Business profile: Coyote Creek Golf Club upgrades courses, plans event center
Tournament Course designed by Jack Nicklaus now for members only
Published in the Sept. 2-15, 2015 issue of Morgan Hill Life
By Robert Airoldi
Long-time residents might remember it as the old Riverside Golf Course, but Coyote Creek Golf Club has come a long way since those days.
Purchased in 1994, it was renovated and redesigned by Hall of Fame golfer Jack Nicklaus who built two 18-hole courses on the property adjacent to U.S. 101 a few miles north of Morgan Hill. And it has recently gone through another renovation, improving the bunkers, adding new carts with updated GPS systems and redoing the driving range and practice facility to the tune of $1.6 million.
The Tournament Course, the tougher of the two, is now private and for members only. The Valley Course is open to the public.
“It’s very exclusive and members are very, very happy, and the course is in the best condition I’ve seen in the six years I’ve been here,” said General Manager Steve Vigiano.
Recently voted as one of the top golf courses by Metro newspaper, it has also been rated 4 1/2 stars by Golf Digest. The course has twice hosted a PGA Champions Tour event.
The courses offer great views of rolling hills and sweeping meadows across the southern tip of Silicon Valley. The private Tournament Course was created with the more experienced golfers in mind while the Valley Course has generous open fairways and larger greens.
To attract a more diverse clientele, the club is also improving its wedding and corporate event center.
“We are in the process of making some dramatic changes to the venue,” said Vigiano, 59. “The outdoor terrace is covered with glass, we painted the terrace to match the clubhouse and stained the cement a rose color that is more conducive to weddings. I think it’s a great selling point and the terrace opens up to great views of the Tournament Course.”
Coyote Creek’s management also hired a landscape architect to build a new venue for wedding couples to say their vows just off the Tournament Course’s 18th green.
“We’ve spent quite a bit of money and we want it to be the best wedding site in the Bay Area and I believe it will be,” said Vigiano.
About 40 years ago, the club’s general manager moved from Long Island to Los Angeles on a whim after injuring his knee playing ice hockey. He decided to become an actor, so took voice lessons. He performed in musicals and worked doing radio and TV commercials.
“It was good and I really enjoyed it and learned an awful lot,” he said.
As he saw his acting gig coming to an end, he took a job in construction, but quickly knew he didn’t want to do that as a career. While Vigiano was hitting balls on the range at a course in Van Nuys one day, the club’s owner offered him a job as assistant pro. He took over as the head pro four years later.
“He taught me how to teach and how to treat members,” Vigiano said.
He later worked as the head pro at a large, prestigious course in Southern California. Shortly after that was sold, he took a job with the president of the course’s board of directors who owned a BMW dealership. He worked there for six years before moving on to another Southern California course before moving to Morgan Hill to work at Coyote Creek.
Now he oversees an impressive renovation of the courses and facilities. He insists the most important aspect of his job – and his staff’s – is customer service.
“You have to treat the person in front of you as the most important person in the world,” he said. “Our short-term goal is always going to be customer service. And our long-term goals are to bring in more tournaments and increasing our membership.”