UAE National Joshua Grenville-Wood has fast become one of the longest hitters in world golf. His coach, Joe Marshall, Senior Teaching Professional at CH3, talks us through that journey.

The first time I met Josh was in 2019, when this skinny, wiry, 20-year-old rocked up to the Claude Harmon III Academy (CH3) here at The Els Club Dubai. He had come over from the UK and was living with a member at the club that he knew quite well, so we allowed Josh to come and practice at the Academy.

He was starting his MENA Tour adventure, and it got to around mid-February and he had just missed three of four cuts in a row and he asked if I could have a look at his chipping.

We worked on that, and it was literally the week later he came second in Bahrain. How much to my chipping lesson that came from I don’t know! So, it was a pretty good start!

After that it progressed to, “Can you have a look at my pitching” then “Can you look at my mid-irons.” That then just progressed as I built a little bit of trust with Josh and I was allowed into the “circle”.

Harry Grimshaw

It was clear to see that Josh had speed from the first day that I saw him. Even though he didn’t physically look it back in 2020. But he was a multi-sport athlete. I think his Dad, Gavin, said that he was doing nine sports when he was 12-years-old and they were all high speed.

As TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) would say “there’s rocket fuel available”. But the issue was he was very wiry and he didn’t have the body to support this kind of speed and I was worried about injury and longevity especially when it came to his drives.

So I didn’t directly chase speed with him, I just knew he needed more muscle mass. That way he would naturally get faster. So indirectly we were really able to crank his speed up via his explosive training.

He managed to put on a lot of this muscle mass during Covid. So, when he came out of Covid he had built this new body that could cope with this new speed and be able to grow it more. In a way Covid, although it was a tough time, was a bit of a blessing in disguise for Josh. He came through it different person and can now play with less injuries plus he has got faster and he has more control of the speed from this.

Octavio Passos/Getty Images

After Josh’s stint competing on the DP World Tour at the start of their 2024 season. Himself, Wilco Nienaber and Marco Penge were exchanging pleasantries at the top of the tree as to who was the longest driver out of them. All three of them were around 340-yards average, which is about seven yards from the next closest guy!

On the course, his clubhead speed cruises in the low 130’s (mph). The highest we have clocked him was actually in the winter at CH3 was 140mph clubhead speed, which was 202mph ball speed and 370 yards carry. That one was as straight as you could see, it was like a missile! He doesn’t hit it like that very often in tournaments, even though it might look like he is going hard at it, but still he’s certainly one of the longest around.

Being able to drive the ball far is always a great discussion. Technically, if Josh has it under control, he should be gaining one and a half shots per round strokes gained really on most of the field. But if you don’t have a wedge game, it’s not much of an advantage! Josh has worked tirelessly over the past six months to two and a half years on his wedge game from 130 yards and in just so then he can really make that driver of his an advantage. Without a wedge game it doesn’t matter how far you hit it, because if you still hit to it 40 feet after a 340 yard drive you aren’t gaining anything.

Back in the day, his chipping was easily the worst part of his game, but it’s slowly becoming his strength. Then when you combine the two and they are both on point, he contends, it’s as simple as that really.

Claude Harmon III Academy, The Els Club Dubai

It’s safe to say I have never worked with anyone with Josh’s speed before. There’s not many around. One of our ethos’ at CH3 is to build speed with young, elite players which is just one of our major targets that our students go through. We want them to hit it far first, before hitting it straight.

One of the fastest young guys I did coach was Josh Hill, we got him just above 120 mph at the age of 15, which for us was a big achievement. He actually went onto win on the MENA Tour at Al Ain. So he was very fast for his age and now he is at the University of Tennessee.

But all young golfers should try and hit it as far as you can and not worry about what direction it goes in, you can worry about hitting it straighter the older you get.

If Josh keeps trending at the pace he has in the past six months, we might be at Augusta this time next year haha! He obviously has a very bright future. In his recent performances throughout the past six months, it has been no fluke.

It’s been a lot of well-structured hard work over the past two years. He has his days lined up and treats them like going to work. There is no wasted time, there’s a lot of performance stuff in there and if he sticks to these habits and keeps his mind strong with the good people around him that he does, there’s no stopping him really.

It’s going to be really exciting to track him. It will be a rollercoaster as it is with everybody, but if he just keeps doing what he’s doing both on and off the course, then he has got all the raw materials to reach the top.

Main Image: Octavio Passos/Getty Images