1971 TV transmission from the Moon: golf club swing by astronaut Alan Shepard Jr.
1971 TV transmission from the Moon: golf club swing by astronaut Alan Shepard Jr.

Golf Club Used On The Moon

Field review by the editors.

Liberty Corner, New Jersey

In the early 1960s America's first spaceman, Alan Shepherd, gave a NASA tour to comedian Bob Hope, who on a whim took golf swings in a lunar low-gravity simulator. The idea stuck with Shepard, and when he finally reached the moon in January 1971, as commander of Apollo 14, he was ready.

The astronaut had smuggled on board, in one of his socks, a 6-iron golf club head and a few balls. Shepard screwed the head onto a pole used to scoop up moon rocks, and whacked the golf balls on live TV, witnessed by an audience of millions. In the low moon gravity, Shepard said the balls traveled "miles and miles."

NASA was not pleased, but couldn't do anything because the golf club head, balls, and sock were Shepard's personal property. The balls are still on the moon, but in 1974 Shepard donated the sock and the golf club head, now attached to a replica moon pole, to the USGA museum, where they are prized artifacts. Shepard went to his grave in 1998 never revealing the brand of golf balls he used, because he didn't want to suggest that it was anything other than a not-for-profit goofy idea.

Inspired by Shepard, astronaut Brian Duffy smuggled a golf club onto the Space Shuttle Endeavor in 1996. It is also on display at the USGA Museum.

Golf Club Used On The Moon

USGA Museum

Address:
77 Liberty Corner Rd, Liberty Corner, NJ
Directions:
USGA Museum. I-78 exit 33 (Bernardsville). Drive north on Martinsville Rd about one mile, to fifth traffic light. Turn left onto Valley Rd. Drive a half mile to fork near Exxon station. Turn left onto Liberty Corner Rd. Drive two miles to USGA Museum, on left.
Hours:
Tu-Su 10-5 (Call to verify)
Phone:
908-234-2300
Admission:
Adults $10.
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