Copper Creek GM Chris Neale departs for Pacific Links

First it was Charles Lorimer, former Clublink executive, and now Copper Creek GM Chris Neale has become the second high-profile golf industry exec to join Pacific Links, the company being run by former Clublink CEO and founder Bruce Simmonds.

Neale will be joining Pacific Links as vice-president of operations. This is part of the letter he sent out to industry contacts yesterday:

As some of you have already heard I have resigned from Copper Creek Golf Club effective March 8th, 2013. It has been an amazing 12 years working for the DeGasperis and Kohn families. We were able to experience tremendous success and none of that would have been possible without their support. I was treated like family and have the utmost respect for both.

Valued and mutually beneficial partnerships with vendors and competitors alike are an important part of being successful. I thank those concerned for helping me foster and grow those relationships with Copper Creek. I am sure they will continue to be an important part of Copper Creek’s future.

I am very excited about my new role as Vice President, Operations for Pacific Links International as of March 15th, 2013.

What does Neale’s hiring suggest for Pacific Links? The company’s website only lists a few courses in Hawaii and the U.S., but has its headquarters in Canada. Here’s what the website said about its international aspirations:

Pacific Links International is a Canadian owned and operated company pursuing a strategy of acquiring high-end golf course properties in select destination markets throughout North America. Led by experienced industry executives and a shareholder with substantial financial capacity, the company is implementing a multi-club strategy of owned and affiliated clubs, with reciprocal club access as the primary feature.

“We are very proud to announce the launch of Pacific Links International in conjunction with this new Champions Tour event, especially in Hawai’i, heart of the Pacific Rim region where our company is dedicated to growing the game and providing our customers with the best of golf,” said Du Sha, Chairman of Pacific Links International.

“We are sharply focused on providing our members and guests with quality courses around the globe, where they can build memorable golf experiences in premier destination markets,” said Bruce Simmonds, Chief Executive Officer of Pacific Links International.

Clublink hasn’t acquired a new course in several years. Could Neale’s hiring be part of a Canadian move by Pacific Links? Certainly Neale, who previously ran Glen Abbey (that’s his connection to Simmonds) is one of the best operators in Canada and clever when it comes to evaluating golf course operations.

Time will tell.


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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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  • There are 3 courses I know of in The Okanagan that are for sale, should Pacific Links International wish to invest in BC’s interior…

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