“Celebrity” golf coach Federico Alba reveals hidden life in Sicily

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As a professional golfer from Sicily, Italy, his career combines his love of the sport with a passion for food and wine from the island where he was born.
The 32-year-old Alba likes the place where he was born and wants to make sure that you feel the same too-so as the European summer draws to a close, CNN joins him on a golf and gourmet meal that merges the two worlds. journey of

No details are accidental. If it is difficult to find a hotel, precise instructions based on local knowledge will be sent-“Don’t turn left when satellite navigation tells you”-or he will take on the role of team leader.

Note to self: When a young Italian is driving through the narrow streets of Sicily, don’t try to follow him.

Although he loves golf, he believes that if you want to really enjoy the sport, you must also get excellent results off the court.

“We should look at everything in a very comprehensive way,” he explained to CNN.

“When you can give your customers the opportunity to experience such a beautiful island at the highest level ever before, why only teach how to grip, how to hit the ball, how to put, and how to cut the ball.”

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

A winding road

Before turning to golf, Alba looked ready to become a football player. He represented Italy in competitions under the age of 18 and played for Palermo, which was the leading Serie A team at the time.

For various reasons-including trivial injuries and a desire for proper education-he gave up football and decided to focus on golf.

He found a job at the Verdura Resort owned by Rocco Forte on the southwest coast of the island, where he played thousands of goals a day and taught himself to be one of the best players.

He called Verdura a “very special place.”

“For me, this is where everything started. I used to spend more time here on the golf course than at home with my parents. The beautiful course is connected to the beautiful hotel, which is what makes this place famous The reason for the world.”

Federico Alba and interior designer Samuele Mazza in Noto.

After honing his skills in Sicily, Alba moved to the UAE, where he was a senior professional player at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club-if you want to know the quality of the people he coaches, please check his Instagram Page-but in the summer months, he always returns to Europe, and if possible, he will return to Sicily.

Just recently, he coached Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola during the Spaniard’s visit to the UAE.

“When you have the opportunity to coach a visionary like Guardiola, coaching becomes more interesting,” Alba wrote on Instagram.

“I have always been fascinated by the way people like him approach my favorite games. Dedication, passion and perseverance are definitely the three aspects that I will bring to me in this extraordinary experience.”

There is a strong connection between golf and football.

As a favorite pastime of players, it may not be surprising that they rely on the knowledge of the coach to improve.

Former Premier League striker and Nigerian international Peter Oldham Wenji sought the expertise of Richard O’Hanlon-he also coached Manchester United’s great Peter Schmeichel-and Jack Hamblitt started his golf coaching badge. trip.

Family

Our island tour involved some truly incredible places; the farm was transformed into a spectacular hotel, vineyards producing some of the world’s most popular wines, and restaurant after restaurant serving local quality food.

Combining a golf experience with a gourmet experience is the key to Alba’s philosophy.

He explained that golf is important to him, but it is also about “everything you find around.”

“What I want to show to the people who travel with me is a different type of island. I want to show them places where you can leave truly beautiful memories. Here, you are visiting amazing places, but at the same time I want to show You introduce my friend.”

Noto, a city in southeastern Sicily known for its Baroque architecture, perhaps reflects his philosophy better than anywhere else.

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

The night we arrived, a friend of Alba’s interior designer Samuele Mazza arranged dinner in one of the many beautiful restaurants. The warm welcome seems to be heartfelt and sincere. People are very happy, very happy, that one of their own has contributed so much to his life and is keen to talk about the role played by Sicily.

It is a short drive from Noto to Monasteri Golf Resort. This is a beautiful route built around an old Benedictine monastery. Olive trees, lemon trees, orange trees and Sicilian cacti line the sides of the stadium.

Here, we see Alba in action. Mazza, a novice golfer, also joined his class. The two of them are here for fun, but Alba’s skills as a coach are obvious. He hoped that Maza would succeed, and when he pushed a huge 20-meter putt, the joy that both sides showed was real.

Visit CNN.com/sport for more news, features and videos
Federico Alba and Guido Coffa, owners of the Monaci delle Terre Nere Hotel.

When our trip was over, Alba also packed up and headed to the mainland, where there are more golf coaches and wine tasting sessions. After that, it returned to the UAE for the winter. He said he was very happy there, but you can’t help but suspect that his heart is in Sicily.

When we left, he said to us: “They said that if you arrive in Sicily, you will cry twice. Once when you arrive, and once when you leave.”




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