It was March 4, 2020. A pandemic, unseen and at best half-understood by most Americans, was rolling in toward us from overseas. It didn’t seem real, exactly. Certainly, it didn’t seem like it could take hold here, let alone upend our everyday lives.
But that’s exactly what would take place.
Half-oblivious to what was on the way, I curled up onto the property of Milpitas’ very own Summitpointe Golf Club (1500 Country Club Drive), which, despite a name change along the way, has occupied the same 121 hilly acres for over 40 years. Though the name’s been the same for about half that time, the ownership has very recently changed. Previously, Summitpointe was owned by American Golf, which let go of it along with all its other Northern California properties to focus on its Southern California holdings.
The new owner goes by the name of Cady Yu.
Before journeying to the status of golf club owner, Yu journeyed to the sport of golf itself. In 2003, she underwent open heart surgery. Years later, in 2017, she started easing her way into the game. “I think golf is perfect for people like me,” she said, explaining that “playing golf also helps to release the pressure, the stress…”
Summitpointe was where Yu herself learned to play. Right away, she found herself enjoying it. “The only thing that bothered me was, the place was not well taken care of back then…The condition was very poor.”
Six months into Yu’s golf lessons, she was finally able to complete a full round, 18 holes in total. Her coach, Michael Lee, had made sure she built up to it, seeing as Summitpointe is challenging, marked as it is by hills as opposed to flatness. “This is very good,” Yu shared, “for people who like to take the challenge.”
On the afternoon of her very first full round, Yu climbed her way up to hole 4, drawn in by its special view. It was sunset, magic hour: the sky danced with shades of orange and pink. From hole 4, one can see the entire Bay. “Just like a jewel, so beautiful,” Yu reflected.
That was the moment when it crossed her mind to buy the place.
Come 2018, Cady Yu learned, by way of Michael Lee, that Summitpointe was actually on sale. At the time, she had a career in IT. But this could be something new: “New investment, new career…”
In 2019, Yu became the official owner. In October of that year, she overtook direct management of the golf club. “This is a course that needs a lot of attention,” she said. She was motivated to grace the lands with love, to give Summitpointe the care and attention to detail that it so deserved.
In the beginning, as she embarked upon her journey, Yu wasn’t quite sure if her family would get behind her. As it happened, they became her closest allies: “Both my husband and my kids, they enjoy working with me at the course, together. It became a family project.”
Her husband, Jason, runs his own business, but that doesn’t prevent him from showing up at Summitpointe to help each and every chance he gets. “Whenever we need him, he comes to help.”
As for their kids, Annie (16) and Bernice (14), Yu described them as “very inspiring.” At one point, Bernice looked at her mom and said, in support of her Summitpointe ambitions, “Mom, I think you should make a contribution to the community.”
To which Yu replied, with a light in her eyes, “Yes, I am.”
Certainly, they had their work cut out for them. When Yu took over as owner, the irrigation system was over 40 years old, complete with an alarming amount of broken pipes, and not nearly as environmentally sound as it could have been. Likewise, the electricity system was in need of an intensive overhaul.
“Clean energy is our goal,” Yu shared, laying out green ambitions for her great green expanse of land. To that end, the parking lot at Summitpointe is equipped to charge visitors’ electric cars. In addition, the golf club’s lighting system is hinged on Artificial Intelligence (AI). “We save the [lighting] usage for peak hours.”
“On the other side,” she added, “hospitality is something I’m working on…”
To Yu, her family, and her colleagues, quality service is of the utmost importance. Summitpointe features its own onsite restaurant, complete with an Italian-style chef and a Japanese-style chef. But as COVID-19 has shut down California’s indoor restaurants, Summitpointe is presently emphasizing its capacity to provide its patrons with outdoor services. As one part of doing so, they’ve been developing a youth academy program, by which kids from elementary school up into high school can gain an education on golf while also receiving some assistance with their schoolwork.
Yu highlighted how valuable golf can be for young people: “If you want to build your character–especially the kids’ character…When I was young, you know, I was always trying to do something quickly, and didn’t pay attention. But this is something that is not something you want to do quick. You can’t do it. You have to be extremely patient. You want to get things done perfectly.”
Consistent with the youth academy plan and Yu’s above-stated mindset, in addition to their pro-level coaches, Summitpointe offers beginner-level coaches, as well.
Yu is sure to praise her team’s hard work. Together, they have come a long way, and they’ve experienced an accelerated learning curve on account of being shut down for weeks due to the pandemic.
Each day, the learning and growth continue. Yu wouldn’t have it any other way. She makes a habit of asking those around her for input on how she can improve. “I welcome the ideas,” she said. “People only give you the ideas when they care about you.”
“Most of my friends,” she then added with a smile, “think I’m a very optimistic person.”
Summitpointe Golf Club is reopening for business this coming Friday, July 17.