EXCLUSIVE

Scots pro opens up on injury struggle ahead of comeback

Hannah Mc Cook

Hannah McCook is ready for a full season on the LET Access Tour as she prepares to make her comeback following hip surgery.

McCook, who turned professional in 2019, is set to get her season underway in France at the Terre Blanche Ladies Open at the end of March.

“I could have tried to get into some events on the main tour,” McCook told bunkered.co.uk.

“But I thought, just to get back to being comfortable competing again, I would play the Access Tour this year. I’ve just got to be patient.

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“I want to get out on the main tour as soon as I can, but I also want to get comfortable competing again, because I’ve not competed on a Ladies European Tour event, barring Q-school, since March 2020.

“Someone asked me recently if I was ready to go, but you never really know in golf if you’re ready until you’re there. It’s like preparing for an exam but you don’t really know what’s going to happen, you feel like you’ve done everything you can, but I’m desperate to go and to get started.”

The former University of Stirling scholar and Scotland national team player had been battling hip pain for several years, and underwent surgery in March 2021 in an effort to fix it.

“There were times when I’d just be doing the simplest things, like passing a football and I’d open my leg and it would be sore,” McCook, who is attached to Gleneagles, said.

“I tried not to think too much of it, but it got to the point where I’d be moving on the sofa and I’d catch my breath and think ‘Jeez, this is really annoying.’

“There were a couple times I was in tears on the sofa and I couldn’t move. At that point I knew that there might be something, and the physios agreed. I had to give surgery a shot to see if it would fix it, and it has, so that’s very good.”

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One year on, and McCook is thankfully pain free, and has renewed trust in her golf game. She said that despite taking time to get used to swinging the club again, her body is feeling better than ever, and any pain is only from playing a lot of golf in a short space of time.

While it’s one year on from her hip surgery, it’s 20 years since she was diagnosed as a T1 Diabetic. However, she says it is easier to deal with the condition now.

“I used to have to finger prick. That was a nightmare, especially when it was raining, it’s impossible to get blood out of a wet finger,” she said.

“Now though, I just check where my blood sugars are every couple of holes. You’re always thinking about that, it’s always in the background.”

She now uses an app on her phone to track her blood sugar levels, but it doesn’t mean she doesn’t take other precautions.

“My bag is the heaviest on the course because there’s more snacks in there than anyone else. They’re emergency rations. You’re constantly thinking about where your blood sugars are, where they’re trending. You need to think about it before you even drive to the course.”

While much of her rehab was a personal journey, she was quick to stress that her team around her, including her coach, David Torrance, were essential in getting her back on the golf course.

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“During 2020 and lockdown I’d be on FaceTime to Dave (Torrance) in the garden hitting balls. As soon as I was able to hit balls and go and see him, I went to see him pretty much every week for months. I think he was getting more impatient than me, he just wanted to see me hitting the driver again.

“But it was also just a relief to do it again and be back playing. I think I cried after I played my first 18-holes, because I was like ‘Oh my God, I’ve done it.’

“I also need to thank everyone at Sport Scotland and the team at Paul Lawrie Golf, especially Michael MacDougall. They all helped me a lot through the process.”

McCook’s first event of the year gets underway on March 31 in France, with the season running until late October. Although she was unable to compete in last year’s Scottish Open, her invitation to the event will be valid for 2022, meaning she is set to tee it up at Dundonald Links in July.

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