The long, hard road towards one of golf's most coveted prizes - Membership of The European Tour - begins this week when over 600 competitors line up at five courses for Stage One of Qualifying School.
Carden Park GC in Cheshire, Chart Hills GC in Kent, Five Lakes GC in Essex, The Wynyard Club in Durham and Golf de Moliets near Biarritz in France will each be used as the starting point for players whose dream it is to line up alongside the cream of European Tour talent for the 2002 season.
As in the last two years, players without any form of exemption will have to progress through both Stage One and Stage Two - each played over 72 holes - to secure a place in the finals.
Stage Two will be conducted at three venues in the north of Spain - Emporda GC, Pals GC and Peralada GC - from November 6-9 while the Finals themselves will be contested at the San Roque Club and Real Club de Golf Sotogrande in the south of Spain from November 14-19.
Although the road to success is an arduous one, the rewards are well worth the effort as players such as Justin Rose have proved this year.
The 21 year old Englishman finished ninth in last year's Finals and used the platform to excel on The European Tour thus far in 2001, posting four top ten finishes on his way to a current position of 28th on the Volvo Order of Merit.
Other 2000 Qualifying School graduates to feature strongly this year are Swedes Carl Pettersson and Olle Karlsson, who lie 55th and 59th respectively and in total 12 of the 35 players who gained their cards last year currently feature within the top 100 of the Volvo Order of Merit.