The journey from golfing unknown to European Tour Member starts for many this week, as the First Stage of European Tour Qualifying School kicks off tomorrow in Scotland at the Roxburghe Hotel.
On the eve of the first round of the two-month qualifying event, 893 entrants have signed up for the First Stage of the three-stage tournament which also starts tomorrow at Germany’s Golfclub Fleesensee, and finishes in Spain at Lumine Golf Club in November.
Already entered for the First Stage are 226 Englishmen, 99 Americans and 60 French players, who are joined by competitors from Estonia, Indonesia, Venezuela and the Isle of Mann, such is the international nature of Q-School.
Looking to forge a new career as a professional golfer is former England cricketer Craig Kieswetter – who has signed up for First Stage at Ribagolfe in Portugal.
The batsman/wicketkeeper made 71 appearances for his country before an eye injury forced him to retire from the game in 2015, but after competing on the Mena Golf Tour in the Middle East this year, the 29 year old has taken the decision to try for a place on the European Tour, starting this month.
Joining Kieswetter in Portugal is Alfie Plant – the winner of the Silver Medal for the leading amateur at this year’s Open Championship, along with Tomas Gouveia, who is the younger brother of 2015 Challenge Tour Number One Ricardo Gouveia.
Manuel and Javier Ballesteros, both relatives of the great Seve, are two eye-catching names entered for Golf d’Hardelot, as is Romain Bechu, a golf trick-shot specialist looking to transfer his skills to the professional game.
Gunn Yang, who became the US Amateur champion in 2014, has entered to play at the Roxburghe Hotel, while former World Amateur Number Three Sam Horsfield has signed up for Frilford Heath.
With ten weeks to go until the Class of 2017 graduate on to the European Tour, there will no doubt be many more notable names emerging from this year’s Q-School.