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Top Golfers

It's no secret that deals are closed on the golf course nearly as often as at a conference table. (A lot more items are broken on the golf course, though, because you can't break a conference table over your knee in anger.) Many of you just enjoy time away from the office, but some among you really know your way around a course. We rounded up some of the best golfers in the commercial real estate community.

Jef Elm


Greystone Servicing Corp portfolio lending group managing director Jef Elm is about one-fifth of the way through his goal to play each of the Top 100 golf courses in the US. Here, he’s playing the Old Head Golf Links (in Ireland, though if he has over 80 US courses left to play, should he be taking European detours?) on a promontory jutting out more than two miles into the Atlantic Ocean. The cove in the background was reportedly a favorite hiding spot for German submarines in World War II, he tells us. Other courses he and his friends played on their recent golf trip included Ballybunion, Tralee, and Royal County Down in Northern Ireland. This summer he’s heading back up to the Whistling Straits Complex right on the shore of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. It has the feel of playing in Ireland overlooking the water.

Cortland Lowe III


Growing up in Augusta, Ga., there’s little wonder that HPI Corporate Services associate Cortland Lowe III (here on the Teeth of the Dog course at Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic last year) fell in love with golf. “They kind of breed it into us down there,” he tells us. His lowest: 61 at Augusta Country Club. He qualified to play in the 2009 US Open, beating 67 players, who were competing over 36 holes for four spots. Cortland shot a dazzling 12 under par for the day with a 62 in his first round (68 in his second round). He played at Wake Forest and has played in the US Junior Amateur, US Amateur, and the US Open. His goal: to play in the US Mid-Amateur, the US Senior Amateur, and US Senior Open one day.  

Gene Williams


Three times, CBRE VP Gene Williams has shot a 62 (-10); two of those rounds were in competitive play. His biggest win came in 2010, when he won the Monday qualifier for PGA Tour’s Valero Texas Open (pictured). Three days later, he was teeing it up as the only amateur competitor in the 144-player field. He most looks forward to his annual “championship of the world” with his grandfather. “Less than a year ago at the age of 79, he dropped a 69 on me at Briggs Ranch. So, the match is not as easy as it may sound. He has taught me more about the game of golf than all of my other influences combined. I am truly blessed to have such a mentor to the game,” he tells us.

Sam Owen


If you ask Stream Realty Partners VP Sam Owen about his biggest win on the course, it doesn’t have anything to do with what he shot. It was when he got to play a round at Austin Country Club (and drive the cart) with the legendary Fred Couples. (That’s Sam with Fred and Stream managing director Will Nichols.) He still remembers his lowest round: 67. That was shot at Bergstrom Golf Course when he was in high school. Alas, now the course is a goat track (seriously, it closed).

Matt Fain


ECR’s Matt Fain learned his love of the game from his grandparents and uncles. Here’s Matt with his granddad, Ed Murdock, a couple of weeks ago after a round at Ed’s home course, Houston Oaks. Matt tells us his granddad is in his 90s, but can still hit ‘em pretty good. Matt’s skills have landed him in the mid-60s a few times, he tells us, but he has never made the elusive hole-in-one, despite some “half-decent” golfing. 

Michael Cooper


Heritage Title Co of Austin marketing VP Michael Cooper (here with his girls, Caroline and Catherine) knows how to take one for the team. On one working golf game, he was hit in the arm by a client’s friend. “I really thought I was out of harm’s way, but I ended up doing some business with that person,” he tells us. Luckily, the damage was temporary and they still share a good laugh about it today. The UT All-American’s best score: 62. He’s won a number of tournaments in Austin including the 2013 Firecracker @ Lions Municipal.