Hannah McCook on the golf course

My sporting life

How a diabetic golfer keeps her dreams on course

Hannah McCook began playing golf at the age of six. Two years later she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

She has overcome adversity to become one of Scotland’s leading golfers, having recently turned professional of the back of a third straight Scottish Order of Merit title.

The University of Stirling graduate continues to juggle her golf commitments with her job as a cleaner at sportscotland national training centre Glenmore Lodge.

Hannah talks openly about her experiences and how she has refused to let a medical condition interfere with her dreams.

Hannah's story

Being a golfer is hard, being a diabetic is hard, but being a diabetic golfer is twice as hard! From yardage book calculations to carbohydrate and insulin calculations, every day can be completely different.

As a sporty kid I felt that my diabetes diagnosis at the age of eight was going to stop me in my tracks. But once I discovered that Sir Steve Redgrave was diabetic, I began to use him as an inspiration and from that point I’ve never looked back. In fact, I was encouraged to be as active as possible.

My type 1 diabetes wasn’t caused by lack of activity, but activity is certainly something that helps me control my blood sugars as well as I can. I took Sir Steve’s advice that diabetes had to live with me rather than me live with it.

As golfers, we are always chasing perfection, and I must admit that goes hand in hand with my pursuit of ‘perfect’ blood sugars. Using an Omnipod insulin pump and Dexcom continuous glucose monitor has made life simpler, yet still complex, compared to the five daily injections I used to do.

Hannah McCook on the greenMy organisation, time management and dedication to the constant controlling of diabetes has helped massively in my pursuit of my golfing dreams.

It has made me focus on the details and apparently small things which come together in the bigger picture.

Diabetes is a constant 24-hour condition. Sometimes it feels like it is easy and under control, some days it feels like nothing will go right, which can be directly related to days on the golf course!

Carbohydrate counting is required to work out insulin doses, and this can be complex at times in the UK. Doing it abroad, with food I’m unaware of, only adds to its complexity. Add nerves, stress, tiredness, time-zone changes and weather conditions to the mix and it’s easy to see why every day can be different.

It’s not only golf equipment I have to organise before a day of practice or competition, there are numerous medical appliances I have to keep at hand. Not to mention an endless supply of snacks! It’s fair to say my bag is always the heaviest and fullest in the group when I’m travelling.

I fell in love with golf the first time I played the sport. Now it has become my job and it has helped me control my diabetes immensely. I’m determined to inspire younger Scottish golfers and the diabetic community and I won’t let diabetes stop me chasing my dreams.

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