The haves and the have-nots, eh? Over the next couple of weeks, the top brass on the DP World Tour will be competing for a chunk of $16 million as the 2023 campaign draws to a lucrative finale in South Africa and Dubai.

With all that dosh on offer, one presumes they won’t be paying much attention to affairs at the Infinitum Golf resort in Tarragona where the circuit’s qualifying school final, which starts tomorrow, will be taking place.

Compared to the cash-sodden flamboyance of events in sparkling Sun City and at the shimmering Jumeriah Golf Estates, the qualifying school has about as much glitz and glamour as a hurried toilet break in a dreary motorway service station.

Yes, it’s that time of the year again for the gruelling, mind-mangling, six-round trial known as ‘golf’s torture chamber’. Put your ear to the live scoring section of the DP World Tour’s website over the next few days and you’ll probably hear the kind of agonised howls that sound a bit like a werewolf being interrogated by an angle grinder.

Whoever said your school days are the best of your life was obviously not a golfer scrambling for a tour card.

Over 108-holes on Spanish soil, there will be triumphs, tears, hurrahs and heartbreaks as 156 players, including seven Scots led by Marc Warren, elbow, bite, gouge and scratch away in a fraught fight for one of just 25 DP World Tour places up for grabs.

Some have already survived eight rounds of stage one and two. They’re getting their money’s worth from the £2,500 entry fee. Others, through a combination of various exemptions or rotten seasons on the main tour, get parachuted straight into the madhouse of the final.

Since its inception back in 1976, the qualifying school has provided a direct route towards the top table of European golf. In this come all ye shoot-out, a zero could become a hero, a nobody may just become a somebody, a star can be born or a stuttering, floundering stalwart can get a new lease of life.

In 1977, Sandy Lyle earned his place on the old European Tour by winning the q-school final at Foxhills in Surrey. The Scot didn’t look back. And no wonder. “Q-school is gut-wrenching,” the former Open and Masters champion once observed. “It’s not a nice week and once you’re through it, you want to make sure it’s the last time you see it.”

For the golf writers, there’s always been a ghoulish, morbid fascination with the qualifying school and its compelling, fluctuating fortunes. The author, Ross Biddiscombe, spent 10 years immersed in the thing and wrote three books – Golf on the edge, Q-School Complete and Cruel School – which documented the bountiful highs, lows, twists and turns of this raw, rigorous golfing examination.

From the moment he popped his curious head into a stage one qualifier at The Oxfordshire back in 2006, Biddiscombe was hooked. “It was just odd,” he reflected of that initial taste of this modest, stripped back, no frills stage. “This was the gateway to the tour and it was the lowest key event you could wish to see. Just a tournament director in charge of a handful of volunteers and virtually no spectators.

“I looked at the entry list and saw the name ‘Ballesteros’. It was Raul, Seve’s nephew. Then I saw the name ‘Conteh’, not John the boxer but his son, James, and his mum was pulling his trolley for the day. Here was a kid, the son of a former world champion boxer who was trying to make it in his own sport, on his own terms.

“This was his road to glory but he had to have his mum pulling the trolley. Nobody was watching and nobody cared. But it was his life. His whole self-esteem, his whole personality was wrapped up in the chance to get through q-school to make something of his career and emulate his father in a sense. From that moment I was captivated. The books were not really about golf, they were more about the struggle.”

That struggle will continue in Catalonia over six days of stomach-churning, nail-nibbling, to-ing and fro-ing. For some, there will be a fairytale finish. For the majority, a forlorn finale.

“The qualifying school can be car crash golf, particularly on the final day,” said Biddiscombe of this grisly, hands-over-the-eyes spectacle. “You just can’t look away.”