Wednesday

The Long & the Short of the Golf Skirt & Skort

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At many country clubs the rules on skirt length are quite clear. As in:
"Skirts must be no greater than 4 inches above the middle of the kneecap"
or how about:
"Skirts/skorts must measure at least fourteen (14) inches from the waistband to the bottom of the skort and to within a scorecard width measure or four (4) inches of the top of the knee".
OK...gulp. While not all dress code directives are so draconian, most make it clear that ultra-short skirts are not acceptable.

Some use interpretive language like "must not be shorter than mid-thigh" or "must be of appropriate length", but the fact is, at many country clubs the outfits worn by some of today's most prominent LPGA professionals clearly would not meet written dress code standards. At least not if a tape measure (or a scorecard) were taken to them.

Of course, that won't happen. These girls are star athletes, when they play in tournaments at conservative country clubs the dress code police obviously turn a blind eye to an extra few inches of exposed thigh.

But what about the rest of the female population... those of us with higher handicaps and less-than-stellar swings? What would happen to us if we showed up at Silver Creek with a skirt like the one Michelle Wie wore last weekend (pictured above)... or like those Natalie Gulbis typically wears (pictured below)? Would we be shown the door... or just given a verbal warning? Or... does it depend?

These days, I think it's safe to say that most public courses... even high-end public courses that post a dress code... are in fact, very lenient about skirt length. Same goes for resort courses. While they may forbid denim and collarless shirts, if a skirt or skort is long enough to be recognized as such... that is, if it doesn't look like an extended belt... it'll probably pass inspection.

I tend wear my skirts/skorts pretty damn quite short. I just prefer that look, and I've never any problem with dress code issues. However, I'm in a rather liberal part of the country and I don't often play at country clubs, so perhaps my experiences don't accurately reflect the dress code dangers lurking out there. But if you look at the latest styles from awesome golf apparel companies like Golftini, JoFit and Pahr it definitely seems super short is selling somewhere.

A couple of days ago Michelle Wie had an unfortunate aquatic incident at the Kia Classic that resulted in a much-reported, two point penalty. Some surmised her little white skirt might have been at least partially to blame. They suggested that the added pressure of knowing she'd have to keep that tiny swath of fabric in place if she lost her balance... might have in fact distracted her. Some commenters lamented that today's players sacrifice functionality for fashion, and other commenters chimed in... and there seemed to be a bit of a backlash building against short golf styles. Which is what got me thinking about golf skirts and skorts... what's appropriate and what's not. The long and the short of it.

What do you think? Are today's styles simply too short for the game? Have you ever heard of someone being sent home for a skirt length violation? Or is it just not that big a deal?Golf Pundit Patricia Hannigan, for a female perspective on the Tiger Woods scandal.
Photos: Top-Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America, Center-GolfGirlMedia, Bottom-GolfGirlMedia