Friday, June 28, 2019

Professional Golf and Commercial Real Estate - Similarities?

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As I pen this - one round of the 2019 United States Open is in the books with three rounds to play. Several players hold a share of the lead. It’s anyone’s tournament. By the time you read this - a winner will be crowned. We will be marveling at Brooks Koepka’s dominance of major championships over the past three years or wondering - “who the heck is that guy?” - as the Open will occasionally reward a journeyman - IE: Lou Graham - told you.

As I consumed the first round - my thoughts naturally compared my profession - commercial real estate - with professional golf. Are there similarities? Certainly! Indulge me while I dissect a few.

No safety net. Professional golf is the only pro sport without contracts - much less guaranteed contracts! That whopper agreement Mike Trout signed with the Angels? Yep. Guaranteed. Certainly touring pros have their cards - which allow them to enter certain tournaments - but if you don’t play well - no paycheck! Our profession is a commission only gig. No deals. No money.

Staying power is crucial. Some PGA players break onto the scene and place in the money immediately. Others labor at their craft for years with little to show. Same with brokerage. Many times what separates success from failure is your ability to stick around. Expenses are not covered in professional golf - travel, meals, lodging, caddie fees are all paid by the golfer. A similar accounting occurs with us. Frugality is common with newbies in both professions.

Talent is a predictor but not a guarantee. Both professions boast “can’t miss” prospects - who fizzle akin to that Fourth of July dud. Ever heard of Ty Tryon? Didn’t think so. Young Tryon was to be the next Jack Nicklaus with a stellar college pedigree and comparable golf swing. Never a whimper. The attrition rate with new hires in commercial real estate is 70%. Wow! Only 3 of 10 will make it. Generally work ethic - not talent - predicts success in both fields.

Authenticity. ArnoldPalmer, Lee Trevino, Payne Stewart. All had their unique ways of doing things. Palmer attacked a golf ball like it was a blacksmith’s anvil. Trevino would talk you to death. Payne Stewart? Knickers and knee high argyles in a world of Amana visors. Among them - sixteen major championships! Figuring out a bold new way to schlep buildings works as well.

We start from zero. Every January both endeavors wipe the slates - and earnings - from the previous year. A new round commences. If profitable - the only one who remembers is Uncle Sam.

Well, it’s almost time for the second round. I’ll be watching - on my phone - as I tour buildings.

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