46 years ago today, Apollo 14 astronaut Alan Shepard did one last thing before leaving the surface of the moon, something he had planned for months – he teed up a golf shot. The NASA commander brought a six-iron club head on board inside his space suit pocket which had a fitting on it for attaching to the handle of a lunar sample scoop. In a constricting space suit, he topped and sliced his first two swings, but finally hit two balls, driving them, as he put it, “miles and miles and miles”. WATCH… (1971)
“The suit is so stiff, I can’t do this with two hands,” he told mission control, who was watching bemused via television camera. “I’m going to try a little sand-trap shot here.”
After the fun, he removed the golf club head from the handle and brought it back to Earth, where it is currently on display at the US Golf Association Hall of Fame in New Jersey.
WATCH the actual golf swings on film below – and follow a NASA transcript at the bottom:
For his book Moon Shot, composite photos of the lunar surface were used to produce a staged photo of the event, because there were no still photos of the event.
08:17 Shepard: (Facing the TV) Houston, while you’re looking that up, you might recognize what I have in my hand as the handle for the contingency sample return; it just so happens to have a genuine six iron on the bottom of it. In my left hand, I have a little white pellet that’s familiar to millions of Americans. I’ll drop it down. Unfortunately, the suit is so stiff, I can’t do this with two hands, but I’m going to try a little sand-trap shot here. (Pause)
08:53 Mitchell: You got more dirt than ball that time.
08:58 Shepard: Got more dirt than ball. Here we go again.
09:01 Haise: That looked like a slice to me, Al.
09:03 Shepard: Here we go. Straight as a die; one more. (Long Pause) 135:09:20 Shepard: Miles and miles and miles.
MORE Good News on this Date:
- 86 African-American immigrants founded a settlement in present-day Liberia (1820)
- The founding document of New Zealand, the Treaty of Waitangi, was signed (1840)
- Baseball star Babe Ruth was born (1895)
- The international arbitration court at The Hague was created when host country, the Netherlands, ratified a decree by the first peace conference (1900)
- Elizabeth ascended to the British throne to eventually become the longest serving Queen of England (1952)
- George Harrison joined the Liverpool group The Quarrymen, which featured John Lennon and Paul McCartney (1958)
- Justice Mary Gaudron became the first woman to be appointed to the High Court of Australia (1987)
- The Polish government began Round Table Talks in Warsaw with the banned trade union and its leader, Lech Wałęsa who were able to win major demands (1989)
Also on this day, in 1945, Robert Nesta Marley was born on a farm in Jamaica. As a ground-breaking reggae musician, Bob Marley achieved international fame and acclaim that culminated in his 1977 solo LP release, Exodus, which sold 75 million copies worldwide. He died of cancer in 1981 at the age of 36. His birthday is a Rastafarian spiritual holiday in Jamaica and Ethiopia.
Photo by Eddie Mallin, 1980 – CC license