Chicks With Sticks; The Golf Society Creating A Fun Space For Female Golfers in The UAE

Female golfers on the driving range at The Claude Harmon 3 Performance Golf Academy at The Els Club Dubai

It’s Troon Women’s Golf Month, a month in which we spotlight cool initiatives across the world and programming at Troon golf clubs which seeks to engage more women and girls with golf. We talked to Jenny from Dubai’s female focused golf society, Chicks With Sticks to find out how she got into golf, why she started Chicks With Sticks and her thoughts on the game of golf.

Tell us a bit about your backstory?

I am a Primary School Teacher from Co. Clare, Ireland. I moved to Dubai in September 2020 to take up a new teaching role at an International School.

How did you get in to golf?

My Dad introduced me to golf when I was about ten years old. It certainly wasn’t a love affair at first sight. In fact, at the start golf and me did not agree because I was so bad!  However a lot of my school friends at the time were enrolled in our local golf club (Ennis Golf Club) junior golf programme led with great dedication by Jean Moloney and Kay Vaughan. Getting to have sausages and chips and chat to my friends every Saturday morning kept me somewhat interested, despite the early start!

When I was 12, I won a junior golf tournament called the Eileen Roughan Trophy at Lahinch, Castle Course. I scored 49 points playing off a handicap of 34! After this win, I thought to myself that maybe I could be good at golf.  My Dad also often reminds me of a particular 3 wood shot I hit on the 6th hole on the Old Course at Lahinch one summer’s evening, around the same time of my first ‘big win’. My swing and shot were apparently quite impressive, he knew ‘there was a golfer in me’.  Then I got the golf bug! I progressed quite quickly and was a single digit handicap by the age of 15. Many moons later now playing off a handicap of 1, I have never looked back!

How did Chicks With Sticks Start?

When I moved to Dubai I quickly identified a gap in the market for a social golf community, ultimately aimed at young working professionals in the expat community. My vision was to create affordable group golf lessons in a fun, relaxed and social setting.  I was at a party at Topgolf with the one and only Sujjan Singh back in January 2021. For those of you who don’t know Sujjan, he is by far the most popular coach amongst the Chicks With Sticks ladies! On this night at Topgolf I told Sujjan about my vision to create a social golf community. After that late night conversation, Sujjan kept me accountable and encouraged me to bring the ladies to his place of work, the Claude Harmon III Performance Golf Academy at The Els Club. After much hesitation, I decided to take the leap of faith and just go for it. 30 ladies turned up to our inaugural Chicks With Sticks meet up in March 2021. By May 2021 we had 90 ladies attending our weekly golf lessons and by that September we had doubled in size again. Since being founded, Chicks With Sticks has introduced hundreds of newcomers to the support across our two locations at The Els Club in Dubai and Abu Dhabi Golf Club. Plans to expand to more locations and other Emirates are already in the works. The best is yet to come!

Jenny, founder of Chicks With Sticks

What is your main purpose with Chicks With Sticks?

I want to continue to grow the game! Introducing people to the sport in a fun, friendly, affordable and relaxed setting has proven to be a huge success. There is no strict dress code at our weekly lesson meet-ups, club rental is included in our package and all members are encouraged to attend happy hour at the clubhouse to connect with like-minded people. It is a great way for people to make friends while learning a lifelong skill, especially suited for expats in a new city.

Your Instagram account shows the variety of ways women can come together to explore golf; what do you hope people will take away from your content?

I want people to realize that golf is for everyone, that it definitely isn’t a sport just for old rich men! I want to use my Instagram account to break down the barriers that are preventing so many people from taking up the sport. I want to make golf more appealing and accessible to a wider audience. My target audience in the UAE is currently female young professionals, but we are an inclusive community and all are welcome. I hope to introduce as many people as possible to a sport that has given me so much joy.

How would you like to see golf courses growing participation amongst women?

It bothers me to think there are still golf clubs that do not allow female members. To me this is disgraceful. How can this type of inequality still exist in 2023?  Governing bodies in golf are taking huge strides to promote equality in the sport, hopefully this momentum keeps going and all male golf clubs will be a thing of the past in the years to come. I am very fortunate to be a member of a golf club with a thriving Ladies Club, one where the ladies most certainly have just as much say, if not more say than the men! Equality is of the essence to ensure women’s participation in golf continues to flourish.

Tell us your favourite golf course that you have played, anywhere in the world, and why?

Some may say I am biased, but I promise you I am just being honest! Without a doubt my favourite golf course in the world is my home club, the Old Course at Lahinch Golf Club. It is simply magic.  Even when I am not playing well, I still seem to enjoy myself.  I feel at peace while walking along the links dunes, taking in the dazzling views of the Atlantic Ocean over Liscannor Bay. I have so many fond memories from playing at Lahinch.  For me, Lahinch is the happiest place in the world!

Summarise your feelings on golf in 3 words.

Unpredictable, thrilling, joyous.

Who are you dream golfing partners

Rory McIlroy and Charley Hull. I was recently told that I have started swinging my driver like a poodle (Mick Collins… cough cough!). So, I am now trying to channel my inner Charley Hull and am letting my driver rip! Thankfully my swing speed is going back up, not quite resembling Charley just yet but I will keep working on it! As for Rory, my fellow Irishman is my all-time golfing hero, what I would give to play a round with him. One can dream!

What’s your hope for the future of women’s golf?

I want to see more young girls getting into golf, it’s a sport you can play all your life, where you can meet new people and visit nice places. Too many young women do not play any sport, golf can be their sport. There is huge momentum worldwide to make golf more inclusive for all, from club level initiatives right the way through to professional ladies golf. If this energy continues, I see a very positive future for women’s golf. We must all play our part!


To learn more or join Chicks With Sticks, visit their Instagram.