When it comes to sports, you want to wear something that looks good, is comfortable, and is practical. You also want to don attire that’s acceptable (if not mandated) by a particular sport’s rules. For example, tennis and golf skirts can look similar, but does that mean you can interchange them?
Tennis and golf skirts are not the same. The primary difference between them is the length. In tennis, skirts are generally 12 inches (30 cm) in length. Meanwhile, golf requires skirts that are 14 inches (36 cm) or longer than your fingertips when worn.
Women’s golf calls for more conservative clothes than tennis does. On the other hand, tennis has a more complicated and extensive history regarding the clothes players are allowed to wear on the court. Let’s dive deeper into the differences between tennis and golf skirts, and whether you can interchange the two.
Tennis vs. Golf Skirts
Tennis and golf skirts differ in terms of functionality, design, and length. The particular demands of each sport influence the kinds of clothes that are acceptable (and not acceptable) to wear during gameplay.
- Shorter for ease of movement
- Usually made with built-in shorts for extra coverage
- Made of materials designed to dry quickly and wick moisture, such as cotton, polyester, and spandex
Tennis is a more physically demanding sport. Players need to be faster, more flexible, and more agile than golf players. For this reason, tennis skirts are designed to be shorter to allow women to change direction more quickly and move with ease.
Another vital distinction between tennis and golf skirts is that tennis skirts are also referred to as “skorts” since they have built-in shorts under the skirt to provide additional coverage.
As I mentioned, tennis is a more physically demanding sport, where players are often required to move in different directions. If female tennis players wear traditional sports skirts, they risk exposing body parts that they’d rather not be seen by the public. The skort design allows wearers to be comfortable moving as necessary without fearing exposure.
- Longer and tighter than tennis skirts
- Can be worn with tights or shorts underneath, but not necessary
- Usually made of cotton, though other moisture-wicking fabrics are becoming popular as well
Golf requires less intense movement and speed than tennis. Therefore, players don’t need to worry about wearing long skirts that’ll get in the way of their game. The PGA requires skirts to pass the players’ fingertips when worn — usually at least 14 inches (36 cm) long. Also, golf skirts are tighter because players don’t have to move as much around the course.
Unlike tennis skirts, golf skirts are usually more traditional in design. In other words, you won’t see a lot of people wearing skorts (if at all) in golf because the risk of exposure is low or non-existent.
Although you can get away with wearing a tennis skirt on the golf course, I don’t recommend wearing a traditional golf skirt to a tennis match for the reasons outlined above.
Can You Wear Tennis Skirts for Golf?
You can wear a tennis skirt for a casual game of golf. However, if you are playing professionally or seriously, you should wear appropriate golf attire instead. Golf attire usually covers more of the body than tennis attire does.
Tennis skirts are technically shorter than what’s required in golf, but again, if this isn’t a serious sporting event, no one will notice if you’re wearing a tennis skirt instead of a golf skirt.
Many women like to wear skirts when playing golf and tennis because these are generally played in warm weather and skirts allow you to feel cool and comfortable.
Golf attire has conservative roots. Before the 60s, the hemlines for golf skirts can’t be above the ankle. Today, more flexible designs and shorter hemlines are commonplace. If you’re not playing a serious or professional match, the dress codes can be pretty lax.
Tennis is another sport founded on tradition, especially when it comes to clothing requirements. An old saying goes something along the lines of “look good, feel good, play good.” This adage is especially true for tennis, where — as I mentioned earlier — you need to move around without worrying about exposing your underwear.
If you’re looking for tennis skirt recommendations, try one of the BALEAF Women’s Pleated Tennis Skirts (available on Amazon.com). It has a classic design that won’t go out of style and comes in at least five different colors you can pair with the top of your choice.
To get more information about different clothing options and requirements for tennis, check out this article from Sport Rx.
Can You Wear a Golf Dress To Play Tennis?
You may be wondering if you can wear a golf dress (let alone any dress) to play tennis. After all, even skorts can be a little too short for you. You may also prefer a dress for religious reasons, or you just want to wear a dress because it suits your style and brand as a player.
You can wear a golf dress to play tennis if you don’t have a tennis dress. Just remember to wear spandex or other shorts or leggings underneath to avoid exposing yourself during a match.
Golf dresses are designed for golf, not physically demanding sports like tennis. They usually don’t have built-in shorts under the dress fabric and are generally longer and tighter. These could cause issues on a tennis court, so if you’re planning to play a serious match, I suggest buying an appropriate dress or skirt for the occasion.
For example, you can try the Nautica Women’s Easy Classic Short Sleeve Stretch Cotton Polo Dress (available on Amazon.com). It has sleeves if you don’t want to expose too much of your arms, but it’s also short enough to let you move around the course as you please.
Purpose of Golf Skirts
Women’s golf (and by extension women’s golf skirts) has a long history dating back to the 1940s when the first US women’s Open Golf Championship was played. If you’re interested in learning more about women’s golf attire history, check out this article from Elysian.
Golf attire is generally the same as business casual office wear. If you wear it to the office, you can probably wear it to the golf course — as long as you can move around comfortably as demanded by the sport. Because golf is more rigid and less physically demanding than tennis, the women’s skirts are tighter and less flexible for these situations.
Purpose of Tennis Skirts
Tennis skirts are designed for movement and flexibility. They give female players the ability to be more agile and comfortable. They’re usually tailored with shorts underneath the flowy skirt fabric to cover the player’s front and backside in case of a fall or change in the winds.
To learn more about how tennis skirts have changed over time, check out this article from the Red and Black.
No matter what sport you’re playing, you want to be adequately prepared, and part of that preparation includes your attire. Just like you wouldn’t go swimming in running shoes, you probably shouldn’t go golfing in a tennis skirt.
Suppose you’re not a serious player and don’t have time to get the right gear. In that case, a tennis skirt will be acceptable on the golf course for a casual game with friends. But if you plan on playing more seriously/professionally, invest in the correct kind of skirt.