Just about any golfer will say that golf is a game anyone can and should play. The hobby can transform weekends into fun-filled breaks.

And, during the recent novel coronavirus pandemic, the hobby has become an outlet for people to safely social distance while also enjoying a bit of normalcy.

“Everybody has to social distance right now, and you won’t find any place better to that than on a golf course because you’re always a tee box apart from each other,” said Jaime Winters, director of marketing, food and beverages, andevents at Tempest Golf Club in Liberty City.

Tempest Golf Club rated as the No. 2 best new golf course in the state of Texas in June, when ranked by a Dallas Morning News panel comprised of 94 golfers. Tempest came in second place to the Texas Rangers Golf Club in Arlington, which took first.

Additionally, Tempest ranked No. 4 in the state for mid-priced golf courses and No. 24 in the state for public golf courses, according to the Dallas Morning News.

“We took a lot of pride in that and we celebrated that,” Winters said. “We are an upscale golf course located right here in East Texas.”

The hidden gem golf course opened in 2018 at 568 E. Wilkins Road in Liberty City. Owner Joe Bruno, a New Orleans native, hired golf course architect Jeffrey Brauer to completely renovate the property of the former Southern Hills Golf Club. Renovation work started in 2015 and took three years to complete, with Brauer being tasked with a high-end renovation.

“He completely transformed the land that was already here,” Winters said. “He brought in dirt, he made hills that weren’t there. Our goal is to give you a great view and a great experience every single time you’re here.”

The par-72 course redesign plays to 7,229 yards and gives patrons stunning views with almost 200 feet of elevation change throughout the course.

Tempest offers memberships, but it is a public course open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. everyday. The daily rate to play 18 holes of golf is $60 Monday through Thursday and $75 Friday through Sunday, with discounts available for afternoon play after 2 p.m. Tempest also has special rates available for seniors 60 and older, juniors under 17, military and first responders, replaying 18 holes, and for playing only nine holes of golf.

Fees include golf cart usage, and Tempest is the only golf course in East Texas to feature touchscreen carts that allow users to control music via Bluetooth and to order food straight from the on-site restaurant delivered to their location on the green, Winters said. Additionally, the golf carts feature a GPS system that can advise golfers, she said.

Meanwhile, memberships entitle members to perks, such as special events, as well as discounts on venue rentals.

In addition to golf, those visiting Tempest also can go to the restaurant, Neptune’s Grille and Bar. The restaurant, which is also open to the general public, features a breakfast and brunch menu, a lunch menu that includes many salads and sandwiches as well as daily specials, and a dinner lineup that offers both the lunch menu as well as specials. The full-service restaurant also can accommodate catering and events, Winters said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the golf course has increased its safety protocols and is following CDC recommendations, Winters said.

“We are family friendly and we’re dog friendly,” Winters said. “Youcan definitely spend an entire day here. From practicing putting on the green to the driving range to enjoying a meal at Neptune’s, there is something for everyone.”

To learn more about Tempest Golf Club, visit www.tempestgolfclub.com.

Tempest Golf Club isn’t the only place to enjoy time on the greens this summer. Other area public and private golf courses include the following:

Oak Lawn Municipal Golf Course is a nine-hole golf course that is owned and operated by the City of Marshall. The public golf course is located at 4307 Victory Drive in Marshall.

Marshall Lakeside Country Club, which opened in 1923 and is Marshall’s oldest course, features a traditional course with tree-lined fairways, swerving greens and water. The private golf course is located at 6315 Texas 43 in Marshall.

Alpine Golf Course is an 18-hole public golf course in Longview. Good for both beginners and the average golfer, players should attempt to hit straight along the course’s tree-lined fairways. Alpine Golf Course is located at 2385 Smelley Road in Longview.

Wood Hollow Golf Club, a public course in Longview, features 18 holes of golf. The course spans just more than 6,000 yards. The golf club is located at 5121 N. McCann Road in Longview.

Meadowbrook Golf and Event Center is a public, nine-hole course owned and operated by the City of Kilgore. Meadowbrook features memberships but has day rates for the public. It is located at 1306 Houston St. in Kilgore.

Longview Country Club is a public golf course located between White Oak and Kilgore. The 18-hole course spans more than 5,800 yards. It is located at 3275 Texas 42 North.

Pinecrest Country Club, which says it is East Texas’ oldest golf course, is a private club that features an 18-hole course. The golf course, which spans more than 6,500 yards, opened in 1921. Pinecrest is located at 214 Club Drive in Longview.

The Challenge at Oak Forest is a privately owned country club in Longview that features golf, among other facilities. It is located at 2044 Oak Forest Country Club Drive in Longview.