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

Knowledgeable golfer from Sicily, Italy, he has cast a career that mixes his love of the game along 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 delivery and needs to ensure you really feel the identical — in order summer time drew to an in depth 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 tough to seek out, exact instructions — “Do not flip left when the sat nav tells you to” — based mostly on native data are despatched or he’ll tackle the position of chief of convoy.

Be aware to self: Do not attempt to sustain with a younger Italian man as he drives by way of Sicily’s slim streets.

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

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

“Why solely educate methods to grip, methods to hit the ball, methods to putt, methods to chip a ball once you may give the prospect to your purchasers to expertise such a lovely island on the highest stage ever.”

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

A winding street

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

For varied causes — together with niggling accidents and a need for correct tutorial {qualifications} — he turned his again on soccer and determined to as an alternative concentrate on golf.

He bought 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 probably the greatest.

He calls Verdura a “very particular place.”

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

Federico Alba with interior designer Samuele Mazza in Noto.

Having honed his abilities 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 at all times returns to Europe, and if in any respect attainable, Sicily.

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

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

“I at all times get a lot fascinated on the best way folks like him are approaching the sport I like. Dedication, ardour and perseverance are for certain the three elements I’ll convey with me throughout this magnificent expertise.”

There is a robust affiliation between golf and soccer.

A favourite pastime of gamers, it is maybe no shock they’ve leant on the data 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 really unbelievable locations; farms that had been transformed into spectacular resorts, vineyards that are producing a number of the world’s most sought-after wines and restaurant after restaurant serving regionally sourced high-quality meals.

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

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

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

One place, maybe greater than every other, the place it’s attainable to see his philosophy dropped at life is Noto, a metropolis in south-eastern Sicily, which is known 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 all 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 folks had been happy, greater than happy, that one in all their very own had made a lot of his life and was eager to speak up the position that Sicily had performed.

A brief drive from Noto is the Monasteri Golf Resort. It is a lovely course created round an previous 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 baggage, 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 completely satisfied there, however you possibly can’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 once you arrive and as soon as once you go away.”

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