PUTTING yourself through the DP World Tour’s qualifying school examination is not cheap. For a start, you have got the £2,000 entry fee. Then you have got travel, hotel rooms, grub and the odd restorative libation.

“I was in a hotel in Denmark for stage one and had a pint which cost me £18,” gasped Graeme Robertson at the kind of eye-watering price that would have had Elon Musk ordering the tap water.

In the pursuit of a potentially lucrative tour card, though, you have got to speculate to accumulate. His wallet may have taken a battering in Denmark but, having successfully louped over the first q-school hurdle there last month, Robertson is in north-east Spain this week for the next stage of the gruelling q-school process. Overcome this latest obstacle and he has only got to negotiate a six-round final to earn a place at the top table. That 18 quid beer will be worth it.

There is a heck of a lot of golf to be played before Robertson can think about toasting a job well done, of course, but the 34-year-old is embracing this exacting test with renewed vigour.

A former amateur stand-out, Robertson finally made the leap into the paid ranks last year after putting his touring ambitions on hold for a prolonged spell to support his family.

While his wife finished off a Masters degree, the Glenbervie man went into full-time employment as a building supplies salesman. Less birdies and bogeys, more  bricks and mortar.

“Trying to get on the tour was always my plan A but sometimes life catches up with you,” reflected Robertson, who was runner-up in the 2014 Scottish Amateur Championship. “We had a daughter eight years ago and that changed things. I needed an income, I had to get a mortgage and it just wasn’t the right time to turn pro.

“When I was doing my sales job, there was a point when I thought this might be it now. You get used to regular money coming in, little promotions and bonuses. With that salary and my wife’s salary after her graduation, you think ‘we could live quite comfortably here’. But deep down there is still that desire to give pro golf a go. You only live once. I don’t want to get to a certain age and regret not trying it. Hopefully I can make up for lost time.”

Plying his trade on the Scottish PGA circuit, as well as making outings on Paul Lawrie’s Tartan Pro Tour, Robertson saw enough encouraging signs in his game this season to give the qualifying school a crack.

“I would never have envisaged doing this even a couple of years ago,” he admitted. “I was a million miles away. I only turned pro last year and even then my game wasn’t that good. I was getting round but it wasn’t very pretty. But I worked hard over the winter and it’s paid off. Entering the qualifying school was a wee reward to myself for a decent season.”

Three wins in a row on the domestic circuit in the summer, including victory in the Scottish Assistants’ Championship, under-lined Robertson’s growing stature. Fast-tracking himself to the DP World Tour would be a giant leap that should come with a crackling Neil Armstrong commentary, but the former Stirling University student is taking the challenge in his stride.

“I feel like I’m starting from scratch,” he said. “I’m a bit older and I’m coming in fresh to something like this and maybe a bit more enthusiastic than some lads who have had a bad season and have lost their cards. I don’t have anything to lose.

“Everybody develops at different times in golf. Some of the guys I played against in the amateur game have been pro for years now but a lot of them are back at q-school this week. It shows how tough it is to establish yourself. The standard of golf is frightening.”

With stable employment as a trainee professional at the Fairways Indoor Studio in Falkirk, and plenty of playing opportunities in his own backyard, Robertson knows he has quite a cushy number. If his q-school crusade doesn’t work out, it is not the end of the world.

“I’ve got a job to fall back on, I have events in Scotland to play in, I’m pretty happy with my lot,” said Robertson. “I’m going into this week quite relaxed about it. There will be different pressures on lots of other players, though.”

And if Robertson does plough on all the way to earn some kind of tour card?

“Well, there will be some big decisions to make,” he said. “I’ll cross that bridge if I come to it.”

There will be more to mull over than an £18 pint.