Chicks With Sticks
Chicks With Sticks has now launched in Ireland Image Credit: Chicks With Sticks

“Growing the game, one chick at a time,” Jenny Hennessy told me when we first met in 2021, shortly after the then Dubai-based teacher had launched Chicks With Sticks – a golf community that provides a pathway for women into the game.

It’s fair to say it was an almost instant success, with the original 30 members at The Els Club in Dubai quickly tripling to 90 after eight weeks before the group grew to over 200 members just a few months later.

Since then, the initiative has gone from strength to strength with more classes added each week to keep up with the demand in Dubai as well as Chicks With Sticks launching in Abu Dhabi to great success.

Now, three years after launching, the all-girl group has scaled new heights by going global for the first time, with proud Irishwoman Hennessy launching the first sessions in her homeland – something beyond her wildest dreams.

“It’s really a dream come true to bring Chicks With Sticks home to Ireland,” said Hennessy, who now splits her time between Ireland and Dubai.

Jenny Hennessy Chicks With Sticks
Jenny Hennessy Chicks With Sticks Image Credit: Chicks With Sticks

“It started off with a small social group of friends who wanted to play golf in Dubai, so I never envisaged it getting all the way across to my beloved Ireland but here we are! It’s very special and I’m very, very proud.

“We had a Chicks With Sticks launch event last month at Sigmoid HQ, which is a new indoor state-of-the-art facility in Dublin, set up by PGA professional Dave Kearney and Rob Brown.

“It’s an amazing facility. I went to visit in October last year and it just seemed like the perfect place to launch Chicks With Sticks in Ireland.

“120 ladies turned up to the launch event, some who play golf to a high level already and some who were total newcomers to the sport.

“From that event, we started season one of our weekly golf packages, just as we do in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, with 30 ladies signing up to beginner and improver classes. It’s been a big hit so far and I’m really excited for what is to come! ”

Hennessy’s success over the last three years is a testament to her character and her unwavering passion for creating opportunities in the game that she loves so dearly, having been first introduced to the sport by her golf-loving dad when she was 12.

Chick with sticks 1
1000 women have been introduced to the game through Chicks With Sticks Image Credit: Chicks With Sticks

I’ve spoken to plenty of players, coaches and fans over the years in my role as a journalist within the golf industry, but I don’t think any of them are as passionate about growing the game as Hennessy is. When she speaks about Chicks With Sticks, she does so with such enthusiasm and delight that you immediately begin rooting for her, the group and its success.

That passion has translated to her members with Hennessy estimating around 1000 women and girls have taken up the game through Chicks With Sticks – some going for a primary school teacher who had a dream to show the women of Dubai that golf is for everyone.

“It’s just amazing that Chicks With Sticks has created this trendy and cool grassroots golf initiative to get women into the game, when they previously didn’t have a clear pathway available to them,” she says.

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“I’m truly seeing the huge potential the group has. I’m always looking at doing more for the girls in the UAE in terms of events as a lot of members there have done a bunch of lessons, so they’re really keen to get more time on the course.

“We had a valentine’s event at Trump International Golf Club, we’ve got our spring golf event at Emirates Golf Club and our annual summer party at The Els Club, which gives the girls from Abu Dhabi the opportunity to get-together with the Dubai group. I’m also looking at launching in other Emirates in the UAE and different locations in Ireland. To say I am busy is an understatement!”

From what started as a WhatsApp group between a few friends at the beginning of 2021, Hennessy has now turned Chicks With Sticks into a limited company, with the Dubai-born group making the switch 15 months ago.

Plans for the future include more locations, a clothing line and perhaps creating a group focussed on youngsters – all of which you wouldn’t put past Hennessy given what she has achieved in such a short space of time.

“Did I ever envisage myself being a primary school team by day and running a company in both the UAE and Ireland in the evenings? No, absolutely not!” she says.

“But that’s what makes it so exciting. I wake up every day to new messages in my inboxes with fresh opportunities. The group is going great, it’s busy, but it’s good busy – it’s all about growth and new opportunities. Now that I see our business model and grassroots golf program can be replicated a few thousand miles apart, it gives me great hope that I can use the Chicks With Sticks platform in other locations.

“I’m so proud to have had the opportunity to introduce so many people to the sport. I’m a total golfaholic and I’d be lost without it, so it’s an immense privilege to offer this pathway into the game.”