New Management team takes charge at Verdura Resort

Mark McGowan

The East Course at Verdura

Verdura Resort has moved to further enhance its position at the forefront of Italian golf after the appointment of a new golf management team at the award-winning luxury Sicilian venue.

Donato Di Ponziano, a leading figure in Italian, European and Asian golf for more than three decades, has been named as the resort’s new golf development manager while experienced industry professional Alessandro Maria Cardini has taken over as the new golf manager for Verdura and Rocco Forte Hotels.

Di Ponziano has established a vast working knowledge of the industry since taking up his first role in the game in the 1980s, as a highly respected golf coach, a respected television commentator and as a golf tournament organiser and administrator.


In addition to working over two decades as the technical director of the Italian Golf Federation National School for golf professionals, the golf veteran is well-known to Italian golf fans as a commentator, covering PGA Tour and DP World Tour events for Sky Sports.

Overseeing the Italian operations of the BMW Golf Cup International for two decades, Di Ponziano has also worked with prestigious venues such as Turin’s Royal Park I Roveri and served as president of the PGAs of Europe (now the Confederation of Professional Golf), while he founded the Indian National Golf Academy in 2000.

Across his career, Di Ponziano has been heavily involved in growing the sport across Italy and beyond, including as a member of the Ryder Cup Development Trust and as president and CEO of the youth-focused Alps Tour, and is an honorary member of the PGA Associations of France, India, Pakistan and Switzerland as well as Italy.

Cardini’s life in golf is equally as varied and just as impressive. Having spent more than 20 years as an Italian PGA golf professional teaching at home and abroad, the 56-year-old took his career path in a different direction in 2008 when he broadened his golf education and retrained to work in the management sector. Since then, he has been employed in a number of wide-ranging golf management roles for leading names in golf and travel including Borgo Egnazia-San Domenico Golf, Costa Cruises ships and, most recently, in Spain as a consultant for the Hilton Doubletree hotel group developing a golf tourism project aimed at the Italian market.

The luxurious Verdura Resort

Di Ponziano said: “It’s a real privilege for me to be working for one of the biggest names in European golf. Verdura Resort has a reputation across Italy and beyond for the high standards that it sets, and I’m looking forward to working with Alessandro and the rest of the team to keep it at the pinnacle of the golf travel industry in the years to come.”

Cardini, who has worked as a TV commentator for Sky Sports and took up his role at the start of the summer, said: “I am so happy to have been given such an important position and to be a part of the big Rocco Forte family.

“Verdura is regularly ranked as the number one golf resort in Italy and it’s easy to see why. The facilities on and off the golf courses are exceptional and I’m honoured to have been given the chance to play a part in creating the next exciting chapter for the resort.”

Home of the European Tour’s Rocco Forte Sicilian Open, Verdura Resort is nestled in 230 hectares of stunning Mediterranean landscape on Sicily’s southern coast and features two 18-hole links-style championship golf courses – the West Course and remodelled East Course – a nine-hole executive course also designed by acclaimed golf architect Kyle Phillips and outstanding practice facilities including Italy’s only European Tour-approved Performance Institute. The courses and facilities combined have established Verdura as one of the world’s elite golf and lifestyle destinations.

A member of the exclusive European Tour Destinations network, the resort offers a choice of 203 elegant rooms and suites as well as 20 new Rocco Forte private villas and is famous for offering members and guests an unforgettable five-star golf experience in one of the most beautiful settings in world.

Away from golf, guests can enjoy an extensive array of other luxury sports and lifestyle facilities including the awarding-winning Irene Forte Spa, as well as the opportunity to sample wide variety of gastronomy, wine, history and culture.

For more information, please click here.

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