When Spc. Thomas Pilling is on the golf course, the “edgy, aggressive and sometimes mean” side of his personality comes out. He also gets anxious to win.

“I’m an avid golfer. It’s a passion of mine,” said Pilling, a soldier in 41st Fires Brigade, during the Ben Hogan Classic on March 15 at the Courses of Clear Creek. “Any time I get to play in some kind of competition, it motivates me.”

Chris Osborne, manager of the course, was excited to have soldiers and their families out for the event. The course features a 27-hole facility with three different nine-hole courses as well as a free Rattlesnake Ridge Kid’s Course, where children get priority. It also has a driving range that accommodates up to 36 golfers at a time and a short game area for putting and chipping.

“We also have a junior’s clinic that we put on in June and July so we can help juniors learn the game of golf and help grow the game,” he said.

Although the course is open to the public, he said its primary concern is serving retired and active-duty military and their families.

“They are out protecting America and doing their service and we are very blessed to be able to give them a place where they can come unwind and enjoy being back from wherever they were,” he said.

When he’s not deployed, Pilling takes advantage of the golf course and was excited to participate in the classic.

“Everybody talks about (giving back), but to have them come out here and do this, it’s absolutely amazing,” he said. “Everyone’s really into it. They’re not just doing it because they have to. They choose to be here and if you want to be here, you’re obviously going to have a good time.”

Pilling plays on the greens of the hilly course often with his friend Sgt. Daniel Caffee, 41st Fires Brigade.

“We try to get out here every week, maybe a couple of times every week,” Caffee said. “I love the game. I’m trying to get better.”

Contact Sarah Rafique at srafique@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7549. Follow her on Twitter at KDHreporter.

I'm the education reporter at the Killeen Daily Herald. Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SarahRafique

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