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

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Knowledgeable golfer from Sicily, Italy, he has solid a profession 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 desires to be sure to 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 tough 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 means of Sicily’s slender streets.

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

“We should always see the whole lot on a really holistic strategy,” he explains to CNN.

“Why solely train easy methods to grip, easy methods to hit the ball, easy methods to putt, easy methods to chip a ball while you can provide 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 highway

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 crew.

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 acquired a job on the Rocco Forte owned Verdura Resort on the south-west coast of the island the place he hit hundreds of balls day-after-day as he taught himself to turn out to be top-of-the-line.

He calls Verdura a “very particular place.”

“It is the place the place the whole lot began for me. I used to spend extra time right here on the golf course than dwelling with my dad and mom. The combination between lovely programs linked to a lovely 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 abilities in Sicily, Alba relocated to the UAE the place he’s the senior skilled on the Saadiyat Seaside Golf Membership — try his Instagram web page if you wish to get an thought 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 fascinating while you get the prospect to teach visionary minds like Pep Guardiola,” Alba wrote on Instagram.

“I all the time get a lot fascinated on the way in which folks like him are approaching the sport I really like. Dedication, ardour and perseverance are for certain the three elements I’ll carry 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.

House

Our tour of the island concerned some actually unimaginable locations; farms that had been transformed into spectacular lodges, vineyards that are producing a few 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 necessary however it’s additionally about “all you discover round it.”

“What I need to present to people who find themselves touring with me is a distinct sort of Island. I need to present them locations that may depart actually good recollections. Right here you’re 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 potential to see his philosophy delivered to 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 every of Alba’s buddies, the inside designer Samuele Mazza, had organized a dinner in one of many many lovely eating places. There was a heat of welcome that appeared heartfelt and real. The folks 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 a lovely 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 ability as a coach is obvious. He desires Mazza to succeed and when he holes a monster 20-meter putt, the delight each exhibit is real.

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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 possibly can’t assist however suspect that his coronary heart is in Sicily.

As we left he stated to us: “They are saying when you arrive to Sicily you cry twice. As soon as while you arrive and as soon as while you go away.”