If there’s one thing a qualifying school guarantees, it’s tension. Nails being nibbled here, stomach’s churning there, anguish-laden profanities being spouted everywhere.

Many observers have called the q-school process golf’s ‘torture chamber’ and its exacting, prolonged questioning of a player’s resolve would make the Spanish Inquisition look like a quick Q&A session.

In Spain this week, meanwhile, Hannah McCook will put herself through this stern examination as she joins a host of hopefuls scrambling for a place on the Ladies European Tour in the five-round qualifying school final at La Manga.

Having scraped through stage one of the slog last week with nothing to spare, the Grantown golfer is heading into the shoot-out with a spring in her step.

The manner in which she secured her place in the final was the kind of thrilling act of escapology that would’ve had Houdini resigning himself to a redundancy package.

“I had to get up-and-down from a bunker on the very last hole and then hope the cut mark moved by a shot to make it,” said the 26-year-old Scot who turned pro at the end of 2018.

“I knocked it to four feet to a tucked pin from a downslope. I don’t think I could hit that shot again to be honest. It was up there with one of the best shots of my career given the pressure and what was at stake.

“And thankfully the cut mark moved and I made it on the number. I look back and think ‘oh my God, how did I do that?’.”


That kind of spirited, defiant can-do mentally, of course, has been a feature of McCook’s sporting life ever since she was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes as an eight-year-old.

Drawing on the inspiring endeavours of Sir Steve Redgrave, whose own diabetes did not hinder his colossal Olympic conquests, McCook, a winner of the Irish and Welsh Women’s Opens during a successful amateur career, continues to overcome the various obstacles the condition plonks in her way.

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Throw in the inherent perils, pitfalls, hazards and hurdles of a golf course to the equation and McCook has more on her mind that just wondering if it’s an easy 7-iron into the sixth?

“Basically I am plugged into machines that are stuck on me and tell me what way my sugar levels are going,” she said of the gizmos and gadgets that she uses during a round to manage the diabetes.

“I have an App on my phone and there’s a remote control for injecting insulin. When I’m playing I do look at the other girls who are working out the yardage, or how far round we’ve got to go, and I’m standing there looking at my levels.

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“There is more on my mind than just golf. A lot of things can affect those levels. The course, the weather and the adrenaline can change depending on the pressures and the stresses of the round.”

There will be plenty of that over the next few days as McCook attempts to be one of the leading 20 players who will earn a card for the women’s circuit.

“The way I finished last week has given me lots of momentum,” she added.

Along with compatriot, Heather MacRae, who had surgery to combat cervical cancer last summer, the Q-school is a challenge these two gutsy Scots will relish as they continue to fight both on and off the course

"Both Heather and myself have done pretty well and we can be proud of ourselves,” said McCook. "We've had our challenges but can still chase our goals."