CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- DJ Moore couldn’t help himself.
The Carolina Panthers wide receiver knew the objective was to hit targets and score points, but he didn’t know if he’d ever have another chance to knock a golf ball out of Bank of America Stadium.
So he gave it a rip.
“I got it to the other side of the stadium wall," Moore said with a laugh after participating in Topgolf Live’s 2021 stadium tour in late March. “I couldn’t get it into the other side of the stands.’’
Neither could Brandt Bronico, a member of the MLS' Charlotte Football Club that will begin playing soccer at the stadium in 2022.
“I definitely tried,’’ he said. “I was able to reach the back of the other side, the lower section. Maybe if I had a 6- or 7-iron ..."
Panthers backup quarterback Will Grier admittedly didn’t try, thinking ahead to the consequences as he would with a pass that might be intercepted.
“I didn’t want to want to go tell Mr. [David] Tepper I broke his scoreboard,’’ he said, referring to the Panthers owner.
Tiger Woods in his prime probably couldn’t have done that. No more than an 8-iron was allowed and the balls were designed to make it almost impossible to go beyond the 160 to 170 yards from the tee located in a bay area of the west end zone below the owner’s suite to the east end zone stands.
There also are protective nets in front of the video/scoreboard and suite windows.
That doesn’t mean at least a few among the 4,300 that attended the four-day event, like Moore, weren’t tempted to land a ball on Mint Street to show off their length.
Seattle’s Safeco Field, home of baseball’s Mariners, hosted the first stadium event in 2017. Since then it has grown and expanded to more stadiums across the nation, such as Chicago’s iconic Soldier Field and Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Grier, an avid golfer, understands the temptation to knock it out of the park. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“If you shape it, you can hit it out,’’ he said, referring to a big hook or big slice needed to go out of the stadium sideways.
And even then it would take a precision shot.
“I sliced one into the stands,’’ Bronico said. “Other than that, I was relatively accurate.’’
Grier, Moore and Bronico appreciated the opportunity to participate in the event. But for Grier, as a Topgolf rep, it wasn’t as eye-popping looking over the stadium wall onto the skyline of Charlotte as other moments he’s experienced.
“I did an event in San Diego where we hit golf balls off the USS Midway to a floating target in the bay,’’ he said of the aircraft carrier. “That was super cool.’’
For Moore, who doesn’t own his own clubs and has limited his golf game to Topgolf venues thus far, this event rivaled catching a touchdown pass at BOA.
“They’re close,’’ he said.
This definitely was the highlight of Moore’s day, which included an informal throwing session with Grier to stay sharp. This was his thought as he set up for his first shot.
“Like, I’m really about to hit a golf ball into Bank of America Stadium,’’ he said, his voice growing an octave higher. “It was unique for us ... we got to do something other people can’t say they got to do.’’
The objective of Topgolf is to hit one of the six targets 60 to 140 yards from the tee. You score the most points by hitting the blues that are 110 to 140 yards away. Yellows are 55 to 85 yards and reds are 40 to 60 yards.
The most you can score is 4,000 points, and it would take five holes-in-one to do that.
“It’s never happened,’’ Tomasik said.
Grier felt good with the 450 he recorded, considering he’d spent much of the day throwing.
“I was a little sore,’’ he said. “So I shot mostly at the shorter targets.’’
The score wasn’t a priority, anyway. It was the visuals of hitting into the stadium with the breathtaking backdrop of the city that made this special and made questions about the upcoming season an afterthought.
It was particularly spectacular at night when the targets lit up like the office buildings towering a few blocks away.
Grier’s wife, Jeanne, had just as much fun as anyone and she sent a few balls into the stands.
“It’s hard to take your eyes off the skyline,’’ Grier said. “That’s definitely very scenic. My strategy was nice and smooth, try to hit the shorter targets. My wife’s strategy was just trying to hit the ball.’’
Then there was Moore and Bronico, who tried what many wanted to do.
“It was real competitive in there,’’ Moore said. “I was looking at people that bought bays and I was seeing them hit it to the back wall, and I was like, ‘All right. I can do that, too.’
“So I was competing with people who didn’t even know I was competing with them. . . . That was a unique experience.’’