Grenville-Wood at the Delhi Challenge Image Credit: Supplied

Joshua Grenville-Wood tees it up at the Abu Dhabi Challenge this week, one year on from his tied second finish in the Challenge Tour event, which kick-started arguably his greatest year as a professional golfer.

The Dubai-based professional received an invite into last year’s inaugural edition from the Emirates Golf Federation (EGF), marking his first start on the European feeder circuit since 2021.

He seized the opportunity with both hands, finishing in a share of second amongst a field that included DP World Tour winners Tom Lewis, Stephen Gallacher, David Howell and Matteo Manassero.

Since that impressive outing at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, the 26-year-old has been awarded a UAE passport by the EGF, which helped him secure invitations to a host of DP World Tour events in the region, including the 2023 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and 2024 Ras Al Khaimah Championship, where he finished inside the top ten on both occasions.

It’s fair to say life looks a little different to how it did before teeing it up this time last year.

“It’s been a pretty mental year to be fair,” Grenville-Wood told Gulf News.

“Obviously a lot has changed since I last played the Abu Dhabi Challenge, I’ve gained a lot more experience, a lot more points and got my name out there a bit more.

“It still feels pretty surreal at times.”

Joshua Grenville-Wood
Grenville-Wood was one of four EGF representatives at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship Image Credit: Supplied

Grenville-Wood, who was born in England, comes into the second edition of the tournament full of confidence after finishing in a share of second at last month’s Delhi Challenge, which propelled him into the top 500 of the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) for the first time in his career.

“My game is looking good,” said Grenville-Wood, who will play both the Abu Dhabi Challenge and UAE Challenge over the next two weeks.

“I’m buzzing to get going and play out here in the UAE because I played well last year and I always tend to play well in the Middle East, so to have two events to have a good knock will be great.”

Grenville-Wood will no doubt be looking to feed off the memories of last year’s Abu Dhabi Challenge for another strong finish this week, but he’ll be navigating an entirely different track with the Challenge Tour opting to switch venues to Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting & Golf Club.

The club has pulled out all the stops in ensuring the course is ready for its European Tour group debut, which has included the creation of ten new tee boxes to lengthen the course from 6700 yards to 7100.

With the course around 500 yards shorter compared to the challenge that Abu Dhabi Golf Club’s National Course posed, it’s sure to suit Grenville-Wood’s length off the tee.

In his last start on the DP World Tour at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, he topped the leaderboard for Driving Distance, averaging a whopping 330 yards, which was almost 33 yards longer than the field average.

“It’s fantastic, I love that spot,” he said.

“It’s a nice little quiet haven away from the hustle and bustle of Dubai. The condition of the course is fantastic, they’ve done such a great job in setting it up for the event. The greens are also immaculate.

“I think it suits my length off the tee. It definitely helps hitting it long around there, as you can take out a few bunkers and some water.”

If Grenville-Wood can replicate the form he showed at last year’s edition, he’ll make significant strides in completing his main goal for the season – earning playing privileges for the DP World Tour.

The top 20 players on the Challenge Tour’s Road to Mallorca Rankings following the Grand Final in November will each earn DP World Tour membership.

While there is still plenty of golf to be played this season, Grenville-Wood currently occupies 20th position. Should he remain inside there following the conclusion of the season, he will be competing against the likes of Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood on a regular basis.

It could well be a life-changing opportunity with prize funds and World Ranking points significantly higher than what the Challenge Tour offers, but does Grenville-Wood believe his game belongs at that elite level?

“100%’” he replies.

“I know I can perform at that level; I’ve proven to myself I can. I think the level on the Challenge Tour is pretty similar to that on the DP World Tour, so being able to have some good finishes on the Challenge Tour just boosts your confidence even more.

“I’d like to think I easily belong, if not win on the DP World Tour, with how I can play.”