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Golfer's solo hole-in-one is made even more painful by this TikTok

December 01, 2022

I was doing my daily scroll on TikTok when a video came across my For You page. It showed golfer Bobby Moriarty living every golfer’s nightmare—he made a hole-in-one during a solo round of golf.

Normally this is akin to the age-old question about the tree in the forest: If a golfer gets a hole-in-one, but no one is there to see it, did it really happen?

But introduce modern technology into this complicated golf dilemma: What’s the verdict when your only potential witness leaves, and you have no option but to phone a friend and FaceTime them as you walk up to retrieve your ball from the hole?

We’ll set the scene, and you can be the judge.

Moriarty was out hitting balls on the range when he noticed that it had been a while since the last group had made the turn. He snuck out on the back nine hoping to get a few holes in.

When he stepped up on the 11th tee of John's Island Club’s North Course in Vero Beach, Fla., the 3-handicap and self-proclaimed feel player walked off his distance from the marker and determined that it was about 161 yards to the center of the green. An easy 7-iron. He made a nice swing and drew the ball into the green, but it was held up by a slight left-to-right wind. The ball landed a few inches left of the hole, and Moriarty watched as it took a hop right and rolled into the cup.

Usually, this would be exciting, but when Moriarty saw his ball disappear, he says he got an empty feeling.

“I didn’t really react. I looked around, and nobody else was in sight. I didn’t know what else to do, so I called my girlfriend from the tee so I could walk up to the hole with someone,” Moriarty said.

Thinking just as quickly, his girlfriend, Christina Parsells, a member of Golf Digest’s social team, recorded the call to capture the moment for other golfers worldwide to enjoy.

You can watch the video below:

@tinatwoputts If you FaceTime someone to walk up to the green with you, does it count as an ace?? 😬😬 #golf #golftiktok #golftok #holeinone #playgolf ♬ build up - TimTaj

As he reached the green, a maintenance worker who was waiting on the next hole watched Moriarty as he picked up his ball and flashed him a quick thumbs-up. But before Moriarty could ask if he saw the ace, the worker drove away. His only potential witness had just left.

Parsells described it as one of the most tragic moments in golf, and we couldn’t agree more.

To make matters worse, because he had snuck out for a round, Moriarty didn’t even report it to the pro shop.

“I wasn’t technically supposed to be out there on my own,” he says.

Don’t feel too bad for him, though. This was his second ace of the year. Count Moriarty among those who believes this one is a legitimate hole-in-one, too. 

Parsells, a golf purist, maintains that it’s not a true hole-in-one if no one was there to see it.

Though they’re still searching for the maintenance worker who might have seen the ball go in, we want to know your thoughts. Does this count as a legit hole-in-one, or will it forever wear an asterisk since he was technically alone?

Furthermore, will this change the protocol for golfers and their future solo rounds? Will we each need to designate a friend who’s on-call when we go play in case we hit a one-in-a-lifetime shot? And last but certainly not least: How many people does he need to buy a drink for after the fact? If it’s all the people who view his girlfriend’s TikTok, Moriarty might be racking up a decent tab.