Rather than her own game, Alessandra Donati, or Ale (pronounced “Aleee”), is keen instead to talk about helping more people with a disability to try golf; to enjoy the nature, friendship, and the great feeling that golf can offer us all. For these reasons, she has volunteered to be one of 12 EDGA Advocates who promote the game to new players in their international region, a role she clearly loves.
This friendly and popular golfer from Faenza (towards the north of Italy) is intelligent and shrewd with a ready sense of humour. Her decade-long interest in golf has helped her deal much better with her condition, Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT), a progressive neuropathy disease.
Every year life can become more challenging, but her passion for golf only increases, the sport helping her physically and mentally, keeping her active and positive after the more difficult times.
Ale says: “The doctors diagnosed me with a rare disease, for which there is no cure. But I know they were wrong: I found the cure and it’s called ‘golf’.
“Now I train and practice in golf more than in earlier days, but my sentiment is more for friendship than for competition. I try to play good golf, but it’s not important if I play bad. It’s important to meet with friends, see new places and have a new adventure. And this is very good for me and my wellness.”
CMT made her give up swimming at the age of 30 as Ale started to feel self-conscious; socialising became difficult for her; she felt people looked at her like a stranger in those days. Ale is more confident today – partly thanks to golf – and now back in the swimming pool three times a week.
“Women and girls with a disability must take courage and leave the house: nothing is more beautiful than going out to play sports, and especially golf.”
Introduced to the game by her friend Renata, Alessandra is a member at Royal Park I Roveri, near Turin. At first, Ale couldn’t imagine being a golfer there.
“Never! Royal Park is one of the most important golf clubs in Italy and the first time I went there and played in the Italian Open, for me it was like entering a church! And now it’s like my home. Everyone says ‘Ciao’, ‘hello’, ‘how are you?’ … It’s fantastic.”
As an EDGA Advocate, Ale promotes the game in her own country by writing the EDGA Insider column for the golf news site Notizie Golf, and shares EDGA tournament news with readers, including the G4D Tour.
Alessandra wants to help attract more girls and women to golf. She was delighted at the EDGA Algarve Open in November to be sharing the practice ground with a strong group of female players.
“It’s very beautiful and important for me because I feel I work not only for me but work for a group … For this, I am not Ale Donati the person, I have a mission. I love the shirt with the EDGA logo, they can see this, and they can ask me something. It’s like a uniform I think, in a good way. Not like a military uniform but a beautiful uniform.”
Ale adds: “Life is beautiful, and golf is like a wonderful flower.”
– Watch/listen to profiles of EDGA players at www.edgagolf.tv
– Learn how to get involved at www.edgagolf.com
By Ben Evans