08 Apr 2024

Joshua Grenville-Wood – Zoning In On The Olympics

Emirati golfer Joshua Grenville-Wood is flying the flag for the UAE on golf’s biggest stage with qualification for the 2024 Olympics now firmly in his sights. Here, Will Kent caught up with the big-hitter to reflect on the last six months which has seen him step firmly into the golfing spotlight.

 

Grenville-Wood’s foot is firmly on the gas pedal with no sign of slowing down. Four top ten finishes in the last 12 months along with some other handy results have propelled him closer to the ultimate goal: the 2024 Olympics.

 

He’d be the first to admit that teeing up in Paris was incredibly unlikely this time last year as he was still affiliated his home nation, England. However, he was one of a few expats in October to have been granted a UAE passport with the prized opportunity to represent the country on a global stage.

 

This change in citizenship has opened up a completely new world of possibilities for the 26-year-old, with appearances in a multitude of high-profile events, including this year’s Hero Dubai Desert Classic. It’s proof to other aspiring pros here in the region that the route to top also exists in the Middle East, rather than just the common American college pathway.

 

 

“There has been an abundance of amazing opportunities,” said Grenville-Wood of his citizenship switch. “I get to work with some amazing people in Dubai and play some pretty cool events, and get my name out there which I think I’ve done pretty well so far.

 

“My goal right now is to get inside the top 370 of the world to hopefully qualify for the Olympics this year. The last few months I’ve been really paying attention to that in terms of getting that world ranking down as much as possible before the cut off for qualification.

 

“I need to keep putting myself in good positions in tournaments. The EGF and the change to the UAE citizenship has really helped with that. They have given me a stage and platform to show off my talent.”

 

The qualification for the Olympics is complicated, but the cut off is June 17 with the field of 60 players determined by the Olympic Golf Rankings, derived from the Official World Golf Rankings. The top 15 players will be eligible to play, with a cap of four players per country. Additional spots are allocated based on their world ranking and allow up to two players per country not already represented in the top 15.

 

While the 26-year-old still has work to do to meet the mentioned criteria, he’s within touching distance of breaking into the world’s top 400 for the first time in his career which would be a significant milestone. This has come following a string of impressive results, many of which have come under the desert sun.

 

 

A share of second place at last year’s Abu Dhabi Challenge appeared to be the catalyst for this uplift in form, with more recent top tens coming in Qatar as well as Ras Al Khaimah on the DP World Tour. He came agonisingly close to winning in India on the Challenge Tour last month, too. The signs are positive.

 

“Just behind Olympic qualification, my goal is to be playing on the DP World Tour by the end of the year,” added Grenville-Wood. “Whether I get my card through Q-School, through Challenge Tour or whether I get a card through how I’ve played so far on the DP World Tour so far this year. They are my two goals right now, so we’ll just keep working away.

 

“Obviously I’ve played well in the Middle East, but I just think it’s the style of golf at the higher level. I previously struggled a little bit on the Challenge Tour because they’re very fiddly courses, and they’re not really the same as the level of the DP World Tour.

 

“The DP World Tour courses are wider and you get rewarded for good ball striking off the tee. I’ve got some good length behind me with my driver so in Dubai and Middle East you can take advantage of that as the courses reward that. On the DP World Tour nearly every week they are playing golf courses where good driving gets rewarded.”

 

Fortunately for the Emirati golfer, there are two more significant events this month in the region to help boost his Olympics hope even further as the Challenge Tour returns to the UAE. Starting with the Abu Dhabi Challenge at Al Ain followed by a visit to Saadiyat Beach GC the week after, it’s another chance for him to shine.

 

“Very excited,” he added about the prospect of playing in both of those events “It’s amazing to see golf booming the region and more tournaments every year, with a commitment from the DP World Tour and Challenge Tour to keep coming back.  It’s fantastic that we can have two Challenge Tour events here in April on two great courses. It’s really good to see we are able to have these events and help local guys out as well as show off golf in the region.”

 

It’s clear that while Grenville-Wood was born in England, he’s ever grateful to be representing the UAE and is flourishing as an Emirati. The support the EGF and the UAE have given him have helped him reach his potential and beyond as he looks to take his game to the next level. The coming few months could be pivotal not just for his own career, but also the UAE.

 

But when he’s not travelling the globe teeing it up in tournaments chasing his dream, he’s back home, in Dubai, sharpening his skills. The margins at the top of this game are so razor thin between making it and not, and fortunately for him he has the perk of having access to amazing local facilities.

 

“The average day in Dubai would be normally five to six hours of practice at the CHIII Performance Golf Academy, then I’ll go to the gym for an hour and a half,” added Grenville-Wood. “After that, then I’ll go do my recovery which is normally an ice bath, or sauna and steam room. Obviously, I’ll be eating healthy as well. The goal is just staying active and working on what needs to be worked on.”

 

To many of us – or to me, at least – that might seem like a blissful day away from the office, but for elite golfers grappling with mortgages, bills, and the relentless pressure on their careers, it’s not a luxury, it’s a lifeline. Every swing carries the weight of their dreams, every putt is a make-or-break moment, and the intensity of it all must be suffocating. In this unforgiving arena of professional golf, Grenville-Wood is not only surviving, but he’s thriving, with a spot at the Olympics now within his grasp. Good luck to him.

 

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