Golf Skirt vs Tennis Skirt: What’s The Difference?

Written by Hannah VanDerLaan 

You're wondering what the difference is between a golf skirt vs tennis skirt.

Let's have a look!

Over the years women's athletic clothing variety has expanded drastically. From bright and vibrant colors to different styles and patterns, the athleisure industry has not fallen short on keeping up on latest trends for women.

But every female athlete, specifically golfers and tennis players, have at least one skirt in their rotation of outfits. It's a staple for lots of golfers and tennis players as it’s comfortable and cute! With that said, it's not always easy to see the differences in the two different types of skirts. You might think they can be interchangeable for both sports, but will they both cater to your needs on the court/course?

In this article we will highlight the differences in golf and tennis skirts and explain why one skirt might be a better choice over the other based on what you are looking for and which sport your playing! 

What's The Difference Between A Golf Skirt And Tennis Skirt?

Golf Skirt vs Tennis Skirt

Even though at first glance it might not look like it, there are many differences between a golf and tennis skirt. These differences vary from the look of the skirts to how they effect the way you play. Below I highlighted the most important to take into consideration before going out and buying one!

RELATED: Golf Essentials For Beginners

Skirt Length

Golf Skirt Length

The main difference between golf and tennis skirts is the length. Each sport requires different movements and the length of the skirt reflects that. Tennis requires fast movements including bending, sprinting, and jumping. Therefore tennis skirts are made shorter (12-15 inches) to avoid it getting in the way. Even though golf requires movement, it’s much more slow and controlled than tennis as it only requires walking and swinging. This means golf skirts are usually made longer as longer skirts don't get in the way of your ability to swing the club! Besides that the only other reason for the difference in length is because some golf clubs have dress codes that require skirts to be a certain length. Usually, it's fingertip, right above the knee, or 14 inches long. This is to upkeep their “professional” look. Tennis clubs don’t have a specific length you are required to meet.

Built In Shorts?

Golf Skirt Built In Shorts

Another main difference in the two skirts is the built in shorts. ALL tennis skirts have built in shorts to prevent their underwear from showing since there are a lot of fast paced movements. The shorts allow the player to play tennis without the worry of their skirt coming up while they are sprinting, jumping, bending, etc.

Golf skirts are a little different. Even though you’ll find that most golf skirts do have built in shorts for comfort, there are some out there that do not. This is because there are no movements in playing golf that could cause the skirt to ride up. Besides the unpredictable wind, golf skirts without built in shorts are always a good choice!

RELATED: What To Wear Golfing For The First Time Ladies

Pockets

Golf Skirt Pockets

Pockets are something most people look for in any clothing item, but they aren’t needed for one sport as much as the other. Most golf skirts you see in stores come with pockets in the front and back. This is because golfers need the extra space to hold golf balls, tees, markers and other basic necessities on the course. Especially if you choose to walk the course, you’ll need the extra pockets! However, tennis skirts may not come with any pockets at all. There are a few on the market with one pocket for necessities, but tennis players will usually only have a spare ball on them when on the court. Even though you can store the spare ball in the pocket of your skirt, most players tend to keep the ball in their built in shorts. Therefore pockets aren’t needed! 

Materials

Tennis Shorts Material

Although both types of skirts contain similar materials like spandex, cotton, nylon, etc.; Tennis skirts usually contain more of the stretchy materials given that it requires more flexibility and fast movement. These skirts will also usually be made with more breathable fabric since tennis players are more likely to break a sweat while playing. 

On the other hand, golfers are given the freedom to wear a wider variety of materials because the sport doesn’t require as much flexibility, so the clothing doesn’t need to be as stretchy. Golfers also don’t sweat as much as tennis players (usually), So you will see less moisture wicking fabrics, like cotton, in golf skirts.

RELATED: Golfing In Jeans: Can You wear Denim To Play Golf? 

Fastenings

This aspect of the skirt is commonly overlooked when choosing what skirt to buy. Like previously stated many times before, golf doesn't require as wide of a variety of movements as tennis does. This means you will find golf skirts with all different kinds of fastenings like zippers, buttons, snaps, etc! They will also usually have belt loops on them as a lot of private courses require a belt. Tennis skirts however never come with belt loops as a belt could be seen as a distraction on the court, or make it harder for the specific movements needed! Tennis skirts are usually, if not always, made with an elastic at the top so no fastenings are needed. This is to provide comfort on the court while making sure the skirt doesn't move around at all!

Style

High Waist Golf Skirt Style

More recently, women’s golf clothing has been opened up to a wider variety of styles. Golf skirts in particular have become more versatile and can be worn on and off the course! Even though colors and patterns are kept more neutral and basic to upkeep with course standards or “dress code”, The women's golf industry has definitely kept up with the latest trends and can also be worn as casual wear anywhere you’d like!

