says. Golf even helped him get his first real estate gig, an internship with a development company during college. The company’s partners weren’t too keen on taking on a new person, but their ears perked up when someone mentioned Jordan was a good golfer. (That's what all these college students are missing.) Fast forward to today, and his full plate of apartment deals includes 96-unit 2300 S Michigan Ave, which is under contract.

Trillium Consulting principal Kate Wolf (busy with Stoneleigh Cos' apartment buildings at Arlington Downs at work) picked up golf for business about 15 years ago, and soon realized she really enjoyed it. She (center, above) was a member of Fairway Networks for a couple years, and part of the Executive Women’s Golf Association for 12 years. About five years ago, she was one of the founders of CREW Chicago’s annual golf outing (along with Alissa Adler, Elise Couston, and Nancy Roach, above with Lindsey Strazzanti), and she’s noticed more and more women in the business picking up the sport. (Kate’s definitely found it useful for getting deals done.) Another fun golf memory was doing crowd control at the Solheim Cup (in spitting distance from the pros) when it was held at Rich Harvest Farms in ’09.

Millennium Properties R/E president Dan Hyman says golf is such a maddening and addictive hobby. You have to be in the moment. Hitting one good shot doesn’t mean the next one will follow suit, he tells us. Dan calls himself a social golfer, and says there’s always business and dealmaking when you get a bunch of real estate folks on the links. (We only golf for the gossip.) He’s snapped on a golf trip to Ireland last year, in the midst of its classic wet and foggy weather. It’s Wisconsin on steroids with friendly people, he says, and yes, they have beer there. In the Windy City, Dan says the market’s stronger than it’s been in ages, with some of the last opportunities to take advantage of the recession now on the market.

Bradford Allen Realty Services principal and co-founder Larry Elbaum (snapped with his daughter in 2008 when he was competing in the USGA Mid-Am National Championship) is a scratch golfer who grew up watching his parents play and started himself at age 11. He played four years on the varsity golf team for Franklin & Marshall College (Division 3), and more recently Larry became a two-time COLBA champion, multiple-time qualifier for the Illinois State Mid-Am Championship, and multiple-time qualifier for the CDGA Amateur Championship. Bradford Allen is on track for one of its best years yet, he tells us, with five new associates hired this year, a wide geographic area of deals (Chicago area, New York, Louisville, Indianapolis), 500k SF of added suburban agency buildings, and tenant rep deals ranging from 2,000 SF to 42k SF.