Federico Alba: Life and coaching in Sicily’s capital city Corleone

Image copyright AFP Image caption Alba coached several golfers who have won major tournaments

One of Italy’s best-known coaches, Federico Alba, has revealed his life in Sicily.

He told the Guardian: “The truth is I can live in any town I like and at any time of the day if I want to. It’s never a problem.

“I have almost always spent most of my days in Sicilian villages and at seaside hotels.”

Alba, 72, is coaching Italian Open champion Francesco Molinari, as well as several other professional golfers.

“On a day when I’m not coaching there is nothing that dominates my thoughts other than great love, great family, great friends and great movies,” he said.

Alba admits he is a “golf enthusiast at heart” but prefers to stay away from the sports world.

But, far from living a simple life, Alba appears to be in demand all the time, appearing on numerous television and radio programmes, explaining his methods and answering questions.

Alba’s career runs inextricably and sometimes coincidentally with the Cyprus PGA Tour. He coaches Nicos Missenis, who won the European Tour event in Cyprus in 2012 and has won a professional golfing scholarship in Italy.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Alba’s other coaching charges include Francesco Molinari, who won this year’s Irish Open

Alba lives in Corleone, at the centre of the island’s media-rich Mafia territory. During the Sicily Renaissance, the centre of this mountain area became known as the City of Blossoms, a nickname shaped by a statue with the head removed and the hands behind his back.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Alba’s ‘house’ is on the outskirts of the town of Corleone

All Alba wants to do is coach and help young people to become sportsmen and women.

He also trains the island’s best amateur players, and even a few professional golfers.

During the on-air show that produced this report, Alba won an award for bringing in the cream of Sicily’s sporting talent.

But, in just two sentences, he inadvertently made it clear why he has been able to live such a different life from the usual golf celebrity: because, like many others, he loves being an islander.

This article was originally published on BBC News websites in December 2015.

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