The golf course is more than just a terrain to play and close deals. It’s a space where one can go to relax and get in touch with nature. For Douglas Elliman’s agent Gary Pohrer, golf became his favorite hobby to get away and relax. In fact, he liked it so much that he decided to go pro. Elliman Insider sat down with Gary to find out how golf has helped him become a successful real estate agent and what he loves most about both of his passions.
Elliman Insider: How long have you been playing golf and what made you want to go pro?
GARY POHRER: I’ve been playing since I was three years old. I’m the youngest of five kids; my parents threw me out on the end of a golf range with a club and some balls and I genuinely grew to love it. After college, I went into finance economics but the stock market took a turn for the worse. It was then that I decided to take a shot at going pro.
EI: What inspired you to go into real estate?
GP: When I wasn’t practicing on the green and giving it my all to prepare for a tournament, I was meeting and chatting with other players who had really nice homes. That’s when I started getting interested in real estate, especially because I could decide how much time I wanted to invest into developing my business. I still continued to practice golf—while selling about a home a year. Eventually, my attention turned to real estate full-time, but I still find time to play golf.
EI: How does golf help you network with potential clients?
GP: Golf is one of the few activities where I can have a client’s full attention on the course for a good four hours, usually followed by lunch. That’s a lot of face time. If you’ve had experience as a professional golfer or if you have a good game of golf in general, I’d say that can be more valuable than a business degree from Harvard.
“If you’ve had experience as a professional golfer or if you have a good game of golf in general, I’d say that can be more valuable than a business degree from Harvard.”
EI: What skills would you say are necessary to succeed in both golf and real estate?
GP: I’ve learned that patience and the ability to keep moving forward are vital for both golf and real estate. For example, if you have a poor aim in a game of golf you need to get past that in order to have any shot of redeeming yourself. If a negotiation doesn’t go as planned, you need to move onto the next thing. Golf requires you to be extremely focused as does real estate; they are both competitive fields and you need to practice. Now that real estate has become my passion, I spend hours online looking at properties to keep my knowledge current. From looking at active inventory to exploring ariels of markets I want to work in, everything I learn helps me provide more knowledge to my clients.
EI: Tell us about the golf courses in Florida.
GP: Palm Beach County has some of the best golf in all of Florida. There are more amazing golf courses here than anywhere else in the southeast. I moved to Florida for the golf; I was first living in John’s Island, Vero Beach, then I moved farther south to Jupiter. And for the past 13 years, I’ve lived on the island of Palm Beach.
EI: What do you like most about playing golf?
GP: Everyone needs a place to go and get away, to relax. Golf generally makes me a happier person. You go out there at 3pm, you’re relaxing, watching the afternoon shadows come in across the green. I’m very fortunate—a lot of people don’t have such a beautiful and peaceful hobby to finish out their day.
EI: What is your favorite part about real estate?
GP: My favorite part is the negotiation. When someone decides they want to purchase a home, as soon as I’m done getting them under contract, the rush and excitement is over which inspires me to start the process all over again.
EI: What advice would you give to anyone who is looking to come into real estate?
GP: I would say if you are looking to become an agent, save money when you are first starting out because it takes time to succeed. I remember during my first year I only made $3,500 but that didn’t stop me. In 2019, I successfully closed over $235 million in real estate transactions. Having a genuine drive helps keep you on track.