Golf Skirt vs. Tennis Skirt

young girl on an open tennis court playing tennis

The regulations for female athlete attire change frequently and are often quite confusing. At first glance, both the golf skirt and tennis skirt seem interchangeable, but there are differences between the two. As the two sports are very different, the design for golf skirts is different from the design for tennis skirts. 

The primary difference between golf skirts and tennis skirts is that tennis skirts are shorter and made for ease of movement. Golf skirts also tend to be cut tighter than tennis skirts and have pockets that can hold golf balls but aren’t large enough to hold tennis balls. 

This article explains the features of golf skirts and tennis skirts a little more and examines whether you can wear them interchangeably. 

Can You Wear a Golf Skirt To Play Tennis?

It’s not advisable to wear golf skirts to play tennis since the additional length will get in the way, and the close-fitting will not offer the range of movement necessary for competitive tennis. Golf skirts also do not have pockets that will hold tennis balls comfortably. 

Golf skirts and tennis skirts are cut very differently since the demands of both sports are very different. Because golf requires its athletes only to walk and swing comfortably, lower garments don’t need to be very easy to move in or comfortable for athletic activity. The skirts are closely fitted, and even trousers tend to be formal and professional. 

On the other hand, tennis skirts are much shorter than the minimum 14 inches (35.56 centimeters) of skirt length specified for golf athletes. This allows tennis athletes to move around as they need to on the tennis court. 

Tennis skirts are designed to be comfortable and meet the dynamism and demands of the sport, which is a much higher intensity sport than golf. Wearing golf skirts to a tennis court will limit your movement and make it difficult for you to play.

Purpose and Design of Golf Skirts

Golf skirts are expected to be between 14-18 inches (35.56-45.52 centimeters) in length, covering the ‘bottom area’ when standing or bending over, according to the LPGA. They should fit well, presenting a professional appearance and allowing the athlete to walk and swing comfortably. 

Shorts can be worn underneath a golf skirt, but leggings are not permitted according to the LPGA’s most recent rules. Some golf skirts combine shorts with the skirt, in a garment known as ‘skorts.’ Both skirts and shorts are expected to meet the minimum length of 14 inches (35.56 centimeters). 

Since the sport isn’t particularly dynamic, golf skirts are cut closer to the body and don’t typically have pleats for movement like tennis skirts do. The material of the skirts is typically stretchy to allow ease of movement. However, the range of movement in a gold skirt is significantly lesser than in a tennis skirt. 

Evolution of Women’s Golf Attire

Golf has always been a sport that presents itself professionally. Golfing attire for both men and women has been traditionally very conservative. Women used to play in high-necked corseted long skirts and dresses, which gradually evolved. 

Today women are permitted to play in skirts, shorts, capris, and trousers, though many courses insist on tailored pants over shorts or skirts. 

As per the LPGA rules, workout gear, joggers, and other such material are not permitted on the courses. As skirts have grown shorter, skorts, which combine shorts and skirts, have become more popular. 

Skorts offer both ease of movement and modesty to players and have room for deep pockets, which are convenient for holding golf balls and tees. 

Purpose and Design of Tennis Skirts

Tennis skirts are cut to allow athletes to move in them easily and have a wide range of movement. They may or may not have pockets but are typically worn with compression shorts underneath, which are used to hold extra tennis balls. 

Tennis is an ancient sport and has been played by people of all genders throughout its evolution. So when women started playing the sport, they played in skirts, as was conventionally acceptable at the time. 

Over time, the hemlines became shorter to accommodate the athletes’ needs to make it easier for them to move around on the court.

There are no specific rules for professional tennis attire except Wimbledon, where athletes are expected to wear all white. The length of the skirts or dresses that female athletes wear is not specified, though all athletes are expected to maintain basic decency and modesty standards. 

Tennis skirts are traditionally pleated to allow more room for movement even as they appear well fitted. They are also not fitted close to the body to avoid limiting the athlete’s movement. 

Do You Need To Wear Shorts With Tennis Skirts?

Tennis skirts are typically worn with shorts underneath them or they may be a combination of skirt and shorts known as skorts. This is because tennis skirts are very short to facilitate movement and don’t have pockets, in which case the shorts are used to store extra tennis balls. 

Shorts worn underneath tennis skirts are usually compression shorts to support the athletes in their dynamic movement.

Apart from shorts, female athletes are also permitted to wear leggings underneath their tennis skirts. Both shorts and leggings can also be worn independently, without a skirt over them, as clarified by the WTA in 2019. This approval came after a set of controversies regarding the catsuit that Serena Williams wore on the court in 2018 to help with blood clotting post the birth of her daughter. 

The move to explicitly clarify permissions to wear leggings with or without skirts has been welcomed by athletes who appreciate that they are now able to layer up and keep their muscles from cooling off in between sets. 

Final Thoughts

Golf skirts and tennis skirts look similar at first glance but are quite different and designed to meet different regulations. Tennis skirts are shorter and have a greater range of movement than golf skirts, which must be a minimum of 14 inches (35.56 centimeters) long and are cut closer to the body for a more professional appearance as required by the LPGA.