Today in golf history: Alan Shepard plays golf on the moon

February 6, 2017

On February 6, 1971, astronaut Alan Shepard hit a golf ball on the moon, the first and only person to take the game to the stars.

Golfers go to great lengths to play, but no man has gone farther than Shepard, who trekked to the moon in 1971. Ten years after he became the first American in space, Shepard stashed a Wilson Staff 6-iron clubhead and two balls in a tube sock he’d hidden in his spacesuit. After Apollo 14 reached the moon, Shepard snapped the head onto a 33-inch aluminum rod used to collect soil samples. (He’d doctored the hosel in advance.) “In my left hand I have a little white pellet familiar to millions of Americans,” the astronaut told the world before dropping a ball on the sandy lunar surface. “I’m going to try a little sand-trap shot.” Encumbered by his bulky suit, he made three one-handed swipes — whiff, chunk, shank. Then, with help from a lunar gravitational pull only one-sixth that of Earth’s, he striped one 300 yards, with 35 seconds of hang time.