Golf on the Moon: How Alan Shepard tricked NASA and hit the most famous shot in history


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Whenever you consider golf, legendary gamers like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tiger Woods and Bobby Jones could come to thoughts. None of these legends, nonetheless, hit arguably essentially the most fabled shot in historical past. That distinction belongs to a NASA astronaut.

Apollo 14 commander Alan B. Shepard hit two golf balls on the floor of the Moon on Feb. 6, 1971. Shepard talked to the US Golf Affiliation (USGA) about these notorious photographs. “I shanked the primary one; it rolled right into a crater about 40 yards means,” mentioned Shepard. “The second, I saved my head down. I hit it flush and it went not less than 200 yards.”

What’s little identified in regards to the well-known photographs is that they virtually didn’t occur.


Shepard’s Apollo 14 mission got here proper after the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission the place an oxygen tank exploded inflicting the astronauts to scramble to return safely to Earth. Maggie Lagle, a historian for the USGA, informed Fox Information that NASA didn’t have a humorousness after Apollo 13 and wouldn’t have let Shepard take a golf membership on the mission, so Shepard snuck a membership and balls into house with him. “It was a reasonably large deal for him to sneak the club-head and golf balls into house!” mentioned Lagle.

How he managed to get them into house was an ingenious affair.

In line with Lagle, the one two males who knew in regards to the membership have been Shepard and Jack Harden, a golf professional at River Oaks Nation Membership in Houston.

Harden helped Shepard modify a normal 6-iron head of a Wilson golf membership. The lads hooked up it to a flexible software astronauts use to scoop soil and rock samples from the Moon’s floor. Shepard hid two golf balls in a sock and tucked the membership head into his spacesuit.


As Shepard and Astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell have been exploring the lunar floor, Commander Shepard took his likelihood and hooked up the membership head to the software and hit his two balls. Shepard described his photographs as “one-handed chili dips” as a result of he didn’t have a wide range of movement in his house go well with to execute a full swing.

The journey of Shepard’s makeshift membership doesn’t finish on the Moon.

Singer Bing Crosby helped persuade Shepard to donate his membership to the USGA’s museum in New Jersey. “Alan was a really avid golfer and he would really take part within the Bing Crosby golf match,” mentioned Lagle. “Because the USGA had a extremely good relationship with Crosby, he had really had a number of conversations with Shepard and it was decided that the membership would come right here to us.”


There’s a reproduction of Shepard’s membership on the Smithsonian’s Nationwide Air and Area Museum.

Shepard’s genuine 6-iron membership head that’s hooked up to the house software will be discovered on the USGA’s Golf Museum in Far Hills, New Jersey. 

Emily DeCiccio is a video producer and author for Fox Digital Originals. Comply with her on Twitter @EmilyDeCiccio


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