He Played Golf Where?

By | Feb 6, 2017

It took three swings before astronaut Alan B. Shepard finally hit the golf ball on February 6, 1971. What was amazing is when the swing was made he was suited in his space gear standing on the moon as part of Apollo 14. Shepard after a solid hit with a second ball stated that it traveled, “Miles and miles and miles”. This was the first any only time that golf was played on the moon.

The balls didn’t actually go for miles. Shepard later gave his estimate to be about 200 to 400 yards. Considering that he swung with one hand in a suit that restricted movement, with a rigged six iron, it wasn’t a bad shot. The golf shot was unplanned and unauthorized. Shepard smuggled the golf club head inside his uniform.

The Apollo 14 mission was the first mission after the failed Apollo 13 mission. Alan Shepard along with Edgar Mitchell became the 5th and 6th man to walk on the moon. Stuart Roosa orbited the moon in the Command Module.

The mission lasted from January 31 to February 9, 1971. Shepard and Mitchell spent 33 1/2 hours on the moon. Nine hours and 23 minutes was spent outside of the Lunar Capsule.

This was Shepard’s second and final time in space. Ten years earlier on May 5, 1961, he became the first American to travel into space when he piloted Freedom 7. That flight was a sub-orbital flight which carried him to an altitude of 116 statute miles. With the Apollo 14 mission he became the only astronaut from Project Mercury to reach the moon. At 47, he also was the oldest to walk on the moon.

For Shepard the mission was a personal triumph. He had been grounded from 1964 to 1968 from Ménière’s disease, a condition in which fluid pressure builds up in the inner ear. An operation performed in 1968 was able to remedy the problem and he was allowed to fly again. Even though Alan B. Shepard never intended to be a hero, he was one.


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