Federico Alba on winning, living in Spain, and golf’s future

Written by Staff Writer at CNN

Born in Rome in 1947, Federico Alba grew up playing modern and ancient European golf courses in his hometown, earning his amateur status in Italy.

The golfing world took notice after Alba began studying for a doctorate at the university of Bologna and while working in a hotel in Monte Bianco, he teamed up with a college colleague, Paolo Chiavedelli, to form a partner golfing team. Their attempt to play against the Monte Carlo Country Club in a conventional Sunday match of 18 holes proved disastrous when the rain and sleet lashed down.

Alba played 36 holes with the course superintendent the next day and found a way to get himself into the Green Challenge Cup for golfers under 50. A short time later he was invited by the current Sergio Garcia to play in the European Tour Qualifying School at Ponte Fiori.

After learning English through watching James Bond films, his real calling was out on the links. In addition to an improved knowledge of the game, Alba also changed his diet by using olive oil and fresh herbs to keep his skin looking young and his blood pressure and weight down.

This showed in his performances on the PGA Tour in Spain — a low-budget tournament where he not only found work but won. He applied the same methods to winning the Volvo Masters in Sweden, a field held in March (it’s currently in October) on a single course at Genting and won again. “You couldn’t use any professional technique,” he said, “just good commonsense.”

Alba learned that the quickest way to a player’s success is to “lose all your attitude,” and he also developed “the discipline of the system.”

It’s this discipline that drives him forward at all times and allows him to apply his methods to whichever form of golf he’s playing at any given time. A recent example of this was the 10-hole Legends of Golf at the legendary Island Green Golf Club in Florida, on the course Alba helped design.

“I was in contention for that final hole,” he said. “The greens were low and I had a chance for birdie, but because of the wrong strokes I lost. This is not sport. This is life. So you win and you lose. But it was a proud moment.”

This week (October 16 to 22) he’ll be at Bay Hill in Orlando, Florida playing again in the Legends of Golf on the course he helped design.

*Editor’s note: This article was edited to correct the spelling of Federico Alba’s name.

Leave a Comment