The folks at the Florida Space Coast pointed out that 50 years ago this Saturday, on February 6, 1971, Alan Shepard, commander of NASA’s Apollo 14 mission played golf on the moon.
The club he used was a six-iron head attached to a collapsible aluminum tool designed to scoop up lunar dust samples. Shepard snuck the club and two golf balls on board.
Shepard said it was Bob Hope who gave him the idea to try his golf-on-the-moon stunt. Hope visited NASA headquarters in Houston in 1970 to prepare for a TV special with the Apollo astronauts. The golf-loving entertainer had his ever-present golf club with him. And he used it to lean on while testing out the training device that simulated the one-sixth gravity the astronauts would encounter on the moon.
The golf balls were left are on the moon. But the original “Moon Club” is on display at the USGA Golf Museum in Liberty Corner, New Jersey.
A replica of the club is in the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum collection.