We answer your golf questions in each issue of Lake Lifestyles magazine. Here are 3 questions you had for our golf pro.

If I wanted to get away this winter to a warm golf vacation do you have any suggestions?  
Kelly H., Osage Beach

I’m with you — January and February are the best times to find that warm part of the country to knock the rust off your game. Most of my winter travels have taken me to Florida over the years. The Panhandle will be somewhat cooler but the rates correspond with the drop in temperatures. As you move farther south in the Sunshine State temperatures and price tend to rise.
I am very fond of the Naples area. There are some great courses, the weather is consistent and the beaches on the gulf are beautiful. I have spent a little time in South Texas and there are some great areas, but it tends to be a little windy. Arizona probably has the most consistent temperatures in the continental United States but you will pay a premium for those warm, dry days. Whatever your budget you can’t go wrong with heading to warmer climates before spring comes to the Lake so you can sharpen your game!

How often should I get new golf clubs?  
Jim P., Richland

That all depends on how much you play and what your budget will allow. If you play alot the first clubs to replace are your wedges. Once your grooves are gone, for lack of a better term, it’s time to replace. It is difficult to put spin on the ball using a club without grooves.
If your clubs are over 10 years old I would think of replacing them, even if you only play 10 times or so a year. Technology has changed in 10 years and you will see a definite benefit by replacing them. If you want to change clubs more frequently, especially if you are an avid player, a great way to do it is to take advantage of the trade-in programs most clubs offer. Services such as PGA Trade in or Trade in Trade Up by Callaway will give you credit on your clubs toward the purchase of a new one. The newer the clubs the better the trade-in so if you want to constantly have the newest equipment this is a great way to go.  
See your local golf shop and ask about trading in your used clubs for new ones!

What are “X-Out” golf balls and are they legal under the rules of golf to play?  
Robbie W., Camdenton

X-outs are name brand golf balls that are marked as X-out’s in some fashion on the ball and on the packaging. The golf balls typically have a cosmetic defect that won’t affect the playing characteristics. A brand such as Titleist will mark golf balls that do not meet their standards to be sold as premium golf balls with XXXs across the Titleist on the ball signifying its X-Out ball designation. These golf balls are sold online, at off-course retail stores and on course. They are not technically legal to play in a tournament that requires a player to play with a USGA conforming golf ball because manufactures do not have these balls tested. They are perfectly fine to play in your weekly games with your buddies or to practice with.  
The price of these balls can be considerably cheaper and typically come in bulk packages of 24 balls or more. Don’t be afraid to purchase some of these and see what you think, especially if you’re new to the game and may lose a few as you learn.   

Paul Leahy is a PGA Golf Professional and the director of golf at Tan-Tar-A Resort. Have a question for Paul? Email info@lakelifestylesmagazine.com.