Tennis skirts are a little different. Since these skirts tend to be made with more elastic and stretchy material, they may not be your first choice when looking for something to wear off the court. However, the tennis industry has also kept up with the latest trends and you will find a wide variety of colors and patterns that could be fun to wear for other hobbies that require physical activity. Theres nothing wrong with wearing that new bright pink tennis skirt on a hike or run! 

Patterns

Similar to style, the patterns on your skirt are a way to express yourself through your clothing. Luckily, golf and tennis skirts come in a variety of different patterns! When it comes to patterns there is less of a difference between the two skirts than the other categories. But with that being said, always check any rules or regulations for golf courses specifically. Since there are no rules for tennis attire you are allowed to wear any pattern that you’d like, but a private golf club may have rules against certain (or any) patterns and it is important to check to avoid running into problems! Even if it is just a striped or floral skirt, it wouldn’t hurt to give the club house a quick call before leaving the house. 

Can You Play Golf In A Tennis Skirt?

golf skirt

Yes you can play golf in a tennis skirt!

Even though some golf courses do have requirements for skirts that tennis skirts may not meet, it's also important to make sure the skirt your choose doesn't effect how you play. There are many pros and cons to playing golf in a tennis skirt, but lets highlight some of the most important to consider before buying anything!

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Pros And Cons Of Playing Golf In A Tennis Skirt

What We Like

  • Elastic waistband- The elastic waistband provides more comfort on the course and allows you to move freely without restriction. (Just make sure the course you are going to doesn't require a belt!)
  • Stretchy material- The higher percentage of stretchy material (spandex, nylon, etc.) will also provide more comfort and help you stay drier on the course as it's a more breathable fabric. 

What We Don't Like

  • Shorter in length- Some golf courses require a certain length for all skirts/ shorts. Tennis skirts are usually shorter to prevent any restriction in movement. 
  • Patterns- Since their are no rules on patterns for tennis players but there are at some golf courses, you could run into trouble if you wear a pattern that is considered “against dress code” or too distracting. 
  • Less pockets- Since tennis skirts are usually made with no pockets, you won’t have anywhere to hold you golf ball, tee, maker, or anything else. 

Can You Play Tennis In A Golf Skirt?

Tennis skirt

Same as we discussed above, there are many things to take into consideration before buying a new skirt for either sport! You CAN play tennis in a golf skirt, but is it a good choice? Below are things to consider before purchasing a golf skirt to play tennis.

RELATED: Why Is Golf So Popular

Pros And Cons Of Playing Tennis In A Golf Skirt

What We Like

  • Lots of pockets- Golf skirts are made with many packets in the front and back making it a convenient place to hold any spare tennis balls. 
  • Versatility- Golf skirts are made from more everyday materials like cotton, therefore they can be worn other places besides on the court/course! 

What We Don't Like

  • Extra length- The longer skirt could also restrict your movement on the course and effect how you play. 
  • Thicker fabric- Since more golf skirts contain fabrics like cotton, the skirt may not be as breathable making you sweat more and not as comfortable. 
  • No built-in shorts (sometimes)- If you do choose a golf skirt with no built in shorts, you may not feel as comfortable because you have nothing protecting yourself incase your skirts rides up during the fast movements required in tennis
  • Unpredictable fastenings- Golf skirts with buttons or zippers may be harder to play tennis in as they could come undone when bending or moving fast. You dont wanna have to worry about your skirt unbuttoning in the middle of a game!

Final Thoughts On Golf Skirt vs Tennis Skirt

Now that you know all of the differences between a golf skirt vs tennis skirt, you can confidently show up to the course in the proper attire.

RELATED: Are Golf Shoes Necessary

Overall, I think it's safe to say that you CAN buy a golf skirt to play tennis and vise versa. But with that being said it is not always the best choice. It's also important to take into account the level you are playing at for either sport. If you are playing around for fun, wearing either skirt for either sport is definitely doable, but if you are playing at a higher level I recommend buying the skirt made for that sport. This allows you to play to the best of your ability without running into any problems or restricting yourself in any way! 

Photo of author

Hannah VanDerLaan

Hannah is our Women's Fashion Editor here at Golf Gear Advisor. Hannah grew up in Naples Florida, where her dad is a highly acclaimed golf course superintendent, so she has spent a lot of time around the golf course and country clubs. Hannah is the wife of John VanDerLaan and travels full time with him on tour. She is a spokesperson for the Korn Ferry Tour Wives and a member of the PGA Tour Wives association. She has extensive knowledge of the ins and outs of tour life as well as women's fashion and proper attire on the golf course. She can be found on the golf course at most tour stops and is frequently seen on the course with their beloved dog, Bunker.

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