‘Celebrity’ golf coach Federico Alba reveals hidden life of Sicily

An expert golfer from Sicily, Italy, he has cast a career that mixes his love of the game together with his ardour for the meals and wine from the island the place he was born.
The 32-year-old Alba loves the place of his start and desires to be sure you really feel the identical — in order summer time drew to a detailed in Europe, CNN joined him on a golfing and gastronomic journey that introduced collectively these two worlds

No particulars are left to probability. If a resort is troublesome to search out, exact instructions — “Do not flip left when the sat nav tells you to” — based mostly on native information are despatched or he’ll tackle the function of chief of convoy.

Word to self: Do not try to sustain with a younger Italian man as he drives by Sicily’s slender streets.

Whereas he loves golf, he believes that to correctly benefit from the sport you could have entry to excellence off the course as effectively.

“We must always see every thing on a really holistic method,” he explains to CNN.

“Why solely train the right way to grip, the right way to hit the ball, the right way to putt, the right way to chip a ball if you may give the prospect to your shoppers to expertise such an attractive island on the highest degree ever.”

Federico Alba (left) with Francesco Scrofani, the owner of Il Picciolo Golf Club

A winding highway

Earlier than turning to golf, Alba seemed set for a profession as a footballer. He represented Italy at Underneath-18 degree and performed for Palermo, which was on the time a number one Serie A staff.

For varied causes — together with niggling accidents and a want for correct educational {qualifications} — he turned his again on soccer and determined to as a substitute deal with golf.

He obtained a job on the Rocco Forte owned Verdura Resort on the south-west coast of the island the place he hit hundreds of balls every single day as he taught himself to change into top-of-the-line.

He calls Verdura a “very particular place.”

“It is the place the place every thing began for me. I used to spend extra time right here on the golf course than house with my mother and father. The combination between stunning programs linked to an attractive resort that is what makes this place well-known all over the world.”

Federico Alba with interior designer Samuele Mazza in Noto.

Having honed his expertise in Sicily, Alba relocated to the UAE the place he’s the senior skilled on the Saadiyat Seashore Golf Membership — try his Instagram web page if you wish to get an concept of the calibre of individuals he coaches — however in the summertime months he all the time returns to Europe, and if in any respect potential, Sicily.

Only in the near past, he coached Manchester Metropolis supervisor Pep Guardiola throughout a go to from the Spaniard within the UAE.

“Teaching turns into much more attention-grabbing if you get the prospect to educate visionary minds like Pep Guardiola,” Alba wrote on Instagram.

“I all the time get a lot fascinated on the best way individuals like him are approaching the sport I really like. Dedication, ardour and perseverance are for certain the three facets I’ll deliver with me throughout this magnificent expertise.”

There is a sturdy affiliation between golf and soccer.

A favourite pastime of gamers, it is maybe no shock they’ve leant on the information of coaches to enhance.

Former Premier League striker and Nigeria worldwide Peter Odemwingie has sought the experience of Richard O’Hanlon — who additionally coached Manchester United nice Peter Schmeichel — and Jak Hamblett as he begins his journey to incomes his golf teaching badges.


Our tour of the island concerned some actually unimaginable locations; farms that had been transformed into spectacular inns, vineyards that are producing a number of the world’s most sought-after wines and restaurant after restaurant serving domestically sourced high-quality meals.

Marrying the golf expertise to the gastronomic one is vital to Alba’s philosophy.

He explains that for him the golf is vital but it surely’s additionally about “all you discover round it.”

“What I wish to present to people who find themselves touring with me is a unique sort of Island. I wish to present them locations that may depart actually good recollections. Right here you might be visiting superb locations however on the identical time I am introducing you to my buddies.”

One place, maybe greater than another, the place it’s potential to see his philosophy dropped at life is Noto, a metropolis in south-eastern Sicily, which is legendary for its baroque structure.

A photo from the beautiful city of Noto, in the south of Sicily, taken during a trip to Sicily in the summer of 2021.

On the night we arrived, one in every of Alba’s buddies, the inside designer Samuele Mazza, had organized a dinner in one of many many stunning eating places. There was a heat of welcome that appeared heartfelt and real. The individuals had been happy, greater than happy, that one in every of their very own had made a lot of his life and was eager to speak up the function that Sicily had performed.

A brief drive from Noto is the Monasteri Golf Resort. It is an attractive course created round an outdated Benedictine monastery. Olive timber, lemon timber, orange timber and Sicilian cactus line the course.

Right here we see Alba in motion. He is joined on the course by Mazza, a {golfing} novice. The 2 of them are there for enjoyable however Alba’s talent as a coach is evident. He needs Mazza to succeed and when he holes a monster 20-meter putt, the delight each exhibit is real.

Federico Alba with Guido Coffa, the owner of the Monaci delle Terre Nere Hotel.

As our journey got here to an finish Alba was additionally packing his luggage, heading to the mainland the place extra golf teaching and wine tasting had been on the agenda. After that it was again to the UAE for the winter months. He says he’s very pleased there, however you’ll be able to’t assist however suspect that his coronary heart is in Sicily.

As we left he mentioned to us: “They are saying in case you arrive to Sicily you cry twice. As soon as if you arrive and as soon as if you go away.”

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